Thursday, June 30, 2022

Introducing myself, and a peek into my closet

Hello everyone!
I haven’t introduced myself in a little while, and I’ve noticed new followers – so lovely to have you here! I thought it would be a great idea to re-introduce myself.

Firstly, my name is Fiona and I live in a beautiful part of New Zealand called Hawke’s Bay. This is where I grew up, and while I moved away for a couple of decades, I moved back five years ago and am loving living here again. We have a sunny microclimate perfect for growing grapes and apples.

I live with my husband Paul, and our four rescue pets – doggies Daphne and Chloe, and pussy cats Jessica and Nina. And I write books!

It's winter here being the southern hemisphere and it’s a chilly 1 deg C (34 F) as I write this with my early morning cup of tea. But I am cozy and toasty in my office working on my next book. There is always a next book! I love being inspired with new ideas and creating new titles. They are my place of happy contentedness.

The world might be crazy right now but I believe we can be happy regardless. We can bring the party with us. Life is to be celebrated by turning our face to the sun, not the shade. Focus on what’s good – life is good!

That’s what is in my books – goodness, happiness, feeling alive, creating a beautiful daily life and making the most of what we’ve got. I believe in the transformative power of positivity and being a bright ray of sunshine in our own life for the good of ourselves and those around us.

We only get this one life and many of us – definitely me at 51 – are more than half-way through probably, so let’s get on with it. We have no time to lose! Live life, be good, eat well, and get rid of things that no longer serve you (I love curating my home and decluttering). Let others be who they are and love your people fiercely.

And, I thought you might like into see my closet! I am always quite nosy so I thought others might be too. When we moved to this home and it had a walk-in space I was so excited. It was my dream!
The shelves could have been more user friendly, and we did look at having a proper refit done, but it was très pricey at the time, so I designed my own closet system with some storage bins, plus these nifty drawers which are actually modular cubes. Amazingly they are exactly the height of the shelves and slot in perfectly.

All in all, this area works well, and I am so grateful to have such a lovely closet. I switch my warm and cool weather clothes in and out; currently I have my winter wardrobe hanging up, with 'everything' hanging up, even undertops and camisoles, and knit jerseys.

The 'everything hanging' method is detailed in 'Chapter 5. Inject excitement with a capsule du mois' of my book 'The Chic Closet', and goes through why I do this. You can see 'The Chic Closet' here on Amazon.

Wishing you a wonderful day, it's Thursday morning here and I've already typed some more of my next book today. I love getting stuck into a new project!

xx Fiona

PS. You can find all my books here on Amazon.

(As an Amazon affiliate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases when you use my links how it does not change the price for you. Thank you for doing so!)

Thursday, June 23, 2022

A positive attitude, and free books!

'A positive attitude brings strength, energy and initiative. To think negatively is like taking a weakening drug.'

I wrote this down in my 'Inspiration' word document so long ago and unfortunately I didn't note where I got it from. But it's how I live my life as much as possible.

When I feel flat, down or blah, I jazz up my thoughts and lift myself out of it. I can feel the effects physically when I dwell in negative thoughts and ponder all the problems that could befall me in the future.

It just feels better to focus on the good, the beautiful, and things that are going well. It's easier to be happy when you turn away from all that things that are unfair, wrong, and upsetting.

I used to be someone who wanted to help fix all the things that were broken, and champion the causes that needed assistance. I used to lie awake on rainy nights wondering about all the lost and neglected pets that were out in the cold. As if that was going to help them!

I have changed my focus now. I do what I can by donating, and I write books that lift people up. So many readers say that they feel better after reading one of my books - more motivated, inspired, positive. They make immediate small changes to their environment which further helps.

I am all about filling yourself up first so you can be a plentiful and abundant source of good energy for those who are around you. And to do this you have to have boundaries and protect your energy. When I start to feel a bit depleted, I pull back into myself and retreat for a while. Then I can emerge refreshed and ready to keep on going.

It's the same for all of us. It's a necessary part of self-care.

Love to you today if you need a little bit extra.

Would you like to read my books for free? Well you can! And I have two ways for you :)

No. 1.

Simply request that your local library stocks them. I have done this millions (well, maybe not millions but it’s been a lot) of times at my local library and it’s a wonderful service. You probably don’t even have to go in to do this, just fill out a form on your library website online and request the book, then go in to pick it up when it arrives.

And no. 2.

For an initial period of three months I have listed all my books on Kindle Unlimited. If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you now have free access to all my Kindle books, and if you aren’t, you can try your first month free.

At this stage I don’t know if I will renew for another three months on Kindle Unlimited, I’ll have to see how it goes. So go ahead and read them now while you can.

You can see all my books here.

Or go here for your first month of Kindle Unlimited free.

Have fun! Yay! Free books!

xx Fiona
PS. I was so excited to see my books at the top 'Beauty, Grooming & Style' chart, but I also felt a little bad... I am hogging all the spots - 10 out of the top 15!

I am know this sounds like a humble brag but I do feel a bit greedy! 🤣🤣 I'm sure I'll get over it though 😁

The chart changes hourly so you can see the latest version here!

(As an Amazon affiliate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases when you use my links :) Thank you for doing so!)

Monday, June 20, 2022

How my latest book began, and winter walking!

Hi everyone,
How cozy does everyone look going for a walk on a chilly day! Although trying to wrestle a hot-pink fleece top onto a wriggling dog tested my patience :)

My hands were so cold when we got home, but at least I got my 10,000 steps in for the day!

Look how happy the dogs are to go for a walk - not! They'd rather go in the car they said, especially when it's cold. It didn't get above 10 deg C (50 F) all day.

Hope your weekend was grand - it's Monday morning here now and I am back into it. Tap tap tap on my computer, yay! Next book has been commenced!
I have mentioned already that my newest book 'The Glam Life' came to me while I was waiting at a chemist (pharmacy) late last year. I had to take notes on my phone so I could remember all the good thoughts, then emailed them to myself. Below are screenshots of that email, where the book was born.

You can find the completed, 'longer than an email' book (it's now 176 pages in total) 'The Glam Life' here!
The Glam Life is about increasing the fun factor in your life by viewing everything through the chic filter of G L A M O U R. No expenditure necessary, as with all my other books! We change our mindset, we change our life. We have a blast in the world of Glam. Come with us! (No I'm not a cult :)
It's so fun to me that an entire book could come from this small beginning, but that's how it is for everyone - you have to start somewhere. I remember seeing 'Twilight' author Stephenie Meyer being interviewed on the Oprah show many years ago.

She said the book came about because she had a vivid dream about two people one night, who ended up being the main characters. They were in a beautiful forest clearing with sparkling light all around them. Stephenie said she woke up with such a strong, beautiful, emotional feeling that she wrote the dream down, and eventually shaped the Twilight book around that dream/scene. (It is one of the chapters in the book.) Isn't that the coolest thing ever?

So I am here to encourage you to write things down, dream of beauty and wonder, and know that creating a book is available to all of us, in our own style.

We might not make it as big as Stephenie Meyer, but we can certainly be 'a legend in our own back yard' (have you heard that saying? It's so good!) And at the very least, have a fun time along the way and also feel proud of ourselves when we accomplish something like writing a book. It's a great feeling.

And if you have designs on writing a book, 'The Chic Author' will take you by the hand and lead you to your path of success in non-fiction self-publishing. I share everything I know about writing and publishing in this book.


Wishing you a lovely week. It's cold and cozy here, and I bought myself a few treats: a ‘new’ thrifted candle holder and a Chanel book I haven’t seen before (not thrifted, Kmart).

Life is good!

xx Fiona
 (I am an Amazon affiliate and may earn small commissions from qualifying purchases when you use my book links. Thank you for supporting my blog!)

Thursday, June 16, 2022

New book out, and possibly my longest post ever!

Hello everyone! I have a big blog post today, it's long! So I hope you've got a cup of tea handy :)

Firstly, I am thrilled to announce that The Glam Life is here! In my books I love to provide compelling inspiration and fun mindset changes, and The Glam Life is no different - except that everything in your life will be run through the filter of G L A M. It's epic :)
Don't wait another second to transform into a creature like no other - the beguiling woman of your dreams! Yeah!

If you pre-ordered you should have already received your Kindle copy ; thank you for doing this and I hope you are enjoying the new book immensely.

If you don't have your copy yet, or would like the paperback, you can find both here on my Amazon affiliate link.

And for an Amazon alternative, the eBook is available in my eStore here.

If you are already reading The Glam Life , please let me know what you think!

As already mentioned last week, The Glam Life has been percolating in my head for over six months, and I felt like I had been struck with a thunderbolt when I first 'got it'. It truly did feel like it had been delivered into my mind like a Kindle pre-order arriving automatically lol!

And now she's here, all polished up and ready to step into the real world, haha did you see what I did there? With the pretty red shoes on the cover?

The photo of me at the top was taken in Wellington, at the QT Hotel. In October we had a little mini-break there for a couple of nights and it was such fun. We looked around on foot by day, and had nice dinners planned each evening. We don't usually book restaurants before we leave home but we did this time and it was nice to relax because we didn't have to find a place to eat, it was all taken care of for us.

Wellington is such an invigorating city, it's little and compact and full of charm. I loved that most people had a really unique point of view with their personal style.

We rode the cable car and found a bespoke perfumer (Fragrifert Victorian Perfumery) which was so interesting (I bought samples of all his fragrances as I couldn't choose...), did a little clothes shopping and had cocktails too.

It's so nice to pack your nicest things, plan fun outings and have a little break from everyday life even though my favourite thing in the world is everyday life and being at home. And it doesn't need to be far away either, Wellington is less than four hours drive for us.

I think it's so important to have frequent treats to look forward to, like a mini-break, or smaller things like a massage or meal out. In fact I booked a massage with a new lady as a reward for completing The Glam Life. She is so popular I couldn't get in for two weeks, but that gives me more time to look forward to it.
I had a reader ask me about my office space, so I thought it would be fun to share it. My office is my happy place. I actually took the photo through the window as I was going out the front door to take the dogs for a late afternoon walk. It is such a small room it's hard to get it all in a photo, but this is most of it! I have my makeup there on the left as you can see: I put it on at my desk because the natural light is nice, and I can listen to something inspiring on YouTube at the same time.

You can see my ladybasket to the right, where I have my iPad, book, journal, pen, phone etc, to carry from my desk, to my bedroom, to the living room.

The doggies have a bed at my feet in the corner of the desk. Oh, and it's a standing desk too, it goes up and down when I press the magic button! So sometimes I stand when I get sick of sitting.

And you can see my feminine gallery wall too! I mentioned this in 100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget (tip no. 77).

I am so grateful to have a cozy nook like this. When I started writing my books seven years ago I sat at the dining table with my laptop. We all need to start somewhere, so don't let a lack of space stop you from writing your book or creative project.
My husband and I decided we didn't want a home like everybody elses, so we started choosing decor based on what rung OUR bell. Not many people would have striped paper all down the hallway, but we love it.

We got the idea from fancy hotels and homes; they often feature stripes in their look. To us it looks 'rich', but to others it might look crazy! Even the paper hanger looked at us when we showed him what we wanted him to put up... But surely it must be more interesting than working with boring papers?

I love simplicity in style, but in this home we are all about the wow-factor, the pop, the fun.

I really want patterned carpet too. Like a hotel or casino! I love the queen's carpet (tartan) at Balmoral castle in Scotland, which I think would look great in our bedroom. In the hall I'd have some kind of paisley or small pattern, with a border. And in our living areas, I think leopard would look AMAZING. I couldn't find leopard carpet anywhere though, I wonder why! Surely there is a big demand for it? But if there was a big demand I probably wouldn't want it...

I tell you, it's tough being next-level. Availability always needs to catch up with my desires!

(I also 'need' a neon sign on our living room. I think that would look fab.)

Are you with me? A fabulously crazy everything home decor? Or simple and calm... I do love my home to feel calm, but I love surrounding myself with what I love too.
And here is Sweet Daphne and her profile - what a shape she is :)

When she came to live with us over four years ago she was quite... thin and now... she's not. I know she was probably underfed, and she came from a puppy mill via the local SPCA, but now she is making up for it with gusto.

She is the keenest eater I have ever met. Always ready for food, she creates her own 'food frenzies' where she starts dancing around like it was your idea to give her a treat (it wasn't).

She has stolen whole camemberts from the coffee table when our backs were turned for thirty seconds and my mother once lost the icing from the top of her Christmas cake slice which was on the DINING TABLE. Clearly Daphne didn't have a taste for the cake as that was left behind.

She is the sweetest dog I have known though, and the sookiest. Her name is appropriate - Daphne - because Sweet Daphne is an actual thing (a beautiful smelling winter flowering plant). The SPCA named her and it suits. She is a sweetheart!

People that don't know Daphne think she is a boy, because she is not the prettiest dog around. Even when I had her dressed in a hot-pink fleece top one day when it was cold. A woman actually asked me why my boy dog was in pink? (Daphne also had a pink collar and leash.) Take a guess, lady!

My brother thinks this is hilarious and has started calling her David. Poor Daphne, she puts up with a lot!

Anyway, she loves her new life, and, as you can see from the photo, fits in with our decor perfectly! And I love that I never have to coax her to finish her dinner. Her bowl is licked clean in seven seconds flat.

It seems pets are either one way or another - finicky eaters or vacuum cleaners~
And look at this! I'm telling you, I was doing a happy dance in my office when I saw it - two of my books, no. 1 and no. 2!

Thank you for all the love you have shown 100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget. It was such a blast to write, and has been my most popular title since it was released. (But now The Glam Life is here hot on her heels, giving her a run for her money!)

I will be writing more '100 Ways' books, it's just so fun to write something short, sharp and motivating.

What would you love to see covered? There are so many juicy topics to explore. Let me know what your ideal '100 Ways' book would be called and I'll put it on my ideas list.
Enjoy your wonderful day, thank you for reading down this far, I know it's long this week! And thank you for being fabulous. You are amazing if you didn’t already know it.

xx Fiona

PS. 100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget is here on Amazon and my new book The Glam Life here. Have fun and I hope you love them!

Thursday, June 9, 2022

How I spend a typical day, and a new book on pre-order!

Hello everyone! I'm trying something new and different (for me!), and have my new book 'The Glam Life' available for pre-order!

You can see it at my Amazon affiliate link here.

It comes out on the 21st of June - so exciting!

I loved every minute of writing The Glam Life. It was such fun, and I could really let my fantasies fly. I was zapped with a bolt of inspiration last November, and I remember it clearly because I was waiting at the chemist for something. I had to quickly whip out my phone and start making notes into an email to myself. I basically outlined the book in that time and couldn't wait to get home to start writing it!

About 3/4 of it was completed before Christmas, but then other books pushed in and jumped to the front of the queue. How rude!

But she's here now, and she's fabulous darling. She is finished and I'm just doing the final read-throughs.

You can't look inside the book yet, but the book is 170 pages long, and the chapters so juicy! Here they are, for a little sneak peek:

Chapter 1. Why glamour?
Chapter 2. Choose a glittering vision for your life
Chapter 3. Cultivate a luxurious state of mind
Chapter 4. Have an air of mystery
Chapter 5. Create a life full of vibrant rich health
Chapter 6. A home environment of ease and elegance
Chapter 7. Beautify your space
Chapter 8. Inspire dazzling confidence in yourself
Chapter 9. Dress for your dreams
Chapter 10. Create an at-home vacation-every-day feeling
Chapter 11. Cultivate beauty rituals
Chapter 12. Perform your own glow-up
Chapter 13. Be the elegant lady
Chapter 14. Live by your values
Chapter 15. Choose a seasonal lifestyle
Chapter 16. Engage your mind
Chapter 17. Dine luxuriously
Chapter 18. Be wealthy in all ways
Chapter 19. Adopt an apology-free lifestyle
Chapter 20. Your glam life starts now
Bonus. 50 Ways to live your most glamorous life

You can see the whole description here on Amazon.

And place your pre-order if you want to! Yay!

I am sometimes asked how I spend a typical day as a work-from-home author. No two days are the same for me! Some days, like at the moment, I'll write on and off all day (in between doing my happy housewife tasks and being a dog mum), and others I won't write at all.

But mostly I do something, whether it's a chapter or two, writing a social media post or doing office admin. The dreaded office admin! Once I bury myself in receipts and spreadsheets I enjoy it, it's just the getting started... I'd rather be writing. I'm always in my little office. It's my happy place and my husband Paul knows to find me there!

I love my creative work so much that it doesn't feel like work, and for that I am hugely grateful. It's just such fun to play around with ideas, write about them, and create my books.

I like to alternate sitting on my bum with moving around, and go through phases of wearing my FitBit to make sure I'm getting my 10,000 steps in each day. Moving around can mean actual exercise like going for a walk, or things like hanging out the washing, making dinner, and tidying the house.

I do lots of moving on Fridays when my wonderful cleaner Sue comes. The house is all tidied and everything put away, then Sue works her magic, and afterwards when I put it back together our house looks like a show-home ready for the weekend. It's fabulous, and so nice to have everything clean and tidy at the same time lol!

I am an early riser too. 6am is my standard time, but if I wake up at 4am or 5am and can't get back to sleep, I'll just get up. I put my cozy robe on, make a cup of tea and go and do some writing. It feels so good to have already written one or two chapters when my alarm goes off to get up. It's like free time! And if I was just tossing and turning wide awake anyway I haven't sacrificed any sleep.

There is no telling how good things can get when you put your foot on the gas. When you no longer find a mediocre life acceptable. When you aim big, even if your version of big is like mine: small, quiet and peaceful.

Live a creative life, be your own best creation. Every day I get up excited to be me and it's wonderful. And on the days when I don't wake up like that, I change the station, just like the radio in my car.

I fill my mind with positivity, journal exciting thoughts, plans, dreams and goals. I read from a book that makes me happy. I tidy something. I make my bed and get ready for a fabulous day.

We are so lucky to be here, on earth, living our life. Even in the hard times and the boring times. My mum always told us that bored people are boring and I soaked this message in! I am never bored, or not 99% of the time anyway. And when I am, I go and find something to be interested in.

Fill your days with gladness and make the most of everything. Reframe situations so that you can see they are FOR you, not against you. And if you can't do that, look to the future. A beautiful, bright future which starts in one second's time.

xx Fiona

PS. The Glam Life is on pre-order and comes out in less than two weeks! Order your copy at my Amazon affiliate link here!

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Books in decor, seasonal chic, and the royal cat jubilee!

I love EVERYTHING about books. I love reading books, writing books, and decorating with books too, lol. I change my displays around and refresh with a new stack so the vista stays fresh to my eyes.

I have always loved books. Mum took us to the library on a Friday afternoon to get books for the weekend, and if I had to meet her after school we'd meet at the library. Libraries and bookstores have always been my happy place. There is just so much goodness there!

I love passing the built-in shelving in our hall where my collection of books live. The covers wave out to me like old friends, if that doesn't seem too mad :) I love seeing them multiple times a day! Even my Kindle makes me happy to see it because there is so much to love in there.

What would we do without books? I shudder to even imagine a world without books.

In saying that, I am happy to let books go that no longer speak to me. I've had big clean outs over the years and now am down to a small number of books (small is relative :).

Something that gives me the heebie jeebies is when you see a picture of a home that is FILLED to the brim with books. You know they are not all read, there is dust everywhere and it feels like the walls are closing in. That is too many books for me.

Are you a book lover like I am? Do they make you feel like you're living the best life ever when you are surrounded by the right level of them for you?
Have you met 'the queen' (appropriate for the Royal Jubilee weekend don't you think)? Jessica is the revered elder in our home (12-13 years old) and we all a bit scared of her. She terrorizes the dogs and treats her own daughter (our other cat Nina) quite poorly at times (such as bullying her out of one of the many cat beds to take it for herself).

Here I folded up the quilt and alpaca blanket and made a 'princess and the pea' type bed for her. She took to it straight away and stayed there all day...

Even though she is a stroppy tart, I do love her. She was our first pet together. When I met Paul I had two cats already - he said I was lucky that he took me on with them :)

Jessica is deaf now, has been for a year or two, but she always comes running when I do the dog treat song for Daphne and Chloe. She moves very quickly when she wants to. Hmm, how does that work out? She really is deaf, because she gets a fright if I come up behind her or pat her when she hasn't seen me yet, but still hears the treat song or the fridge door opening???

She loves being indoors and I think would happily be an apartment cat. In fact, when I see her outside she looks so confused. 'What is this green stuff under my paws?' 'What is that blue stuff above me?' 'Where are the walls?' She's hilarious!
I was so excited this week to see THREE best sellers at the same time. Thank you so much to you, my lovely reader! I hope you're enjoying the new book too!

xx Fiona

PS. You can visit my 'Seasonal Chic' collection here on Amazon, whether you're going into the winter like I am, or summer in the northern hemisphere!

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