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.

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about to not miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Lessons in My 20’s

3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Overcoming My Fears

Comparing My Favourite Purple Shampoos

Get More Time Back In Your Day

Lessons in My 20’s

Growing up I was always considered a “nice” person. As a child, I had (fortunately) never really experienced what it felt like to be left out, or actively disliked. So when I arrived at University, it was a shock to learn that not everyone was as nice as me. That just because I was kind, did not mean others would be kind back; a lesson I’m sure we all have learned along the way. As an adult, I was even more shocked to learn how often rude and patronizing people somehow ended up as managers. This made me wonder, do nice girls and guys really finish last?

Over the last few years, I have unfortunately heard stories and seen firsthand adults be publicly embarrassed in the workplace, only to be left on the brink of tears. I remember earlier this year on my Monday commute into work, I had a similar instance – albeit not in the office. There I was, smiling and standing patiently at Marylebone Station on a cold Winter’s morning, completely unprepared for what was to happen next. There had been issues with the ticket barriers that day – a nightmare for any London commuter. As a result, this meant pandemonium erupted among the hundreds of people who were rushing to get to work. When it was my turn to go through the gates, the employee checked my ticket only to realize I had the wrong one, and reacted as if I had tried to cheat the whole of Transport for London. She shouted at me as if to make an example out of me, utterly humiliating me in the process in front of a crowd people. I remember my face began to feel hot, my eyes began to well up with tears, and my blood began to boil. I was completely taken aback by her overreaction and this moment of humiliation. I then became increasingly aware of the eyes of onlookers watching this moment of drama unfold, all before it was even 8 AM.

It had in fact been totally her own fault, rather than mine (which I suppose so often is the case in these kind of scenarios) as I had told her as I approached, about the ticket dilemma. However I managed to hold it together, and calmly called her out on her behaviour. I stood up for myself, correcting her on what had actually happened with ticket-gate (excuse the pun) and told her there was absolutely no need to treat me, or anyone else like that. I then proceeded to complain about this to one of her team members. Whether this was taken seriously I do not know- I certainly did not receive an apology. Nonetheless, I was proud of how I handled this stranger’s outburst and that I had kept myself mostly together. In that moment, I empathized with those who may experience such behaviour in the workplace. Thinking about this now, I wonder how this kind of scenario may be playing out in a remote setting. I also wonder if I would have reacted the same way if it was my boss speaking to me in such a rude manner, rather than a complete stranger. How would I act, especially now, where there is an increasing amount of anxiety around job security? I sincerely hope that I would have the courage and resilience to deal with this, or that a kind colleague would step in and show me some support if needed.

2020 has been a tough year on many levels, and whilst I may not have all the answers, I know that being nice does not cost a thing. I remember reading an article on The Everygirl about protecting your heart at work, which emphasized just how important emotional resilience is. Although I still have so much more to learn and I know inevitably there will be more hurdles to overcome, here are some of the lessons I have learned in my 20’s so far…

  1. The company I keep both in an out of work is important
    The people we surround ourselves with have a direct impact on our wellbeing and outlook on life. Take a look at those nearest to you and figure out if they add value to your life and if they build you up as a person.

  2. Other people’s opinions of me do not validate me
    Whenever I catch myself ruminating about silly thoughts like what I said earlier that day, I stop myself. Instead I try to focus my energy on my own goals, rather than wasting energy on needless worry.

  3. Showing my “true” self can be daunting but liberating
    I used to differentiate my identity between my “work” self and “true” self, and now count myself lucky to work somewhere where I feel I can and want to, bring my whole self to work. This also means I feel more authentic in my choices and am able to bounce back easier on days which are challenging.

  4. It’s better to be understood than to be liked
    Not everyone will like me, and that’s fine, despite the people pleasing voice I have in my head!

  5. Not everyone shares the same ideas or outlook as me
    As obvious as this, really taking time to digest and understand this has made a huge difference. This was also summed up really succinctly for me in the Everygirl article,

    Most people see interactions as swift, emotionless transactions ; whilst this is true in many businesses, it doesn’t mean you have to be the same, just recognize that there are others like that”.

  6. How people act and respond to you often comes from them projecting their own feelings from what’s happening in their own life, rather than in response to the actual content of what you have said.

  7. Being smart and kind will always be cool

  8. Always trust and listen to your gut

  9. Feel the love

  10. Nice people certainly do not finish last
    Being nice isn’t a weakness, it is a strength.

I’d love for you to share some of your tips or lessons you have learned with me in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also like:

Dear 2010’s

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

There’s Still Time For Us Yet…

Kindness Doesn’t Cost A Thing

A Weekend in Costa Del Sol

Travel Vlog | Wine Tasting in California!

Get More Time Back In Your Day

I don’t know about you, but since working from home over the last eight months, I have 100% suffered from screen fatigue. At the start of the pandemic, how to be productive was top of mind to help me navigate this new virtual world. However fast forward to November, I am now experiencing tiredness from the constant video calling. It’s got to the point where even some of my non-meetings, which are meant to be fun and informal, are beginning to feel like meetings. The social calls, the casual 1:1’s, the impromptu how-the-heck-do-I-solve-this-problem kinda calls, still have an element of planning to them. They each require you to send over a meeting invite, set up a new VC link, whilst also making sure your room and your appearance both are relatively presentable, and any other distractions are kept to a minimum. At the same time, you are trying to do your job in one space which has no boundaries between your home and work life. I am also currently working in the world of recruitment, so on top of these video calls with colleagues, friends and family, there are also candidates and interviewers thrown into the mix. Now, that’s a lot of mascara I go through, I’ll tell you that much!

Of course video calling has been essential in helping us to cope and stay connected. It has also aided some of us to continue working throughout the pandemic, but there is no doubt it is also very time consuming and tiring. I’m pretty sure I spend on average at least eight hours of my work week, solely on video calls. Maybe like me, you too have felt the need at some point to always be visible online to your team, fearing you’d be seen as slacking if you weren’t. I created this expectation that I had to respond straight away to that email, or instant message via Microsoft Teams/ Workplace/ Slack, whatever it may be, despite this memo never coming from my employer. In fact, I feel quite lucky to say it has been quite the opposite. I have had open conversations about the reality of working from home with my managers and team, who each have related and encouraged healthier and smarter ways of working. Of course there are still elements to working from home which are more convenient than office life, but by no means is every day a walk in the park. From wifi issues, home distractions, loneliness, screen fatigue and working more intensely, it can feel difficult and disheartening. If you can relate to any of these things, I wanted to share with you a few tips that have helped me claim back time in my day, and improve my work-life balance.

It all comes down to smart planning. With daylight hours getting shorter, I ensure that I make time for a walk and some form of exercise every single work day. I plan this around when there are no meetings (and in my case, interviews) coming up, so that I am less likely to be distracted and interrupted. Just as I used to utilize my commute into work to practice mindfulness, I continue to plan time in for me. I do my best to get at least 30 minutes fresh air a day, with the incentive of getting some steps in on my FitBit. I also love podcasts and am back into the habit of listening to these on my walk. I am still loving Sibling Revelry if anyone needs a recommendation!

Every day I also block out my lunch break in my diary for two reasons. The first being so no one puts in any additional meetings, and the second so that I remember to actually take a lunch break. I work best in quiet spaces so my work days tend to zoom past, however this means that I physically need a reminder to take a break. I also try to avoid working lunches, and go to a different room to eat. I’ve found that the change of scenery makes a huge difference to my mindset.

Block out your time as much as possible. Whether you can introduce a no meeting day rule (so you can actually do your job), or no meetings on a Friday after 4pm, make your day work for you as much as you can.

Be honest and set expectations with yourself and your manager. Do you really need to be at that meeting for the whole hour, or is your time better spent only joining for the first or last 15 minutes? Although you may be conscious of building and maintaining relationships at work, some things can be better summed up in an email, rather than a meeting. If you find this is happening regularly, feed it back and discuss it with your team. The chances are, everyone else is also thinking the same thing.

It’s important to acknowledge that we most definitely aren’t in the same working world that we were in back in March. Therefore I encourage you to feel empowered to break or reshape some of your old working habits, as we continue to work remotely.

I’d love to hear your tips on how to claim back time in your day, feel free to share with me in the comments below!

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 Monday – Friday, so don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

Dinners To Try This Week!

8 Minute Total Body Workout

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Lockdown | A Day In My Life In 10 photos

As we each learn to adapt to our “new normal”, I thought I’d share with you my newest day to day routine that I have adopted over the last 8 weeks. Although life has become a lot more remote, in many ways I am a lot more connected to my friends and family; something so important to keep us going and staying positive during lockdown. Today I am sharing with you just some of the things that I get up to in a “typical” day in just 10 photos.

1. Morning Routine

I am lucky that my job allows me to continue to work from home.  I still “begin” my work day at 8:00 AM, but take advantage of the extra sleep, waking up between 7:00 – 7:45 AM (typically the latter), rather than my usual 6:30 AM wake-up call. After this extra lie in, I often shower first thing in the morning to help get my day started.

91417102_211227650190471_2690787467526668288_n

2. I always make sure I change into clothes that aren’t pyjamas, particularly as a lot of my day is spent on video calls. Some days I choose jeans so that I am more in “work mode” (or just sensor checking these still fit),  but I mostly like to keep it comfy with either a pair of joggers or some activewear.

90636036_827758167635663_555397459589726208_n

3. A staple in my morning routine is to keep my skin moisturized, even on make-up free days. Here are some of my most used products with those extra items that help give me a glow!

90595066_261417521542199_4534352048476389376_n

4. Working Hours

Fortunately I have a desk in my room which looks out onto a window, meaning I get a lot of natural daylight helping keep the blues at bay.  This is where you would find me and my typical WFH set up!

90704312_206027327355482_6787663067879571456_n

4. Next of course, tea – and lots of it!

90673331_502668623729015_103254784777125888_n

5.  Daily walks; I go for a walk every day for around 30 – 60 minutes either on my lunch break or after work. If I don’t have any company I love to walk around my local village listening to a podcast or video calling my boyfriend.

wal3

6. Post Work

Exercise! I began a workout series in the new year and somehow have stuck to it. The first 4-6 weeks, I exercised 3 times a week. Today marks my 16th week and I’m so happy to say I’ve been managing exercising 5 days a week, on top of the walks. These exercises consists of a mixture of Pilates, HIIT, weights and the occasional run here and there.

90765067_1105348199819776_5587620875772887040_n(1)

7. One thing that I always vowed to do more of when I was commuting to work, was making the conscious effort to be creative. Now that I have those 2 hours a day back in my life, I am utilizing them. Whether it’s editing videos or writing, I am really enjoying having the creative buzz back in my life! However some days, I use this allotted time to video call either my family, friends or boyfriend (as we don’t live together so are separately self-isolating). Oh and I keep a bottle of water to hand so I don’t forget to hydrate during these hours where time seems to disappear!

91382684_843823632805783_9153861775035203584_n

8. Cleanse & Night Time Routine 

Just as we have our morning rituals, I make sure I stick to an evening routine to help me wind down. Removing my make-up properly and changing into pyjamas an hour or two before I go to bed, helps me mentally unwind from the day and prepare for sleep. Plus, it’s important to continue some of those good habits you formed pre-quarantine life!

90704918_2830426153660641_3315621637621022720_n

9. Herbal Teas – I also like to have a hot drink before bed to enjoy with my number 10…

91492740_220674785843486_7185119642099122176_n

10. Watching one of my favourite series! Recently I finished watching This Is Us, which is available on Amazon Prime video. It will have you crying one minute and laughing the next!

TIU

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Let me know what your working from home/ self-isolation routine looks like in 10 photos and make sure to tag me in it!

If you enjoyed this you should subscribe and check out the below:

20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

Touching the Surface of Amsterdam

Kindness Doesn’t Cost A Thing

Also check me out on YouTube! Make sure you subscribe if you enjoyed the video to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Thanks so much for watching and stay safe!

Travel Vlog | LA Part 1

Travel Vlog | LA Part 2

Travel Vlog | Palm Springs

Travel Vlog | San Diego!

Summer Recap 2019 | Love Island, Vlogging & Goodbye’s

With chillier mornings and shorter days now upon us, waking up to the sound of birds at 5am seems a distant memory. Welcome back to those of you who have followed me for a while and hello to any new readers! I am so glad you’ve stumbled upon my blog. I hope you all have had a lovely last few months (eek has it really been that long), with many a Prosecco or Pimm’s sipped throughout the British heatwave. What a Summer we have had, eh!

I thought I would take this first post back on the blog, to catch you up on what I got up to throughout my Summer 2019 as I’ve been pretty absent in the bloggersphere. I also thought this would be a great opportunity to recap and get back on track as my last few posts have been quite reflective or travel orientated, and with Autumn being the season of change, it seemed apt to sign off the Summer season before we head into knitwear weather!

Usually when I have a break from writing it’s a sign of me taking time to recuperate or focusing my time and energy on one area of my life at a time. However, the last 4 months since blogging I’ve quite honestly just been busy. Busy due to some (self-inflicted) distractions, busy with holidaying (bank holidaying and abroad), busy with my job (longer hours), and just generally being out of my routine as I tried to make the most of being in the now, enjoying every moment that I could with family and friends. All in all, this made up for a very busy, but very memorable Summer- one that I’d love to capture on this blog.

Let’s start at the beginning. Love Island. Having missed most of the series last year and now currently working in a very young office, I knew that I would be involved in the conversations about it at work one way or another. I had a feeling that there would be no escaping, whether it was memes flooding my social media or daily conversations over my morning cuppa as I checked my emails at work. I was right! So I committed myself to watching it for one hour a day, five days a week and quite honestly, that was my June and July in a nutshell. But wait, let me justify why absorbing my time into Love Island was so satisfying. My current workplace is very fast-paced and the Summer months saw my team understaffed, meaning more pressure to hit the same deadlines and meet expectations, but with the added challenge of Summer hours. Although early Friday finishes are a great perk and motivation, (something that I would love to instill all year round should I ever run a business), this meant that a lot of my energy was concentrated on my “9 – 5” self. By the time I came home after a tiring day at work, all I really wanted to do was eat, watch Love Island and find out which couple would survive Caroline Flack’s twists and turns, and get a good night sleep. By the end of June, one month into Love Island, I treated myself to a much needed break to Cyprus with my boyfriend!

Throughout my nine days on holiday in the Cypriot heat, I soaked in the familiar and comforting beaches I now know so well. After a few days of R&R, I ventured into my next project that I had been procrastinating for months. The world of vlogging and editing. At last, I finally began focusing on editing footage that I captured from the California Travel Diaries in action along with a few trips I had taken around Europe in the late Spring! However, as soon as I returned back home, I quickly learned that balancing working full time with blogging, editing videos and sleeping enough is a challenge and a half… and I haven’t even published anything yet! So in July, I decided I could no longer let Love Island rule my life, and wanted to get back into the swing of things and invest time in my new hobby. So I turned to my favourite online creators, and eagerly tried to discover their secret to my question, Can Millennials Have It All  and how do they seemingly do it all? Their answer – not so glamorous. In short, achieving anything worthwhile involves: being consistent, showing up, putting the effort in, making sacrifices and lastly, holding yourself accountable. Whatever your dream, side hustle or passion that you may desire to make your full time job, unfortunately it won’t be a reality if you wait for the day until “you have time” to come. You have to make the time. Something I allowed Love Island among other things to take away from me!

Soon enough, August snuck up on me. With further British heatwaves, bank holidays, Summer book reading lists, an even busier work schedule compensated by lots of Summer work socials, I found myself quite literally “living for the weekend”- a mentality I once swore never to have.

August was also filled with a theme of goodbye’s. Any spare evenings I had coming back from work were spent with family, as one of my brothers was preparing to make the move to the States ahead of his upcoming wedding. I chose to make memories with my family and be well rested rather than tucked away in my room writing and editing – a decision I am very happy about. I captured some home videos with family, my future sister-in-law’s hen do, my brother’s and his fiancé’s leaving party and a family outing to to Wales. Although I may not be sharing them across my social media, I am so glad I have those short videos to look back on. At the end of the month, I was also spoiled with a fantastic reunion with two of my best friends who have been living abroad over the last two years! I may not haven been as present online as I would have liked to have been, however offline my heart has been full and those around me hopefully know just how much I have valued their time, friendship and the memories we have made.

September has continued with the theme of change as I gradually have said goodbye to my “#summervibes” hashtag; enjoying final picnics of the season, a late Summer Festival at Gunnersville, days spent at theme parks screaming and laughing on roller-coasters at the top of my lungs; September has so far been a great month. Autumn has also brought with it an unexpected job opportunity for me. As a creature of habit by nature, I am quite nervous to embark upon a new adventure. Nonetheless this is a great incentive to get myself back into a routine and present myself with an exciting challenge. So as we move into this new season, expect (long overdue) fun travel blog posts and vlogs to come! I can’t wait to share more with you all and I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

Natalia x

If you enjoyed this post you should read:

Opening Up About Mental Health

Embrace You| A Masterclass with Jessica Creighton

The California Travel Diaries | Los Angeles (Part 1)

How Not Getting What You Want Can Be A Blessing