Sunday, June 12, 2016

30 Chic Days – The Fourth Series: Day 5

I like to make the bed and lay my clothes out before showering.  It feels so luxurious.

It’s Day 5 of the 30 Chic Days series.  If you’ve just joined us, you can catch up from to Day 1 here.

I’m following a simple format, logging my day.  The goals are:

Awareness of what I’m doing each day
Where I am placing my focus, and
Remembering what I want to achieve.

Here’s what I will be reporting on each day for thirty days:

What I ate
What I wore
How I moved my body
What I read
My focus for the day

Day 5:

What I ate

2 x tea with trim milk first thing

Breakfast – two pieces of sourdough toast with butter and apricot converve, a soy milk latte (homemade)

Lunch – homemade chicken curry (Balti) with rice and vegetables, a coffee and apricot Frooze Ball.  I go through food phases sometimes.  I’m in a Frooze Ball phrase at the moment, as awful as the name is.  I think I will call them bliss balls.  I’m also in a coffee phase, drinking more coffee than tea at the moment, apart from 6am when I love to have two big mugs of tea if I have the time.  One mug barely hits the sides and I like it piping hot.

Afternoon tea – a mandarin

Dinner – Roast chicken with real gravy made by me in the pan, roast potato, carrot, onion and kumara (sweet potato), steamed cauliflower and broccoli.  Tea with trim milk, 2 squares of 72% cacao Dark Ghana chocolate (Whittakers).

What I wore

Two layered tops – the fine knit undertop is brown melange and was a gift (Bella Luxx), the black linen knit overtop is one I bought at Zara in Sydney last year and I’ve hardly worn it because I don’t know what to do with it.  It’s too low cut to wear by itself and I don’t often layer, so the cost per wear has been quite high for an inexpensive top.  With blue-wash Diesel jeans and Vans shoes.

How I moved

I went for a 45-minute walk after work.  I could have skipped it but I’d been sitting down a lot and would also be sitting down at home, either on the sofa or my office chair, so it was nice to get out.  The weather was mild and clear and I really enjoyed it.  With some good audio to listen to of course.

What I read

I read a bit of my favourite celebrity magazine after I got back from my walk – the UK edition of Hello.  I love this magazine so much (it has big glossy features of glamorous people and their homes) that I used to subscribe, but when it came time to renew for another year I didn’t.  Not so much for the money but because I find it really hard to let magazines go so they pile up and stress me out.  I get it out of the library each week now which is great because I have it for two weeks and then it has to go back.  No cost, no clutter.  Win/win.

My focus for the day

My focus for the day was keeping in mind my goals when I am tempted to snack.  Snacking used to be a pleasure and a habit for me.  Sometimes it was only a habit, not a pleasure but I still did it.  I couldn’t even go a day without eating between meals, and I’m not talking fruit here.

More than four years ago I read the book No More Hangovers by Allen Carr and stopped drinking, without really meaning to.  It was like a switch was flicked and I didn’t fancy alcohol any more.  I’m still baffled as to how it happened so instantaneously but also quite happy about it.  I often thought to myself ‘if only I could find out how to do that with my snacking foods’.  About a month ago I had the thought to re-read the No More Hangovers book and replace all the references to alcohol with my ‘problem foods’ – lollies (candy/sweets), chocolate, ice-cream, potato chips and popcorn.

Well, what do you think happened, the same thing!  I re-read the information a few times but it seemed to sink in straight away; I no longer snack and haven’t had these foods since then.  It’s almost a minor miracle and I’m thrilled.

But back to my focus for the day; every so often – near weekends mostly because that’s the time when we have more treats traditionally – I’d think ‘that would be nice’ about one of my old snack foods.  Then I’d remember ‘I don’t eat those anymore and I don’t want to’ and the thought simply floats away.  A-mazing.  In the old days that thought would corner me until I gave in.


Are you joining in this 30 Chic Days Series too?  If so, please mention this in the comments so we can click through to your blog, or if you don’t have a blog and would like to participate, you can let us know in the comments how your day went.

See you tomorrow, be chic!


  1. I love a nice melange top, the colors always seem to be just right and subtle. That is so fascinating that you re-read that particular book substituting snacks and it worked!!! ***adds to top of must do list***

  2. I do exactly the same routine in the morning: make bed and lay out my clothes before I bathe. I am impressed how you lost the taste for alcohol as it certainly adds empty calories to the day. Layering the two tops is a great idea!

  3. I always make my bed the minute I get up...for some reason an unmade bed makes me feel grumpy.
    The idea of laying out your clothes is new to me...I usually stand in front of our closet wrapped in my towel and then decide what to wear! Having fewer clothes means I do not stand too long!
    Interesting how you gave up alcohol after reading a book. I love a glass or two of wine but as Madame La-Bas mentioned it is full of empty calories.

  4. Oh Fiona, So relieved I'm not alone. I have a huge housey mags pile well hidden behind a sofa, 100+. I've been nagged for several years to ditch them, I think I am almost ready ...

  5. I got the 'melange' word from you, Stephanie. It's not so common here. Thinking about it, it's probably another descriptive for marle, though?

    Madame, I still don't know how it happened!

    Hostess, I know what you mean about an unmade bed. Everything is instantly better when it's made. Even if I haven't laid out my clothes until after my shower, I do it dressed in my robe and then start getting dressing. It's much nicer to choose everything together.

    And I'm not suggesting anyone give us wine :) Just saying what happened for me. We are all grown-ups and can choose what we want!

  6. PP, can you be bothered going through them to look for pages to tear out? Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. And then I wonder to myself do I even look at those pages I've kept. Not often. I really need to have a better relationship with magazines as I am called to them when they're lovely and new and glossy. Perhaps I need to think 'LIBRARY' instead - it's a no-strings-attached relationship ;)

  7. I have recently found your blog and it is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

    I appreciate that your suggestions are so grounded. I have found something pertinent in every one I have read so far.

  8. Thank you so much, Jan, I take that as very high praise because I love the practical, down-to-earth and usable, at the same time as having my head in the Paris clouds :)

    Your blog is gorgeous! Do you do all those images yourself? And your recipes look delicious. Bravo.

  9. I tried leaving a comment and then Google wouldn't let me! How odd computers are! But I also like to get the bed made although common sense tells me I should at least 'air' the bed for 1/2 hr after two humans beings have inhabited it for 8 hours! So I do 'air' it while I shower and then I make it - well, we often make it together, after all husband and I both sleep in it!
    I like to lay out my clothes, too, but like Hostess of the Humble Bungalow I don't have many clothes, so the challenge isn't a great one. Our wardrobe for my husband and myself houses all our clothes for both of us for winter and summer, hence the need to prune the contents at least once a year.
    One thing, though, concerns me, Fiona. I've not considered this before as I admire your attempt at a chic life (similarly, so does Jennifer L Scott of The Daily Connoisseur blug and her Madame Chic books.) What concerns me is that you are a Kiwi, if I'm not mistaken and Jennifer is an American and yet you are both enraptured by everything French. Could you not be chic but in a New Zealand way? I am English through and through and while I might admire some things French (mainly their scent - and I make no apologies for referring to it as scent as that is that it is, perfume is the fragrance, the smell of the scent) I am English with, I hope, an English lifestyle and am proud of this and if I had a blog - which I haven't - I would be doing my best to promote everything English, but a'hem, in a chic way (simply because we don't have an exact translation for the term "chic".)
    Margaret P

  10. I've come a bit late to the party, as I've only just completed day 2, but I loved this idea so was keen to join in. I've just posted a report on my first two days with a link to your blog. Here's a link to my own blog:

    Keep up the good work!


  11. I received my copy of your new book yesterday. I am excited to learn some amazing ideas ! Kim

  12. Margaret, I like to air my bed too. I don't have a shower as soon as I get up, I have my tea first, so that's the airing time, then I make our bed before my shower.

    With response to your thoughts on living 'French'. I know what you mean and maybe it sounds strange to you because Paris probably doesn't have the mystique it does to me since you live practically next door to France.

    Ever since the 1980s as a teenager I've been enchanted by Paris and France and the French woman. It probably started with a magazine article showing 'the French look' with a sleek bob, red lipstick, a tied scarf, and market bag with baguette sticking out. Not to mention the Chanel jacket over jeans look. Having that ideal in the back of my mind inspires me to be my best self. It many ways it doesn't matter if the person I'm inspired by is real or not; I can borrow (or even make up) the inspiration that makes me the happiest and gives me the most motivation.

    I'm happy to be a New Zealander and I love living here, however my role is not to be an ambassador for the country. On this blog and in my books I'm simply writing about what makes me feel excited inside. Since I started this blog I have probably gone a little bit away from 'French' and keeping 'chic', but my heart still belongs to Paris :)

    Sue, how fabulous, thank you for playing along!

    Kim, fantastic, thank you. I hope you enjoy the book :)

  13. Oh I love this post! I always work out what I am going to wear before I get in the shower. However, I absolutely love this idea of making the bed and laying everything out beforehand! I am going to implement this tomorrow! Sophie x

  14. hi Fiona, I have posted my 1st entry in my blog: you-are unique, & am looking forward to doing this each day. I so love your blog.

  15. Sophie, you wouldn't think laying out your clothes only ten minutes before or even one minute before would make it worth it, but it is. I love it!

    You-areunique, can you give us a URL/link to your blog? I can't find it. Thank you!

  16. I think I will have to locate that book Fiona. I do love a good house style magazine. I have a subscription to Australian Country Style that I adore & get in 2 year subscriptions (saving as much as possible per issue).
    I have recently cleared a lot of those out & donated as I can't bring myself to throw them out.
    I love your idea of borrowing from the library. I am not sure if your local library has access but my library here in Melbourne has acces to the app 'Biblio for libraries' which allows you to download current & back issues of many great magazines (quite a few international ones are also in there).
    We're about to go on a quick holiday & I've downloaded a couple of different issues to my tablet to take with me. Not quite replacing a Magazine to hold but still a good option.

  17. Hi Cal! Australian Country Style is one of my favourite magazines and I've mentioned it on my blog before. I love the relaxed sophistication of the homes they feature and it makes me crave a simple country life.

    Our library does offer online magazines too. It's a great service. Libraries are fantastic all round and I happily pay our property rates (taxes) because of this!

  18. hi Fiona this is my looking forward to the next 29 days xxx

  19. Your blog has inspired me. This morning I had a bath instead of my usual shower and washed my hair. Whilst I might occasionally enjoy an evening bath in the cooler months (life here on the sub tropical coast of Australia can be too hot for baths for much of the year), I have never had a bath in the morning ! I also applied a face mask while my hair conditioner did its thing. The mask was a freebie sample of Eminence grapefruit vitality masque I was given by a beautician over a year ago and had been languishing in a drawer since. Our bathroom is an internal room - no windows - and I purposely hadn't turned on the combo light / extraction fan. It was peaceful and there was plenty of daylight thru the door. I emerged feeling smooth, clean and oh so lady like ! It is a public holiday here today (Queens Birthday) and I had no morning appointments so it was the perfect start to a cool winter day.


  20. Ratnamurti, thanks for your link. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your day 1, and your blog looks so interesting. I'm so glad you commented!

    Lara, your day off sounds wonderful. We had our Queen's Birthday last Monday; interesting they are one week difference. Your pampering sounds just the ticket, plus you got to use your face mask so it won't be there staring at you every time you open your bathroom drawer :) Decluttering and treating yourself, win/win!

  21. Hi, Fiona,
    Thank you for explaining your love of everything French. Yes, there is a definite chic-ness about some things French - Coco Chanel was the epitome of French style. I like to take the best of both worlds - the best of English, our Burberry coats (not that I have one now; I used to in the late 1980s but now a Burberry trench is over a thousand pounds and well out of my league) and Hermes scarves (ditto my comment on the cost of a Burberry trench!)
    I have my early morning tea or coffee while sitting in bed, I need that before I get up!
    Today - still wearing my nightie - I shall be stuffing my face with as much fodder as I can and then I shall sit a-la-couch-potato and much on crisps ...
    Only joking! I am up and dressed and about to put on my make up even though I will be working at my desk on my latest article. I always try and make myself presentable, for
    myself as much as for anyone else who might see me.
    Best of luck with book sales,
    Margaret P (Torbay, Devon.) PS Only been to France once and never to Paris.

    1. I wonder if part of it is that NZ or the US, like Australia where I am from, is so multi cultural almost from day dot that we don't have an overriding "culture" of our own, and that is why we like to emulate French Chic or Italian Chic and so on. That is not to say that we don't value or have pride in our nation, but trying to pin something down as Australian is very hard.

      If you would like some visual proof then google our Miss Universe national costumes for the past 30 years - every year the Oz committee struggles to come up with something, and what they do decide on is almost always derided by the rest of us Aussies!


  22. Hi Fiona. Loving this new series....very inspiring! Makes me want to eat well and everything. I've been reading your blog since about 2010 and really love it. I think your blog is more about wellness more than anything. It should be called "How to take exquisite care of yourself". I know the French thing is fun for you although I don't really get what is so special about the French. (I do get it about Audrey H. and Jackie O. but that's only two people). I think you probably take better care of yourself than most French women do. Thanks, Carla.

  23. Hi Fiona, Thank you for letting us in on your days. They sound lovely and healthy, you take care of yourself well! As for me, for today anyway, I am currently waiting for my daughter to wake up. Then, we will probably have a healthy cereal for breakfast (always with fresh fruit on the side), I'll shower, put on a little makeup, stare at my closet for a moment while looking at my phone to see what the weather forecast will be today, and then choose a casual outfit from my small wardrobe.

    I'm hoping to go to the Botanical Gardens today with her (she's on summer break currently). If not, maybe TJ Maxx or Marshall's to look for summer clothes for the coming 110*F weather later this week!

    I've been reading your blog for many years now and have not been able to find another blog like yours. Yours hits the spot, not too uptight, not too lax. I also appreciate the French lifestyle and aesthetic like you, and also other cultures like the Japanese, English, and Finnish/Scandinavian. I take bits of several cultures (just the good parts!) and incorporate them into my own here in the U.S. I learn a lot, and it's just interesting and fun :)

  24. Margaret, you are a true inspiration :)

    Sarah, you make a fantastic point - both our countries are extremely young compared to Europe and other cultures, where there are sculptures, paintings and buildings that were completed 2,000 years ago. In New Zealand we've barely reached 200 years of inhabitation, plus we all come from other places here, even Maori originally I believe.

    I agree that just because you look elsewhere for inspiration doesn't mean you don't have pride in your nation. Funny about the Miss Universe costumes :)

    Yay, Carla, so glad you're enjoying the series. I know you've been with me for a long time, I often see your name in the comments - thank you! Maybe it's more French style than the French people that attracts me - my sister and I had a French flatmate once and he was quite foul - was quite natural in regards to how he smelt, left food out at room temperature for days on end (a complete lasagne, made with beef mince for about ten days until he'd finished it was one memorable example). He was a nice enough guy, but not someone I'd wish to emulate just because he was French :)

    Anonymous, 'not too uptight, not too lax' - I love that so much! It's definitely me and how I want to be in the world. In my new book I mention that I am not just enthralled with the French, but also appreciate the English, South American, Japanese and other cultures. I think there is something good you could take from most cultures. I love the US culture of being proud of your country and very patriotic, the healthy food LA culture, the theatre and cultural NYC ideal, the elegant and simple style of Maine/East Coast etc, so much. I know I'm generalising but why not choose what inspires me? There's no harm!

    Your day with your daughter sounds delightful :)


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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