Thursday, January 26, 2023

Summer chic, naughty dogs, and... my fridge!

We went out for lunch on the weekend and it was so nice to dress up and wear a summery dress.

I had the best lunch too, a ‘goodness bowl’ salad with protein at Giant Brewing Co in Havelock North. It was yum!


Asking for a friend... Do you ever receive 'assistance' from your pets? Here is sweet Daphne helping (un)fold the washing. In this case a quilted pillow cover.

Thankfully she didn't get into the pile of dinner napkins. That would have made me much grumpier!

Life is never dull with pets, especially four of them. Nina cat is very self sufficient and makes her own fun outside often, although she does spend a lot of time napping on the tartan wing chair in the living room.

It's the three dogs always getting into something - running outside to bark at the birds, keen for food at any time of the day... the list is endless.

Still, where can you get this much 'fun' all for the price a package of Jimbos medallions and a bag of dog biscuits, I ask you?

Tell me, how do your pets 'help' around the house? I'm keen to hear if they are worse than mine.

And to finish this week, I know it’s funny to show you a photo of my fridge, but I love my streamlined fridge so much I couldn’t not. It really does bring me joy to open it each day and see all that empty space. A while back I gave myself permission to declutter my fridge. This is what I got rid of:

:: Expired condiments with hardly any left.

:: Jars of half-empty, expired ingredients such as green curry paste.

:: Small pieces of cheese wrapped up that I forgot about and so were past their best.

Are you sensing a pattern here? I’d keep these things hoping I’d get use from them but never did; they were just cluttering up my fridge.

One day about four months ago I took everything out and, after doing a quick wipe of all the shelves, put the items back one by one, asking myself honestly if I wanted to use that item. The ones I didn’t got put aside.

Once all the ‘good stuff’ was back inside the fridge I looked at the small collection on the bench and made a big decision to bin them. A big decision for me that maybe would not have warranted a second thought from someone else.

The things that tripped me up were that I am thrifty and like to make the most of the money I’ve spent, I don’t like waste, and I also feel like I’m being disrespectful wasting the world’s resources.

Once I got over that, I felt so free. And, my fridge has never accumulated items like this again. It is a breeze to use things up while they are still nice, I love going into the fridge to get dinner ingredients to prep, and it’s pleasurable to go to the supermarket (aside from the prices!) because I buy only what will make meals for that week. I don’t try to stock up on specials anymore.

Tell me about your fridge, is it like mine? Or do you love a fridge stocked with anything and everything? Whichever way you lean, I hope this post has inspired you to let go of some guilty clutter!

xx Fiona
PS. You can find all my books here on Amazon, or click on the pictures below for those specific books :)

My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

New interview, and 'introducing myself' :)

Hello chic friends!

I am excited to share with you a fabulous new podcast called ‘Let’s Slow Down’ by the lovely Annemarie Stolting @letsslowdown2023.

It was my absolute privilege to be interviewed by Annemarie recently and the episode was released yesterday!

You can listen to our interview here.

And here’s Annemarie's linktree for other listening options.

I hope you enjoy it!

(My book referenced by Annemarie is 'The Peaceful Life' and is available here on Amazon.

And for my new followers and readers, I thought I’d introduce myself as I haven’t done so in a little while. I love it when people online do this because I’m really curious about how other people live, and maybe you are too. So here's me!

My name is Fiona, and I’m 52. I live with my husband Paul and our three dogs and one cat. I know that’s a lot of pets. Which actually reminds me of a funny faux pas I fell into a few months ago. I was chatting with someone I know through visiting their business quite often, plus they are a friend of a friend (it’s a small town where I live). Anyway, they asked how many dogs I had when I mentioned them, and I said ‘three, I’m one of those people with too many dogs. Two is okay, three is getting into crazy dog person territory’. He replied, ‘We have three dogs’. *awkward silent moment*

(In my defence I used to only have two dogs before my brother moved overseas three months ago and I ‘acquired’ his dog. I am such a good sister.)

So, anyway, we live in Hawke’s Bay, which as I said is quite small (around 180,000 people I believe). Hawke’s Bay is on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island. We are usually very sunny (just not this summer where it’s been rain, rain, rain) and grow lots of apples and grapes as well as other fruits plus vegetables.

Beautiful light at sun down - one of our unicorn non-rainy days

Paul and I live ‘just’ out in the country, not proper country but town-country, only seven minutes away from civilisation. And I get to stay at home and write books! It’s my dream career and something I only ever dreamed of when I worked in an office. I just love being creative and I’m a homebody too, and it wasn’t until I had the guts to self-publish the books I love to write that I created this reality. You never know what’s possible until you try.

My days are spent writing, walking the dogs, reading, keeping my house nice (I am an aspiring minimalist but for the moment will just settle for ‘decluttered’ and ‘in progress’), creating new inspiration, and being a happy home-based introvert.

If you are new here, so happy to meet you :) And, please feel free to introduce yourself. I’d love to know your name, where you are from, ‘vintage’, hobbies, pets, family, anything you’d like to share!

xx Fiona






(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The state of the world, decluttering, and my favourite thrifty decor tip

In the past little while I have had yucky feelings about the safety of our world. Inflation, empty shelves at the supermarket, food shortages and food safety, rising crime, more people struggling, and seeing the effects of drugs and gangs in my community when I’m out doing errands. It doesn’t feel good.

If you’re a spongey/empathetic person like I am, these things can leave you feeling bad and like the world is going to hell.

But then I got a thought-message that said, ‘Stay in your bubble Fiona’. All any of us can do is stay in our lane, and do the best we can. Live our life the best way we’re able to and assist others by not falling apart ourselves. Not that I’m in danger of falling apart, but I have felt low yesterday and today.

Every time I get an update on my retirement savings account it’s gone down, even though I put money into it every month. And I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I can buy the food that’s doubled in price and I do still have a retirement account.

But these world stresses can’t last forever. Nothing ever does. The sun will come out again; hang in there.

After my ‘stay in your bubble’ message and giving myself some pep talks, I’m feeling more buoyant again. What use is my constant worrying? What good is that going to do anybody including me?

So I’m here to say to myself, and you if you need it, to stay in your bubble. Find contentment in your daily routines and don’t try to fix everything nor worry about the state of the world. It is what it is. It’s a rocky time post-pandemic.

Build for the future. Keep your frequency high and cultivate an air of light-heartedness. Focus on the good things. That’s what I’ve been forgetting lately. Instead I focused on everything that was going wrong. But there is always good and bad, so why would I not focus on the good?

There is always goodness around. Sometimes you just have to search a little harder for it.

Big hugs to you all!

It’s been a rainy ole week here as a tropical cyclone passed through New Zealand. We are lucky enough to be on the edge of it in Hawke’s Bay but upcountry fared far worse.

I hope you’re doing good where you are. I am staying busy at home, tidying up and clearing out. Is it the time of year that makes us want to declutter our home? You too?

I even found myself reading ‘100 Ways to Declutter Your Home’ last night. C’mon, who reads their own book? I do, obviously! You can find my decluttering book here on Amazon (it’s actually quite good!)

And I've been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix this week while walking on my treadmill. So good and so motivating. She is a delight to watch as well.

Questions for you:

Are you a weather geek like I am?

Are you decluttering your home now that it’s January, for no other reason than it’s January and you feel like it?

Are you counting on 2023 being the year that you get your home fully – 100% – sorted, even the hidden corners that no one ever sees? Yass! Me too!

It’s going to be so much fun :)

And to finish this post, my favourite thrifty home decor tip. I love decorating with books. They make the most excellent plinths.

There are so many decorative items you can showcase on books: real candles, faux candles, photo frames, flowers in a vase, and I’m sure many other options which I haven’t even dreamed of yet. (If you have any other ideas please let me know!)

The photo is of my siblings and me, about 20 years ago although it doesn’t feel that long. Surely I’m still in my early thirties, right?

Anyway, go and dig out some pretty books and make a display! Once you start you will become addicted, I promise :)

Have a great week!

xx Fiona



(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Happy new year - 2023!

Hello chic friends, from a rare sunny Hawke’s Bay! Sunshine has been in short supply lately so we have all been digging deep and creating our own. It’s not hard when we have a bright shiny new year to look forward to and my whole household is now better too :) Covid begone!

I am looking forward to getting back into my simple and peaceful daily routines. Yesterday I  cleaned the fridge out and prepped dinner before 10am. I love days like that! It always feels good when I’m on top of things.

How cute is this photo? I took the doggies out on an errand drive (the day wasn't too hot), and when I got back into the car I was greeted with this display :)

And they even stayed there while I took a snap! This picture rivals one of Wolfgang2242's on Instagram for craziness, although he will always beat me, having triple the number of dogs that I do. (If you don't follow him his account is wonderful, and he is a very funny writer too).

From left to right above, Chloe (9), Daphne (7), Micky (11).

How has your new year's been going? Are you on holiday? I have been mostly at home, reading books and watching movies, plus doing a bit of weeding in the garden and tidying up my house to make it look nice.
I hope your week is going beautifully too - let me know what you’re doing today - even if it’s ’normal'.

Happy new year to you!

xx Fiona


(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Last post of the year :)

Hello chic friends!
Heeey, what did you do for Christmas, Fiona? Well I tested positive for Covid on Christmas morning and stayed home! It wasn’t all bad though, I read magazines and watched (half of) a movie. My mum tested positive on Christmas Eve, so it was lunch a deux on Christmas day for her and me. My husband Paul was okay so he made the five hour trip north but tested positive the next day, and came straight back home. What a trip!

I hope your plans went smoother on Christmas day than ours did and that it was a good one for you!

(As an introvert, staying home for Christmas was quite fun, but shhh, don’t tell anyone I said that :)

And, how lovely is this book my friend Tanya bought me for Christmas? It has beautiful images on every page and interesting snippets about tourist attractions, stores, fashion designers, hotels, cafes and bars. Tres fabulous! (You can view it on Amazon here with all of the author's other gorgeous books).

So many people online are talking about new changes for the new year: new shifts, new identities, and refusing to be ordinary. I love it all!

A good makeover is always so invigorating, whether it’s a hairstyle, an outfit, or a room makeover.

It’s so fun to have a clean slate going into the new year, even if it’s only in our mind, and on the calendar. It gives us the opportunity to think completely fresh, and not worry about anything from the past.

I’ve always loved Louise Hay’s thoughts on getting older. She said that she chose to believe that the next year would always be better than the last, that her next year was always her best yet. Isn’t that cool? It’s what I choose to believe too now, and have done for many years.

Even in strange years like the pandemic we can still choose to believe this, and actually, I wrote and published more books than ever in those years. Not because I planned to, just because it happened.

Imagine if what we thought was a self-fulfilling prophecy. By saying each year will be our best yet, we will be setting ourselves up for lots of fun, joy, abundance and growth. We can’t not, because we’ve put it in our mind.

So, tell yourself that the best is yet to come, that 2023 is going to be your best year yet. And you will always have more goodness arriving. Be that positive person and switch the sun on inside your mind. Don’t worry about the bad news or annoying people. Tune them out!

Delete energy drains from your life – don’t give them your attention. And focus on the good. I am all for that! We can do it. Don’t wait for the outside world to direct you, direct yourself. Create your own ‘leading lady’ and be her in your life. You don’t even need to create her, you are her. Let her be revealed.

The spotlight is on you to create your magical new year. And it can be as active or as relaxed as you like. Mine is all about cleaning out, simplifying, and being ME. It sounds deceptively simple, but it can take some guts to do.

What does your magical new year hold I wonder?

This photo is a throwback to when we went to a fancy rooftop bar last summer. It was SO fancy that we only had one drink each (they were $25+…) but at least we saw the place. We’ll all be staying at home this New Year's Eve, recuperating at various stages (Paul, me, my mum) but still having a fun time I’m sure.

Wishing you a fab New Year’s Eve, whether it’s in or out. Out has never been a big hit with me, but then in feels like I’m a wowser. Maybe I’ve got the best of all worlds this year that I 'have' to stay home (an introvert's dream!) And I really don’t like waiting up until midnight ‘just because’, but that’s exactly what Paul likes to do :)

My ideal NYE would be a few glasses of bubbles, a nice dinner at home, and tucked in by 9pm or 10pm, ready to be up bright and early on New Year’s Day, for a shiny happy new year – 2023! Some may call me boring…

What about you? Are you a party girl or do you prefer a quiet and simple evening?

And, Happy New Year!

xx Fiona


(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 22, 2022

T'was the week before Christmas!

Hello chic friends!
We had such a lovely dog walk along the beachfront on the weekend, with the howling wind and rainy summer weather in 'sunny' Hawke's Bay :) It was a very brisk, quick walk I can tell you, and everyone was pleased to hop back in the car afterwards.

I usually walk the doggies down the road from our home as I am not a fan of driving somewhere to walk, but it’s just nice to have a change of scenery sometimes, you know?

And for most of the week it's been rainy and cosy too but that’s okay, I have plenty to do inside and the lawn is nice and green as a result.

I can’t believe it is almost Christmas! Are you organised or stressing? I have everything under control and feel calm and peaceful. I love to keep things simple, it feels so good.

I say this is how I'm feeling right now, calm and peaceful, but then wondering if I've forgotten anything important to do before Sunday :) Isn't that always the way?

So I'm here to say to you to give yourself grace, even if you slept in this morning (like me), and your desk is still a mess (me, again, but I'm going to clean it up today).

2022 has been a funny (funny strange not funny haha) year for so many people it seems. For me, from June onwards I was on a fast-paced track with loads of different things happening. The majority of them were beneficial, just a lot of action and bandwidth was required.

I've heard people talking about taking a reset, and doesn't that sound so appealing? Just like when your phone isn't being as responsive or an app is playing up, you can switch your phone off and on again and everything is fine again. Our human selves may take longer than 20 seconds, but it's worth doing.

Tidying my space always resets me, and I'm sure it does you too. Just that vista of order soothes our tired eyes.

Whatever your week before Christmas looks like, I hope it's a good one, and if you need a dash of calm, check out my book ‘The Peaceful Life’ on Amazon here. And if you already own it why not dip into a chapter for five minutes.

The beautiful image on the cover of this book makes me feel serene just gazing at her!
And I don't mean to bring you down the week before Christmas, but we lost our Jessica Cat last week. 

She had advanced kidney failure and had been getting progressively thinner over the past year.

But right until the end she never lost her spark, keeping the dogs in line, and making herself at home on the dining table after we'd finished dinner... as pictured, ahem. Very hygienic I know.

I thought she was 12, but on checking her vet book saw that with her estimated age from the rescue shelter she was closer to 14. We adopted her and her kitten Nina in 2011. 2011 doesn't seem that long ago! Eleven years goes by in the blink of an eye, doesn't it?

Nina cat is doing fine, she lives in Nina World. I think if we could see inside her head there would be pretty pink clouds floating around :)

So hug your pets today, and don't worry about me, I still have four left... I'm certainly not lonely!

Fly free Miss Jessica, it was a privilege to be your pet mum xx

To finish, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for being you. Thank you for reading my books and my social media. Thank you for the lovely messages, comments and emails you’ve sent.

Thank you for posting reviews of my books on Amazon too! If you want to give me the biggest Christmas gift, an Amazon review is it :) They help other lovely ladies find my books, and I really want to spread the message that living a beautiful, positive, happy life is possible no matter your income.

We are so lucky to have the opportunity to ‘meet’ like-minded women on the internet, so that we can feel connected and inspired even if we live in the middle of nowhere. I love that.

Anyway, I just wanted to say how grateful I am to ‘know’ you. I really do feel that way from any correspondence we might have had!

I wish you a wonderful, peaceful and happy Christmas break. I hope you get everything you’ve ever dreamed off. I am personally ‘not a gift girl’, so I love seeing my loved ones, trying not to eat too many chocolates (how can one feel so gross afterwards when they taste so good?), and getting through a stack of juicy novels (to be honest it will only be one or two, I’m not that fast a reader). Whatever you wish for, may it be 'under the tree' on Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas to you!

xx Fiona


(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Reader Q&A - Cultivating Your Secret Garden

Hello dear chic friends!
After my busy time, I have been easing into the Christmas season with little decor touches around :) I'm not putting up my proper Christmas tree this year but I have small things displayed, such as these pillows.

Are you going all out? Or doing 'Simple Christmas' like me? Both are perfect :) I love the all-out look, but this year I am keeping it simple.
The view on our dog walk this week

Reader Judy asked: ‘Can you do a post on your Secret Garden idea. please. Love it and would like a bit more detail if possible. Loved your book on Summer and will be using many of your ideas. Thanks.’

In my book ‘Thirty Chic Days’ there is a whole chapter dedicated to this topic and it’s in ‘Day 5. Create and guard your secret garden’. In this chapter I write: ‘A secret garden is that sacred, private place where you are free to dream about your greatest desires safe from the judgement of others.’

Have you ever had a delicious idea – perhaps it was a new outfit style that is quite different to what you’ve worn before, or even something major such as a change in career. And you are so pumped with the thought of it that you can’t stop talking about it to whoever is closest to you. By the time you’ve explained it, all the energy has gone from it because you’ve let it out. And the person you were talking to isn’t so enthusiastic either, because they can’t see the vision that you do.

Plus, if you’re just blah blah blahing all your ideas to everyone all the time, you’ll be that flakey girl who is all talk and no action.

This scenario has happened to me more times than I can count, and that’s why I recommend letting new ideas incubate in a safe space – your own mind – before you let them out into the world. They are like a tiny seedling that needs coddling and protection to start with.

So next time you have a lightening bolt idea, write it in your journal, expand upon it with more detail, and move in silence. Become known as the person who is always trying new things without necessarily having to get the buy-in of those around her. People will be intrigued, and you will enjoy yourself more as well as finding it easier to do your little mini self-improvements here and there.

There is more in Day 5 of Thirty Chic Days, so if you haven’t read that yet, check it out at Amazon here.

Thanks so much for your question, Judy!
And, I look forward to seeing you next week - Christmas week! Eek! Are we ready? Of course we are :)

xx Fiona

(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links
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