Saturday, May 23, 2020

Keeping a clean home, with ease and pleasure

Reader Jess emailed me and asked for my advice on house cleaning.  This has been such a problem area for me in the past that I devoted a whole chapter in my book Thirty Chic Days to show the techniques that work for me in keeping a clean home.  (It's Day 28, available here.)

What it really comes down to for me though, is to work out what inspiration will pull me towards the actions which result in a clean and tidy home, versus trying to push myself with motivation.  Inspiring myself feels more effortless, and the most inspiring thing to me is to imagine my home as a boutique establishment such as a stylish AirBnB or even an elegant little bar in Paris.

Just daydreaming of the little details one might enjoy while there has me effortlessly jumping up to potter around.  Making my bed with care.  Picking up and putting things away.  Putting a load of laundry on.  Doing any ironing that needs to be done.  Lighting candles and playing soft music to set the scene as I work.

If I just potter away doing one job at a time, before too long I can see results.  Feeling relaxed while I do it makes the whole process more enjoyable, and the reverse occurs too: stress melts away as I restore order.

I will say one thing here: I now have help each week, from two lovely ladies who spend an hour doing all my basic housework.  It has been my dream to have this for a long time, so not too long after we moved here I researched and found someone.  This means I can carry on with my writing not worrying that the carpet needs vacuuming or my bathrooms need cleaning.

Before that, and also during lockdown, my husband Paul and I would split the tasks.  He did the heavier jobs which would leave me with a strained back, and I would do the other tasks which weren’t so tough on me.

In the past when I have done everything myself, the most satisfying but also the most detrimental to my physical wellbeing was to have a multi-hour house cleaning extravaganza.  Yes, it was amazing to have the whole house cleaned and tidied at once, but I also paid for it with exhaustion.

What I prefer to do now is to have something done most days.  A load of laundry every second day keeps us on track.  I tidy up as I go.  I’ll give the carpet a vacuum if it needs it.  I believe there is a happy medium between being a complete slob, and having a picture-perfect home.

The most important thing for me is to make tending for my home an enjoyable pursuit, and that’s achieved by the way I approach it, as well as the little touches I put into place as I go.

I hope this has been helpful, and please let me know if you have any questions!

xx Fiona

PS. Many of you asked about my lipstick shade in the last post. It is a Max Factor lipstick I bought a month or two ago. 💄💄💄 I wasn’t sure I wanted to go matte, but love it now. Bright lipstick looks more modern when it’s matte rather than shiny. And it is nice to wear too, doesn’t dry out 💋

In choosing lipstick shades, one tip I picked up from working at Dior is to test a lipstick on the pad of your finger, as that's the colour most like your lips. Strange but useful!



  1. Thank you for the lipstick shade Fiona. And I'm with you on doing a little bit of housework every day to keep on top of things, rather than marathons of overwhelm. xx for the lipstick share and tip for color choosing.

  2. Thank you so much for posting the color, Fiona! it is gorgeous! And I am always looking for inspiration to keep my home tidy... Although I LOVE the results, cleaning/straightening is for sure one of my least favorite activities. :)


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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