Thursday, June 29, 2023

Pet shenanigans, living well, and last days for book sale

Hello everybody!

If you're reading this on my blog, you might not know that I also have an email list which updates with my blog posts every week. I send this email out on a Thursday here (but it might be Wednesday for you, with the time zone difference :)
Apart from the weekly update, I'll also let you know whenever I have a new book out.

If you'd like to try receiving my emails and see how you like them you can sign up here (and unsubscribe easily too if you think they're rubbish!)

Or do this fancy QR code:
And of course, if you are reading this as an email, you're already set :)


Shall we visit the naughty pets department... (where there is an endless supply of 'entertainment')?

So, Nina Cat has started playing on the dining table in the past few weeks. She particularly likes how the tablecloth slides around… I straighten it at least once a day, and only leave our placemats and dinner napkins on it now. All table lamps, vases or candle holders are cleared away. It wasn't good to hear a 'clunk' and see that my new LED gold table lamp was on its side. Lucky it still goes!

It’s true that pets - especially cats - rule the house. We’re just there to tidy up.

Oh hello Nina

And in Doggie News:
It's a romantic evening at home, just my husband and me ... oh wait...

Micky on the left, Daphne on the right. Chloe dog will be tucked away somewhere (probably in my office, in a cozy bed under my desk).

Life with pets is never boring, and you will never be alone! They are a lot of work and cost and stress, but they sure are fun.

You will never have truly clean carpet and you will spend a lot of your time tidying up, and cleaning food bowls.

Even though your car is cleaned regularly there will always be dog hair in it and paw prints on the leather seats.

I dream of a day one day when I am an empty nester and can have unsnagged bedding, new carpet if I want, and be able to wear black without fear.

That day is many years away, so for now I relax my standards a little and enjoy the silliness and fun that is life with pets :)

I do like to dress up an ordinary night with a beautifully set table


I’ve been watching an old DVD series of The Rachel Zoe Project and had to pause to take a photo when Diane von Furstenberg was chatting with Rachel after a runway show.

I’ve seen one of these whiteboards before – a Michael Kors one – and love that there are backstage pep talk/instructions for the models.

Be yourself
Be confident
Smile with your heart
Seduce with your eyes
Love is life

So good! Amazing advice for a runway show and even better for real life!

In my office
I bought this mini easel as a prop for my books. I love switching out the titles every so often. It's my own little show-room display :)

I then thought it would be a cool thing to use for any book - something pretty, my current inspiring non-fiction read, etc. It’s like a little art display.

I got it from a stationery/art supplies store.

It’s so fun to have elegant/inspiring/creative reminders around!
(Book displayed is here on Amazon both in paperback and on Kindle).
And, it's the last few days to get my most popular book of all time 'Thirty Chic Days: Practical Inspiration for a Beautiful Life'. The Kindle book has 70% off and the paperback 35% off. In a few days it will be going back to normal price.

If you already have it, you may want to purchase the other version - Kindle/print etc, or if you have a friend you think may like it please forward this onto her. I'd really appreciate that!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and I'll catch up with you next week!

xx Fiona

Latest release

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Honing your personal style, a healthy lunch, and chic inspiration

Hello chic friends!
Recently I started taking daily outfit photos for myself to:

a) work on upgrading my personal style

b) see what outfits look better or worse in photos

c) to encourage me to wear different clothes more and not just the same old thing every day.

It's been fun and it's really no bother to take a quick snap before I go somewhere or once I'm dressed for the day.

Would recommend even if just for a short time such as a month-long project. It's quite illuminating!

I had some errands to run during the week, and I wouldn’t be back until well after lunchtime. I usually eat lunch quite late anyway, but I didn’t want to get all hungry and jittery and make bad food choices while I was out…

So, I made myself a little lunch box! Along with this I took a plain yoghurt, and ate it in the car reading my Kindle, with the doggies in the back. It was a bit chilly to go and sit in a park or somewhere like that, but I was cozy in my car, and very happy to have good nutrition and a good book.

It was actually a lot of food and I was very full! Anyway, I was proud of my sensible plan and it paid off. Plus, it was a much smaller cost than buying lunch out too.

✅ Thrifty
✅ Healthy
✅ Yummy
✅ Easy

Haha, just giving myself good marks for a good lunch!
Now let's roll back nearly fifty years.

This was my first day at school - 1975 - how short were skirts in the 1970s!!!

I’m on the left and my little sister Catherine is on the right (she came along for the ride and perhaps to make sure I was really getting dropped off?)

I’m sure I didn’t have tons in my giant school bag - lunch and a pencil case? Maybe a school book to write in?

Good times! I love old family photos :)

And if you haven't heard, I have my book 'Thirty Chic Days: Practical Inspiration for a Beautiful Life' on a big sale for a limited time.

The Kindle book is 70% off and the paperback is 35% off (it was the cheapest I could go because of the printing costs involved).

I hope you partake if you haven't read it already, and if you like it, maybe grab the other version. A reader told me this: she already had the paperback but got the Kindle copy in the sale. I love having both versions of favourite books too!

You can find both on Amazon here.

Or the eBook in my eStore for an Amazon alternative.
I came across a beautiful rainbow this week, and it made me think...

There are always brighter times ahead! It's fun to see a rainbow and be reminded of that, and it's also wonderful to make your own things to look forward to.

It's winter here now, but I still make it happy. I enjoy our fire, lighting candles, playing music inside during the day and looking forward to something good to watch when I am walking on the treadmill. I collect citrus fruit off our lawn for my smoothie, and appreciate that everything is green. I read books on the sofa, and have early nights with a book too. I make yummy meals with lots of vegetables, and also slow cook dinners on our woodburner. I wear cozy clothes and utilise accessories as well.

I love the free feeling and warmth of summer, but as my dad said, 'I don't want to wish my life away'.

That’s what self-care is all about :)

What good things are there for you wherever you're at right now? Tell me some of them!

Hope you're having a wonderful week,
xx Fiona

PS. My book ‘100 Ways to Enjoy Self-Care for Gentle Wellbeing and a Healthy Body Image' is here on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.



Thursday, June 15, 2023

Lunch out, cozy Autumn, and a book sale!


With last Monday being a public holiday, Paul and I took the opportunity to go out for lunch at a local winery called Craggy Range. Being of a certain age, lunch suits me better :) I love being tucked up at home in the evening - especially when it's cold outside since we're in autumn here.

How beautiful is the place we dined at? It's a truly world-class winery and restaurant, with the most exquisite grounds.

Dressing up for lunch out is one of my favourite ways to live my own 'epic small life'!

Going to a place like this makes me feel different, it really feels like the experience changes me on a cellular level.

Everything feels elevated, and I carry that feeling home with me.
(After seeing the little table lamps on the restaurant tables, I found them on Amazon. Sadly nothing local. I ordered two, they arrived very quickly, and now I have my own! I love getting inspiration from bars, restaurants, hotels etc. The lamps are rechargeable LED lights, and look very pretty on our dining table. They only last one evening for us, maybe two at a stretch, so I charge them whenever I use them. They are here on Amazon. I also bought my mum a slightly taller version for a dark corner she has with no power point. It seems slightly higher quality than mine, a bit less 'tinny' if you know what I mean, and I can't say how the lasting power compares, probably similar. But I still love mine and how they look!)

We also met a very nice couple at the next table, from Adelaide. They were travelling around New Zealand for eight weeks and said their Craggy Range lunch was the best meal they'd had in their seven weeks so far.
And I have exciting news! I’m having a sale!

For a very short while, Thirty Chic Days - my most popular book of all time - will be US$2.99 on Kindle (a 70% discount!) and US$12.99 in paperback (35% off, sorry it can’t be more but there are printing costs that affect this).

I thought there must by many of you out there who haven’t read it yet and I wanted to encourage you to give it a go!

And if you have already read Thirty Chic Days, I’d love it if you could forward this post on to someone else who you think would love this book. I’d really appreciate that :)

Thirty Chic Days is about approaching things in a new way – through a French-tinted lens in fact – and covers just about every category you can think of. It’s about enjoying your daily life more with a few mindset tweaks and inspired actions – not necessarily spending any money. Phew!

Jennifer L. Scott, author of 'Lessons from Madame Chic' said:

'Fiona Ferris has created a fun, motivational book for women on how to live a more joyful and chic life. Just by reading one or two chapters you will feel compelled to get up and start making changes and implementing her unique tips. Fans of her blog, How To Be Chic, will not be disappointed in this rich volume, full of chic words of wisdom.'

And Shannon Ables, author of 'The Simply Luxurious Life' said:

'Fiona's book is a delightful read to serve as a reminder that it is the everyday approaches to living that make a grand difference in our overall happiness. With a devoted appreciation and love for the French culture, she shares ideas that anyone can incorporate into their daily routine. With thirty chapters, readers can go at a leisurely pace indulging in one chapter an evening before drifting off to blissful slumber or devour in a day as it is easy to want to do.'

You can find it at the sale price here on Amazon Kindle and in paperback.

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

(My Amazon link is affiliate, meaning I may earn a small commission if you choose to use this link, at no extra cost to you. I appreciate it if you choose to use my Amazon link!)

We had family slides at my sister’s place on the weekend. This was my very mature mother before we started! Lol!

Dinner prep on Sunday morning (not by me :) with the Le Crueset slow cooking bolognaise on the fire. Daphne is keeping an eye on things, little sous chef that she is.


In spite of the abundance of rain and our devastating floods in Hawke's Bay, I do still love a good cozy day with threatening clouds outside.

Lots of people don't like talking about the weather because it's such a cliche, but I think weather is magnificent, grand, and a reminder every day that us mere humans are not in charge of everything.

Even though we like to think we are!

This is a good reminder to me as a perfectionist and control freak. Perhaps the weather could be my daily meditation to just... surrender. Aah, I feel calmer already.

It's early morning here, and I am playing around with my ideas and my cup of tea, in my jarmies and robe. The book I started writing isn't quite grabbing me so I'm interviewing others. It often happens like this; I start 2 or 3 and then one takes off.

If you could choose the title of my next book, what would it be I wonder??? Please let me know!

And just for a little fun, I thought I’d share a passage from my latest book 100 Ways to be That Girl. In case you haven’t come across the online ‘that girl’ trend, it’s the name for someone who has it all going on. She is focused on self-improvement and does all those wellness things that we mean to get around to doing but never do… such as yoga and stretching daily. And she does all of this without showing off; it’s just what she does. Maybe we know people like this in our real life and wonder how they do it all!

This mini-book’s focus is on getting some ‘that girl’ energy for ourselves. Sure we may love our lazy life; I certainly like to keep my life as simple, low-key, and yes, as relaxed as possible, but at the same time it’s fun to zing things up a little. We can enjoy our comfortable down-time and be ‘that girl’. We want it all and there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t have it!

Our inner ‘that girl’ is great at motivating us when we really want to gain some traction but inertia is holding us back. She is our alter ego, our greatest cheerleader and she makes it fun to take action.

Sound good? Let’s visit one of the tips.


Tip 53: Fall madly in love with yourself.

Imagine if you treated yourself like someone you’ve just met and have a wild crush on. You’d think about them all the time, doodle your name and theirs together, wonder what they’re doing right now, and drop everything when they call. Or perhaps you’d play it cooler, being busy and happy when they pop around, always on point with your looks, and playing the long game by not seeing them too often. However you would act in your daydreams, do it for yourself. For me, I’d look good every day, take myself out on solo dates, do things that I know I love doing, and make myself my favourite meals. It’s such a fun concept to treat yourself as the one you’re trying to impress, don’t you think?


So that’s what I’ll be doing today, impressing myself 😍 You too?

Ladies afternoon tea #throwback

I love hosting! When it comes to afternoon tea, everyone brings something. It's just how it ended up turning out.

Of course we end up with too much food afterwards, but then goodie plates go home with the guests.

I bought a stack of paper plates just for this purpose, that way we're not scrambling for containers for our plethora of yummy leftovers.

Also, I love a jumble of pretty coloured roses all together. So lovely!

Tell me if you do afternoon tea too, and if not, why not?

Even if you host yourself and don't like to ask your guests to bring anything, you could do a plate of finger sandwiches, a cake, and some fruit.

Add tea and coffee (and a glass of bubbles if you like) and it's a real high tea experience.

Saturday afternoon around 2pm is the best time. Shall I see you then?

xx Fiona

(PS. This is just one of the many ways I love to live a luxurious life on a budget. For 149 other ways, see my best-selling book here!) 


Thursday, June 8, 2023

My latest read, lunch at home, and cultivating star quality

Hello chic friends!
We had a short week this week with last weekend being a long one. Monday was a public holiday, yay!

We spent the weekend keeping low-key and relaxing and it was wonderful. On Sunday night Paul and I rewatched the movie Notting Hill for the millionth time and it was so good. I don't know if I watched it more 'properly' this time, but there were bits in it I hadn't seen before!

I find it so soothing to re-watch favourite movies, and re-read favourite books. It's all about the feeling I get from them, and Notting Hill is extra comforting. And the soundtrack is great too. I used to have the CD and almost wore it out. Now of course anything is available on Spotify.

Crazily, I could not find Notting Hill on any of our streaming services (and we subscribe to most of them), so luckily I could dig out our trusty DVD copy.

What is your favourite comfort movie? Lots of mine come from the 1990s; it really was the golden era of romantic comedies. Or maybe it's because I was in my twenties in the nineties. One of the two :)

The side table next to me always makes me smile! It has all the essentials for a happy time (for a homebody introvert at least :) - a good book, pretty scented candle, hand cream and lip balm, a cheery winter cyclamen, and a hot drink to sip.

I just finished Nicky Pellegrino's latest book and it was lovely. She writes with such detail and the words she chooses are lovely. Would recommend! (here on Amazon)

And of course I had to slip a few of my own books into the photo because, why not? 😅


They have ratings on Amazon of 4.7 and 4.8 out of 5 respectively. Thank you, I appreciate it so much!
Throwback to our little hotel mini-break in Auckland. I got used to having staff in only a few short days! Life can be so cruel when I have to make my own food and pour my own drink :)
First world problems I know!
Below is a homemade lunch in my office yesterday. Not as fancy as a five-star hotel but it was yummy, healthy, and far, far cheaper :)

This is our cleaned up paddock - the silt from the flood has all been cleared away and now it looks like a driveway.

But grass seed has been planted and within a few weeks it will be green again.

Can you spot three doggies in this photo? They love their paddock walks.
And even though it's been beautiful autumn weather in recent weeks, today is very wet and wintry.

When it’s cold and rainy outside and all you want to do is curl up on the sofa with the fire going!
((((( Little Chloe dog )))))


One of my favourite chapters to write in Thirty More Chic Days was Day 25. ‘Cultivate your own star quality’.

The message is to own your uniqueness and ‘enrich your life by elevating your existence to that of the highest calibre’. (How juicy does that sound!)

You don’t have to change anything about yourself; you simply have to allow yourself to shine. No one can bestow confidence on you - you have to claim it for yourself. If you believe it, you’ve got it, it’s as simple as that.

Imagine doing everything from a complete state of confidence that it would turn out well. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I have always loved the saying ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’, which I take to mean that anything we do to improve ourselves or our surroundings will inevitably spill over and increase the standards of many other areas in our lives too. You can feel encouraged to do even one small thing, knowing that it is for your ultimate betterment.

Just a little pep talk and chapter share for you today if you need it.

If you’ve read this book, please let me know your favourite chapter!
xx Fiona


Thursday, June 1, 2023

A city mini-break, my book's birthday, and will YOU write a book?

Hello chic friends!
We had a quick little mini-break last week, spending two nights in Auckland to see family before my husband Paul started his new job on Monday. It was so nice to dress up (my version of dressing up, hehe) and be fancy in the big city.

And, equally nice to be back home with the doggies and Nina cat. We then had neighbours around for dinner on Saturday night which was fun. I didn't get to bed until 1.30am and had to have a big sleep-in on Sunday! Not tons of wine (but enough!) thank goodness but I was still tired when I rose at 11.30am. Oh dear!

It was the total opposite of my normal preferred sleep time of bed 9-10pm and up at 6am. I was so happy to be in bed the next night at a good time and up bright and early in the morning. It's been quite some time since I went to bed that late!

And I've had such a great week so far. I am working on my newest book and have tons of ideas for each chapter, yay! It's so fun to get the idea for a book, brainstorm all the details and everything I can think of, start putting chapters together and then working on it until it's finished. Then editing and proofreading, then releasing.

I already designed the cover when I got the idea, so it's the wallpaper on my desktop computer. It's such a pretty cover and I'm in love with the topic. I can't wait for you to see it when I've finished!

How cute are the three little dog jackets on our coat hook by the front door? We had our first cold enough morning walk to warrant them the other day, with chilly almost-freezing temperatures.

Daphne and Chloe looked fetching in their hot pink fleece tops, and Micky was dapper in his waterproof jacket with tartan detail.

Above them hangs my family tartan too, which suits our 'Ralph Lauren on a budget' decor style perfectly!

I caught this beautiful autumn sunset around 5pm with brilliant blue but slightly threatening stormy sky (we had 7 drops of rain :)

And note the big digger in our paddock below, clearing the silt left behind after the cyclone floods.

Nature moves on and we just have to catch up. It’s all we can do!

And in a few weeks it will be this book's seventh birthday. I could never have imagined what would happen as a result of publishing 'Thirty Chic Days' in June 2016.

Even though I published other titles before this book, I consider it my 'first' book, because it had been written for years. I just never had the guts to do anything with it!

But I'm so glad I did, yes because I have now had the opportunity to share 19 other books that landed on my heart to write, but also because it was very uncomfortable to keep pushing that book down!

'Thirty Chic Days' was printed out and lived in a drawer, and I'd bring it out every now and then to read. I really really wanted to be an author but also it was scary. Where would I go to publish it? Who would read it? Would I get bad reviews? Would people laugh at me?

The answers I have found out?

- Amazon
- You lovely people
- Yes
- Probably!

But guess what, nothing properly bad happened, in fact more good than bad was the result of listening to my inner urging to 'just do it'.

Let me know if you too have always wanted to write a book. Or if you've already written it or know what you want to write. I am your message today to say that it can be done. You can write a book and be a published author.

I have a couple of different resources if you want to make 2023 the year you write your book:

'The Chic Author': This book covers everything I have done to write and self-publish my books, and comes from both a practical angle and a mindset angle. You can find the book on Kindle and in paperback here on Amazon. And in my eStore (eBook only) for an alternative to Amazon.

'Create your dream life as a successful author' eCourse: If you wish to go further, and really immerse yourself in a six-week home study course. I created it in 2018 and it covers every detail of how I got started (including many of the finer points which I've probably forgotten about today because I do them automatically). Details in my eStore here.


If you too are aware that you're pushing your book down, this is your sign to give it up. Release the resistance. Let your book out!
Have a great week :)
xx Fiona
Newest book out now
 100 Ways to be That Girl - No. 1 Bestseller!

PS. My Amazon links are affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission when you order something, at no extra cost to you. I appreciate it if you choose to use my links :) Thank you!
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