Sunday, July 26, 2020

My secret success tip :)

I had a big box of my paperbacks arrive this week, and it was like Christmas opening them!  It was lovely to see all my new covers together, and my new book 'The Chic Author' too.  I have already posted three books off to readers in Australia, who can't order from their Amazon.  If you are in New Zealand or Australia and would like me to post you a copy rather than have it sent from the US, just email me with the titles you are interested in at:, for availablity and pricing.

The chapter I have had the most feedback on in 'The Chic Author' is 'Chapter 10: Write fast', and I'm not surprised.  Doing anything quickly is my secret success tip it seems.

Whether it's reorganising the pantry, writing a chapter or doing a task I've been putting off, doing it with speed brings me the best results.  Instead of doing a substandard job, the opposite is true, plus I bypass my analytical mind and don't overthink things.

Doing something fast gets me motivated and moving!  I can't moan to myself 'it'll take ages, I don't have time', because if I give myself, say, thirty minutes to something (and even set the timer), I get it done in that time.  It's quite magical.

This is a winter’s day view from my office this week as I finish up editing my newest book ‘The Chic Closet’.

When we first moved into our home three years ago (I know! Time flies!) I set up my office on the other side of the house. The side with the swoon worthy views over apple orchards and vineyards. But I ended up moving to the driveway-side and love it. It’s weird, but because I can see the road I feel part of the world which is nice.

This is our very first daffodil, and a fully loaded lemon tree :)  We also have oranges, tangelos and mandarins.  I love the coziness of winter and nature’s bounty too.

I hope your weekend is going well and that you are safe and happy wherever you might live.

xx Fiona


You can find me here too:

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Q&A video coming up!

Hello and happy weekend to you! I am so keen to do a Q&A video; I’ve wanted to do one for ages because I love listening in to others videos :)

Please put any questions you are curious about in the comments, or you can email me

I really hope I get lots of questions! Imagine getting none. The shame of it!!

Wishing you a beautiful rest of the weekend. It’s almost Saturday night here, the fire is just lit, I have a bottle of bubbles in the fridge and my husband will be home from work soon.  Is there anything better than a cozy night at home?

Before I go, this is my sweet girl Jessica in her new favourite donut bed.  She loves it! To be fair, if I had one in my size I’d love it too.

We adopted Jessica almost nine years ago and she was 1.5 then. So that makes her 10 or 11?

Apart from her donut, she loves scaring the dogs, lying by the fire, lap-time and her red dot lazer toy from Kmart :)

And this week has been beautiful crisp winter weather, just perfect for a dog walk.

We’ve had such a lot of rain lately, that even I, pluviophile extraordinaire, am happy to see the blue sky.  Hawke’s Bay covers herself in glory on days like this.

How is the weather at your place? Tell me everything ๐Ÿ˜Š I know it’s very hot for some of you, being the middle of summer and all.

And don't forget your question for the Q&A video!

xx Fiona

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Olive oil love

Natural oils, such as olive oil, are one of my favourite beauty products for both inside and outside the body.  There are lists all over the internet of the million and one uses for olive oil, but here are my four best ways:

- In my smoothies.  I discovered a product called Beauty Oil by Bestow, a few years ago, and started putting it in my smoothies each morning.  It is a luxurious product, however the price is luxurious too, so I decided to go for a more budget-friendly alternative - cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.  I use some each day - about one tablespoon at a guess - in my smoothie, and not only does the fat keep me fuller for longer, but I know it's contributing to my physical wellbeing and plumping up my skin.

- On our vegetables.   With most meals we will have steamed vegetables - any or all of broccoli, carrots, beans, leeks, and cauliflower.  I prefer them on the slightly crunchy side, perhaps al dente?  And then tossed in olive oil.  I pour a little in the cooking pot and tip it upside down with the lid on.  The coating of olive oil makes a lovely flavour, and something for salt and pepper to stick to :)

- As a cleanser.  I love to massage a small amount of oil, 2-3 pumps if I have it in a pump bottle, onto my skin.  It melts off my makeup and I get to have a soothing massage all at the same time.  I don't rub it into my eyes though - before I do this I remove my eye makeup with a cotton pad and micellar water.  I then rise off the oil using a face flannel and hot water in the basin.  I wring the flannel out as much as I can and it feels wonderful to cleanse my face with a steaming hot flannel.  I rinse three times in total then put whatever moisturiser I have, on, while  my skin is still warm, damp and glowing.  I sometimes use serum, sometimes not.  I always use an eye cream.  Nothing is any particular brand.  I like to try inexpensive and/or natural brands from the supermarket.

- As a moisture booster.  Every so often I like to amp up my body lotion by tipping some olive oil into it, and shake well so it all combines.  It makes the body lotion feel so thick and lush, and it's wonderful in the winter.  I love using it for moisturising my feet too, which I do every night before I go to bed, all year round.  I either have hotel slippers by my bed, or a washable cotton bath mat, so that I don't get my richly moisturised feet on the carpet.  I don't mind a little bit on the sheets, as they get a warm or hot wash each week.

When I think of olive oil, I always remember reading about the Italian ladies, who eat, drink and just about bathe in it.  They put it on their skin, their hair, and retain their youth as a result.

Are you a fan too?  As much as I am?  Tell me your best tip :)

xx Fiona

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Scenting the air with beauty

My sister thought this was a stock image of an incense store. Nope, just my stash ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š What can I say, we just like incense around here ☺️

Satya is my favourite brand and I was so excited to see new flavours earlier this year that I bought one of everything!

I used to burn incense in my room as a teenager in the 1980s and my dad would always be telling me to put it out because he hated it ๐Ÿ˜† So of course I’d just burn it when he wasn’t home ✨ Yes, I was a delight to live with ๐Ÿ˜‡

Are you a fan? I know it’s probably as hazardous to your health as smoking, but I limit myself to one, maybe two sticks a day ๐Ÿ˜

xx Fiona


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Saturday, July 4, 2020

New paperback book out!

Well, I've done something that I didn't think could happen.  '30 Chic Days at Home' is now available in paperback, yay!  Please don't be expecting a big thick door to turn up on your doorstep though.  At just over 100 pages long, it is a dainty and petite book.

If you have any of Anne Barone's 'Chic & Slim' paperback books you will know the size I'm talking about.  I have all her books on my Kindle, and most of them in paperback too, and I love how slender they are.  It's easy to slip one from my bookshelf for a quick boost of inspiration (I often used to take one in my bag to read on the bus going to work too).  And so I hope this is how my latest paperback book will be for you - a pretty and dainty piece of inspiration to dip into.  And it's a petite price as well :)

You can order it here on Amazon. It shows as not being able to be delivered to me in New Zealand currently, but I think this is a lockdown thing.  When I ordered copies of all my books a few weeks ago, I couldn't order my Spanish book, then a couple of days later I could.  If it's like that for you, just try back again.  The Amazon rep I spoke with at the time said some services were limited for a short while due to Covid.

And, I'm almost finished my next little book - 'The Chic Closet', or, should I call it 'The Chic Wardrobe'? What would you choose?

Before I go, can I show you a few pictures of Daphne is?  I came out of my lovely hot shower to find this:

The snow plough dog...

Life is never dull with pets :)

Happy weekend to you!

xx Fiona

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Hygge Comfort

My cozy fire - click on the image to see it crackling on Instagram!

In case you need a little Hygge in your life right now. I feel you, Southern Hemisphere chic friends - it’s only 7 deg C (44 F) here at morning tea time. Brrr!

I think I need to make a steaming hot cup of tea - my current favourite is Twinings Lemon Scented black tea with trim milk. This is not an advert! But I should be paid :) It’s a hard one to find. Earl Grey and English Breakfast are a dime a dozen, but they sure do hide the Lemon Scented away.

A friend living in England who stayed the night just before lockdown, saw my stash and couldn’t believe he’d met another person who loved Twinings Lemon Scented as much as he did. So much so that he had boxes of it in his suitcase to take back to England. And it’s made in England. But he can’t find it there at all!

The lengths some people will go to for their favourite drink.

Tell me yours!

xx Fiona
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