A Day In The Life: December 2014

Day In The Life

I always find it fascinating to see how people spend their days. For ages, I’ve wanted to take a photo every hour for a day, and then post it here. I didn’t quite manage that, but here are some snapshots from a day last week!

I woke up in my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand. It’s not a huge city by any stretch of the imagination: the population hovers at around 400,000… And it feels like it, too. Truly, everyone knows everyone.

Day In The Life

When I visit, I stay with my parents in their house which takes — ahem — exactly 17 minutes to drive to from the central city. In addition to timing things(!), my father also has an extremely green thumb. Wellington is very windy and exposed, so I have no idea how he manages to keep these yellow roses alive, but I love them. You can see the city in the distance.

You probably know what a gym bunny I am, but when I travel, despite my best intentions, my workout schedule goes out the window. When we’re teaching Blogcademy, we’re lucky to have two free days in a city, and they’re usually packed to the gills with activities and outings.

Well, since I had five days off in Wellington, a friend offered to take me through a workout (and also get me into his gym). I was so excited!


I had a few sachets of Aloha Premium Protein with me, because it makes a good meal replacement and I never travel without emergency back-up snacks! I’m also totally militant about eating before I go to the gym: without ample food, I can’t get through a workout with the ferocity I demand! Haha.

I love Aloha Premium Protein because it’s vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, and it’s not gritty (which is a problem most protein powders really suffer from). It tastes good enough that you don’t have to disguise the flavour, either. It’s perfect for travelling, because you don’t need to add 100 ingredients into the mix. I blended the Vanilla flavour with almond milk and some ice, chugged it down, and headed into the city.

After a quick tour of the gym, I met my friend, and we got cracking. The workout was relatively simple. We did exactly 8 minutes of cardio, some stretching to warm up, and then two sets of between 10 and 12 reps for each exercise. Even though it wasn’t super-intense, after a few minutes, I felt so happy! Working out really does keep me sane. The best way to describe it would be to say that it helps me maintain a constant undercurrent of joy in my life.


It was so funny going to the gym in Wellington, because there were literally only 3 other people using the weight machines. My friend had to wait approximately 30 seconds to use the pull-up bar, and equated that with the gym being busier than usual! It was amazing. When I go to the gym in NYC, I have to work in with other people on machines every single time!

There were no women to be seen, either. When I went back into the locker room after taking a sauna, it was completely empty. I danced naked in front of the mirror, because, you know… I could!


Before I headed down to the waterfront to meet my parents and have dinner, I couldn’t resist taking a peek in Karen Walker and The Service Depot. (I ended up snagging a few things, and telling myself I was doing my part to help the New Zealand economy!)

When I met up with my parents, we decided to take a walk along the waterfront before dinner. The waterfront in Wellington is loaded with art: there are statues, sculpture, and installations everywhere.


This is the back view of the statue from the top of the post. I love how he leans into the wind (Wellington’s trademark).


There’s a smattering of love lockets along one of the bridges, in the grand tradition of Pont des Arts (and many others). It’s still early days, but even though the collection is a little sparse right now, I still love it.


Heart-shaped locket! One of my favourites.


Small one + tall one. We love this harbour wall. Married in Wellington NZ, 01/10/2013. A new adventure.


Once we’d worked up an appetite, we had dinner at The Crab Shack. They do this cajun catch of the day with a potato hash that should be illegal, and chipotle coleslaw that blew my socks off. It was my last night in town before I flew home, so it was really nice to go out for a meal together as a family.


Despite working out, I couldn’t get through my entire meal. The portion was enormous! But eating leftovers is what fathers are for, right?!

Before heading home, we went for a drive to the top of Mt Victoria so we could look out at the city. My dad just got a selfie stick and he’s obsessed. We took a bunch of shots together, laughing the whole time. It’s so much fun to play tourist in your own city.


Oh, Wellington! You’re so moody and so beautiful. I can’t lie: I was really sad to leave. I had such a wonderful time, and I can’t wait to go back soon.

Love always,

This post was made possible by the babes at Aloha!

Radical Self Love Bootcamp

Don’t forget, Radical Self Love Bootcamp is available now at a very special price ($147)! Class kicks off on the 12th of January, and I’ll help you to create a highly individualised, very personal radical self love lifestyle that fills you with joy. You’ll learn daily rituals that will elevate your existence, discover tools and techniques to help you deal with stress and overwhelm, and create your own shortcuts to joy. The pre-sale is only open until the 21st of December (that’s this Sunday!), and in January, the price will go up! (Don’t miss out! BOOTCAMP CHANGES LIVES FOREVER!)

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Radical Self Love Letters

A 12 Year Old, A Dog, And A Real Life Princess!

The Blogcademy New York City

Our final American classes of the year were some of our favourites. One weekend we were in New York City, and the next we were in Washington D.C. (We took the train between the two cities, which was super fun and easy. Now I want to take the train everywhere! High five, Amtrak!)

Our class was generously sponsored by Rent PatinaThe Color Condition, and Love Grace, who supplied fantastic vintage furniture, enormous colourful streamer installations, and juice, respectively. Really, how can you not have a great time with a ginormous rainbow streamer wall behind you?!

New York — as always — was a class of characters, who had flown far and wide to join us. With an erotic painter, a career coach, the AstroTwins, and Jen Dziura in the mix, it couldn’t help but be a wicked mishmash of personalities!

Praise be to our smart, sexy, and oh-so-sassy interns, Latanya and Bethany, who came in from Connecticut and were worth their weight in GOLD.


I tried to talk Shauna into doing a rat on the NYC bag. She wasn’t having a bar of it! (Oh well. I did my best!) The Statue of Liberty is probably a more charming representative, anyway…


It’s always fun to teach across the bridge in Brooklyn, in a big, bright space!


During introductions, all eyes were on Francilla, who is from Rome, and has style to BURN!


I give props to the men who come along to our classes, especially when they come all the way from London, like this guy!




Sparkly ears help you think.


Latanya, we love you! (This babe came to our first ever class in NYC, and helped us out SO much this time around.)


We’re totally indebted to the geniuses at Love Grace for keeping us all hydrated and happy!


Our goodie bags were packed with lovely treats. This time we had sweet satin hair bows from Dark Pony Designs, turquoise head scarves from Remixed by Jacki, WordPress for Beginners books by Reeta Krishna, notebooks from Tigerlilly Quinn, tattoo transfers by Pepper Ink, decoden pill boxes from Luxy Loli, sterling silver jewellery from Sterling Forever, crochet scarves by The Pink Samurai, and of course glittery ears from Crown and Glory!


Nikki and Francilla have rockstar attitude on lock. Plus, Francilla was just featured in the New York Post!


New York state of mind!

A video posted by Gala Darling (@galadarling) on

Can I tell you a secret? D.C. was one of our best classes of the year. We went into it with no expectations — none of us had been there before — and what we discovered was truly delightful. Kat and I spent a day roaming around Georgetown, noshing on Sweet Green and exclaiming over & Love pizza. We also checked out some monuments… Doing our tourist duty!

In D.C. we had our first dog student (Harpo), our youngest babe (Anna, age 12), and our first real live princess! (It was kind of a big deal. How often do you meet genuine royalty?!) Now, that’s not to say that the rest of our blogcadettes were boring, because they certainly weren’t. We taught a fire-spinner, several photographers, an astrologer, a musician, a life coach, and dozens of other wonderful women.

Erica assisted us, and she was a life-saver. Merci beaucoup mama!


I love this shot of Shauna teaching. Gorge!


Melanie was totally “on brand” for Blogcademy… And she sure knows how to model a graduation certificate!


This is our youngest ever student, Anna. She’s in the Girl Scouts, and they have a blogging badge now! (How amazing is that?!) We hope that after two days with us at Blogcademy, she went back to her troop and taught them all a thing or two!


Our still life segment is perfect after lunch: it keeps everyone perky and their brains engaged! Plus, anything that encourages you to crawl around with your camera is good for your creativity!



The Blogcademy D.C.

Thank you, Erica!


We’d love to have you! We’ll be in Los Angeles, Austin, London, New York, San Francisco, Melbourne and Sydney… And we won’t be adding any new cities to the roster! Come and learn, laugh, party, and — most crucially — grow your business!

With love,

Photos by Cheyenne Mojica and A Muse Photography.

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What Does It Mean To Run A Heart-Centered Business (And How Can You Still Make Money)?

What Does It Mean To Run A Heart-Centered Business (And How Can You Still Make Money)?

What is a “heart-centered business”, and how can you run one while still making a profit? This term came up at the Radical End-Of-Year Party in Sydney. Just before we wrapped the evening, we took a few audience questions. One woman stood up, and said,

“I don’t want to be aggressively self-promotional. I want to run a heart-centered business. What are your top tips for doing that?”

I’ve been thinking about this ever since it was asked.

Firstly, let’s define “heart-centered business”. There are always new terms floating around, and before we jump right on them and adopt them as our own, I think it’s valuable to dissect them and figure out what they really mean.

I’d define a heart-centered business as one with a central mission of doing good. Maybe you’re showing people how to eat better, coaching them to a happier life, or giving them tools to help them grow their business, but whatever it is, it’s something you really believe will improve your customer’s life. Your aim is to improve the world in some way. Most female entrepreneurs that I meet are on this track: they’re doing something they love, and something they feel adds value to the world.

It might sound surprising, but I haven’t met a lot of people who are in business for themselves purely for profit. For most of us, money is not a big enough motivation. Money doesn’t usually keep us interested or challenged: there has to be a larger purpose.

This is the age of doing work that matters, and for most of us, if you feel like what you do doesn’t make an impact, no amount of money will keep you there.

Being heart-centered means that you’re adding light to the world. Of course you want to do something that adds value! It all makes perfect sense.

What Does It Mean To Run A Heart-Centered Business (And How Can You Still Make Money)?

This is the bit that I keep circling back around to. Heart-centered or not, you are running a business. A business is a profit-making venture. Anything else is a hobby.

The phrase “heart-centered business” is very female. In my lifetime, I have only met one man who used this phrase. In some ways, I wonder if saying your work is “heart-centered” is a way of skirting all those things we think of as being typically “unfeminine”: self-promotion, making a huge profit, being assertive (if not aggressive), and going after what we want.

The woman who asked this question at the Radical End Of Year Party was very clear about the fact that she did not want to be aggressive, pushy, or “salesy”. The idea of a heart-centered business felt much more comfortable to her.

Let’s be real. You don’t have to be aggressive in the way that you market yourself and your products, but you do have to market them! You don’t have to spam your customers or shout in all-caps on Twitter in order to make an impact or to promote what you do, but you do have to tell people what you’re doing! There are so many ways to market yourself in a non-douchey way; in fact, we have a Home School module on this very subject!

An easy way to assess whether your business tactics are shitty or short-sighted is to ask yourself whether your business would piss you off if you were a customer. For example, if getting three emails from a company every week aggravates you, don’t send three emails a week! Just do what you feel comfortable with. Don’t worry that maybe you’re being annoying and just don’t know it. People will always let you know!

There’s no need to yell from the mountaintops if that’s not your style. But you do need to be clear about what you do, who your customer is, and why you’re the clear choice. Otherwise, no one will buy what you’re offering. At The Blogcademy, when I teach women about writing a great About page, they are so hesitant to declare themselves as an expert, or even as someone worth listening to. If you don’t tell people they should pay attention to what you say, why would they?!

It is not bad to go after what you want, to state your needs, to have big goals, to be ambitious. It is not wicked to make money, or tell people about what you do. In fact, if you don’t do those things, your business will fail.

You are only as powerful as you will allow yourself to be, so stop playing small! Don’t shrink down to make other people comfortable. Don’t water it down. Don’t be Diet You. BRING IT! We need you!

By the way, all those people that come to mind when you think about “heart-centered business”? I know them. They’re wonderful, smart women. The thing they all have in common — aside from wanting to help others — is that they are 100% clear on the fact that they are running a business. As much as their focus is on adding value to other people’s lives, they are also thinking about the bottom line. They are not just messing around, and perhaps most crucially, they all have the killer instinct that is required to make a business sing. They are constantly planning, thinking, strategising. That’s an essential part of getting your business over the hurdle from good to great.

Let me reiterate: you don’t have to run your business in an aggressive, unpleasant way. You Don’t Have To Fuck People Over To Survive. It’s totally possible to do business in a positive, thoughtful way. But in order to make the impact you seek, you have to step into your power fully. You have to own it.

Sometimes that can be scary. But if you really want to add to the world, you have to stand up and be heard.

Big love,

Photos by the superbly talented Kate Dyer.

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How Do You Get Out Of A Creative Rut? (And Other Essential Blogging Questions)

The Blogcademy

How can you bust out of a creative rut? When are you too old to start blogging? How can you market your blog in the early days? And how do you schedule blogging around your everyday life? Good questions, babe! Luckily, we — as in me, Shauna, and Kat — have the answers!

While we were in Melbourne, living it up in a hotel for business travellers, we hosted a livestream, where, in addition to answering these questions (and more!), we also talked about Blogcademy Online, which launches in January!

You might also be wondering why, exactly, we were situated in a nondescript business hotel. Well, you’ll have to watch the video to find out. (Hint: the answer involves Alice Cooper… And a leather bed!)


We hope you enjoy hearing about our travel misadventures… And learn a little something along the way!

In other news, on Sunday we wrapped our last Blogcademy class of the year. It was fantastic to end 2014 in lovely Auckland, with such an enthusiastic and adorable group! We’ll be hitting the road again in February, and we’re doing a much smaller amount of classes in 2015, so if you’d like to join us, do NOT wait to book in!


February 28 – 1, 2015

March 7 – 8, 2015

June 13 – 14, 2015

September 12 – 13, 2015

September 19 – 20, 2015

December 5 – 6, 2015

December 12 – 13, 2015

Love forever,

Awesome confetti photo taken by Madeline Kate.

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A Beginner’s Guide To The Filofax: How To Plan Your Life, Kick Some Ass, And Make Magic… With Stationery!

A Beginner's Guide To The Filofax: How To Plan Your Life, Kick Some Ass, And Make Magic... With Stationery!

Oh, organisation. It’s a fetish. I love anything that helps me get things done more effectively, and as such, I’m a diehard Filofax nut. I wrote about my Filofax back in 2010, but ever since I posted an Instagram video of my rainbow pages fluttering (see below), I’ve had multiple requests for an update on how I “do” my Filofax.

If you’re not familiar, Filofax is a system that has been around for years. I remember my parents using them back in the 80s! Essentially, you choose a binder — in a colour and size which works for you — and then fill it with paper. It’s an enormously flexible system, which is why its popularity is so widespread and longstanding.

Most people use their Filofax in a fairly basic way: they pick a black organiser, fill it with white paper, plan their life in it, and move on. That’s great, but it is simply not my way. I cannot help but personalise, prettify, and pimp everything I get my hands on. That’s why my Filofax is a RAINBOW EXPLOSION. Anything can be made fun if you have the right resources… And that’s what I’m sharing with you today!

Full disclaimer: Filofax have sent me items in the past, which I appreciate. But I’m so keen on their system that I spend plenty of my own money on it! In fact, nothing in this post was gifted or sponsored. Hope this makes things super-clear!

A video posted by Gala Darling (@galadarling) on


The size of organiser you pick will dictate everything else: how portable your planner is, the size of paper you buy, and the way you use it. After all, the teeny ones are no good for mind-mapping, while the A5 will be terribly unwieldy if you’re using it for grocery lists at the supermarket.

After years of using the Personal size, I switched to the A5 planner this year, which I adore. It’s much bigger than the Personal, and I find it’s easier to write in simply because the pages are wider. I keep it open on my desk, but it’s not so enormous that it’s impossible to take it with you when you go elsewhere.

A Beginner's Guide To The Filofax: How To Plan Your Life, Kick Some Ass, And Make Magic... With Stationery!

The organiser I’m using is the A5 Original Organiser: it’s simple and beautiful, and bright as hell! Hunting down this neon pink colour was a bit of a mission. I first saw it in KaDeWe in Berlin, and fell in love, but like many consumerist love stories, decided I “didn’t need it”. Of course, once I got back to America, I became consumed with lust and spent hours combing the internet for it, because the colour was out of stock. I ended up buying it on Amazon.co.uk, but thank god, Filofax UK is selling them once again! (Sadly, the US site doesn’t even have neon pink listed.)

If I wasn’t rocking a neon pink Original, I’d probably go for the electric blue Finsbury ($103) or the hot pink Domino ($39). As you can see, there’s a style for every price-point. Just another reason to pledge my undying love to their glorious system!


Filofax offers a variety of paper to fill your organiser, but it’s not exactly what I’d call fun paper. The majority of their offerings are on plain white, and they have some pastel colours, but they’re not very dynamic.

I say, why go white when you can go rainbow?!

My Filofax is filled with rainbow inserts from Kiddy Qualia. Her store is — somewhat frustratingly — only open a few times a month. If you want to stock up on rainbow paper, you have to be strategic and place your orders when you can!

In terms of day-to-day scheduling, I still love Google Calendar for keeping appointments on track. It synchs with my phone, so I always have the details where I want them. But there’s nothing like making plans and to do lists on paper, and this is where the Filofax is so helpful.

A Beginner's Guide To The Filofax: How To Plan Your Life, Kick Some Ass, And Make Magic... With Stationery!

Here’s what inside my Filofax, aka “the guts”. I love how easy it is to change things out: since everything is held together with binder rings, it’s trivial to flick them open and reshuffle the contents whenever you please.

Every Filofax should contain a couple of ziplock pockets — they’re perfect for holding onto bits and bobs, flotsam and jetsam. The ziplock pocket in the front of my Filofax is filled with sequins… Just because I can!

Next, I have my editorial calendars, which are month-to-a-page by Kiddy Qualia. That having been said, the squares are too small for my purposes, so in 2015 I’ll be using this double page version.

Behind my editorial calendars you’ll find my week-to-a-page schedule. I try not to overload each day with things to do, and stick to 3 major tasks. It helps me from feeling totally overwhelmed. I always add a couple of loose pages between the weekly pages, because I make so many notes about other things that need to be done, or ideas I have!


Then I have dividers which I use for containing particular projects. For example, all of the notes, to do lists, and ideas about my book are in there. The next tab holds all the jottings, dates and locations for upcoming events.

Lastly, I have about a million pre-made to do pages (also Kiddy Qualia). They have hearts all down the side. I love them, and I will probably never run out!


Dedicate a page to writing down your dreams Put your favourite photobooth strips into a clear envelope Create a miniature vision board on the front of each divider page!  Keep a gratitude page to add to whenever you’re feeling negative Organise all your plans — hotels, restaurants, must-sees and dos — for future holidays Write your goals on the first page of your planner Use washi tape to decorate certain pages  Go to an art supply store and buy stickers, puffy letters, and sparkly markers to make writing and planning more fun!  Create playlists  Plan blog posts  Document your favourite outfits 

There are so many ways to personalise your Filofax and make it your own. Go crazy! I’d love to see what you end up creating on the hashtag #filofaxmagic!

From one stationery addict to another,

Photos by the wonderful Janneke Storm.

Radical Self Love Bootcamp

Don’t forget, Radical Self Love Bootcamp is available now at a very special price ($147)! Class kicks off on the 12th of January, and I’ll help you to create a highly individualised, very personal radical self love lifestyle that fills you with joy. You’ll learn daily rituals that will elevate your existence, discover tools and techniques to help you deal with stress and overwhelm, and create your own shortcuts to joy. The pre-sale is only open until the 21st of December, and in January, the price will go up! (Don’t miss out! BOOTCAMP CHANGES LIVES FOREVER!)

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