Thursday, August 31, 2023

OTT fashion and my new herb garden

Hello chic friends!
I have been up bright and early at my desk on these wintry mornings, ready to type some magic into my books :)

This is a photo from Saturday night when we met friends at a gorgeous local wine bar. I'm wearing my new gold Ralph Lauren jeans from Macys... such fun! And my Coach bag is new from our trip as well.

We had a lovely evening, and it wasn't a late one, home by 9.30pm lol.

Sunday was lovely too. We 'acted as if' we were still on holiday so went out for a stroll around town, and then had lunch out. It was a lovely morning, and we headed home just as the rain set in. At least my new raised herb garden got watered :)

As many of you predicted, the kitchen herbs did not thrive, so I now have an outdoor herb bed which is much better, and it's just outside the kitchen door too.

So apart from writing, I've done my groceries this week, plus picked my sister up from the airport. I have Bath & Body Works goodies for her teen daughters which I am just as excited about. I know I'm far too old to shop there but I love that store!

I got to stock up on candles on our trip. My favourite BBW candle that I've tried is Paris Cafe, and I also love Smoked Vanilla. Neither of those are available at the moment so I 'made do' with other lovely scents. Strawberry Pound Cake and Bourbon Maple are two of the ones I bought and they are YUM.

My lovely new herb garden!

We lost our other herb garden when we tiled the patio and it got dug out...

Then I tried herbs in the kitchen window. Fail.

So third time lucky with this beautiful raised bed. It's right outside our kitchen door too.

I've already used tiny bits of parsley and chives but I'm hoping they will really take off and be so verdant and abundant coming into the spring here.

I also planted some spring onions that are so slender they look like chives lol.

Using fresh herbs in meals is one of my favourite ways to live a luxurious life on a budget, just like the book says! (tip 31)

'100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget' here at my Amazon affiliate link.

Or the eBook in my eStore for an Amazon alternative.

And finally this week...

Sometimes things happen when you are about to hop into bed with your Kindle.

How??? is all I can say.

Thanks Micky dog!


Wishing you a beautiful day, and please let me know if you are a Bath & Body Works fan, and what your favourite scents are.
xx Fiona

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Paris Dreaming

Paul and I went to the best concert on Saturday night - an Edith Piaf tribute with jazz band and dancers too. Singer Mandy Meadows is local, but I first saw her in a YouTube video filmed at a jazz club in Soho, London.

She did Edith's songs proud, and it was a real show, with a history lesson woven in as well. It was also nice to see almost a full house.

What a lovely night out!

You can see the London show below on YouTube. If you are a French music fan it's fab! And if you get a chance to see it live it's even better.

Thank you Mandy for an amazing evening.

I bought myself a treat at the Honolulu airport Starbucks, a special Waikiki mug for my morning tea. The inside is the cheeriest orange you could imagine. It makes me happy just looking at it ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿงก๐Ÿงก


It's lightening up in the morning now that we are getting closer to the end of winter. And even though I am a person who really appreciates rain and cozy weather, I am quite ready for spring and summer! Perhaps because we missed summer last year...

I know those of you in the northern hemisphere will be looking forward to cooler weather, and gosh, poor California and northwards with tropical storm Hilary. My thoughts are with you.

The weather world seems to be a crazy place at the moment, no?

And in other news, I am busy writing my next book. I took a little break to recharge but am now about half-way through this latest book, with a couple more started. So hopefully I will have a few out in quick succession. Who can tell. Certainly not me!

I wish you a brilliant rest of the week. And please let me know if you have any fun weekend plans.

My fun plans are staying at home and writing, and I'm also doing a little bit of sewing.

I am shortening my wide-leg linen pants (two pairs) to be on the ankle bone rather than really long. That way I can wear them with heels or flats, and not just heels. Plus I think they can be casual or dressy too, being slightly shorter.

And, there are just a few more days left for my book sale.

The Kindle copy of 'Thirty Chic Days Vol. 3: Nurturing a happy relationship, staying youthful, being your best self, and having a ton of fun at the same time' has 70% off, and the print copy is much reduced as well.

Both paperback and Kindle versions are here at my Amazon affiliate link.

And if you prefer an Amazon alternative, you can order the eBook here from my eStore.

Happy reading!

xx Fiona

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Thirty Chic Days Vol. 3 on sale now


Hello chic friends,
Hey, if you haven't read the third book in my popular 'Thirty Chic Days' series, now is the time :)

Oh why, you ask?

Because the Kindle copy is on sale for a limited time at 70% off, and the print copy is reduced also. Yeah!

'Thirty Chic Days Vol. 3: Nurturing a happy relationship, staying youthful, being your best self, and having a ton of fun at the same time' contains:

• Practical ideas to bring more calm into your day
• Inspiration to simplify how you live your life
• Easy ways to embrace a more feminine and stylish way of being
• How to become younger as you get older
• How to become ‘the lady of the house’
• Why finding peace in the ordinary will soothe you like nothing else
• Ideas that cost little to nothing, and can be put into place quickly and with minimal effort
• How to set goals the feminine way
• How to be a practical dreamer
• Why you should always be the girlfriend, even if you are already married
• How to create your own inspiration
• How to turn your flaw into your strength
• How to create a five-star spa feeling in your everyday life

In Thirty Chic Days Vol. 3 you will find out how to elevate your mindset to be at your most positive and inspired, and enjoy yourself more than you thought possible. Even while doing the same daily tasks you are already doing.

Bring the fun back into your life!

You can find both versions here at my Amazon affiliate link.

And if you prefer an Amazon alternative, you can order the eBook here from my eStore.

Happy reading :)

I'd also like to take a moment to thank you so much for all the kind and thoughtful messages, emails, and comments I received after my last message about Hawaii.

Hawaii holds a special place in my heart as it was where Paul and I had our honeymoon. It was a belated honeymoon in 2013 more than five years after our 2008 wedding, because at the time we got married, we had no extra time and no extra money.

We'd just taken over our retail shoe store and bought our partners out, and we were saving for our first home too. We only had two days off from the store (the staff were 'Paul and I') and then straight back to work.

So when we got to go on our first overseas trip/'honeymoon' together it was like a whole new world had opened up to us. It was magical!

I took this photo at sunrise on our last day in Hawaii a week ago. Hurricane Dora had just started whipping up the winds and Maui was still okay.

Back at home in New Zealand it's hard to see the devastation on the news, and difficult to comprehend the lack of warning signals for people before it happened.

But I know systems can fail because our community was exactly the same when entire homes were engulfed in flood waters - past the roof - in the dead of night with Cyclone Gabrielle earlier this year, with no warning.

My heart is with Maui and the people of Hawaii. I can't stop thinking about this beautiful area of our world.

Love to everyone,
xx Fiona

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Thoughts on Hawaii

Watching the unfolding situation on Maui in Hawaii brings back so many unwelcome memories of the Cyclone Gabrielle flooding that devastated where I live in Hawke’s Bay. Our six-month anniversary is tomorrow.

Like Maui, Hawke’s Bay suffered loss of life, homes were lost, there was virtually no warning, alarms were not sounded until after the event, and cell coverage failed for days so no-one had any way to find out what was happening or if others were okay (our road was cut off by flood waters so we could not go anywhere for four days).

Our neighbours who lost their home and cats, and stayed with us for three weeks after the cyclone are now living at a home in town. They have had to start their life over in their seventies and I know it has not been easy for them, and there are many other sad stories of families displaced and still trying to deal with insurance companies six months later.

Our neighbours old home has now been bulldozed and the place where they once had an idyllic spot and a beautifully tended garden is now a muddy mess from heavy machinery and piles of rubbish.

Maui will sadly have a similar hill to climb and right now it is early days where they are still finding bodies. It really is too awful to contemplate.

I received some criticism for posting my Hawaii photos, and even going to Hawaii at all. If I offended you with either of these things, all I can do is apologise. It was not my intention.

I strive to be a kind and feeling person, and to do my best in any situation. Maybe I did not word things correctly this time.

Big hugs,

Saturday, August 12, 2023

A little Hawaiian holiday...

Hi everyone!
A few days ago we returned from a wonderful five-night Hawaiian trip. It was a work conference trip for my husband Paul and amazingly enough I got to tag along!

It was so lovely to stroll in the balmy, breezy heat, do a 'little' shopping, and eat delicious food. And swim in the sea most days too. What a treat in the middle of a cold New Zealand winter.

The day before we left I heard on the news about people being evacuated from Maui due to wildfires and now sadly it has become a devastating and fatal situation. I am so sad for the people of Maui and the beautiful country of Hawaii.

One night I was talking to a colleague of Paul's and he said how his favourite spot was Lahaina and that Front St was fabulous. He said Mick Fleetwood played at his restaurant when he was there last. Of course now the restaurant and the whole historic area is gone. So, so sad, and my heart goes out to the locals. It is all very sobering.

We actually had eventful flights both ways. On our flight there we were about an hour in the air and the captain made an announcement to ask if there was a doctor on board - just like in the movies! It turned out an elderly lady had a stroke, so the plane turned back and we returned to New Zealand. It was a fast and furious ride and they had to dump fuel to land. After a quick turnaround we were back on our way - and the lady was okay!

Then, coming home, we had to take fly 'around' Hurricane Dora. I haven't travelled a ton, but this trip had drama in spades, and every day was full too.

It's so lovely to be back home with our doggies and Ninacat. My mum looked after the dogs - thank you Jo!! What a superstar - and we had a lovely housesitter stay with Nina.

And now, I get to find space for my lovely new clothes that I bought. I found some nice Ralph Lauren things at Macys, topped up on my Bath & Body Works, bought a few items at the Coach outlet, and some at-home casual gear at Gap and American Outfitters too.

It was a fun time! And now back to writing my next book ๐Ÿ˜ I took a fresh journal with me and didn't write a single word in it, lol. There wasn't time!
On our flight to Auckland I got this pretty shot at sunset

And the day before we left I had my hair done - highlights and an ash/pearl shade of toner. I visited my mum afterwards and asked her to take a photo of my new hair. Of course her dog Milly had to photobomb me! She literally made a beeline as soon as the camera came out. Little Diva!

Love to you, and of course, Maui ๐Ÿ’”
See you next week.
xx Fiona

Thursday, August 3, 2023

The final part - Serene Spa July

 ✨ Serene Spa July ✨

Hello everyone!
Welcome to the final week in the Serene Spa July series, where we infuse our daily life with a relaxed feeling reminiscent of being pampered at a high-end spa. Feel the peace :)

And I hope you enjoy these final tips!

Day 21. Take time to dream

What is that aspirational life you always imagined yourself living? And how does it compare to how you live today? I always imagined a luxurious life lived artfully and with an elegant personal style. What about you? Were you going to be sporty and outgoing? Work in floral display or the art world?

Whatever your long-ago dreams were, see how you can infuse little details into your daily life today. Bring your dreams back to life.

It will feel so good to remember yourself, and give her air. She will take you by the hand and lead you forward, introducing petite tweaks to elevate your days.

As you figuratively lie back wrapped in warm, fluffy white towels while the lovely beauty therapist massages your face and neck, consider your desires. Write them down and act on them in any way you can. Mine don’t cost a lot of money, but they do cost intention, effort, and disregarding what others might think of me.

But it’s worth it, don’t you think? To truly live as you have always imagined?


Day 22: Decrease your to-do list

You will notice I have not posted every single day during Serene Spa July. That was the initial (spontaneous ๐Ÿ˜Š) plan, but some days went by so fast and I had a lot on. So I gave myself a pass and posted 5-6 days a week. And that’s okay with me.

You may feel the same with everything you do in your life. No-one is a superwoman no matter how charmed and easy their life may seem from the outside. We all deal with our own life situations, and also our mental health too.

Mostly I am an upbeat person, but I do have my days where it is impossible to get traction. Thankfully they are not too frequent, but I do have to constantly monitor myself and also be kind to myself. I don’t know if it’s common, or, as I suspect, something to do with being an introvert or part of the creative mind. But I do know that I can easily become burnt out if I don’t sometimes let things be imperfect.

And that’s why I invite you too, to not be bogged down by your to-do list. It really is so important to do what you do, and not feel bad if you’re not perfect.


Day 23. Slow everything down
In the final day of Serene Spa July, I invite you to slow everything down. And I mean everything. Slow down how you move, how you think, how you walk, how you talk. Even if it seems almost painful to go so slow, do it. Try it even for one day, put up a sticky note in front of your computer screen or wherever you will see it most.

Slowing down enables you to have space to think, process, and be present. And more than this, it feels amazing. Let your body relax, soften, and be at peace. You will still get just as much done; it’s quite incredible!

If you don’t believe me, try it ๐Ÿ˜Š You might forget, that’s okay, just get back into slow when you remember. I’ve been doing it today and it feels so good. Like a massage for your insides.

If you’re someone who always feels in a rush and like you’re behind, you are in for a treat.

Let me know how you get on ๐Ÿ˜Š
The doggies put on the saddest faces when I leave them at home ๐Ÿ˜Š Then, when I arrive back an hour later it's like I've been gone for months. There is no better way to feel like a celebrity than to have a fan-worthy welcome home!

And there we have it. I have to say, I am enjoying Serene Spa July being over!! It was enjoyable, but the pressure was on. And I didn't even post every day!

But it's amazing what you can do when you have committed to something. At least I finished it out ๐Ÿ˜Š

August is all about resetting and regrouping, and I really want to release something new as well. I have a book I have already been working on, but as I progressed through Serene Spa July I thought what a great second book in the '30 Chic Days at Home' series (the first book was written during the early days of the pandemic).

So that's what I am going to work on next! I will polish it up expand it to be slightly longer chapters plus increase up to thirty days. Such fun. I love getting new ideas for books and the best part is that I never know where the ideas are going to come from, lol.

A lovely reader suggested that we could transition into 'Go Slow August' and I think that's a wonderful idea. You will see in Serene Spa July on the final day I encourage you to slow everything right down. Find ease in your day. Doesn't that sound wonderful?

And the best thing about that is you will get everything done still. I did not heed this advice yesterday afternoon and I had a wretched few hours where I knew I had a lot to do but didn't know what to start with.

Whyyyyy, Fiona? Why do you do this to yourself ๐Ÿ˜‚

So I stepped back and started again. ‘Amazingly’, I felt much calmer afterwards. Of course I did ๐Ÿ˜Š It really is a decision we make, whether to be stressed or not most of the time. I know there are true issues sometimes, and we must deal with those, but for me I find that the stress is all in my mind... And I can change that.

So I wish you a wonderful day in the fabulousness that is your life. Go slow, be calm, and enjoy :)

xx Fiona

'How to be Chic in the Summer' is available at my Amazon affiliate link in paperback and on Kindle.

And the eBook is in my eStore too, for an Amazon alternative ๐Ÿ˜Š
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