Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Chic Manifesto - my 10 chic principles

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a million books on living a chic lifestyle and read all the blogs you can find, but instead of bringing you closer to your idealistic way of living, you find yourself further away because of overwhelm.  There’s just too much good information!

When I first started this journey, it was new and exciting and I devoured everything on this topic.  Nowadays what serves me better is to listen to my own voice more.  When I have too many external influences I get cloudy on what I want.

It doesn’t take long to get my thoughts back and feel more in balance again.  I think it’s a cyclic thing where sometimes I’m happy taking in more of other peoples opinions and at other times less.  Something that helps me feel more sure of the direction I’m going in and still being inspired by others rather than drowned out, is to note down my own take on chic.

So I sat down and came up with my top ten chic timeless principles to guide me.

May I present to you my Chic Manifesto  --

The Chic Manifesto - my 10 chic principles

I am me, no matter who I am around.  Because I love all things chic, I will not dull myself down to fit in with others.

I share as much or as little as I am comfortable sharing.  Others will not pressure me into giving away more than I want to.  I enjoy having mystique and moving freely throughout life.

I treat myself with exquisite care.  I love my body because it is my vessel in this life.  I take care of her by feeding her nourishing foods, pampering her with self-care and give her adequate rest.  I listen to what she tells me.

I treat others with compassion and empathy.  Everyone is doing the best they can and most people are kind.  I try and see things from their point of view and it makes it very easy to be the kind of person I want to be.

I am a good steward of my resources.  I appreciate my income and all the possessions I have been blessed with.  Anything I don’t need any more is donated so that someone else can make use of it and I can enjoy the space in my life.

I am ambitious for a wonderful, fabulous, sparkling and magical life and it begins today.  I am constantly dreaming up new and better ways to make my life more fun and happy.  In turn that cheer spills over to others, and as I become more prosperous I can help better the charities close to my heart.

I am inspired by the latest fashions each season and how others put their style together, and at the same time enjoy dressing uniquely in a way that reflects the spirit of the true me.  I purchase and wear only that which makes my heart sing and I am grateful for a wardrobe that lifts me up every single day.

Even though I may sometimes feel small or insignificant, I know I am a valuable member of the human race and have a lot to contribute to my circle of influence.  This includes my family, friends, acquaintances, blog friends and blog readers – really everyone I come into contact with.  I take on this responsibility.

I enjoy my home and appreciate how lucky I am to live in a safe country with a warm and cosy place to shelter.  I show this appreciation by keeping my home clutter-free, tidy and clean.  I support my home and it supports me.

I am constantly inspired by both myself and others.  I welcome the ideas I dream up and am thankful we are able to gain inspiration and wisdom from others around us.


So chic friend, what about you?  Have you found yourself feeling overwhelmed now that we are living in this information age?  Do you have any tips to share on how you navigate and curate what you receive and take in with chic aplomb?

Please do share.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Being chic in a difficult work environment


It’s all very well feeling empowered by our chic ‘good vibes’ when we are in our own environment, one that we have total control over such as our home.  However what can we do to protect ourselves when we are in a work environment and it’s an unhappy and oppressive atmosphere, and changing jobs is not an option?

A reader who feels that her ‘chicness feels secondary to survival right now' has asked me this, so I’ll do my best to offer some tips and ideas to get you through the day.  Thinking back to different jobs I’ve held, some were fine and some had awful people who made the day-to-day not so pleasant.

Look to myself first

Firstly I’d make sure that I was beyond reproach.  I admit I do find it hard to get motivated at times, so if I’m being frothy and pretty but not doing my work then others have every right to be grumpy with me.  I’m not saying anyone else is guilty of this, but I was.  So whenever I was feeling put upon I’d look to myself first to see if there was any way I was contributing.

Along the same lines, I’d also ask myself if I was gossiping, complaining or being passive aggressive.  Again, I’d turn the spotlight onto myself and choose to take the high road by being respectful, pleasant and 'staying in my own lane' (minding my own business).

Create a safe bubble

Next I would work on creating a safe bubble where I could do my work, protect my energy and go home at the end of the day ready for a relaxing evening.  I would not let my evening be ruined by a draining day at work that I'd let come home with me.  I’d remind myself that when people are not nice it says more about them than it does about me. I'd also not let them take any extra time from me.  If I'm still chewing over something later on at home they are stealing my peace there as well.

Unhappy people often take it out on someone else.  When I tell myself this (and it certainly is true) it always makes me feel better.  Even though I work with my husband now and we run our own business, we still may encounter an unhappy supplier or customer and they really used to get me down.

Of course I'd try and help them out but sometimes I'd just have to step back and know that nothing I could do would make them happy and that it’s just how they are.  That takes the pressure off me to try and ‘fix’ everything, because I can be a bit of a control freak and if someone is not happy I want to help them – sometimes even if they don’t want it!  (I am learning… slowly).

Incorporate things that make you feel good

In her email to me, our reader said that perusing my blog gives her hope when she is lunching at work.  I do this too – if I’ve had an encounter that has drained my energy or made me feel bad I raise my vibration either by telling myself a better story or I’ll go online and read one of my favourite uplifting blogs.

When I’m out walking or travelling home on the bus like I sometimes do, I listen to positive and informative podcasts.  Before I had an iPod I’d always have a favourite small book in my bag – Anne Barone’s books went to and from work countless times with me when I worked in an office and would bus into the city every day.  In my lunch break I’d go out for a half hour stroll, buy my sushi and come back to my desk to eat it (my desk was preferable to the food hall).  I’d read something inspiring whilst eating and be ready for the second half of my day.

Having a little stash of items like makeup, perfume, handcream and chewing gum for fresh breath in my bag always helps me feel more pulled together and ready for anything.  I’d always touch up after lunch.

Have a high vibration

All of these things lead to raising your vibration and you know you have a high vibration when you feel good.  I believe people can sense your vibration, just as you get a vibe from others.  Some people can be energy bullies without realising (just giving them the benefit of the doubt here) and if your energy is low they may feel justified in attacking you in small or big ways.

By doing everything possible to keep your vibration high you are more protected from these people.  Being healthy and happy goes a long way towards a high vibration so look after yourself and think good thoughts.

You can choose

And finally, at the end of the day it’s your choice about the circumstances you find yourself in.  You can weigh up whether it’s worth it for you to stay in this situation and make the most of it, knowing that you won’t be there for the rest of your life, or you can say to yourself ‘I’m really unhappy and I’m going to make plans to transition into something else’.  Making that decision can bring incredible coincidences into play and just putting it out there can start things off.

Make a list of your ideal working environment and read it often, and, why not expand it out to your ideal lifestyle?  I’m done this myself and can see things slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) shifting to match that picture I’ve painted for myself.  It’s both exciting and empowering (and sometimes a bit scary) knowing that I am in complete charge of my life, even if it doesn't feel like it at times.

I’d love to hear any thoughts my lovely readers might have on thriving in spite of an ongoing non-ideal work (or other) situation – please do share your collective wisdom.  Even if you think it’s just a tiny thing it could spark off a life-changing thought for someone else.  You may think I'm overstating this but it's true, sometimes I've heard a brief snippet that has given me a great idea that I have put into action and it's changed my trajectory (for the better!).

Sunday, September 20, 2015

'I like myself'


I’ve been listening to my old friend Brian Tracy lately (yes, him again!).  He never fails to offer me something new to consider, even though I might have heard a particular cd or track many times. 

In a recent listening I picked up the following.  He states that the only thing in life we can control are our thoughts.  Hearing this stops me obsessing about little things that can make me unhappy.

Instead of looking at my skin and thinking it looks older and is there something I can do about it (beyond my usual skincare regime I mean), I focus on my inside and think about what makes me feel happy.  Happy people are beautiful people because it comes from within.  And someone with a big smile always looks wonderful to me, no matter their age or how ‘commercially’ good looking they are.

I have noticed too, that people who are rigid and negative have a face that matches their attitude.  Coco Chanel said you earn your face and now I am thinking it’s not just about the skincare regime, it’s who you are that comes out and settles on the skin.  This has helped enormously to keep my thoughts soft and kind.  I am not as cynical as I used to be and I endeavour to look at others with more compassion too.  And don’t forget, include yourself in that compassion, that’s a tough one to remember for me sometimes.

I’m not saying I am completely letting myself go physically though.  I do the best with what I have, I try to look after my body with nourishment, light exercise and lots of moisturising.  I style my hair and apply soft, flattering makeup and wear clothes that make me feel good.  However beyond that, I don’t think much about my appearance at all.

I think my ideal life is to have a perfect balance of taking care of my outside, whilst equally or perhaps even more so focusing on the inside (the soul/thoughts etc).  I have been guilty in the past of forgetting about the inside and this never makes the outside better.  In fact some of the most beautiful women in the world are quoted as saying they never feel beautiful.

One of Brian Tracy’s main things is to repeat over and over (in your thoughts or saying it quietly to yourself) ‘I like myself’.  It sounds a bit silly and superficial, but trying it I have found makes me feel better and also make better decisions, whether it’s not being lazy, eating good food rather than crap, avoiding stupid spending and the list goes on.

He states that saying ‘I like myself’ raises your self-esteem which changes everything in your life for the better.  You are happier, more productive, more loving, you may earn more money and so on.  Even though we may feel quite ‘normal’ and happy, we often have this negative, nagging voice in our head bringing us down.  I know I have, and saying ‘I like myself’ helps change/silence it.  And then I feel much better.

Another self-talk saying I like is borrowed from EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique.  It begins ‘Even though (insert issue here)… I deeply and completely love and accept myself’.  It could be ‘Even though I overindulged in chocolate and icecream tonight and now I feel sick, I deeply and completely love and accept myself’.  Even though I was rude to someone at the supermarket today and I felt bad afterwards, I deeply and completely love and accept myself’.  Sometimes I’ll just think ‘I deeply and completely love and accept myself’ and it feels good.

Imaging talking to a friend or family member like we talk to ourselves.  Imagine watching them get dressed for work and when they look in the mirror saying to them ‘I can see your fat roll and muffin top in that shirt’.  Imagine watching them get something out of the cupboard to snack on and saying ‘You’re already overweight, why are you eating that?’.  Imagine watching them in a shop about to buy a magazine and saying ‘what a waste of money, you’ve already got magazines at home cluttering up the place.’  Would you want to spend more time with this friend, or less?

Not only are these things (though they may be true) horrible to hear, but they probably won’t stop the self-destructive behaviour.  On the contrary, out of rebellion (against ourselves) we do it anyway.

Saying ‘I like myself’ or ‘I deeply and completely love and accept myself’ in any of these situations and often during the day (especially at waking time too) is so much more helpful.  I have even had times when dumb behaviour is averted quite happily.

There is a little clip about it here, spoken by Brian himself.  He also has lots of other short videos that I sometimes click onto at work or home if I don’t have one of his CDs or my iPod handy and need a little happiness boost.

My yoga teacher said of a standing pose we were doing once, to have the crown of our heads feel pulled up to the ceiling.  She then said to make our heads feel light, and straight away my head felt weightless.  It was wonderful.  You can try it for yourself instructing your body to feel heavy, or light.  Both work!

She often talked about relaxing certain parts of the body as we went through the exercises, and feeling lightness.  I do this at home now too when I think of it.  When I was washing my face last night before bed, it was lovely and early about 8.30pm, plenty of time for winding down and relaxing myself to drop off.  I was massaging in the cleansing cream ready to tissue off and I was telling myself to feel light, calm and peaceful.  And I really felt like those words too as I got ready for bed.

Do you talk to yourself lovingly?  In a harsh way?  Are you ready to change the way you talk to, or about, yourself?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Week of Beauty, Day 7: A Beautiful Mind

For our final day in A Week of Beauty, I'm talking about having a beautiful mind.  See you on the video!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Week of Beauty, Day 6: At Home

In writing this post, I asked myself the question ‘how can I feel beautiful in my home?’  Here are some ideas I came up with.

Choose beauty even with perfunctory items.  When I buy the paper facial tissues that I use to cleanse my face, I choose the prettiest box even though it won’t be on display because I keep them in the cupboard underneath the basin.  I see them every time I use one.

Keeping possessions well-curated and regularly decluttered so that I feel at ease when opening my closet or a drawer.  Items are all in good order and I use them often. Keeping on top of things also means I am only surrounded by my favourite and most beautiful things.  Donations and rubbish are gone straight away.

Having healthy and chic food in my pantry and fridge means there is not an assault on the eyes from garishly packaged le junque food.  I love the quote ‘tacky people eat tacky food’, I heard it was attributed to Jackie Onassis.

Displaying anything I am going to eat attractively on a plate.

Playing my ‘hotel lobby’ playlist when I’m at home.  You know the easy listening piano music that hotels play sometimes?  I love music like this, and when I play it at home it instantly makes me feel relaxed and like I’m in a plush hotel.  Richard Clayderman, Carl Doy and the Northquest Players are artists I have, plus a very kitsch sounding ‘Chilled Dinner Party Piano Gold - 40 Smooth & Mellow Classic Piano Hits’.

Reading a glossy magazine.  I’ve bought one or two lately, and after a long period of buying none it feels quite nice.  I love to feel inspired by the beauty others create and share.

Turn down our beds at night.  After dinner but before bedtime I go up to our bedroom and close the windows, draw the curtains and make sure our room is tidy.  It’s so soothing to go up to later on.

I love having bar soap in the shower but like pump soap by kitchen and bathroom taps and always choose beautiful scents, plus have a pump hand cream next to it.

Having my favourite enjoyable rituals – hot tea in the morning, cocktail hour in the late afternoon on weekends, Sunday night movies.

Candles always add a touch of beauty to the home and we have at least one burning every night, even in the summer when it’s still daylight.  When I’m at home for the day I light a scented candle in the morning.  It feels very spa luxe.

Finally and most importantly, I choose the way I want to feel.  I choose to feel beautiful, relaxed, calm and organised.

I’d love to know, what makes you feel beautiful in your home?