Appreciating The Little Things

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, and I really wanted to begin this week with a dose of positivity. Each time I write a post like this, it leaves me feeling lighter, grateful and just good inside and out. So here are five things that have had me smiling in December so far!

  1. December saw the end of Movember and so it seems fit to include this one on a list. I made a donation to something which I know is a good cause, and it was great to help someone exceed their fundraising target!

  2. There’s not many things that compare to the first few calm moments of the day as you begin to wake up. How one can be so alert but also half-asleep, still and peaceful. Everything is (mostly) quiet, but most importantly gone are the stresses from the day before.
    As the days get shorter, I’ve really enjoyed having a slower start to my day, and am taking advantage of a few extra minutes sleeping in, knowing that I’m listening to my body and preparing for the day ahead.

  3. Last week was very challenging and by the end of it, I was so ready to switch off for the weekend. However one thing that really cheered me up was watching the finale of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Over the last three weeks, the show provided the escapism I think many of us in the U.K. needed. I was also so thrilled to see Giovanna win, who I had rooted for from the start! I love what she stands for and admire her kindness and braveness. We all need a bit of Gi in our lives.

  4. This one of course had to be on this list… Christmas! Christmas joy has well and truly lifted my mood this month. I have also really enjoyed planning presents for my family this year. I love taking the time to think about what each recipient would like and appreciate, especially this Christmas where we all need just that bit of extra TLC. This December I’m also appreciating fairy lights, mulled wine and Winter walks just a bit more… All whilst I am wrapped up in my fluffiest of jumpers!

  5. Making time for friendships despite the love/hate relationship with zoom.
    Although it doesn’t come close to the real thing, I have loved spending an hour catching up with some of my dearest friends over a video call. The quizzes may have taken a back seat, but spending some time checking in and having a giggle has been well needed, and I always come away feeling happier.

Although it can feel tough to find the good in this strange year, I would recommend taking a moment to stop, pause and reflect on what has made you smile, as often as you can. Perhaps it’s something you are grateful for, the moments or people which bring you happiness. The more you practice this, the easier and more natural it will become to notice the little things, which can really have a big impact on your outlook.

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Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Mindfulness is a type of meditation which focuses on the awareness of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment. It is free from interpretation and judgment of your own thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness helps to relax the body and mind, as well helping to reduce stress levels. Today I am sharing with you a guided mindfulness activity. This was one of the very first things I did when I began studying for my Psychology degree, so it’s super beginner friendly if you haven’t tried mindfulness before. All you need for this activity is 5 minutes, 1 chocolate (or a raisin), and a pen and paper (or your phone will do).

The below activity was sourced from Duke Intergative Medicine. My personal choice for this exercise is a small Celebrations sized Malteser chocolate! Ready to begin? Find a comfortable and quiet spot and get your chocolate at the ready…

  • First, unwrap the chocolate, take it out of it’s wrapper(if it has one), and hold it between your index finger and thumb. Focus solely on the chocolate and try to imagine that this is the very first time you have ever seen this food.
  • Take some time to examine it carefully. Really look at it. Give it your full attention.
  • Allow your eyes to wonder across the chocolate, focusing on it’s shape. Are there any different colours? What does it’s surface feel like?
  • Examine it’s texture and note if there is any light shining on it, or if there are any shadows.
  • Begin to turn the chocolate between your finger tips, and continue to focus on it’s texture.
  • Apply a very small amount of pressure to the chocolate – is it soft or is it hard? Feel free to close your eyes if that allows you to really focus on how the chocolate feels between your fingers.
  • Recognize this is as chocolate. What thoughts do you have about this chocolate, if any? Are there any specific memories that come to mind? Do you like or dislike them?
  • Now hold the chocolate under your nose, and take a few natural breaths in. With each inhale, notice how the chocolate smells.
  • Continue to breathe the chocolate in and out, but now turn your attention to the effect this has had on your mouth and your stomach.
  • Slowly bring the chocolate close to your mouth. Notice if you have begun to salivate, as your body and mind prepares itself for eating.
  • Next without chewing, place the chocolate gently into your mouth.
  • Over the next 10 seconds or so, feel the chocolate with your tongue and become aware of the sensations of having it there.
  • Take a moment to become aware of this deliberate pause. How does it feel to take some time before eating this piece of chocolate?
  • When you are ready, prepare to chew. Take one or two bites into it without swallowing, and notice what happens when you do so. Bring your full attention to the chocolate’s taste and texture as you continue chewing. How does the chocolate’s taste and texture change in your mouth?
  • When you feel ready to, swallow the rest of the chocolate, focusing as you do so as it travels down to your stomach.

How does your whole body feel after completing this exercise? Take a few moments to write down any reflections and answers you may have to the following questions:

  1. Was there anything that surprised you during this exercise?
  2. What did you notice about the chocolate in relation to sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste?
  3. Did you have any thoughts or memories that you recalled during this exercise? If so, what were they?
  4. What is one takeaway from this exercise that you will try to apply to your future eating habits?

I hope that you enjoyed this mindfulness eating exercise! Redoing this activity reminded me how I used to take a moment on my commute to practice mindfulness. This helped set me up for the day ahead, as well a block out any possible annoying commuters…! If anyone has any other activities that you find useful, please do share them in the comments with me.

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:

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How To Make Exercise a Habit | 7 Months of Fitness


We’ve all been there. On that cold and dreary first week of January, we dig out our trainers and barely worn exercise gear. We complete a couple of workouts and feel great afterwards. We vow that we’ll keep it up, imagining how we will be looking a year from now. Then life’s distractions come a-knocking and our trainers get dusty. Some months later the sun comes out to play, signalling that summer is on it’s way and we reach for those shoes once again. Although this happens intermittently throughout the year, the whole fitness thing doesn’t seem to quite stick.

I am by no means an expert on fitness. I am just a regular gal who (probably like you) always dreamed of getting fit, and more importantly wanted to keep it up. If you’re not up to date with me, check out this post and this post to find out more about my relationship with fitness throughout 2020 so far. But to summarize, back in Jan 2020 I was determined that this year I would live a more active lifestyle. Over the last seven months I have ensured that fitness is a regular part of my routine. As a result, I have noticed both mental and physical positive changes. I may not be the strongest, most toned or most flexible person I know, but boy have I improved. I feel fitter, happier and calmer and I’m certain this has helped me cope better and navigate my way through the pandemic.

If you’re wondering what my secret is, carry on reading to find out my tips on how to make exercise a habit!

1. Establish what your motivations are, both for the short and long term

It is important to not skip identifying both of these goals as you won’t see results overnight. This will help you have something to aim towards, in both the immediate and distant future.

Examples of short term goals = Get more flexible, become stronger, run three times a week
Examples of long term goals = Live a more active lifestyle, complete a half or full marathon, lose xx kg

2. Choose an exercise you enjoy or have an interest to start

This sounds simple but don’t just run because it feels like everyone else is. If it doesn’t interest you, try pilates, swimming, strength training, HIIT workouts or perhaps something more unique like joining an aerial hoop class! Whatever it may be, each week gradually build up the intensity and the frequency of your workouts.

3. Research how to properly do movements you aren’t familiar with

Whether it’s how to do a squat, easier push-up variations, or maybe something more advanced, make sure you research! Search on Google, YouTube, ask a friend or a personal trainer etc., on the correct form of these moves. Then practice these movements in front of a mirror to see if you’re holding them correctly. This will help your workouts be far more effective and will prevent injury in the long term.

4. Equipment

Buy basic equipment you may need such as a yoga mat, a skipping rope or some weights. There are some great pieces of equipment you can invest in which will also help change up your workouts, keeping them varied and you interested!

Best of both; A little bit of jiggle and a little bit of ab

5. Get the gear on!

Set yourself up for the day by changing into your exercise kit or workout clothes first thing in the morning, so you have no excuse. Matching sets and hair buns are optional!

6. Time your workouts

No one wants to workout after indulging, so if you can keep yourself from reaching for the biscuits for your morning snack, you may be a bit more likely to workout. I try to keep myself hydrated throughout the day and eat well leading up to my workout time. This has definitely helped me follow through and improve my performance during exercise.

7. Commit to the workout

Exercise with someone, or at the very least tell someone about it! This will hold you accountable, committed and motivated!

8. Music is a must

Get a good playlist to keep you motivated and focused on the workout. Spotify and YouTube have some great music to get you inspired to move!

9. Eat well before exercise

When is the best time of day for you to fit this in? Make sure you are realistic! 6:00 AM workouts won’t work if you simply aren’t a morning person. Make sure you also plan to leave time in your day for rest and any other commitments you may have. If you don’t, you may be at risk of quickly resenting your workouts and ultimately not seeing them through. (I like to exercise in the morning between 9:00 – 11:00 AM so that the rest of my day is free).

10. Remember, exercise is not a punishment for food

If you think like this, it’s time to change that perspective! Exercise is something we should reward our body with, and ultimately look forward to. Exercising releases endorphins, hormones that leave you feeling calmer and happier! It can be a stress reliever, a time for team socials, a time to recharge or challenge yourself! For me, exercise allows me to temporarily switch off from everything else going on in my life, and resets my mind to focus on the here and now. Plus, it’s all about balance. I definitely still eat my treats in the week!

11. Document your progress

Keeping track of my progress such as how many more push ups, burpees etc., I can do in a minute, every few weeks has really helped! I’d recommend to also take photos to document how your body changes every month. Seeing how my body has toned as I have gotten stronger and leaner, was a booster on days I felt unmotivated. It’s easy to forget where you started, and had it not been for this I probably would have felt defeated and given up.

12. Believe in yourself

You may not be able to keep up with all the moves or run as fast as you like at the beginning, but challenge yourself and do not compare yourself to others! Push yourself a little more each week. Over the coming weeks and months, you will notice yourself developing more self-discipline & self-confidence! Take it easy and remember, there is no reason why you can’t do it.

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20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

Today is International Happiness Day which could not come at a more needed time! It’s been a testing few weeks and I thought I would lighten the mood with a list of things that have made me feel so much joy amongst the recent uncertainty.

I’ve written a post similar to this before and had a lot of positive feedback (thankfully!). Although I don’t keep a gratitude journal, I really enjoyed writing this post so perhaps now is a good time to start? Have a little read of the things that made me smile this month (so far…!)

  1. My Grandmother laughing hysterically when we found a very old feather boa in her house and got her to wear it
  2. Hearing my next door neighbours singing Ghost’s Unchained Melody to soothe their crying baby
  3. Looking back on my Californian Vlogs as I edit them
  4. Feeling great after exercise and sticking at it consistently as my New Years resolution
  5. Getting positive feedback and recognition at work for the hard work I have been putting in
  6. Making the effort to spend quality time with friends (pre isolation)
  7. Watching videos of Spanish and Italian communities singing to lift their spirits whilst in isolation
  8. Baking brownies that didn’t burn (hurrah!)
  9. Humour from colleagues that have arisen from sad working from home meals
  10. Getting an extra hour in bed and feeling so rested
  11. Saving money by not commuting in (London travel is ridiculous)
  12. Enjoying my current TV series This Is Us, where I feel all the feels!
  13. Starting my podcast (slowly!)
  14. Having a delicious meal out with my boyfriend (pre isolation again haha)
  15. Preparing to celebrate my 8 year anniversary with my boyfriend (go us!)
  16. Enjoying long walks on the rare British sunny days
  17. Game nights with friends (pre isolation)
  18. Reading books which were gifted to me for my birthday, even if it’s just for 20 minutes – it reminds me how much I enjoy reading!
  19. Seeing that the penguins at an aquarium in Chicago were allowed to freely wander around during this quarantine period!
  20. The breathtaking sunsets even on the cloudiest of days reminding me that tomorrow brings another day that has not yet been lived

Wishing you a positive international day of happiness! What things have made you smile this month? Take a moment to think of one thing a day that brought you joy!

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