Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Our Living Room Decor Part 1


It's been exciting times in our living room lately.  I have been slowly adding furniture, mostly from our favourite auction house.  So many lovely pieces at such fantastic prices compared to what they would cost new, and they are far nicer than new too, in my opinion.

The only items we've bought new are soft furnishings, such as our tartan wingback chairs below.  I just can't handle the thought of someone else lounging all over fabric that I now sit on.  I've always wanted a touch of tartan in our home after seeing the Queen's tartan carpet at her Scottish estate, plus my family name is Macdonald so tartan runs in my blood.


We already had our sofas in this picture, and most of the other furniture was bought at auction: the coffee table, animal print bowl (I stole another of Ralph Lauren's ideas in that he often has a zebra or animal print touch) and the metal sideboard in the background.  Oh, and the lamp and horse on the sideboard.  It's been so much fun going along each week and seeing what else I can find to build our 'Ralph Lauren on a budget' look.


In the other corner of our living room is the dining area with our vintage/antique table and chairs.  This room will be painted next week and the plans are dramatic.  The walls (and some of the ceilings) will be done in a dark matte finish navy-grey.  We will then hang off-white linen curtains.  And we want to mass all our artwork on one wall, from ceiling to floor.  In my mind it's going to look so cool; hopefully the end result will please me just as much.  I will share photos as soon as this room is complete - I can't wait!


And Daphne and Chloe are showing how dogs are definitely not allowed on the furniture here...   They have progressed hugely since I last wrote about them.  I don't need to worry about Daphne running away anymore and they both follow me fine without a leash.  Apart from Daphne still being a bit scared of men, they are very happy girls who love their new life.


Daphne is quite the little minx, stealing slippers, socks, and a mohair rug from the bedroom that I saw her dragging down the hall and into her bed under my writing desk.  You also have to watch out for her lightening fast tongue stealing cat food, pieces of cheese and even the whipped cream off the top of my after-lunch coffee yesterday.  It was on the coffee table and I left the room for sixty seconds.  When I came back there was only a coffee, no whipped cream.

You can't turn your back for a minute with that Daphne, and she couldn't deny it with speckles of white cream dotted all over her muzzle.  I'm only thankful she didn't knock the cup over, and yes, I tipped it out and made myself a new one.  She eats all sorts of terrible things when walking in our paddock so I didn't fancy sharing a drink with her.

I'm sure you have equally as naughty pets at your place.  Please share your funniest story; I need to know that mine aren't the worst!  I mean, how guilty do those faces look?

Wishing you a wonderful week :)
~Fiona~

PS.  I am almost finished my next book Thirty More Chic Days, promise!  I'm sorting and editing all the chapters at the moment and am pleased to have been enjoying re-reading them as I go.  Even as someone who has published several books (including Lithuanian and Russian translations), I still worry that my writing is a pile of doo-doo sometimes!

~~



Saturday, June 2, 2018

Everyday elegance on a budget




Do you save elegance for special occasions?  I used to, but the shame is that there’s not that many special occasions to go around.  Instead of waiting for those one or two times a year when I was invited to a wedding or special dinner, I decided to make elegance  an everyday indugence.

At first it felt decadent and yes a little bit wasteful, but most of the new things I was doing weren’t even costing me a lot of money.  Mostly they were free, so just why was I resisting it so much?  Did I feel like I needed a reason to be fancy?

I’m very pleased to report that I no longer hold back.  Daily life at Chez Fiona is an elegant extravaganza.  Here are some of my favourite ways to bring elegance into your everyday.  I hope you enjoy them!

An alluring derriere

Buy lacy panties instead of solid fabric – in black, cream and pretty colours.  I love shopping at Victoria’s Secret when they have a special offer and their lacy undies are very soft.  Scratchy lace is not good!  My underwear drawer looks so lovely now with my bright/dark/pastel/pale selection of lacy knickers.  Cleaning out underwear that is past its best or nearing past its best make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself.

Your own life soundtrack

Play background music softly when at home.  Classical strings such as Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto is simply beautiful and uplifting, even if you’re ‘not a classical person’.  And Carla Bruni music always makes me feel good.  Have you heard her sing?  Her music is like you’re being sung to by a very chic angel.

Bombshell eyes

Try new makeup techniques – I have been learning how to apply bombshell eyeshadow lately by doing it every day, even if I’m not going anywhere.  Not only have I been getting better at it with practice, but it’s fun to rock the smokey-eyed look even if I’m only going to walk the dogs in our paddock.  I look at it as bringing a little bit of the fashion world to the country.

A beautiful mind

Think elegant thoughts.  Even using the word ‘elegance’ as a mantra helps me move in a lovelier way.  When I channel someone elegant such as Coco Chanel, I more effortlessly make good decisions when it comes to what I’m going to have for lunch, whether I’m going to read a book or watch television, and what I’m going to wear that way.

Mona Lisa

Employ the mysterious half-smile technique until it becomes second nature.  You will look beguiling.  You might have heard me mention before that as we age, our mouths naturally turn down.  To not look like you’ve sucked a lemon, have a tiny smile on your face at all times.  I know it sounds a bit Stepford Wives, but it becomes second nature before too long, and it really does change your face.  You will look softer, more relaxed and overall have a pleasant expression on your face.  An added bonus is that when you smile, you will feel happier.  It’s psychosomatic.

Floral love

Have cut flowers in your home.  I know a lot of you do this already and for some reason I resisted buying cut flowers forever.  I thought they were a waste of money because they died after a week or so, but I knew that I was spending money on other things such as snack foods which were not good for me and were gone within a few days.

I found that one of our supermarkets had mixed bunches for $12.95 which lasted for a few weeks (and did not cause weight gain as snack foods did).  Every couple of days I change the water, trim and rinse the stems and remove spent flowers.  I then practice my floral arrangement skills by putting everything back together.  The bouquet in this image is one of my $12.95 specials.  I think it’s so pretty.

Formal dinner

I've used cloth dinner napkins for over a decade now.  No more paper towels for me.  Whether it's at the dining table or in front of the television, pizza or a roast, I always use cloth dinner napkins.  I've collected a good-sized collection both from sales and making them myself from pretty cotton fabrics in my stash, so that I'll never run out.  They are washed with towels or by themselves, and I don't iron them anymore either.

If the casual rumpled look is good enough for Ralph Lauren, it's good enough for me.  I simply flick the wrinkles out when I hang them on the line and fold straight away once I've brought them in.  The secret trick is to put those napkins at the bottom of the stack and when it comes around to their turn again, et voila, they are pressed!

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I hope you enjoyed my favourite tips, and I'd be so grateful if you could share you favourite ways of bringing everyday elegance on a budget into your home.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!
 ~Fiona~

http://www.howtobechic.com/2016/07/all-four-series-30-chic-days.html

If you need a bit of a boost, I invite you to peruse my 30 Chic Days Series.  There are four in total, so you won't be short on inspiration.  I had such fun writing these; who knows, maybe there is a fifth around the corner...?

The original series in 2010 sparked off my book of the same name.  It started off as a spur of the moment thing where I wanted to re-remember my chic principles for a whole month.  It's amazing the kind of momentum you can gather when you stick at something for thirty days in a row, and obviously being chic is a worthy goal :)


I hope you enjoy them!

~~





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