Sunday, October 20, 2019

My favourite easy slimming tip

I have a chapter in my book Thirty Slim Days which shares one of the simplest slimming tips ever.  The concept, and the entire chapter, could be summed up in three words:  Choose size small.

That’s it!

Whenever you have the choice of a size to order, whether it’s a coffee, chocolate bar, menu item, package size or even the size of a piece of fruit – choose the smallest.  What I’ve found is that it’s the first bites (or sips) of something that are the most pleasurable.

When I am seduced by the value notion of ‘it’s only thirty cents more for the bigger size coffee’!  Or the eyes-are-bigger-than-my-belly ‘the small portion I’m serving up looks tiny, I want more!’, invariably the second half I find myself slogging through just to finish it.

In the end it’s not even better value to buy the bigger size because I have spent more money and taken in more calories, and I probably haven’t gained any more enjoyment from the larger size.

My husband Paul often talks about diminishing returns, such as if you go back for seconds.  Seconds are never as good as that first taste, and I find choosing size large is the same. (The photo on this post is the tiny sandwich my brother ordered at the airport when we dropped him off a few days ago.  He, Paul and I all ordered small coffees and we even had a discussion about it.  We agreed that the flavour is better, more concentrated, and after the first few sips you don’t really want a whole large size to finish).

It may not seem like you’re doing anything differently, but you will effortlessly be banking calorie savings every day if you make the decision to choose size small.  One decision once, not decisions every day on which size to buy.

The other cool thing about choosing size small is that over and over you are affirming to yourself ‘choose size small’ and isn’t that a nice thing to embed in your mind?  Choosing the small size navy boat-neck top off the rack because that’s the size you are?  Choosing size small lacy blush pink knickers because even Medium will swim on you?

So it also helps you to think about the size you want to be when you choose that small portion.  You can choose the size you want to be.  Choose size small when you eat or drink = being a size small.  Choose size large = being a size large.  Easy!

I hope you love this tip too.  The fun thing is you can implement it today without any planning, fanfare or deprivation!  Choose size small!

xx Fiona

PS.  You can read a sample of Thirty Slim Days on my Amazon affiliate link here.  It’s full of ideas like this so you can be slimmer without going on an *actual* diet.  Yay!

You can find me here too:

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Show-Home Life: Steps 1 and 2!

Hello chic friends!  I wanted to show you my lovely new headboard, but after arranging all the pillows and cushions nicely someone had a mad minute and did THIS.  You can see Daphne's guilty look (yes, another guilty look) if you zoom in.

This week I still had heaps to do for my dad's estate so I don't get to start my *actual* decluttering and organising which will commence next week, however I have been doing step two in my mind.  But let's rewind just a little bit, I'm getting ahead of myself.  When I get excited about something I start charging ahead and forget that people can't read my mind.

So, the end of year project I have chosen, to completely organise, streamline, declutter and tidy my home I have now christened 'The Show-Home Life'.  I want a show-home life!  Or at the very least a show-home home :)  It would be as if you were staging your home for sale.  Making it look perfect and desirable, not a hot mess.

So that's step one: deciding what your project is.  I know lots of you want to do the same, so please join the Show-Home Life bandwagon, but for others of you maybe your home is already in tip-top shape and you have something different you want to focus on.  In that case I'm afraid you will have to come up with your own project name, but please do share it in the comments.

Step two is working out what is getting in the way between you and your desired vision.  For me, I went through my whole house and made a note of the areas that are really bugging me.  In no particular order they are:

My wardrobe needs sorting with the change of season.  I also want to declutter any frumpiness that has sneaked in and have a closet suitable for a sexy and glamorous lady - obviously that's me in case you didn't realise :)  My ideal closet is the kind in a closet company advertisement where there is six items hanging up and two pairs of shoes.  I'm not going that extreme but there is a lot of room to improve between that image and how it is now.

My sewing room which is a great space off our garage has become the dumping ground for anything that needs a temporary home.  I'm sure you have that room too.  And the ironing board lives there as well, so having this room nice will make ironing more pleasant.  As an example I overbought on feather pillow inners at a half price sale so it's either make covers and use them or move them on.  I don't like to waste money and our sofas could do with more cushions (the casual sofas not the other sofas I showed in my Ralph Lauren home post here) so I will be sewing cushion covers as part of my show-home life project.

Various cupboards in the bathroom, kitchen etc that I haven't sorted for a while.  Take everything out, streamline, put the winners back.  Donate the rest.

My office!  Oh my goodness, my office is almost a whole project on its own, because it contains files (both paper and computer).  You can pack a lot of stuff in a small space when it comes to pieces of paper and Word/Excel documents and photos.  Plus getting my financial filing and reconciliations up to date.  At the moment I'm skimming the surface but I always feel immeasurably better and like I have a handle on my life when things are filed and up-to-date.  And Brian Tracy, mega-guru of my success dreams says that you feel good about yourself and happy with life in general to the extent that you feel in control of your surroundings.  Or something like that.  Basically being neat and tidy and organised helps you feel good, and I am all for feeling good.

So, let's kick off the weekend with our Show-Home Life, steps one and two.  Are you in?  Tell me your project name if you don't desire a show-home life, and if you do, what areas are really nibbling at your heels at the moment?  Please tell me a really big horror story :)  Mine is that I can't stop buying perfume and scented body lotions and I'm going to have to build an extension onto the bathroom to house them all BUT not when I have a show-home life.  No, when I have a show-home life I have a beautifully curated selection of current favourites which I love.  I'm not going to declutter my body products and fragrances, but I am going to not buy any more until they are used.  I really do love pretty smells you know but my input and output just got a little bit out of balance...

Have a wonderful weekend and please spill all in the comments!  See you next week!

xx Fiona

PS.  Have you played any Christmas music yet?  I have :)  I watched a Rod Stewart concert in a castle in Scotland a few weeks ago (here).  It was wonderful!  Christmas music just makes me feel so happy.  Find out you can make your Christmas more chic and simple with my book.  I promise you will get new ideas on how to enjoy your holiday season more.  You can read it on Kindle or in paperback, on Amazon here.

You can find me here too:

Friday, October 4, 2019

The End of Year Project

Over the past couple of months my family and I have made what feels like a super human effort to tidy up my dad’s property for sale.  He was an engineer who hand-crafted his own motorcycles to race (right down to the engine), built two beautiful cottages on his land and therefore had a large shed(s) full of… a lot of useful stuff if you do those kinds of things.

It’s been a process of finding the people who want the types of machines my dad had, and just working out where stuff needs to go in general.  None of us can abide waste and we wanted to see that items would be used for their purpose rather than just binned.  It all took massive amounts of time and a lot of physical labour.  And then there is the mental toll sometimes when you remember why you’re doing all this.  Someone is not there anymore.

However… next Friday the new owners take over and we are 99% complete in our clear-out.  Yesterday and the day before involved one of the last tasks on our list: getting the scrap metal guy to come around.  My dad had almost 8 tonnes of steel on his property.  Yes!  FYI, you don’t get much for scrap metal but at least it’s gone from the paddock and will no doubt live another life being useful to someone else.

After next Friday I will get my life back and *only* have paperwork, banking and tax things (thankfully with the help of dad’s accountant) to take care of, and that should be wrapped up within the next six months too.

I am so grateful to my dad for being the amazing guy he was, and I am excited to be moving on to the next non-executor stage of my life.  I have big plans!  At any time I am a huge fan of tidying, organizing and decluttering, but especially so now.  Part of it is the momentum I got from helping sort dad’s stuff, but another huge part is that my own place feels messy now.  Not messy-messy, but there are lots of things that got put aside so I could focus on my estate executor task.

My exciting plan is to dive in and have a fun three month project where I tidy, sort, organize, get up-to-date with, streamline, simplify, declutter, refine, curate and get my home, office, wardrobe, financial paperwork and my head in tip-top shape.  Everything.  It’s always been my dream to live a show-home life – one where anyone could open any cupboard at any time and it look beautiful inside.  One where my receipts are reconciled and filed. (I used to do that near-daily but it’s one of the things I stopped doing and now I have a basket full of receipts…)

My mum has a neighbour who is one of my organizing chic mentors.  Just being in her home makes you feel good because it’s stylish and welcoming at the same time as being so organized and decluttered.  She told me last week that she even has a completely empty wardrobe because she finds things she wants to declutter all the time.  An empty wardrobe!  How awesome would that feel?

So, I hope you’ll join me for The End of Year Project.  Will you do the same?  Or perhaps focus on one aspect only?  Please share and we can do great things together.  See you soon :)

xx Fiona


PS. We are in the spring season here in New Zealand (isn't my dad's place gorgeous in the image at the top of this post?), but you lucky people in the northern hemisphere are experiencing autumn.  Yes, I love spring and the warmer summer months, but autumn will always be my first true love.

If you haven’t read How to be Chic in the Winter yet, why not check out a sample from Amazon?  In this book I share all my ideas on how to enjoy the winter season instead of just enduring it – even if you are a summer person!

I wrote this book for myself initially, because I found I kept doing the same unhelpful things over and over each year to cope with months of the cold weather - eating sweet and stodgy fattening foods, feeling lazy and unmotivated, being grumpy and a generally unfun person.  I started gathering all my thoughts on living an ideal chic winter and this book is a result of that.

Included are my favourite winter recipes because that was my biggest hurdle - coming up with meals that felt comforting and hearty, but which were also healthy.  They are all very simple to make, but also very importantly they don't take too long to put together.  I like to keep prep time to a minimum because I would rather go for a walk or read a book than spend too long fussing around in the kitchen.

I’m sure you will find ideas to transform the way you think about winter, and it all came from my own desire to ‘live slim, happy and stylish during the cold season.’  You can find it on Amazon Kindle here and in paperback too.


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