Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A year of exciting possibilities

Happy new year, chic friends!

I'm so happy to be back, and ready to dive into an exciting 2018 with lots of writing, new books and another round of my writing course too.

Looking back over 2017, it really was such a transition year for me, as it was for many of you too, I know.  We sold our business and city home, moved to the country and found our ideal home on four acres.  My husband started a new job which he loves, and I now write from home full-time, which truly is my dream-come-true.

I am currently working on my next book, 'Thirty More Chic Days', a sequel to my first and most popular book to date 'Thirty Chic Days'.  I say 'first book', but actually I published my 'best of blog' book and 'A Chic and Simple Christmas' before Thirty Chic Days came out.  Here's why I say it's my first book - because I have been writing it for years - many, many years!

So that's why it feels like my first book.  But I put it away and didn't think it was good enough, and from leading the first round of my 'Create your dream life as a successful author' online training course in October/November last year, it's a very common block that holds women back from achieving their big goal of writing and publishing a book.

I am here to encourage you that if you have this desire inside you, it's there for a reason; you are good enough, and there will be readers excited to read your work.  The only things that matters is if you love your book; if you have a passion for your topic.  Please let 2018 be your year to write a book, or, perhaps there is something else that excites and scares you in equal measures; why not do that this year?

For me, I've set a goal to write three books in 2018.  There's no magical reason why I chose three, it just seemed a good number :)  I'm onto number one, and who knows what the other two will be about - what would you choose if you could nominate a topic for me to write on?  I'd love to do a 'happy relationship'-type book, maybe a more in-depth money book, and I'm always drawn to topics such as femininity/being a queen/elegance/serenity etc.  Also, I could talk about success habits all day - I love this topic so much!

As far as home goals go, I will continue to decorate our home on a budget, declutter and simplify my belongings, create beautiful and creative areas to inspire and relax in, and find simple and nutritious ways to feed my husband and I (two recent additions - a barbeque that my husband bought himself for Christmas, and a Nutribullet from my mum for Christmas; these both fit the criteria of easy/simple and nutritious).

I have also been sexy-ing up my wardrobe.  No frump allowed!  Frumpy sneaks in when you're 47, you know.  Now, I'm not going sexy as in full-out sexy, but even a dash, if only in my own mind seems to elevate my frequency and it feels much better.  Like I'm lighter of spirit.  Frumpy, old, slightly worn-out items; whether it's clothes, loungewear or underwear, feels heavy and deadening.

It's hard to give a concrete answer as to what would pass the test, but I think the feeling something gives you when you look at it or put it on should help.  If you are uninspired and demotivated, donate or ditch it.  I want my wardrobe to uplift me, and it does now.

It's summer here in New Zealand, and I am enjoying wearing soft light-weight denim dresses; some I bought last year from Esprit, and a few new ones this year from Kmart.  Yay for dresses, they are easy to put on - one piece! - and cool to wear when the temperature is H-O-T.

Tell me about your new year:  what's your number one goal, or top few if you have more than one?

What about your wardrobe, does it excite you, or are you in the doldrums at the moment?

Why not take a look at your current season clothes by getting them all out and having a play around with them on your bed.  See what looks shabby and get rid of those things.  See what thrills you and makes you feel like the best version of yourself - wear those pieces, even if they're 'too good' for everyday wear.  If you have items that excite you but they aren't quite big enough, put them away with love, and look forward to next year when you will look like a knock-out in them.  Let that promise inspire you to go for that walk, choose a brightly coloured healthy lunch, and prep good nutritious food ahead of time.

For now, love yourself at the size and shape you are.  Appreciate the fact that you're alive.  Hating your body will only make you unhappier and bigger, because you'll soothe yourself with feel-good foods such as chocolate and sweet things.  Prioritise your health and make check-up appointments you've been putting off.  Get a hair trim (and colour if you want).  I am thinking of going for a lob just for a change.

Say 'I love you' to yourself in the mirror every time you see yourself.  It won't feel silly forever, and it's a far nicer thing to do than catalogue everything you don't like about yourself.  When you say 'I love you X' (with your name in place of X), imagine you're saying it to a younger you, that small child who tags along everywhere you go.  Lavish her with affection, and adore her unconditionally.  All she wants - all she ever wanted - is your love and acceptance.

And before I go, what would you love me to blog about this year?  If you have any topic requests, please let me know.  I am always open to suggestions, and sometimes a request might spark off something new and fun; yay for new and fun :)

Happy days to you, my dear chic friend.


If you already feel like you know what you 'should' eat, but find that you can't seem to get on board with that, you will know how strong your mindset is when it's working against you.  In my most recently book 'Thirty Slim Days', I share all the tips and tricks that help me choose the healthy option, without feeling deprived.

This is not a diet book, and there are no menu plans or calorie lists.  Download the sample from Amazon here to see if 'Thirty Slim Days' clicks with you, or join my mailing list to receive free excerpts from all my books, as well as other chic goodies :)  You can get those freebies here.


  1. Fiona, you are like taking a vitamin. Every time I read a post (or book) by you, I feel energized.
    My goal is to spend more time on what's important by spending less time on what isn't worth it. Not as easy as it sounds.
    I'll be looking to you for inspiration.

  2. An inspiring read, as always. I would love more on success habits. I, too, am obsessed with them!

  3. When I started getting... more mature... I started putting more feminine touches in my wardrobe -- which has worked well for me. We've all seen those older women who look indistinguishable from men, I'm sure: short grey hair, slacks and a sweatshirt, sneakers, no makeup. Yeeks! So I've gone the other way: fitted clothing, more skirts, ruffles at the hem, v-neck sweaters, soft fabrics. Nothing girly -- just feminine. Plus I still dye my hair, and am growing it a bit longer (shorter hair ultimately didn't work for me.) At least a bit of makeup every day. Yes, even when I'm home alone. Because you never know. I know from my younger days that the one time I decide to be a frump because I'll be alone is the time someone drops by, or I need to run out on some emergency errand. In fact, that scenario played out so much that I became superstitious about frumpage.

    1. I apologize in advance if this sounds testy, but I do wish we could stop judging other people (especially women) by their choice of clothing, hair style & make-up. I suspect these women who are "indistinguishable from men" are simply choosing comfort over presentation, if they think about it at all. And why should that be our concern? I'd like to think that one aspect of living "the chic life" is honoring our own individual choice to avoid "frumpage" & go with a bit of feminine glam without criticizing other women for their lifestyle choices. I can wear bright lipstick for its own sake, in other words, without suggesting women who don't are unfeminine or frumpy. Fiona never does; I'd like to think we readers could do the same.

    2. Thanks Mimimanderly and Fionn for your thoughtful remarks.

  4. I own all of your books and I LOVE them! I reread them when I need motivation and inspiration during the times that I find myself feeling flat and questioning where and what I need to do to perk myself up. Like you, I truly enjoy my home and creating all sorts of cozy habits. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I no longer go to our local shopping malls and indulge in "retail therapy". Your books have opened up my eyes to the various ways of being grateful for what I already own instead of scrambling to find the next "good deal". I would like to hear more about how to cultivate more ease and serenity and elegance in everyday life and how to keep from being flustered when life does not go exactly as planned. I am looking forward to hearing more from you both in your blog and new books! Veronica

  5. I’m excited about your next book - I love your writing, Fiona. I’m sort of recreating myself this year - recently retired - and I just decided to re-read all of your books. I find them so inspiring and I know they’ll help on my journey.

  6. I'm really looking forward to your new book! You really inspired me in 2017. I would love to hear more about your decorating and finance tips!

  7. I look forward to your blog posts and books in 2018! My resolution is to have a year of no shopping, at least where clothes, shoes, and non-necessary cosmetics are concerned. I have a HUGE wardrobe and I love to shop, so my goal is to save more money and really focus on enjoying all the things I already have. Not to mention finding other, more inspiring ways to spend the time I'd otherwise be shopping. I would love to be a personal shopper though, because I enjoy finding great things for other people as much as for myself! Anyway, I also like your no-frump attitude. For me, as I get older (I"m also 47), sexy is about a feeling, being comfortable in my own skin and dressing in a way that reflects that and tells the world that I love myself just as I am. Sometimes that's going a little edgy - like today with leather leggings and boots - other times it's more feminine, sometimes it's a no makeup really natural look. I think confidence is the sexiest quality of all! Thanks so much for all that you share and inspire!

  8. Hi Fiona. I live in Vancouver and am deep into your "How to be Chic in the Winter". You so hit on the truth in this book, the first one of yours I've bought. We plow into winter thinking we can live happy by momentum alone and then get stuck in a snowdrift (here a deep puddle) by mid January and then just suffer it out, feeling out of sorts and grumpy. I love your tools for feeling chic in winter. Now that Christmas is over I will be cooking healthy happy meals and wearing soft and cozy clothing, lighting candles and going to bed early and feeling happy at work. I've already started. Thank you for the mindset change I have already achieved. I look forward to more to come. Enjoy your summer and your "easy peasy, lemon breezy" dresses and summer ways. Love and hugs to you. xo

  9. Fiona,
    I love all of your books, and would definitely like to see one on success habits. I can start strong on something, but lose the motivation when the going gets hard, or stagnant, or boring. I need to do better about focusing and staying on course. Glad you are enjoying your summer. We are in the negative degree territory here (North America mid-west), with an impending winter storm.

  10. Fiona...what a fabulous post ! Such inspiration ! Big year of change here, too. Both my wonderful husband and I retired, celebrated 40 years of marriage ( just celebrated #41), traveled, then sold our home and moved to an apartment in an active retirement community. Big change, new friends, much more social and active lifestyle. We love it and are learning how to do what we want and not say YES to every activity or invitation. Love your goal of loving yourself and being attractive and wearing your best. This is big for me...I had "school clothes" and "dress clothes" and then grubby "I am just hanging out at home clothes". That has to change...and while I would like my body to slim down I need to enjoy how I am now and dress my bet each day. And...would love to write a book about my family in SO many ways your post came at the perfect time. Thank you...looking forward to a fabulous 2018 and all the ideas you share !

  11. There are so many fabulous things you could write about!

    How about "Chic and Healthy: Fabulous ways to incorporate delicious and healthy foods, a variety of strengthening and slimming exercises, and healthy skin care into your everyday life."

    Then there's: "Chic and Healthy Home: Design a cozy and comfortable home that suits your life, your style and your wallet."

    How about: "The Chic and Healthy Four Seasons Cookbook: Cook seasonally with local foods that are delicious and maximize nutrition."

    Then there is: "How to Design a Chic Wardrobe: Create a wardrobe of clothes to suit your lifestyle, your wallet, and your esthetic that will fit easily into your closet and allow you to attend to all of your activities in style."

    Oh, and don't forget: "The Chic Life: How to figure out what you want in life and how to go about getting it, in style."

    Best wishes!

    Garden Goddess

  12. I loved this post, very inspiring. I love all of the above ideas, both from you and other readers. I would love to hear more about finance. I am impressed with all you have achieved. How you keep track of expenses, any app, software you used, separate accounts, etc. Thank you. Happy 2018 to you and your loved ones!

  13. What a wonderful post for a new year. I have been thinking of my wardrobe quite a bit lately. We've just moved, and I find myself with cartons of clothes that either don't fit me now, aren't appropriate for this climate or don't speak directly to my style. My issue, however, is that it seems wasteful to discard perfectly 'good' and quality clothing. There is always a rub, I suppose. I'm considering a minimalist wardrobe, which would take a while to curate. But I suppose all good things take time. I do have a question for you: as you write and work at home, do you feel compelled to dress well each day? I am also a writer, and I work from home. As we've recently moved to a new area, I don't have a ton of social engagements. I could (and do) live in yoga pants quite often. Do you 'dress' each day? I'm off. Happy Tuesday. Amy

  14. Hi, Fiona,

    Another inspirational post! I've not left one of my (long!) comments for a while, but I still always read your posts and I'm delighted things are working out for you since your move to the country.
    I agree with Minimanderly that we have to keep a watch on not becoming masculine-ized (my own word, ha ha!) as we age. As we lose female hormones in the ageing process - unless we're on HRT - (and I'm in my 70s so I know about these things!) we grow hair where we didn't have it before, our faces sag (and other body parts!) southwards (gravity taking its toll!) and we tend to go for the easy option in clothes. Also, grey short hair can look very masculine (I know as I have grey short hair!) so my advice here is to seek out a really good hairdresser. There are good cuts and bad cuts for short hair. There's what I call the Bingo-lady cut, very masculine, very like a man's cut, and there's a cut which is gamin, feathery (like Dame Judi Dench) which is very feminine. I also have my dust-bin grey hair highlighted with silver, and that looks far more feminine, too.
    Some trousers are very masculine, and yet wide palazzo pants with a silky shirt or Breton top (think Diane Keaton style) can look feminine. Pearls (real or faux), chunky ones especially, look good at the neck of most things, too, and are very feminine.
    I also think it pays to up the makeup a bit, too, but not having it shouting for attention. If blue eye shadow is the fashion of the moment don't adopt this unless it suits you. You can end up looking like a clown or, as blue eye shadow was popular in the 1950s, as if you've not moved on in the last 60 years while it's OK for young people as they've not used it before. As with Amy, husband and I don't have tons of social engagements but each day I make an effort to look smart even if I'm to be at home. I just feel better for it, and feeling better is good for our health.
    Margaret P


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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