Thursday, February 23, 2023

We're in pioneer mode! ('Glam Pioneer' perhaps?)

Hello chic friends!
On the weekend I had a hot shower and a hair wash- and got to blow dry it too! - for the first time in four days. Before that, bucket washes were the order of the day. The hot shower wasn’t at my house of course, we still don’t have water or power. But our roads are now passable, just, so we had a shower at my sister’s house. It was epic :) We also took the opportunity to fill water bottles and drop off our laundry.

Driving there it was sobering seeing the all the destruction and mess around as it was the first time I had left our house since it happened.

Many of you have contacted me to ask if there is a charitable organisation you can donate to who is helping, but do you know what? I have not seen or heard evidence of any charities in the area. There are plenty of everyday people helping others with working bees etc, but no setups or logos around. I actually saw an article about how you can give to one of the biggest relief charities in the paper online, but no information on how people can apply to be helped! Maybe it just takes time for them to roll into town, I don’t know.

But I thought in the meantime, that I could set up a fundraising page in support of our lovely neighbours, who have lost absolutely everything and are living with us currently. So if you do wish to do something, the page is here:

And if you can't use that for some reason, feel free to email me for our neighbour's PayPal details.


As I said, we still have no power, but we now have a generator to run during the day which is such a blessing. Amazingly I managed to get a copy of my newest book printed out so I can proofread and edit it by hand.

There is little time spare from daily admin - we are living like pioneers right now but even to compare that feels unfair. We have no water or power, but we have a shop to drive to and a place to go and have a shower and get more water if we want. Pioneers didn’t have that! We are very lucky.

So in my ‘free time’ I will be sitting down with my pen for a bit of editing time. It will be my treat :) I’m just so glad the book was completed before the cyclone happened.

Sweet Nina Cat has been sleeping in the garage the past week. She found a peaceful spot on one of the dining chairs under our spare dining table which is in front of my car and covered by drop cloths. Just the place to rest and relax. She always comes when I call her for her food, and this day, when everyone was out, she took the chance to have a sleep on her favourite chair.

All the pets are a bit out of sorts at the moment, but they’re all eating well and pretty happy considering the tipsy turviness of everything.


Our weather post-cyclone has been gorgeous - actual summer weather. Everything at ground level is still a dire mess, but when we are greeted by a bright blue sky to lift the spirits everything seems that much more bearable.

Our little household of five adults, four dogs plus Ninacat is fab too. We all get along so well and every night is a relaxed dinner party of sorts. Even if we’re dining on paper plates with paper napkins since we don’t have water on. We draw the line at plastic cutlery and wine glasses though, so use the real stuff there. We do have our own personal standards after all!
Thank you for all your messages of support and your thoughtfulness.

It means more than you will ever know.

xx Fiona
PS. Before the cyclone flooding happened last week, I'd been playing around updating the covers on my very first 'blog series' eBooks, and the print copy of all three books in one volume. I love how they have turned out!

'How to Live Well' contains practical and easy ways to bring more peace and elegance into your life.

'Chic Inspiration' gives encouragement to create your own version of a truly charmed life.

'How to be Slim and Healthy' is focused on the topic of blending the European way of eating into your own life wherever you may live - for pleasure, slimness, and good health.

And of course, the '3-in-1' book contains all of the above.

You may already have some or all of these eBooks, and if you have, I'm pretty sure you can go to your Amazon account 'manage your content and devices' and download the new title versions.

I sort of ignored these books for ages and didn't really consider them 'real books' because they are collected posts from my blog 'How to be Chic', but when I was having a read through of each one to check the formatting, I thought to myself, 'these are really good!'

So I'd just like to take this opportunity to say sorry to my little books for treating them like Cinderella left home from the ball. Now they have their lovely new covers and are ready to shine.

Here are my Amazon Affiliate links to view or download these books (or you can go through the link in my profile):

How to Live Well (Kindle eBook only)

Chic Inspiration (Kindle eBook only)

How to be Slim and Healthy (Kindle eBook only)

3-in-1 book (Kindle eBook and paperback print copy available)

Happy reading, and for now, I will carry on with my offline editing!

(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!)


Friday, February 17, 2023

Checking in after the cyclone 💔

The paddock in front of our house, and apple orchard beyond that - tall trees completely submerged!

On Tuesday Hawke’s Bay suffered a devastating flash flood as a result of tropical cyclone Gabrielle. We were very lucky to have been just above the water. Our lovely neighbours were not. They lost their entire home, everything they own, and their beautiful cats too. Thankfully they and their poodle are safe staying with us now.

Our road completely blocked off. 

We will have no power for weeks and no water for months. And there are tens of thousands in the same situation! There have unfortunately been fatalities too. It is a real and tragic situation and I won’t be writing or posting for a while. I miss it already but we have immediate day-to-day priorities such as getting water, heating water, living without electric and everything that goes with that.

Our neighbours home 💔

But I just wanted to let you know I am okay because I have had a lot of thoughtful emails and messages, thank you.

xx Fiona

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Summer sun and a full moon

Monday was a public holiday here in New Zealand and it turned out to be a warm sunny day, perfect to enjoy an off-leash dog park walk.

‘Fun for the whole family’ as they say, and F R E E! I love having no-spend days!

The doggies loved it too and all had big drinks when we got home. Daphne and Chloe were too nervous to use the drinking station at the park (I know, so scary) and Micky was too busy swimming in the muddy stream (probably had a nice big drink there...) So it was bath time for him when we got home!

In other exciting news this week, we had a beautiful full moon. In person it was a huge shining golden disc.

I am interested in learning more about the moon phases and the weather. It all seems to be right there in front of us to ‘read’.

I used to use my dad’s binoculars as a child to see the craters on the moon and it fascinated me.

If you are an astrology believer the moon is the second most important sign in your chart after your sun sign (I am 99% sure this is correct, if you are an astrologer please chime in :)

A short after-dinner doggie stroll is one of my favourite things about summer. It is just so refreshing to be outside after dinner.

And then to be greeted with such lunar beauty - magical!

I trust you are having a magical week too.

See you next week!

xx Fiona

'The Peaceful Life'
5.0 out of 5 stars: Beautiful
Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2023
Verified Purchase
"This book is exactly what I needed. It's beautifully written, thoughtful and inspiring. As an American woman of color, I worried I wouldn't get much from this book, but thankfully, I was so very wrong. This book is for every woman looking to create a peaceful life and embrace their femininity. I can see myself reading this frequently. Certainly, one of my new favorite books! Many thanks to the author for sharing her insights and tips."

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, February 2, 2023

Loving Mondays, Monarch Butterflies, an Adoptiversary and being Financially Chic!


Do you love Mondays as much as I do? They feel bright, early and a fresh start for a new week. I love Mondays so much! They are like a mini new year every week.

On a Monday first thing you will find me with my big cup of tea on my desk, candles lit, and soft music playing. And I am almost finished with my next book, so exciting. It's a '100 Ways' book on self-care and it's been so calming to write.

It has been fun really exploring this topic from the perspectives of wellbeing and body image. I think you'll enjoy it once it's out!

We have a number of swan plants in our garden, all self seeded, and it’s so lovely to see all the Monarch butterflies around them. They lay eggs on the leaves, and it’s also wonderful to see caterpillars eating the leaves. They are so beautiful!

You can see there are big round seed pods too, ready to produce even more swan plants in the future.

Isn't nature is grand?



It was five years ago yesterday that we adopted Daphne and Chloe from the Napier SPCA.

From terrified, unsocialised little doggies who hid in our closet for months to the confident happy girls we have today, it’s been a delight to watch them blossom and grow to enjoy life.

They still have their moments; they are unsure about people they don’t know, and prefer to be at home, but they’ve come a long way. They are well loved members of our household and love that their white fluffy cousin Micky dog lives here now too. He gives them more confidence because he is such an easygoing boy.



Happy adoptiversary Daphne and Chloe!

From left to right: Daphne (7), Chloe (9), Micky (11)


I was watching a few YouTube videos the other day - two of Robert Kiyosaki and one of Warren Buffett. It was interesting to hear them talk about global financial aspects that are above my level (economics type discussions) but also fascinating to learn about.

Both had different views on 2023 but watching those videos brought back to me how important keeping our own 'backyard' tidy is. With rising interest rates, inflation etc, now is the perfect time to make it a fun game to live a good life without spending a lot of money.

And that's what my books are all about too, in particular ‘Financially Chic’, where I go through everything I do to make being financially savvy enjoyable, plus how we paid off our former home in less than five years. I still can't believe myself we did it.

Back in the day when I studied money books more, I loved 'The Automatic Millionaire' by David Bach. He was the one that talked about latte money, how if you took that $5 a day and invested it you could have a good amount in retirement. He was panned for this, people said 'I love my latte! Don't take it away from me!' But I think the broader message was to look at regular outgoing expenses and see if you're getting value from them.

Every so often I download six months of transactions from our bank's website, and sort it into categories to see what we've spent our money on. It is a quick project to see if there are things I can delete and won't really miss.

Another book I loved was 'Stop Acting Rich' by the same authors of 'The Millionaire Next Door'. These books said most millionaires don't actually 'look' like millionaires, and that they get financially settled before they start spending on fancy luxury goods. Sort of 'stop acting rich and BE rich instead'.

I get that many don't find it fun to read money books so that's why I wrote Financially Chic. It's a different kind of money book: more lifestyle, pretty, fun, inspirational etc. than spreadsheets and figures.

You can turn things around at any age to ensure you are heading in the right direction. Make it fun. Make it easy. Let’s all do money well together in 2023! Are you with me?

xx Fiona

PS. If you have always wonder if it’s possible for you to write a book, spoiler alert, it is. Take a look at my book ‘The Chic Author’ on Amazon here. Read the free sample and see if you like what I have to say. I promise you, it’s simple, easy, fun, enjoyable, satisfying and hugely gratifying. You can do it!

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!
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