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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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.

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 Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

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5 Easy Everyday Hairstyles

One thing I’m thankful for this year, is wearing my loungewear throughout lockdown. However spending so much time seeing myself on video calls throughout the week, I have become a bit bored of my go-to natural-air-dried-hair. So I thought I’d share with you 5 easy ways I am styling my hair, with each look only taking up 5 minutes of my day! All you need is a hairbrush, some hair ties, a hair straightener/curler, hairspray and texture spray (I’d recommend Andrew Fitzsimon’s which is available from Primark).

  • Style 1: Loose plaits
    • Starting at the nape of your neck, plait your hair in two.
    • Leave a few strands of hair around your face for a more casual look.
    • Loosely pull the plait for a more undone style.

  • Style 2: Loose curls
    • The beauty of curling hair just to stay at home, is that you don’t need to worry about spending time styling the back of your head!
    • Using your styling tool of choice, take 2 inch thick strands of hair and curl from the middle of the hair down.
    • For a beachy wave, curl in alternative directions.
    • I’d always recommend to curl the pieces of hair which frame your face outwards, rather than towards the face.
    • Brush out or use your fingers to loosen the curl.
    • Use texture spray and hairspray for some volume and extra hold.
    • N.B. Curling works best on hair that isn’t freshly washed.

  • Style 3: Half-up & half-down
    • Simply part the top third of your hair and tie with an elastic.
    • For this look, tie it up higher than you usually would so you can show off your locks on your video call!

  • Style 4: Accessorize
    • The simplest of them all – grab your headbands, hair clips, scrunchies and accessorize your hair! You’ll be surprised how put together this will make you feel.
  • Style 5: Top knot
    • This has been my no.1 lockdown look! Roughly pull the hair back into a ponytail and wrap it loosely round into a bun, focusing on positioning it close to the crown of your head.
    • If working on hair which is a day or two old, you can tie the bun more loosely with an elastic.
    • If freshly washed, your hair will be smoother so tie the hair up tighter, to hold for longer.
    • I like to add texture spray for added lift!
    • If you’re feeling super fancy, you can also accessorize the bun with a scrunchie!

What hairstyle have you been loving recently? Let me know in the comments!

Come follow me on my Instagram @nataliatalksabout and check out my IGTV below to see how I created these looks!

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 Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

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Honey, Are We There Yet?(Waiting for Spring)

I am so over Winter. The frosty mornings were great to start with especially when there was some sun shining it was just delightful. I was so excited earlier this month for it to get warmer, but it’s almost March and this week is meant to be the coldest week yet. It’s been snowing on and off all day and it’s just far too cold for my liking this time of year! As much as I love the idea of living one day in Canada or learning how to ski, it’s days like these that make me think maybe I shall stick to daydreaming of places where I won’t need to invest in hats and scarves. Saying that, it’s quite funny that most of my wardrobe is Summer orientated, considering that it’s basically cold here in England 8 months a year before it’s light jacket weather!

However as much as I can’t wait for the Summer time weather, here’s a roundup of the good things about this time of year, that we should really make the most of before it’s gone.

  • Layer up

Wrap up in layers… what Summer body? You can hide a multitude of sins underneath baggy jumpers and thick knitwear. Also you don’t have to worry about the kind of weather where you don’t know if you need a jacket or not. You still definitely do.

  • Get Fitter and Healthier

You still have time to get that body if that’s what you want. In my experience though, working out is so much more motivating when you have a bigger goal in mind- does it help you reset? Unwind? Blow off some steam? Give you a chance to be social by catching an exercise class with a friend? Give you some me time? Have something bigger in mind than just losing some weight.

  • Cook

Make the most of eating and cooking hearty foods. Shepherd’s Pie, Chilli Con Carne, warm soups, hot chocolate – indulge now whilst it’s still acceptable! Easter is coming up after all, give into the sugar indulgence one last time before Christmas comes back around.

  • Couch Potato

Have yourself a movie marathon or box set duvet day, it’s only acceptable when its grey and cold outside!

  • Count those pennies

Following on from the above, days like this makes it so much easier to save money! Which we can then spend on a new Summer wardrobe and exciting trips for the Summer!

  • Snow day

The cold weather (like this week in the U.K.) means potential snow days, because our country cannot cope with ice and a bit of snow!

  • Fireplace

Light up the fire and cosy up with a glass of red and a blanket.

  • Dark nail varnish

Make the most of Winter fashion before your nails sport reds, corals and pinks!

  • Resolutions

Remember those New Years Resolutions you made? What’s that? A snigger? Go back to those hopeful ideal promises you made to yourself 2 months ago. One good thing about it still being Winter is that it’s still not too late to give those Resolutions a go!

  • Daylight is coming

It’s the shortest month of the year and the days will be getting longer and soon enough it will be warmer and we will have daylight for longer!

Maybe this is a slight cheat of a point, but I truly can’t wait to put away the fluffy coats and jumpers for another year. Also this means that we are closer to when Game of Thrones returns to our screens!

What other things should we make the most of before Winter disappears? Stay warm everyone!

Beating Winter Blues

January was such a long month and as soon as it hit February I was ready to begin wearing less layers and get out my pastel lavender coat. Alas, it’s only got colder, frostier and there have been more grey days than any signs of sun. Anyone else feeling slightly drained and ready to get a one way ticket to Spain? Unfortunately the world ticks on and my sunny dreams will have to be on hold. However there are some things that we can do to beat these blues and keep us going strong for another 5 weeks, until the clocks go forward.

1. SAD lamp – If you actually suffer from seasonal affective disorder, where you experience depressive symptoms in the Winter months this will really help you.*

2. Get up earlier – Make the most of your day and wake up just a bit earlier, it’s getting lighter in the morning and starting your day with the sunlight is so much more motivating.

3. Active – We all know that exercise releases endorphins. Getting some air or doing some activity that will get a bit of a sweat going will have you feeling great. I’ve been trying to make sure that I get at least 15 minutes fresh air on my lunch break during the week and try to exercise 3 times a week minimum.

4. Plan a Summer trip – It’s good to have something to look forward to and once you start making plans for Summer it’s great how your mood lifts! Even if it’s just a long weekend away or a day out in the city, it’s not too early to start planning.

5. Eat good foods – As much as I’m craving just carbs and junk foods I’m trying to be balanced and make sure I continue to get fresh and healthy food in my diet. I also drink at least 1.5 litre of water a day.

6. Treat yourself – There’s a reason it’s called a treat. Pick yourself up by treating yourself to a new book, that new lipstick you’ve been longing for or even go on, be a bit of a daredevil and have a bit of chocolate.

7. Music – Play your favourite music and build your playlist. I begin my day with some music whilst I get ready for work, in the car and maybe also during work if I’m just doing some data entry. Whilst looking out of the window to see the cloudy sky, listening to a few of my favourite songs throughout the day brings a bit of joy that I need to pick me up.

8. Make your environment brighter – Where I can I’ve got little lamps and fairy lights to add some brightness to my room. I keep my curtains open for as long as possible too, to try to absorb as much natural sunlight as possible! I have also bought myself a bouquet of tulips to bring some life in my room. However as plants have a shelf life, I have also bought some small fake plants for my room so there’s constantly a bit of greenery on my desk. Although I’m mostly working or out of my room, every morning when I wake up this brings a smile to my face and reminds me that brighter days are coming!

9. Social – Stay social with your friends and family! Surround yourself with your favourite people. Laughter is the best medicine after all.

10. Sleep well – Getting quality sleep is so important and often it can be the main problem impacting our mood. I’ve been making sure that I’m winding down an hour before I sleep; that my make-up is off and my skin is cleansed, that I haven’t had any caffeine just before bed and that I am actually in bed at least 30 minutes before I plan to sleep! I’ve also invested in some black out curtains and have my trusty eye mask for those nights where I may be sleeping away from home and need something a bit extra!

Just remember that before we know it, Spring will be here so make the most of your bobble hats and keep warm!

*If you or anyone you know does feel these Winter blues to a greater extent than just a longing for the Summer months to return, you should visit your local doctor for some more information.