Monday, January 22, 2018

5 feminine steps to becoming a chic success

I love setting goals and achieving them, and creating a successful life for myself. But I’m not willing to give up my femininity for it.  I still want to enjoy my life at the same time and don’t believe that’s too much to ask!

The old-fashioned way of being successful was very masculine.  I love listening to Brian Tracy and I have received so much motivation from him since I first came across him in the early 1990s – thank you Brian :) – but I have come to realise that I don’t need to follow his way, or anyone else’s way apart from my own, to find success.

I love that we can all be inspired by others and take our favourite bits from each to create our own custom blueprint.

The surest way to end up living a live that you are absolutely in love with is to design it yourself and go after it with all you’ve got.  So, on that topic, may I share with you my favourite ways to be a chic success.

ONE. Decide what success looks like for you.  I used to feel bad that I never wanted to go to university, so I haven’t got a degree.  Now I see that it doesn’t matter for me, and I probably would have been miserable working as a white collar professional.  My ultimate values are peace, freedom and creativity.  Do they sound like they would be satisfied if I was, say, a lawyer?  Write down all the things that are important to you and see if you can pick out your top three to help you define success for YOU.

TWO.  Accept your current reality. Decide that where you are right now in life is exactly where you are meant to be.  There is no point looking back into the past and wishing things could have been different.  What a waste of mental and emotional energy.  Wouldn’t it feel much better to know that you are here, right now, because you are meant to be?  I think it does, and it feels like you can then go forward from a solid and grounded place.

THREE.  Take your top three values and ask yourself how you can bring them into your life.  For me with creativity, I desire the time to spend on my sewing, knitting and writing.  It means I have to set aside time for those pursuits and set up areas where I can do them.  I have my desk and computer, but I also make time to daydream with my notebook and pen (first thing in bed with hot tea is wonderful).

FOUR. Don’t be a victim of your own laziness.  As much I desire to be a chic success, it takes effort and sometimes I am not willing to expend that effort.  It doesn’t feel satisfying to be slothful though – sometimes yes, but not all the time.  It’s easier to major in the minor things, but success comes more when you do it the other way around. 

Generally I have a few items that I prioritise for my day, such as writing this blog post, writing a chapter, or starting a sewing project.  Then, at the end of the day I feel like I have achieved something and yes, I do feel proud of myself when I have completed something I said I would - it definitely gives you a welcome boost.

FIVE. Make fun the priority.  Another misconception about leading a successful life is that I thought I’d have to knuckle down and put aside fun things to get there.  I still have that belief etched in my mind, but I am slowly breaking it down and letting myself feel relaxed and joyful as I work towards my goals.  I know it’s all in my mind, so I am slowly changing my thoughts from leaden heaviness to that of a light balloon.


And that's it!  My favourite, fun, easy ways to feel like a chic success every day.  You might think that being this way you won’t get anything done, but I am here today, living proof that the opposite is true.  Everything I have achieved: writing and publishing my books, having a happy marriage, my husband and I deciding to change our entire lives and move to somewhere that feels more aligned with our internal landscape; these all came about as a result of following these five steps towards success.

From what I’ve read on others blogs and social media accounts, the old-fashioned way of success isn’t working for many of us.  We want more, but we also want less at the same time.  More fun, time, playfulness and yes we need to earn money for that, but we don’t need to give our life over until retirement to enjoy ourselves.  Less stress, less possessions, less busy-ness.

Please let me know if you have any questions, otherwise I’d love to hear from you:

Without thinking too much about it, what would be your top three values?

And, for bonus points, how could you incorporate one of them into your life right now, today?

Please share :)


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Find 'How to be Chic in the Winter' here on Kindle or in paperback.
Find 'Thirty Slim Days' here on Kindle or in paperback.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A year of exciting possibilities

Happy new year, chic friends!

I'm so happy to be back, and ready to dive into an exciting 2018 with lots of writing, new books and another round of my writing course too.

Looking back over 2017, it really was such a transition year for me, as it was for many of you too, I know.  We sold our business and city home, moved to the country and found our ideal home on four acres.  My husband started a new job which he loves, and I now write from home full-time, which truly is my dream-come-true.

I am currently working on my next book, 'Thirty More Chic Days', a sequel to my first and most popular book to date 'Thirty Chic Days'.  I say 'first book', but actually I published my 'best of blog' book and 'A Chic and Simple Christmas' before Thirty Chic Days came out.  Here's why I say it's my first book - because I have been writing it for years - many, many years!

So that's why it feels like my first book.  But I put it away and didn't think it was good enough, and from leading the first round of my 'Create your dream life as a successful author' online training course in October/November last year, it's a very common block that holds women back from achieving their big goal of writing and publishing a book.

I am here to encourage you that if you have this desire inside you, it's there for a reason; you are good enough, and there will be readers excited to read your work.  The only things that matters is if you love your book; if you have a passion for your topic.  Please let 2018 be your year to write a book, or, perhaps there is something else that excites and scares you in equal measures; why not do that this year?

For me, I've set a goal to write three books in 2018.  There's no magical reason why I chose three, it just seemed a good number :)  I'm onto number one, and who knows what the other two will be about - what would you choose if you could nominate a topic for me to write on?  I'd love to do a 'happy relationship'-type book, maybe a more in-depth money book, and I'm always drawn to topics such as femininity/being a queen/elegance/serenity etc.  Also, I could talk about success habits all day - I love this topic so much!

As far as home goals go, I will continue to decorate our home on a budget, declutter and simplify my belongings, create beautiful and creative areas to inspire and relax in, and find simple and nutritious ways to feed my husband and I (two recent additions - a barbeque that my husband bought himself for Christmas, and a Nutribullet from my mum for Christmas; these both fit the criteria of easy/simple and nutritious).

I have also been sexy-ing up my wardrobe.  No frump allowed!  Frumpy sneaks in when you're 47, you know.  Now, I'm not going sexy as in full-out sexy, but even a dash, if only in my own mind seems to elevate my frequency and it feels much better.  Like I'm lighter of spirit.  Frumpy, old, slightly worn-out items; whether it's clothes, loungewear or underwear, feels heavy and deadening.

It's hard to give a concrete answer as to what would pass the test, but I think the feeling something gives you when you look at it or put it on should help.  If you are uninspired and demotivated, donate or ditch it.  I want my wardrobe to uplift me, and it does now.

It's summer here in New Zealand, and I am enjoying wearing soft light-weight denim dresses; some I bought last year from Esprit, and a few new ones this year from Kmart.  Yay for dresses, they are easy to put on - one piece! - and cool to wear when the temperature is H-O-T.

Tell me about your new year:  what's your number one goal, or top few if you have more than one?

What about your wardrobe, does it excite you, or are you in the doldrums at the moment?

Why not take a look at your current season clothes by getting them all out and having a play around with them on your bed.  See what looks shabby and get rid of those things.  See what thrills you and makes you feel like the best version of yourself - wear those pieces, even if they're 'too good' for everyday wear.  If you have items that excite you but they aren't quite big enough, put them away with love, and look forward to next year when you will look like a knock-out in them.  Let that promise inspire you to go for that walk, choose a brightly coloured healthy lunch, and prep good nutritious food ahead of time.

For now, love yourself at the size and shape you are.  Appreciate the fact that you're alive.  Hating your body will only make you unhappier and bigger, because you'll soothe yourself with feel-good foods such as chocolate and sweet things.  Prioritise your health and make check-up appointments you've been putting off.  Get a hair trim (and colour if you want).  I am thinking of going for a lob just for a change.

Say 'I love you' to yourself in the mirror every time you see yourself.  It won't feel silly forever, and it's a far nicer thing to do than catalogue everything you don't like about yourself.  When you say 'I love you X' (with your name in place of X), imagine you're saying it to a younger you, that small child who tags along everywhere you go.  Lavish her with affection, and adore her unconditionally.  All she wants - all she ever wanted - is your love and acceptance.

And before I go, what would you love me to blog about this year?  If you have any topic requests, please let me know.  I am always open to suggestions, and sometimes a request might spark off something new and fun; yay for new and fun :)

Happy days to you, my dear chic friend.


If you already feel like you know what you 'should' eat, but find that you can't seem to get on board with that, you will know how strong your mindset is when it's working against you.  In my most recently book 'Thirty Slim Days', I share all the tips and tricks that help me choose the healthy option, without feeling deprived.

This is not a diet book, and there are no menu plans or calorie lists.  Download the sample from Amazon here to see if 'Thirty Slim Days' clicks with you, or join my mailing list to receive free excerpts from all my books, as well as other chic goodies :)  You can get those freebies here.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Inspiration to create an everyday festive feeling

In my book A Chic and Simple Christmas, there is a chapter about looking forward to the new year.  I was thinking about one section of this chapter today, and it is about continuing on the good feeling of Christmas (perhaps the lead-up, not the aftermath when you are totally over everything) throughout the year.

My specific thoughts were on how I could make it feel like it was Christmas every day.  I’m not planning on leaving my tree up or playing carols or anything like that, but just how could the magical feeling of Christmas be recreated every day of the year?

There must be similar things that we do at Christmas that can give us a glittery, happy feeling inside on a daily basis.

Here are my five top tips to create a festive feeling no matter the time of year.

Feel kind towards others.  This Christmas I kept away from the shops as much as possible, but when I did go, people were in a good mood.  Even those who were working looked quite happy and were cheery, even if they were tired and looking forward to the end-of-year break.  I was also in a good mood most of the time, and it seems nutty that just because the festive season is here we can feel so much happier than at other times of the year.  Why not make your whole year feel festive?

Play feel-good music.  I played more music in December than in other months.  I switched on my favourite Christmas tunes as a matter of course each day.  To continue this on I am going to click my iPod into action every day, and have fun creating new playlists to enjoy.  I have quite a few playlists already, but I think it’s about time for some new ones to join ‘Billy Joel’, ‘Hotel Lobby Piano’, ‘Motown’, ‘Buddha-Bar’ and ‘Fiona’s Favourites’.  I will create day-long playlists so I can have lots of new ones to look forward to. 

Add décor touches to your home that make you feel happy.  My beautiful new-this-year 7ft tree in red, gold and small touches of silver with tartan ribbon furled around makes me happy every time I see it.  I even have the white lights switched on during the day (don’t worry, I switch them off when I go out).  What décor touches can I make sure to keep up in my home that bring about that lovely feeling?  Rotate my pretty candle holders on the coffee table, and research stylish table-scapes that I can make with books and items I already own on Pinterest.  I adore beautiful fragrances, as you can see from the image, and these always help me feel happier.  An Ecoya candle in Coral & Narcissus (which smells a lot like Issey Miyake’s perfume), and Surmanti’s Christmas Lily candle and Peonies Peppers & Tuberose reeds.  I got very lucky in the Christmas gift department this year.

Entertain – invite people around.  We entertained more in December than at other times, and it was nice.  We had dinners, plus I entertained family and lady-friends in the afternoon, for tea.  I will be more intentional about keeping this up, because it’s something lovely, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of effort.  It feels festive and welcoming to have someone around to your home.

Have good things to look forward to.  We look forward to Christmas day.  We look forward to visitors, outings, gifts, meals and drinks.  Why not create things to look forward to every week?  Coffee out, reading a new book (‘new’ new or from the library or op shop), having someone over, planning a holiday, starting a craft project, a browsing shopping trip to plan your new season wardrobe, upgrading something in your home and researching that; these are some of my thoughts and I’m sure you will have plenty of your own that may be more suited to your taste.

What it comes down to is appreciating your everyday luxuries, creating more reasons for yourself to feel good, and taking your fun where you can get it.  Some months can feel drab, so why not say to yourself ‘How can I make March feel as magical as Christmas?’ for example, and brainstorm all the kinds of things you’d love to experience.

What comes to mind when you think of creating an everyday festive feeling?  I’d love you to share your favourite tip.

Happy new year everyone, I hope you have a blast.  I’m planning on having a blast at home with the cats and my darling, and if I’m lucky I’ll be well asleep before midnight :)


My first (and still most popular) book 'Thirty Chic Days: Practical' inspiration for a beautiful life' is available as an audiobook.

I narrate the audio version of Thirty Chic Days myself, and each of the days/chapters are a separate MP3 track for easy bookmarking and so you can play them on random/shuffle too.  I love doing this when I am listening to an audiobook that doesn't require you to go through the chapters in a linear fashion.  It feels like whatever chapter comes next is the one I need to hear right now.

The audiobook is 6 hours and 45 minutes long in total, and comes wrapped in a zip file for easy downloading (it could still take a little bit to download though because it's a large file, so please be patient).

Download the 'Thirty Chic Days' audiobook here.


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