A Year in Review | 2020

During a post-Christmas clean, I found a journal entry I wrote on 1st January. Incidentally this was the only entry I made all year, but looking back I started the year out filled with a lot of hope and ambition for 2020. Reading it made me realize just how much growth I have had in many areas of my life. The global pandemic has certainly brought some challenging and depressing days, but there have also been some wonderful moments this year that I want to remember. So before 2020 is over, here are just some of my highlights from this incredibly strange year:

  • I attended my auntie’s wedding right at the beginning of January and who knew that would be my first and last big social event for the year?! The day was filled with carefree dancing, toasting, laughing, hugging, and all without wearing a mask or obeying any rules of six…

  • This year the U.K. has really enjoyed some glorious weather, which I really appreciated particularly throughout the first lockdown. This meant there were lots of walks (often twice a day!), as well as days filled with various kinds of outside exercise or sunbathing with a glass of cold Pimms.

  • Being at home and having a lot more time back in my day, meant it was the perfect opportunity for more blogging, with this post being number 58 of this year! I pushed myself with writing challenges and also concentrated more on uploading videos to my YouTube channel. Overall this has resulted in more traffic with readers/viewers from different parts of the world – thank you! I can’t wait to continue creating next year.

  • There wasn’t a homemade sourdough in sight on my end, but I did get some baking in here and there. My new favourite discovery was a Sangria cake I baked for my Mum’s birthday – so easy and delicious! I also tried cooking some new recipes which emphasized how much I love trying new things. I am excited to do more of this in 2021 too!

  • I was devastated when my Summer flights to America were cancelled as I planned on going to Chicago for the first time, as well as attending my brother’s wedding! However we all still celebrated virtually via a live stream, complete with video calls for speeches and toasts. My family and I made the effort to dress up and we also decorated the house, the garden and the table. I even cooked a slightly elaborate meal! Overall, it was a bittersweet but a memorable and special day.

  • Despite all the challenges working from home, I am super proud of my progression in my 9-5 job and the impact I have had this year. I am giving myself a huge pat on the back well done… something we all need to do now and again!

  • Living an active lifestyle was my main goal for 2020. At the start of the year I was focused on getting beyond the 8 week mark of regular exercise (before I typically lost interest). From HIIT, running, pilates, hikes, walks, online classes and various other videos and IGTV’s, I’ve LOVED every moment of it. I am feeling stronger both mentally and physically, with my relationship and attitude towards exercise being completely transformed. Here’s to health in 2021!

  • Finding out I would be an auntie for the first time has also been a highlight for this year. Roll on early 2021 where I get to meet (virtually but hopefully physically soon) my little niece.

  • Becoming a dog auntie to the wonderful @cosmoandsherlockadventures has brought me so much joy and firmly helped me get over my fear of dogs! I am now one of those people who would coo at a dog rather than run away from it, haha!

  • In a way I am hugely grateful to 2020 as it meant I was able to save money faster and led me to buying my first home with my boyfriend. I am so excited to move in January 2021 and begin a new and exciting chapter of my life!

This year may not have always gone to plan, but 2020 has helped me be thankful for what I do have and enjoy the small moments along the way. Whatever way you are ringing in the New Year, I wish you a wonderful , happy, healthy and safe year ahead, filled with lots of positivity and light. Let’s hope 2021 will be filled with more times seeing our loved ones and squeezing them tight once again.

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Dear 2010’s

Dear 2010’s,

We’ve had many fun memories along the way,
Ones that have really shaped me to be who am I today,

2010 – you were great,
I celebrated my sweet 16 with all of my mates,

2011 – The year of the rave,
But oh – how we misbehaved!

2012 – The Olympics came to town,
Although my studies, made me frown,

2013 – University, moving out,
All of a sudden how grown up I felt,

But it was not so simple, to make friends like me,
It was tough to do so, being sure of myself, whilst getting a degree,

2014 – You taught me to be careful with my money,
As some may try to trick you and think that it’s funny!

2015 – I continued to work hard and studied,
Along the way I made some close buddies,

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2016 – Ready and willing to try and stand on my own 2 feet,
The job market was tough, how could I compete?

2017 – I felt more adult, a job in hand,
Yet it felt like I needed more planned,

2018 – I travelled and saw some of the USA,
I soon landed a new job in the city, yay!

2019 – I was hopeful, but soon you knocked me for six,
A turn of events meant loved ones were sick,

Through these challenges, I grew and learned to rise,
Learning it’s not all written in the skies,

Oh 2010’s how much you gave,
It really was an interesting decade,

From bad fashion trends, thin eyebrows and bouffant quiffs,
To school exams, house parties and friendship tiffs,

Enjoying sleepovers pulling all nighters,
As I grew older, my hair got lighter,

Relating to the cliché of what it means to be me,
Alongside climbing the career tree,

Some friendships have gone and others have stood the test of time,
I found my best friend in the first love of mine,

Now 2020 is here and what can I say?
I don’t know who you are, or what you will you bring me today,

I’ve learned to be stronger, believe and aim high,
It may not all be smooth sailing, I’m sure there will be a few sighs,

Dear 2010’s – I bid you Adieu,
– Excited and inspired –

2020’s, I’m ready for you.

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Pressing the Reset Button

Recently on my blog I’ve been doing a few more “think” pieces, which really resembles where I am in my life at the moment and a large focus of what I want my blog to be. I want it to speak those who love to talk about beauty as much as they love to talk about the personal reality of their experiences. As much as I can appreciate the thought behind an asethically pleasing and perfect planned Instagram post, I absolutely love when my favourite bloggers and YouTubers open up about real life topics in their blogs and vlogs. Whether it is a small as sharing skin issues (any other Lydia Millen-Gordon fans love it when she was rocking the sudocrem? Come on we all use it secretly! Thanks Lydia for keeping it real), or discussion surrounding bigger topics such as how the birth of a child may have changed someone’s life, these conversations bring people together.

Ironically to my blog name, I haven’t been talking on here much this April. However there are reasons when people take a break to reset, even from the things that we enjoy the most. I must admit there have already been more pauses with my blog than I like. However as someone who wears their heart on their sleeve, I can’t put my feelings on hold. When I’m sad, I will let it show but when I love, I love hard. This means that when as issue arises I give myself time to feel and work what I’m going through. Recently this has meant that I took some time out of my blog, to give myself the time to do so.

I have spoken briefly on my blog about the fact that my Grandmother’s health has been deteriorating; a troubling, frustrating, sad and unfair process to watch and difficult to talk about. It is so hard to watch someone that you love become a frail version of themselves. It has also meant multiple hospital visits but valuable quality time spent together amongst family. Something which I’ve only really appreciated since giving myself some time to reset and come to terms with it all.

Here are a few ways that I have been trying to reset:

1. Reaching out to friends

Accept the down moments but don’t do it alone or pretend you aren’t impacted by what’s going around you. Stress can manifest in different ways, mine is physically with IBS and split nails. As supportive as you can be to your own family, make sure you get the support you need to. Talk to someone about what’s going on, you may be surprised how much lighter you may feel afterwards. I confided in my boyfriend and close friends; speaking to someone outside of it all really helped. It also reminded me that life continues and you can have plenty of fun catch ups.

2. Spend less time online

When I was having some time out, that also meant not posting on social media and not checking it as regularly. It wasn’t quite a digital detox but definitely a break. This allowed me to not be distracted and have some time alone time to process my own thoughts.

3. Taking time to take care of yourself

When visiting hospitals became my new normal, I definitely felt like I needed to restore some actual normality back into my own life without feeling guilty for it. Whether it’s taking 30 minutes to have a bath, cooking some nice food, getting back into the hobbies you enjoy or visiting the cinema. Force yourself to do something fun even if you don’t feel like it. It will lift your mood and give you the refreshing moment you needed. If you’re lucky enough to take a day trip grab hold of it and do it. You will be a better person afterwards and would have regained some strength.

4. Letting go

I’ve also learned the hard way that resentment only imprisons your own mind; the issue/situation/person that you resent and wish to change, experiences no pain. As soon as you accept that, it is a freeing moment. You can let go of that personal pain and actually begin to accept what is going on.

Over the last six months, I have recently felt that as I’ve been doing these things there has been a change in the air around me. Perhaps it’s my perspective changing, some personal growth or at the risk of sounding too hipster, the energy that I have been putting out into the world has changed. I’ve really felt a zest for life and clarity that I haven’t felt before. A sense of what’s important, focus and appreciation. It’s a feeling that in the past I’ve experienced merely in waves, before snapping back to the same old routine. Yet now, rather than fighting life when times have been difficult, I have been trying to learn to be a lot more accepting and as difficult as it is. I have been understanding that there are some things I cannot control.

The overarching lesson I’ve been learning is that

Where there is darkness, there is light

Although a difficult concept to believe in during stressful times, this is an important mantra I hope to hold close in my heart. As hard as it is to talk about these personal matters, it’s good to start somewhere and sometimes you just need someone to listen. I hope that if you too find yourself needing some time to reset, you can remember that there is some positivity you can find.

I would love to hear if anyone else has experienced anything similar, what your thoughts are on taking a break to reset. What do you do to give yourself a break and what you have learned.