Friday, February 19, 2021

Living a simple life offline

 

Hello chic friends :)

I am nearing completion of my next book - it's a big one so is taking a little longer.  Thirty Chic Days. Vol 3 is almost here!  I had the whole of January off from writing, and started back again this month.  It has been nice to step away from the online world and I would thoroughly recommend it if you find you feel overwhelmed by 'everything' out there.

There is something about being present in your own 'real life' that grounds and settles your heart.  It's been something I've been thinking about a lot.  I'd be interested in hearing your perspective - do you feel happier and more content when you spend more time in your own life rather than being sidetracked into the online world?  Even if there are lots of lovely people online too - not just influencers :)

The kinds of things I've been doing are all related to slow living:

Preparing our meals at home with time and intention
Decluttering our home - I have been enjoying Dawn at The Minimal Mom's videos
Going for walks outside with the doggies - not even listening to anything, just enjoying nature
Writing, of course!
Hanging laundry outside and folding it when it's dry
Picking the deadheads off my favourite red-orange geraniums
Keeping in touch with family and friends (including travel within New Zealand)
Playing around in my wardrobe and creating new outfits

Basically pottering around and looking at all the ways I can simplify.  I forget that it's not just a one-time thing.  We will always have new items and requests on our time coming in, and we have to also let some things out.  I feel better when my life is more simple.  It settles the mind and helps with my habit of overthinking.  It feels peaceful and gentle.  And grounded.

Sometimes things are just in our life because they are there, and we forget that we can take a look at everything critically.  We have a choice.  At the end of our life are we going to look back and think, 'I made everyone else happy and left myself a frazzled husk'?  I know I am being overdramatic here but it's true.  We can only give to others when we give to ourselves.

I hope you are safe, well and happy where you are.  All my best to you, and I will see you soon with my next book!

xx Fiona

 



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Final day: A Week of Christmas Self-Care


 Day 7: A Week of Christmas Self-Care
~ Sparkle ~


We are only a few days away from Christmas, and whether you are spending the day by yourself or with others, I want you to remember to S P A R K L E, from the inside-out and the outside-in.

Let the festive spirit wash over you and for getall perfectionism, worries and future to-dos.  You have done all you can to get things organised up until now, and for Christmas Day and beyond all there is left to do is enjoy yourself.  Even if you are hosting.

If you are lucky enough to have people spending the day with you or are visiting others, not everything needs to be perfect.  Your loved ones will simply enjoy spending time with you.

Sparkle in your way of being, how you dress, and even how you do your makeup.  Some will be more sparkly :) while those of us who are more subdued in our personal style will sparkle in a subtle way perhaps with a little gold-toned highlighter on our cheekbones.

Sparkle in your personal interactions by asking questions of others, and promising to yourself that you will only speak of positive anecdotes.  Be that person who lifts others and yourself up by your manner.  You can set the tone for your gathering by being calm, joyous and relaxed.  Be that person who puts others at ease.

Have something sparkling to drink too, from a flute of course!  A glass of sparkling wine, spritzer or mineral water with a dash of fruit juice.  There is nothing more festive than something fizzy in a Champagne glass.

I invite you to revisit one of my favourite holiday posts here, on having an haute couture Christmas.  It’s magical :)

Merry Christmas chic friends, it’s been a pleasure to spend this week with you.  Thank you for your lovely comments too, they are received and appreciated.

I look forward to seeing you in the new year that is 2021.

All my best to you! Fiona
 

 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Day 6: A Week of Christmas Self-Care

 
Day 6: A Week of Christmas Self-Care
~ Make your own sunshine ~


There are many things to be miffed with this Christmas.  It’s been a crazy strange year, and who knows when things will be easy again.  And I know it is especially hard in Europe and the UK right now.  It almost defies belief that ‘Christmas has been cancelled’ for many.

However, we are working with what we have.  And we can all bring our own festive spirit each day - 'bring our own sunshine'.  We can be that light heart for ourselves and others.  I’ve been watching 'Diane in Denmark' videos on YouTube while putting on my makeup and doing admin tasks and household chores.  She is such a bright spark.  I love her cheery style and colourful outfits.  She has inspired me to wear my prettier clothes just for everyday.  She can be quite ‘silly’ about things which I really appreciate, because I can easily slip into seriousness, and we all know that is no good for anyone :)

If you could use some lightening up right now, here are my tips:
  • Dress up – check the weather and choose your outfit the night before; admire its loveliness; wear your brighter colours and better items
  • Do your hair, wear makeup, put on jewellery
  • Play soft, instrumental background music as often as you can
  • Light candles and switch on Christmas lights, even during the day
  • Enjoy ticking off your tasks-to-do one by one
  • Have a break with your current feel-good novel each day – I am reading 'The Red Notebook' at the moment and it is delightful
  • Get some fresh air and go for a walk outside if you can
  • Give yourself a pass – if you can’t muster up the energy to cook dinner, have something light and snacky
  • And, watch 'Diane in Denmark', truly, she is a tonic!
It is up to all of us to make our own sunshine.  Let it radiate out from you to illuminate yourself and others.  Even in hard times life is good.  Know that I am cheering you on and right there with you every day living my life, and making things lovely.  Doing my chores to the best of my ability and treating myself well at the same time.  We can all create our most wonderful lives, and we are lucky to get to do so, 'even now'.  Big hugs to you if you need one :)

Stay bright, chic friends!

See you tomorrow for day 7.

xx Fiona

PS.  For more uplifting inspiration during the cold months, take a look at my book ‘How to be Chic in the Winter’.  And if you know anyone who would enjoy this series, please let them know about it!  Thank you!


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Day 5: A Week of Christmas Self-Care

 

Day 5: A Week of Christmas Self-Care
~ Cleanse your space ~

 
Whether you are hosting Christmas, visiting someone else's house or having a socially distanced Christmas, you are likely to have more 'things' coming into your home.  It's nice to have a clean out before Christmas so that you can feel spacious instead of suffocated.  Wardrobes and cupboards aren't packed and messy.  There aren't items lying around because they have nowhere to live.
 
Even if you don't do a big declutter - because I'm sure you have enough to do right now - you can still straighten up areas and remove a few items as you go.  Put them aside in a donation box if they are good enough and give yourself the gift of a gently cleansed space this holiday season.

We are clearing some hanger space for guests who are staying, so it's a perfect time to take a look at clothes we haven't worn for a long time and have even bought newer versions of.

Sometimes we have to look at your home with new eyes too, because we can become immune to what is around us.  Go out your front door and come back in as if you were a guest.  Check out the entrance way.  Walk down the hall.  Go into your bedroom and bathroom and see if it pleases you.  What can you tidy up, move somewhere else or declutter?  What hotspots flare up again and again?  Can you fix them once and for all?  Say with a basket for the junk mail?  Or putting a pot plant on top of the microwave so that it doesn't become the dumping ground for stray pieces of paper? Horizontal surfaces are always magnets for 'stuff' :)
 
I also like to swap around decorate items such as pictures on the wall, candles and ornaments and pillows on the sofa or bed.  Moving them somewhere else makes them seem new again.

As I cleansed my space this week, I lit a beautiful candle gifted to me by lovely reader Jo Macfarlane.  All the way from Scotland!  She chose the Bergamot and Lemon scent, and it is divine.  I particularly love citrus scents so it was the perfect choice.  I feel very spoiled and am so thankful to you for your generosity Jo!  You can view Jo's elegant website here.

And I will see you tomorrow for day 6!

xx Fiona

PS. In my book 'Financially Chic', one of my main abundance tools is to declutter, organize, clean and tidy your home.  It's not as much fun as going shopping for new things at first, but then it is much, much better.  You find hidden treasures which seem much more appealing when not surrounded by things you don't care about or which are not in good working order.  You keep going back to look at the drawer/nook/room you have tidied.
 
I always feel a zing of happy energy when I organize even a tiny space.  It's definitely a good mood-changer!



Friday, December 18, 2020

Day 4: A Week of Christmas Self-Care


 Day 4: A Week of Christmas Self-Care
~ Give yourself grace ~


December is crunch time for many of us.  There ends up being too many things to do for the space of time left before Christmas day.  And we all want everything to be finished and perfect before Christmas day!  Every year!

I wanted to release my next book this month.  And it’s not ready.  Plus I have expanded on what I want it to be.  So I decided to let my December goal release, and immediately felt less pressure on myself.  I can now relax and enjoy the holiday season, and happily publish my book in the new year.

My new book is ‘Thirty Chic Days, Vol. 3’, and I have written 23 chapters so far with another couple in progress.  Almost there!  The third volume is focused on having a happy relationship, staying youthful, being your best self, and having a ton of fun at the same time.  And I’m having a great time writing it!  (Plus I can’t wait for you to read it 😊)

What have you promised yourself you would complete before Christmas that is really stressing you out?  Or what multiple things???  Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen if you put them aside until the new year, or perhaps only partially completed them this month.  We don’t need to be all or nothing!  I am not releasing my book this month, but I am still writing towards it here and there.

Take the pressure off.  Enjoy the holiday season, because it comes and goes so quickly.  Feel festive in your mind and relax your mind.  Spread love and peace by your demeanour.

And if you are curious about how I write my books, you might like to browse ‘The Chic Author’, where I let you in on everything I know about writing and self-publishing my books and how you can do the same.  You also don’t have to have an author dream to gain inspiration from this book either.  I talk a lot about my success practices which could easily apply to anyone’s daily life 😊

See you tomorrow for Day 5!

xx Fiona

PS.  Please share this series with your friends!  Anyone who needs some peace and tranquility right now! #chicselfcare


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Day 3: A Week of Christmas Self-Care

 
 
Day 3: A Week of Christmas Self-Care
~ Do what soothes you ~

The holiday season is the time of year you want to enjoy most, yet it’s also the busiest and most stressful.  Aside from all the organization that Christmas entails, there are all the loose ends that need tidying up before the end of the year.

Something that always gets out of control for me, but paradoxically is the thing that calms me down the most, is being tidy and organized.  I often ignore a messy area because I tell myself I don’t have time and I’ll get to it ‘later’, and it almost feels as if I am being decadent and utterly frivolous for considering spending time tidying!

So for me, it would be tidying and organizing.  I have quite a few areas that are bothering me at the moment – my wardrobe, writing desk, candle cupboard and sewing room.  Yes I have a candle cupboard…

I’m not going to make everything show-home perfect before Christmas, but giving myself half an hour here and there to do a little bit will make a huge difference to both how the space looks and functions, and how much calmer I feel.  I spent 30 minutes in my wardrobe today, and similar in my sewing room.  Plus I took a box of donations to the charity store.  I feel the weight on my shoulders lifting slowly :)

I know it sounds strange to say that tidying up soothes me, but it does.  (I promise you it’s not a humble-brag).

It might be something else for you, maybe something completely different such as reading a book.  I always take time to read a book, mostly five minutes before I go to sleep which doesn’t sound that luxurious, so perhaps I have to find a bigger spot.  It certainly beats scrolling Twitter for worthiness, and I always seem to find time for that!

Perhaps yours are baking, yoga, or knitting.  Find out what your soothing activities are, and make sure you do them more.

See you for Day 4 tomorrow.

xx Fiona
 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Day 2: A Week of Christmas Self-Care

 

Day 2: A Week of Christmas Self-Care
~ Let yourself be light ~

There has been so much to worry about this year, and the new year is completely unknown.  We look forward to the 1st of January as a fresh slate for our goals, dreams and plans, but I'm sure I am not alone when I say I am approaching 2021 with trepidation and thoughts of, 'What the heck next!!'

Yes, definitely do everything you can to keep yourself and those around you safe, but beyond that, forget about what's happening in the wider world.  Switch off the television, delete news apps from your phone and don't buy into the scaremongering.  Do you know what doesn't sell well?  Good news.  Calm news.  Relaxing news.  Feel-good news.  Facts are sensationalized and made extreme because they are the headlines that will catch our attention.

Don't buy into the crazy.  Create your own bubble of well-being where you can feel light, optimistic and hopeful.  Lavish love on your family.  Care for your home.  Read happy books and watch fun movies.  Don't scare yourself silly with gruesome horror stories or work yourself up into a frenzy over what 'could' happen in the future.

Make plans, even travel plans!  I can't wait to visit New York City, visit the Sagrada Familia in Spain, and have an extended holiday in England one day.  It doesn't matter if we can't do any of those things now.  There is time.  And in the meantime my husband Paul and I watch YouTube walking tour videos on tv instead of bad, sad and scary news.

And if it turns out that we never leave New Zealand again in my lifetime, that's okay too.  My happiness is not dependent on outside factors.  Of course, to a certain extent it is, but mostly not.  Dirty water becomes clear by leaving it to sit still, not by shaking it more.  Let your mind become still and clear.  Let yourself feel light and festive.  Find a pocket of calm in the corner of your mind and dwell there for a minute.

Sometimes I just lie on the carpet at home and close my eyes for a few minutes and breathe. The lying down makes a difference!

See you tomorrow for Day 3.

xx Fiona

PS.  Of course my newest book 'The Peaceful Life: Slowing down, choosing happiness, nurturing your feminine self, and finding sanctuary in your home' is the perfect accompaniment to Day 2.  Check it out at my Amazon affiliate link here if you haven't already :)



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