Thursday, October 6, 2022

My 'Ralph Lauren' living room


 
Hello chic friends!
 
I love our living room style SO much, and call it ‘Ralph Lauren on a budget’.

When we moved in five years ago, the whole interior was painted a soft, warm white, so it was a lovely blank canvas to live with, then we started making some changes…

(You can see how the room is now in these first two photos, and ‘before’ in the last three photos.)



 
Luckily my husband Paul loves the same interior styles as me, and we hired a local interior designer to help us have the guts to bring it to life.
 
Years later, the living room is still our favourite room and we often sit in it with a coffee and marvel at how we get to live in such a place.
 

The before pictures! 
 



 
~~
 
I am so proud of this little book (below). It has consistently been a bestseller since it was released more than six months ago, and I have had lovely feedback – and excellent reviews – on it too. It’s all one could ask for as an author!
 


 
Why I think it’s struck such a chord with its readers is that it is not about clipping coupons or cutting back. Rather it encourages you to live large, and to live ‘beyond your means’ by having an abundantly luxurious mindset.

We could all use a little extra feelgood and a chance to live a more inspired life without necessarily changing anything big such as the people we live with or our job.

I always find for myself that when I feel stuck in a certain area, all I need to do is pump my mindset up a bit – it had gone flat momentarily! When I do this, I start to feel better and everything starts to gain more buoyancy again.

That happy, light-hearted feeling is our natural state. Anything else is just a temporary coating that might have just floated over us. Look out from under it and see how beautiful the world is. Even with everything going on, there is still beauty and peace and wonder.

If you have read ‘100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget’, please let me know your favourite tip. It’s always fun to hear if a book has made an impact.

And, please share your favourite tip to feel fabulous on a normal day, how you lift yourself up, or how you feel ‘rich’ without spending any money.

You already know all of mine, they’re in this book! I was going to add a tip of my own to start off, but each one I thought of I thought, Nah, it’s already in the book 😂😂

You can find it here on Amazon.

~~
 
It’s been so rainy and cold here so I've been cozy indoors, with brief breakouts for dog walks.

I got some writing done too. I am in love with my next book! I had left it for a month and when I went back to it it was so inspiring, lol. Phew! I can’t wait for you to see it, soon(ish).
Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week, remember to keep your vibration high by doing things you enjoy and that build you up, and amazing things can happen.

xx Fiona

 
(If you use my Amazon links I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much if you choose to!)

 
 
 


Thursday, September 29, 2022

New season style and springtime in New Zealand


 
It’s happy springtime here in New Zealand and I am enjoying tidying up my home, doing some decluttering and making everything spick and span.

We have extra items from my brother moving overseas and it is actually causing me stress sorting it, and it’s not even that much!

I have found about myself that I function better and feel calmer when my living environment is orderly. So I am spring cleaning to the max at the moment.

I am also having fun contemplating the vision for my spring style, but I know many of you are going into autumn. Whatever the season is for you, isn't this just the best time of year?

The holiday season right around the corner, a new fresh start, whether it's the beginning of the school year or a spring cleanout.
 



If you haven't read them already, I do hope you will check out my 'seasonal chic' books: 'How to be Chic in the Winter' and 'How to be Chic in the Summer', whichever one is appropriate to you!
 
~~

I don't need to buy many new clothes for spring. I have my lovely soft-bright tops which I like to wear with stretch skinny jeans. I pair them with loafers or ballet flats.

(You can see the colours/patterns of my tops in this Instagram post here: )

What I also love to do with each new season is to think about my style essence words. Even if the clothes might not change much since I'm wearing items I already own, it gives a freshness to my wardrobe.

For my spring style, I decided on:

Sophisticated
Happy/joyful
Modern/youthful




Sometimes I read my own books, yes I do, and last night I read a few chapters of 'The Glam Life' (I think it's one of my most favourite book covers too, out of all my books). I was reading Chapter 15. 'Choose a seasonal lifestyle' and it inspired me to answer the questions at the end in my journal. Yes, I know I'm a nut!
 
 


Here are my favourite things about spring:

A fresh start
Spring cleaning
It's my husband Paul's and my birthday in October
We have a long weekend for our birthday (four days long!)
Start of the holiday season
Warmer weather is coming


And what would I like to experience in the next three months?

A true reset
Living by my values
A streamlined home
To enjoy myself
Be creative - sewing
Release two new books
Live like a queen
Settle into wellbeing

If you'd like to join in, please let me know your answers too, or at least a few of them ❤️
 
~~
 
And now that my brother’s dog Micky has moved in with us from my brother moving overseas, it’s a three dog walk in the mornings.
 
Today we did the car-walk-back-only where my husband Paul drops us at the end of the road on his way to work and we walk home.
 
 
 
All the doggies waiting safely with me while Paul backs his car out of the garage. I thought it was so cute that they all came when I called them and waited patiently until it was safe to get into the car.

 


 
 
This plan was necessitated because Chloe dog started protesting at the away leg of the walk and only became happy to walk when she was heading for home 😑 Otherwise it was brakes on every few minutes. Then some cajoling and coaxing. So tedious every day!

 


 
I hope your day’s going fab. I have a coffee and I’m doing a few computer things. I’ve already been for my treadmill walk (today’s viewing was an episode of ‘The Agency’ on Netflix - I enjoy real estate programmes and the fact that this one is French with subtitles is so fun) and the dog walk and it’s just gone 9am. Wish me luck that the rest of my day is as productive! 😂😅

All the best for a wonderful day to you too ☀️☀️
 
xx Fiona

PS. You can find a link to all my books here on Amazon.

(If you use my Amazon links I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much if you choose to!)

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Chic and glam aprons, and my travel wardrobe last week


 
 
I received the loveliest parcel in the mail recently, all the way from Canada.

A very kind reader with a fab business called 'Sugar Baby Aprons' (here on Instagram) sent me some of her sweet aprons to try. I love them all!

 
 
 
Now I am all glam in the kitchen and it’s so nice not to have to worry about splashing myself.

A big thanks to my fairy apron mother, and please let me know, which one do you like best? Leopard goes nicely with my shoes, and who doesn’t love a classic houndstooth, but can we ever go past a cute Paris themed print? I get it, it’s a difficult choice!
 
 

 
~~

Last week my husband Paul and I spent three nights in our capital city, Wellington. It was a work event, so while Paul was working during the day, I got to stroll around the city streets and go shopping. And when that got too tiring I came back to our serviced apartment to rest, read, or write on my little travel laptop.

And, bonus, my brother is staying with us at the moment before he leaves to move overseas this week, so he got to look after our two dogs, his dog, and our two cats. He experienced the mayhem and harassment at mealtimes 😂😂

What I always love about a trip is the chance to create a bespoke capsule wardrobe for the destination, expected weather, and what we are going to do.



 
For this trip I really enjoyed my colour palette. From left to right in clothing, I had an oversized double-breasted blazer with a slight sparkle to the fabric. Next to that, a yummy animal print blouse in gauzy linen/cotton. Then a lightweight black cotton knit top. Next, skinny jeans in washed-out black (they are quite new, they came like that!) And my favourite 'Chanel' jacket in cream boucle. A chiffony animal print blouse again. Wide leg black trousers for evening wear (they are thick, floppy fabric and have silver stud buttons down each leg and feel lovely on). Then a dark blue merino top and blue skinny jeans, and finally a black day coat in a boucle type fabric.



These were the three scarves I took with me and wore each day. Firstly my plaid scarf which is silk and made in Italy but is NOT Burberry. Then my LV cotton scarf which I bought online for $175 original price $750 (yay). And a soft scarf that my brother bought me in Thailand and I love the colour of it.



 
I wore my Prada bag in the evenings (I take the big strap off and just use it with the gold chain for dinner), and my Victoria's Secret bag which is so handy for daywear and I love the colour, snake print and gold studs.




I wore my Nikes to walk around during the day, the boots when we walked to a bar and then the restaurant. I didn't end up wearing the gold/black patterned heels, and wore the lace-up heels to the work event.

I was very proud of my travel wardrobe!
 
~~
 
And finally, in case you need a giggle today, may I present little Chloe dog. My sister said her teeth look like someone ‘casually tossed a handful of Tic Tacs in her mouth'.





The unique zig zag teeth don’t stop her from relishing her meals though. And if anyone is a candidate for doggie orthodontics it would be Chloe!

It’s okay Chloe, we’re laughing with you not at you, and we really do love you a lot!

xx Fiona
 
 

 

 

 
 
(If you use my Amazon links I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much if you choose to!)

Thursday, September 15, 2022

An overland bird safari, and my favourite four-step decluttering process!

My husband Paul and me

 
Hi everyone!
 
We had guests stay for a long weekend and they took us on a gannet trip on the Sunday. It was invigorating and fascinating! We had the best guide in Wayne, with a mere 45 years experience taking the safaris.

It’s so good to be a tourist in your own town :)

(Wayne’s Instagram is here with some beautiful and historic photography - he even met David Attenborough in 1982 and spent the day with him as he showed him around the gannet colony!)
 
Cutie gannets. They build their nests from mud and seaweed, and bury their egg in that. Both the male and the female gannet take turns standing on the nest, keeping the egg warm with their thermal webbed feet. So dedicated!

At the bottom of this cliff, on the beach, is another gannet colony. You can see them if you look :) Plus, there were seals hanging out by the gannets too. They looked like big grey rocks, until you saw one move that is.

Peeking out above the clouds you can see Mt Ruapehu which is 3-4 hours drive away. Mt Ruapehu is an active volcano... we have all the fun here in New Zealand I tell you!


So that was our weekend, and this week I have been tidying and organizing our house, because, well, it's not tidy and organized at the moment. My most recent 'success' was our shoe closet. Yes I have a shoe closet! It’s a double width storage space in our laundry which is the perfect place to house our shoes - mine are here on the right and my husband Paul’s are on the left.
 
 

 
I had a clean-out and a tidy up, throwing out one pair of favourite well-worn summer wedge sandals, and donating a dozen other pairs that I just don’t wear anymore.

It feels SO GOOD to have all my shoes neat and tidy, with space for every pair. Before I did this I had a pile-up at the bottom 🙈

But as you can see I still have plenty to wear. Those pairs I decluttered weren’t worn anyway and now I have breathing space. Isn’t that always the way? It can be so difficult to contemplate getting rid of things, but when you do my favourite four-step decluttering process it is so simple, and even dare I say it, enjoyable. Especially afterwards, but during too.

Here’s my process:

1. Take everything out of a space.

2. Clean/dust the space and make it nice.

3. Put back only the items that are your nicest and best, the ones you enjoy the most, the newest and most special etc. Be guided by the size of your space when you decide what to put back.

4. Look at the items left over and decide that you are happy to donate them to someone else to wear and love, since you don’t. You will feel so light and joyous once they are gone. I always feel happier when I do this and I’m sure you will too.

Let me know what area you’d love to have the fairies do for you, and then jump in and start it! I am going to do my plates and dishes next.

xx Fiona

PS. If you need more inspiration to simplify your home and have it feeling so lovely and free. with space to live your dream life, download my newest book here and get cracking. '100 Ways to Declutter Your Home' has all my favourite tried and true practical and inspirational tips, reminders, suggestions and ideas on how to have fun streamlining your possessions.

Any improvements I want to make in my life have to be FUN and EASY, and this book follows the same principles. Otherwise I just won't do it! I don't have children of my own, but I reckon I would have made a great mum, from my experience cajoling and convincing my inner toddler to get with the programme and go for my desires, even though she is screaming and kicking and would rather be sitting on the sofa with a book...

If this sounds like you, you might enjoy this book, and my others as well!

You can find them all here on my Amazon author page.

 
(If you use my Amazon links I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much if you choose to!)

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Read my books for free!


 
Hello chic friends!
 
This is the gallery wall in my office 💝✨💝

I haven't written a lot this past week but I’m feeling better from my cold. I plan to rest and tidy, and be ready to work on my current book next week ☺️
 
 

 
And Jessica would like to say hello too!
 
I love to journal in bed with my cup of tea in the early morning. ALL the pets come. The doggies get under the top quilt because they are scared of the cats.

Here Jessica is telling me what’s what and holding my hand down with her paw 😹😹

Lucky I am right-handed and can still write in my journal (or use a phone camera).

I love my early morning time - it’s just after 6am when my alarm goes off. Sometimes I’ll go straight to my office and other times, like today I will snuggle up in bed with my tea. I definitely do it more this way in the winter.

My 6am tea and inspiration is a time I really don’t like to miss out on so I always make sure it happens!

~~

If you'd like to read all my books for F R E E there is only one week left to do so! You can find them all on Kindle Unlimited, and if you aren't currently a member, you can get a free trial here.

Happy reading!
 
xx Fiona



 
 
 
 
I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a small commission if you use the links in this post. If you do so, I thank you for your support :)

Thursday, September 1, 2022

When you feel overwhelmed


 It has been rainy and chilly but at least the daffodils are out!
 
 
This week I have a lot on. It feels overwhelming. Plus I still have a cold so I don't have as much energy. What I am trying to do is put everything into perspective, because there is nothing bad happening, just a lot of moving parts.

I really am truly blessed to live a safe and happy life. But sometimes I need to remind myself to rest and take it easy and not be 'on' all the time. When I try to be productive every minute of the day I rebel against myself and go and do something unproductive and also unsatisfying like eating-not-for-hunger or internet shopping or reading the news online.
 
 


So today I am reminding myself to rest and get better. And to do little jobs one at a time. And tidy my environment. Doing this always helps me feel better. In fact, I feel most out of sorts when my home is messy and disorganized. Feeling defeated and down is a reminder for me to clean up my space.

Yes it takes energy, and sometimes I don't have enough to get me started, but when I begin with just one little thing and deal with it or put it away, I gain energy. And so it generates exponentially.

If you can relate to this, let me know. And please share how you overcome malaise, inertia and a general flat feeling if you have found some good techniques like me tidying my space.

Hugs to you (and from Daphne dog napping on the sofa)

xx Fiona
 
 
PS. You can find all my books including the titles below here on Amazon :)
 

 


I am an Amazon Affiliate which means I may receive a small commission when you use my book link, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support if you choose to use my link!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Spring in New Zealand, and pancakes on the weekend?


 
Hello chic friends!
 
Spring is in the air here in Hawke's Bay!

It’s been so mild lately. I’m sure we still have some cold weather to come but it’s getting warmer. It's so nice to feel summery after a long winter (even though I love being cozy when it’s cold outside) and last summer not being great.

I am officially dreaming of warmer days to come
 
To celebrate, I made pancakes for brunch on Sunday. It has been years, possibly decades since I last had pancakes. They were delicious! But I am happy not to have them again for a while, lol. The stodge factor is high :)
 
 


I had maple syrup and butter on mine, and my husband Paul had lemon juice and sugar.

Making a special breakfast at home is one my favourite ways to be 'thrifty chic'. We used to go out just about every Sunday for brunch, but eating at home is just as nice, and far more exclusive :)
 
 


I reckon we saved $50 with our at-home brunch. Plus we got to choose the music, the dogs could come too, and there were no other people to annoy us!

I used this recipe here. And made adjustments, like I always do :)

I used 1C of Edmonds self-raising GF flour rather than plain GF flour and baking powder, butter instead of coconut oil, and I ended up adding 1C extra of milk as I whisked so the batter would be thinner.

I'm sure you could use normal non-gluten-free flour if you aren't GF.
 
 


 
~~
 
And finally, we visited my brother’s store Interior Warehouse in Napier, to choose a gift and Chloe made herself right at home...
 
 


Also, cutely, her cousin Micky dog is peeking out on the right side of the photo from behind the sofa. He has such a happy smile and it shows his sweet nature.

Micky is a part-time shop dog and enjoys greeting customers and napping too.

Wishing you a wonderful day. I am staying home ALL DAY and writing. That’s the best kind of day in my book!

xx Fiona


 
PS. If you need a little dreaming in your life this week, pick up my book Loving Your Epic Small Life for inspiration. Inside you will find ways to:
 
  • Feel lighter and happier every day.
  • Have more fun in your everyday life.
  • Feel more motivated and upbeat, in a peaceful and relaxed way.
  • Decide on exactly the right flavour of lifestyle for you.
  • And do all this without spending any more money than you already do.
 
Join me in a fun romp over the golden land that is your life. We will create mystery and magic together and I promise, once you have finished reading ‘Loving Your Epic Small Life’, you will have a completely new view on your world.
 
Are you ready to be transformed? You can find Loving Your Epic Small Life here!





I am an Amazon Affiliate which means I may receive a small commission when you use my book link, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support if you choose to use my link!

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Glamming up your day, and my skincare regime


 
Me, getting out for a brisky walk in icy winds straight from the South Pole. It’s amazing how good it feels to be outside even if I’m glad to get home before my fingers freeze.

When I lived in the city and it was a lot more built up, going for a walk outside still helped me feel reset.

My icy walk was so enjoyable that I forgot to turn on something to listen to - it was nice to have time to think and ruminate :)

In the summer when it is too hot most of the day I either go out very early, or after dinner is a lovely time to stroll too.

Nothing beats nature for an energy refresh!

~~
 
 

 

:: How I care for my skin ::

I always get a lot of questions about my skincare regime. Lucky this is one of my favourite topics, so here goes!

(Day 17 'Take Exquisite Care of Your Grooming' in my book 'Thirty Chic Days' also talks about how I take care of my skin, so check that out if you want to).

Since the age of 13, almost forty years ago, I have been cleansing and moisturising my skin twice a day thanks to my mother's influence. Not only do I have her to thank for this, but also her genes since she has lovely skin as well.

I don't use expensive skincare, just whatever looks nice and is on special at the supermarket. Occasionally I get Estee Lauder, my favourite luxury brand, but not often.

I have always drunk tons of water, and I eat good fats too such as avocado, raw nuts etc.

I was never a big sunbather so that probably helped. And I use an SPF in both my moisturiser and foundation.

Speaking of foundation, I have worn this since a young age too, and wonder if it makes a difference. It would have to, being an extra layer of protection against the wind, sun, pollution etc.

Back in my teens I had a water-based Clinique foundation that you had to shake to combine each time you used it (thanks again, mum for buying it for me!) or a tinted moisturiser. Now I use Estee Lauder's DoubleWear, which I love to apply with a foundation brush. I might try something new next but I do love the coverage of DoubleWear.

I also like to not stress myself too much which I think shows on your face. You can't avoid stress totally, but choosing to be low-key, calm, relaxed, drama-free etc definitely helps me deal with things. And I try to focus on the 'nice' things in life.

I go walking, either outside or on my treadmill, and the blood pumping around even on a leisurely stroll must help one's complexion I always think.

So really, it's a combination of a lot of different things, plus the concept of 'Little and Often' (which is next in 'Thirty Chic Days' after the grooming chapter). I do little things such as cleanse my face, drink water, moisturise lots, eat good foods, be happy as much as possible, daily walks. It all adds up.

 ~~
 
 

 
 
Who is up for a little 'glam life' today? It's Thursday here, maybe Wednesday for you. Not the most 'fun' day of the week I'm sure you will agree, but it's almost the weekend!

So let's all put a little extra pizzazz into our day today, whether it's morning for you like it is here in New Zealand, or later in the day.

I'm still in my gym gear, about to go for a walk soon, but after that and my shower I will be choosing something to wear that makes me feel extra good (but still suitable for home wear). I'll do my hair and makeup, and some perfume of course, and put my 'diamond' stud earrings on. I don't wear my watch or any rings at home, I like my hands to be bare, but I always have earrings on.

And I am going to tidy up loose ends as well as do my writing. I always feel SO much more put together and yes, glam, when there aren't little messes or undone admin all around. It makes such a difference.

Earlier in the week I felt like glamming it up too, and I met my mother in town for a coffee. I chose black and denim, with a chunky gold necklace, and of course my mum turned up in a black top with a silver necklace over top of it. We often turn up in similar things...

I hope you feel inspired to make your day (or evening) even 1% more glamorous too.

xx Fiona

PS. Of course, you can find The Glam Life here at my Amazon Affiliate link if you haven't already read it!

PPS. Another fab review :) Thank you!

"Another fire cracker of a book from Fiona. I am always inspired when reading these nuggets of chic and glamour. This one had a phrase that stayed with me the whole way through - “move in silence” - where we make plans and live life without feeling the need to tell everyone. Instead we show them! And of course, always add double the amount of mascara you think you need! Bat those eyelids on this glam world, take a sip of something comforting and enjoy Fiona’s books…all of them! You’ll be glad you did (not to mention more chic, more organised and definitely more glamorous)."
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