Saturday, January 27, 2024

My first jigsaw puzzle!

Lisianthus flowers brought to me by my mum this week :)

Hello chic friends :)
Last month, inspired by the lovely Katie on Instagram, I bought myself a jigsaw puzzle. The first one I've had since I was a little girl!

At first I was overwhelmed and thought I'd made a terrible mistake ๐Ÿ˜‚ I didn't see how it was possible to put all the pieces together within my lifetime. It was just so difficult! I googled puzzle strategies, asked people I knew who did jigsaw puzzles for their tips, and didn't really get far beyond putting the outside pieces together.

Galison brand 'Michael Storrings Christmas in London' (1000 Pieces)

Now that we are into a fresh, calm new year with Christmas behind us, I gave it another go. And I'm hooked! Once I got over it being 'a waste of time' and 'a job I needed to complete', I now enjoy treating my jigsaw like reading a novel.

Taking my time, enjoying the doing of it, admiring my progress, and feeling very happy when a pieces slots in. Plus I am building a wonderfully atmospheric picture as I go. And can I just say, I also love running my hands over the smooth, shiny surface of the completed parts as I work on it.

It's almost like doing meditation too, because you can't really think of much while you are finding the puzzle pieces. The mind can slow down and be still. And for mental health as I get older I'm sure it must be doing something good!

One morning this week I got up really early and felt like a bit of puzzle time, so I lit candles on the table and spent a little while there.

So thanks Katie, for showing me this wonderfully restorative act of relaxation and self-care :)

My fan club...
This bouquet of doggies is always near me, and most often together too which is lovely.

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

Underneath this bench seat there are pet beds. I live in a house with a million pet beds, haha. They all go in them at night though! And don't get up until the alarm goes off. I don't know how I got them so well trained but they are very good doggies.

Although sometimes Daphne will have 'a night' where she tries to get up on the bed every fifteen minutes. When I feel her paws on the side of the bed and see a face peering at me I say 'in the crate' and she goes back to bed.

It hasn't happened in a while but when she does and tries to get up many, many times I have to repeat 'in the crate'. In the morning my husband Paul exclaims 'I almost got in the crate myself last night!' ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

I hope that gave you a giggle today!
And please tell me, do you do puzzles? If so, what are your favourite brands/types?
xx Fiona

(My Amazon puzzle and book links are 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!)

Friday, January 19, 2024

Summer hygge and dressing up

Good evening from a recent family dinner at home. I loved this outfit I put together and felt really good in it!

I usually wear my colourful tops with blue or white jeans, and have worn these gold pants with my neutral tops, but I wanted something more summery and came up with this.

What else can I mix up in my wardrobe I wonder…?

I am not the type to have outfits planned out in advance. It works better for me to have everything clean, pressed and ready to wear, and I get to pair things up as I’m getting dressed. It feels fresher that way :)

I used to iron as I went, using the excuse that things would get creased in my closet anyway, but that was incorrect. I just never wore the unironed clothes! Now I iron them straight away, and even iron linen damp from the washing machine.

When I forget about how fun it is to dress myself it turns into a chore, but when I remember, yay!

I wrote a book called ‘The Chic Closet’, and it’s for those of us who love to look nice, but are also a little bit… lazy. Is it such a crime to want everything to be easy and effortless including getting dressed? As you’ve probably heard me say before, I like things to be fun and easy, and ‘The Chic Closet’ follows this formula.

When you inspire yourself to do something it doesn’t feel hard or dull, it’s… fun and easy!

If you too wish you were more of a fashionista but can’t really be bothered and wish it was easier to get motivated, go and check out the sample of ‘The Chic Closet’ on Amazon and see what you think.

I love it when one little phrase or idea gives you a zing and you rush off to put it into action. I really hope my books do that for you!

I do love a laundromat for washing my big duvet inners and blankets. There is one right by my supermarket and the 35-minute wash cycle is a perfect time to get my grocery shopping done.

I then take my wet washing home and hang it on the clothesline. With the early 30s C (85-90 F) weather we have been having it’s dry in no time ☀️☀️☀️

I love it when little things like this work out perfectly!

My Christmas tree and all other festive decor has been packed away, but I am reluctant to give up these candles so I'm burning them a little longer.

They are SO pretty. Each candle is a beautiful metallic red 'house' with clear windows so you can see the light inside, and the fragrance is gorgeous as well (from Australian brand Glasshouse Candles, 'Night Before Christmas - Dancing Sugar Plums'). And they have red metallic lids for when I'm not using them which also look lovely.

I still have a lot of wax to go, and I know they will look great too with 2-3 tealights in each, once they are empty.

I am one who fully believes hygge can be a year-round thing, right down to lighting my favourite candles when it's hot outside!

(See the leopard print cushion on the left? Chloe dog just loves to curl up on it and flatten the carefully curated aesthetic...)

Please keep warm and safe if it's wild winter weather where you are ❤️

xx Fiona

PS. Also pictured, my book ‘A Chic and Simple Christmas’, because, why not? After all, it’s never too soon to start planning your next year’s festive season while this past one is fresh in your mind. It’s a great time to jot a few notes down about what you loved and what worked well during this holiday season, and what you did NOT enjoy and will change next Christmas.

It’s here on Amazon in paperback and Kindle:

And the eBook is in my eStore here for an Amazon alternative.
(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!)

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Fresh, Euro-style summer living

Happy weekend! I'm out at a local cafe here, but I'm been spending a lot of time at home and it's been wonderful.

It is such a nice time of year to get things organised at home and make fun plans.

With all my tidying up I even cleaned the tops of my nail polish bottles which I have never thought to do before. It makes all the difference; now my nail colours feel like new and are a pleasure to use.

Do you do this already? Why did no-one ever tell me! I used nail polish remover and a clean rag (which I will keep for future cleanings, don't try to wash it).

I've also got lots of admin done and am even finished up a sewing project today has sat mocking me since late October. I was a bit stuck on a detail but I worked it out in my head and now it's finished. I will get a photo with my model wearing it :)

It's so nice to complete things, and also to create with your hands, whether it's crafting, cooking/baking, or gardening.

And this is my little veggie garden! I only dabble in gardening but I'm very proud of my summer garden this year. We have spinach which goes into our smoothies each morning, broccolini (a bit of a gamble haha), three different types of tomatoes, cucumber and courgette/zucchini, and a passionfruit plant too.

I've picked our first courgettes, and the tomatoes and cucumber aren't far away either.

And we have an herb garden in a raised bed closer to the kitchen which I love too. It has rosemary, basil, sage, oregano, thyme, curly parsley and flat parsley, mint (contained within the raised bed) and even some spring onions which have done us for months now.

I can see why people get hooked on growing food :)

First courgette! It's in the curry below :)

For today, I’d love to share a relevant excerpt from my book '100 Ways to Live a European Inspired Life':

(From tip no. 76)

'Grow herbs at home.
Adding finishing touches to a meal in the form of chopped fresh parsley on scrambled eggs, stirring thyme into a creamy chicken sauce, or sprinkling rosemary sprigs into a big oven dish of roasted root vegetables as they cook will not only add to the flavour, but the look of your meal as well.
And when you grow your own herbs there are a myriad of benefits: you will use them more often because they are right there ready to be snipped off (whether you have them just outside your kitchen in the garden or in pots), they will be fresher, they will be spray-free, and the cost is negligible since the little plants are not expensive.
Your planter pots or kitchen garden will look trรจs chic and European, and there is the final bonus that all herbs have their own health benefits. Herbs are the bomb!'

I have to say, I do feel tres chic and European as I scatter fresh herbs onto a meal as I'm cooking it.

Summer living ๐ŸŒบ

There has been a lot of outdoor living in our new patio area with the beautiful weather we are having.

I made this chicken korma with a ton of veggies (I put vegetables in right at the end for 5-10 minutes so they are still brightly coloured and crispy) and fresh parsley and rocket from our herb garden on top.

Paired with a New Zealand Riesling it was a perfect summer night’s meal. Filling but light and healthy and delicious too.

I did a ton of chopping earlier in the day so all I needed to do was put everything in a pot to simmer while we relaxed outside.

I want to feel like I’m on holiday at this time of the year so I try to make necessary things as easy as possible.

I know where many of you are it’s snowing or raining at the moment so I hope you keep warm, dry and safe!

xx Fiona

You can find the Kindle and paperback version of '100 Ways to Live a European Inspired Life' here on Amazon.

And for an Amazon alternative, download the eBook from my eStore here.

(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!)

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to you, chic friend!
On New Year's Eve we opened a very special bottle of champagne that we received as a gift some years back.

It's not many times in life that we'll have a bottle this fine, so we thoroughly enjoyed it, served in our Waterford flutes, of course!

The flutes were also a gift, from my mum for our birthday this year (my husband Paul's and my birthday is on the same day in October, but we're one year apart). Thank you Jo, we love them!

And of course, keeping it real, the laundry is hanging in the background of this photo, haha. I couldn't not take advantage of a summery day to dry some washing!

We have created our home and our lifestyle to have a resort feeling, that way we can pretend we're on holiday but still have all the comforts of home. And, the pets can come too!

Apart from our three dogs, we also have a sweet cat. My darling Nina is a good age now - 13 this year at a guess. I adopted her and her mother Jessica from a cat shelter when Jess was a teen mum :) Jessica is no longer with us, she died a year ago, but Nina is still going strong. She has slowed down over the past few months and sleeps more but overall is very vibrant, active and healthy. We call her ‘Kitten’ because she is perpetually youthful.


I love these LED candles so much. They don’t blow out when we use them outside, and the leftover wax from real candles gives them a little something extra I think.

They each take 2 x AAA batteries which last for aaaaggggeeesss too. Yay!

Who’s excited for the New Year? It’s so fun to dream of 2024 and all the plans and goals. Fun, gentle, and enjoyable plans and goals that is :)

It’s such an effervescent time of the year too. I hope your New Year's Eve was relaxing and fun, and that you got to do something special as well. 
xx Fiona

PS. My latest book '100 Ways to Be a Chic Success and Create Your Dream Life' is perfect for New Year's inspiration. Order your copy today - in Kindle/eBook or paperback, and create a happy time for yourself :) My motto is to always make things fun and enjoyable, and setting goals is no different.

(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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