Thursday, December 29, 2022

Last post of the year :)

Hello chic friends!
Heeey, what did you do for Christmas, Fiona? Well I tested positive for Covid on Christmas morning and stayed home! It wasn’t all bad though, I read magazines and watched (half of) a movie. My mum tested positive on Christmas Eve, so it was lunch a deux on Christmas day for her and me. My husband Paul was okay so he made the five hour trip north but tested positive the next day, and came straight back home. What a trip!

I hope your plans went smoother on Christmas day than ours did and that it was a good one for you!

(As an introvert, staying home for Christmas was quite fun, but shhh, don’t tell anyone I said that :)

And, how lovely is this book my friend Tanya bought me for Christmas? It has beautiful images on every page and interesting snippets about tourist attractions, stores, fashion designers, hotels, cafes and bars. Tres fabulous! (You can view it on Amazon here with all of the author's other gorgeous books).

So many people online are talking about new changes for the new year: new shifts, new identities, and refusing to be ordinary. I love it all!

A good makeover is always so invigorating, whether it’s a hairstyle, an outfit, or a room makeover.

It’s so fun to have a clean slate going into the new year, even if it’s only in our mind, and on the calendar. It gives us the opportunity to think completely fresh, and not worry about anything from the past.

I’ve always loved Louise Hay’s thoughts on getting older. She said that she chose to believe that the next year would always be better than the last, that her next year was always her best yet. Isn’t that cool? It’s what I choose to believe too now, and have done for many years.

Even in strange years like the pandemic we can still choose to believe this, and actually, I wrote and published more books than ever in those years. Not because I planned to, just because it happened.

Imagine if what we thought was a self-fulfilling prophecy. By saying each year will be our best yet, we will be setting ourselves up for lots of fun, joy, abundance and growth. We can’t not, because we’ve put it in our mind.

So, tell yourself that the best is yet to come, that 2023 is going to be your best year yet. And you will always have more goodness arriving. Be that positive person and switch the sun on inside your mind. Don’t worry about the bad news or annoying people. Tune them out!

Delete energy drains from your life – don’t give them your attention. And focus on the good. I am all for that! We can do it. Don’t wait for the outside world to direct you, direct yourself. Create your own ‘leading lady’ and be her in your life. You don’t even need to create her, you are her. Let her be revealed.

The spotlight is on you to create your magical new year. And it can be as active or as relaxed as you like. Mine is all about cleaning out, simplifying, and being ME. It sounds deceptively simple, but it can take some guts to do.

What does your magical new year hold I wonder?

This photo is a throwback to when we went to a fancy rooftop bar last summer. It was SO fancy that we only had one drink each (they were $25+…) but at least we saw the place. We’ll all be staying at home this New Year's Eve, recuperating at various stages (Paul, me, my mum) but still having a fun time I’m sure.

Wishing you a fab New Year’s Eve, whether it’s in or out. Out has never been a big hit with me, but then in feels like I’m a wowser. Maybe I’ve got the best of all worlds this year that I 'have' to stay home (an introvert's dream!) And I really don’t like waiting up until midnight ‘just because’, but that’s exactly what Paul likes to do :)

My ideal NYE would be a few glasses of bubbles, a nice dinner at home, and tucked in by 9pm or 10pm, ready to be up bright and early on New Year’s Day, for a shiny happy new year – 2023! Some may call me boring…

What about you? Are you a party girl or do you prefer a quiet and simple evening?

And, Happy New Year!

xx Fiona


(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 22, 2022

T'was the week before Christmas!

Hello chic friends!
We had such a lovely dog walk along the beachfront on the weekend, with the howling wind and rainy summer weather in 'sunny' Hawke's Bay :) It was a very brisk, quick walk I can tell you, and everyone was pleased to hop back in the car afterwards.

I usually walk the doggies down the road from our home as I am not a fan of driving somewhere to walk, but it’s just nice to have a change of scenery sometimes, you know?

And for most of the week it's been rainy and cosy too but that’s okay, I have plenty to do inside and the lawn is nice and green as a result.

I can’t believe it is almost Christmas! Are you organised or stressing? I have everything under control and feel calm and peaceful. I love to keep things simple, it feels so good.

I say this is how I'm feeling right now, calm and peaceful, but then wondering if I've forgotten anything important to do before Sunday :) Isn't that always the way?

So I'm here to say to you to give yourself grace, even if you slept in this morning (like me), and your desk is still a mess (me, again, but I'm going to clean it up today).

2022 has been a funny (funny strange not funny haha) year for so many people it seems. For me, from June onwards I was on a fast-paced track with loads of different things happening. The majority of them were beneficial, just a lot of action and bandwidth was required.

I've heard people talking about taking a reset, and doesn't that sound so appealing? Just like when your phone isn't being as responsive or an app is playing up, you can switch your phone off and on again and everything is fine again. Our human selves may take longer than 20 seconds, but it's worth doing.

Tidying my space always resets me, and I'm sure it does you too. Just that vista of order soothes our tired eyes.

Whatever your week before Christmas looks like, I hope it's a good one, and if you need a dash of calm, check out my book ‘The Peaceful Life’ on Amazon here. And if you already own it why not dip into a chapter for five minutes.

The beautiful image on the cover of this book makes me feel serene just gazing at her!
And I don't mean to bring you down the week before Christmas, but we lost our Jessica Cat last week. 

She had advanced kidney failure and had been getting progressively thinner over the past year.

But right until the end she never lost her spark, keeping the dogs in line, and making herself at home on the dining table after we'd finished dinner... as pictured, ahem. Very hygienic I know.

I thought she was 12, but on checking her vet book saw that with her estimated age from the rescue shelter she was closer to 14. We adopted her and her kitten Nina in 2011. 2011 doesn't seem that long ago! Eleven years goes by in the blink of an eye, doesn't it?

Nina cat is doing fine, she lives in Nina World. I think if we could see inside her head there would be pretty pink clouds floating around :)

So hug your pets today, and don't worry about me, I still have four left... I'm certainly not lonely!

Fly free Miss Jessica, it was a privilege to be your pet mum xx

To finish, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for being you. Thank you for reading my books and my social media. Thank you for the lovely messages, comments and emails you’ve sent.

Thank you for posting reviews of my books on Amazon too! If you want to give me the biggest Christmas gift, an Amazon review is it :) They help other lovely ladies find my books, and I really want to spread the message that living a beautiful, positive, happy life is possible no matter your income.

We are so lucky to have the opportunity to ‘meet’ like-minded women on the internet, so that we can feel connected and inspired even if we live in the middle of nowhere. I love that.

Anyway, I just wanted to say how grateful I am to ‘know’ you. I really do feel that way from any correspondence we might have had!

I wish you a wonderful, peaceful and happy Christmas break. I hope you get everything you’ve ever dreamed off. I am personally ‘not a gift girl’, so I love seeing my loved ones, trying not to eat too many chocolates (how can one feel so gross afterwards when they taste so good?), and getting through a stack of juicy novels (to be honest it will only be one or two, I’m not that fast a reader). Whatever you wish for, may it be 'under the tree' on Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas to you!

xx Fiona


(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Reader Q&A - Cultivating Your Secret Garden

Hello dear chic friends!
After my busy time, I have been easing into the Christmas season with little decor touches around :) I'm not putting up my proper Christmas tree this year but I have small things displayed, such as these pillows.

Are you going all out? Or doing 'Simple Christmas' like me? Both are perfect :) I love the all-out look, but this year I am keeping it simple.
The view on our dog walk this week

Reader Judy asked: ‘Can you do a post on your Secret Garden idea. please. Love it and would like a bit more detail if possible. Loved your book on Summer and will be using many of your ideas. Thanks.’

In my book ‘Thirty Chic Days’ there is a whole chapter dedicated to this topic and it’s in ‘Day 5. Create and guard your secret garden’. In this chapter I write: ‘A secret garden is that sacred, private place where you are free to dream about your greatest desires safe from the judgement of others.’

Have you ever had a delicious idea – perhaps it was a new outfit style that is quite different to what you’ve worn before, or even something major such as a change in career. And you are so pumped with the thought of it that you can’t stop talking about it to whoever is closest to you. By the time you’ve explained it, all the energy has gone from it because you’ve let it out. And the person you were talking to isn’t so enthusiastic either, because they can’t see the vision that you do.

Plus, if you’re just blah blah blahing all your ideas to everyone all the time, you’ll be that flakey girl who is all talk and no action.

This scenario has happened to me more times than I can count, and that’s why I recommend letting new ideas incubate in a safe space – your own mind – before you let them out into the world. They are like a tiny seedling that needs coddling and protection to start with.

So next time you have a lightening bolt idea, write it in your journal, expand upon it with more detail, and move in silence. Become known as the person who is always trying new things without necessarily having to get the buy-in of those around her. People will be intrigued, and you will enjoy yourself more as well as finding it easier to do your little mini self-improvements here and there.

There is more in Day 5 of Thirty Chic Days, so if you haven’t read that yet, check it out at Amazon here.

Thanks so much for your question, Judy!
And, I look forward to seeing you next week - Christmas week! Eek! Are we ready? Of course we are :)

xx Fiona

(My Amazon links are affiliate, and via Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links

Thursday, December 8, 2022

My teenage throwback picture, and time to relax!

It's been moving week for my mum and I've been helping every day. One of the days I didn't have any lunch to take with me so I threw this together from the fridge - 'accidentally vegan' is what I call it, and it was delicious! Plus I was pleasantly surprised that it kept me full all afternoon.

I considered stopping on the way to buy lunch, but couldn't think where to go for something healthy and gluten-free (a medical necessity for me), so that's when I came up with my delicious salad. So, as well as being healthy and yummy, I was saving money too, because even basic lunches these days are $10-$20 to buy.

I used butter crunch lettuce, cucumber, parsley, avocado and walnuts, and didn't need any dressing because of the avocado. SO YUM.

Today is handover day for my mum's home so we are all finished with the moving. Phew! It's been a marathon month but we are past it now, so maybe I can start to make my own place Christmassy now! That is after I give some TLC to my poor neglected home.

I really appreciate the work moving men do - most days I did 13,000-17,000 steps plus lifting etc. Talk about fitness bootcamp! Both my mum and I are exhausted and she said she sleeps like a log too.

Today it is SO nice to potter around at home and sort things out with nowhere to go and nothing to pack. Mum is staying with us until her new home is ready - we have a one-bedroom apartment attached to our house so it's nice to have her here and she also gets her own space. We just carpeted and painted it recently so I'll show you a few photos next time - it looks so nice!

Yes, it's 1985 all over again :) Days of the big hair and baggy sweatshirts. And I think the shirt underneath is floral. Big hair didn't seem so big then, it was just... normal. Happy days!


I always love using my Christmas Starbucks cups. They make me feel happy and cheery. My 'thing' with Starbucks comes from when I first moved to Auckland twenty-two years ago. There were two Starbucks – downtown in the city, and Parnell, and they gave off a big city, American, stylish vibe to me. It was always a treat to get a Starbucks, especially when I was new to the city.

Fast forward to now, and I've been living in a small provincial area for five years now, which I love. There are just enough people to give the place a buzz, and I can drive around easily. No grid-locked motorways here, although the single lane expressway can get a bit slow at rush hour :)

So, the local Starbucks is tiny and not so inspiring. It's nicer to sit in my living room with a coffee than Starbucks, which is the opposite of when I first moved to the big city!

A couple of years back I found a brand-new looking Starbucks Christmas mug in a charity store for $2. Then I bought my current mug (pictured) from Starbucks online, so I have two now. The 2022 mug has just come out, but it looks so similar to my first mug that I'll probably skip it.

I know it's only a coffee mug and many of you probably don't get excited about Starbucks, but I just love having a few sparkly reminders around. They make me happy when I use these mugs and that's the main thing.

And, from a financially savvy point of view, they save me $5+ every time I use them! I make coffee just as nice at home with my Nespresso and a Starbucks pod, either with foamed milk or a splash of cream. I even bought myself a bottle of sugar-free vanilla syrup (sadly not Starbucks branded) so I could make vanilla lattes or an iced coffee.

This photo was taken in my office where I also put my makeup on because the light is nice in there and I can listen to an inspiring YouTube video on my computer at the same time! So that's why my coffee cup is accessorised with makeup and makeup brushes :)

Happy Thursday to you!

xx Fiona


(My Amazon links are affiliate, and through Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Living a peaceful life


Hello chic friends!
I received the most fabulous review for my book ‘The Peaceful Life’ over the weekend.

“Life changing... This was easy to read, as well as very profound. I finished with a much deeper understanding of who I am, how I want to live and how to get there. I also have a better understanding of why I struggle with certain things in a close relationship as well as how to clearly communicate why I'm affected the way I am. In short, I feel incredibly hopeful that my life will richly benefit from the few hours I spent soaking in this lovely and inspirational book.”

How nice is that? I am always so touched to hear how my books have impacted someone, so thank you to the reader who left this.

And, just like that we've passed Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Did you do any shopping? I bought a few things I needed including new walking shoes. But I was very restrained which I am pleased with. I didn’t have buyers remorse from buying dumb stuff :)

My big book sale has less than 24 hours to go on Amazon, with up to 60% off Kindle and paperbacks, so if you are in the mood for book shopping, you still have time - just! Prices are going back to normal tomorrow.
Paperbacks make lovely Christmas gifts for like-minded ladies, and if you have any friends who you think would enjoy my books, or belong to any online groups, I’d be so grateful if you’d share my sale!

All my books are on Amazon here.

Wishing you an excellent end to your week. I am packing at my mum’s. She is moving next week! Eeek! But she will be fine. We’ve already done a lot, but time is closing in… Wish us luck :)

I love the photo of her with the doggies:)
Our chic and simple wreath on the newly white front door


And to finish, Micky dog loves swimming in the long grass on our morning walks. It always makes me smile. He has to run-hop to get through it!

The grape vines are looking good. It’s cool to see the changing vista throughout the year - from bare, cut-back stumps in winter, then tiny green shoots in spring, leafing up right now as we head into summer, then harvest time in a few months or so, and the leaves changing colour and falling in autumn. I get a slow-motion movie right in front of my eyes every morning.

It's been nice to chat with you :) See you next week!

xx Fiona

(My Amazon links are affiliate, and through Amazon Smile which donates money to the ASPCA. The price you pay isn't any different, so thank you if you choose to use my links!)

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