Friday, May 19, 2017

8 Ways to Soothe Yourself

Dahlias in our neighbour's lovely garden




We just found out today that our house is unconditionally SOLD, with the new owner taking over mid-July.  Exciting!  And… unsettling.  All our dreams are coming true – selling our business and then our house and now completing our move from the city to the countryside.  We have been wishing and planning to do for a couple of years now, and as well as a feeling of happiness comes a strange feeling, one of shifting foundations.

I know this is only natural and I’m sure that those of you who have experienced big desired-for life changes will know what I mean.  Or at least I hope you do because then I will feel less bonkers.

I’ve heard it said that moving out of your comfort zone feels uncomfortable, and it’s true.  It’s nice and easy to stay in a job and the same home and not do anything different.  If we didn’t want to experience small-town life we’d likely still be living where we were.

So, even though we are organized and life is not stressful, there is still this underlying movement that is causing me to feel unsettled.  I have been devising an action plan to help, and I think it could apply to any time in life that you feel like you need some TLC.

One. Not look too far ahead into the future.  I think this is the most valuable thought I am keeping in mind at the moment.  I don’t need to worry about where we are going to live or how our sofas are going to get moved so they aren’t damaged.  All I need to do is focus on the next few days or the next week.  What do I need to do now?  Basically, stay in the present moment.  Sage advice at any time but especially right now for me.

Two. Practice exquisite self-care.  I go to bed at a good time – quite early, and I have adjusted my wakeup time from 6am to 7am.  It feels so luxurious getting up at 7 and I am getting plenty of necessary sleep.

Three. Keep hydrated.  I have a large glass which sits on my desk (away from electronics!) and I am amazed that it is constantly empty.  I fill it when I notice, and then when I look again it needs refilling.  Doing this helps me realise that I sip my water constantly without realizing and that if it isn’t there, I’m not getting the hydration.  If I am moving around the house doing things, I keep my glass by the kitchen sink, and have some when passing by.

Four. Be strict on how I am spending my time.  I have been cutting out time-wasting pursuits and focusing on what’s important.  If I don’t do this I can easily feel overwhelmed and frazzled, and the time-wasting stuff doesn’t bring any value into my life.  I can be prone to a thought sending me off on a tangent, so it helps for me to focus my mind on what I was doing in the first place.  A notepad with the day’s essential tasks (not too many, less than a handful) keeps my mind on the tasks that need to be done.

Five. Nourish myself.  I am ensuring I have good food in the kitchen and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  At times like this my natural inclination is to want to eat carbs, carbs, carbs and I have allowed myself a bit of that, but I am also gently steering myself towards health so I feel better.  Using the guidelines in my book Thirty Slim Days, I am enticing and inspiring myself towards choosing healthy options rather than being a dictator (which never works for me).

Six. Do fun things every day.  Sometimes we go out for lunch (nothing fancy).  I also make sure I have time to put my feet up with a book, even for just a little while.  Between my own books, library books and my Kindle, I always have something to read.

Sometimes I’ll go for a bit of chick-lit, I am currently re-reading Jemima J on my Kindle a little bit at a time in between other books, sometimes I’m in the mood for non-fiction (Bright Line Eating is quite illuminating) and even a psychological thriller to keep me awake at night (it took me only 48 hours to read Behind Her Eyes, omg, so good and I’m still thinking about it weeks later).

Yes, reading makes me happy.

Seven. Keep our home nice.  We have had to keep our home looking good for the open homes, but it’s amazing how I can let it all hang out when we don’t!  Keeping things put away and having our home tidy soothes my mind.

Eight. Be excited planning for our future home.  I am also excited about deciding what we are going to take with us and what we are going to donate before we go.  My goal is to take only what I would welcome into my dream new life.  There will be a few exceptions but these items have an exit strategy once we are there.

Overall, I am working on settling the butterflies and keeping calm, whilst at the same time turning anxiety into excitement for the future.

Are you strange like this?  I feel strange even saying all this stuff, but that’s what I am all about.  Helping you feel normal if you ever have these feelings :)  Plus, working stuff out for myself at the same time.  If you have any tips you have found helpful, please share!

Me: *makes big plans then freaks out when they start coming to fruition*

Fiona

PS.  A gorgeous new blog called Fleur de St. Louis recently featured Thirty Chic Days.  Thank you Lauren!  You can read about Lauren’s 'Tres Chic Morning Routine' here.

http://www.fleurdestlouis.com/2017/05/wellness-wednesday-n4-tres-chic-morning.html


Friday, May 12, 2017

What to wear at home: Part 2


I'd found a bit of a gap in my wardrobe which I've been working on filling, and it involved what to wear when I was at home, which is most of the time these days.  Now that I am no longer working in our retail store since we sold it at the end of last year, I spend a lot of time in my home office writing/planning/thinking/dreaming, as well as doing all the other daily things such as housework, organising, grocery shopping, going to the library, etc.

My main work uniform was jeans, jeans and more jeans, which I love, however jeans are not the most comfortable thing for hanging out at home in, or sitting and writing in.  No matter what I'm wearing, late afternoon I change into my loungewear, which at this time of year is leggings and a long-sleeve tee-shirt.  I first wrote about what to wear at home here, and it is currently the most popular post on my blog - of all time - so I know it is something that many of you are pondering as well - what the heck do we wear at home?

I know it's hardly finding the answer to world peace, but I know if I am comfortable in an outfit as well as being happy with the way I look, I am more productive and content in my home life.  I also would like these outfits to be low-cost, good quality and easy to take care of, plus suit my personal style.  Yes, I know I am asking a lot of clothes here.

So, with this gap in my wardrobe I took myself off shopping for some new home pieces.  In the past I've had good luck with a few items I bought at K-Mart so I went back there.  Yes, I am a thrifty girl at heart.  What a bounty they had too!  And guess what, it was late Friday afternoon/early evening and there were so many young, hip, slim and stylish people in their homewares section (I drifted over there).  It gave me confidence that I wasn't shopping at the wrong place.  I also thought it would be a fantastic place to meet people if you were young and single.  Maybe K-Mart is the new supermarket fruit and veggie section.

The items in the top photo are both new from K-Mart: black 3/4 length jeggings in a thick twill stretch, and an overlong, loose black and white striped top with cuffed bracelet-length sleeves.  I have never bought jeggings before (and even the name puts me off a little bit, lol) but I am so happy I did.  They are a good in-between for my clingy, fine loungewear leggings, which don't leave the house, and jeans.  I still treat them like leggings though, where the golden rule is 'my bum must never be seen.'  Bottoms don't look the same in leggings as they do in jeans.

Below, is another new pair of pants from K-Mart, and they are a ponte knit with a kind of scratchy pattern on them.  I had the idea to stretch out the wear of my favourite chambray summer dresses and double them up as a tunic.  I actually wore this out to lunch with these heels and was very happy in it.  My husband said I looked hot too, so that's a bonus.


And my second pair of jeggings below, this time full-length, and in a dotty/line print black and white.  They are actually really comfy and cozy, but I am under no illusions.  I know that anything with stretch, even expensive denim or other fabrics, will eventually stretch out.  To counteract this somewhat, I chose fabrics that felt quite firm and of reasonable quality.  Even in a store where everything is inexpensive, you can get a feel (literally, and with your eyes) for what is going to be cheap without looking cheap and at least hold its shape for a little while.

The top with my dotty jeggings is from Zara, and is quite drapey with a deep-V front and back.  I think I wear it back-to-front, well, the label is in the front the way I wear it, otherwise the V is far too cleavegy for my liking but I love it with the deep-V to the back.


And with some ballet flats for a different look, plus a chunky gold/silver chain necklace.


Coming from K-Mart, these pieces were tres inexpensive as you'd imagine.  Between $10 and $15 each.  I am so happy with my little shopping trip.  What I saved in money I invested in time.  I was in the store for at least 1.5 hours, firstly seeing what they had, selecting my pieces to try on then having to try on six at a time because of their security rules.  I think I had close to twenty pieces to try all up (some were multiples of sizes).

I truly believe you don't have to spend a lot of money to look good.  If think if I had to, I could have replaced my entire wardrobe from K-Mart and been happy with it.

Are you a high-low girl or a thrift shopper (I'm both)?  Does the thought of finding a bargain in K-Mart excite you, or maybe it makes you break out in a rash...  I'm the first type, but I know my sister is the second!

Fiona

PS.  If you live in the southern hemisphere like I do, it's coming into winter.  Today it's pouring with rain with no sign of letting up!

I would love to share my book with you, called 'How to be Chic in the Winter: Living slim, happy and stylish during the cold season'.  I wrote this book for myself initially, because I found I kept doing the same unhelpful things over and over each year to cope with the cold weather - eating sweet and stodgy fattening foods, feeling lazy and unmotivated, being grumpy and generally an unfun person.  I started gathering all my thoughts on living an ideal chic winter and this book is a result of that.

http://amzn.to/2q9BWgJ


Included are my favourite winter recipes, because that was my biggest hurdle - coming up with meals that felt comforting and hearty, but which were also healthy.  They are all very simple to make, but also very importantly they don't take too long to put together.  I like to keep prep time to a minimum because I would rather go for a walk or read a book than spend too long fussing around in the kitchen.

Below is a description and list of all the chapters and recipes so you can get an idea of what's inside.  You probably already know this, but you can preview the book on Amazon by clicking on the cover image, and read the first few pages there (I think they show you approximately 10% of the book).  You can also receive an excerpt from this book and all my others too, by subscribing to my weekly posts by email.  You can do that here, and receive all your free goodies straight away.

--


"Late summer heading into early autumn/fall is a such beautiful time of the year. You can feel everything growing still and soft; nature is slowing down and people are getting cozy. The most stunning colours can be found outdoors at this time.

Despite the natural beauty, despite your looking forward to the coziness of winter, you find that a few short months later yes, again, things have gone awry. You have ploughed headlong into winter without design or plan; you are wearing the same clothes as last year because you have not put thought into your wardrobe; you have put on weight from indiscriminate eating and you are complaining in your head, or worse, out loud that ‘it’s cold today’. This was me!

Many warm-blooded creatures hibernate when it is cold out and go with their natural instincts by doing so. They do not enter the spring season stressed out; rather, animals waking up from hibernation are coming to sleepily, well rested and ready for the warmer season; so, why don’t we?

We would not go to sleep for months on end, but perhaps we can take a leaf out of their book and make each winter a mental spa time of rejuvenation, beauty and pleasure.

I decided to write this book as a kind of insurance, to remind me of my exciting winter plans. It is easy to be enthusiastic about the winter season when the leaves are turning. Fall fashions are always fun to look forward to, even for a non-fashionista like me – the September issue of Vogue! I can rekindle my love for the colours of plum, navy and camel at this time of year. But a few months later the novelty has already worn off.

This book is also a toolkit of all the ideas that have worked so well in previous winters, as well as new ideas I want to capture. I started this book in autumn, and am now finishing it up in spring. I am so pleased to have tried all my ideas out in a ‘test’ environment!

Read ‘How to be Chic in the Winter’ to discover my strategy for not just surviving, but thriving this winter; on how to have a chic and beautiful winter season and emerge, like a butterfly ready for a gorgeous spring and summer."

Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1. Know that winter is a different season
     Start winter with a goal
     Be ahead of the game
     Look forward to winter

Chapter 2. Create a winter menu plan
     Breakfasts that are warming, filling and healthy
     Lunches for work and home
     Dinners – tweak the winter classics
     Snacks
     Fiona’s favourite winter recipes
        Red Lentil and Tomato soup
        Pumpkin Soup
        Vegetable soup
        Spaghetti Bolognese
        Savoury mince
        Shepherd’s pie
        Roast chicken
        ‘Bangers’ (sausages) and mash
        Parmesan chicken
        Crumbed chicken
        Pasta Bake
        Rice Bake
        Apple and Boysenberry Crumble
        Bliss Balls

Chapter 3. Break up the long winter
     Learn something or have a project to complete
     Keep active
     Be social

Chapter 4. Work on feeling good
     Home as your winter sanctuary
     Dress in clothes that make you feel good
     Be cozy when you are at home
     Take care of your grooming
     Keep well

Chapter 5. Keep your motivation up
     Do things quickly
     If you are a summer person
     Make plans for the next six to twelve months

Chapter 6. Create your ideal chic winter season
     Bonus journal questions
     To finish

--

You can order 'How to be Chic in the Winter' here on Amazon.  Thank you for reading down this far!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Home Tour


Welcome to our home!  As promised, these are the photos our real estate agent had taken by a lovely photographer, who also stages homes for sale.  You can click on each photo to see them bigger.

I loved seeing her ideas and also first-hand how important a 'pop of colour' is in pulling together a room and giving it zing (I am converted from being a purely neutrals girl now). An example of one of her ideas is in the photo above, on the hall table in our entrance way, she grouped together those bits and pieces (French candlestick, gourd-shaped ornament, bust and gold spray-painted pinecone) because I had them spread along the table.  It looked much better in a compact group than dotted along.


This is our sunny kitchen.  We were asked to display a fruitbowl, so we got all our fruit out of the fridge where we usually store it (excluding bananas) to make a lush bowl of goodness.  She hid our kettle because it is white plastic.  The stainless steel toaster and knives were stylish enough to pass the test!  That's our pantry in the corner and I made sure it is nice and tidy for everyone taking a peek inside it.

We have sheer curtains in the living room because I love the privacy and light-filtering when you have neighbours over every fence and all the fences are quite close to your house.  (Welcome to the big city; why do you think we want to move to a small town and live semi-rurally?  Our dream is to not be able to see or hear any neighbours.  Imagine the bliss of that.)  But for photos and open homes, they like all curtains including sheers open so that as much light and sun possible can get in.


The only props our photographer/stager brought for our house were throw rugs and coloured cushions, like the yellow and black ones in our living area above.  She also added a karitane yellow candle holder to the tray on the coffee table, which already held my beloved Italian globe (wooden in a gold-ish hue, $10 from the Salvation Army op-shop and it had a barely-sticking, fragile 'Made in Italy' sticker on the base.  It was love at first sight; I do love a good globe) and a white metal fleur de lys.

After she had photographed our house my husband and I both exclaimed that we loved the mustardy-yellow touches she had put with our warm stone-grey sofa, so we decided to go on a cushion hunt.  We were only shopping at bargain places though; she actually advised that, that you could get lovely cushions for little money.

So we shopped at The Warehouse and K-Mart and sadly yellow was not a colour that was around much, so we opted for plum, and bought four different cushions with plum tones and two black cushions.  This went along with her theme of two black cushions and four different yellow cushions.  If it was me I would have chosen pairs of cushions but I love that I was introduced to her way.  It looks cohesive but not too matchy.

All up we spent $52 for six cushions, which we were very happy with.  And, going along with that, I found a pinkish-red candle holder I already had, so put that on the coffee table.  It looks good with the plum cushions (but it didn't make the photo).  Seconds after I took the photo below, Jessica-cat popped up between the two sofas.  Cat photo-bombing!


This is our living area from the opposite angle.

  

And here is our guest room, if anyone needs to stay for the night whilst transitting through Auckland (be quick though, we will be gone as soon as our house sells).  Our photographer brought the aqua accents in with her which made a big difference to tying the room together colour-wise. For our open homes I placed a taupe mohair throw at the end of the bed (which Nina-cat LOVES) and leaned a rectangle patchwork cushion in front of the white Euro pillows.


 My office!


Now, the photo below isn't on the real estate agent's listing, of course, but I wanted to show you my linen cupboard because I am really proud of it.  You know that people will be opening your cupboards when they are looking to buy your home, because they want to see how much storage there is.  My linen cupboard had gotten a bit messy (understatement) because I hadn't organized it in a while and ended up stuffing things in anywhere there was a space.  I even had a duvet inner jammed in (which is now in the blanket box with the other blankets and duvet inners).

I took EVERYTHING out and then started folding Martha-Stewart-neat and making it look nice.   I thought I would have to do some major decluttering, but because I had decluttered a few times before; everything in there I loved and was in good order, and once it was folded neatly with like items together; everything fitted with plenty of room to spare.  I was so happy!  I imagine people opening up our linen cupboard and thinking to themselves 'Oh, there's plenty of room here'.


This is our bedroom, and how lovely does the orange throw and cushions look?  These are our photographer's and I love the way they bring more warmth into the room.


And below is the other angle towards our ensuite bathroom.  I will be sad to leave this house because it truly is such a cozy and homely place to live, and really sunny and warm too.  In fact if we weren't wanting to leave the big city and become country mice, we'd happily still be living here.

Call me shallow, but what I will miss most of all is the quadruple wardrobe.  Yes, it has three full-size wardrobe doors and then an extra bit again extending beyond that to behind the ensuite wall.  It truly is a tardis and I remember  being very excited seeing it when we viewed the house to buy.

The lights in our bedroom we had put up.  They are black 'wrought iron' and the look I was going for was French mountain chalet or French barn, something like that.  Something French anyway!


This is our ensuite which I adore.  We put a heated towel rail in and a fan heater on the wall.  I like to be cosseted, and it makes a lovely little spa area when I have my boudoir time at night, pottering around putting on a face mask and reading something soothing on our bed while the mask works its magic, flutey spa music playing softly.


And here we are on our deck, which opens off the living room.  Won't you join us for a glass of bubbles (sparkling wine or Perrier, take your pick) to celebrate selling our house soon?


I hope you enjoyed my home tour, it was lovely to have you around!

Fiona

PS.  If you are new to my blog, you may not have heard my interview with the gorgeous Shannon Ables from The Simply Luxurious Life.  I had such a great time talking with her; she is a fantastic interviewer.  Shannon is in Bend, Oregon, and I am in Auckland, New Zealand.  How cool is that?  We had such fun - Shannon is the nicest person ever.

http://www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast117/

We talked a little bit about my book Thirty Chic Days and all sorts of things related to living a simple and beautiful life.   You'll probably already be familiar with Shannon's inspiring blog, and podcast The Simple Sophisticate, but if you're not, you are in for a treat.

You can listen to (or download) the interview here, and it's also available on iTunes and Stitcher.  I'm sure you will enjoy, as I did, Shannon's generosity of spirit and genuine friendliness (I was a little bit nervous before the interview!)

I hope you enjoy listening to Shannon and I chat - I so wish we could have met in person!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Accessorizing in a chic way




When it comes to accessorizing, I am a less is more kind of person. I like to wear not that much otherwise I feel overdone. I have very few blingy pieces too. Everyone’s different in how they accessorize; what I think is important is to take note of how you feel in different types and styles of accessories.

Sometimes it’s not the item itself, but making subtle updates. A few years back, I realized that when I wore scarves I felt frumpy and old-fashioned. Then I took a look at the scarves I had – they were variations on the square, and often of silky fabric. Having them knotted around my neck did not feel modern. I observed the newer more casual scarves of looser weave fabric that you could knot two corners together to make into an infinity scarf and I occasionally wear one of those. I also wrote about this here.

Other than scarves, I accessorize with jewellery, shoes and bags. Most of what I have I’ve had for a long time. I don’t know if this is boring or classic, take your pick. Most of what I wear gets equal billing, so my clothes are as important as my shoes are as important as my hair/makeup/jewellery.

I am pretty lucky to have had good contacts in the past to be able to purchase nice handbags at an excellent price. I worked for Christian Dior in the New Zealand head office for five years from 2000, and during that time was invited to two or three staff sales where we were able to purchase bags and scarves for 75%-90% off. Yes, off! I remember that the fur-front bag (it is rabbit) was $2,950 and I bought it for $295. It is a huge discount, but even spending that was a lot for me. In the past if a handbag was over $150 it was probably above my budget.

I love and have looked after all my Dior bags (the only one I did not buy was the pink one, it was a gift when I left there) so although at the time I was having palpitations even at the discounted prices, I am glad I took the opportunities when I did because I’ll likely never have that chance again.

Then, when we owned our shoe store for twelve years, one of the footwear brands we stocked was Diesel. Because of that, my husband and I were able to purchase Diesel clothing and accessories at a discount. I have several pairs of Diesel jeans and two Diesel handbags (the big beige leather one and the black fabric one). I feel very fortunate that we had that opportunity too.

Actually the only two handbags I purchased outside of these opportunities are my tan leather Michael Kors bag bought when we had our belated honeymoon in Hawaii three years ago. I bought the tan leather wallet too. I love Michael’s style and love the way tan leather brings out navy, denim or black without being a ‘colour’. I also bought the white leather bag from Oroton and I sometimes wear this casually, and sometimes with a dressy red dress that I wear to weddings or out to a special dinner.

I used to use the Michael Kors bag going to the shop every day, but now that I lead a more casual work-from-home life and don’t need to lug so much stuff around with me, I mostly use the denim and gold Dior bag or black Diesel bag.

As you can see, I keep things for a long time, with most of my bags from the early 2000s and my ‘newest’ one from 2014.


With my jewellery, these are my most loved pieces and what I wear most of the time. I mostly wear stud earrings with a necklace, or one of my hoop earrings with no necklace. Hoop earrings with a necklace would be too much for me!

I have had my watch since 2000, when I bought it for my own 30th birthday, newly single and feeling a little rebellious. It’s not like I got tons of money from the divorce, just the tiny amount we’d saved up, but I decided to blow some of it on a nice watch. Yes, a little bit crazy at the time but it felt good to do and I’m confident that I will enjoy wearing it until I am a little old lady.

My wedding set is white gold with a solitaire diamond, and the gold rings, which I wear on my right hand – one is a family piece that my nana gave me, from an aunt way back, and one is my engagement ring from my first marriage. It was a cluster which I had remade into a ‘straight’ style so I could wear it with my nana’s ring. After it had been remodelled I renamed it my independence ring. I do feel a bit Joan Collins with all my diamonds but they’re not that fancy and what are you going to do? You get nothing for jewellery if you sell it, so I may as well enjoy them.

So, that’s me in all my accessorizing splendour. Are you a maximalist or minimalist accessory girl? What are your key pieces or what you think people would most associate with you?

And, what one piece, whether it’s a bag, pair of shoes, scarf or item of jewellery would you love to own if money was no object? For me, I think it would be a classic black leather Chanel 2.55 bag. That would be just divine. Maybe one day!

Fiona

PS. I have just added excerpts of all my books (including my newest one, Thirty Slim Days: Create your slender and healthy life in a fun and enjoyable way, as freebies when you join my email list.  In addition, you will receive my exclusive mp3 recording and pdf written version of 21 ways to be chic.


I send out my blog posts by email each week. If you would like these freebies, you can join up here.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Inspiration to be your best self

October 1985 on our big family trip to California - I'd just turned 15





I had the best time this week, and it was all from a visit down memory lane.  I was trying to fit more photos into an album that had less slots.  These (printed, old-style on paper) photos were from my childhood, teen years, some of my husband’s before I knew him and then ones of us together.  The span was from early 1970s up until the 2000s!

I don’t like to be swamped with tons of photos, and would rather prune out the unflattering, boring, similar and strange ones to be left with the cream of the crop.  That way I have one photo album that is fun and light to look through, instead of multiple albums that have every photo I have ever taken along with reminders of what colours and hairstyles look terrible on me...  With electronic photos I don’t print them out, so this album is a fun blast from the past to view every so often.

I thinned them out by taking every single photo out and putting them into groups of era for a start.  I then put them into the album starting with the earliest ones, after going through each pile and seeing which photos I really wanted to keep.  The criteria was that I had to have happy and/or nostalgic thoughts when I saw them.

There were a few photos which were fine to look at, but I remembered weirdness from that day or the story behind it that wasn’t so good (nothing terrible), so I let them go.   Thankfully my husband was amenable to doing a few piles himself, discarding unflattering or dull photos.  Such fun, he probably thought – not!

Jessica helping me sort photos


It was a fantastic feeling having all the ‘keep’ photos put away, with pages to spare might I add, and do you know what the cool thing about selecting only the brightest and best photos is?  Seeing them en masse is very motivating and inspiring to keep going, keep doing better, don’t settle for mediocrity and a dull life!  It’s like an edited highlights reel that shows you that Life Is indeed Good.

And having that gratitude and good feeling has continued on and I still feel it right now.  Partly that good feeling is decluttering and partly it is seeing that I don’t have to keep the not-quite-good-enough stuff, whether it is photos, old habits, feelings or possessions.

Over the past few weeks we have been having a big sort of our home as we prepare it for sale.  We’ve been here 5.5 years, which is a short-ish time to be in a home, and considering I am constantly editing my belongings (and my husband isn’t a clutter-magnet like I am, so he doesn’t have to), we still got rid of quite a bit of stuff.

Then, we had our home photographed this week by a professional photographer for our real estate listing so we got to see how she staged it with our belongings, moving things around and showing us how much better something looked with a little tweak.  Some of it was for the photos too, certain ways of doing things make for a good photo.  She also brought a few cushions and throw rugs in bright colours and they really made our neutral home zing, so that was a fun exercise too.

I would highly recommend selling your home to get motivated to make it look like a show-home (which is one of my home goals, call me sad!).  Our garden has never looked better either, thanks to a day-long team effort of my husband and I to tidy it up.  Not just normal-tidy, but every-nook-and-cranny tidy.  I can’t wait to share the photos when we see them.

I love seeing home tours on blogs, but I never got organised to have every room looking perfect at once but now I will be able to have a home tour, just as we are leaving!

So, have I encouraged you to go through your photos yet?  To create your own source of nostalgic fun and inspiration?  It doesn’t matter if you were skinnier, younger, and better looking back then, you can still be your best self now and sometimes it all starts with a motivating photo.

A few of those for me made me think “Yes, I am still her, I am still that girl inside” and I added them to my mental bank of inspiration for can’t-be-bothered days or eat-everything days.  There’s nothing like creating your own ray of sunshine to keep in your pocket and carry around with you :)

Have a wonderful week everyone and let me know if you’re going to dig out all your photos this weekend!

Fiona

PS.  Look, just look what arrived yesterday!  A big box of my books all the way from the US to New Zealand.  So exciting!  I have all my paperbacks in stock now, so if you live in New Zealand or Australia, I can send you a signed copy of any of my books.  I’ll get some postage rates organised and put a page up on my blog, but in the meantime if you are interested, please email me:  fiona at howtobechic dot com and let me know which title(s) you would like and your postal address, and I’ll let you know how much it will be.

And if you live outside of Australasia, I am still happy to send out signed copies, it's just that the postage could get a little expensive.  Again, email me with where you live and what you title(s) you are interested in if this appeals, and I can put a price together for you. Basically it would be the normal cost of the book, and whatever NZ Post quotes me for postage.


 

If you'd like to see details of each book and read inside, you can view them at Amazon here.
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