Thursday, April 28, 2022

My birthday handbag

Hello chic friend!
So, I was doing things in the kitchen the other day when I turned around to see this... it was only just gone half-past-three but the dinner queue had already started forming!

From front to back: Nina, Jessica, Daphne. Chloe dog wasn't there yet, or perhaps she was through the doorway behind Daphne.
My phone was handy on the kitchen counter so I was lucky enough to get a photo, I couldn't have planned this if I tried, you know the saying about herding cats!

This is the bag I bought for my fiftieth birthday 18 months ago. Paul and I had such a fun time choosing it. We went to the Louis Vuitton store in Auckland on a weekend trip before my birthday, and I had in mind what I wanted with a few styles narrowed down from browsing their website.

I wanted a style that could be casual or dressy, day or night. The touch of black means I can wear this bag with black, and the brown check lends it to other colours too, it softens it. If the bag was all black I don’t think it would go with my wardrobe as much. It has a long gold chain handle that can pull through to be long and single so the bag sits on my hip (or crossbody), or doubled up to be a shoulder bag tucked under my arm. I preferred the check to the LV logo print.

In the Auckland store they have an embossing machine, so I now have a gold 'FF' monogrammed inside - such fun!

The lady also served us a glass of champagne (Veuve Cliquot I think) while we chose, and another while we waited for the embossing. I could get used to shopping like this :)

I am still very happy with my purchase and even though it's been used regularly (not daily, but regularly), it's still in perfect condition. I can see this bag staying nice for a long, long time.

So that's my show and tell for today. I don't usually 'do' birthday presents. Since Paul and I have our birthday on the same day we buy something for the house or go out for a nice dinner.

But a fiftieth is different, right? Paul's was the following year, in 2021, and he got a nice watch that he has coveted since I've known him.

It was so nice to mark the occasion, and I am very appreciative that I got to choose such a lovely bag. It's the Vavin PM style if you are a bag geek and want to know!

Tell me about a lovely birthday present you've received, it doesn't have to be current day, just one that really meant a lot to you.

And I received a nice surprise this week: two no. 1 bestsellers at the same time - what a dream!

Thank you so much to you for reading - and reviewing - my books.

A lovely reader emailed me after finishing '100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget' and said:

I loved the book! I have already put a few ideas in practice… for example, when I'm getting ready for work in the morning (at 4:30 AM!!!!!!) I enjoy the process, pampering myself and taking time with my shower and make up… like the rich lady that I am! ;-) (It REALLY does change one's attitude.)

Hearing feedback like this makes me so happy!

It's 8am here and I have had my breakfast and am just about to jump in the shower, so I will pamper myself rich-lady style too. I have a little tube of Estee Lauder 'Pleasures' shower gel that I never remembered to take in my travel bag, so I am indulging each day with that. When the alternative is to leave it in the bathroom cabinet forever and wait until it has lost its scent!

Please tell me how you are going to pamper yourself like a rich lady today, big or small, all ways are fabulous and welcomed.

xx Fiona
PS. You can find my two latest books above and all my other titles at my affiliate link here on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

New book out today!

Hello everyone,
I am so excited to release my new book! Eeek!

I got the idea for it while reading reviews of a self-development book on Amazon last year. Someone who had read the book said something like, 'If this is what it takes to live an epic life, count me out. It sounds exhausting!'

This little phrase made me think of writing about what an epic SMALL life would look like. For those of us who love peace and calm, a happy home life, and doing things on a cozy scale vs the stereotypical jet-set-south-of-france-yacht-private-plane-travel-go-big-or-go-home kind of life.

If you enjoy my writing I think you will enjoy this book too!

‘Loving Your Epic Small Life’ is available now at my Amazon affiliate link in Kindle eBook format and paperback print as well.

Don't you just love the cover lady? I knew she was perfect for this book when I saw her. It's like she is saying, 'Yes, dahling, I know I'm fabulous. I'm adoring my epic small life don't you know.'

I think we could all take inspiration from her and put our big sunhat on too. And own that we love our epic small life!

For those of you who prefer a different place to get your books than Amazon, the eBook is available in my eStore here too:

Thanks so much for reading my books! I really hope you love this one too!

I wanted to show you my favourite fashion 'uniform' style and colours. The photo taken above was when my husband Paul and I were being tourists in our own town by doing a bit of wine tasting recently.

Over the past few years I have been drawn more to brighter colours to wear near my face, and I pair these with a neutral bottom-half.

So, in this outfit I have a pink top with soft and comfortable stretch skinny jeans in blue.

In my wardrobe I currently have:

Tops -
Emerald green

Blue denim

The cool thing is that all my tops and bottoms are interchangeable. Everything goes with everything else!

'Soft-bright' is my preferred tone for tops. My colouring is muted, so clear bright would overwhelm my look.

Sometimes I tuck my top in, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I wear flat shoes, sometimes heels. Sometimes I wear a blazer too.

Another change I have made is going from buttoned, tailored blouses or shirts to the boho looking top which still feels dressy because it's woven fabric rather than knit, but is more feminine. It just feels more like me.

As the seasons pass my style will evolve with what I bring into my wardrobe, but I really love where I am now. It feels like I'm in the sweet spot!

Tell me about your happy place when it comes to getting dressed - when do you feel most like you?

For more wardrobe inspiration, see my book ‘The Chic Closet’ here on Amazon.

I love making a nice little setting for my lunch when dining alone. In this lunch I have a leftover portion of casserole, a 'small' (oops!) dollop of sour cream, yummy side salad and a sliced pear for afters.

Add a book and some soft instrumental music and I'm in heaven!

I am such a leftovers fan. Even if there is a tiny amount of something left, like the casserole, I can make a lunch out of it. And once I've had everything, I am full so it doesn't matter if the main part is small. I always try to have protein and fat too, both help sustain a body through to the next meal.

I hope you are having a wonderful week and that you enjoy my new book! I know, two books within a month, I almost can't believe it myself. Of course it helps that one was almost completely written beforehand but I just hadn't edited it.

See you soon and happy reading!

xx Fiona

Thursday, April 14, 2022

My evening routine, and Italian Chic inspiration

Hello chic friends!
This little patio area is off our kitchen/family room and faces east so it's perfect for breakfast when it's warm enough. Now that we are into autumn those days are becoming less but I do love being cozy so it's a payoff I am happy with.

One of my lovely readers asked me what time I go to bed and when I get up, and if I have a night time routine. Happy to oblige!

I always get up at 6am. I love rising early. I want at least eight hours sleep so I plan for lights out by 10pm.

I like to relax and wind down before bed, so I often indulge in 'Boudoir Time' (as written about in my book 'The Peaceful Life').

Boudoir time is when I set myself up in our bedroom after dinner with soft music playing. I wash my face and apply a face mask. I either read one of my style files or journal some inspiration for myself.

Once my face mask is ready to wash off I remove that and take my time smoothing night cream and eye cream on. Sometimes I use a serum or facial oil, sometimes not. I brush my hair and remove my jewellery.

I'll massage body cream into my feet, hands, elbows, wrists and decolletage. I collect those white hotel slippers and use them to protect our carpet while the cream soaks into my feet.

The last thing I do is get my Kindle out and read a few pages of a novel. No matter how tired I am I need to read at least one page or it doesn't feel right, because I have done it for so long! Sometimes if it's late and I really am tired, I'll open my Kindle, read a paragraph and then close it again. LOL!

Boudoir time is such a delightfully restorative way to unwind before sleeptime and I love it. Tell me what you do to relax before bed?

I really do think having a little night time ritual promotes peaceful sleep and helps me sleep right through to the morning.

I love my Italian Chic inspiration almost as much as French Chic. There is just something about Italian style that is sexier, less buttoned up.

The few nights I spent in Rome it was wonderful to see people dressed up, definitely in a more fashion forward way than most of us here in New Zealand, for sure!

There is an Italian term 'passeggiata' which is a leisurely evening stroll where you dress up to see and be seen, and socialise lightly with others. Doesn't that sound delightful?

As with all my inspiration, I try to bring a dash of Italian into my own life here. I even wrote a little inspiration piece for myself about 'my Italian life' - how I would be if I infused Italian style into my day, every day.

So, to complement my Italian style book display, here is my perfectly fictitious inner Italian girl :)


She lives la dolce vita – the sweet life.

She follows the la bella figura philosophy – making a good impression and putting your best foot forward in everything you do.

She wears capri pants and a fitted blouse with ballet flats or tab-front loafers. Her wardrobe is minimal and stylish.

She accessorises with big sunglasses in black or tortoiseshell and carries a tote bag.

She dresses to show off her figure and dresses to be seen. Chic sensual is her vibe.

She strolls the cobblestones with her beau after dinner. She says buona sera – good evening! to others.

She sips espresso coffee or red wine at a charming side-street cafe or ristorante.

She plays opera on the stereo in her stone apartment.

She is unabashedly feminine with a womanly figure – think Sofia Loren.

She has big hair – straightened, and back-combed in a 60s style.

She rides a Vespa with her coffee on the handlebars, wearing a pencil skirt, high heels and open-faced helmet. (I actually saw girls like this in Rome, it was a treat for the eyes!)


Of course, I’m not about to start backcombing my hair or even buying a Vespa, but it is certainly fun to have my Italian girl as a muse.

What about your muse. What does she like? Where does she live? How does she dress? What does she eat and drink?
This is Milly, my mother's dog. Milly is 15 years young, and came to live with my mum 3+ years ago when her previous owner died. It was through a mutual friend who asked if mum could take on Milly since the lady's children lived overseas.

Milly adapted to her new life with pluck - she is such a happy and playful dog in spite of being geriatric in dog years!

Her favourite things are her hot-pink rugby ball toy, Duck Tender treats, and 'greeting' the postie as he rides past on his little electric cart.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Milly :)
Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

xx Fiona
PS. You can find my newest book in Kindle or print - still a no. 1 bestseller after more than two weeks in the Amazon store - '100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget'.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Thank YOU, and a very naughty cat!

Hello everyone!

I am still riding the high of releasing a new book.

Thank you to YOU for making it a no. 1 bestseller and no. 1 in all the charts it was in. And if you wrote a review, I am grateful for that too. I couldn't be happier with this book's debut, and I truly hope you are enjoying it.

Here are a few of the early reviews that tickled my fancy:

‘Running Mom’
‘It’s a good reminder that a luxurious life starts with a mindset, not a credit card.’

So true, Running Mom, and I wish I had thought of that sentence! It would make a fabulous subtitle :)

‘This makes you feel better about all those people (especially teachers) who complained about your daydreaming. I am 75 and my daydreaming has fueled a truly wonderful life.’

Julie’s review gives such validation for being a daydreamer, thank you Julie from all us daydreamers!

You can find the book on Kindle and in petite print here on Amazon.

This week I have lots of writing planned, a family lunch, and, grocery shopping. It's all glamour around here, I tell you.

I am so pumped about my next book, I hope to have it out this month. It helps when it was almost completely written before I started '100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget'. But I just needed to let it sit and marinate for a bit.

Now that I'm doing edits and read-throughs I love it! Yay! When something is better than you remembered it is SUCH a good feeling, lol.

Our Jessica cat has become naughtier as she's gotten older. I think she's decided that she's NOT going to be a people pleaser anymore. As if cats ever were!

So anyway, I came into the living room to be greeted with this... thankfully the tealight was not lit. But I did have to pick up all the coffee beans that the candle was sitting in.

I mean really, what was the point? And she would have had to reach right up onto the coffee table to hook the whole thing down.

Thanks Jessica…

As you can see from the holly detail on the candle holder, this was at Christmas time, I just hadn't shared the 'joy' with you yet :)

Do you have naughty pets? Tell me your best story!

Wishing you a grand rest of the week and thanks again for welcoming my newest little book with such love!

xx Fiona
PS. You can find my newest book '100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget' here!

Friday, April 1, 2022

New book out now!

I'm so happy to announce that my latest book has been released.

'100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget' is a mini-book and a quick and easy read that you should be able to finish in an hour or two. It will also hopefully motivate inspired action! Or at least a lovely feeling :)

The paperback version is a petite and trim volume that can easily tuck into the side pocket of your handbag for those times when you have to wait around.

I loved writing it and I do hope you enjoy it. In the meantime I'll get back to my next two books which are waiting in the wings 2/3 finished!!! I can't help myself sometimes. When I get the inspiration for a project I just have to drop everything and do it, lol.

Wishing you a fabulous end of the week and a wonderful weekend. We are having people around for dinner on Saturday night which will be fun.

xx Fiona

PS. Here's my affiliate link to order '100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget'.
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