My 2018 Reading List

Photo by Kelly Adams Photography

As mentioned in my ‘My 2018 Goals‘ blog post, I thought it was about time I let you, my sparkling reader, in on the books that are on my to-read list this year. I, like many I believe, am not very good at actually finishing a book. I, like many, love buying books and adding them to my collection, but find it difficult year after year to actually get around to reading them. This year I’m changing that, I’m really going to try (and I’m writing this blog post to hold myself accountable).

In 2018 I plan to read 12 books, which obviously equals out to be one a month. To be honest, I am not going to be too hard on myself if I don’t make the 12 by the end of the year, but if I even read half a dozen, I’m doing better than I ever have during any other year in the past.

I don’t know what it is about reading that I am so intrigued by, but I really do love it when I’m in the midst of a book, I find it almost magical the way you are transported somewhere else or after each page are awoken to new knowledge. I know that a lot of what you read in books (I’m talking non-fiction), sure you could Google about instead if you really wanted to, but for me it really is about the smell, the feeling, the love poured into books by the author that makes my soul tingle. I haven’t yet gone digital when it comes to reading, so you won’t see a Kindle on my bedside table, maybe one day when I travel, but for now all of my books are beautiful real in hand copies (the scent of a book new or old, really is one of those scents that takes you somewhere else – a Kindle can’t give you that).

The books on my reading list this year are..

  • ‘Chasing Slow’ by Erin Loechner
  • ‘Open Wide’ by Melissa Ambrosini
  • ‘The Barefoot Investor’ by Scott Pape
  • ‘Becoming Brave’ by Katie Dean
  • ‘Slow’ by Brooke McCalary
  • ‘Judgement Detox’ by Gabrielle Bernstein
  • ‘Braving the Wilderness’ by Brene Brown
  • ‘Earth is Hiring’ by Peta Kelly
  • ‘Purpose’ by Lisa Messenger
  • ‘Low Tox Life’ by Alexx Stuart
  • (to be confirmed)
  • (to be confirmed)

These books aren’t in a particular to-read order because it really depends on what I feel like reading when I’m choosing my next one. I will update this post as I read these books and add any others I plan to read.

I would love reading to become a hobby of mine, like writing is. I would love for me to be eager to pick up a book instead of turning on technology in my down time to entertain me. I hope that through motivating myself to read more often this year, that I will crave to read and continue it on year after year, not just for 2018.

I would love to know if you have read any of the above books, if you have any recommendations for me to fill up my last 2 to-read titles or what you are planning to read or have read this year in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss any updates to my reading list or any book reviews in the future.

All my love,

Podcasts I Love + Reviews

When I’ve written or spoken about podcasts, the first question I’m asked is, ‘How and where do I begin listening to podcasts?’. Well, firstly I must tell you that I can’t speak for Androids as I am an iPhone lover, so if you too have an iPhone you will have a pre-installed app called ‘Podcasts’. Now, it can be deleted so if you can’t find it just re-download it from the App Store. From here you can search for the podcast you want to listen to or browse by category, too easy. Also, if the host has a YouTube channel sometimes they upload the podcasts to here as well, or if they have a website or blog sometimes they link it through there too. Podcasts are also free to listen to, from what I can tell so far there is no catch.

Make sure your phone and headphones are at the ready, cuppa in hand if you’re like me. I can’t wait to share with you some of my favourites I’ve quite literally binged listened to..

Podcast: ‘Mindfulbiz’ (

Subject: Business/Health/Wellness

Host: Alison Morgan


Alison creates episodes full of tips and tricks for a range of topics around businesses of all kinds, she also interviews people from a variety of health and wellness businesses from start up to flourishing, the behind the scenes, their ups and their downs and their own tips and tricks for how to make it happen.

My Review

I first started listening to this podcast when I needed some personal inspiration for my own journey, not (yet) a business, but I was losing love for something I had put a lot of work and energy into creating and building. I don’t believe that you have to have things up and running in order to learn, I believe the key is to always be learning and never stop no matter the stage you are at in your endeavours. I also discovered some of what are now my favourite brands from this podcast, and I am so glad that I did (aka name drop Matcha Maiden I’m looking at you!). So, whether you are starting off with a little online community like me and are looking for inspiration for content or your audience, or are about to ‘start’ a start up, you won’t regret this podcast subscription.

Some of My Favourite Postcast Episodes

  • Branding and Personality with Sarah Holloway from Matcha Maiden
  • Vision Into a Reality with Terry from The Source Bulk Foods
  • From Blogger to Business Owner with Laura from My Pollyana Lifestyle Blog and store Hero Stockbridge

Podcast: ‘The Melissa Ambosoni Show’ (

Subject: Health/Wealth/Love

Host: Melissa Ambrosini


Melissa interviews incredibly passionate and dedicated souls in their field from all around the world. Some of which I now highly admire, and without this podcast they might still be missing from my life. You name it, she’s spoken to someone, somewhere about it. What I love most though is that a lot of the people Melissa interviews are people who have impacted her or her loved ones lives in a big way, so they are chosen out of personal experience, not just qualifications, meaning a lot of their stories are highly relatable, and if not relatable they are someone you will soon realise that you want to know too.

My Review

I am, in short, addicted to this podcast. From the very first episode I knew it was love at first listen, I was totally hooked. Some of the episodes have been life-changing for me personally. I have learnt so much and taken a lot on board that I need to work on, and gained a whole lot of knowledge for my future that I cannot wait to utilise. It is seriously filled with so much goodness about health, wealth and love. I promise you after a few episodes you will leave with everything you came for and so much more. This podcast subscription is more than worth your time.

Some of My Favourite Podcast Episodes

  • #3 How to Solve All Your Problems with Dr John Martini
  • #5 Heal Your Gut Heal Your Life with Kirsty Wirth
  • #17 How Yoga (Litterally) Saved My Life with Bhava Ram

Podcast: ‘The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke McCalary’ (

Subject: Slow/Simple Living/Minimalism

Host: Brooke McCalary


Brooke interviews a range of people on the same or similar path as her and her family, focused around slow, simple and minimalist living. Her and her husband (and co-host) Nick also do ‘Hostful’ episodes where they answer questions from their listeners. I truly believe that in our fast paced world, taking on a few of the tips, tricks and ideas from these episodes will change your life, or at least give you insight into where you want to go and the person you want to be.

My Review

This has to be one of my most favourite podcasts. Brooke and Nick are relatable, funny and kind hearted. How I actually came across this podcast was after reading Brooke’s book ‘Destination Simple’, which I have done a book review on (you can read it here Book Review: Destination Simple by Brooke McAlary). Trust me when I say this podcast subscription is life changing.

Some of My Favourite Podcast Episodes

  • #22 Cait Flanders on Simple Money and Mindful Budgeting
  • #31 Low-tox Living with Alexx Stuart
  • #38 Zero Waste Living with Bea Johnson

I hope you enjoyed my very first review of podcasts on SPARKLE on darling. If you have listened to or listen to any of these 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

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:

I found out about Destination Simple from a Dymocks catalogue earlier this year, which is also where I purchased it from ( 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


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

All my love,