Thursday, August 4, 2022

My Weekly Wrap-Up :)

Hello chic friends!
While in Auckland the other weekend we had a work event and I got to met the host for the night, Hilary Barry, one of New Zealand's most popular tv presenters.

I was happy to find that she is as friendly and delightful in person as on the telly.

It was a fun and glamorous night. It's so nice to dress up and sip bubbles of an evening!

I had my Zara 'Chanel' jacket on :)


Poor sweet Jessica cat has a bad head cold and fever! I noticed on Friday night she was sneezing a lot and her eyes were running, so I thankfully got a vet appointment on Saturday afternoon.

The vet said he really felt for her as he'd just had Covid, and it wasn't nice being so stuffed up and trying to breathe. Apart from that he said she was good though, so she is now on medicine to help. She looks better already.

I really don't know how on earth a cat who never leaves the house could catch a cold, but she did! She's almost finished her medicine and looks like she is feeling much better, thankfully.


And in book news, I am partway through my next book, but have been not writing for it as much. Even though I love the topic and got off to a good start, I'm not in the zone for it right now.

So I shall explore other book projects :)

I do this, and have started and partially completed books ready to go. It works well for me to flow between them.

So today will be a fun look through everything to see what sparks my interest. I love that I have this flexibility, and it is also why I don't announce what a book is going to be until I have completed it and are in the editing phase. 'Book content is liable to change at short notice'!

It's all part of the creative brain. I used to judge myself and wonder why I couldn't 'stick' to something from beginning to end, and sometimes I can. But for my writing to truly be magical to me (and hopefully you), I have to be true to myself and write from the heart.

And as we all know, the heart wants what the heart wants!

When I start reading through a previously started project or get a lightening bolt for a new one and I get all excited and tingly, that's when I know it's the one.


And a little soothing scene to end. Cheese, crackers and olives set out. Candles lit. Music playing. A clean and tidy home staged 'just so'. Perfect and peaceful. It's so nice to relax in those few minutes before guests arrive!

xx Fiona

PS. You can find all my books here on Amazon.
A display of my books at my brother's beautiful furniture and homewares store 'Interior Warehouse' in Napier.


(I am an Amazon affiliate which means I may make a small commission on items you buy through my links, at no extra cost to you.)

Thursday, July 28, 2022

'Parisian Style'


Bonjour chic friends!

I was lucky enough to go on a quick trip to the big smoke and got to dress glam and stroll around like a tourist.

While I was packing for my few days away, I used the fab #parisianstyle10x10 challenge question, which is:

"Would I wear this while traveling in France?"

The full challenge, hosted by Jessica Harumi and Bri Lamberson (and brought to my attention by Lesley MacDonald, all on Instagram) talks about using ten pieces to create ten outfits, but on this occasion I used the question only and it worked out well! It was fun to pack for my trip instead of stressful.

It was so nice to be right in the city, but also I loved knowing that I get to go back to the country the next day.

Even though it was a short trip, as always I gained inspiration and new ideas. Maybe one day I'll even travel overseas again :)

Let me know if you have tried the Parisian Style 10X10 challenge, or if you plan to!

xx Fiona

(I am an Amazon affiliate which means I may make a small commission on items you buy through my link, at no extra cost to you.)

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Weekend fun

Hi chic friends!
We had such an action packed weekend just gone. On Saturday we went on a fun mini-road-trip. We decided to go for lunch in a 'nearby' tourist town (90 minutes drive away).

It was icy cold but it is at home too, so not much difference. There was lots of snow on the mountains - you can see them behind me!

The doggies LOVE going in the car, so they enjoyed snuggling into their cozy blankets in their big canvas crate and going for a trip with mum and dad :) Plus a walk around the town but that was a bit scary for them. So many people they didn't know!

We planned to go to a cafe for lunch but then walked past an Indian restaurant and the mouth-watering curry smell drew us in (the doggies stayed in the car). A yummy curry and rice was just the ticket on a cold day and we only needed a small dinner that night!

And then on Sunday, we had a family lunch at my aunty and uncle's on Sunday and everyone brought their dogs as per usual... talk about a crazy scene!

From left to right, my sister's dog Angus, resident corgi Henry, my brother's dog Micky, and Chloe and Daphne resplendent in their new ladybird harnesses, complete with detachable wings for when they want to be a little less 'extra' :)

My sister, in the tartan pants, was holding a bag of dog treats and trying to share them out equally, that's why all eyes are on her...

We counted that there were six dogs vs nine people. That's too many dogs, surely!

Anyway, we all had a lovely time, and there were no doggy dust-ups. Everyone was very well behaved, phew!
xx Fiona

PS. You can find all my books including my latest titles over here on Amazon!

(I am an Amazon affiliate which means I may make a small commission on items you buy through my link, at no extra cost to you.)

Saturday, July 16, 2022

New book out now!

 Hi chic friends,
I'm thrilled to let you know that my next book is out:

'100 Ways to Declutter Your Home' is here!

For most of us, me included, it's not the physical act of putting items in a box and donating that stops us from having the streamlined and tidy home of our dreams.

No, it's our mindset that trips us up every step of the way. 'But we might need that', 'That cost money', 'Someone gave us that' and so on.

That's why I wrote this book.

It has one-hundred tips and ideas which work on changing your mindset from begrudging to enthusiastic. Even while writing this book I did a lot of decluttering simply because all the words were seeping into my brain! Lol!

If you're in the mood to do a little simplifying at your place and make it the home of your dreams, I do hope you enjoy my latest book.

You can see it on Amazon here, in paperback or on Kindle.

xx Fiona

(I am an Amazon affiliate which means I may make a small commission on items you buy through my link, at no extra cost to you.)

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Decluttering made fun :)

Hello chic friends!
On the 1st of July I started the Minimalism Game. I've heard about it but never done it, so hought I would give it a go. On the 1st of the month you declutter one item, on the second, two, etc. As the month progresses, if you keep going, you will have decluttered almost 500 items from your home. I am up for the challenge!

'The Minimalists' came up with this and you can read more about it here. You may have already played it yourself!

So where my game went very quickly is magazines. I have far less than I used to, but the numbers started creeping up again, even if I don't buy them new very often. They just don't appeal as much as they used to. But I had been given copies plus picked them up when they looked interesting from thrift stores.

I don't like the way my house feels with stacks of magazines everywhere, so I have taken the opportunity of the Minimalism Game to go through them all. Yesterday I had a lovely relaxing afternoon on the sofa reading magazines The majority of them I read and put in a donation box, and a few I tore pages from (then discarded). Plus I took a few recipe photos.

I even got rid of some that have never made the cut such as the very first issue of Real Simple from April 2000. I loved that magazine back then, but after a flick through found I was happy to let it go. It was funny to see the ads with phone numbers rather than websites for 'more information', and there was an article about online bill paying, how safe is it and should you trust it. It was a whole new world!

I originally started this game because of the topic of my next book... which is a 100 Ways book all about D E C L U T T E R I N G. I've had such fun writing it, and the bonus side effect for me is that I've been inspired to declutter even more! I am getting closer to my dream of living in a 'staged' minimalist home, in my favourite style of Ralph Lauren on a Budget of course. I even decluttered a struggling house plant that I could NOT get to look good no matter how much I tried. I felt bad about that but also not.
I love making my own Before and After photos too! This is the shelving in my home office, it's behind me as I sit at my desk. The first photo is 'After', I couldn't subject you to the 'Before' as the initial image, but you can scroll down to see the Before! (You can click on any of my images to view them full-size.)

On these shelves in my 'After' photo are my style files, manicure items, essential oil diffuser that is currently delighting my senses with lime and tangerine, faux flowers, a few everyday items I use in the flat tray, batteries in that square basket, my journals which are mostly full, receipts for personal and business in envelopes, and my makeup overflow bin...

Above that are my favourite Bath and Body Works candles. It takes so long and costs a lot to have them sent here, so I buy when there is a sale and get a bunch sent at once to save on postage :) Currently 'Vanilla Birch' is lit on the hall table and it's a very soft, pretty, comforting scent.

And above that are my books: copies I've ordered for myself from Amazon, plus my foreign language editions.

And when you look at the 'Before' image (below): I have decluttered all those magazines plus the holders have been donated (they are a bit 'officey' for my pretty home office), and the extra folders and white basket at the bottom have gone too.

It feels SO GOOD to have this space look nice again :)

This is what writing a decluttering book does to you: your own home becomes tidier as a result! Yay!

New book out soon: 100 Ways to Declutter Your Home

I haven't done a pre-order option this time, 'just because' but I'll let you know as soon as it's ready!
And this is a beautifully dramatic winter sky on my walk down the road. You can see the sheep tidying up the vineyard. They are so funny when we walk past - all eyes are on me and the dogs.

And they take no notice of the thick wires that train the vines either. 'Twang' go the wires as they step between them to go through to the next row. None of this time-wasting go-to-the-end-of-the-row business for the sheep, no siree!

I often wonder if the vineyard workers have to mend extra or if the wires are sturdy enough...

These are the sorts of things that passes through ones mind walking in the country :) 
See you soon!

xx Fiona

PS. You can see all my books here on Amazon :)

(As an Amazon affiliate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases when you use my links however it does not change the price for you. Thank you for doing so!)

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Our cat, 'Queen Jessica', and lovely book reviews!

Red roses from my mum, 'just because' :)

So, I've already mentioned how our older cat Jessica is 'The Queen'. Well, she no longer drinks out of a pet bowl... She desires her own glass. She's been doing this for a while, but now she actually demands water to be delivered to where she is sitting (by trying to drink the water from OUR glasses).
She's at least twelve years old and I think her kidneys are going, so we, her faithful servants, dutifully deliver water to wherever she is sitting. It's the least we can do. With her own coaster of course is well. Thank goodness for dishwashers with sanitary hot water is all I can say!

To my lovely readers and particularly those of you who have written reviews of my books you’ve enjoyed, thank you.

Sometimes reviews are so beautifully and well written, that I feel quite envious. ‘I wish I’d thought of that, it would have gone great in the book!’ I think to myself. And I especially love it when reviews contain tips - they are inspiring in themselves.

That’s why I love to read five-star reviews of my favourite non-fiction books – they remind me why I love the book.

Here is one such review from Loving Your Epic Small Life:

“Super read. An imaginative approach to living the every day life. I have experienced some of things Fiona writes about. Such as, when you go into the world with a little style, you inspire others. One day a woman approached me in the supermarket and told me that after seeing me she knew she could up her game. I was wearing a simple summer dress at the time. Thank you Fiona for your imaginative inspiration.”

So cool that this lady inspired someone else! I love it!

And this one (on 100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget):

“I love this author. I’m often fighting stress and overwhelm—I have two little kids, a full-time job, and a challenging home life, there are so many people draining my energy and patience 24/7—and I just need a positive voice reminding me of the fun and good in life. Her books are a real treat when I’m feeling down. I like self-help but I don’t need a research-based book telling me to rethink every little thing in my life and insisting I implement a new system. I need a friendly down-to-earth girlfriend I admire, who can pep me up anytime I need it, even at 4 am when I can’t sleep and I’m bombarded with painful thoughts. That’s what her books are to me. I really appreciate them.”

Some reviews are so heartfelt they bring tears to my eyes. So thanks once again to everyone who has taken the time, I appreciate every review!

xx Fiona

PS. You can find all my books here on Amazon :)

 (As an Amazon affiliate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases when you use my links how it does not change the price for you. Thank you for doing so!)

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Introducing myself, and a peek into my closet

Hello everyone!
I haven’t introduced myself in a little while, and I’ve noticed new followers – so lovely to have you here! I thought it would be a great idea to re-introduce myself.

Firstly, my name is Fiona and I live in a beautiful part of New Zealand called Hawke’s Bay. This is where I grew up, and while I moved away for a couple of decades, I moved back five years ago and am loving living here again. We have a sunny microclimate perfect for growing grapes and apples.

I live with my husband Paul, and our four rescue pets – doggies Daphne and Chloe, and pussy cats Jessica and Nina. And I write books!

It's winter here being the southern hemisphere and it’s a chilly 1 deg C (34 F) as I write this with my early morning cup of tea. But I am cozy and toasty in my office working on my next book. There is always a next book! I love being inspired with new ideas and creating new titles. They are my place of happy contentedness.

The world might be crazy right now but I believe we can be happy regardless. We can bring the party with us. Life is to be celebrated by turning our face to the sun, not the shade. Focus on what’s good – life is good!

That’s what is in my books – goodness, happiness, feeling alive, creating a beautiful daily life and making the most of what we’ve got. I believe in the transformative power of positivity and being a bright ray of sunshine in our own life for the good of ourselves and those around us.

We only get this one life and many of us – definitely me at 51 – are more than half-way through probably, so let’s get on with it. We have no time to lose! Live life, be good, eat well, and get rid of things that no longer serve you (I love curating my home and decluttering). Let others be who they are and love your people fiercely.

And, I thought you might like into see my closet! I am always quite nosy so I thought others might be too. When we moved to this home and it had a walk-in space I was so excited. It was my dream!
The shelves could have been more user friendly, and we did look at having a proper refit done, but it was très pricey at the time, so I designed my own closet system with some storage bins, plus these nifty drawers which are actually modular cubes. Amazingly they are exactly the height of the shelves and slot in perfectly.

All in all, this area works well, and I am so grateful to have such a lovely closet. I switch my warm and cool weather clothes in and out; currently I have my winter wardrobe hanging up, with 'everything' hanging up, even undertops and camisoles, and knit jerseys.

The 'everything hanging' method is detailed in 'Chapter 5. Inject excitement with a capsule du mois' of my book 'The Chic Closet', and goes through why I do this. You can see 'The Chic Closet' here on Amazon.

Wishing you a wonderful day, it's Thursday morning here and I've already typed some more of my next book today. I love getting stuck into a new project!

xx Fiona

PS. You can find all my books here on Amazon.

(As an Amazon affiliate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases when you use my links how it does not change the price for you. Thank you for doing so!)
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