Friday, December 30, 2016

What would your ten-year-old self like to do?

Do you ever wonder when you might feel like a grown-up?  When you will have all your stuff sorted and not have the vague sense that you are making it all up as you go along?  If so, welcome to life.

I love to feel like everything is under control, that life is neat and tidy and I can see a clear stretch of road ahead, but the truth is, we cannot predict the future.  All we can do is do what we do, trust that we’re heading in the right direction and not worry about everything around us.

I really do think I will never get to the point where I feel like a grown-up.  Inside I am that ten-year-old girl who gets excited over ten-year-old girl things.  And that’s okay!

Why do we try and make things all serious and proper because we are older?  No thank you.  Yes, of course I am going to do all the things I should do such as pay my bills, eat healthy (always a work in progress) and get enough sleep, but I am also going to give myself permission to play, relax, have time off and feel free inside.

Modern day living has us so boxed up that we can easily forget that we are only here for a limited time and that we should blimmin’ well enjoy it.

Why don’t you ask your ten-year-self what she’d like to do one day?

Maybe she’d like to take a book to the park with a picnic rug.

Maybe she’d like to go browsing at a toy store to see what new dolls are out there - that sounds like fun (I used to love paper cut-out dolls too).

Maybe she’d like to go for a bike ride or for a jump on the trampoline.

Maybe she’d like to dance to the Grease album or Michael Jackson’s Thriller (both albums that I loved when I was younger, I even had a ‘Thriller’ 13th birthday party, I think the LP was played on repeat).

It’s so important to keep that playful ten-year-old inside of you.  She will show you what lights you up and makes your soul sparkle.  Cherish her.

What would your ten-year-old love to do this week?


PS.  Receive free book excerpts and other chic goodies FREE when you join my weekly mailing list!  Sign up here.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas - and final part of video series

🎄Merry Christmas everyone! 🎄I've always thought it would be fun to do a family Christmas card photo. 🎄This is our first one and I'd like to introduce you to my wonderful husband Paul. He is holding Jessica who would happily sit in your arms all day. I am holding her 'kitten' Nina, who is not like that at all. Two seconds is her limit and she is a wriggler! 🎄

If you follow my Facebook page or YouTube channel, you might have already caught up with my new video series 'A Chic and Simple Christmas'. 

For ten days I am sharing little tips, tricks and ideas created to help you enjoy a calm and joyful December, when there is so much going on.  I thought I would post them here as well, for those of you who don't follow my other channels.

Days 1-4 are available to view here, and days 5-7 are hereBelow are the final days 8, 9 and 10. 
I hope you enjoy them, and I'd love to hear your comments or any ideas that come up for you after watching the videos.

If you would like to read more, see my book 'A Chic and Simple Christmas: Celebrate the holiday season with ease and grace', available on Amazon in print copy and on Kindle.

🎄Wishing you a beautiful and happy Christmas. Thank you for being part of my world! 🎄

Friday, December 23, 2016

{Touch} Being more feminine blog series

I love to feel feminine, and am always creating my own inspiration.  I find that introducing little pockets of femininity into my day helps everything run smoother.  I feel more ladylike and life is enjoyable – even when I’m doing mundane tasks.

The final post in this series is on using the sense of touch to be more feminine.

Choosing fabrics that feel pleasing to your skin

Sometimes I wouldn’t wear clothing items simply because I didn’t want to, and when I asked myself ‘why are you bypassing your new top, Fiona’, it was because the fabric felt bad against my skin.  I now know to avoid slithery knits (they feel as awful as they sound) and anything scratchy such as linen that is too rough.

Some of it has to do with the quality of the fabric, because in the fabric world there is short staple fibre fabric and long staple fibre fabric.  As I understand it, short staple fibres are cheaper because they use scrappy fibres, and those short, stiffer fibres stick out of the fabric more and poke into your skin (they are microscopic).  Long staple fibres are more expensive, using long fibres that are more supple and weave through, with the ends not sticking out as much.  If anyone knows more, perhaps they could share?

That’s the reason why buying cheap high-thread count sheets are a false economy.  I used to think that thread count was a guarantee, but I realised it is not after I bought some pure cotton high-thread count sheets from a discount store.  They are stiffer and scratchier (even after washing) than other more expensive sheets I have, despite their high thread-count.

Quality isn’t always related to price though, because the scarf in the photo above, I bought from H&M here for NZ$9 (about US$6) and I love it.  It is light as a feather (and has feathers printed on it, coincidentally) and feels wonderful against my skin.

Having fabric touch your skin that is displeasing threatens your femininity because it makes you grumpy!  When I am grumpy with something, I tend to be more masculine by stomping, snapping, harsh words etc.  It just feels nicer to and puts me in a better mood when I have nothing irritating my skin.

Keeping your skin hydrated

I am a huge fan of moisturising and do it now more than I ever have before.  It’s so important to both the health and appearance of your skin, and I think this is what sets us apart from men – having soft skin.  It’s a particularly feminine thing to do (you'd hardly ever see a man moisturising his hands) and I adore the ritual of my morning toilette where I moisturise my whole body after my shower.

Additional moisturisings throughout the day include:

Hand lotion or cream many times

Neck and décolletage before I go to bed

A thick cream on my feet (not every day, but maybe twice a week)

To supplement external moisturising, keep your skin hydrated from the inside out by drinking plenty of water and eating water-rich foods (fresh fruit and non-starchy vegetables), and good fats such as raw nuts and avocados

Whether it’s internal or external, I don’t believe you can hydrate your skin too much.  You will never look back in life and think to yourself ‘I wish I hadn’t drunk so much water over the years’ or ‘I wish I hadn’t eaten so much fresh fruit in the past’!

What are some ways that you use the sense of touch to feel more feminine in your life?  I would love to hear, because (as always) I really enjoy all the ideas in the comments section.  If you have never commented before, I invite you to today!

And I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful Christmas, whatever you are doing.  We are hosting my husband's family on Christmas day, and it will also be our last Christmas in Auckland.  Next Christmas we will be sunning ourselves at our new home in Havelock North on the beautiful east coast of the north island of New Zealand (we don't have a new home yet and will begin the process of selling our home next year, but I'm sure we will find a wonderful home before next Christmas).

Thank you for making this blog what it is; I have 'met' so many kind, funny, beautiful and lovely ladies and appreciate every page view, comment, suggestion, idea, email and message.  How lucky am I?  Every day I think that, so thank you.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Friday, December 16, 2016

{Hear} Being more feminine blog series

I love to feel feminine, and am always creating my own inspiration.  I find that introducing little pockets of femininity into my day helps everything run smoother.  I feel more ladylike and life is enjoyable – even when I’m doing mundane tasks.

The fourth post in this series is on using the sense of hearing to be more feminine.

Classical music

The right kind of classical music instantly elevates the frequency of an environment to me.  I used to think it was boring and old-fashioned when I was younger, and now, thankfully, I have grown into appreciating it.  I love that our favourite five-star hotel plays elegant sounding violin concertos and sometimes has a live harpist playing.

At home I have a playlist with lots of classical pieces which I have gradually curated to include only those that I love.  If anything is too clangy, strident or cannon-y, I delete it.  As a result I now listen to a mix of soothing strings and calming adagios.  Listen to the one below on YouTube, it’s glorious.  I feel instantly more elegant and refined when I have music like this playing (but I still love many other genres too!)

Having a lovely voice

In my book Thirty Chic Days, I mention that I strive to keep my voice pleasant.  I have horrors of turning into a shrewish, screeching fishwife; so to avoid this I try to remember to walk into a room to talk to someone rather than yell for them, and endeavour to speak as much as necessary and not dominate the conversation.  I don’t always manage it, but at least I try, right?

Instead of fishwife, I’m going to aim for Lady Mary Crawley.

And another thing: do you ever leave somewhere thinking ‘I couldn’t stop talking; whatever must they think of me?’  I do!  Or rather, I did.  I think (I hope) I am better at this now – the two-conversation thing where you ask questions of others and actually listen to what they say.  The two ears, one mouth thing is so on point, as always.

Do you enjoy classical music?  Is it boring or elegant to you?  What about your voice… fishwife?  Or Lady Mary?  Your secret is safe with me.


PS. It’s not too late to get some inspiration and enthusiasm for Christmas with my book A Chic and Simple Christmas, available from Amazon in print and on Kindle.  Inspire yourself!  Here is what readers have to say:

‘I just read every word of this beautiful book and it felt like a loving friend was holding my hand and saying it's okay that Christmas stresses you out, it's okay if you don't love everything about Christmas. It was such a relief to read this book. I'm glad I gave myself permission to disappear from family for a bit and relax and read it.’

‘Fiona is like your best friend that you have over for coffee and a little chat. Her books are so inspiring and down to earth. She is definately a breath of fresh air in that she is direct, honest, and delightful in her writings. Christmas time has always been such an exciting time of year for me but I cannot say that it was ever a Chic or Simple Christmas, by the time the Christmas Celebration arrived , I was frazzled and unfortunately what I spread to family and friends was very short of any holiday cheer. I sat down with a cup of coffee and my warm knitted slippers and read this wonderful book which presented such a simplistic approach to the holiday season that keeps the season what it truly should be: Chic and Simple. With Fiona's suggestions and a great deal of holiday cheer, I am confident that this year will be a very Chic and Simple Christmas as I celebrate this season with grace and ease. Thank you Fiona for another great book!!’
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