Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to you, dear friends!

We had a lovely Christmas lunch with my cousins. Paul and I had our photo taken in their beautiful leafy garden.

I'm wearing my new Ralph Lauren dress from our Hawaiian trip for the first time :)

 It was a warm, humid day and the children jumped in and out of the pool. I kept cool with champagne...

There were 14 of us for lunch and it was a fabulous day. (The gratin we made went well! It was de-lish.)

It's boxing day here now: a day to relax and rest. This afternoon I can be found on the outdoor sofa reading a book sipping an icy cold glass of water.
Last weekend Micky dog had his Christmas groom, and his lovely groomer Roberta put a festive bow in his hair. Sooooo cute!


He is always the happiest dog after a bath and haircut.

(But on Christmas Day he wore his festive tie :)

This year I had the most magical week-before-Christmas ever.

Even though I had things to do, I have still felt peaceful and relaxed. Here in Hawke's Bay it's not as busy as bigger places, but the shops are still as crazy as anywhere else. I went into town once and allowed extra time to park before an appointment.

I can thoroughly recommend giving yourself the gift of a peaceful holiday season if possible!

We did not travel for Christmas day and I know travel can be stressful with the sheer quantity of people involved.

But my experience of this past week has made it even more of a priority to me to continue shaping a peaceful life.

I wish you an unhurried season of festivities - and beyond - too.

My very best wishes to you for an enjoyable Christmas break!

xx Fiona

PS. You can find all my books here on Amazon if you need a little sneaking-away downtime during the holiday period 😉

And, just for fun, I have enrolled '100 Ways to be That Girl' in the Kindle Unlimited program for the next three months. This means you can read it for free if you have a membership.

That girl is who everyone wants to be. She has it all going on! Others wonder how she does it so well. In this book I share all her secrets.

Her message is about how you can stand out from the crowd by harnessing the power of how ‘she’ would be, to instantly:

- Become unforgettable
- Feel happier and more confident
- Stop worrying about what others think of you
- Power ahead in your own life
- Feel unshakeable

That girl is our alter ego, the one who has more fun, makes more money, and is better looking!

Let’s cultivate our that girl persona and see how fabulous life can get. Age or body size are no barrier to creating our dream life, with the help of our inner that girl. We are going to be that girl in our own life, the leading lady in our own movie!

It was so fun to write this book. I got to be a little over the top, but as usual with my writing, it is also grounded in reality. It always pays to have the best of both worlds I believe!

You can find it here on Amazon.

If you have a friend who you think might enjoy this book too, please share this with them:)


(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Christmas week happenings

Hello chic friends,

It's the last week before Christmas! In order to feel peaceful and relaxed, I am planning to be less busy than other years. I want to mostly stay at home, and keep a simple daily schedule of writing and playing, and keep away from the shops as much as possible.

I've just finished reading a book called 'The Wake Up Call' by Beth O'Leary, and although it took me a while to get into it, I did enjoy it. I even had happy tears in my eyes near the end. I love books like that!

So my reading schedule is wide open for my next read. Yay! Let me know what you've enjoyed lately. I do have a long, long list of yummy books to dive into, both on my shelves and my Kindle but am always open to new titles. I think that's 'why' I have a long list to read :)

I do still have a few errands to run though, so it's fun to dress nicely and enjoy them. Even though it's a busy time for people, it's a jovial atmosphere.

I am not hosting Christmas this year, but my contribution to Christmas dinner is a potato gratin. So, so delicious. I have a three kilogram bag of potatoes and will probably use all of them. I think there are at least 14 people attending, and extra gratin never goes amiss. There is rarely any left over!

We are currently having our house re-roofed after many issues with leaks this year (it’s been a rainy 2023 in Hawke’s Bay).

Micky dog is a sensitive boy, and jumps at the slightest noise. Opening a can of fizzy drink is scary, and once he even took fright when I was putting hand cream on and there was a tiny squelching noise. That was his best one, haha.

So you can only imagine his poor beating heart with all the drilling, hammering, and crashing going on above our heads last week and this week.

In this photo I was doing my Pilates class and Micky moved ON to the mat for comfort. Amazingly I could do pretty much everything I needed to do, and it was quite lovely to cuddle into him doing a child’s pose or side ways kicks :)

At one particularly loud-roof-noise point I had ALL THREE dogs on my mat. It was getting ridiculous! Anyway, I got through my class fine, and it was only half an hour to play doggie Twister through.

Shout out to ‘Move With Nicole’ on YouTube for such amazing classes. There are tons of them (beginner, intermediate and advanced – I am on intermediate classes). She is friendly and smiley, and gives the best instructions. They are clear, and the classes are enjoyable. She provides an incredible free service. Thank you Nicole!

And we are all looking forward to our roof being finished this week. Yes, a new roof for Christmas. Aren’t we lucky? Father Christmas will have to land his sleigh on the lawn this year. We don’t want to scratch the paint on our new roof :)


A lovely dinner outside :)

It always amazes me how the simplest things can make an everyday meal more special.


- A rush table mat
- French linen dinner napkin
- A napkin ring
- Fabric coasters
- Sparkling water
- A glass of wine
- Yummy and fresh salad and protein dinner
- Sitting outside on the patio

And of course, jazz music in the background. My husband Paul has curated his favourite jazz tracks into one big playlist, which we listen to on shuffle/random just about every night. You are welcome to listen to it too if you are a jazz fan! It's here on Spotify, free for anyone.

And even if you're not you might find some new music to enjoy :)


Christmas lilies in the hall make the whole house smell beautiful


The stockings are up!

Doggies Chloe, Micky, and Daphne are all waiting for their stockings to be filled with treats for Christmas (they love Duck Tenders or Chicken Biscuits).

I didn't buy a stocking for Nina cat because she has Temptations for a treat and they would get lost in the bottom, haha. Also, she likes to differentiate herself from the dogs. She refuses to use the same water bowl, and has even started waiting at the door to be let in or out, rather than use the cat door because the dogs use it too.

Nina said she is not a diva, just a lady with high standards :)

I hope your week is going well and that you get to enjoy the season as well as getting everything done.

xx Fiona

PS. If you need a little Christmas inspiration, check out my book 'A Chic and Simple Christmas' on Amazon here. It's not too late to add a little sparkle to your mindset!

(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 14, 2023

'Visiting' the Savoy at Christmas

Hello chic friends :)

I was just wondering, how many times so far this month has someone asked you what you're doing for Christmas - maybe a million? Oh well, small talk makes the world go around!

It's business as usual here - festive walking tours on YouTube, candles and lit ornaments galore, cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix and fun get togethers with friends.

I've been writing this week too, on my next book. Such fun. Try and stop me :)


As mentioned, one of my favourite relaxing sofa-time things to do in December is to watch walking tours - and bus tours! - of the Christmas lights and decorations in big cities.

The Wanderizm channel has a wonderful double decker bus tour of the festive lights in central London.

They just happened to pass the Savoy Hotel too...

My cousin Sam was lucky enough to stay there only a week or two ago and sent these fabulous photos he took of the Savoy lobby. How beautiful is the Christmas decor?

And, he also happened to see Prince William in the lobby followed by his entourage, on their way to an event. What a fun coincidence!

I hope you enjoy these photos, they truly are magical, and check out the London bus tour too. It's so fun to be riding along, waiting at the stop lights, turning the corner, seeing new decorations...

I know, I really need to get a life :) but truly, I love being a happy homebody. One day I'll travel to London myself, but not today. Today I'm cozy and snug at home, enjoying the inspirational fruits of others labour. 

And it’s another candle and lightstravaganza - Saturday night at Chez Ferris :) (not quite the Savoy but still pretty!)

Wishing you a fab rest of your week, and I'll see you next week for my last post before Christmas :)

xx Fiona

PS. I'm thrilled to see my latest book has been so well received. No. 1 bestseller in multiple categories! Yay! And thank you :)  You can find it here on Amazon if you haven't seen it yet. 

(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you if you choose to use my links!)

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Embracing the festive season

Hello chic friends,
We went to my husband Paul's work Christmas last weekend, and it was so lovely. The weather was good and we were treated to a delicious dinner and drinks at a local winery. It was a wonderful evening and I am very grateful!
And then the next day was cozy and drizzly, just perfect for staying in with movies and books :)
Festive treats
To celebrate the beginning of December I couldn't resist a treat... I love Christmas themed goodies!


(I also saw gingerbread flavoured popcorn but managed not to put that in my basket.)

If you don't live in New Zealand and cannot get Whittaker's chocolate I feel for you! It's the best :) They've never cheapened their brand and have a consistently high quality product.
A friend that lives in South Africa loads her suitcase up when she returns home from a visit here :)

I buy their 72% Dark Ghana flavour for 'everyday use', and the others as sparingly as I can because they are just too easy to eat.

Are you like me and have to manage what you keep in the house? I've found it's the best and easiest way for me!

And, if you're a Whittaker's fan too, please let me know your favourite flavour. My all time favourite is Jelly Tip, omg it's so good. But again, highly dangerous!

Our festive front door

I love the Christmas vibe and really wish I could keep my favourite Christmas goodies up all year round! They make me so happy to see.
Festive dinner
A festive themed outdoor dinner for the last night of November ✨

My husband Paul asked if there were enough candles on the table (there were six...)

What can I say, I’m a high maintenance lady!
I saw this bright star in the sky that night too, and it turned out to be the planet Jupiter!

I have the app SkyView Lite and it’s so fun to peruse the sky sometimes . I also love the music that plays in the app when I’m using it. It’s very peaceful and calming.

I saw the constellation Aquarius close by too.

It was a good night for stargazing!


And this is my ‘sweet Daphne’ standing on the outdoor sofa as if she is allowed up there :)

Daphne wears her heart on the outside and her spirit is one of love and pure neediness… both for me, and food.

She is 7-8 years old now and we adopted her when she was 2, from the SPCA where she was taken from a puppy mill.

She loves life, loves her doggie and people family, and loves her walks down the road. She trots down the hill and RACES back up.

Home is where the heart is she said, and I agree ☺️✨

I hope your festive season is starting off nicely as well. I have my Christmas tree up and almost decorated. Playing Christmas music. Diffusing Christmas blend essential oils. Switching on all my lit Christmas decor each morning.

Love it ❤️💚❤️💚❤️

It's so nice to be feel festive in December. What I've found though, is that we need to make it happen for ourselves: seek out the lights, the decorations, the fun, and the fizzy happy feeling.

I do this with books and December issue magazines, browsing the Christmas section in stores, viewing homes that are decorated for the holidays (it's slim pickings around here but I can't complain!), watching YouTubers’ Vlogmas creations (current favourite: https://www.youtube.com/@newyorkplease), playing Christmas music at home and lighting Christmas candles (I have a cookie-scented candle burning at the moment).

I don't do holiday clothes or earrings, but I know they are popular :) I love red or plum coloured nails in December though.

There are so many ways in which to bring the pretty, sparkly, magical feeling of Christmas to your everyday!

Please let me know some of yours, and what you’re up to with regards to Christmas decor - minimalist or maximalist? I am in between but always like plenty of payback for my effort!

xx Fiona

PS. You can find my book 'A Chic and Simple Christmas' on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, along with all my other books, which are focused on living a fabulous life without spending a lot of money. 'A Chic and Simple Christmas' is all about celebrating the holiday season with ease and grace, and includes all my best tips to achieve this.
(My Amazon link is affiliate, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you if you choose to use my links!)
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