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!

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5 Smoothie Recipes To Try Now

It’s the start of the summer season and a perfect opportunity to get smoothie making. Even if you don’t consider yourself talented in the kitchen, I’ve listed 5 tried and tested different smoothie recipes below that I guarantee are super easy to make. All you need is a blender and 5 minutes to spare! So what are you waiting for? Take some inspiration from the below and let’s get blending!

Morning Fuel
Forget your Weetabix, have you had your morning fuel?

A tasty smoothie sure to keep you full all morning!

This drink is great post workout or as a breakfast smoothie. Definitely guaranteed to keep keep you full!

1. Add one whole banana to the blender, with one heaped tablespoon of uncooked oats.
2. Pour in 3-5 tablespoons of greek yogurt (can be substituted for almond milk).
3. Boil the kettle and add mix teaspoon of coffee with 1/4 cup of boiling water.
4. Throw the ingredients together and blend.
5. Add one small teaspoon of honey to taste.

Watch this video to see me make this smoothie!

Super Smoothie
Green eyed beauty

Before adding spirulina
Finished smoothie!

There’s a reason why green smoothies are so popular. Not only is it a great way of mixing together all your left over vegetables and reducing waste, but it will give you a big dose of your daily health kick! I like to add spirulina to this recipe, which is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.

1. Juice 3-4 handfuls of either spinach or kale. These will quickly wilt so it won’t produce as much juice as you think.
2. In your blender, add half an avocado with one whole frozen banana, pouring in your kale/spinach juice.
3. Add a splash of almond milk. Mix together.
4. Pour into a glass and add one teaspoon of spirulina powder to stir in until it is all dissolved. Voilá!

Very Berry
A berry so good with no soggy bottoms in sight

A sweet smoothie sure to quickly become a favourite

This is my OG smoothie and is one of the easiest to make! I wrote about acai berries on this post back in 2019, but if you are unfamiliar with it, the taste can be likened to a mix of blackberries and unsweetened chocolate. I also like to add chia seeds to this smoothie. Chia seeds are full of fibre, protein and can even help support weight loss. Both of these ingredients are very nutritious and are great antioxidants!

1. Simply throw in one banana, a handful of blueberries, strawberries, raspberry’s and a dash of coconut milk and blend.
2. Pour into a glass and add one teaspoon of acai berry powder, plus one teaspoon of chia seeds.
3. Stir well and enjoy!

Weekend Refresh
R&R in one sip

Before spirulina
After spirulina; A great afternoon pick-me-up drink!

For days that I’m feeling like switching things up I go for a kiwi based smoothie. Kiwis are full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. They are also another great antioxidant!

1. Add one banana, a handful of blueberries and 2-3 small peeled kiwis with a dash of coconut milk to your blender.
2. Blend together and pour the smoothie into a glass.
3. Add one teaspoon of spirulina powder (it’s very strong in taste but really balances out this smoothie!)
4. Serve and enjoy.

Exotic Blend
Summer in a jar

The perfect refreshing smoothie for a hot summer’s day!

1. Cut up a banana into slices and a mango into chunks ready to put in the freezer overnight.
2. The next day, juice one whole orange and add all of the ingredients into a blender.
3. Pour into your glass and enjoy in the sun!

Happy smoothie making!

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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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A Weekend in Costa Del Sol

A Weekend in Costa Del Sol

One thing in my 20’s that I have been trying to take advantage of is how easy it is to fly around Europe from London (at least this was the case pre-Brexit). In just two to three hours with a ticket costing you under 100 (sometimes even 50 pounds) you can find yourself in a much sunnier climate. During Easter 2019, I took a trip to Picasso’s home town for a long weekend in Costa Del Sol. Spain is such a beautiful country to explore and is very accessible to travel around particularly by train; ideal if you fancy doing a tour around the country.

My trip to the Andalusian region of Malaga was short but sweet. Touching down at the airport, I took an easy train ride to Fuengirola to my newest Airbnb home for the weekend.  Tip: The train platform is located right outside the terminal so there is no need to worry about the train being an inconvenience. It is also certainly cheaper than a taxi ride! We initially had planned to stay in Malaga but as it was Holy Week or Semana Santa as it is locally known, this meant that the peaceful weekend getaway I was hoping for, may not have gone to plan. The loud musical Easter processions run all night in the city, so I was advised to stay in Funegirola – a smaller beachside town instead. Easter processions still run in this town just as they do across country so you can still experience this Spanish tradition. However, by 11pm the town reverts back to it’s typical Spanish lifestyle of wine and tapas bars taking the centre stage again.



Fuengirola is certainly quieter than Malaga but by no means should it be overlooked.
My Airbnb was a centrally located, light and a very spacious 2 bedroom apartment, kitted out so chicly in Ikea furniture. The host was kind and even bought some board games for us in case we decided to stay indoors, as rain was forecast for the weekend (of course the British weather travelled with us to sunny Spain!) Nonetheless the rain mostly held out despite the clouds, and we spent the first two days pottering around the town. We walked leisurely walking alongside the beach, occasionally stopping to have a Cruzcampo in the bars that were interwined throughout Fuengirola. There is also a small lovely beach, but our April visit unfortunately meant that it was far too cold to do a spot of swimming or sunbathing. One of my favourite finds in Fuengirola was La Galleria, a food market with stalls to enjoy a bite to eat and a relaxed place to grab a drink. One thing to note is that smoking is permitted inside, something that of course has been banned in the UK for a while so it was a bit odd to get used to again!



During my long weekend I also spent one day each in Malaga and Marbella. Both are easily accessible by train and/or bus, with public transport even running during Holy Week. On Good Friday we explored some of what Malaga had to offer by beginning with a walk in Parque de Malaga. Here we admired the ornate baroque and renaissance statues,  surrounded by many colourful and somewhat tropical plants! But with only a few hours to see some of Malaga’s highlights we had to be selective with our time. So we took a walk to Castillo de Gibralfaro for some great views of the city, followed by walking down to the Roman Theatre to see the ruins. The sun finally came out in the afternoon so we sat by La Malagueta beach, which is located on the city’s waterfront. Being so centrally located, I can imagine this beach would be heaving in the Summer months. Tip: For any Summer visits to the city I’ve also read that Torremolinos (approx 20 mins away) is a nice day trip out, as are the beaches, La Misericordia and Los Almos; Los Almos even has beachside concerts in the Summer!



We correctly anticipated that the city would be busy given it was Good Friday in Spain- a Catholic country. Upon first impression, the processions were slightly intimidating. Large crowds march in traditional dress of long robes and tall pointed hats covering their faces, as they carry religious statues throughout the towns, accompanied by a band playing instrumental music. However, after a while you soon become accustomed to it and the processions really are a unique and cultural experience.


Old Town, Marbella

On our last full day in Spain we travelled by bus from Fuengirola to Marbella. We mainly walked around the Old Town but if you are in Marbella there is a lot to do! Popular for partying in the Golden Mile, you can also go shopping in Puetro Banus, do water sports at Naguelas Beach or walk along the Paseo Maritimo.


Old Town, Marbella

Overall I really enjoyed my weekend in Spain – even if the sun didn’t come out to play as much as I hoped! If sipping wine and eating tapas or some espeto (grilled sardine) at a local chiringuito (beachfront bar) isn’t enough to sway, this Andalusian region also has some incredible hikes. I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to this but the views from Caminito del Rey look breathtaking and would be a good activity to keep you busy for 3 hours or so!

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Embrace You| A Masterclass with Jessica Creighton

I naturally have an optimistic, hopeful and ambitious perspective on life; an outlook that has driven me to want to connect, learn and share with others. Naturally when beginning my blog I knew that I wanted Natalia Talks About to be a space that encompassed this, by sharing my “thoughts on daily life” as a woman in her 20’s. Over the last year, I’ve been focusing a lot of my attention on consistency, seizing the present moment and more recently the importance of self-acceptance. This is a lesson that perhaps most of us may have struggled with since our teen years. I’ve recently found myself drawn to podcasts, blog posts, YouTube videos and discussions all focused on how each person’s journey has led them to a similar destination to self-acceptance and positivity. Whether it’s mantras, affirmations, goal-setting, being authentic or simply being unapologetically you, it’s pretty clear that we all know that there are ways to get there, but truly recognizing that we are enough can be a lot easier said than done, right? However that is not to say that it’s not worth it. What’s more, is that you will definitely reap the rewards you deserve in more ways than one when you recognize that your uniqueness is actually your biggest asset.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde

I was fortunate enough to attend a masterclass with Jessica Creighton, who candidly spoke about how she “shouldn’t” be at the level of success she is now – statistically speaking that is. Jessica opened up about her background and how despite the odds of being a woman of colour from a single-parent home, growing up in a relatively poor council estate in London. Jessica has now gone on to become a successful broadcaster at Sky Sports News, but interestingly this wasn’t always her number one dream. Growing up,she was a ta lented footballer, a skill evident by her earning a scholarship at Charlton Football Club. Yet at the age of 16 she found herself at a crossroads, where she was forced to choose between cultivating her football talent further, or pursuing higher education in preparation for a potential university degree. After much careful consideration Jessica chose to pursue further study as women’s football unfortunately did not provide a decent or sustainable living wage at the time. Instead, Jessica was determined to use her strengths in academia, in particular writing, to gain a career in broadcast journalism. With unrelenting effort, consistency, confidence and belief in herself, she has since gone on to hold a career in presenting over the last 9 years. Her passion, knowledge and love for sport also remains ingrained within her and is a testament to her success and credibility as a presenter. Throughout the talk Jessica shared some valuable tips that we each can apply in our daily lives to help to achieve our wider goals and career development.

1. Bring something to the table

Whilst trying to build relationships and find opportunities, Jessica would network and go for coffee’s with colleagues, bosses and peers. However her approach in getting them to actually accept her invite was reliant on her standing out over numerous other keen and equally talented peers. Jessica emphasized the importance of you being clear on what you can bring to the table, and to share that with others, this will assist you to build your network. So the next time you ask that Exec if they want to meet you for a coffee, don’t be afraid to write in the email what your big idea is and what you can do for them too. This will highlight that you are enthusiastic, driven and can bring something to the table.

2. Be prepared to be told no

No is perhaps one of the hardest words in the English dictionary to hear. Jessica was repeatedly told this before she was able to even get her foot through the door, and continued to do so whilst managing to break into the industry. Jessica emphasized the importance of being able to take criticism in numerous forms whilst remembering to remain motivated and similarly not saying no yourself to the smaller tasks that come your way. You never know where opportunities may be hidden!

3. Know your USP

Think about what your unique selling point is and what makes you diverse. Then use this to your advantage. What are you an expert on? Who can relate to you? What makes you, you? Whether it’s for a job interview, finding the courage or self- belief to set up your own business, going for that promotion at work or even finding self-acceptance, knowing what makes you unique will open doors, give you direction, purpose and make you memorable to whoever you meet.

I was keen to understand what Jessica’s biggest motivator was throughout her life and career, particularly as she drew upon her upbringing not being a guarantee that she would be able to secure the life or future she aspired to have. Jessica answered that despite not having a lot financially whilst she grew up, she did have a large, diverse community around her. This gave her richness in her confidence and ability to speak to anyone about anything. Growing up and realizing that women of her background were so rare in the media industry, she was determined to use her individuality and USP, to set her apart from everyone else to share the stories of others around her. In turn this has motivated her to continue to be a voice for further diversity in the industry, beyond race and culture but in thoughts and actions too. She remains motivated in the hope that her hard work can spark inspiration for others who can relate to her and see that someone like them chased their dreams. In turn she hopes that this will provide them with courage and self-belief that they too can achieve their goals, against the odds. Throughout this masterclass I was left with positivity, inspiration and reminded of Oscar Wilde’s words, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken”. It strikes me how true these words still are today and how the power of embracing you can guide you to success.

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