Launch Brunch for SPARKLE on darling

On Saturday, 15 July 2017 a few special souls and I got together to drink coffee, eat wholesome food and celebrate dreams and passions, my blog launch being one of them.

I thought about how I would celebrate the launch of my sparkling new blog for a while, I had lots of big ideas, but for me these days I really treasure the simple pleasures in life, like simply enjoying a beautiful coffee with some beautiful souls, so that’s exactly what I did.

For the venue I chose Miss Bliss Wholefoods Kitchen in West End, one of my most favourite health and wellness driven cafes in Brisbane. I always leave feeling so happy and content, it’s a must try if you haven’t already.

I love the space, the vibe and of course the coffee and the food. Oh, the food..

After we left I realised we actually didn’t get into deep conversation about my blog as such, which I was more than ok with, because we spoke mostly about each other’s dreams and passions, we celebrated each other’s achievements and our past and future endeavours, and that made me so incredibly happy. SPARKLE on darling I hope one day to become a community where like minded souls can connect and share their stories, goals and plans (yes, I’m dreaming big!).

For each of the beautiful souls that came I had a little gift that I personally put together to say thank you, for supporting me and for sharing their own SPARKLE in this world. I wanted them to know how much they mean to me and how grateful I was for everything they have done for me throughout my journey.

I cannot wait to host another event in the future (events even). Who knows where my big wild heart will take me. One thing I know for sure is.. the best is yet to come. So grateful..

All my love,

How to Start a Gratitude Journal

Photo by Kelly Adams Photography

By now you may have heard of the term ‘Gratitude Journal’ or the action ‘gratitude journaling’, so what exactly is this journal, and should you start one? My personal opinion is most definitely, for me this simple practice has been life changing.

What is a Gratitude Journal?

A Gratitude Journal is not a diary as such, but a purposed journal, usually a small lined notebook that is used for the specific purpose of writing down what you are grateful for in that moment.

When to journal?

I personally write in it organically, I don’t force myself to do it everyday like it’s part of a ‘routine’, because when we force things, that’s when I find that this new exciting thing we really wanted to do can soon become more of a chore. Practicing gratitude journaling should not be a chore, it should simply be a beautiful practice, rather than just another thing we have to do in our already ‘busy’ lives. Sure if you write in yours daily, amazing, sometimes I write in mine more often, but a lot of the time it’s just when I feel like it, and this can be any time of the day.

The layout

I usually write the date at the top so I can refer back with a timeline, then I will start with.. ‘Today I am grateful for..’ followed by three numbered dot points below (eg. 1. 2. 3..). Three because 3 isn’t an overwhelming amount to have to think about, but more than 1 so that you do have to sometimes put some heart and soul into it on the simpler days.

What to journal about?

There is always something to be grateful for.. Examples could be, you got to have a little sleep in, the sun was shining when you woke up, the smell of your first coffee of the day, your favourite song came on the radio on the way to work or on the way home, or something as simple as a home cooked dinner.

Benefits of having a Gratitude Journal + actually sticking to it

Firstly, it’s a form of self love, something just for you, to do on your own. I know a lot of people out there probably struggle with making time just for themselves, I know I do some days, but having a simple, affordable, everyday practice like this allows you to do just that, even if only for 5 minutes every so often.

Practicing gratitude encourages you to focus on all of the good in your life, especially helpful during the seemingly mundane weekly routines and lack of sparkle in our lives. Trust me when I say, when you start your journal you will realise there is always sparkle in our lives, and it probably doesn’t cost a thing and is right in front of our eyes.

We all want to start new ventures to change our lives for the long haul, and actually sticking to having a Gratitude Journal, I promise you, can be that life changing venture. I have a lot of good days to write about sure, but I also have some bad days.. some end up with headaches, and some end in tears. Since starting my gratitude journal, not only do I get filled with joy when I write on a good day, morning or night, but it’s the joy I get on a bad day that has had the biggest impact on my life. When I pick it up on a not so sparkly day, not necessarily to write in it, but to read back on all of the things in my life I already have to be grateful for, it changes everything, and once again no matter my day, I’ve found gratitude.

If you have a Gratitude Journal or start one in the future I would love to know your thoughts and feelings towards keeping it in the comments below.

All my love,

My Favourite Winter Body + Home Products

Hello Winter! Just kidding, we are nearly halfway through the season here in Australia, but is this you when the weather starts to cool, happy and excited, welcoming the cold with open arms? I’m envious of you if it is, as for me Winter is definitely not my favourite time of the year. My body tends to ache, my skin becomes super dry and I don’t particularly like having to keep the windows closed and all of the blankets on the bed. This year though however, I’ve found some beautiful products that have made Winter 2017 for me here in Australia that much more bearable.

Vanilla Lip Balm 15ml + Lavendar & Rose Geranium Body Butter 100ml by Olieve & Ollie

Lip Balm + Body Butter

Coming into Winter, my lips start to become dry instantly, nothing has ever seemed to work for me. I felt like I had tried everything and had given up and settled with a basic balm. One day though I went into one of my favourite shops to try again, to find a product that would help me get through this Winter, and hopefully indefinitely. I ended up having a conversation with one of the sales assistants and she agreed with me on so many levels about the products I had tried, and then went onto recommend this particular lip balm as it was everything I had described I wanted, and so much more. When I put it on during the day it stays on, even after I eat and drink, and doesn’t leave any residue on your lips once it starts to wear off and your skin dries out again. The best lip balm I have ever tried, I’ve been recommending it to everyone.

(https://www.olieveandolie.com.au/shop/lip-balm)

After falling so deep in love with how it was making my lips feel, I of course went back for another product from the same brand, the body butter. The night before I purchased this I had a pretty severe reaction to a cream I used on my hands, by a brand I use to really believe in and love. My hands became so irritated after putting it on before bed that I couldn’t sleep and ended up in a lot of pain. The next day I tried out this body butter, again on my hands, and it felt life saving, it made my skin feel so soft and nourished, and it smelt amazing too. I have used it regularly since and have never had a reaction, this is of course like all of my blog posts, my own personal journey hence I didn’t mention the previous brand I was using. This product if you ever get a chance to try it, you can thank me later. It really is so incredibly beautiful.

(https://www.olieveandolie.com.au/shop/body-butter)

Lemon Myrtle Room Spray 125ml by Wild Leaf Botanicals

Room Spray

As I mentioned, I don’t particularly like having the house closed up all the time to keep the cold out, because I’m a fresh air lover through and through, give me the outdoors over air-conditioning any day, yes, even on the hottest of days. This room spray I picked up from a little creatives market I visited in Brisbane when I was actually on the hunt for a location for my photo shoot. Wild Leaf Botanicals was the first stall I stopped at on my way in, the set up was warm and inviting, and so were the souls behind it all. After checking out their products I noticed the room spray, I sprayed some, and immediately fell in love. Falling in love at first smell, definitely a thing. I’ve since used it regularly around the house and in the bedroom, whenever I feel like things need a little freshening up and a calmer vibe. I’m totally smitten with this product. Keep an eye out on my future product reviews, because I have since aquired some more of their products, which I absolutely cannot wait to share with you too.

(https://www.wildleafbotanicals.com.au/products/lemon-myrtle-room-spray)

Nourishing Night Cream by The Essential Cleaner

Night Cream

These days my skin care routine is pretty minimal, I rarely wear makeup and now focus more on low toxicity products, nourishment from both inside and out! It was a beautiful Sunday morning and after we had a coffee at our local, we went to some local markets in our area. I browsed some of the stalls and then came across The Essential Cleaner. Once again the stall was beautifully presented, leaving me wanting to test it all. The main product though that took my fancy was the night cream after it was so kindly suggested. I’ve never really had a face cream due to my sensitive/oily skin, I know, what a combination. After trying it on my hand, hearing about the ingredients, the process and having a soulful chat about all things low tox with the business owner it was a must add to my skincare routine. I’ve since used it nearly every night since and my skin now feels like it’s literally glowing, if skin could be happy mine definitely feels happy.

(http://www.theessentialcleaner.com.au/) – I will have to update this post as I wasn’t able to find a link to this particular product I found at the market stall online.

All of these brands not only easily caught my attention because they are so beautiful, but also because they are Australian made and owned and all are all low tox products being made from natural and pure ingredients. I’m so in love.

Have you tried any of these products or have any suggestions of some others? Let me know in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next one.

If you have any questions or would like to contact + collaborate with me, you can reach me personally at sparkleondarling@outlook.com.au.

All my love,

Q+A with Sarah Herring (aka @sarahalicetiu)

Sarah wearing her own clothing label Blend & Serve

Sarah is one of those souls that lights up a room with her infectious smile and loving vibe, she is a real life dream chaser, making it happen one goal at a time. She has a personal Instagram account which is where our paths met through her journey of similar values (our love for coffee being one of them!) where some of you may already know her from as Sarah Alice TIU (Tone it Up). Sarah is also a marketing coordinator, a soon to be yoga teacher, an entrepreneur – launching her very first creative vision out into the world earlier this year, the (literally) smoothie blend branded clothing line, Blend & Serve. When she’s not putting her Masters in Marketing degree to use in her 9 to 5, she’s whipping up delicious smoothie creations, working out, practicing yoga, packaging up orders for her sparkling new company and working on some more super exciting side projects soon to be released out into the world (I cannot wait to tell you about what Sarah has planned and share it with you!), talk about being a total source of inspiration and motivation to chase your dreams and make your passions a reality.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and read on to get inspired and feel a little warm inside..

What is on your bedside table at the moment?

I’ve got a beautiful Massangeana plant, which is also know as a ‘Happy Plant’, I love to have greenery throughout our home. There is a pile of books I’m currently reading: You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Thrive by Arianna Huffington and The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. I adore reading and embrace learning as much as I possibly can, and am trying hard to read before I go to sleep and not be on my phone! I’ve also got a beautifully painted bowl that holds my jewels, a photo of me with my love and a singing bowl, which I use for yoga and meditation.

In 3 words describe YOU.

Optimistic, Empathetic and Productive.

When did your journey begin, what was your turning point?

This is a tough question for me! I am an extremely lucky person who grew up in a loving family, with a brother who is one of my best friends, and parents who only want the best for us and help us to achieve any goals we have, I’m very blessed by this I know. My mum use to make almond milk at home WAY before it became trendy, my dad has always been an avid runner, showing me the importance of moving your body and my brother is now off living his dreams in Canada. We were always told to go after what we want in this life.

I grew up with an incredibly vivid imagination; I could play for hours by myself creating entire worlds in my mind. I read a lot growing up as well and have had from a really young age this feeling that there is something more to this life than just living and working and earning an income.

It was when I began practising yoga in 2012 that I found this connection between my mind, body and soul. I’ve always been active, and adore running and dancing and moving my body, but it was really yoga that gave me this ‘ah ha’ feeling, this understanding that for me, yoga is coming home to myself.

So I had this spark inside, and it was last year that the concept of Blend & Serve came to me. I love healthy living and am obsessed with comfort in fashion. So I created Blend & Serve, Smoothie recipes printed on super soft tees. I am just at the start of this new venture and am so loving the process. Starting a side hustle as I like to call it is scary, but so exhilarating at the same time, and getting to have total control of everything I put out there is the best feeling, I pinch myself every time a beautiful soul chooses to buy one of my tees, it really makes my heart sing.

Where do you find inspiration, and how do you turn this into motivation?

Inspiration for me comes at random times from all kinds of places. My top three are:

Nature; put me in a rainforest, or by the ocean with my feet in the sand and I am inspired to the tenth degree and just want to create and connect and do more with my life!

Like minded souls; there is nothing like catching up with someone who is important to you that you can share your hopes and dreams with, have a coffee and a laugh that just always always makes you leave them feeling inspired – it’s these kinds of people when I find them I keep em!

Yoga; winding down and taking the time to step onto my mat, to slow down and listen to my breath keeps me inspired.

I turn inspiration into motivation through consistently doing the above three things, its really easy to get caught up in the busy, hustle and bustle of life and work and commitments, but taking the time to get my tush into nature, spend time with like minded souls and step onto my mat keeps me motivated to keep striving to live my best life.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own journey towards their best self and life, what would it be?

Hmm, I would say consume as much as you can on the topic, be it health, fitness, positive thinking, self-development, whatever it is your wanting to embrace. Listen to podcasts, read books, reach out to people who inspire you to connect with. It can get overwhelming at times thinking that there is all these things to do and try, so pick one small thing to change in a week and focus on that, try and add in the good and don’t focus on cutting anything out, just keep adding in the goodness and eventually you’ll find it overtakes the other stuff.

Favourite quote/mantra you hold close to your heart?

Oh I have so many; I grew up on sayings and quotes and use to make posters with quotes as a kid; well before Pinterest! Here are just a few!

‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.’

‘Everything is ok in the end, if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.’

‘Work hard in silence and let success be your noise.’

‘I can and I will.’ (this is a running mantra for me).

Lastly, what is your WHY? Your focus every day to get up and go again, the thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning and share your sparkle with The Universe?

Life just feels better this way! I use to think it was so much effort to live a life full of goodness, to move my body everyday, to take time to roll out my mat, to cook food that fuels me, to read books that teach me. I thought it was easier to sleep in until the very last possible second before I’d be late, to buy takeaway for all my meals, to just lay on the couch every evening.

But really living a life that is full of goodness makes me so happy, it makes me motivated, it makes it all easy, and not only easy but more enjoyable! It allows me to look for the good in every moment, to be grateful everyday and the knowledge that the life I live is designed by myself and that I actually have total control on how I want it to be.

It allows me to put my best version forward so I can be a better friend, fiancé, sister, daughter etc. through learning how to be kind to myself, accept myself and love who I am and who I continue to strive to be, I’m then putting my best self out into the universe.

Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me a little better! Being featured on this wonderful place in the web is something I am so very grateful for!

Thank you so much Sarah for allowing my readers to have the pleasure of ‘meeting’ your sparkly self. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity to have had you a part of this chapter with me.

Want to get to know Sarah a little more (trust me when I say you do!). Find her on..

Instagram @sarahalicetiu + @sarah_and_yoga

Business

Instagram @blendandserve_

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/blendandservefashion/

Website www.blendandserve.net

I hope you enjoyed this Featured Soul Q+A guest post as much as I did. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next one.

All my love,

Book Review: Destination Simple by Brooke McAlary

Title: Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life

Author: Brooke McAlary

Released: 2017

Publisher: Nero

Pages: 114

Format: Paperback

Genre: Non-fiction

Theme: Simple Living + Inspiration + Motivation

Author’s Resource: http://slowyourhome.com/destination-simple/

I found out about Destination Simple from a Dymocks catalogue earlier this year, which is also where I purchased it from (https://www.dymocks.com.au/book/destination-simple-by-brooke-mcalary). The brief description they had wrote about the book immediately drew me in. I had been living in the fast lane for a while, constantly on the go from one thing to the next, even when I had down time I was busy, and yet I still didn’t feel accomplished, I still didn’t feel like I was doing enough. I found myself in a state of total physical and emotional exhaustion, I knew something had to change, so I decided to buy and start reading this book. Little by little when I started to read Destination Simple I made changes to start to live a simpler more intentional life, and finally found some peace and quiet within myself that I hadn’t known for a very long time, if not ever. I started to achieve more and feel less overwhelmed. This is one of the best little gifts I have given to myself. Who knew that a small book could be so life changing.

Destination Simple is about learning to simplify your life and slow down one step at a time through everyday rituals and rhythms, creating days that flow with ease and taking time out for yourself to reflect and reboot. Brooke covers ideas focussed around simple living and slowing down, and follows them up with tasks for you to do to get on top of your day to day to do’s and life without the chaos of the fast lane. A lot of which may seem simple to do at first, yet the impact they have is not to be overlooked. Reevaluating your days, each day, may seem overwhelming, but as Brooke consistently points out through her writing, no two days are the same, we must adapt each day to a rhythm, not a set in stone ‘routine’.

Destination Simple for me was very easy to read, follow along with and inspiring, the life changing kind as I have already mentioned. Her writing is relatable, raw and real, everything I love and aim to be. I learnt a lot of new ways to simplify my life and slow down, I no longer feel overwhelmed and exhausted in my days. I don’t put so much pressure on myself anymore to get everything done, instead I make better choices in the tasks I do choose to do each day, choosing less of them, but doing them well and intentionally enjoying them. This book has become a guide for me, and will remain one that I will continually use for a long time. It is a book that I think I will most definitely read again and again, to refresh and realign myself when I need it. If you are looking to feel more together within your days, less stressed and more rejuvenated, then this is the book for you.

I read this book before I found Brooke’s other resources. Once I had read it I then went on to find all of her other work because I wanted to know more about this simple living and slowing down concept way of life, of which now I’m a huge fan of because of all of her work. The Slow Home Podcast in particular I absolutely love, I listen to it daily through the Podcast app on my iPhone.

If you would like to learn more or connect with Brooke McAlary you can at:

Instagram @brookemcalary

Blog http://slowyourhome.com/

Podcast The Slow Home Podcast

I hope you enjoyed my very first book review on SPARKLE on darling. If you have read Destination Simple or read it in the future I would love to know your thoughts about it in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next one.

If you have any questions or would like to contact + collaborate with me, you can reach me personally at sparkleondarling@outlook.com.au.

All my love,

Q+A with Alice Bingham (aka @aliceinhealthyland)

Alice wearing Mamma Belle
Photo by Tahlia of @wyldefolkstudio

Some of you may already know Alice from her down to earth, heartwarming and inspirational presence on social media as Alice in Healthy Land. Alice is a nurse, wife, mumma to two beautiful little souls and a fur baby, and so, so much more. Her presence on social media is one that can’t be missed. Alice is as raw and real as they come when it comes to sharing her daily life through pictures and her grounded writing. She is also an avid healthy recipe creator and lifestyle blogger, sharing everything from her signature ‘Breakfast Loaf’ (it’s one of my personal favourite go-to recipes!), to sharing her journey as a mother, including all the ups and the downs. There is so much sparkle in the world because of Alice, I know personally that I am forever grateful to have crossed paths with her and also to know her on a personal level, she is most definitely a game changer.

Alice is also (excitingly) the very first Featured Soul guest on SPARKLE on darling, so I am absolutely bursting to share this very special segment of my blog with you.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and read on to get inspired and feel a little warm inside..

What is on your bedside table at the moment?

My book – The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

A heatpack.

My “Haus Fleur Violet” lavender spray (http://hausfleur.bigcartel.com/product/violet) to help me sleep at night.

A photo of my family (Dave – my hubby, Cruz – my son, Bump & Evie our pup).

In 3 words describe YOU.

Dedicated, Nurturing & Tender Hearted.

When did your journey begin, what was your turning point?

My journey began at birth (ha is that cheeky), no but I truly believe that every life experience is a learning curve, even if it’s a negative one. My turning point for me though was accepting myself and all my flaws. Being proud of my journey and loving myself for who I am. This happened when I became a mumma at 28. I truly appreciated my worth and respected my body. It was truly something special to experience this.

Where do you find inspiration, and how do you turn this into motivation?

Oh I find inspiration in so many things, in my environmental surroundings, in my loved ones, in quotes, I am inspired and empowered by people I have never met. I turn it into motivation by writing it down or creating a vision board. If I can see it, I can believe it.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own journey towards their best self and life, what would it be?

Start now! Whatever it takes, because once you start this journey towards this life you won’t want to stop.

Favourite quote/mantra you hold close to your heart?

Oh I have so many, but these two are my favourite!

“Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.” – Unknown

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Lastly, what is your WHY? Your focus every day to get up and go again, the thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning and share your sparkle with The Universe?

Hands down the love I have for my Husband, my Son, my unborn child and my furbaby Evie. They truly inspire me to make the most of my life and get what I can out of the day!

Thank you so much Alice for allowing my readers to have the pleasure of ‘meeting’ your sparkly self. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity to have had you a part of this new chapter with me.

Want to get to know Alice a little more (trust me when I say you do!). Find her on..

Instagram @aliceinhealthyland

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aliceinhealthyland/

Blog https://aliceinhealthyland.net/

I hope you enjoyed the very first Featured Soul Q+A guest post as much as I did. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next one, I cannot wait to continue to share stories of the people who have had such a big impact on my life with you.

All my love,

 

And so the (Blogging) Adventure Begins..

chloe-6290
Photo by Kelly Adams Photography

Here I am, here we are, about to embark on a pretty personal journey together, the journey of ‘blogging’ (well for some maybe not, but for me it will literally be me on a page, many even!). I say.. BRING IT ON, darling.

My brand new adventure, SPARKLE on darling, is a personal lifestyle blog focused around everyday wellbeing, wholesome eating and simple living. Through this sparkling new platform I will be writing a new blog post on an organic weekly basis, consisting of #selflove, wellness, lifestyle, recipes, simple living tips + tricks, meal prep, DIY, reviews of some of my favourite products and places and Q+A posts with special guests I have personally chosen.

I already have some exciting blog posts ready to go for you right now if you would like to have a little ponder around. Be sure to check out the Featured Souls category in the top menu where you will find Q+A’s from some of the most inspiring and motivating souls around (I know this will be one of my favourite segments!).

You will also see that I have a lot of sub categories waiting for some content, but don’t worry, it’s all in the process. Oh the process of starting a blog.. it has been BIG, but I have loved every single minute I have put into this, the hours, days and months, it’s been a journey to get here alright. I’m just so thankful to get to this point.

Now, let’s talk about the gratitude I have for those few souls who have supported me on this journey (you know who you are!). When you tell people you are starting a blog you can either get a ‘Wow, that is so awesome!’, or, an ‘Ok, so, what exactly is the point of it?’. Let me tell you, this is not a phase for me or something I’ve just ‘decided’ to do, no matter how others see it, this is my future, and it’s just the beginning. My dreams are WAY bigger than me, and I’m so ready to make them happen. So a big shout out to those who have been there with me every step of the way, for putting up with all my questions, favours and some tears a long the way. I made it, and I couldn’t have done it without you..

Before you leave to browse around I would absolutely love to know a little about you, my sparkling new reader. Leave a comment below with your name and where you are from or head on over to the community Instagram page @sparkleondarling and say hello there. I would absolutely love to (virtually) meet you, because you, dear reader, mean the absolute world to me. If you are reading through posts from the categories section in the top menu and would like to make a comment on a particular post, just click on the title of the post to go through to the singular original post, and from there you should see the comment box at the bottom, share buttons etc. (I haven’t worked out how to fix this yet, but I’m working on it!).

So, shall we begin this adventure together? I’m ready if you are. Just kidding, I wing so much of what I do, but I’m always open to every new chapter, and this has to be one of my most exciting yet when it comes to my dreams and passions. I cannot wait to see where SPARKLE on darling takes me, right now though I’m just, so, grateful to be right here with you..

If you have any questions or would like to contact + collaborate with me, you can reach me personally at sparkleondarling@outlook.com.au.

All my love,