I’ve recently gotten back into my fitness journey (full story to come about this in another blog post), and thought a fun blog post to do to kick off this journey that I’ll be sharing with you overtime here on SPARKLE on darling, would be to firstly share with you what’s in my gym bag right now.
When I go to the gym before work during the week I need to take a lot more with me than if I were to go on the weekend, when I would really only need a towel and a water bottle. So, I invested in a large gym bag which now allows me to take with me all of my essentials that enable me to workout, have a shower and get ready all at the gym without the need to go home before I head to the train station.
I’m a lover of creature comforts, so in order for me to want to get ready at the gym I pack everything I would use if I were to get ready at home of a morning. I don’t often wear makeup during the week though so lucky for me I don’t have to pack any of that, but I have packed everything else!
These are my current gym bag essentials..
gym bag by Lorna Jane (honestly it is by far my favourite gym/overnight/travel bag I’ve ever owned. I love all of the different compartments, and it also has two large zippable seperate compartments either side to put your worn gym gear in, which is seriously amazing if you got your sweat on!)
cleanser + moisteriser with pouch by Onne Beauty (travel size)
bodywash, shampoo + conditioner by Nature’s Organics (I found these super cute silicone travel tubes from Priceline for my shower products so I don’t have to take my full size products with me, and they are unreal – spill free too)
Post workout essentials..
small protein shaker (with a scoop of protein in it on the day, then I fill it up with chilled water from the gym and shake it up before I leave)
Of course I also have with me in my gym bag my entire work outfit for the day, which isn’t pictured here, but would include my lingerie, outfit and shoes.
I hope you enjoyed this little peak into what’s currently in my gym bag. Do you use a gym bag? If so, comment below what your essentials are and how you keep them. I love new ideas and learning how other people go about their daily life.
As promised I wanted to let you in on my goals for 2018. I have chosen to focus on goals rather than ‘resolutions’ for the pure fact that it gives me direction, without the pressure. I’m not looking for a solution to problems, I’m just wanting to better myself and my life.
If you follow me on my personal Instagram @chloeawilson or if you have read my previous blog post (read it here ‘Should You Keep a Hard Copy Diary + Why I Still Do’), you would already know what my goals are for this year, if not, I’m here to spill the beans (or goals in this case), and of course since I can go a lot more in depth here on my blog, I certainly will. I can’t wait to share these with you and further keep myself accountable to make it happen.
Part of my New Year challenge was to ‘Set Goals’, specifically 3 small goals and 2 big goals.
My 3 small goals..
Eat at home more often than out (so far so good!), and in the process find love for cooking all over again.
Create and make my own beauty products (I’ve already got a beautiful ‘DIY’ beauty book and the cutest glass jars, and of course I plan to blog about these in the future if they work for me which would be really exciting).
Choose to go on active dates and adventures instead of somewhere to spend money such as a shopping centre (think river walks, mountain climbs followed by BYO picnics).
Read, read, read
I am that person who has a pile of beautiful books sitting in the bedroom, on the shelf, that I’m forever ‘meaning to read’, this year I’m changing that.
I’m holding myself accountable to pick 1 book each month to read and finish.
This month I have chosen to read ‘Chasing Slow’ by Erin Loechner.
Get back into yoga
I have said this a lot throughout my journey, but I truly feel like yoga is the one exercise, the one practice, where I truly flourish and gain a lot from, I feel like it really is part of my path.
I want to get back into it properly this time by actually sticking to it and making it part of my daily/weekly/monthly rhythm (I’ve already attended a soulful yoga class in the first week of this year to get the ball rolling and it was absolute bliss).
I have booked myself into an 8 week yoga course (though it is only 1 class a week I’m super excited to begin and I think it will still make the biggest difference beyond the mat, which to me is the goal of practicing yoga).
My 2 big goals..
Become ‘financially’ healthy
Rid myself of and say ‘no’ to any more unhealthy debt, once and for all.
Learn more about money (‘The Barefoot Investor’ is also on my reading list this year).
Spend smarter on small everyday and longterm items (I want to really start focusing on investing in my ‘needs’ rather than my wants).
Go somewhere I’ve never been
I’m going to write an actual travel bucket list (writing things down for me really helps it stick!).
See more of the beautiful country I already live in (I live in Australia for my overseas readers).
I would love to go overseas, and my above goal of becoming financially healthy will help make this happen.
Of course in amongst all of the above one of my goals is to work even harder on this passion project of mine, SPARKLE on daring, and to give it my absolute all this year. I want to put writing first and start putting my ideas for this blog into action. I have so much bouncing around in my head and already in the works, I’m bursting to share it all with you. Hint: ‘Meal Prep by Clo’, a new blog post series coming February 2018 to SPARKLE on darling.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my goals for 2018. If you would like to share some of yours, I would love you to do so in the comments below. We are in this together, my sparkling reader.
How good does a New Year feel? I love the feeling of starting again, trying new things and becoming a better version of myself. I say ‘better you’ because ’new you’ to me puts pressure on you to change who you already are. We don’t need to change, we need to find gratitude within our bodies and our lives, for everything we already have, what we can always do though is be better and do better.
A lot happened in my life in 2017, some unfortunate things, but a lot of good happened too. If you have been a reader of mine from the beginning you would know that I actually launched this blog, SPARKLE on darling, my passion project, in 2017. This blog is everything to me, building a community is everything to me. I am so proud of everything I have achieved so far with this blog, though still small in the scheme of an online platform, it’s continually growing and I am bursting to share 2018 with you and everything that’s to come for SPARKLE on darling. Thank you to everyone who supported me during the lead up to my blog launch and after, my family and friends for inspiring me to make it happen, my photographer Kelly from Kelly Adams Photography for helping me bring my vision to life with beautiful imagery, and finally my boyfriend, who is my best friend and my soulmate, for putting up with my breakdowns and for being there during my breakthroughs, for looking after me when I had some really late nights the week before launch and for being my blog post editor, I could NOT have done it without all of you. I will be forever grateful for everything you have all done for me.
I allowed 2017 to be very organic, I went with the flow a lot more and whatever I achieved I achieved, I learnt and I grew. I want 2018 to be similar, but at the same time I’m feeling extremely inspired to work even harder to achieve more of my dreams. I have so many ideas that I want to share with you and bring to life, things that I want to do, things that I want to create, events that I want to hold, and I feel 2018 is my year to make it all happen. You know when you feel so inspired that you feel unstoppable, that’s how I feel right now. In all honesty it’s a feeling I haven’t been this sure of for a very long time. Over the last few years I’ve been in some pretty dark places within myself, but today I can happily say I’ve overcome it, that I’ve made it, that I am excited about the future.
New Year inspiration..
You are not what happened last year, you are who you choose to be today.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals, work on one at a time and own it.
Give more, kindness is priceless and can be life changing.
Mix up your catch ups with active dates and adventures, think a walk before coffee or a mountain climb.
Make 2018 the year to slow down and enjoy the little things.
Challenge yourself (see below for details of my New Year Challenge).
My mantra for 2018..
I would love to know your New Year mantra in the comments below. We are in this together.
For those that are interested and are looking for some New Year inspiration I will be hosting a New Year challenge over on my personal Instagram account @chloeawilson that I would absolutely love for you to be a part of with me. The challenge will run from 1 to 7 January 2018, and on each day I will post a task for you to do (these will be live each morning). I will be doing a blog post dedicated to this challenge as a whole as well once it’s finished so that anyone at any time can refer to it or do it in their own time throughout the year.
As I sit here on New Year’s Eve with my MacBook Air on my lap, coffee in hand, on my loving parents balcony of my childhood home, ocean in front of me and my soulmate next to me, I feel so blessed, I feel like I’m absolutely overflowing with gratitude.
Happy sparkling New Year my sparkling readers! May New Year’s Eve be full of memories and happy ending’s, and your New Year be full of new adventures and more SPARKLE than you ever imagined. Thank you for all of your support during 2017. Hello 2018, I’m ready for you.
On 7 October 2017, SPARKLE on darling turned 3 months old. Still pretty fresh in the internet stratosphere for a blog, but these 3 months were a learning curb and a half, so I wanted to share with you from launch until now what I went through during this time being a new blogger and what I learnt blogging in the big world wide web, what I’m still learning and where my future vision lies for SPARKLE on darling.
I want to start by saying (given the name of my blog) that these first 3 months haven’t been all SPARKLE at all, there’s still been a lot of self doubt, tears and anxiety around what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and if it’s all worth it. It’s not an easy feat having any kind of social platform or site on the internet, especially when it’s for public viewing. It takes a lot of ‘I don’t care what people think’ pep talks to publish content and stay present, to stay true to your path and your vision. I think we sometimes forget that there’s a real person with feelings behind the content online, putting it together and questioning their every move before they hit publish. This is something I still struggle with regularly over on my personal Instagram account @chloeawilson, and sometimes here too, but I’m working on it every single day and I don’t intend on giving up.
I’ve learnt that being raw and real in a public space doesn’t come easy to anyone, no matter who you are, you have to work hard and not give up, it takes a lot of heart and courage to show up and embrace who you really are.
I work full time so a lot of my personal down time goes into writing and creating content for posts, in saying that I remember reading when I first started working on my blog that you must have content backed up and ready to go when you are blogging in order to be successful. Well, let me tell you that I’ve missed a couple of weekly posts already from mental and physical exhaustion (eg. sleeping all weekend) and lack of love and inspiration to write, edit and hit publish, hello real life. I originally started posting on Fridays and then realised that this soon became stressful for last minute editing as I work Monday to Friday, so I made the decision within a couple of weeks from launch to move publishing to Sundays. This as much as it was different from my original plan and the fact I knew it would hugely affect my readers stats, for me this was my first smart blogging decision I made as a new blogger because I started enjoying the process all over again.
I’ve learnt that you can always change the path you are on, that there is no right or wrong way to do ‘life’, as long as you are enjoying the ride.
I remember hitting publish to launch my blog and not knowing what to expect. I made a pact to myself to go against the grain of my organised personality and keep my blogging experience and SPARKLE on darling as organic as possible. I made the decision to take the stats on the shoulder from the very beginning and write from my heart no matter what, never for the ‘numbers’. On the first night SPARKLE on darling had 580 views, since then it has not reached that height, but it has still been a beautifully fulfilling journey as each view, some days there might only be one, is still someone out there finding my blog on the internet and choosing to click on it and read my content (which still feels surreal). When I first started my Instagram account @chloeawilson, I was of the view and still am, that if I inspire just one person or make someone smile, that is success and numbers can never surpass that. It’s hard not to compare your online journey though to someone else’s success, but for me keeping my online presence organic is what has and will continue to set me apart. I want to be relatable throughout it all, which is another reason why I really wanted to write this particular blog post, I wanted to show that behind closed doors blogging is hard and full of emotion, that these aren’t just words on the screen, that every sentence means something to me.
I’ve learnt that you can’t buy authenticity, you have to own it to earn it, and that this in the online world is the most valuable legacy.
Further I would love to share with you some of the stats of where my blog is at. As a brand new sparkling blog it can take a little while to get things moving. It’s said it can take from 6 months to up to two years to get regular traction on a blog or site on the internet. There is so much to consider when it comes to SEO (search engine optimisation), plugging it through social media platforms and financially funding advertising on your blog and vice versa. I once again made the choice in the very beginning to keep it as organic and relaxed as possible, following my heart and doing what felt right with my new journey. Being the one and only #girlboss of my blog right now I still have a lot to learn when it comes to all of these and a long way to go, but needless to say I’m pretty proud of SPARKLE on darling and what the future holds.
Here are some of the raw and real statistics from 7 July 2017 until now:
Blog Views on Launch Day 580
Total Blog Views until Present 3000+
Location Viewed 30 different countries from around the world
Email Subscribed Followers 36
WordPress Reader Blog Post Likes 15
Blog Post Comments 3 (like Instagram I feel like this is one of the hardest stats to grow with passive followers being the majority)
Blog Post Shares 6
Blog Post Count 17 (18 including this one)
Google Ranking Number #1 when searching ‘SPARKLE on darling’ (stat I’m most proud of!)
I’ve learnt that if you really want something that you can always make it happen.
On a final note let’s talk raw and real for a moment, just because someone is a ‘wellness/health/fitness’ blogger doesn’t mean it comes naturally to them, that they always have made and still make the best choices and follow strict routines. Nobody is born to meditate daily, drink green smoothies when they first wake up or workout regularly for an entire year. People become wellness/health/fitness bloggers because they wanted to make change within themselves, to their bodies and their lives, and then share this with the world from a place of love to inspire others. From personal experience and knowledge I have of some close friends in the same niche, we didn’t start here. To be brutally honest I could write a little black book of my past. I’ve been in some extremely dark and toxic places, but it’s because of this, my past, my story, that I found this world of feeling good and learning to look after myself. That’s why writing is so important to me, it gives me the opportunity to share my story in the hope that how I deal with everyday life might help others too, hence welcome SPARKLE on darling to my story line.
I’ve learnt to embrace my past because that is what has lead me to be who I am today, everyone has a chapter one and it never looks the same as the middle, but it’s still a crucial part of the story.
I hope you enjoyed this ‘behind the screen’ update about my blogging journey so far. I know how long it took me to pursue this dream of mine, so writing blog posts like this is my way of giving back to my beautiful readers and hopefully inspiring another aspiring blogger to do the same, to chase their dream of creativity into the online world. I know first hand that it can be extremely daunting at first, and that it takes a lot of hard work and commitment, but I promise you a thousand times over that it’s worth it, no matter what, it’s always worth following what you know is your truth. You may feel like there are already enough ‘bloggers’ or creatives out there doing their thing, let me be the first to tell you that that is total rubbish (throw it in the recycle bin), nobody is doing what you will do because nobody is you, and this is your biggest asset. The world needs your SPARKLE.
Do you feel pressured to find the perfect balance in your life? The balance between work and health and play? I know that feeling all too well. The pressure behind having to do it all to be happy. This pressure is not only heavy on our shoulders which therefore affects our wellbeing (contradiction right), it doesn’t help create balance at all, for me personally I find the connotation behind balance to be stressful and in my personal opinion, overrated.
Most of us don’t live a life where we can find perfect ‘balance’ on a daily basis. We go to bed unsure of how we are going to feel when we wake up, we don’t know what’s ahead and the reality is that we don’t really know what might happen at any given moment that could throw us a curve ball, this all leads to balance not being a feasible approach to life. I use to believe in it, I have read so many articles about how to find it, how to create it and how to make it happen, until I couldn’t find it, I couldn’t create it and I couldn’t make it happen in amongst the chaos of life, which is why I now ‘blend’ instead.
Blending for me came about when I heard Lisa Messenger talk at the Utopia Women’s Wellness event in Brisbane back in 2015. She too doesn’t believe in balance, but instead believes in blending all the things you need to do with all the things you should do along with the things you love without the pressure of the perfect mix. She believes in working hard, looking after yourself and enjoying life, but with no set ‘routine’ on how to do it, but just to do it and do it when it works and feels good for you. I had a personal epiphany when she spoke of ‘blend’ instead of balance like I’d heard so many other health and wellness advocates out there preach about, it affected me on such a deep level that I’ve never forgotten it. It truly was a total life changing moment for me during my personal journey when suddenly all of this pressure and expectation was lifted off my shoulders all at once, when I stopped focussing on balance once and for all. I’ll be forever grateful for her wisdom that day.
So how do I blend? Well, firstly I threw my ‘routines’ out the window and welcomed with open arms a list of the things I need to do, should do and love to do, except this time in no particular order just that I want to do them on a daily/weekly basis and that this would be enough. This change of mindset was everything. I went from feeling like I needed to fit all these extra to do’s around my Monday to Friday, 8.30 to 5 job on a daily basis, at a particular time, the perfect percentage of each, to falling in love with each and every to do all over again, instead of resenting them or just not ‘having the time’. I still get it all done, but in my own time and in time.
Some days all I focus on is work and that’s ok, others are all about my health and wellbeing, some days I fit in both, and then other days I do nothing but self love. It’s very rare anymore that I try and fit everything in on one day or week. I never try to ‘balance’ it all or anything at once anymore, I guess you can say I went from a strict pressured ‘routine’ to get it all done and ticked off to living an organic rhythmic life. Through blending I’ve found true happiness and peace within the everyday no matter what I do, and I won’t ever look back.
How to Blend
Stop telling yourself you have to find the perfect work/life balance, because you don’t!
Get rid of that over populated daily to do list and look up bullet journalling to ease the pressure (you can thank me later).
Realise that ‘life happens’ so if you don’t get something done today that there is always tomorrow, take the pressure off yourself once and for all.
Don’t look at anything in life in a ratio that you need to achieve, try to go with the flow a little more.
Focus more on your life than what others are doing, tust me when I say that they haven’t found the perfect ‘balance’ either, because there isn’t one.
Work all day today, play all day tomorrow, there’s no rule book that says any two days need to look the same.
Know that you can change your course at any given time, when you blend you are the driving force behind each moment, HELLO Blend Queen (or King).
I had so much fun writing this blog post and sharing with you something that I hold very close to my heart, something that has totally changed the way I live my life for the better, and forever. If you have a ‘balance’ story or you blend as well I would love to hear about it in the comments below.BLEND over balance, every single day.
I have always been asked a lot, ‘How do you stay motivated?’, in all honesty, I don’t, and I don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘staying’ motivated every minute of every day, week or month, I do though believe in creating motivation. One of my favourite quotes when it comes to motivation, ‘There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.‘ – Unknown. This quote for me says it all.
Therefore this is not about ‘staying’ motivated, but about motivating yourself to live your best possible day, every day. I say ‘your best’ because there are so many factors that can change how we feel each day, there are so many things that can happen throughout our journeys, which is why I believe that motivation can look different for everyone, and is always changing throughout our lives depending on our values and situations.
With Spring soon on the horizon, I thought this was the perfect time to write an inspo post for anyone out there getting to this last quarter of the year and thinking, boy, there is so much more I want to do, so let’s talk Monday Motivation. Now your Monday may not be a Monday depending on your work life, home life etc. but these tips and tricks can be applied to any given day..
Do as much as you can on the last day of the working week rather than waiting until the start of the new one
I say this because in the past I did the opposite, I use to have the attitude that Friday, the last day of my working week, should be relaxing, I shouldn’t treat it like a Monday, it should be the easiest, right? Wrong. If we stop continually leaving everything until the next week, telling ourselves that for some reason we deserve to not be so busy and pushing whatever still needs to be done until the next week, guess what.. trust me when I say that Monday will soon become your favourite day of the week when you get to start it with less on your plate. The other reason I now do this is because I believe that weekends (or our days off), should be about making time for what we love and relaxation, we should feel we are able to switch off until the new week, and by staying focused on Friday’s, I’ve allowed myself to do this. I totally understand though that some weeks this is impossible when you get work coming your way right at the end of the day, emails to reply to, and the phone just won’t stop ringing, but that’s ok, that’s part of life. Not every week will be like this though, stay focused.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
On weekends we can tend to relax a little too much though, and procrastinate (I’ll put my hand up for both of these), but there comes a time when we need to set aside a little time to actually prepare for the week ahead if we are going to make it great. This can be in the form of checking our calendars or diaries to ensure we are aware of what we have on during the week ahead (mental preparation), meal prepping (I will be doing dedicated how to posts about this in the future) or even something so simple as packing our bag and/or laying out our clothes for the next day to save time and help ourselves start our mornings with ease. We mustn’t think of preparation as taking time away from ourselves and the things we’d ‘rather be doing’, we must try and think of it as preparing to succeed, as a way of motivating ourselves to stick to our plans, look after ourselves, and give ourselves the breathing room of a morning to actually enjoy our mornings, we must stay prepared.
Change your attitude towards a new week
When people say that Friday is their favourite day of the week, my first thought or response is that mine is Monday. I can’t even remember anymore why I use to not like this day so much. It seems to have such a negative vibe around it for some reason, especially on social media, but I say let’s start a movement to change this notion behind it, we all have the power to change this and learn to love it. A new week should be exciting, every new day we get to wake up and live out our lives is an absolute gift, we owe it to ourselves to treat it like it is. Monday is a fresh start, a new path and full of incredible opportunity to do what you do even better or change what you do for the better. If this day really isn’t working for you, and by the end of the week you are wishing you’d achieved more, then something has to change. There is no reason that you can’t achieve more, you need to believe that you can. For instance you could try and start your day with a motivating mantra, meditation, gratitude journaling, a nourishing breakfast, exercise, a new book or an inspiring podcast instead of using your energy in a negative way towards yourself and your life. I truly believe that motivation isn’t something that just happens, it doesn’t just pop into our lives, we have to create it, we have to stay inspired.
What do you do or will you do to create your Monday Motivation? Let me know in the comments below.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.