Saturday, February 24, 2024

Creating your own personal style and being a chic success

Micky and me ❤️
Ready to go out for lunch, except Micky stayed home ๐Ÿ˜Š

Hello chic friends!

As you can see, I’m still loving my soft-bright shades paired with denim.

Colour just makes me feel so happy!

I think it’s important to go with what your heart chooses for you, regardless of trends.

I love the monochromatic neutrals look, and black with cream in outfits on other people, but for everyday wear for myself I’m drawn to colour.

It makes me feel feminine, pretty, and sparkly ✨✨

Sometimes all it takes is one new piece in a colour, style or texture that rings your bell to inject a little freshness into your personal style and lead you in a new direction.
If you’d like a little inspiration to cultivate your best personal style, go and read the free sample of my book ‘The Chic Closet: Inspired ideas to develop your personal style, fall in love with your wardrobe, and bring back the joy of dressing yourself’.

It’s available in paperback and on Kindle here on Amazon.

And the eBook is available in my eStore here for an Amazon alternative.

For a book all about style, there are no pictures! I want you to create a dreamy vision for yourself rather than be distracted by images that might not be your thing. I promise it works!
❤️ My sweet Nina cat ❤️

Nina has been a total superstar about wearing this cute little collar after I found a small injury in her 'armpit' that I think she must have done on a tree branch or something outside. At 13 1/2 she is still a very active outdoor girl!

She had a vet appointment this week and is now feeling much better with antibiotics and painkillers from being all stitched up.

She seems to have taken everything in her stride and was busy eating after we got home, and even let me give her her medicine.

Then straight back to grooming, what she could reach anyway ๐Ÿ˜Š

She really lives up to her nickname of Kitten how she is so resilient and just gets on with things. Not much stands in her way of living a good cat life!

So please keep Nina in your thoughts as she wears her collar and takes her medicine for the next week or so.

I just think she looks so pretty in her lovely collar ๐Ÿฅฐ My little tuxedo girl ๐Ÿฅฐ


And to finish, I have a reminder for you today: you don't need to hustle hard or exhaust yourself in order to feel like a 'chic success.

Being a chic success is all about approaching life satisfaction from the feminine perspective, where you take into account enjoyment, softness, having fun, and doing the things you love.

And being this way can be compatible with building financial and career success, in my opinion!

For some of us, there is no other way to be. We just end up making ourselves miserable if we even try (I know, I have).

If you are curious about a different - gentler - style of goal-setting and creating success in all areas of your life, treat yourself to a copy of '100 Ways to be a Chic Success and Create Your Dream Life' on Kindle or in paperback.

It's a petite easy-to-read book jam-packed with inspiration and ideas to help you become wealthier not just financially, but emotionally, socially, and happiness-wise too.

According to my readers (via reviews on Amazon ๐Ÿ˜ - thank you!):

'I have read quite a few of her books and this one is my favorite so far. Her suggestions are so on point and proceed in a logical order. By the time I finished I was convinced that I could create my dream life.'

'Like a best friend who cheers you on. I’ve read most of Fiona’s books. This one feels particularly special. Reading it is like having a lovely brunch with a good friend. The book is full of warmth and positivity and gave me a bunch of ideas about how to reimagine the way I live my day-to-day life.'

'I love this book. Fiona is like my cheerleader. She gives me the hopes and desires to be a chic success.. I plan on reading this book again it is worth keeping. It is a valuable book in my library. Which I will take down from shelves many more times. Thank you, Fiona.'

All reviews are welcomed and appreciated, so if you have taken the time to write a review or even just do the stars thing, thank you!
Wishing you a fab weekend and that all your pets are safe and well!

xx Fiona



(My Amazon links are affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. I’m grateful if you use my links!)

Friday, February 16, 2024

'Treat time' and, my first audiobook!

Good morning! It's been a lovely bright week here and I have exciting news.

Very soon my first audiobook is coming out! I am starting with '100 Ways to be That Girl' with more to come. It's been uploaded, it just takes a little time for it to filter through to all the different audiobook retailers such as Audible, Spotify and iTunes among others - 38 places in total including libraries! So keep an eye out for it but I'll definitely let you know when I spy it available. And, ask your online library to order the audiobook in for you!

I've decided to go with a professional voice actor for a premium listening experience. I always thought I preferred it when authors narrated their own books, but now I have changed my mind. I've listened to a sample of the lady I have chosen and I love how she brings this book alive.

And while that magic is happening, I get to carry on writing my next book :) I've been writing most days this week and it's such an enjoyable way to spend time.

Please tell me, which audiobook should I do next? Which title would you choose? Let me know!

If you haven’t already read ‘100 Ways to be That Girl’ you can order it here on Amazon Kindle and in paperback (also available on Kindle Unlimited).

‘That girl’ is who everyone wants to be. She has it all going on! Others wonder how she does it so well. In this book I’ll share all her secrets.

Her message is all about standing out from the crowd and harnessing the power of how ‘she’ would be, to instantly:

- Become unforgettable
- Feel happier and more confident
- Stop worrying about what others think of you
- Power ahead in your own life
- Feel unshakeable

‘That girl’ is our alter ego, the one who has more fun, makes more money, and is better looking.

Let’s cultivate our 'that girl' persona and see how fabulous life can get. Age or body size are no barrier to creating our dream life, with the help of our inner ‘that girl’. We are going to be ‘that girl’ in our own life, the leading lady in our own movie!

It was so fun to write this book. I got to be a little over the top, but as usual with my writing, it is also grounded in reality. It always pays to have the best of both worlds I believe!

If you have a friend who you think might enjoy this book too, please share this post with them ๐Ÿ˜Š

(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. I’m appreciative if you choose to use my links!)


Celebrating Valentines Day this week with my Starbucks cup from a few years back. I love the jaunty beret lid! Both for the practicality (I love my drinks piping hot) and the cuteness of it ๐Ÿ˜

Summer tomatoes from our garden :)
'Black' and yellow cherry tomatoes


This is the view into the living room from our patio. They wait there stalking us for treats when we are relaxing after work ๐Ÿคฃ

When your doggies tone in with your decor perfectly ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿงก๐Ÿงก

I get the feeling they are training me... The way it should be: me training them not to beg for treats, is still a work in progress, and I've been trying for six years now.

How the treat begging goes: Daphne (on the right here) suddenly sits up straight while also tippety-tapping her paws animatedly. She fixes a very pointed, expectant gaze on me like I've just offered her a treat.

Then, when I don't respond by going and getting a treat for everydoggy, she does a loud 'cack' bark. Just one sharp bark to alert me that I have in fact forgotten I need to go and get her a treat.

Then Micky dog (not pictured), joins in and starts a high-pitched huffy whine.

That, interspersed with Daphne's periodic 'cack' bark really crimps my relaxing atmosphere and Penny Vincenzi book reading I can tell you.

I don't want to give in but I do, every time. Chloe (pictured on the left here) waits patiently for her treat because she knows Daphne and Micky are doing all the work for her.

This happens every. single. night. And multiple times a night often too.


It's really fun to have three dogs ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ


Do your doggies do this? Badger you into treats? Or I am just too soft a dog mum?

I don't know how to fix the situation so I just follow their lead and hand out the treats ๐Ÿ˜‚ But I do break them in half so they aren't getting too many. I'm 'that' dog mum haha!

Happy almost weekend, it's Friday here, yay! And this weekend is the big Art Deco celebration in Napier that people come from all around the world to see. We have English guests staying with my aunty at the moment who came at this time to do the Art Deco thing.

It's beautifully sunny and settled weather too, so that's fabulous for all the events that are on.

We might pop along and see what's happening as well. It would be wrong not to when it's all on our doorstep.

Happy weekend to you!

xx Fiona

Friday, February 9, 2024

A long weekend

Hello chic friends!
Last weekend was a long weekend due to a public holiday and my husband took a few extra days off work too, so we went wine tasting one of those days. It was such an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. We are at Trinity Hill wines here, just ten minutes down the road from our house. Their tasting glasses are Riedel (a very fine, very expensive brand) so it shows their attention to detail. Everything about our experience was exquisite!

And I've finished my first jigsaw puzzle too!


Since we were 'on vacation' it felt nice to be noodling away on my puzzle :)

I felt very proud that I got to the end. I definitely had new hobby regret in the beginning, haha. It felt so H A R D and I wondered how people ever completed them. But here we are. Finished!


I can see how they could become addicitive though :) And... still maybe a waste of time? When that thought came to me I kept countering it with, 'I am exercising my brain'. And it's fun! Surely no worse a way to spend time than watching television, which I do as well and never think 'What a waste of time'.

So, just wanted to share this and toot my own horn!

Plus, earlier this week I did an interview with Daniela Acitelli and it was so much fun. She is a blast. I can't wait for you to see it on YouTube within the next few weeks. I'll let you know when it's up!

And finally, I just finished this book by Nita Prose and it was so good. Her writing is crisp and clean and I adore the character of Molly the head maid, as well as the supporting characters. As with all things I find myself loving, the story and the characters had 'heart'.

I read the first book ‘The Maid’ in this series as well and it was fabulous. (I see ‘The Maid’ is being made into a movie too. I'm sure it will be excellent!)

There is nothing like sitting down with a real book to feel relaxed, don't you think?

For my next read I have decided to choose a book from my shelf - Penny Vincenzi's 'An Absolute Scandal' which I've been wanting to read for a while. The 756 page length put me off I admit, but I'm ready for the challenge!

I love how Penny writes such detailed and descriptive books, this one about wealthy and titled London folks coming unstuck financially. As well as plenty of secrets and lies. Such fun! I like to keep my own life simple so I can enjoy reading about others with complicated lives. Cautionary tales if you will :D

Plus, it's Friday here, yay! Even though I work from home and pretty much have the same 'schedule' no matter the day of the week, Fridays have their own special, fun, exciting vibe.

Happy weekend to you, and please let me know what you're enjoying reading at the moment!

xx Fiona
PS. If you need a little inspirational reading, pick up bestseller '100 Ways to be That Girl' on Kindle or in paperback, or read it for free if you are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited.


(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. I’m appreciative if you choose to use my links!)

Friday, February 2, 2024

Hello February! And My Simple Exercise Routine

Lunch out this week with my mum Jo, brother Arden and sister Catherine.
And the doggies came too!

How has your January gone? Mine dashed by in a blur. It's been such a full-on month with visitors and people from out of town. Fun, but very easy to get out of routine and not even know what day it is...

I'm happy with my January though. I had a great time, got to see people, did a little bit of writing on my next book, stuck with my simple exercise plan and have been eating healthy too. I have also completed an update for my writer's course which I have just shared with my students.

I know skies are so boring to post but I had to show you mine! How pretty.
 I do love anything pink so thank you Mother Nature for our pinky purple sky.
Pink sky at night, sailor's delight:)

And I'm excited for February! I am being interviewed next week for an author's podcast, sending a book to a 'new to me' audiobook producer to start my series of audiobooks, and continue working on my next book too.

Such fun :)


I want to keep fit and limber as I get older and have found an exercise routine I enjoy. Very strenuous exercises wear me out, make me feel shaky, and also hungrier. Gentler approaches work best for me.

I went to a chiropractor last year for a cricked neck. When I asked, he suggested Pilates as an excellent exercise and said the core work really helps keep your back strong throughout your life.

So I looked around on YouTube and found ‘Move With Nicole’ among others. I liked her workouts best so I've stuck with her for about six months now. I like to alternate a walk one day with Pilates the next, and I try for 2-3 times a week for each, mostly 2x each per week for 30 minutes. Walk, Pilates, walk, Pilates ๐Ÿ˜Š

It doesn't seem 'enough' but I still do it. And when I've had longer, harder routines in the past, I've not wanted to do them.

As you can see, I like to make a yoga studio type environment for myself, with candles and lamps, and the overhead lights off. It's so relaxing but I'm also getting a workout in. I feel rejuvenated and peaceful after a session with Nicole.

So that's my simple exercise routine. Please let me know what you enjoy.

I hope you had a fab January and are really looking forward to February as well. Let me know what your plans are!

xx Fiona

PS. What better accompaniment to this post than my book ‘100 Ways to Enjoy Self-Care for Gentle Wellbeing and a Healthy Body Image’. Finding exercise that feels elegant and enjoyable even if you only plan for it once a week on a Sunday (such as a long walk through town) will go a long way towards helping you feel better about yourself. On Kindle and in print here on Amazon.



And if you need a boost of inspiration, check out my latest book '100 Ways to Be a Chic Success and Create Your Dream Life' here on Amazon Kindle and in paperback.


Read how you can become a 'chic success' the soft way. The feminine way. The easy and fun way. I love to make things happen, but I want it to be light and playful too. Life is too short to do anything unpleasant or difficult!

And for an Amazon alternative you can download both of these eBooks (plus all my others) from my eStore here.

(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Saturday, January 27, 2024

My first jigsaw puzzle!

Lisianthus flowers brought to me by my mum this week :)

Hello chic friends :)
Last month, inspired by the lovely Katie on Instagram, I bought myself a jigsaw puzzle. The first one I've had since I was a little girl!

At first I was overwhelmed and thought I'd made a terrible mistake ๐Ÿ˜‚ I didn't see how it was possible to put all the pieces together within my lifetime. It was just so difficult! I googled puzzle strategies, asked people I knew who did jigsaw puzzles for their tips, and didn't really get far beyond putting the outside pieces together.

Galison brand 'Michael Storrings Christmas in London' (1000 Pieces)

Now that we are into a fresh, calm new year with Christmas behind us, I gave it another go. And I'm hooked! Once I got over it being 'a waste of time' and 'a job I needed to complete', I now enjoy treating my jigsaw like reading a novel.

Taking my time, enjoying the doing of it, admiring my progress, and feeling very happy when a pieces slots in. Plus I am building a wonderfully atmospheric picture as I go. And can I just say, I also love running my hands over the smooth, shiny surface of the completed parts as I work on it.

It's almost like doing meditation too, because you can't really think of much while you are finding the puzzle pieces. The mind can slow down and be still. And for mental health as I get older I'm sure it must be doing something good!

One morning this week I got up really early and felt like a bit of puzzle time, so I lit candles on the table and spent a little while there.

So thanks Katie, for showing me this wonderfully restorative act of relaxation and self-care :)

My fan club...
This bouquet of doggies is always near me, and most often together too which is lovely.

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

Underneath this bench seat there are pet beds. I live in a house with a million pet beds, haha. They all go in them at night though! And don't get up until the alarm goes off. I don't know how I got them so well trained but they are very good doggies.

Although sometimes Daphne will have 'a night' where she tries to get up on the bed every fifteen minutes. When I feel her paws on the side of the bed and see a face peering at me I say 'in the crate' and she goes back to bed.

It hasn't happened in a while but when she does and tries to get up many, many times I have to repeat 'in the crate'. In the morning my husband Paul exclaims 'I almost got in the crate myself last night!' ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

I hope that gave you a giggle today!
And please tell me, do you do puzzles? If so, what are your favourite brands/types?
xx Fiona

(My Amazon puzzle and book links are affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Friday, January 19, 2024

Summer hygge and dressing up

Good evening from a recent family dinner at home. I loved this outfit I put together and felt really good in it!

I usually wear my colourful tops with blue or white jeans, and have worn these gold pants with my neutral tops, but I wanted something more summery and came up with this.

What else can I mix up in my wardrobe I wonder…?

I am not the type to have outfits planned out in advance. It works better for me to have everything clean, pressed and ready to wear, and I get to pair things up as I’m getting dressed. It feels fresher that way :)

I used to iron as I went, using the excuse that things would get creased in my closet anyway, but that was incorrect. I just never wore the unironed clothes! Now I iron them straight away, and even iron linen damp from the washing machine.

When I forget about how fun it is to dress myself it turns into a chore, but when I remember, yay!

I wrote a book called ‘The Chic Closet’, and it’s for those of us who love to look nice, but are also a little bit… lazy. Is it such a crime to want everything to be easy and effortless including getting dressed? As you’ve probably heard me say before, I like things to be fun and easy, and ‘The Chic Closet’ follows this formula.

When you inspire yourself to do something it doesn’t feel hard or dull, it’s… fun and easy!

If you too wish you were more of a fashionista but can’t really be bothered and wish it was easier to get motivated, go and check out the sample of ‘The Chic Closet’ on Amazon and see what you think.

I love it when one little phrase or idea gives you a zing and you rush off to put it into action. I really hope my books do that for you!

I do love a laundromat for washing my big duvet inners and blankets. There is one right by my supermarket and the 35-minute wash cycle is a perfect time to get my grocery shopping done.

I then take my wet washing home and hang it on the clothesline. With the early 30s C (85-90 F) weather we have been having it’s dry in no time ☀️☀️☀️

I love it when little things like this work out perfectly!

My Christmas tree and all other festive decor has been packed away, but I am reluctant to give up these candles so I'm burning them a little longer.

They are SO pretty. Each candle is a beautiful metallic red 'house' with clear windows so you can see the light inside, and the fragrance is gorgeous as well (from Australian brand Glasshouse Candles, 'Night Before Christmas - Dancing Sugar Plums'). And they have red metallic lids for when I'm not using them which also look lovely.

I still have a lot of wax to go, and I know they will look great too with 2-3 tealights in each, once they are empty.

I am one who fully believes hygge can be a year-round thing, right down to lighting my favourite candles when it's hot outside!

(See the leopard print cushion on the left? Chloe dog just loves to curl up on it and flatten the carefully curated aesthetic...)

Please keep warm and safe if it's wild winter weather where you are ❤️

xx Fiona

PS. Also pictured, my book ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’, because, why not? After all, it’s never too soon to start planning your next year’s festive season while this past one is fresh in your mind. It’s a great time to jot a few notes down about what you loved and what worked well during this holiday season, and what you did NOT enjoy and will change next Christmas.

It’s here on Amazon in paperback and Kindle:

And the eBook is in my eStore here for an Amazon alternative.
(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Fresh, Euro-style summer living

Happy weekend! I'm out at a local cafe here, but I'm been spending a lot of time at home and it's been wonderful.

It is such a nice time of year to get things organised at home and make fun plans.

With all my tidying up I even cleaned the tops of my nail polish bottles which I have never thought to do before. It makes all the difference; now my nail colours feel like new and are a pleasure to use.

Do you do this already? Why did no-one ever tell me! I used nail polish remover and a clean rag (which I will keep for future cleanings, don't try to wash it).

I've also got lots of admin done and am even finished up a sewing project today has sat mocking me since late October. I was a bit stuck on a detail but I worked it out in my head and now it's finished. I will get a photo with my model wearing it :)

It's so nice to complete things, and also to create with your hands, whether it's crafting, cooking/baking, or gardening.

And this is my little veggie garden! I only dabble in gardening but I'm very proud of my summer garden this year. We have spinach which goes into our smoothies each morning, broccolini (a bit of a gamble haha), three different types of tomatoes, cucumber and courgette/zucchini, and a passionfruit plant too.

I've picked our first courgettes, and the tomatoes and cucumber aren't far away either.

And we have an herb garden in a raised bed closer to the kitchen which I love too. It has rosemary, basil, sage, oregano, thyme, curly parsley and flat parsley, mint (contained within the raised bed) and even some spring onions which have done us for months now.

I can see why people get hooked on growing food :)

First courgette! It's in the curry below :)

For today, I’d love to share a relevant excerpt from my book '100 Ways to Live a European Inspired Life':

(From tip no. 76)

'Grow herbs at home.
Adding finishing touches to a meal in the form of chopped fresh parsley on scrambled eggs, stirring thyme into a creamy chicken sauce, or sprinkling rosemary sprigs into a big oven dish of roasted root vegetables as they cook will not only add to the flavour, but the look of your meal as well.
And when you grow your own herbs there are a myriad of benefits: you will use them more often because they are right there ready to be snipped off (whether you have them just outside your kitchen in the garden or in pots), they will be fresher, they will be spray-free, and the cost is negligible since the little plants are not expensive.
Your planter pots or kitchen garden will look trรจs chic and European, and there is the final bonus that all herbs have their own health benefits. Herbs are the bomb!'

I have to say, I do feel tres chic and European as I scatter fresh herbs onto a meal as I'm cooking it.

Summer living ๐ŸŒบ

There has been a lot of outdoor living in our new patio area with the beautiful weather we are having.

I made this chicken korma with a ton of veggies (I put vegetables in right at the end for 5-10 minutes so they are still brightly coloured and crispy) and fresh parsley and rocket from our herb garden on top.

Paired with a New Zealand Riesling it was a perfect summer night’s meal. Filling but light and healthy and delicious too.

I did a ton of chopping earlier in the day so all I needed to do was put everything in a pot to simmer while we relaxed outside.

I want to feel like I’m on holiday at this time of the year so I try to make necessary things as easy as possible.

I know where many of you are it’s snowing or raining at the moment so I hope you keep warm, dry and safe!

xx Fiona

You can find the Kindle and paperback version of '100 Ways to Live a European Inspired Life' here on Amazon.

And for an Amazon alternative, download the eBook from my eStore here.

(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you if you choose to use my links!)
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