Thursday, March 16, 2023

Gloriously normal life

It was a beautiful day on Sunday and I made the most of it. I had a petite sleep-in and then wrote a bit on my next book with a big cup of tea. Some morning routines are too beautiful to skip, even on the weekend! I love my morning writing time and cup of tea SO MUCH. Don't know if you've noticed :)

And it was a DAY OFF after Paul working long hours and all the extra admin of living without water and power around here.
We went out for lunch, and gosh it felt like being on holiday after the month we've had.

I asked Paul if we could go to the place we went last time (Giant in Havelock North), because their Goodness Bowl (with seasonal veggies, leaves, quinoa, herb dressing and crunchy seeds) and grilled chicken was so good. I had the exact same thing this time! And I normally can't resist getting french fries so that really says something about the goodness bowl.

Plus I felt cheery in my pink top. A pretty, happy colour near the face does wonders for my joie de vivre and lifting of the spirits.

And in other breaking news, our water is now back on! We have indoor plumbing!! What a treat to wash my hands under the tap and I had my first shower at home since mid-last month on Monday. It was so good!

The internet could still be a while away but that's okay. We now have power and water! Hoorah!

So far this week I have completed our insurance admin, and other admin too. I have also been writing a lot and it feels fantastic. Yes, I’ve been chainsmoking! (Which is when you start writing another book immediately after finishing one.)
I hope you are enjoying my new book if you've downloaded it. I was pleased to see it is 'no. 1' and a 'bestseller'. Everyone likes their children to do well in life, lol!

And in the spirit of self-care, what do you have planned today? And what is your ideal weekend self-care when you have a bit more time?

As mentioned above, mine on Sunday was:

A sleep-in
Writing and tea
A shower and hairwash (not at our house, somewhere else that has running water since we didn't have it back yet)
A dog walk down the road
And lunch out

Oh, and one of my recent self-care habits was to buy a jar of multivitamins and minerals. On choosing, there was a normal jar, and a 'for women 50+'. I am in that category!! Still, better than the alternative. I told mum and she said that I'm a senior now, haha. I still feel young at heart!

Thank you for the lovely reviews on the new book '100 Ways to Enjoy Self-Care for Gentle Wellbeing and a Healthy Body Image'. I read them all and appreciate them, and also learn from lesser reviews. Sometimes it is something I can improve on, and other times it is to know that I can’t be the author for everyone. We all like different things!


You can find this book (and her reviews :) here on Amazon Kindle and in print.

And the eBook here at my eStore for an Amazon alternative.
Wishing you a fab day, it's been lovely here this week - sunny and blue although a little chilly in the mornings - 6 degrees C (43F) before 8am. Autumn must be on its way.



And I can't go without showing you sweet Nina cat having an afternoon nap :)

Doesn’t a nicely made bed with a velvety cover just beg you to lie down for a few minutes? With a book or for a short rest?

This is in one of our guest rooms. I love the headboards! And the bed is one that zips into one big bed or two singles, so very versatile.

Since I’ve just released my book on self-care, all the different ways we can look after ourselves has been front of mind for me.

Curling up for even five minutes is one of them!


And little Micky dog got to have his post-cyclone grooming appointment recently. I have never had a dog who needs grooming, but Micky grows so shaggy he can't see out of his eyes!

He now goes to an Italian groomer, originally from Milan (I know, so bougie :), and he absolutely loves himself when he's finished. You can just see how happy he is and how good he feels.

His groomer, Roberta, is an absolute delight. You can tell she cares so much about her furry clients wellbeing and is very holistic as well. Such a beautiful lady, inside and out. Her business is called 'Whisper Soft Dog Stylist'. So cute!

While we were picking up Micky, Daphne and Chloe had their claws clipped (and filed too!) Would it be too over-the-top to have short-haired dogs groomed? Perhaps...

Can you see in the photo a little brown paw behind my leg? Hiding away there.

And I'm going to the hairdresser today as well! What a treat. Just like Micky :) But I'm not going as short as him. Just a trim thanks, and some highlights and lowlights to blend the blonde with the grey.

I love it when self-care is a deliciously pampering appointment where I get to read a book for a few hours while being fussed over.

Happy Thursday to you!
xx Fiona

(My Amazon links are affiliate, which means that I may receive a small commission (4% on ebooks I think) on anything you purchase through my link. AND it's an Amazon Smile link too, which I have directed to the ASPCA. I don't know how they manage to do both with one link, but they did. Thanks Amazon!)

Thursday, March 9, 2023

New book out now!

Dear chic friends,
Today is the day! My newest book has just been published and is available now on Kindle and in paperback.

There was a bit of a hiccup between finishing writing the book, and the editing and proof-reading... in the form of a major natural disaster where I live. But we got there in the end!

Disappearing into my book work was my saving grace of sanity and loveliness when all around me was falling apart. But the region is improving every day, our neighbours who were staying with us are now set up in their own home and doing okay, and each day there is something to be thankful for.

In the meantime though, I really do hope you enjoy this new book, and feel peaceful and serene as you read it and dream up your most pampering and elevated mindset life full of self-care.
The links to download the new book are below. The Amazon links are affiliate, which means that I may receive a small commission (4% on ebooks I think) on anything you purchase through my link. AND it's an Amazon Smile link too, which I have directed to the ASPCA. I don't know how they manage to do both with one link, but they did. Thanks Amazon!

Click here for the eBook or paperback on Amazon US.
And you can also purchase the eBook from my eStore if you prefer an Amazon alternative.

Chloe and Daphne have been helping my mother move into her new home this week. Because a lot of her things were flood damaged she now has a lovely new sofa. Her last house had blue accents but now she is feeling 'neutrals and dark green'.
Those faces :)


The doggies haven't heard the 'no pets on the furniture' rule though... But who's going to tell them? And will they listen? That's the million dollar question.

With our houseguests moving out, and Paul at work it's just me at home now. I have been organising and cleaning, and trying to get back into a normal routine.

And Monday was our wedding anniversary! I had it on our fridge calendar but when Paul said on Sunday about getting something special for dinner at home Monday night, I said 'I'm not going out tomorrow, how about I get it Tuesday.' He had to hint really strongly that it would be better to get the special dinner ingredients on Monday and then I remembered it was our anniversary :)

So happy anniversary to us! 15 years married and almost twenty years together in total. Where does the time go? 
Anniversary dinner on Monday night ✨🥰

I posted some photos of our flood-ravaged street on Instagram, and rather than bring you down here, if you haven't seen them yet and would like to, go and take a look. There are ten photos in total of the reality of living in a natural disaster zone.
Even if we were very fortunate to not have our house affected it's been very trying. Our power is back on now, THANK GOODNESS! but the water will be a week or so longer. And no internet or phone still. But we have power. And a house. Life is good. Here is the Instagram post if you want to see a lot of silty mud and broken things.
So I hope you enjoy the new book, happy reading, and thank you for being wonderful! The messages and emails I have received have been so kind, I appreciate every single word. Thank you.

xx Fiona

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Still a glam pioneer! And the new book is coming, promise :)


Hello chic friends!
I found a photo from 1973 showing me looking over my sister in her cot. In those days baby sunbathing was encouraged, so mum would wheel us outside as babies for a few minutes of sun each day. In her words:
Baby sunbathing then meant all clothes off and baby turned over to do both sides 5 - 10 minutes 'toasting' :)
Now we're all made to be scared of the sun, but I believe moderation in everything.

Things are improving day by day after the devastating cyclone and floods here. Our neighbours are making progress with all their admin such as insurance claims, ordering new bank cards, drivers licenses and passports etc. There is so much to replace just to live daily life! And they are organising their 'new' home to go to once they can get some furniture together.

We still have no power or water, but we do have a generator which runs during the day, and a portaloo at the gate! It's so funny to wave 'hello' to people driving past as you open the toilet door to go in...

And I've found I can use my phone data to connect my computer to the internet since we have no broadband/wifi either. So I've been editing my next book which is exciting. I've been loving my retreat into my own little dreamworld as a nice break from all the tasks that are required to live like a 'glam pioneer'.

As well, I have formatted my three blog series ebooks into print copies. This was requested and so I thought, 'Why not!' How cute they will be :) The size and page count are about the same as the '100 Ways' mini books just to give you an idea. The covers of the blog series books are so pretty that it would almost be a crime not to print them as a paperback copy!

You can find them by clicking on each image above, or through the links below:

'How to Live Well' contains practical and easy ways to bring more peace and elegance into your life.
(Kindle and paperback)

'Chic Inspiration' gives encouragement to create your own version of a truly charmed life.
(Kindle and paperback)

'How to be Slim and Healthy' is focused on the topic of blending the European way of eating into your own life wherever you may live - for pleasure, slimness, and good health.
(Kindle and paperback)

And the '3-in-1' book contains all three:
(Kindle and paperback)


How cute are the three doggies waiting in the hall... when I go out in the car they always look hopeful. If I can't take them with me they have a crestfallen look on their face and stay there watching me as I leave. It's such a sad sight! But when I come back an hour or two later I get a Queen's welcome :) It's like I have been gone for months!

So I will wish you well, and fingers crossed for power and water restoration within the next week with any luck.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2023

We're in pioneer mode! ('Glam Pioneer' perhaps?)

Hello chic friends!
On the weekend I had a hot shower and a hair wash- and got to blow dry it too! - for the first time in four days. Before that, bucket washes were the order of the day. The hot shower wasn’t at my house of course, we still don’t have water or power. But our roads are now passable, just, so we had a shower at my sister’s house. It was epic :) We also took the opportunity to fill water bottles and drop off our laundry.

Driving there it was sobering seeing the all the destruction and mess around as it was the first time I had left our house since it happened.

Many of you have contacted me to ask if there is a charitable organisation you can donate to who is helping, but do you know what? I have not seen or heard evidence of any charities in the area. There are plenty of everyday people helping others with working bees etc, but no setups or logos around. I actually saw an article about how you can give to one of the biggest relief charities in the paper online, but no information on how people can apply to be helped! Maybe it just takes time for them to roll into town, I don’t know.

But I thought in the meantime, that I could set up a fundraising page in support of our lovely neighbours, who have lost absolutely everything and are living with us currently. So if you do wish to do something, the page is here:

And if you can't use that for some reason, feel free to email me for our neighbour's PayPal details.


As I said, we still have no power, but we now have a generator to run during the day which is such a blessing. Amazingly I managed to get a copy of my newest book printed out so I can proofread and edit it by hand.

There is little time spare from daily admin - we are living like pioneers right now but even to compare that feels unfair. We have no water or power, but we have a shop to drive to and a place to go and have a shower and get more water if we want. Pioneers didn’t have that! We are very lucky.

So in my ‘free time’ I will be sitting down with my pen for a bit of editing time. It will be my treat :) I’m just so glad the book was completed before the cyclone happened.

Sweet Nina Cat has been sleeping in the garage the past week. She found a peaceful spot on one of the dining chairs under our spare dining table which is in front of my car and covered by drop cloths. Just the place to rest and relax. She always comes when I call her for her food, and this day, when everyone was out, she took the chance to have a sleep on her favourite chair.

All the pets are a bit out of sorts at the moment, but they’re all eating well and pretty happy considering the tipsy turviness of everything.


Our weather post-cyclone has been gorgeous - actual summer weather. Everything at ground level is still a dire mess, but when we are greeted by a bright blue sky to lift the spirits everything seems that much more bearable.

Our little household of five adults, four dogs plus Ninacat is fab too. We all get along so well and every night is a relaxed dinner party of sorts. Even if we’re dining on paper plates with paper napkins since we don’t have water on. We draw the line at plastic cutlery and wine glasses though, so use the real stuff there. We do have our own personal standards after all!
Thank you for all your messages of support and your thoughtfulness.

It means more than you will ever know.

xx Fiona
PS. Before the cyclone flooding happened last week, I'd been playing around updating the covers on my very first 'blog series' eBooks, and the print copy of all three books in one volume. I love how they have turned out!

'How to Live Well' contains practical and easy ways to bring more peace and elegance into your life.

'Chic Inspiration' gives encouragement to create your own version of a truly charmed life.

'How to be Slim and Healthy' is focused on the topic of blending the European way of eating into your own life wherever you may live - for pleasure, slimness, and good health.

And of course, the '3-in-1' book contains all of the above.

You may already have some or all of these eBooks, and if you have, I'm pretty sure you can go to your Amazon account 'manage your content and devices' and download the new title versions.

I sort of ignored these books for ages and didn't really consider them 'real books' because they are collected posts from my blog 'How to be Chic', but when I was having a read through of each one to check the formatting, I thought to myself, 'these are really good!'

So I'd just like to take this opportunity to say sorry to my little books for treating them like Cinderella left home from the ball. Now they have their lovely new covers and are ready to shine.

Here are my Amazon Affiliate links to view or download these books (or you can go through the link in my profile):

How to Live Well (Kindle eBook only)

Chic Inspiration (Kindle eBook only)

How to be Slim and Healthy (Kindle eBook only)

3-in-1 book (Kindle eBook and paperback print copy available)

Happy reading, and for now, I will carry on with my offline editing!

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


Friday, February 17, 2023

Checking in after the cyclone 💔

The paddock in front of our house, and apple orchard beyond that - tall trees completely submerged!

On Tuesday Hawke’s Bay suffered a devastating flash flood as a result of tropical cyclone Gabrielle. We were very lucky to have been just above the water. Our lovely neighbours were not. They lost their entire home, everything they own, and their beautiful cats too. Thankfully they and their poodle are safe staying with us now.

Our road completely blocked off. 

We will have no power for weeks and no water for months. And there are tens of thousands in the same situation! There have unfortunately been fatalities too. It is a real and tragic situation and I won’t be writing or posting for a while. I miss it already but we have immediate day-to-day priorities such as getting water, heating water, living without electric and everything that goes with that.

Our neighbours home 💔

But I just wanted to let you know I am okay because I have had a lot of thoughtful emails and messages, thank you.

xx Fiona

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Summer sun and a full moon

Monday was a public holiday here in New Zealand and it turned out to be a warm sunny day, perfect to enjoy an off-leash dog park walk.

‘Fun for the whole family’ as they say, and F R E E! I love having no-spend days!

The doggies loved it too and all had big drinks when we got home. Daphne and Chloe were too nervous to use the drinking station at the park (I know, so scary) and Micky was too busy swimming in the muddy stream (probably had a nice big drink there...) So it was bath time for him when we got home!

In other exciting news this week, we had a beautiful full moon. In person it was a huge shining golden disc.

I am interested in learning more about the moon phases and the weather. It all seems to be right there in front of us to ‘read’.

I used to use my dad’s binoculars as a child to see the craters on the moon and it fascinated me.

If you are an astrology believer the moon is the second most important sign in your chart after your sun sign (I am 99% sure this is correct, if you are an astrologer please chime in :)

A short after-dinner doggie stroll is one of my favourite things about summer. It is just so refreshing to be outside after dinner.

And then to be greeted with such lunar beauty - magical!

I trust you are having a magical week too.

See you next week!

xx Fiona

'The Peaceful Life'
5.0 out of 5 stars: Beautiful
Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2023
Verified Purchase
"This book is exactly what I needed. It's beautifully written, thoughtful and inspiring. As an American woman of color, I worried I wouldn't get much from this book, but thankfully, I was so very wrong. This book is for every woman looking to create a peaceful life and embrace their femininity. I can see myself reading this frequently. Certainly, one of my new favorite books! Many thanks to the author for sharing her insights and tips."

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

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Loving Mondays, Monarch Butterflies, an Adoptiversary and being Financially Chic!


Do you love Mondays as much as I do? They feel bright, early and a fresh start for a new week. I love Mondays so much! They are like a mini new year every week.

On a Monday first thing you will find me with my big cup of tea on my desk, candles lit, and soft music playing. And I am almost finished with my next book, so exciting. It's a '100 Ways' book on self-care and it's been so calming to write.

It has been fun really exploring this topic from the perspectives of wellbeing and body image. I think you'll enjoy it once it's out!

We have a number of swan plants in our garden, all self seeded, and it’s so lovely to see all the Monarch butterflies around them. They lay eggs on the leaves, and it’s also wonderful to see caterpillars eating the leaves. They are so beautiful!

You can see there are big round seed pods too, ready to produce even more swan plants in the future.

Isn't nature is grand?



It was five years ago yesterday that we adopted Daphne and Chloe from the Napier SPCA.

From terrified, unsocialised little doggies who hid in our closet for months to the confident happy girls we have today, it’s been a delight to watch them blossom and grow to enjoy life.

They still have their moments; they are unsure about people they don’t know, and prefer to be at home, but they’ve come a long way. They are well loved members of our household and love that their white fluffy cousin Micky dog lives here now too. He gives them more confidence because he is such an easygoing boy.



Happy adoptiversary Daphne and Chloe!

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


I was watching a few YouTube videos the other day - two of Robert Kiyosaki and one of Warren Buffett. It was interesting to hear them talk about global financial aspects that are above my level (economics type discussions) but also fascinating to learn about.

Both had different views on 2023 but watching those videos brought back to me how important keeping our own 'backyard' tidy is. With rising interest rates, inflation etc, now is the perfect time to make it a fun game to live a good life without spending a lot of money.

And that's what my books are all about too, in particular ‘Financially Chic’, where I go through everything I do to make being financially savvy enjoyable, plus how we paid off our former home in less than five years. I still can't believe myself we did it.

Back in the day when I studied money books more, I loved 'The Automatic Millionaire' by David Bach. He was the one that talked about latte money, how if you took that $5 a day and invested it you could have a good amount in retirement. He was panned for this, people said 'I love my latte! Don't take it away from me!' But I think the broader message was to look at regular outgoing expenses and see if you're getting value from them.

Every so often I download six months of transactions from our bank's website, and sort it into categories to see what we've spent our money on. It is a quick project to see if there are things I can delete and won't really miss.

Another book I loved was 'Stop Acting Rich' by the same authors of 'The Millionaire Next Door'. These books said most millionaires don't actually 'look' like millionaires, and that they get financially settled before they start spending on fancy luxury goods. Sort of 'stop acting rich and BE rich instead'.

I get that many don't find it fun to read money books so that's why I wrote Financially Chic. It's a different kind of money book: more lifestyle, pretty, fun, inspirational etc. than spreadsheets and figures.

You can turn things around at any age to ensure you are heading in the right direction. Make it fun. Make it easy. Let’s all do money well together in 2023! Are you with me?

xx Fiona

PS. If you have always wonder if it’s possible for you to write a book, spoiler alert, it is. Take a look at my book ‘The Chic Author’ on Amazon here. Read the free sample and see if you like what I have to say. I promise you, it’s simple, easy, fun, enjoyable, satisfying and hugely gratifying. You can do it!

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