Looking Back on 2014 and Wishes for 2015

What a year this has been.

As 2014 goes out with a bang, I look back on what has been a truly life-shaping year for me. With its dizzyingly huge events (such as becoming a wife and aunt), its new horizons and new discoveries, this year has also been the year of stability in ways I never expected it to be: this was the year when I found home in more than one sense. And I finish this year a slightly different person.


Christmas Present from Beyond Skin

I know a lot of girls say this but: I really love shoes. New shoes, I love even more. So when Beyond Skin offered to send me a pair, I was over the moon to say the least. Especially since I have admired and loved this vegan footwear brand ever since I discovered them. This chic Brighton brand creates handmade faux-leather shoes from environmentally friendly materials - sprinkled with a good dose of style.


Present Perfect

Oh, the beauty of Christmas presents.
The total agony of having to shop for them, the HELL of having to wrap them (mine look like the handiwork of a drunk five-year-old, please forgive the political incorrectness) - but also the excitement of trying to guess what's in the package with your name on it. And the sheer marvel of tearing open the package.


Festive London: Winterville

This Christmas is special - it's our very first London Christmas.

With my family living in Stockholm and David's family living in Milan, the question of where to spend the holidays is always a problem: whoever isn't picked gets offended and while we could technically do both (my family's Russian and celebrates Christmas on 7th January), paying for London-Milan-Stockholm-London plane tickets is more of something that BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z could do. Last year we tried splitting up,  I went to my family and he went to his, and it was horrible. We met up on New Year's Eve, agreeing that we never want to do that again. So, for the first time, we're staying in London for the holidays.


Blogger Event at Amorino King's Road

A week ago I was invited to a blogger event at the lovely Amorino in King's Road, Chelsea. Along with my friend Annalisa from The Apple Market blog, who was also invited, I trotted off to the lovely little shop tucked away on a street drenched in Christmas spirit, twinkling into the chilly night. A part of me wondered how I'd ever manage to wolf down sizeable quantities of ice cream in the middle of icy December. If I had only known.


Interview with KING&WHY

I was recently interviewed by a former colleague of mine, Mary-Claire, a talented content editor and copywriter who started KING&WHY, a web magazine focusing on entrepreneurship.I loved doing this interview as the questions were interesting and quirky, and the project is really inspiring.

In this interview, I talk about starting Vilda, challenges and hopes for the future. Read the interview here.


Rant: Stop Asking Bloggers for Free Publicity

Photo credit: Etsy shop here

I know I should probably feel thankful for brands contacting me and wanting to "work" with me, since this is such a tiny blog (I have never gone above 700 daily visits), but this is really irking me. Every single day for the last couple of weeks, I have received emails from companies that want me to do a post on something - what I have for breakfast, what I wear to bed, my tips for staying focused when working, my tips on moving to another country, vegan places to visit in London - all of which sound very interesting. Right until the point where I enquire about compensation.

Inevitably, the reply is something along the lines of "we are a small company", "a start-up" or something else that boils down to the bottom line of "you're not getting paid". In all these cases, I'm not even offered a product to review - which I always gladly accept when offered, with no other compensation requests, and always write a nice post with as professional photos as I can.


Stocking Fillers: Brew-Dolph Sustainable Coffee

One of my favourite parts of being a blogger is receiving coffee for review - I'm sure I've told you before that one of my dreams is to become a coffee expert, somewhat of a coffee sommelier (yep, that's how much I love the stuff). A few weeks ago I was sent this beautiful Christmas coffee by Brew-Dolph at Make Decent Coffee -  and this was a special holiday-themed treat. A word of warning: it's not ground, and I had to borrow a coffee grinder to test it, but then again I should probably just buy one already (maybe something for Santa?). But I promise that the refined yet full flavour of this coffee will certainly be worth the minutes spent grinding.


My 2014 In Music

Crazy amazing drawing by Yanni Floros

I'll start this post by stating right away that it is not sponsored, which one might think due to the number of times that I will repeat how much I love Spotify. It's brilliant. I'm proud that the creators are Swedish! This service gives you all the music you love in one place, without the need for internet access and...well, you all probably already know this because you all have it. If not, GET IT now.

Anyway, Spotify has this "your year in music" thingie that I think is really cool. Or in my case, really predictable:


Cruelty-Free Beauty Review: Boots Botanics

Over the years, I have grown so attached to my skincare routine that I'm rarely bothered to try something new. The fragrances of my usual cleanser and moisturiser are as familiar to me as the intoxicating scent of coffee in the morning - a necessity. But when I came across Botanics in Boots, I was swayed by...OK, I'll admit it: it was the price that won me over. With their half-off offer, I think I paid £6,25 for both a day cream and a night cream. Bargain, huh?


She Doesn't Need Us. We Need Her.

I stumbled across this video today and instantly loved it. One of the strongest environmental messages in recent memory, Conservation International's series of Nature is Speaking films include Harrison Ford, Penelope Cruz, Robert Redford, Lupita Nyong'o and Ian Somerhalder, to name a few. And of course this one, the badassest one of them all - Julia Roberts as Mother Nature.

This is such a powerful message and it's so true - nature doesn't need us to survive. When she's tired of us, she'll simply wipe us out. As she has done with so many species before us.

We are dependent on nature in every single way, every moment of our lives. You can't artificially create everything, and even if you could, you'd need natural resources to do so. And when those resources are gone, they're gone. Each one of us must consider nature in our everyday lives - it's not a choice, it's a duty. At least if we want to survive.

Nature isn't ours: we're part of a bigger picture, not owners of it.  Nature (and animals!) is not here for us to abuse. She doesn't need us. We need her.

Find out more at natureisspeaking.org (who did not in any way, shape or form sponsor this post. I just genuinely love the videos)