Saturday, June 22, 2024

A social week and journalling 'with friends'

Hello chic friends!

Paul and I went out for a special meal and it was so nice to get dressed up and go out :)

Craggy Range Winery has the most spectacular backdrop, as you can see. If you are ever in Hawke's Bay I would recommend it for lunch or dinner.


It was obviously quite the social week, because I hosted ladies afternoon tea for a family birthday too. Everyone brings a plate and we have a lovely get-together.


Doing some delicious journaling first thing, snuggled up in bed with a cup of tea when… paws come out from under the alpaca rug and reach for my paper ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ Too cute!

Do you have 'helpers' when you do things too? ๐Ÿ˜‰
That's all for this week. I am very happy because I finished my next book this morning, so it's onto editing and proofreading etc, and I hope to have it out very soon!

Have a wonderful weekend.
xx Fiona
PS. You can check out my latest audiobooks here on Audible, and in my eStore. And if you prefer to read, all my eBooks and paperbacks are on Amazon here.

(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 choose to use my link!)

Saturday, June 15, 2024

A new podcast interview :)


Dear chic friends,
I was lucky enough to be the first guest on this lovely new podcast called 'Pockets of Joy' with Niamh O'Connell.

You can watch it on YouTube (click below), or find wherever you listen to your podcasts.

It was such a fun chat, I really enjoyed it. Thank you Niamh for having me on your new show!


Last Monday was such a mild, breezy day it's hard to believe we're into winter now. I went for a lovely long walk without the doggies. It was all about me-me-me (and they'd already been for two walks that day ๐Ÿ˜Š).

I got to stride it out (in a relaxed manner of course), listening to a podcast with my new excellent bluetooth headband from Aliexpress. Best $5 I've spent I think!

It's better than my airpods for walking too, because I can hear everything even if it's windy.

I love walking outside so much. It's good for the soul with the fresh air, nature, and vitamin D. Life is good!

Do you love walking outdoors too? It's such an antidote to being inside ๐Ÿ˜Š

(This is the headband I bought here if you are interested! It charged up quickly and has lasted two 40-minute walks so far on one charge. And it only took about a week to be delivered. Amazing!)


I finished this jigsaw puzzle and I honestly didn't think I could! It's the prettiest picture and colours, set in Provence. That's why I chose it, but I didn't look at the wash of colour in the foreground. It was a difficult one for sure, but I picked away at it and put bits in now and then, and now it's finished!

(This puzzle was a thrifted one in quite an old looking box, and I was worried it would have a piece missing but all 500 pieces were there. Hoorah! The first thrifted puzzle I did was missing a piece right in the middle. Boo! It's a roll of the dice for sure ๐Ÿคฃ)

I think puzzles are a great way to approach life too. There are goals we want to achieve that we think we'll never arrive at, but if we just keep doing a little bit each day and re-remember what we want, we'll get there. Sometimes it's the remembering what I want that's hardest. I have goal amnesia all the time!

I feel a bit the same about my audiobooks as I do about jigsaw puzzles haha. I'm recording them one at a time, and because there is no ordering data readily available I have no idea if anyone is even listening to them! But I just keep on going, finish one book and go onto the next. I know people definitely can't listen to them if they don't exist, so I make them exist.

The most recent of my audiobooks to be released is here on Amazon or in my eStore.

'Thirty More Chic Days' is about creating an inspired mindset for a magical life. There really is something wonderful that can be brought to life when you combine practical actions with a positive and optimistic state of mind.

I love to pump myself up mentally and emotionally if I'm feeling flat, and taking action in my surroundings or with myself at the same time. It is indeed almost magical when you can feel more activated and happy within a relatively short time.

You can listen to this audiobook wherever you usually get your audiobooks, and you can even ask your library to order it in and listen for free!

And in select countries where it is available, you can listen for free on Spotify Premium too.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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 choose to use my link!)

Saturday, June 8, 2024

THE most beautiful sunset, doggie art, and living the glam life!

Dear chic friends,

We had the most beautiful sunset the other night! Isn't it incredible? I promise I haven’t added colour to this photo ☺️

We missed out seeing any of the aurora lights a few weeks back, so I feel this is an excellent consolation prize! ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿฉท๐Ÿ’›


My sister Catherine painted the most beautiful picture of mum’s dog Milly who recently passed away (aged almost 17). The painting was based on a car photo taken a number of years ago when dad’s dog Tilly was still alive too (she’s the corgi ish doggie below ๐Ÿงก)

I remember that day driving around with four dogs in my car ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Such fun!

Plus, how talented is my sister! You can see her art here on Instagram.


And to finish, let's talk about living the glam life shall we ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Who’s with me?

In Chapter 20 ‘Your glam life starts now’ I detail how you can live your glam life today, and every day, by becoming someone who:

• Looks for the positive as much as possible.

• Talks everything up.

• Chooses beauty to surround herself with.

• Endeavours to be a bright ray of sunshine every day.

• Applies a golden-rose filter to how she views things.

• Elevates all areas in her life with a dash of glamour.

• Ignites all her senses – she actually goes through them and sees that she is enhancing her experience in each area: What’s in her line of vision, check! What she hears, check! The scents around her, check! How something feels on her skin, check! The tastes she treats herself to, check! And the thoughts in her mind – they are positive and uplifting. Check!

• Goes through her schedule: Where she spends her time, who she is with and how she is dressed and makes it even more special. She takes it over the top, in a good way.

• Acts in alignment with her ideal self. When something feels a little off, she finds out why and sorts it. She keeps her peace of mind this way.

• Chooses the glamour route and is happy to expend that little bit more effort because she knows it’s worth it.

Sometimes the glamour route does take more effort. Remember, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. Don’t be average and your life won’t be average. You are next-level. Not everyone can have your glamorous life and of course not everyone will want it, but you do. You love to enjoy your daily life and you let yourself do that in perhaps an unconventional way.


I hope you enjoyed this little pep talk today! I loved writing ‘The Glam Life’. It was so much fun to dream big and be a little over-the-top.

It’s out now on Audible as well as on Kindle and in print. You can see it at my Amazon affiliate link (here) or in my eStore here for an Amazon alternative (eBook and audiobook).

Wishing you a wonderfully glam day today!
 xx Fiona

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Introducing myself!

Hello chic friends,
I always enjoy it when people on social media reintroduce themselves periodically (maybe I'm nosy?), so, here I am! Introducing myself to you! Hello whether you are new to me or have been following me forever ๐Ÿ˜Š

My name is Fiona and I live with my husband Paul (married for 16 years, together for 21) and rescue pets in beautiful Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. I was born in this region 53 years ago and moved away for ages but then came back. I've always lived within New Zealand though.

I have my dream career - I write books and self-publish on Amazon, and from that also came publication into three other languages through traditional publishers.

Autumn hues with my herb planter in the foreground ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿ‚

Doesn't nature have the prettiest colours each season?
I truly am in awe most days when I step outside.

Nothing compares ๐Ÿฅฐ

 I've always loved reading, and always wanted to be an author.

I love pretty, girly things, being at home, creating (whether it's with words, sewing materials, or baking when I have guests), and living a simple, quiet, happy life.

My books are all on different topics but their common thread is that they are about living a fab life without spending a lot of money. Plus, setting up your mindset to assist, because everything is easier and more enjoyable then.

Please, tell me something about you! Have you been here long? I'd love to get to know you more ๐Ÿ˜Š

xx Fiona

PS. You can see all my books on Amazon (Kindle, paperback, Audible audiobook) at my affiliate link here.
Or eBooks and audiobooks in my eStore for an Amazon alternative.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Goodbye little Milly dog

My mum's little dog Milly passed away last week. She nearly made 17 - her birthday would have been in June. These photos were taken a few weeks ago, and she managed to hang in for Mother's Day though ๐Ÿ˜ญ

She was adopted by my mum several years ago, through a friend whose neighbour died. She asked if mum would like to take Milly in since none of her late neighbour's family could.

Milly was a sweet and playful girl, and very independent too. When she visited our place she'd potter outside in the garden by herself, and always be on the go.

Goodbye little Milly. Now you are over Rainbow Bridge you are young and free, and will be able to reunite with all our other pets from over the years.

If Milly could pass on any piece of advice, it would be this. Don't let your age be a hindrance to living a new life. I think she was about 12 when my mum adopted her, and she stayed youthful and excited to the end. Sweet dreams Miss Milly!

Please give your pets a hug today in honour of Milly's long life ๐Ÿ’œ❤️๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’–

I was so happy to see the audiobook of 'The Peaceful Life' at number 6 on Audible's Beauty, Grooming and Style bestseller chart. No. 6!!

And in fact, four of my audiobooks are in the top 15 of the Beauty, Grooming and Style new releases chart on currently!

I have no words ❤️❤️❤️

I thank you very much if you've ordered any of my audiobooks, and I really hope you're enjoying them.

There are more to come, of course! '100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget' should be available any day now, and I have submitted 'Thirty More Chic Days'.

In recording progress is 'Financially Chic' as well ๐Ÿ˜Š

Thank you so much for your support, I really do appreciate it. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and I truly hope the purchase price is returned to you ten-fold in terms of abundance, happiness, and inspiration ๐Ÿ˜
xx Fiona
PS. You can find all my books at my Amazon affiliate link here or in my eStore here for an Amazon alternative.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Mothers Day, and a Chic Success tip

Hello chic friends!
Last Sunday we had ladies afternoon tea at my Mum’s for Mother’s Day :)

It was a lovely afternoon with Prosecco, coffee, and afternoon tea treats.

I made the Edmonds chocolate cake again but instead of the icing being too stiff I made it too runny ๐Ÿคญ Maybe the third one will be just right!


With love from Miss Nina enjoying the crisp Autumn sunshine here in Hawke’s Bay


This is my darling 'kitten' Nina (now 14 years old, according to the estimated date of birth on her adoption records).

She healed well from her climbing injury a few months back (a little gash under her arm) and is her old self again - racing around, catching mice outside (and bringing them in ๐Ÿ˜ฎ), plus scaring the dogs. She is the Queen Bee and the boss!

She is so tiny, and quite self-contained and independent too. Although she always sneaks up onto our bed at night after the dogs have gone to sleep in their beds.

Her current favourite food is Fancy Feast Petite Delights. Any other brand is left uneaten... She also doesn't mind a few slivers of fresh fish when we have it for dinner each week.

We adopted her in Auckland when we lived there, from a cat shelter along with her mother Jessica. (Jessica crossed Rainbow Bridge about 18 months ago, rest in peace my sweet princess.)

Nina was so stressed when we moved here since she'd only lived in the one house with us, but she's good now that we've been here seven years and loves her life in the country.


She really is a sweet girl, very gentle and friendly, and prefers affection on her own terms. She is a self-patter, meaning she likes to be in charge of the patting and not feel too smothered. You hold your hand out and she will deign to rub herself against you!

I regularly find her on my writing desk sitting under the lamp which has a halogen bulb so it’s warm, and if I get up she always steals my seat.

She's a funny wee thing and we love her ๐Ÿฅฐ If you have a cat, Nina sends love and wishes your way, and even if you don't she'll share a purr. She’s generous like that!



Inspiration for today ๐Ÿ˜Š

I thought I'd share a little excerpt from my latest book "100 Ways to be a Chic Success and Create Your Dream Life".

This one is tip no. 43.

"Become the CEO of your life.

Imagine if your life was an organisation – mine would be The Fiona Company. And within, you would have many different departments: the health department, the finance department, the home department, the love department, the career or job department. How fun does that sound! And you’re in charge of everything!

As the CEO, you would want to oversee all these various components of your company and ensure they are running smoothly. Because if any of the departments are not going well it’s not good for business.

Just simple things like looking at the finance department and making sure it’s not spending more money than is coming in. Or the health department that enough fresh fruit and vegetables are being delivered to that floor, and are being used up!

It’s a little bit silly, but I often find that looking at things from a different angle can give us insights or Ahas that can help us a lot."

I love thinking about things using this tip, it really does give me a different angle to be inspired by if I'm feeling blah.

Think about your company - it's so fun to name it - and what departments you want to focus on at the moment.

Today I am going to tidy my writing desk and clear away all the financial admin (receipts and paperwork laying around etc), so I guess that would be the Finance Department.

I also want to do some writing on my next book (which is 2/3 finished!), so that would be the Career Department.

Even just dreaming up all the different departments of your company would be an inspiring journal prompt! Make them fun names too. Perhaps your Finance Department could be the Wealth Department, and your Health Department could be the Beauty and Vibrancy Department.

Please let me know the name of your company, and which departments you will be working in today!


And if you are wondering what other ladies think of this book... (thank you to my readers who leave reviews for me on Amazon, it really makes my day, my week!)


Another day, another dog walk! We like to go for multiple short walks a day instead of one long one.

I sometimes put leashes on to walk away from home, then let them off to run back. Otherwise it is a slow walk ๐Ÿ˜‚ I tend to keep fluffy white Micky dog on his leash because he has zero road sense, and even though we don't get much traffic, we do get some. It could be a dogsaster for all concerned ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

But Daphne and Chloe are very good at staying on the side of the road and I can trust them off-leash. Sometimes we walk in the paddock, but it's mostly just up and down the road. There is a slope so it's good for the heart rate!

I heard a great quote once that said to 'walk your dog every day, even if you don't have one', and it's true, walking a dog is a great excuse to get outside and absorb some Vitamin D, no matter the weather. And if you don't have a dog, still do it anyway ๐Ÿ˜‚

Walking outside is such a happy pleasure of mine. When we lived in the city I used to walk around our neighbourhood listening to inspiring audios on my headphones, and I loved to go window-shopping downtown too. It was an exercise walk and a lovely look around all at the same time ๐Ÿ˜Š

Are you a happy walker like I am? Where are your favourite places to walk?


Nature's beauty from our front lawn ✨

I hope you're having a lovely week as it draws to a close - the working week that is anyway. I've been so productive! Working on my next book, finishing up my next audiobook (Thirty More Chic Days), and still not managing to tidy my desk ๐Ÿ™ˆ Maybe tomorrow!

What are you proud of yourself for doing this week? I'm most proud that I've been writing my new book. I was letting my writing be further down the priority queue than it deserved to be. Once I'd done other things, often there wasn't time for writing, so it missed out for another day.

I started doing it first thing, before anything else, and it worked! Those productivity experts know what they are talking about ๐Ÿคฃ

I'm off to take Micky dog for a long walk now, and then it's back to my beloved writing. Daphne and Chloe don't like long walks, it's a battle to get them going! So Micky and I, and a podcast, are taking a long walk today (by long, I mean 40-45 minutes, so maybe not long by others standards!) It's a beautiful morning, so peaceful, and mild too.

Happy weekend to you and I look forward to seeing you next week!
xx Fiona
PS. Please share this with a friend who might like the same things you do, I'd appreciate it! They can join my mailing list here if they would like to receive a cheery email once a week :)

Saturday, May 11, 2024

The best Coco Chanel story! And life as an author

Hello chic friends!
The doggies don't usually go into town, but Micky was getting groomed and 'the girls' get their nails done when we pick him up, so we all did a few errands and stopped by a city park in case they needed a wee.

But they NEVER go to the loo when we are out because it's Far. Too. Scary. They are such nervous little doggies and always wait until we get home. We were only out an hour or two though, and they'd rather go for a car trip than miss out! It's so cute how dogs love going for a drive. If they had their way they'd come every time I left the house.

Something I love the best about working from home and being my own boss is that I can go out on random weekdays when there are plenty of carparks available and not too many people around.

And, I can do my work early in the morning or whenever really. I am so lucky - and grateful - that I get to do this. And it's all thanks to you - my readers. I appreciate each and every reader who puts their trust in me when they buy one of my books.

My goal is to encourage women to live a life of their own design, live better without spending more, and to have an inspired mindset that makes everything better. Life really becomes magical when you plant beautiful things in your secret garden aka your inner world!

You can find my 20+ books on these very topics here on Amazon. They come as eBook/Kindle, paperback, and some as audiobooks. And if you click the '+Follow' button by my photo on Amazon you will be automatically updated by Amazon whenever I release a new title.

And for an Amazon alternative you can purchase eBooks and audiobooks at my eStore here.
 I've been thoroughly enjoying recording my audiobooks recently. Once I'd finished with The Peaceful Life, I really did feel calmer and more serene!

I think the main takeaway is to slow down and be more present, which I know sounds so cliched and yes-I've-heard-that but when you do it it feels amazing! Like your whole system gets to relax.

I've always adored this cover too. The lady is so... dreamy. Just look at her, she is the picture of elegance and tranquility. And that sleeve! So dramatic and lush.

How has your week been? I've had a great week and was even recognised by a blog reader at the supermarket. Hello to the lovely lady in the fruit and veggie department!


On Tuesday we went to see the Amy Winehouse movie, at an actual theatre! Not just on the sofa haha. I love her music but I hoped the movie wouldn't be too sad... Let me know if you've seen it. The movie was excellent and the actress portraying her did a great job. It was sad at the end, of course it was, because we all know she died at only age 27. But what a talent, with her songwriting skills and amazing voice and style. Thank you for the music Amy.

A beautiful sunset view from our lawn. Being autumn, this is just after 5pm!
Once the sun drops, brrrrr. Time to light the fire and get cozy :)

I always feel like having dinner earlier when it gets dark early, which means we have a lovely long evening, even though I go to bed quite early!

What time does the sun set for you currently?
How cute is little Chloe dog smiling in the sun? She and Daphne are real sunbathers. They love lying outside soaking up the rays. You'd think they'd get too hot, but no! Micky dog on the other hand likes the shade. He can often be found inside or under our pergola.

Chloe looks the picture of innocence here, but don't let that fool you. She is always the first to bark at nothing, setting the other two dogs off, then looking away like she is nothing to do with the ruckus...

She has gone so grey now that she's ten, but she's still a puppy at heart and so nippy and speedy when she races around doing zoomies when she's in the mood. Isn't it the funniest thing when dogs do zoomies?
I received the loveliest email from one of my students last week.

Trish from Ireland said:

"This e-course is making my heart sing, Fiona!

I absolutely love the daily emails, full of delicious, author-to-be treats.

It’s nourishing my creativity and my soul, at the same time.

I’ve taken many soulless online courses, with slick videos, snazzy downloads and designer workbooks, but your simple, elegant approach wins hands-down in terms of pure engagement with the material. (I have folders full of unused material from other courses.)

Anyways, just thought it would be nice to let you know.

Hugs from Ireland!


(I just want to say Trish gave me permission to use her name and country :)

If you too are interested in peeking in the door and seeing if it's possible to become a self-published author, why not sign up for my free mini-course giving you a taster of the course Trish is taking.

It's a ten-part email course and is absolutely F R E E. You can go here to 'Sign up for my Free 10-part mini-course for aspiring non-fiction writers'. I also have a fancy QR code to use!

Creating my own work-from-home employment writing the books I love is one of my biggest achievements in life. If you are a happy homebody who finds it a wrench to leave the house to go to work each day I'm sure you can relate!

And even if you love getting out and about, wouldn't it be nice to completely make your own choices in life and live on your own terms?

Or perhaps you have no desire to publish, but just want to explore your creativity and maybe write a short book for your own pleasure. This free mini-course will have something for you too.

At the end of last year, my great aunt Birdie passed away, aged 90. She had an incredible life of travel and adventure. She visited many, many countries. Travel was her thing. And she had excellent stories such as this one:

In the late 1960s Birdie worked in Paris at the American hospital, as a nurse. And one of her patients was... Coco Chanel. The Coco Chanel. This was in 1969. Birdie told me that while Chanel was in hospital a very young Karl Lagerfeld came up to visit her every day at lunchtime.

She said Coco never stopped talking, in French only, and very very fast. My great-aunt was getting better with her French but simply could not keep up with Chanel’s speed.

She said Coco was very elegantly dressed, and had hair much as you would see in photos of her. One day she announced she was too tired for a shower, so she had a sponge bath of Chanel No. 5 in a bowl, which was tipped out afterwards.

Isn’t this the coolest story? (And please don’t think my great-aunt was being disrespectful of Chanel, she didn’t tell me anything other than what I’m sharing here.)

I am the opposite of my great-aunt, a real homebody, whereas being at home for her probably felt like being in jail. She was always planning her next trip and couldn’t wait to get away again.

Two great ladies who lived lives that were atypical for the time.

I hoped you enjoyed my chic Chanel story, and I wish you a lovely, lovely weekend.

xx Fiona

PS. I wrote a whole chapter about ‘living your Coco Chanel life’ in my book ‘Thirty More Chic Days’ which I am currently recording the audiobook of (it’s Day 9 – Have a closet like Coco’) If you haven’t read it yet, this chapter is a fun read about living a life of your own design, just like Coco (and my great aunt!) did.

(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 choose to use my link!)
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