Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How not to shop

A reader wrote to me:

‘I think one of the keys to French chic is "fewer, better quality things."  As a result, I've been trying to buy less, but better.  It seems this approach requires actually spending more time shopping with fewer purchases.  Is there a way to execute this without having to spend hours and hours at the mall?  I hate shopping, and don't think spending every weekend shopping matches with my definition of the chic life I'm looking for.’

What a great topic!  I too am not a fan of tromping around shops if I don’t need anything either.  I don’t exactly know when it happened, but these days I’d rather be creating something at home (writing, pottering, cooking, sewing, gardening) or seeing friends.

But you if you have to buy clothes you need to visit shops (unless you are an online clothes shopper, which I’m not.”  Instead of spending hours and hours at the mall, I prefer to take the opposite approach.  The ‘sinking lid’ policy of wardrobe management is my preferred method.

Basically I don’t go shopping until I have literally run out of something.  It’s an easy thing for me to do now, because as I mentioned above, I can’t really be bothered going around the shops.

When I do find myself in dire need of something, whether it’s jeans, a bra or a new pair of summer sandals I go out with that one item in mind.  Maybe I’ve done a bit of online research beforehand or maybe I go out cold with a few stores in mind.  I then purchase my choice and forget about shopping until I next am desperate.

It may sound joyless to those who love to browse for fun, but I get my fun in other ways.  Being a homebody saves you lots of money I think.  And I don’t necessarily only go for high-priced, best-quality items either.  ‘Less but better’ to me means less items but better quality or suitability.  Better suited to my style.

I shop at low and medium price points in clothing mostly, but also view my purchases through a critical eye.  An item might be inexpensive, but it also must be the right colour, cut etc.  I no longer buy ‘just okay’ because it’s cheap.  That’s how I ended up with an uninspiring wardrobe.

The sinking lid policy helps me enjoy past purchases that I otherwise might deem ‘too good’ for normal wear.  If I have had to declutter a few tee-shirts to the rag bin then I’ll use my better tee-shirts.  If I constantly find myself passing up items I’ll evaluate why and then donate them.

This also helps refine your style.  By stopping shopping and wearing or donating your wardrobe to prune it down, you can then fill in with pieces that help build the style you like.

When I shopped more, there was sometimes a disconnect between the dream vision of me in the style file pictures I collected, and my real-life wardrobe.  This was because I was bombarded by many different exciting clothing genres, not all of them me.  Does that make sense?

Browsing and updating my style files on a regular basis helped too.  Doing this kept me focused on the looks I loved and also excited about creating those looks for myself.  Keeping my style icons in mind did the same thing.

I love the way Lily Vander Woodsen (played by Kelly Rutherford) dressed in Gossip Girl, both her rich look Upper East Side look and her Brooklyn look.  I love the way her rich look often incorporated tones of camel and this is something I want to bring into my own wardrobe but never do (because I forget about it until I think of her!)

How would you define less but better?  Do you dislike shopping or could happily browse all day long?  We’re all different, there is no wrong answer!  One time I do like to browse is when I’m on holiday.  There’s something about the relaxed feeling that invites strolling and browsing, not all of the time, just sometimes.


PS.  If you have ever thought you’d love to write a book, check out my new program starting next week.  There are already ladies from the US and UK ready to start writing their book.  Could this be you too?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

eCourse: Create your dream life as a successful author

Some of you may already be on my new email list on how to create your dream life as a successful author (you can join that here if it sounds like you!) It's all about how I have created my own income working at home writing my books.  For the first eighteen months I was doing this while in a full-time job.

If you have always wanted to write a book but thought:

I don't have enough time
I don't know how to do it
It sounds expensive to do
No-one will think my writing is any good
My writing is not perfect enough to publish

Then you may be interested in my new online training programme on how to write and self-publish.  Topics covered are the how-to as well as cultivating a successful mindset that cheers you on instead of holding you back.

You can find out more here.  Class starts in the second week of October and it's going to be so much fun.  As with everything I do, I like to make what needs to be done into something that is exciting and enjoyable.  There is no room in my life for shoulds, must-dos and boring stuff, and this e-Course is no exception!

Come on over and see what's involved :)

Click here to browse the new e-Course 'Create your dream life as a successful author.'

Join the mailing list here


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Interior décor on a budget

Our home decor mood-board
Ever since we made a decision to pay off our mortgage off quicker than normal, we have had a moratorium on buying anything for our home.  The only thing we purchased was a pair of sofas about six years ago because our elderly lounge suite was literally falling apart.  We saved and bought the best we could afford, and they still look as good today, despite being used every day by the four of us (two people and two cats).

Then, when we decided to move from the city to the provincial area where I grew up, some five or six hours drive away, we again decided to buy nothing for the house until after we moved.  That was an easy decision, because it’s silly to buy furniture when you don’t know what your new house will be like.

Now that we are here in our forever home it is exciting to start putting together a plan of what we want and how we are going to decorate.  We are very lucky in that our new house has been immaculately maintained and is painted beautifully in simple creamy-white shade throughout so it’s a great blank canvas.

Because our new home has two living areas – one main living/dining room and a smaller sitting room off the kitchen, we didn’t have enough furniture to fill both rooms.  Our current sofas look fantastic in the large living room, but we need sofas for the sitting room too.

We've had a good look at most of the furniture stores in the area where we now live, plus we checked out our Auckland options when we were back in the city earlier this month.  We got an idea of what constitutes a reasonable price these days and also looked at what style and fabric we wanted.

We want to buy quality, but not pay through the nose.  We definitely do not want ‘cheap’.  One sofa I sat on that looked very nice (but had a suspiciously low price) felt so lightweight and junky.

My husband and I were doing some errands in Napier on Thursday and wandered into an interior design showroom.  Sometimes these are scary places to be (designery people can be quite intimidating!) but the owner and her son we spoke to couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful.  They had exquisite taste too.

After a very informative chat, the son said he was going to be visiting a home in our street the next day and he could pop around and take a look at our room.  When he arrived we showed him our inspiration photos and he started talking us through a vision for our home.  After he left I realised the main component of the changes he proposed was paint.  No grand schemes that were going to bankrupt us, just paint.

He talked about layering in changes over time, starting with the big things as we are doing, such as sofas.  Our carpet is fine and the curtains will have to last for a few more years, but in the meantime with our new sofas and a new colour scheme for our two living areas our designer decor will start to take shape!

I’ve never used an interior decorator before but now I think I am a convert.  I have always enjoyed home style and reading interior décor magazines, but there is nothing like getting caught up in the enthusiasm of people who do it for a living, who live and breathe and love it.

So exciting!  I always assumed you had to be a jazillionaire to have an interior designer but happily that is not the case.

Have you used an interior designer before?  Good/bad experience?  What about your home style; what would you say it is?  I had a think about it, and my dream home style is ‘Hotel Sexy Rustic Elegance’.  Tell me yours in 3-5 words!

See you next week :)


You can find me here too:


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How to achieve anything you want

Flying home from our weekend mini-break to Auckland for my father-in-law's 82nd birthday

Some weeks I love to write about pretty things such as wardrobe planning or ‘how to be chic’ and others I just can’t tease anything out.  What I really love is the deeper stuff, finding out motivation and how we can become more successful by the way we think, and that really is what consumes most of my time.  Just how is it that some of us find it easy to do the right thing, and some find it a real struggle?

I feel fortunate that I am right in the middle.  I’m not completely bogged down and my own worst enemy, but neither am I the type that everything comes easily to.  Even though that would be great, wouldn’t it??, but would you really appreciate things you’d achieved if you didn’t have to earn them?

The things I am most proud of in my life have always involved effort, both in mindset and action.

Having achieved changing our lifestyle by moving from the city to the country and being debt-free for the most part, and before that even, meeting my wonderful husband after divorcing from my first marriage and wondering what was wrong with me.  Writing my books too have taken a lot of mental fortitude and changing my way of thinking to know that it is okay and permitted to write a book; plus the action of writing tens of thousands of words and working out where to put everything.

I truly do think we create our own luck, yes, some of us have better starts than others, and I am grateful that I was born in a country that has given me many benefits.  There isn’t a country other than New Zealand that I would rather have grown up in.  I asked my husband that once too; I said if he could have been born anywhere, where would he choose, and he said New Zealand.  That’s pretty cool to want what you have.

Sometimes when I forget to be grateful and the day seems anything but exciting, I remember all the good things I have created in the past and it inspires me to create more in the future and indeed on this day.

We forget that we are limitless, I certainly do from time to time, and we think that we are stuck where we are.  But it’s not true!  Everything we can see around us has been created from our own mind.  Sometimes literally in the case of something we have written or made like a handcraft – or a child!  And sometimes we have created it indirectly, by purchasing something with money we have earned.

In the beginning though, it all starts as a thought in our mind.  Even something as intangible as our lifestyle change.  One day we started dreaming about what it would be like to have a different life.  One where it was easier, warmer, more fun and more abundant.  We shaped it and now it is shaping us.

All those ‘Dream it, do it’ cliched motivational posters are actually telling the truth!  Dream it then do it, what a way to live.  Look around at your environment and see how you have created it.  I hope it makes you smile with happiness :)

Wishing you a wonderful week full of possibility; what do you choose to create?  And if you are in the south-east of the US, please keep safe.



Join my mailing list to receive free excerpts of all my books (including my newest, Thirty Slim Days: Create your slender and healthy life in a fun and enjoyable way, as freebies when you join my email list.  In addition, you will receive my exclusive mp3 recording and pdf written version of 21 ways to be chic.

I send out my blog posts by email each week. If you would like these freebies, you can join up here.

You can find me here too:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...