Sunday, July 7, 2024

Sunday lunch, and living a soft, calm life

Me and my Banoffi pie

Dear chic friends,
Another Sunday, another family lunch! This one with more people than usual though, and at my aunty’s place last weekend.

Our delightful dining setting
It was such a lovely afternoon. I took a gluten-free Banoffi Pie by request. I love baking for get-togethers; it’s usually the only time I bake.
Although Banoffi Pie really is just a matter of assembling so it probably doesn’t technically count as baking :)

1. Make the biscuit base (I used gluten-free biscuits, whizz those to fine crumbs and mix with melted butter).

2. Top with a tin of caramelized condensed milk.

Refrigerate overnight.

3. Top with slices of banana.

4. Cover with thickened cream.

5. Grate chocolate over top.

I made this in a springform pan, but it would be lovely made in individual ramekins or teacups.

I’d sprinkle the biscuit base in rather than pack it down, spoon over the caramelized condensed milk, then add slices of banana, cream and chocolate nearer serving time.

I will do that next time :)

Delicious roast lunch

Micky up on the sofa where he probably shouldn't be

And likewise Chloe and Daphne, taking up a seat in the conservatory!

It really was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon :)

Can I just say how lucky I am to have such lovely readers?

Firstly, I received a request by email asking for one or two tips from my new book ‘100 Ways to Live a Soft, Calm Life’. Of course! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Secondly, another lovely reader, Kirsten from Victoria, Canada sent me this photo of a beautiful rose from her garden. She gave me permission to use it and to say her name and location too.

I had a thought that it would be a fun thing to ask YOU to send me a pretty photo you've taken also, and I can share them with everyone on other posts. It could be anything you associate with living a soft, calm life.

I'd love it if you'd play along! It just needs to be your photo though, I don't want to share someone one else’s work without permission.

And let me know if you are happy for me to share your name and/or location too.

You can email me fiona at howtobechic dot com or send a direct message on Instagram or Facebook, although sometimes those can get a bit lost I find (I try to respond to them but occasionally I find a really old message that got stuck - eek!)

Yay! I think this will be fun. Also, number one in three categories! Woohoo!

Let's get into the first one though. Today I'd like to share no. 49:

:: Choose softness as your new standard ::

“Living a softer life is not just about having everything perfect and thinking there will never be a problem. This unrealistic thought might stop you from thinking it is possible for you to relax into living the way you desire.

In life, we will always have issues, both big and small, but when you take on being calm, measured, and down-to-earth as your default, you will be able to handle problems more easily.

Don’t fall into victim mode and wonder ‘why do these things always happen to me?’ because problems happen every day to everyone. It’s part of being human.

Just know that your only job is to choose to live in a softer way, and that it is fully possible for you to do so.” 


Connie, from Chicago, USA sent the picture above, which was taken on The Great Lawn of Millennium Park, where people were listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing during their music festival. She met up with new people who were eating snacks and drinking wine during the event and said it was a picture-perfect day.

I love days like this too! It’s almost like everything aligns perfectly and it’s just such a dreamy wonderful day. One to remember for years to come.

Connie said it reminded her of number 98 in ‘100 Ways to Live a Soft, Calm Life’. So shall we read that tip too? I think so ๐Ÿ˜Š

::Get out and do all the things you can imagine yourself doing when you are living your idealistic life::

"Foreign movies on the big screen, live nights at a local jazz club, visiting museums and galleries, walking through beautiful public gardens, going to the theatre or a comedy show.

I’m a total homebody to the point that I can realize sometimes it’s been ages since I went to something out of the ordinary, and that’s the perfect time to plan something new.

Like a vacation, it shakes things up and gives you a fresh perspective.”

Thanks so much Connie for your lovely photo. It looks so summery and relaxing ๐Ÿ˜Š Nice to dream about when it’s winter here in New Zealand.


Penny in Runaway Bay, Australia sent in this photo (above). Isn't it pretty? And a little bit dreamy too?

Penny said she couldn't bear to throw out her past-their-best roses so sprinkled the petals in a bowl for a few more days of loveliness. Such a nice idea.

I thought tip no. 2 from the bonus chapter '50 Ways to Romanticize Your Everyday' would be nice with this image :)

::Recreate an idea from a magazine or Pinterest::

"Whether it’s an artfully plated breakfast, laying out on a blanket under a tree to read in the shade, or arranging your closet so that it resembles a stylish boutique, there are always new inspirations to elevate any area of your life.

Next time you come across something that appeals, give it a go straight away."

It goes perfectly with Penny's beautifully set rose petal table ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›


And finally, in celebration of living a soft, calm life Sharon from Central Illinois, USA sent in some lovely photos.

I just adore receiving these pretty pictures in the (e)mail and being able to share them with you. They are equal parts soothing and inspiring ๐Ÿ˜Š

In her words Sharon will explain each photo.

Take it away Sharon!


Sharon’s version of a soft life:

1) I had time to polish the silver that I use most often, so it's all in one place in the living room before putting it away

2) my toes in the bath with lots of tea lights

3) finished a jigsaw puzzle. I put on an audio book and make a big mug of coffee, and turn on the bright torchiere, and time just flies by

4) on a walk, you see the most gorgeous flowers thanks to neighbors' gardens

5) (above) & 6) (below) I frequently post on FB a daily pic of my feet propped up on the back deck in the morning as I drink my only cup of caffeinated coffee for the day. I call it the "Deck Report" with an assessment of the weather that day. People like my shoes. ;-)

All lovely ideas, and I adore Sharon’s pretty jigsaw puzzle ๐Ÿ˜Š And look at the beautiful green view from the back deck. So tranquil.

Thank you for sharing Sharon!


This post and these images are to celebrate the release of my newest book ‘100 Ways to Live a Soft, Calm Life’, and it was such a pleasure to write too. I hope you feel soft and fluffy as you read it. I’m currently recording the audiobook which is fun as well. Very soothing ๐Ÿ˜Š

This book is currently available on Kindle and in paperback here on Amazon.

Wishing you a lovely rest of your weekend. I hope it has been soft and calm for you as well!
 xx Fiona

(PS. 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!)


  1. Just grabbed a copy of your new book and #47 jumped out at me. Choose Gentle Media. I usually read police procedural or murder mysteries, with the occasional romance novel sprinkled in but I started having nightmares! Really bad nightmares from all the blood and guts, this was not good. So I went in to my Kindle and deleted ALL of the murder type books in my library. Some were free Kindle Unlimited and some were purchases and I was sorry to lose that money but my peace of mind is worth it. I actually discovered a new and VERY gentle romance series, Compass Key Books. These are very much like the Hallmark movies you love so much. You are a gem and I am happy to have discovered you and you wonderful books. Thank you!!
    Jillian from Chicago

    1. Hi Jillian! Gosh that doesn't sound good - nightmares! I think I would be the same. I haven't heard of Compass Key but I will look them up. Thank you! x Fiona


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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