Saturday, May 25, 2024

Goodbye little Milly dog

My mum's little dog Milly passed away last week. She nearly made 17 - her birthday would have been in June. These photos were taken a few weeks ago, and she managed to hang in for Mother's Day though 😭

She was adopted by my mum several years ago, through a friend whose neighbour died. She asked if mum would like to take Milly in since none of her late neighbour's family could.

Milly was a sweet and playful girl, and very independent too. When she visited our place she'd potter outside in the garden by herself, and always be on the go.

Goodbye little Milly. Now you are over Rainbow Bridge you are young and free, and will be able to reunite with all our other pets from over the years.

If Milly could pass on any piece of advice, it would be this. Don't let your age be a hindrance to living a new life. I think she was about 12 when my mum adopted her, and she stayed youthful and excited to the end. Sweet dreams Miss Milly!

Please give your pets a hug today in honour of Milly's long life 💜❤️💛💚💖

I was so happy to see the audiobook of 'The Peaceful Life' at number 6 on Audible's Beauty, Grooming and Style bestseller chart. No. 6!!

And in fact, four of my audiobooks are in the top 15 of the Beauty, Grooming and Style new releases chart on currently!

I have no words ❤️❤️❤️

I thank you very much if you've ordered any of my audiobooks, and I really hope you're enjoying them.

There are more to come, of course! '100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget' should be available any day now, and I have submitted 'Thirty More Chic Days'.

In recording progress is 'Financially Chic' as well 😊

Thank you so much for your support, I really do appreciate it. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and I truly hope the purchase price is returned to you ten-fold in terms of abundance, happiness, and inspiration 😍
xx Fiona
PS. You can find all my books at my Amazon affiliate link here or in my eStore here for an Amazon alternative.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Mothers Day, and a Chic Success tip

Hello chic friends!
Last Sunday we had ladies afternoon tea at my Mum’s for Mother’s Day :)

It was a lovely afternoon with Prosecco, coffee, and afternoon tea treats.

I made the Edmonds chocolate cake again but instead of the icing being too stiff I made it too runny 🤭 Maybe the third one will be just right!


With love from Miss Nina enjoying the crisp Autumn sunshine here in Hawke’s Bay


This is my darling 'kitten' Nina (now 14 years old, according to the estimated date of birth on her adoption records).

She healed well from her climbing injury a few months back (a little gash under her arm) and is her old self again - racing around, catching mice outside (and bringing them in 😮), plus scaring the dogs. She is the Queen Bee and the boss!

She is so tiny, and quite self-contained and independent too. Although she always sneaks up onto our bed at night after the dogs have gone to sleep in their beds.

Her current favourite food is Fancy Feast Petite Delights. Any other brand is left uneaten... She also doesn't mind a few slivers of fresh fish when we have it for dinner each week.

We adopted her in Auckland when we lived there, from a cat shelter along with her mother Jessica. (Jessica crossed Rainbow Bridge about 18 months ago, rest in peace my sweet princess.)

Nina was so stressed when we moved here since she'd only lived in the one house with us, but she's good now that we've been here seven years and loves her life in the country.


She really is a sweet girl, very gentle and friendly, and prefers affection on her own terms. She is a self-patter, meaning she likes to be in charge of the patting and not feel too smothered. You hold your hand out and she will deign to rub herself against you!

I regularly find her on my writing desk sitting under the lamp which has a halogen bulb so it’s warm, and if I get up she always steals my seat.

She's a funny wee thing and we love her 🥰 If you have a cat, Nina sends love and wishes your way, and even if you don't she'll share a purr. She’s generous like that!



Inspiration for today 😊

I thought I'd share a little excerpt from my latest book "100 Ways to be a Chic Success and Create Your Dream Life".

This one is tip no. 43.

"Become the CEO of your life.

Imagine if your life was an organisation – mine would be The Fiona Company. And within, you would have many different departments: the health department, the finance department, the home department, the love department, the career or job department. How fun does that sound! And you’re in charge of everything!

As the CEO, you would want to oversee all these various components of your company and ensure they are running smoothly. Because if any of the departments are not going well it’s not good for business.

Just simple things like looking at the finance department and making sure it’s not spending more money than is coming in. Or the health department that enough fresh fruit and vegetables are being delivered to that floor, and are being used up!

It’s a little bit silly, but I often find that looking at things from a different angle can give us insights or Ahas that can help us a lot."

I love thinking about things using this tip, it really does give me a different angle to be inspired by if I'm feeling blah.

Think about your company - it's so fun to name it - and what departments you want to focus on at the moment.

Today I am going to tidy my writing desk and clear away all the financial admin (receipts and paperwork laying around etc), so I guess that would be the Finance Department.

I also want to do some writing on my next book (which is 2/3 finished!), so that would be the Career Department.

Even just dreaming up all the different departments of your company would be an inspiring journal prompt! Make them fun names too. Perhaps your Finance Department could be the Wealth Department, and your Health Department could be the Beauty and Vibrancy Department.

Please let me know the name of your company, and which departments you will be working in today!


And if you are wondering what other ladies think of this book... (thank you to my readers who leave reviews for me on Amazon, it really makes my day, my week!)


Another day, another dog walk! We like to go for multiple short walks a day instead of one long one.

I sometimes put leashes on to walk away from home, then let them off to run back. Otherwise it is a slow walk 😂 I tend to keep fluffy white Micky dog on his leash because he has zero road sense, and even though we don't get much traffic, we do get some. It could be a dogsaster for all concerned 😬

But Daphne and Chloe are very good at staying on the side of the road and I can trust them off-leash. Sometimes we walk in the paddock, but it's mostly just up and down the road. There is a slope so it's good for the heart rate!

I heard a great quote once that said to 'walk your dog every day, even if you don't have one', and it's true, walking a dog is a great excuse to get outside and absorb some Vitamin D, no matter the weather. And if you don't have a dog, still do it anyway 😂

Walking outside is such a happy pleasure of mine. When we lived in the city I used to walk around our neighbourhood listening to inspiring audios on my headphones, and I loved to go window-shopping downtown too. It was an exercise walk and a lovely look around all at the same time 😊

Are you a happy walker like I am? Where are your favourite places to walk?


Nature's beauty from our front lawn ✨

I hope you're having a lovely week as it draws to a close - the working week that is anyway. I've been so productive! Working on my next book, finishing up my next audiobook (Thirty More Chic Days), and still not managing to tidy my desk 🙈 Maybe tomorrow!

What are you proud of yourself for doing this week? I'm most proud that I've been writing my new book. I was letting my writing be further down the priority queue than it deserved to be. Once I'd done other things, often there wasn't time for writing, so it missed out for another day.

I started doing it first thing, before anything else, and it worked! Those productivity experts know what they are talking about 🤣

I'm off to take Micky dog for a long walk now, and then it's back to my beloved writing. Daphne and Chloe don't like long walks, it's a battle to get them going! So Micky and I, and a podcast, are taking a long walk today (by long, I mean 40-45 minutes, so maybe not long by others standards!) It's a beautiful morning, so peaceful, and mild too.

Happy weekend to you and I look forward to seeing you next week!
xx Fiona
PS. Please share this with a friend who might like the same things you do, I'd appreciate it! They can join my mailing list here if they would like to receive a cheery email once a week :)

Saturday, May 11, 2024

The best Coco Chanel story! And life as an author

Hello chic friends!
The doggies don't usually go into town, but Micky was getting groomed and 'the girls' get their nails done when we pick him up, so we all did a few errands and stopped by a city park in case they needed a wee.

But they NEVER go to the loo when we are out because it's Far. Too. Scary. They are such nervous little doggies and always wait until we get home. We were only out an hour or two though, and they'd rather go for a car trip than miss out! It's so cute how dogs love going for a drive. If they had their way they'd come every time I left the house.

Something I love the best about working from home and being my own boss is that I can go out on random weekdays when there are plenty of carparks available and not too many people around.

And, I can do my work early in the morning or whenever really. I am so lucky - and grateful - that I get to do this. And it's all thanks to you - my readers. I appreciate each and every reader who puts their trust in me when they buy one of my books.

My goal is to encourage women to live a life of their own design, live better without spending more, and to have an inspired mindset that makes everything better. Life really becomes magical when you plant beautiful things in your secret garden aka your inner world!

You can find my 20+ books on these very topics here on Amazon. They come as eBook/Kindle, paperback, and some as audiobooks. And if you click the '+Follow' button by my photo on Amazon you will be automatically updated by Amazon whenever I release a new title.

And for an Amazon alternative you can purchase eBooks and audiobooks at my eStore here.
 I've been thoroughly enjoying recording my audiobooks recently. Once I'd finished with The Peaceful Life, I really did feel calmer and more serene!

I think the main takeaway is to slow down and be more present, which I know sounds so cliched and yes-I've-heard-that but when you do it it feels amazing! Like your whole system gets to relax.

I've always adored this cover too. The lady is so... dreamy. Just look at her, she is the picture of elegance and tranquility. And that sleeve! So dramatic and lush.

How has your week been? I've had a great week and was even recognised by a blog reader at the supermarket. Hello to the lovely lady in the fruit and veggie department!


On Tuesday we went to see the Amy Winehouse movie, at an actual theatre! Not just on the sofa haha. I love her music but I hoped the movie wouldn't be too sad... Let me know if you've seen it. The movie was excellent and the actress portraying her did a great job. It was sad at the end, of course it was, because we all know she died at only age 27. But what a talent, with her songwriting skills and amazing voice and style. Thank you for the music Amy.

A beautiful sunset view from our lawn. Being autumn, this is just after 5pm!
Once the sun drops, brrrrr. Time to light the fire and get cozy :)

I always feel like having dinner earlier when it gets dark early, which means we have a lovely long evening, even though I go to bed quite early!

What time does the sun set for you currently?
How cute is little Chloe dog smiling in the sun? She and Daphne are real sunbathers. They love lying outside soaking up the rays. You'd think they'd get too hot, but no! Micky dog on the other hand likes the shade. He can often be found inside or under our pergola.

Chloe looks the picture of innocence here, but don't let that fool you. She is always the first to bark at nothing, setting the other two dogs off, then looking away like she is nothing to do with the ruckus...

She has gone so grey now that she's ten, but she's still a puppy at heart and so nippy and speedy when she races around doing zoomies when she's in the mood. Isn't it the funniest thing when dogs do zoomies?
I received the loveliest email from one of my students last week.

Trish from Ireland said:

"This e-course is making my heart sing, Fiona!

I absolutely love the daily emails, full of delicious, author-to-be treats.

It’s nourishing my creativity and my soul, at the same time.

I’ve taken many soulless online courses, with slick videos, snazzy downloads and designer workbooks, but your simple, elegant approach wins hands-down in terms of pure engagement with the material. (I have folders full of unused material from other courses.)

Anyways, just thought it would be nice to let you know.

Hugs from Ireland!


(I just want to say Trish gave me permission to use her name and country :)

If you too are interested in peeking in the door and seeing if it's possible to become a self-published author, why not sign up for my free mini-course giving you a taster of the course Trish is taking.

It's a ten-part email course and is absolutely F R E E. You can go here to 'Sign up for my Free 10-part mini-course for aspiring non-fiction writers'. I also have a fancy QR code to use!

Creating my own work-from-home employment writing the books I love is one of my biggest achievements in life. If you are a happy homebody who finds it a wrench to leave the house to go to work each day I'm sure you can relate!

And even if you love getting out and about, wouldn't it be nice to completely make your own choices in life and live on your own terms?

Or perhaps you have no desire to publish, but just want to explore your creativity and maybe write a short book for your own pleasure. This free mini-course will have something for you too.

At the end of last year, my great aunt Birdie passed away, aged 90. She had an incredible life of travel and adventure. She visited many, many countries. Travel was her thing. And she had excellent stories such as this one:

In the late 1960s Birdie worked in Paris at the American hospital, as a nurse. And one of her patients was... Coco Chanel. The Coco Chanel. This was in 1969. Birdie told me that while Chanel was in hospital a very young Karl Lagerfeld came up to visit her every day at lunchtime.

She said Coco never stopped talking, in French only, and very very fast. My great-aunt was getting better with her French but simply could not keep up with Chanel’s speed.

She said Coco was very elegantly dressed, and had hair much as you would see in photos of her. One day she announced she was too tired for a shower, so she had a sponge bath of Chanel No. 5 in a bowl, which was tipped out afterwards.

Isn’t this the coolest story? (And please don’t think my great-aunt was being disrespectful of Chanel, she didn’t tell me anything other than what I’m sharing here.)

I am the opposite of my great-aunt, a real homebody, whereas being at home for her probably felt like being in jail. She was always planning her next trip and couldn’t wait to get away again.

Two great ladies who lived lives that were atypical for the time.

I hoped you enjoyed my chic Chanel story, and I wish you a lovely, lovely weekend.

xx Fiona

PS. I wrote a whole chapter about ‘living your Coco Chanel life’ in my book ‘Thirty More Chic Days’ which I am currently recording the audiobook of (it’s Day 9 – Have a closet like Coco’) If you haven’t read it yet, this chapter is a fun read about living a life of your own design, just like Coco (and my great aunt!) did.

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

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Baby Day and baking a cake

Hello chic friends,
I saw on Brian Tracy’s Facebook page that it’s National Baby day!

I found this photo of me with my cousins (and a random foot on my chair 😂).

I had lots of cousins on my dad’s side but was the first grandchild on my mum’s side.

Both my parents had very dark almost black hair and they ended up with a white blonde baby!

Mum said I would wake up with my hair a birds nest at the back and she had special detangling spray sent over from Australia to sort it out 😅

Have you shared your baby photo? Please let me know!

And... I baked a cake! Okay, the icing was a little... stiff... but I made this all from scratch. Normally it's a box cake for me!

It's the classic Edmonds chocolate cake, and I remember my mum baking this just about every Sunday throughout my childhood.

I made it because I had neighbours coming around for morning tea, a lovely couple.

Then, because my mum said it's best eaten fresh (it is quite a light and airy cake), I invited her and my aunty over for afternoon tea. I also sent them home with a piece for after dinner, and we managed to get through the whole cake in one day, haha. It was a very social day, and all for a cake!

I love it when spontaneous plans turn out fun and a little bit silly (in a good way).

The cake was good but I think I need to work on my icing 😊

If you want to have a go, I've photographed the recipe. I made mine gluten-free since I’m celiac. I just replaced the flour with my gluten-free flour (it’s a general baking mix) and it worked out perfectly! Normal people couldn’t even tell 😊

The Edmonds cookbook is a classic New Zealand publication, and I particularly like that this edition is spiral-bound and lies flat on the kitchen counter, or I can fold it back and only have one page showing. I've been working my way through the chapters making different cakes and slices as I have guests around!

What’s the go-to recipe book ‘from way back’ in your country?
 Have a great weekend!

xx Fiona
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