Dinners To Try This Week!

With the weather getting chillier, today I am sharing with you a roundup of my favourite 7 recipes to warm you up. Lockdown may have you feeling like every day is Groundhog Day, but your meals don’t have to follow suit! All of the below recipes I have selected are easy to cook, and will scratch that restaurant quality itch you may be missing!

Full recipe and ingredient lists are all linked below

Butternut Squash Soup
Cookie + Kate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes

best butternut squash soup recipe

During these Autumn months, I really love cooking and eating squash vegetables. Although technically a fruit, butternut squash is rich in Vitamin C, a source of Vitamin A and can be roasted, toasted, sautéed and puréed for soup! This meal will go down a treat, especially with some crusty bread.

Beef Goulash
Hairy Biker’s
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Beef goulash

I first discovered this recipe as a student where a slow cooker was my best friend. Start preparing this in the morning and let it’s flavours marinade all day. This hearty dish can be served with either bread, rice or potatoes.

Pulled Pork Burger
Inspired Taste
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours

Two hands holding a sandwich filled with shredded pork and coleslaw.

Another slow cook meal of dreams. Serve this burger with a brioche bun for an instant gourmet spin. Use the leftovers for tacos, meaning you also double up on meal prep – that’s if there are any left!


Vegan Stew
Healthy Living James
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew

I discovered this after having an intense craving for black beans and sweet potato, and boy you will not be disappointed! If you struggle to find black beans in the shops, you can absolutely swap it for spicy red chilli beans or kidney beans (or both!). I added these all and it was delicious! Serve with rice or quinoa.

Chicken Tray Bake
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 30 minuted
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Ras-el-hanout chicken traybake

Who says you need to save Mediterranean food only for the Summer? This easy one pot recipe would make a lovely mid-week dinner or on days where you are short on time. If you don’t have any ras-el-hanout spice, I would recommend substituting it for your own spices which you may have at home. I used equal parts paprika, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and coriander instead. I also personally left out the fresh thyme, coriander and natural yogurt, and it still tasted amazing!

Veggie (& Vegan) Paella
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Vegetable paella

This vegetarian paella is sure to mix up your taste pallet. Rather than using saffron which can be very expensive, I use tumeric which adds enough spice and also gives that lovely golden yellow colour. I always find that rice takes at least an hour to cook though, so factor this in to avoid any hangry moments!

Chicken Katsu Curry
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Curry in bowls with rice and sauce

In absence of Wagamamas, try this easy-peasy recipe at home. If you want to simplify this even more, buy already breadcrumbed chicken like chicken goujons which will taste just as good. Unless you want to be fancy and serve this for guests, I don’t see the need for ribbon slices of cucumber and carrot either. Remember that this recipe does serve four and it will absolutely be too much sauce for just two, so either halve the required amount or keep it for leftovers the next day. Serve this meal with a wedge of lime and enjoy!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

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8 Minute Total Body Workout

If you have followed me on my blog throughout 2020, you will know that living an active lifestyle has been a main focus of mine this year. I am pleased to say that I am now into my 11th month of consistent exercise and I am feeling better than ever. I personally love exercise routines which have a combination of both Pilates and high intensity interval training (HIIT). I find them fun, but also challenging enough to build up a sweat. Pilates is great for improving your posture and muscle tone, as well as improving your strength and flexibility. HIIT however focuses on quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by a short recovery period which will be sure to raise your heart rate, and burn fat in quickly! If you are looking for a new workout to try, here is my current favourite total body routine. Save the below workout for either your next warm-up, or use as a basis for a circuit. For a warm-up I would recommend that each exercise should be completed for 30 seconds and be repeated twice through. Let’s get that heart rate pumping!

1. Mountain climber variations
Mountain climbers or floor sprints as they may also be known, are sure to get your heart rate up!

Mountain Climbers | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Variation 1. Begin in the plank position, with arms directly under the shoulders and lift your right knee straight forward, as if to sprint towards your right elbow. Repeat with left knee.
  • Variation 2. Bring your right knee diagonally to your left elbow. Repeat on left handside.
  • Variation 3. Bring your leg to the outside of your elbow and repeat on both sides.

2. In and out’s
Not as evil as a regular burpee!

  • Position yourself in the plank, but jump forward to bring your knees directly under your chest.
  • Next jump back into the plank and repeat.

3. Forearm hip dips

This one targets your core, but specifically your obliques!

  • Position yourself in the plank but this time rest on your forearms.
  • Twist your core from side to side, trying to keep your back as straight as possible, without dipping into the floor. It’s harder than it looks!
70+ Core Excerises ideas | workout guide, abs and obliques workout, spotebi

4. The 100
Time for some Pilates! This classic Pilates move is sure to burn your abs!

Pilates Illustrated: Your Core-Strengthening Workout!
  • Sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front, bring your legs up into the tabletop position. Make sure to keep your head, neck and shoulders lifted off the mat.
  • Your lower back/spine area should be on the mat. Imagine there is a string going from your belly button, through your back to the mat to keep you centered.
  • Taking deep inhales and exhales, begin to bump your arms up and down for 100 reps (or however many you can do in 30 seconds).

5. Dish tuck
Another Pilates fave – remember to exhale for power!

Seated Knee Tucks | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • For beginners, place your arms just beside you on the mat. If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge, extend your arms back and out.
  • Tuck your knees into your chest and repeat, exhaling as you bring them in, and repeat.

6. Oblique side plank
Wake up muscles you never knew you had!

Side Plank | Illustrated Exercise Guide | Workout guide, Abs and obliques  workout, Oblique workout
  • Stack your feet either on top of each other as above, or put the top foot just in front of the bottom leg for extra support.
  • Either hold for 30 seconds with your hand on hip or hand in the air, or do pulses towards the floor.
  • Repeat on the other side on the second set and feel the burn!

7. Tricep dips
Give a new meaning to couch potato

Tricep Dips | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Using either your sofa or a chair, place yourself just over the edge, extending your legs forward and elbows back.
  • Slowly lower your body into a 90 degree angle, keeping your elbows straight back and close to target the triceps, rather than pointed out wide.
  • Lift yourself back up and repeat.

8. Squat jumps
End on a high!

Squat Jacks | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Standing with feet hip width apart, lower yourself down into a squat, keeping your upper body as straight as possible.
  • Push back into your heels and jump up in an explosive movement, landing back into the starting position and repeat.

Let me know if you tried the workout and what you thought of it!

The above sporting images can be found on Spotebi, Style Blue Print and The Every Best of

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

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Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

I have always loved Autumn and the changing of the leaves. As a child, Autumn always denoted for me that it was time to go back to school. I remember being so excited when I could finally wear my brand new school shoes (although they didn’t stay shiny and new for too long). As an adult that excitement has been replaced with wrapping up in layers, going out to Bonfire Night displays, and lovely trips down to the pub. Sadly this year, these Autumnal rituals look slightly different. During the first lockdown I shared with you a post about how I felt one month into the pandemic here in the U.K, so it only seemed right to give another update as we go through lockdown 2.0.

I am typically a very “glass half full” type of person, but here we are seven months later and things seem the same as they were in many ways back in April.

During the first lockdown, work and exercise remained as my constants; a routine which kept me busy and sane. I also tried to remind myself of the other positives, such as how much more money I was saving and how much more rested I was feeling. Thankfully the U.K. had an abundance of sunshine this Summer too, which also meant lots of time spent outdoors. As time passed, I was eventually able to enjoy socially distanced meet-ups and walks with friends. However, I couldn’t help feeling a bit anxious that things were opening up far too soon, inevitably causing a delayed reaction in the Winter (lo and behold, here we are). Throughout this, I continued to work remotely and although there were days where I missed the ease of asking my colleagues questions without the need for a video call, the working from home life was “working” for me, so to speak. I even managed to go on a late holiday abroad and felt very safe with all the precautions that were taken.

Then after 2 weeks being back from holiday, it hit me. Life wasn’t going back to normal. Even though this time I had a support bubble, life seemed a bit gloomy. Was it just the holiday blues, I wondered? I didn’t think so. I felt demotivated and disconnected from myself. However I still couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong. At this point, the clocks had also gone back meaning shorter days and less daylight. I found myself going to bed earlier because I simply could not bear the long, dark hours of the evening ahead. I had also watched everything interesting on Netflix and it seemed that exercise only lifted my mood temporarily. I now realize that this was a very delayed reaction to the realization that we are still living in a worldwide pandemic. I was digesting that we will be living like this for far longer than I initially anticipated.

After accepting this, I am now taking each day as it comes. Although I realise just how ironic this blog post may seem for someone who wants to share some positivity, it is important to be open about the days where you may not be feeling so great too. I know that there may be many more days ahead which may feel a bit dark and challenging, but it’s important to speak out and not brush those feelings aside. There is something very refreshing about someone not answering the question “how are you?” with “fine, how are you?”.

As we move through November, I encourage you to check in with your own family and friends (especially the quiet ones) and of course, most importantly – with yourself. If like me you question whether you have the right to feel like you do, try to remind yourself of the below.

Melissa Parkinson on Instagram: “WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT ... I heard  that we are all in the same boat, but it's not like … in 2020 | Storm  quotes, Boating quotes, Storm

Remember, we got through lockdown once and we can do it again. Look after yourselves!

If you enjoyed this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will be more content coming your way every day this month!

Come connect with me on socials:

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TOPSHOP SUMMER SALE HAUL!

Emma Hardie’s Starter Kit | Honest Review

I first stumbled across the Emma Hardie brand on YouTube when I saw Anna Saccone using her dual-action cleansing cloth in her fake tanning routine. After a bit of research, I was intrigued to try some of her products. The brand is vegan and cruelty-free, focusing on natural healing and skin rejuvenation for all skin types. It is also free from many harmful ingredients such as SLS, parabens, silicones and more. When I saw a combination of Emma Hardie’s bestselling items available in a bundle on ASOS (+ a 20% discount), I couldn’t resist picking up the Emma Hardie Moringa Starter Kit!

The kit is usually £30 and contains the brand’s best selling Moringa Cleansing Balm, dual-action cleansing cloth, a wash-bag and the Midus Touch gel. The premise of the kit is simple; it is your one stop shop for your morning and evening skincare routine. So, how does it work?

  1. The Moringa Balm can be used to cleanse your face and to remove make-up. Simply take a hazelnut amount and rub it into your palm, and then gently into your face and neck
  2. Next soak the muslin (cotton side of the cloth) in warm water, rinsing any excess water and cleanse away
  3. If you wish, you can then use the microfibre side to exfoliate and polish your skin for a dewy glow. Again take a hazelnut amount, apply, rinse with warm water and gently wipe your face
  4. To finish, apply the Midus Touch gel on your neck and face but avoid the eye area

Sounds great! But what does each product actually do?

The Moringa Cleansing Balm removes all traces of make-up and dirt off your face. For the last seven years I have purely used cleansers and/or micellar water rather than make-up wipes to clean my face, and I must admit that I was thoroughly impressed by this product. At first the balm texture is hard in the pot, but easily softens into a liquid substance when you rub it into your palm. As someone with sensitive skin, I was pleased to see that the balm did not irritate my face or eyes. Instead it left it feeling very soft and moisturised, whilst also crucially removing a lot more dirt off my face than any other cleanser I have used.
You can also leave the Moringa Balm on your skin overnight for a super hydrated treatment – something that I looking forward to trying!

I like the size of the dual-action cleansing cloth and definitely noticed on first-impressions that as promised, the microfibre side brightened, buffed and deep cleansed my skin. I also really like the fact that the cloth is machine-washable so it helps to reduce waste and is far more sustainable. I did wonder whether the Midus Touch gel would leave my skin feeling tingly (as so many other products do). However it glided onto my skin and left it feeling cool and calm, resulting in an instant glowy complexion.

Nonetheless, I’ll be honest with you. Having never used a cleanser with a cloth (my simple skincare routine can be found here) I over-complicated the process and confused myself (as can be seen in the video below). I also noticed on the Moringa Balm pot that I bought, that it very disappointingly had some of the branding missing, which I guess was a quality control issue. However, I really loved the results of the products on my skin and in particular would repurchase the Moringa Balm and a couple more cloths. Overall I really like what this brand stands for and am very pleased with these affordable, but slightly luxe purchases and can definitely see why they are bestsellers!

If you want to watch my first impressions of the Moringa Starter Kit, click the video below and remember to like, comment and importantly subscribe to my channel, for a new video coming to you every week!

Psst… for any other newbies to Emma Hardie here, I have also seen that Cult Beauty are offering the Midus Touch Collection for just £20 which includes a miniature sized Starter Kit (15ml products) plus the mini Midus Touch Mask!

If you liked this blog post make sure you subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Also remember that throughout November new content will be coming to you every day throughout lockdown to keep you entertained. Don’t miss out!

Come say hi and follow me on my socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

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