Thursday, July 18, 2019

Building a beautiful life with routines


Hello chic friends, do you like the photo of my street?  There are grape vines down the road from us.  It's winter here and they are all pruned back, but just look at those colours; they're glorious, yes?  I lightened up this photo on my phone, but that's all the 'editing' I've done.

This photo encapsulates the feeling I want for my everyday life - a feeling of peace and beauty.  And I have been on a quest to capture that feeling for a long time now.  One thing that always helps me feel good is having the basics taken care of - laundry is up to date, I know what I'm having for dinner, my bed is made, the house is clean and tidy, that sort of thing - daily life.  Having these things sorted means I can feel relaxed and focus on what I need to do that day, as well as dream big for the future.

I've been using Flylady's routines for about three weeks now and they really useful.  I've had her book Sink Reflections for ages, but never read it properly, just flicked through it (I ordered her newest book on Kindle too).  Reading it and actually implementing what she says has been a big help - who would have thought!  And she led me on to Diane in Denmark's Flylady videos on YouTube.  Diane is very motivating to me!  She makes things simple and currently I am enjoying going through her 31 Babysteps video playlist as I put my makeup on in the morning or sip a cup of tea.

I can be easily distracted and the basics get forgotten about which means a stressful scramble when I realise I haven't even thought about dinner or my bed is not made yet I must leave the house within sixty seconds.  I really can't stand to leave a bed messy; I'd rather be late by a few minutes and make the bed before I leave.  But that's just because I started that habit of always making my bed a long time ago.  Of course I'd rather not be late either so that's something else I am working on, and the simple daily routines of Flylady help with that too because I feel ahead of the game instead of behind.

Something cool I did find was the Flylady Premium app for my phone.  It's free and fantastic.  The routines area means I can tick them off on my phone.  I deleted a few and added some of my own to customise the list.

I have even been putting an outfit together for the next day most nights, and it's fun!  This has encouraged me to wear different clothes than normal, and add the finishing touches such as a scarf or necklace too.  Plus, when I hang up an outfit on the hooks in our wardrobe, I can see that something needs me to whizz over it with the lint shaver or a button is loose.  It feels good to play around in my wardrobe rather than zoom in once a day to get quickly dressed.  I appreciate my clothes more and I look after them instead of wanting to go out and buy something new.

Do you have any routines that you know your life would fall apart without?  What are your favourites?

Please share :)

~~Fiona

PS. If you haven't read any of my books yet, why not pop over to Amazon and download samples for free?  You can find them here.

https://amzn.to/32wbUqK

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Ralph Lauren style decor


Hello chic friends!  I am excited to show you our most recent home decor projects, all in my favoured 'Ralph Lauren (on a budget)' style.  You can click on any of the photos to see them bigger :)

This is our entrance way which we recently had wallpapered in charcoal and off-white stripes.  I have always loved the luxe look of wide stripes so we borrowed my interior designer friend Davina's confidence that it would look amazing and went for it!

The coat hooks below are a new addition too.  I love hooks, and especially in an entrance way.  They look good and are so useful.  Above the hooks is my family tartan (I'm a Macdonald).



In the living room below, you can see the stripes through the double doors into the hall.  The denim cushion on our tartan wing chair is new.  I made two of them from denim scraps I have been collecting for years and love how they rough up the look of our decor so it isn't too staid.  And I love denim to death anyway.  Dress in denim, decorate in denim.  You can never have enough in my opinion.


And this is my new cushion arrangement for our sofas, all on a budget - of course!



Cushions from left to right:

Actual real 'Ralph Lauren Home' fabric that my sister found a remnant of inexpensively and thought of me.  I made the piece into two cushion covers (with the backs in a similarly coloured patterned velvet).

Then, gold and black sequined K-Mart $12 beauties (where you can rub the sequins both ways so it can be all black, all gold or any design you care to create in-between).

Then, leopard print cushion covers I made myself.  This was with about $20 of fabric from a crafter's heaven called Spotlight here in New Zealand.  Davina quoted me a price for two 'Pierre Frey - Panthere' cushions... $475, which included my 10% discount on fabric...  OMG, I almost fell over when I saw the quote, so I hotfooted it to Spotlight and made my own.  She saw my budget covers when she last visited and said 'I still want you to get the real ones'.  Hehe, well it will have to wait until we have NO PETS (which will never happen), because Daphne chews the corners of cushions. Of course she does.  And I would cry a lot if she chewed expensive French cushions.

Lastly the denim cushion is one of a pair that I made my dad for his birthday last year and recently brought them back to live with me.  Thought bubble - 'Can you ever have too many denim cushions in a living room?'  (The answer is no, in case you are wondering.)

And the sofa opposite this one has the same arrangement.
Here's Daphne below, photo-bombing the corner with our metal sideboard.  Please note real 'Ralph Lauren Home' leather on the side of the wing chairs :)  I can't remember if I've already told you the story about the leather...  A company here in Napier supplies a certain style/colour of leather to Ralph Lauren in the US and Davina ordered the exact same leather directly from the tanner.  So this, along with the cushion fabric means I do have a few authentic pieces of Ralph in my home!



Do you like my picture wall curving around the gilt mirror?  I have so much confidence in hanging pictures now.  Davina came around one day and showed me how she just starts banging hooks in walls and goes by eye rather than laying out a pattern on the floor.  It's a strategy that has worked well for me so far!




On the other side of this L-shaped room is our dining area, below, and I love it.  I swapped the sitting area and dining area over a few months back and it works so much better.  There is plenty of room to move around even if ten are dining, and the sofas in the window nook make a cozy conversation area.

It was Davina's idea to put  the rug under the table - it defines the dining space nicely in a large room.  It's a $40 rug from the auction that cost $110 to clean!  It was pretty filthy, and now I have a gorgeous rug for.


I hope you enjoyed my latest home decor photos!  I'd love to know what you would term your decor style (like my 'Ralph Lauren on a budget').  Can you put it in one phrase or sentence?  Now there's a challenge for you; the more creative the better!

~Fiona~

PS.  If you are new to my blog, you may not have heard my interview with the gorgeous Shannon Ables from The Simply Luxurious Life.  I had such a great time talking with her; she is a fantastic interviewer.  Shannon is in Bend, Oregon, and I am in New Zealand.  How cool is that?  We had such fun - Shannon is the nicest person ever.


http://www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast117/
We talked a little bit about my book Thirty Chic Days and all sorts of things related to living a simple and beautiful life.   You'll probably already be familiar with Shannon's inspiring blog, and podcast The Simple Sophisticate, but if you're not, you are in for a treat.

You can listen to (or download) the interview here, and it's also available on iTunes and Stitcher.  I'm sure you will enjoy, as I did, Shannon's generosity of spirit and genuine friendliness (I was a little bit nervous before the interview!)

I hope you enjoy listening to Shannon and I chat - I so wish we could have met in person!

~~



 
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