Tech Review: Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS + Cellular

I purchased my Apple Watch on the evening of 23 February 2018 after work, so I’ve had it for just over two months now. I went to the actual Apple store in Brisbane City and had the absolute time of my life purchasing something like this after being served by two, yes two, incredible sales assistants.

The lady who sold it to me I found out was a vegan/yogi, so immediately I knew I was in good hands of someone who got me on a personal level too, not that that’s required when buying an Apple Watch, but I’m extremely passionate about good customer service, and that she gave me after spending an entire hour with me, getting to know me and making sure I left with exactly what I wanted. She actually ended up making it feel like an empowerment purchase, because I explained how most of my hard earned money goes to bills, or others, and so she made me feel like I more than deserved this device when I was doubting that I did throughout the experience.

Shall we get into my personal review of the specifications of the version I chose, the pro’s versus the con’s and if I really do love and believe it was worth the investment? Read on..

Specifications

My Apple Watch

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • 38 mm
  • stainless steel case
  • sapphire crystal glass
  • ceramic back
  • GPS + Cellular (LTE)
  • WR 50 m

Came with

  • soft white sport band
  • magnetic charging cable
  • 5W USB power adapter

Firstly I want to point out that I do not believe that to have a love for the Apple Watch that you need to get the one with all the bells and whistles like I have. The version I bought is currently the top of the range, but for me if I was going to do this, really do something like this, I wanted the best and I wanted it to last.

The stainless steel case and sapphire crystal glass, though two features that make this version more expensive than the standard aluminium and glass, for me where a big must if I were going to get one as I tend to be a little clumsy when it comes to my watches and knocking them about on a daily basis (you’d be surprised how much you knock a watch around in an office environment and of course, when you workout).

The stainless steel case adds durability for a longer life overall of the case, and the sapphire glass is scratch resistant, my glass is still as beautiful, clean and scratch free as it was when I first bought it. Of course, both of these things are also great if you drop things, like phones, Apple Watch’s can absolutely smash if you drop it on a not so friendly surface. In saying that, if you add on Apple Care when you first purchase it, which I did, this covers pretty much anything you can think of when it comes to your watch and will give you peace of mind when investing in such a pricey item like this. Something definitely worth looking into before you purchase (and no, as much as you may be thinking it’s another salesperson move, I don’t believe it’s an add on scam at all when it comes to free glass replacements for the life of your Apple Care). Perhaps research how much replacements are and make a decision from there.

Pro’s

  1. Fitness – My initial reason for purchasing an Apple Watch was to align it with my fitness. I have had another brand of ‘fitness tracker’ in the past, and to be honest it did not last long at all with how often I wanted to wear and use it, but having a quality Apple Watch that will last to keep me on track with my daily goals through their ‘ring closing’ feature and notifications (you have 3 rings to close each day of which you can choose your personal goals for – I absolutely love this as it keeps me motivated all day every day) and to use during all of my different workouts has been an absolute fitness journey changer. I’m really looking forward to looking back over my data over longer periods of time, not just on a daily ‘you made it’ basis, but to see how I progress on a deeper level, and the Apple Watch can do that for me.

    I also love how it gives you little versions of ‘tech pep talks’ when it comes to your goals, like ‘Keep it going today’, ‘Off to a great start’, and my most favourite.. ‘Make it happen today’.

  2. Notifications (texts/calls/emails) – I absolutely love getting my texts, calls and email notifications on my watch. I thought before I owned one that this would really annoy me, but when I am pottering around the house, on the go or at work, it’s been a huge convenience for me not having to have my phone with me at all times.
    The benefits of cellular, which is what I have, are that I don’t have to take my phone with me, anywhere. As long as your phone is on wherever you’ve left it for network connection purposes (as they run under the same phone number), I can leave the house for example, on a walk with just my watch and know that I can be contacted or contact someone if need be, or, if you are going for a run you can even play music without taking your phone as well. This is not one of those necessary features of course to enjoy an Apple Watch, but as I said earlier, by choice I went all in with this purchase and cellular at the end of the day for me personally, really does align with my lifestyle.
  3. Music – One of the features I was most looking forward to, was not having to continually reach for my phone when I was listening to music just to skip a song. I catch public transport regularly, and when I am holding my handbag, my lunch bag, and of a morning – my coffee, the last thing I want to be doing is to try to hold my phone as well just so I can change my music.
    I am also able to pause the song from my watch and change the volume. This feature goes for listening to podcasts too, of which I tend to want to pause regularly when I am listening to them so I don’t miss anything if I am interrupted. I have quality wireless headphones as well (Bose) which are by far one of my favourite tech accessories I own, and this feature for me makes my wireless headphones even better (which I didn’t think was possible – but the experience of using my Bose now is definitely better).
  4. Personalise – This is a feature that all Apple Watch’s have, and I really, really dig it. Not only can you personalise so many tech parts of the watch and what it can do, you can change your band to suit you, your personality and your outfit. There are so many bands already out there and new ones continually being released.
    This is one of the simplest features, but seriously one of my favourites. It really is great when you can go from your gym workout with your durable sports band onto work or out to dinner with your beautiful leather band just from a little release and snap. So far I have the one this version came with, the Soft White sport band, and then I made the extra investment in the Saddle Brown Classic Buckle leather band as I’ve always loved my leather band watches.
  5. Anxiety – This by far for me was one of the biggest pro’s of the Apple Watch that has blown me away, a pro I had no idea was a pro of having one, until I did. I suffer from anxiety daily, and I didn’t realise the affect having (or wanting) to continually check my phone had on triggering my anxiety. Since having my Apple Watch I rarely ever check my phone, it’s completely stopped that regular urge to do it every time I have down time,  it’s stopped that “has someone tried to contact me?”, or do I dare say.. ‘FOMO’ feeling almost immediately.
    Owning an Apple Watch has revolutionised my anxiety around checking my phone. I wish I knew it would have had this profound affect on my mental health as I would have invested in one sooner. It’s literally changed my entire outlook on tech and how it can actually benefit your emotional wellbeing within your day to day, not make it worse.

Con’s

  1. Learn – It does take a little while to get your head around all of the features of the watch, to be honest I am still learning what it is capable of, though this can be a little draining to some, after a few Google searches and YouTube video’s, you can definitely turn this con around, and if you are already an Apple lover like myself, it won’t take you long at all to get use to it.
    I purchased mine the day before my first personal training session this year, which was one of the specific reasons I wanted it in the first place, and by my PT session in the morning I still hadn’t worked out the fitness tracking yet, so I went rogue, but numerous sessions on and I am all over my fitness tracking and find using it for my workouts now a breeze.
  2. Charge – I thought it might have better battery power, but I do have to charge mine on a daily basis, well nearly every day, specifically the days I use it to track a workout and use it as the device to remotely control my music or maps. Again though, you can definitely turn this con around, such as if you charge your phone each night, it’s not that hard to charge your watch at the same time right beside it.
    I’ve heard you can get some really great dual chargers which can charge your phone and your Apple Watch at the same time on what looks kind of like a ‘dock’, which is definitely something I might look at investing in in the future for less cords on the go on my bedside table.
  3. Music – At this stage the watch works the best with Apple Music, which is a shame if you are a dedicated Spotify user like me as the Spotify app isn’t Apple Watch compatible (yet), though I do have a lot of music on my Apple account from over the years before Spotify was a thing, so for me not all is lost.
    Depending on if the calibration gets better and Spotify make their app Apple Watch friendly or not, I might eventually end up switching to Apple Music in the long run. Time will tell (pun I just had to use in this blog post – for obvious reasons).
  4. Cost – Look, like anything Apple, Apple Watches are pricey (especially the version I bought), and I’m not going to pretend they aren’t for what they are at the end of the day. Perhaps they will come down in price eventually, perhaps they won’t before the next version is released.
    I will happily admit that owning one is definitely a luxury and not a necessity for your personal journey, but if you can work it into your budget, I guess the price being a con for you for a device like this, is entirely up to you.

Verdict

I would not trade my Apple Watch for anything, it has really opened my eyes to how beneficial being close to your tech can be. Before I owned an Apple Watch I use to think that it would really affect me in the sense of being too switched on all the time and not being able to ‘log off’ because you always had your watch on, but it has been the total opposite experience for me.

My Apple Watch has been and still is one of the best quality investments I have ever made for myself and my personal journey so far.

I hope you enjoyed my very first tech review on SPARKLE on darling. If you have an Apple Watch or invest in one 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.

All my love,

 

Let Go to Move Forward

Sometimes, you have to let go of something in order to move forward. Letting go of anything is always scary, no matter which aspect of your life it relates to, because if you are having to ‘let go’ of something, it means you’ve been holding onto it for a long time, and deep down, it’s because it means a lot to you.

Over the last 2-3 years, I’ve let go of a lot of things, a lot, big things, life changing-heart breaking-permanent.. things, and recently, I made the decision to let go of something that has been almost like a part of my identity for the past 5 years. It was something that I feel I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but didn’t have the courage to.

The following has gone through my head in every moment I would think about letting go of this ‘part of my identity’.. “what would I do after it?”, “who would I be?”, “would people remember me?”, “but it’s given me so much over the last 5 years, how could I give that up?” or simply, “I can’t give up on this”. Well maybe, just maybe, letting go doesn’t mean you are giving up at all, it simply means, you are letting go, in order to move forward.

So I let go, I made the announcement, I said goodbye to an online community of thousands of people and businesses who have followed my personal journey through social media for the past 5 years, and guess what, the sky didn’t fall, I’m totally fine and the support I received from my beautiful little community has been completely overwhelming, in the most heartwarming, soul oozing way possible. Words literally cannot describe the gratitude I have felt over the last few days.

Now, I’m moving foward, I’ve started a new online community on social media through a private account for now, and taken only those with me who genuinly wanted to come, who reached out to me to continue my journey with me. Those who have come with me aren’t even 10% of my followers, but I’m so glad I did it the way I have, publicly, but privately moving forward, organically, in my own way. Social media can be a beautiful experience, you know, if you choose to use it in the right way.

I guess you can say as I have let go of one journey to start another, I really haven’t given up at all, I’ve just found the courage to make a change to align with my values and visions at this point in my life. My large social media following was no longer serving me, to be honest it was draining me, I wasn’t following my heart anymore through keeping it and through holding on with hope that my feelings towards it might change. I needed to channel my energy, time and love elsewhere, I needed to listen to where my heart wanted to take me, I needed to reclaim my identity.

For those who might be wondering, there will be no changes to my blog, other than the fact that I have to go through all of my copy now since the very beggining and edit it to reflect my new journey. I will still be popping up on the world wide web and into your inbox if you are one of my subscribers on a weekly basis. Basically, this short and sweet blog post was to update you too, my sparkling reader, and to let you know that it’s ok to be scared of making big changes, we all are, even when you don’t know what will happen once you do, because that’s how you grow from a place of truth, that my darling, is how you truly evolve into who you are and go where you are meant to be.

All my love,

Digital Marketing Workshop Presented by Real Women Co

On Sunday, 18 March 2018, I attended Real Women Co’s first ever workshop of their Women in Business series which was Digital Marketing. Being an online entrepreneur and having a lot of what I do revolve around digital marketing myself and everything I produce, as soon as I received the Real Women Co member email regarding this workshop I was all over the early bird ticket the day of release, there was no way I was going to miss out on an opportunity to learn, nourish and network around something that I am so passionate about.

The morning of I arrived nice and early and made my way through the doors taking photos of everything that caught my eye. This was the first event that I have attended introducing myself first as a ‘Lifestyle Blogger’. On arrival we had to make little name tags, on which I wrote on mine that my hustle was Lifestyle Blogger.. my heart burst in this moment, I was owning my path, part of my truth. The best part about it was everyone I met opened their arms to me and couldn’t wait to hear about what I blogged about and then more about my blog. It was so nice for once to actually choose how I define myself off paper, away from my 9 to 5, away from my age, away from my past. The event hadn’t even officially started and already I was totally in my element.

After we signed in and organised our name tags, we were greeted with a nourishing breakfast spread to kickstart our morning before we gathered to listen and learn. This consisted of granola, coconut yogurt, fresh fruit, freshly brewed coffee (I was in heaven) and so much more.

The guest speakers for the event were..

  • Katie Mulherin – cofounder of Duo Pr (@duo.pr)
  • Sophia Aarons – freelance photographer (@sophiaaarons.creative)
  • Sophie Wright and Natalia Kants – digital content executives for P4 Group (@p4group)
  • Sarah Timmerman – CEO and founder of Beginning Boutique (@saraht_bb)
  • Kayla Boyd – social influencer (@kaylaboyd_)

Their presentations were held throughout the morning with a break for lunch and then followed on throughout the afternoon with a small break for afternoon tea. For lunch we were blessed with even more nourishing food, a DIY ‘nourish bowl’ spread. Now this, this was incredible. Having the opportunity to put together a nourish bowl with everything you could think of is my kind of perfect lunch (and check out the beautiful celebration cake which we had for afternoon tea – wow). I followed up my lunch by making a warming turmeric superfood latte on almond milk to keep me grounded yet energised for the rest of the afternoon.

My favourite key takeaways from the event were..

  • analytics and insights are one of the major keys to digital marketing success
  • when doing a photo shoot make a run sheet (I am definitely doing this for my next photo shoot)
  • know your audience, your goals and your budget when it comes to absolutely everything you do
  • true success takes time and persistence
  • ‘Stay in your lane and do what you do.’ – Kayla Boyd

There was a competition running throughout the day with 3 prizes to be one, all you had to do was get a little creative by posting a photo of the event during the event, and guess who won third prize. I was absolutely blown away to be chosen for the photo I posted (made me think once again that I continue to doubt myself more than I should).

I won this divine magnesium pack from @thebasecollective. So grateful (shout out to Sophia Aarons for telling me I ticked all the photography boxes and absolutely making my day). At the end of the event we got to say our thank you’s and our goodbyes, and also all left with the most amazing goodie bag.

Thank you so much to the founders of Real Women Co who were also hosts of this event, Jacqui (@therealmissbliss) and Katherine (@kbsugarfree), you two are total game changers, thank you for everything. I’m so proud to be a member of something so empowering.

It’s safe to say that this event was everything to me. I most definitely did learn, nourish and network my heart and soul out throughout the entire day. I went to this event totally alone, which can be scary, but it’s always worth the challenge and the growth. I ended up meeting so many beautiful, like-minded, supportive women that opened their arms and hearts to me as soon as we met, of whom I cannot wait to connect and spend more time with in the future.

If you would like to know more about Real Women Co or are interested in attending the next Women in Business workshop you can learn more at..

Instagram @realwomenco

Website www.realwomenco.com

I am so grateful to have opportunities like this because of my passion project, this blog. This event will be up there on my list as one of my favourite experiences of being a blogger, I’ll never forget heading out into the world for the first time as a true ‘Lifestyle Blogger’ – business cards in hand. It still makes my heart burst when I say I’m a blogger out loud rather than just write about it, because I am, it’s what I’m passionate about, it’s what sets my soul on fire, and I’m owning it. I would never have had the confidence to attend an event like this as a blogger without you though, my sparkling readers.. so thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support, you are helping me build a future I didn’t even know I could.

All my love,

 

Why I Love Taking Myself Out for Coffee

Want to go out for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even just a coffee, and have no one to do it with? Well darling, I say that you should go anyway (because you deserve it).

Going on solo dates for some reason, for a lot of people, is a bit ‘taboo’, it’s as if you can’t be in public alone at a table and actually enjoy yourself, without feeling like everyone is starring at you. For me, solo dates are one of my favourite things to do by myself, and these days I couldn’t care less about what people think of me when I’m out on my own date, enjoying myself, while everyone is looking at me (they aren’t looking at me though let’s be real – they’re too busy glued to their phones!).

When you go on a solo date not only do you get to choose where you go, but you only have ‘you’ to worry about when you get there too (trust me when I say.. single chair tables are usually the best in the house – think cosy corners and beautiful views, just for you). You can also order what you want (without judgement), you can stay as long as you want, you can read in peace, write or draw, and one of my favourite things to do when I go on a solo date is to simply ponder, about everything and anything that comes to mind, or nothing at all.. coffee in hand.

I don’t know why we are all so scared of going it alone, in life itself down to the simplest of situations like taking yourself out for coffee. For me, taking myself out for coffee is one of my favourite things to do because it’s total me time, it’s completely for me, it’s 10, 15, 20 minutes where all I have to worry about is the here and now, the heat of my coffee cup in my palm, the awakening aroma, the intense fresh blend (it’s usually more like half hour to an hour though, I soak up these solo dates and squeeze out as much goodness as possible – and order another coffee while I’m there, of course).

Just to be clear, to take yourself on a solo date you do not need to be ‘single’ to do so (I’m in a long term relationship and I do it all the time, because he knows how much I love it and how good it is for me to have my me time), you could also be the most sought after person in your family and friends weekend schedules, and you can still take yourself on a solo date without them, absolutely you can, and you should. There is no harm in doing things on your own, if anything it’s extremely beneficial, it’s confidence building and it’s character building. You can even take time to meet new people or even have a small conversation with the staff members where you are. They could go an entire shift without a good conversation, and you taking a moment not just to make your order, but to ask them how they are (and mean it), might literally make their day (try not to talk about the weather though, everyone does that, put some effort in.. ask them what their favourite cuppa or blend is!).

Coffee is a great way.. to spend time with YOU.

I hope you’ve found some solo inspiration to show society that sitting alone, drinking your beautiful fresh cup of coffee (or tea for my tea lover readers out there), in a little cafe full of personality, is something to be envious of, not looked down upon. I for one think this simple ritual, could in fact be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

All my love,

 

Slowing Down While on Holiday’s

As I sit here on my parents balcony, drinking coffee, listening to the birds singing, the ocean breeze across the road, the busyness of the cars driving past getting ready for their Easter long weekend with family as I am with mine, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to really sink in and write an organic in-the-moment blog post, something I actually haven’t done before as most of mine are pre-planned, pre-written and pre-scheduled due to my full time job taking up most of my week, so I write content in advance whenever I can. I am though a lover of blog posts that I read where I can feel the environment of the writer in that moment, their emotion and their purpose behind the writing, I love feeling like I’m there with them, a part of their story.

Is there anything better than the smell of the ocean? I feel incredibly blessed to wake up to it when I am home visiting my parents. Each morning I will wake when my body tells me it’s time to get up, make a hot coffee and then walk across to the beach to enjoy it, slowly, in peace and quiet, just me, the ocean, sand between my toes, and my fresh cuppa.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about my little solo morning beach dates or why the title of this blog post is what is it, it’s because from my own personal experience (let’s say past experience because my ideals have changed a lot over the years), not a lot of us take holidays to slow down and just be, so many of us, myself included, for whatever reason end up filling our days to the brim with catch ups, and to do’s, more catch up’s, and more to do’s, in order to feel like our holiday is ‘fulfilled’, but have you ever gotten to the end of your holiday and felt absolutely exhausted? I don’t know about you, but I raise my hand high for his one.

Sometimes it’s hard to slow down when the only time we get to spend with our families might be over holidays like at Easter, but it’s the moments in between the catch ups what need’nt be filled up, it’s the fridge that’s already filled, or the esky that is already overflowing with drinks, that need’nt be filled up (again), it’s the need not to do’s that I’m talking about. It’s also how so many of us go away on these beautiful holiday’s, only to be caught on a gorgeous beach or in a beautiful little cafe glued to our phones, admiring what we could be admiring in person instead for a little longer. I am a blogger yes, I do use my phone and my computer while I am away, yes, but in fact, I don’t use it like I would on a normal day to day basis, I make a strong concious effort not to, I put it out of sight when I’m done doing what I need to do and carry an actual camera with me to take photos on, because what’s important are the people that are in front of me, beside me, and all of the little moments in between that become the fondest memories.

I thought I would share with you some of my favourite ways to slow down while on holiday’s (and yes, all of these include putting your phone away)

  • read a book, actually read a book, even if it’s a chapter or two a day, in the morning and then one in the evening, there is no reason you cannot finish a book on your holiday’s (it’s amazing what you can actually accomplish when your phone is out of sight and out of mind)
  • make a cuppa in an actual coffee cup and go somewhere with it, even if you take it and sit on the grass in the yard, soak it up, bask in the sunshine, coffee can most certainly be enjoyed in more places than just a chair or the couch (I love the looks I get when I take mine to the beach of a morning – because why not, I mean I can’t explain it, but it’s strangely exhilarating sitting on the beach with a ceramic coffee cup for some reason)
  • leave the car at home and go for a walk or a bike ride, and make a special effort to notice nature, all the different birds, flowers and trees, for me this is such a grounding experience, noticing life without expectation (it’s amazing what you notice when you aren’t looking down at a screen – though if you really want to take photos I highly recommend putting away your phone and opting for a traditional camera, this way you can still be present whilst making hard copy memories)
  • search your holiday area for a group class to do like yoga, I’ve done 2 since I’ve been on holiday’s, and it will be 3 by the time this is published, I’ve made new friends and even been invited for coffee with them post practice (stepping out of your comfort zone is always worth it – you’ll never regret a workout)
  • if you’re tired.. take a nap! Something that we tend to avoid when we are in the chaos of our lives, but when we are on holiday’s why should one feel guilty for wanting to rest and dream and rejuvenate (this really is the ultimate way to slow down and turn off – I highly [highly] recommend naps)

Even with all of the above said, still I’m not perfect at slowing down, not even close. Sometimes I still find that when I am on holiday’s, every now and then I can find myself feeling a little tense, because I’m not go, go, go all of a sudden, and then I question myself if maybe I am bored and then feel like I need to go out and do something to fix this tense feeling, but trust me, doing is not the answer, spending money is most likely not the answer either (and bored is an awful word – when doing nothing is actually a blessing). So these days instead of doing when I’m feeling like this I force myself to stop, I will take a deep breath, take a step back, and if I am feeling up to it only then I will do something of the above or alike, my two favourite things ‘to do’ when I’m feeling tense being reading and taking a nap (two of which that I find the hardest to get myself to do at the time – but seem to be the most beneficial).

There is no reason that we should feel guilty for not doing ‘everything’ on our holiday’s, there is no reason to feel guilty for not catching up with every single person whom you promised you would, you are important too, you know? In fact, you are a priority just as much as anything else in your life, and believe me when I say that slowing down, even if only a couple of times a day during each day of your holiday’s will benefit you and your family more than burning yourself out, on your holiday (it’s a thing trust me – overdoing holiday’s, I’ve been there..).

I hope this organically written blog post inspires you to try to slow down on your holiday’s, by choice, to not fill your days up so much that you have no space to breathe, to make time to breathe. Holiday’s don’t automatically equal rest, you have to choose to rest.

All my love,