Thursday, December 24, 2015

My wish for you

Christmas Eve in Auckland

I often wonder what is gained from writing like I do.  Sometimes I just sit down to write without thinking of what is going to be said.  I let the words flow forth and just sit and listen.  I truly believe this is the way I tap into the collective spirituality, which is me plus others.

My wish for you is to enjoy life.  To enjoy life whilst living with others around you.  To be happy to wake up every day and look forward to that day with gusto.  I know some days feel like the one before and the one before that because I can feel like that too.  When something happens to endanger that mundane daily feeling however, you are never so glad for a normal day to happen.

I’ve not had anything big or bad happen but I find that looking for the good in each day helps me appreciate life.

Actually I did have something little happen.  One day I woke up with an eye that would not stop watering.  It wasn’t irritated but I quickly realised my tears were not draining away from that eye for some reason.  All day, as soon as I blinked and a tear would form, it welled up in one eye.  It was difficult to see through this eye and then eventually a tear would roll down my cheek.

I hoped it would go away after a night’s sleep but no, I was still ‘crying’.  Days passed and this was still happening so I made an appointment with my GP, and then an expensive specialist.  He told me there was nothing that could be done apart from a five-figure operation to ‘cut a new tear passage’ which would leave a scar on the side of my nose.  Doesn’t that sound horrific and barbaric and totally over the top?

The specialist said the fact that my eye would not drain was all linked up with my sinus.  He prescribed me with six weeks of low-dose antibiotics and I went home feeling very depressed.

The ending to this story though is a happy one.  Before my eye started watering I had been looking in the mirror on a regular basis, seeing how my face was aging and wondering if minor plastic surgery was a ridiculous notion or something that I could do.  Yes, really. 

It sounds crazy now, because I don’t even care anymore.  I am just happy my eye is better and has continued to be fine long after the antibiotics finished.  I went for a public hospital check-up and the assistant did this amazing thing where she put anaesthetic drops in my eyes and then flushed out my tear ducts with the thinnest probe you’ve ever seen using saline solution.  She pronounced both tear ducts drained fine.  I just about skipped home afterwards (even though I was driving).  I felt light as air.

What shook up my plastic surgery thinking was reading that the condition I had (thankfully temporarily) could be caused by some plastic surgery operations.  Imagine if I did something for mere vanity and it caused a problem that needed to be fixed by more surgery, and even then that might not be fixed because once you start messing around with things you might just make it worse.

So I’m wondering if all this happened, and was sent to me by the Universe to cure me of any notion of wanting to ‘fix’ something on my face, to make me supremely happy and grateful for what I’ve got?  The ‘issue’ I initially considered having fixed is not entirely an aging thing, it’s a feature I’ve had forever.  I’m just glad the Universe stepped in to show me that I’m actually perfect as I am right now (and so are you, ‘imperfections’ and all!)

So my Christmas wish for you is to enjoy the happy days and the quiet days, the mundane days and the days where exciting things happen.  Treasure your face and body and the ones you love.  Whatever you are doing over the holiday season I hope you have fun.

I’ve loved writing on my blog this year and I thank you for reading. I’m also grateful to the many of you who have bought my books; this makes me really happy because I have many ideas for new titles to be released next year.

If you haven’t read ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’ yet, I’d love to invite you to do so.  Not only will you find inspiration for this Christmas, but ideas for an exciting January, and thoughts to encourage you to think about the kind of Christmas you want to experience next year too.  Because you need to give others time to get their head around changes you might want to make in how you gift or where you’ll travel to, for example.

Happy, happy Christmas to you dear chic friends and I will talk to you all soon. xxx

Saturday, December 19, 2015

You are enough

I listened to a fantastic talk by Marisa Peer this week and I’m still thinking about it.  It has affected me profoundly!  (It’s above, or you can click through to YouTube to watch it here).

She talks about a commonality amongst all types of people, from Hollywood superstars to those of us that are living a more normal life, and it is that we feel we are not enough.  That we somehow are failing because we are not perfect like we think we need to be.  She's such a funny and engaging speaker and says that we're not born like this, that no baby thinks 'I'm having a bad hair day' or 'I've got triple knees', no, they just gurgle and smile and accept all the attention they're getting!

I certainly related to a lot of what Marisa was saying, and listening to her talk really helped me out. You see, I’ve been feeling a bit down over having gained weight since this time last year.  Comfort eating over our southern hemisphere winter has led me to be a whole dress size bigger.  Sugar is the main culprit for me and I have been eating much less of it now - not to be skinnier though, but just to feel good about myself, both physically and mentally.

Listening to Marisa's talk made me realise I am enough.  Even with a bit of extra padding, even if I feel flawed, I am still enough.  Just saying this to myself when I’m feeling annoyed for giving into the sugar cravings and because my clothes are tight, I do feel better. 

And I’ve discovered the universal truth, which is that you can’t change something about yourself if you feel bad about it.  So hating your weight, for example, doesn’t mean you’re going to lose it easily.  More than likely you’re going to self-sabotage and eat something fattening.  Telling yourself I am enough, on the other hand, is going to calm and relax you and help you make better decisions.  As lightweight and non-altering as it sounds, those words really do work some magic.

I also conquered another belief that I had, which was that if I bought myself some new clothes, it was a waste because I planned to lose weight and I’d have wasted my money then.  I believed that I should continue to wear the bigger size clothes that I have had for so long now that they are starting to show their age, until I’m skinnier.  Basically that I don’t deserve new clothes unless I am a certain size.

I know.  It seems so heartless written down but that’s what I was telling myself.  Even in the changing room when I was trying things on I thought, ‘oh I can just wear my old clothes until I lose some weight, they’re fine’.  And it’s not as if my weight is going to halve; I’m sure I could still wear the new clothes even if my weight did go down.  And if I stayed my current weight for the rest of my life?  What then?  Never buy anything new, ever?

You will be pleased to know that I bought the new clothes, in a size that is comfortable, and I’ve felt amazing wearing them.  I’ve looked forward to getting dressed in the morning and am having fun mixing and matching new and existing (non-threadbare) pieces.  And that flows through to how you feel about yourself don’t you think?  That you’re worth spending money on and looking nice at any size.  That you’re enough.

I am enough.

Those three words have been saving my life this week (does that sound too dramatic?) and I think I’m in love with them.  Thank you Marisa, the work you are doing is fabulous and so needed.

If you are reading this post right now, know that you are enough too.  Completely and utterly.  Say them to yourself over and over – ‘I am enough’.  You might feel like a dork but keep on doing it and really feel it.  It will soak in, I promise.

Is there something you’ve been putting off until that mythical time when you’re the perfect weight or your living situation is perfect or whatever strict limitations you’ve put on yourself?  The first thing that pops into your mind, I challenge you to do something towards it.

A lovely reader of my Facebook page wrote to me this week and said she’s started ballet lessons that she’d been wanting to do for years, simply from being inspired by my Facebook posts on living a chic life.  That really made my day!  I love it when people tell me things like that, so thank you Y, for reaching out.


A Chic and Simple Christmas

If you haven’t read my newest Kindle eBook ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’ it’s not too late to download it here.  If your holiday season experiences don’t quite match the idyllic vision you have in your mind, I’d love for you to be inspired by ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’ where I share how to create a holiday season you’ll love.

If you don’t have a Kindle eReader you can download the computer version for free so you can still read all the fabulous eBooks that are out there.  Download the Kindle eReader free from Amazon here.

And if you have already read ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’, I’d love it if you could share a favourite idea or something you’ve done differently as a result.  I'd doubly love it if you could leave me an honest review on Amazon as well.  I only have two reviews so far - thank you so much ii and Princess - and would be so happy to have some more to keep them company!


Inspiration to exercise

Many times I have credited the purchase of a tiny (one-inch square!), inexpensive and easy-to-use iPod Shuffle as the reason why I now happily walk 5-7 days per week which has resulted in my legs becoming shapelier (even if I’m a bit bigger, they still look toned) and saved my sanity many times (I might be grumpy when I get home, go out for a half hour walk and come back feeling so much better).

My iPod also helps me with the housework because I can potter around happily doing my jobs whilst listening to something interesting.

I get through a lot of audio books and podcasts as you can imagine, so I was excited to see that Audible is offering two free audiobooks with a free one-month trial.  Yay, because some of the audiobooks are quite expensive normally! 

My favourites are all there as well:

It’s All Too Much: An easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff’ by Peter Walsh (the author narrates which is a bonus; I love his voice and he’s so motivating to me)

The Millionaire Next Door’ and ‘Stop Acting Rich’ by Thomas J Stanley

And even Allen Carr’s ‘The Easy Way to Control Alcohol’ (I read his ‘No More Hangovers’ book first but also read ‘The Easy Way to Control Alcohol which is a longer version of the same thing – they’re both amazing and… I’m still a happy non-drinker, 3.5 years later). 

You can get your two free Audible audiobooks here.


Happy week-before-Christmas everyone.  Be festively chic!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Seeking simplicity?

When I think about what my core values are, a word I keep coming back to is simplicity. It’s not that I want to live my life in an empty room with nothing and nobody around me, but when things get too busy, whether it’s the contents of my home, my schedule or the thoughts in my mind; it doesn’t feel good to me. What feels much better is having space in all senses of the word. Space to move around, space to breathe, space to think and space in time.

I think the most important thing for us to consider is just when that feeling of discomfort kicks in, when our internal compass is telling us ‘it’s getting crowded’. If you ignore that voice it’s easy to start acting out by being snappy with people, eating when you’re not hungry and deciding to go shopping because a new something will make you feel better. I identify with all these things.

Knowing now that I have a core value of simplicity means that I can take action much sooner, and one day I’d love to be able to simply ‘be’ in simplicity all the time. I know that it’s not something outside of me though and that I can have simplicity any time I like, even right now. Making the decision to have a life of simplicity marks a point where everything else flows on from.

For me, a life of simplicity would contain plenty of time to get all my jobs done and still have time to read, noodle, potter and play. It would also mean that food is enjoyable nourishment and not my main source of pleasure (because I have other things for that).

There are many ways I can bring these ideas into being. The discipline of being organised is not pushed aside, because it feels good when I have things under control. Taking actions on small and big things as they arise, with no procrastination is key. Every piece of paper I don’t action whether it’s to file, throw out or make a phone call for, represents a leak of energy. You know that slightly heavy feeling of little things undone?

Not trying to pack too much into a day is another way I can cultivate the feeling of simplicity. And then doing those few things so that I feel proud at the end of the day.

Simplicity in food means there is a feeling of peace. I’m not trying to avoid certain foods to be skinny, rather, I’m choosing not to buy and eat certain foods because I don’t feel well afterwards. That feels far more empowering to me.

Simplicity of the mind means not overthinking things (which I am a master at). When my brain is whirring like a runaway train, how blissful it feels to stop and think ‘all is well, I am enough, life is good, I am safe today and always’. I can then think ‘what is the next step, what do I want to do next’.

That might be what the feeling of simplicity boils down to – taking things one step at a time, doing a job as it needs to be done with no multi-tasking; finishing something I have started and feeling satisfied with a task completed.

It’s especially important at this time of the year when we have more to do and less time to do it in. List everything out, pick the first thing to do and just start with that.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Chic and Simple Christmas

I'm excited to let you know about my newest eBook, just out today.  I wrote ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’ because I wanted to find out the reason why I simultaneously looked forward to the holiday season so much, but at the same time dreaded it as a time of stress and anxiety.

The Christmas of my dreams was a chic and simple affair full of joy and fun things, but the reality wasn’t nearly as much fun. It was stressful! So I decided to deconstruct just why this was, and find out how I could create a holiday season that not only made me happier, but also more enjoyable for my loved ones.

If your holiday season experiences don’t quite match the idyllic vision you have in your mind, I’d love for you to be inspired by ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’ where I share how to create a holiday season you’ll love.

While this book does include a bonus chapter of favourite Christmas posts from this blog, more than 70% of ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’ is original content and has never been published anywhere else before.

Yay for the holiday season starting, festivities are in the air!

You can purchase from Amazon here.


I found out that the formatting of my new eBook went a little bit wonky in between my computer and Amazon Kindle, with some words being run together (you can imagine my palpitations, I want it to be perfect for you!).

This has been corrected now, so if you noticed these flaws on your copy, you should be able to update to the newest version with these steps to receive updates to your Kindle books automatically:

1. Turn on the Annotations Backup* for your Kindle device or Kindle reading app to sync your notes, highlights, bookmarks, and furthest page read
2. Go to the Manage Your Content and Devices page
3. Select "Automatic Book Update" under the Settings tab
4. Select "On" from the dropdown menu

Note: The Automatic Book Update feature may not yet be available for markets outside of the U.S.

*The following devices automatically enable the Annotations Backup: Fire HD, Fire HDX, Kindle for Android, Kindle for Windows 8, and Kindle for BlackBerry 10.  As a result, you cannot turn off the Annotations Backup.

I have asked Amazon to contact all purchasers with the new version so hopefully you should have this soon if the above doesn't change anything.

I'm so sorry for the muck-up, and have learnt a lot for next time. Thank you for being wonderful, kind, chic and beautiful ladies!
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