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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A Bridesmaid Prep Guide

It may be September but wedding season is well and truly still upon us. I personally think that September is a wonderful month to get married in as here in England the weather reaches an optimal temperature; it’s been around 22-26 degrees this month! Similarly this fantastic time of year is a great excuse to have a wedding abroad and for guests to make a holiday out of it. Not only can they beat the crowds but the sky high, peak season prices too! My eldest brother got married about ten days ago in Croatia and we all did just that! It was a magical occassion as the venue was by the sea, the weather was perfect and he is the first one out of my siblings and I to be wed. Oh and I was one of the bridesmaid’s! As you can also tell on this blog, I love a bit of beauty! So in the spirit of this wedding theme, I have prepared a mini checklist for all of your pre-bridesmaid prep needs for the big day, which can be adapted for guests too!

Outfit

I would hope you have your bridesmaid dress in advance of the wedding! This will allow you to have time to plan your look for the day. For my brother’s wedding, the bridesmaids all wore multiway dresses. This is a great option to cater to everyone’s different styles and bodyshapes. When it comes to being a bridesmaid though, I have a few tips for you:

  • Plan your underwear! Try your dress on to see if it will require seamless or strapless underwear (Primark or H&M offer some good and cheap pairs)
  • If you’re planning on partying to the early morning, bring a pair of flats to rescue those toes

Make-Up

Depending on the colour of your bridesmaid dress, match your make-up accordingly. I wore a teal coloured bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding and opted for nude tones and a bronzed rather than blushed look. The make-up artist ended up doing my eyes a tad heavier and darker than I anticipated. Nonetheless as the wedding reception was around sunset it meant that my make-up was a good day to night look.
I wore Eylure fake eyelashes in 101 and the make-up artist used a lot of products from NYX and Make Up Forever that lasted all day. Of course this was also down to her finishing off the look with some setting spray. I personally love NYX’s finish spray in matte and it works really well in hotter climates too! If I were to do my make-up myself some essentials I would recommend for a wedding would be a primer for your foundation, an eyeshadow primer (again NYX for both as they offer some good quality inexpensive choices) and waterproof mascara to go over the top of your chosen ‘main’ mascara.

To any sensitive skin beauties out there, I can tell you that these products didn’t cause any breakouts for me!

Hair

Being a blonde, I prefer to get my hair done in a salon and booked myself in for a balayage and a cut a week before the wedding. I think this is a good amount of time as it lets the dye soften and gives you an option to go back and get your colour toned if need be. Similarly if you decide to use a box dye leave about a week in advance just in case!

Browsing Pinterest until my heart was content, I chose to have my hair off my face with a simple and elegant style.

Although a hairdresser did my hair on the day of the wedding, I think this same look can be recreated with a donout, some backcombing and a bit of hairspray.

Nails

When it comes to being a bridesmaid, I think that more understated nails are a safer choice than what you may go for as a wedding guest. I had a manicure and shellac nails done at Polish’d Nail Bar with this lovely nude. I matched my toes using OPI but Essie and Sally Henderson also offer a lovely variation of neutral tones.

Accessories

A small clutch bag is key for the day to hold your phone, lipstick and a small mirror for any touch ups. For my bag I used a gold jewelled one from Accessorize that I bought last year.

makeup 2

I kept my jewellery simple with a small drop dangling earring in a gold style from Bloomingdale’s which I luckily found on my trip to New York in the Summer. I also paired this with some stackable rings that I bought from Topshop.

I would like to wish my wonderful brother and my lovely new sister-in law a very happy and long marriage!

Natalia x

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