Friday, December 29, 2017

Inspiration to create an everyday festive feeling

In my book A Chic and Simple Christmas, there is a chapter about looking forward to the new year.  I was thinking about one section of this chapter today, and it is about continuing on the good feeling of Christmas (perhaps the lead-up, not the aftermath when you are totally over everything) throughout the year.

My specific thoughts were on how I could make it feel like it was Christmas every day.  I’m not planning on leaving my tree up or playing carols or anything like that, but just how could the magical feeling of Christmas be recreated every day of the year?

There must be similar things that we do at Christmas that can give us a glittery, happy feeling inside on a daily basis.

Here are my five top tips to create a festive feeling no matter the time of year.

Feel kind towards others.  This Christmas I kept away from the shops as much as possible, but when I did go, people were in a good mood.  Even those who were working looked quite happy and were cheery, even if they were tired and looking forward to the end-of-year break.  I was also in a good mood most of the time, and it seems nutty that just because the festive season is here we can feel so much happier than at other times of the year.  Why not make your whole year feel festive?

Play feel-good music.  I played more music in December than in other months.  I switched on my favourite Christmas tunes as a matter of course each day.  To continue this on I am going to click my iPod into action every day, and have fun creating new playlists to enjoy.  I have quite a few playlists already, but I think it’s about time for some new ones to join ‘Billy Joel’, ‘Hotel Lobby Piano’, ‘Motown’, ‘Buddha-Bar’ and ‘Fiona’s Favourites’.  I will create day-long playlists so I can have lots of new ones to look forward to. 

Add décor touches to your home that make you feel happy.  My beautiful new-this-year 7ft tree in red, gold and small touches of silver with tartan ribbon furled around makes me happy every time I see it.  I even have the white lights switched on during the day (don’t worry, I switch them off when I go out).  What décor touches can I make sure to keep up in my home that bring about that lovely feeling?  Rotate my pretty candle holders on the coffee table, and research stylish table-scapes that I can make with books and items I already own on Pinterest.  I adore beautiful fragrances, as you can see from the image, and these always help me feel happier.  An Ecoya candle in Coral & Narcissus (which smells a lot like Issey Miyake’s perfume), and Surmanti’s Christmas Lily candle and Peonies Peppers & Tuberose reeds.  I got very lucky in the Christmas gift department this year.

Entertain – invite people around.  We entertained more in December than at other times, and it was nice.  We had dinners, plus I entertained family and lady-friends in the afternoon, for tea.  I will be more intentional about keeping this up, because it’s something lovely, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of effort.  It feels festive and welcoming to have someone around to your home.

Have good things to look forward to.  We look forward to Christmas day.  We look forward to visitors, outings, gifts, meals and drinks.  Why not create things to look forward to every week?  Coffee out, reading a new book (‘new’ new or from the library or op shop), having someone over, planning a holiday, starting a craft project, a browsing shopping trip to plan your new season wardrobe, upgrading something in your home and researching that; these are some of my thoughts and I’m sure you will have plenty of your own that may be more suited to your taste.

What it comes down to is appreciating your everyday luxuries, creating more reasons for yourself to feel good, and taking your fun where you can get it.  Some months can feel drab, so why not say to yourself ‘How can I make March feel as magical as Christmas?’ for example, and brainstorm all the kinds of things you’d love to experience.

What comes to mind when you think of creating an everyday festive feeling?  I’d love you to share your favourite tip.

Happy new year everyone, I hope you have a blast.  I’m planning on having a blast at home with the cats and my darling, and if I’m lucky I’ll be well asleep before midnight :)


My first (and still most popular) book 'Thirty Chic Days: Practical' inspiration for a beautiful life' is available as an audiobook.

I narrate the audio version of Thirty Chic Days myself, and each of the days/chapters are a separate MP3 track for easy bookmarking and so you can play them on random/shuffle too.  I love doing this when I am listening to an audiobook that doesn't require you to go through the chapters in a linear fashion.  It feels like whatever chapter comes next is the one I need to hear right now.

The audiobook is 6 hours and 45 minutes long in total, and comes wrapped in a zip file for easy downloading (it could still take a little bit to download though because it's a large file, so please be patient).

Download the 'Thirty Chic Days' audiobook here.


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  1. Lovely candles, Fiona!

    Upon reflection, one of the best feelings I've had this Christmas season was arriving home after a dinner out and seeing our tree in the front window: it looked so elegant (we also have a big wreath with white lights on our front door) - I'd like to continue to make the house look elegant from the outside in other seasons as well...seasonal flowers in pots, etc.

    By the way, Fiona - I'm rereading your "How to Be Slim and Healthy" book and the "Jo Dinner" made me giggle but also wonder - how does she prepare her salmon? I'm always at a loss for simple preparation of salmon - mine always ends up dry.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Amy, forgive me for my tardy reply! I don't know how my mum cooks her salmon, but I have a few ways I cook mine that keeps the moisture in.

      1. I pan fry it with the skin on, in some butter or olive oil. I put the lid on the pan and let the underside brown. Then, when it looks almost ready - basically as soon as you can peel the skin off with a pair of tongs, put it on a plate, browned side up (and skin discarded). Dress with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Yum!

      2. In a glass lidded bowl in the microwave with lemon juice for a few minutes. Remove the skin before serving. So easy!

      3. Wrap in a baking paper parcel and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes. Add a squirt of lemon juice and any other seasonings before you put it in. Fresh herbs are nice in the parcel too.

      With any salmon method, I make sure not to cook too long, and keep it covered too, whether it's a lid or wrapping. This seals in the moisture. Bon appetit!

  2. I think I capture a "festive" mood for everyday by setting the table nicely, with cloth napkins and good china and silver (Which is all we have. I don't have a "nice" set and an "everyday" set. I have one set that is vintage and I love it.) Also, even if I am just sitting around in the evening by myself, I try to look presentable, with clean hair, a bit of makeup, and nice loungewear. Again, I have no other choice in clothing, because I got rid of anything ratty looking. If you have no other choice, you will use your best instead of keeping it locked away for company. Why shouldn't you and your family be at least as important as company?

  3. These are great ideas! I think entertaining more and making everyday meals more special by setting a beautiful table, having a centerpiece, and using candles are all really festive and can be done any time of the year.

  4. Lovely ideas!
    As we are in the middle of winter here in the northern hemisphere, I've just pulled your 'How to be Chic in the Winter' book from my bookshelf to re-read for lots of nuggets of advice on how to make the most out of the season I tend to struggle with.

    Enjoy your relaxed New Year's Eve at home- my own plans look remarkably similar!


  5. These are lovely ideas Fiona. I like the idea of carrying the holiday spirit through the year, especially during that dreaded month of March! (gray and cloudy and still winter!) You're right about the music. Why don't I listen to happy music the rest of the year? Planning something festive with friends is always something to look forward to, too.
    How about sending an occasional surprise gift to a friend, just because?
    Happy New Year Fiona. xo Deborah

  6. The first Christmas in my new home on my new farm is lovely! When I need a mood lifter I take a walk around the farm with dogs, cats and horses following. When I drive, I listen to David Suchet read " Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing". Please have a happy and safe New Year to you and yours.

  7. We must definitely add more music! I love candles too, and they make any gray afternoon or long dark winter night festive, but they don't do much for me in the summer. I live in an area of California where we get hot (90 F and above) weather from May to early October, and that's what I struggle with. I find that looking forward to trips to the coast (esp. redwood forests on the Northern CA coast), drinking lots of iced tea or fruit waters from pretty glasses, eating lots of salads and beautiful seasonal fruits, and really paring down decor for an open and fresh look helps make long hot summers more livable. Now if I can just figure out a way to get that energized, cheerful feeling that always comes to me in the autumn!!

  8. I loved this post. Great ideas! I like to plan an occasional special dinner, even if it's just for one or two people. A salad or soup course, a main dish, a dessert. My husband has a strict diet so everything can be healthy. It's just making a point to do it, like during the holidays. I agree with the idea of setting a pretty table. It lifts my spirits to see everything laid out with a centerpiece of flowers or a candle. If it's just me, I might cheat and watch a favorite movie (like the holidays) on the sofa but I always enjoy a delicious dinner!

  9. Happy 2018 Fiona! Thank you for all your wonderful posts this year. It's been a bang-up one ;-D


  10. Love the idea of this, but with differing work schedules we don't entertain often outside the holidays and my husband refuses to come to the table to eat (I've given up after 17 years!) so for me it's more about making the house feel cozy (or airy in the summer) and planning something to look forward to. I've been letting my fitness go a bit this past year and found myself huffing and puffing, so I've made a plan to finish a 6 week fitness plan and then book a day of indoor rock climbing for the end of it. I'm hoping my daughter will go with me so it'll be a fun thing for the two of us to do. The rock climbing will be challenging but it's something fun to look forward to and motivating me to keep working toward getting stronger.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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