Wednesday, September 16, 2020

An extended break


Hello chic friends!

I am just popping in to let you know that I will be taking an extended break from posting.  There is nothing wrong, and my life is great, it’s just something I have been thinking of doing for a while.

I am still around and writing my books – the next one will be out soon!  I have been tucked away working on it :)

As you might already know, it is called ‘The Chic Closet: Inspired ideas to develop your personal style, fall in love with your wardrobe, and bring back the joy of dressing yourself’.  The book is written, and I am doing the final edits and read-throughs now.  I am hoping to have it available in the next few days.

I still plan to write and release new titles regularly – hopefully more often than I have been, and my writer’s course will continue to be available as a home study program (you can read about it here).

When I release a book I will definitely let you know so please stick around.  You can also follow me on Amazon by clicking the yellow ‘Follow’ button underneath my profile picture here.

You can also email me (fiona @ howtobechic . com) if you have any questions, or just want to say hi!

All the best to you and I will see you soon with my new book!

xx Fiona

 



Sunday, August 30, 2020

Room service :)

When senior cats are mollycoddled 🥰 Jessica is 10+ now, so if that doesn’t warrant a breakfast tray and room service, I don’t know what does.

She has her donut bed in our bedroom with the heating going.

She also prefers her water in a glass 😝💦

(Edited to add: when the dogs moved in she refused to drink from the same bowl as them, and would sit on the kitchen counter waiting for ‘her’ glass to be freshly filled 😑)

Are your pets spoiled too?

 



 

Best pumpkin soup recipe


I made pumpkin soup for lunch this week and it was delish 😋

Too much sour cream though do you think? 🤔

Who am I kidding, there’s no such thing 😁

~~

This is how I made my soup:

:: Fiona’s Pumpkin Soup recipe ::

Roughly chop:

1 onion
1 peeled carrot
1-2 sticks of celery

Throw chopped vegetables into a big soup pot with a Massels chicken stock cube and a big bloop of oil (about 3 tablespoons). I have both extra virgin olive oil and cold-pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil in my kitchen (‘The Good Oil’ brand here in New Zealand) and use them interchangeably. I use Massels stock cubes because they gluten-free and have a nice taste.

I made my soup on top of our woodburner, but if I did it on the stove I’d have the heat on low-mid. Stir everything around so that the stock cube melts and let it all sweat rather than fry.

Add big chunks of pumpkin and stir everything together. At this stage I’d usually add water and simmer the vegetables, but it was bubbling so nicely in the oil that I left it as is. After a bit, maybe twenty minutes, the pumpkin was soft and only then did I add hot water from the kettle. I kept adding a bit more until the immersion blender could do a good job. You can always add more liquid, but a too-liquidy soup is no fun.

After it was well-blended with the immersion blender, I served myself a bowl and added salt and pepper with a giant spoonful of sour cream.

If you try my recipe I hope you enjoy it! I generally make things up in the kitchen and this soup was no exception. If I haven’t explained anything well enough, please let me know and I can clarify.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Hobbies as self-care

 

I picked up my new sewing machine last week, and I didn't realise just how much a missed having a fully functioning it's-a-pleasure-to-sew-with machine!  I bought my old machine in the very early 1990s, so it was almost thirty years old.  Even with regular servicing it was just O L D and did not sew as well as it could have.

So I chose this mid-range model from a moderately priced brand, and even though it's simple and basic, it's wonderful.

In the spirit of decluttering, I took my old machine to the auction, plus another machine I had too (it was even older).  Even if I only get $5 for each, someone else can get use from them, plus they are out of my house.  The Bernina lady told me that sewing machines are hard to come by all over the world, because everyone is sewing in lockdown.  From the order my machine was in, it was the only product that turned up - all the other machines were out of stock.

So far I have done some hemming and some upcycling, however I am becoming enthused about making clothes again now that I have a new machine.  I think sewing has always been my first love, right back to when I was ten years old and learned to sew.  In my teens I made lots of clothes, and it was such a fun time.  Mum said when I ran out of fabric I started raiding her sheets for material.  Oops!

Feeling good with my creativity and future projects got me to thinking that hobbies aren't just an enjoyable thing to do with our time.  They are also a form of self-care, just as much as having early nights or making yourselves healthy meals are.  When you find a hobby you love, you are enjoying yourself while you are doing it, but you are also clearing your mind.  You get into flow as you do something and your mind is settled.  There is no room for worrying thoughts of future possibilities or past issues when you are focused on your task.

My friend Justine who I have just reconnected with, spins wool and knits, and she told me that ten minutes on her spinning wheel calms her right down when she is feeling frazzled.  Gardening is the same; I'm sure baking is too, and many other hobbies.  And, at the end you get a result!  A garment, new yarn, a weeded garden, or some cookies.  How excellent is that!

My exciting project for my new sewing machine is that I am going to find some good patterns for summer dresses that are simple to make, flattering, and comfortable that I can wear every day when it's hot - we are just coming into Spring here in New Zealand.  I may even have a go at drafting my own pattern based on dresses that I like from my own wardrobe.

What do you do as a creative outlet and does it help your peace of mind too?

xx Fiona

~~

 

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~~


These are my four most popular books at the moment!  Click on the image to read more :)



Sunday, August 23, 2020

Slow living happiness

 Californian poppies and blue sky 

 

Peace, order, harmony and wellbeing.  These are words which are like balm to my soul.  I adore keeping my home in order, and at the moment am especially focused on minimising my possessions, in a gentle and slow living kind of way.


I also feel like I’m in the click.  The click to me is when things are flowing freely, your energy is high yet relaxed, and you feel content and peaceful while being effortlessly productive.

 

Sometimes I get into the click without thinking about it, and other times I need to give myself a helping hand.  I wrote out a list of things that make me feel really good, and I do these things to get me back into my wellbeing.

 

-        Listening to motivational videos and audios.

-        Playing in my wardrobe – tidy it, mend clothes, make a capsule or a lookbook.

-        Watching movies where the main character is slim, stylish and confident.

-        Doing laundry often, have everything clean and put away. Wear clean, comfortable clothes.

-        Decluttering and organizing areas of my home one at a time.

-        Meal-prepping ahead of time.

-        Letting food and supplies run out as long as possible before I go grocery shopping.  Substitute ingredients if necessary.

-        Using things up out of the fridge, freezer and pantry.

 

I have been enjoying having an emptier fridge lately; this is not easy with various lockdown levels, but I feel so relaxed when I open my fridge to see wiped-clean shelves and a tidy assortment of food that is fresh and enticing.  When I have too much in my fridge it is crowded and hard to see everything, and food can be wasted if it hides for too long.  It’s rare that this will happen for me, but the thought keeps me ever-vigilant!

 

We all need to find out what gives us the most happiness, and I think this simple and slow lifestyle is a big one for me (maybe you too?)

 

Tell me what helps you feel aligned with happiness, and any ways that you know will help you get back on track with your wellbeing if you find yourself out of kilter.  I could use some extra ideas, and I hope you enjoyed mine :)

 

xx Fiona

 


You can find me here too:

 

My books on Amazon

Blog

Shop

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube

Podcasts

Lithuanian edition

Russian edition

Spanish edition

Vietnamese edition

Chic book freebies

Free writer’s encouragement

 

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