Thursday, 5 June 2014

The art of gentle living - my new blog

It has been a while since I have posted on my "How to be Chic Blog", about a year now, but I know from the statistics that many people read this blog every day and I hope are still finding it useful and interesting.

So, what have I been doing over the last year?

A couple of years ago, my husband and I moved home, away from a large English city to a nearby small town on a river estuary, with the aim of living a more affordable, gentler and healthy lifestyle.

I have continued to read my favourite chic blogs and have noticed that like myself, many of the other readers wish to live a gentler lifestyle.

As a result, I have started a new blog "The art of gentle living", with the aim of sharing ideas and meeting other like minded people.

Here is the link to my new blog "The art of gentle living"

Choosing to live gently starts from the inside but has many benefits both internal and external such as:

- Less stress and anxiety, more inner peace and contentment
- Increased inner strength, self respect and confidence
- Less money worries and debt. A more comfortable relationship with money and an increase in savings.
- Improved health and sense of well-being
- Better relationships with others
- A more affordable, comfortable, less cluttered and stylish home.
- A more relaxed, comfortable and stylish way of dressing
- More free time
- Gentle and enjoyable hobbies, many of which are free or low cost.
- Gentle films, music and books to refresh, relax and inspire you.
- More living in the moment and having a deeper appreciation and gratitiude for life.
- Meeting new friends who are also pursuing the gentle lifestyle.
- Being part of a growing worldwide trend and lifestyle choice. (Many people are rejecting consumerism and keeping up with the Joneses and are looking for a new way of living. Many are choosing gentle living).

If you would like to enjoy any of these benefits, join me in living gently by following my new blog "The art of gentle living"
Kind and gentle regards,

Simply Me


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Chic Wardrobe Essentials

Some items of clothing and accessories are instantly recognisable as chic. Here is my fun guide to what I consider to be chic wardrobe essentials. Whilst compiling the list, I thought about all the chic women that I have known such as my friends and family, or known about such as film stars, or famous people from past and present, and have used them as inspiration.

I am sure that you will agree with many items and even have your own ideas, or chic friends who inspire you. I would love to hear about them, so please share your ideas in the comments box at the end.
- A pair of chic sunglasses - my number one chic wardrobe essential. They add instant glamour and an air of mystery to any woman who wears them.

- A pair of black ballet flats - add instant chicness to jeans and trousers.

- A pair of black high heels - add instant chicness to a black business suit, pencil skirt or little black dress. Make sure that you can walk in them though, as tottering along in to high a heel is very unchic.

- A black pencil skirt - I once met a very chic lady in her thirties, who had lived a few years in Paris. We talked about that elusive French style and how to achieve it. She said that she had made an interesting observation whilst living there and learned a very simple way to look chic. She said that the number one item that you need in your wardrobe is a simple, good quality, well fitted, black pencil skirt. It will go with most styles of tops, such as blouses, jumpers and t-shirts and can be dressed up with a pair of high heels or dressed down with a pair of flat ballet pumps or long leather boots. Et Voila! Instant Chic!

- A cardigan - A simple classic style, fitted at the waist is very chic, and can even be worn around the shoulders.

- A Little Black Dress - Worn with black high heels - instant chic.

- A Chanel style suit - Classic, timeless and elegant. If you can't afford an original Chanel suit, there are many affordable copies. It is a very versatile suit and can be worn broken up. The shirt can be worn with a blouse, cardrigan or sweater and the jacket can be worn with jeans or a plain skirt or trousers.

- Simplicity, Quality and Fit
In order to look chic, it is important to pay attention to the quality and fit of your clothes.
During a recent trip to Paris a few years ago, I was walking past a cafe in an area of upmarket fashion shops. Sitting outside a small cafe with a friend, quietly enjoying a coffee, was a very chic young French lady in her late twenties. Tall and slim, she wore a simple, but good quality, grey sleeveless shift dress that fitted her perfectly, a simple pair of sunglasses, simple black high heels and the most immaculate and chic updo I have ever seen, a classic french pleat - not a hair out of place. She was chic and elegant. 

- Gorgeous Underwear

- A scarf tied just so - French women are famous for the way that they wear their scarves. It is very rare that I meet someone who is able to wear their scarves with such panache. One of my work colleagues seems to have a knack for tying scarves. She always looks stylish, and I put this down to the fact that for several years, she worked as an air hostess and had to look well groomed and presentable for her job.

- Nail varnish in a chic colour such as red, natural or black. One of my school friends always wore bright red nail varnish. Her nails were beautifully shaped and she must have painted her nails every few days or so as I never ever noticed a chip in them. She also wore a matching red lipstick. She was only 17 or 18 years old  but knew an easy way to look chic. 

- A lipstick in a chic colour such as red or a natural shade.

- A spritz of Divine Perfume

Whilst chic clothing and accessories can help a woman look chic, other factors are just as important in contributing towards achieving a chic look.

Good posture - It is often the case that chic women have good posture and I often find they went to ballet classes as a child where developing good posture is important. Audrey Hepburn is a classic example of a very chic woman with great posture. She attended ballet classes as a child but unfortunately grew too tall to be able to continue, but the discipline of good posture stayed with her.

A Chic hairstyle - a classic bob or updo are chic hairstyles which will add to your overall Chic look.

Last but not least......A beautiful smile and laugh and a zest for life.

If you found this article interesting, you may like to visit my Home Page to see my other articles. To go there, Click Here.

Monday, 6 February 2012

How to be Chic in Winter

How to be chic in winter is easy when you know how:

In this post I talk about the two essentials items of any winter wardrobe - winter coats and boots, plus ideas for chic accessories and keeping warm through  layering. there are also other great ways to look chic in winter by using my chic winter make-up, hair and nail colour tips. So read on if you would like to know how to be chic in winter.

Chic Winter Essentials - a stylish coat and pair of boots.  

For winter most women in colder countries own a winter coat and pair of winter boots. Winter can last for six months (Oct - March), so it makes sense to make these two items a priority in your winter clothes budget.

Your coat and boots are also the only items most people see you wearing. If you think about it, when you are out and about, going to work or running errands, all anyone sees is your winter coat and boots. It doesn't matter what you are wearing underneath, no-one can see them.

So, the first tip on how to be chic in winter is to treat yourself to a stylish winter coat and pair of boots.

Choosing the right colour for your coat is important if you want to look chic in winter. Neutral colours are very chic, but you may also spot a coat in a beautiful rich colour.  Avoid any colours that are bright and look cheap.

For the winter coat, try to choose natural fibres such as wool as it is warmer than synthetic materials. For your boots, again try to choose leather or if you are anti-leather a leather look boot.

The second tip is:

Chic accessories for your Winter Coat.

Add a stylish hat, scarf and pair of gloves to your coat. Again these are all essential items for winter, so are not frivilous purchases, but there is no reason why they can't be stylish. Suede or leather gloves are chic and once purchased should last for years. To change the look of your coat, you could buy another scarf.

Winter Nail Varnish colours

Nail varnish is a cheap and easy way to update your look.  To make sure that the nail varnish that you choose is chic, make sure it is good quality and the colour is classy rather than brash.

So, treat yourself to a nail varnish in one of winters newest shades. There are so many colours to choose:

Chic neutrals:  Colours include chocolate, dark grey, black and navy, dark greige - a mixture of grey and brown.

Chic colours:  Think of all the deep berry colours such as plum, wine, burgundy, purple.

Chic winter make-up

During winter, you may find your skin becomes more dry due to indoor heating and therefore you need to make sure you moisturise more.

Winter Coloured Lipstick - The easiest make-up trick to look chic in winter is to choose a winter coloured lipstick.  If your colouring is cool, you may like to choose the berry colours that I have suggested with the nail varnishes, so berry, wine, plum. If you have a warmer colouring, you may prefer more orange tones such as terracotta or brick.

Winter eye make-up - For eyeliners and shadows to shade in your socket choose the darker winter neutrals - dark brown, dark grey, dark navy.

 These are great colours if your colouring is cool, if you have a warmer colouring, you may prefer to go for colours that are a little bit more orange, such as


The key to layering is to keep the items closest to your skin simple, such as a skinny polo-neck or long sleeve t-shirt, and then style and personality with the top layers. You can have two layers or three.

Base Layer Items 

The first layer that you put on can include items such as
  • Long Sleeve Jersey T- Shirts
  • Skinny Polo-Neck jumpers
  • Vest Top
Middle Layer
  • A blouse or shirt
  • A Sweater
  • A cardigan
Top Layer Items
  • Chic Knitted Waist Coats - This extra layer really keeps you warm.
  • Gilets
  • Jackets
If you are not very confident with layering start by layering items all in the same neutral colour, such as black. Then, getting a little bit more adventurous, try layering lots of different neutrals together. Then as you get more confident you can add a splash of colour, by making one layer colourful, such as red.

Print, Embroidery and Texture.
Once you get really confident with layering, you can add items that are printed, embroidered or textured such as faux fur.

Chic winter accessories

Accessories are another way to add stylish extra layers to your look. Try adding:
  • Chic jewellry such as necklaces, brooches, a bracelet or ring.
  • Silver jewellry is very wintery as is jewellry with clear glass or glass in light shimmery colours.
  • Scarves - not the scarf that goes with your coat, but a medium weight scarf in a plain neutral colour or print that adds some personality to your look.
  • Shoes - If the weather is milder and you don't need to wear your boots you could add a pair of stylish shoes.
  • Handbags.
The key is to keep it simple and not go overboard with the layering. For example, keep the layers simple and add a fabulous necklace, or scarf. Or have a plain first layer and add a printed blouse topped with a plain jacket and a brooch that matches the blouse.

Layering takes practise and time to learn but is a great way to be creative with your wardrobe and achieve a chic look.

I hope you have found this article useful. If so, you may like to visit the home page of this blog for other articles and ideas on "How to be Chic".

Friday, 3 February 2012

How to be Chic - Chic Health

Chic women value their health and look after themselves. When faced with a decision related to their health, they make the Chic Choice.

If you think about all the chic and elegant women that you know, they are probably all healthy and slim, with an inner vitality and glow.

You may already be happy with your health and the way that you eat and exercise, but if not or you are interested in a few more tips, you may like to read about more ways to Chic health.

Chic health involves:
  • Cooking and Eating Healthily - At the least try to eat three healthy balanced meals a day, preferably home cooked using fresh ingredients. Real food is delicious and much healthier than fast or processed food.
  • If you can't cook, take the time to learn. Try out a new recipe a few times and once you have mastered it move on to trying out another one. Find your signature dish, the one dish that is chic and sensational, that you cook when you invite friends and family around.
  • Make eating an occassion - eating at the dining table is more chic than eating on the sofa in front of the tv.
  • Eat slowly so your brain has time to process the fact that you are eating and enjoy every mouthful. Stop when your body tells you it has had enough.
  • Learn how to maintain or reduce a healthy weight through portion control. I eat three medium sized healthy meals a day and my weight remains stable. Like most women, my weight tends to go up a bit after Christmas or a vacation, so for a few days or weeks afterwards, I reduce the amount on my plate until it drops back to the previous level.
  • If you need to loose a lot of weight join a programme that shows you how to cook and eat healthily .
  • Enjoy the world of food. I love cooking and exploring small ethnic food shops and delicatessants for unusual food and ingredients.
  • Drink fresh water regularly throughout the day. It is good for your body and also hydrates your skin. A small bottle of sparkling mineral water is tres chic, but a cheaper alternative is tap water in a pretty glass.
  • Try to avoid drinking too much alchohol and caffeine, both of which are dehydrating and it isn't chic to be drunk.
  • Regular exercise. Regular exercise is good for both mental and physical health. Try to find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Other ways to get more exercise include adding more ways of walking, for example, taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator
  • Rest and Relaxation. Have enough sleep each night and set aside time each day or week to relax and recuperate.

How to be Chic - Be Grateful

Gratitude is extremely important and a definate trait of Chic women.

A chic woman knows that it is important to be grateful for what she has right now and is careful to look after it.

Being grateful increases your sense of contentment and happiness.

Chic women learn to appreciate the free things in life and are  grateful for them - a walk in the park, reading a book borrowed from the library, a visit to a free local museum or art gallery or a telephone call catching up with a dear friend.

Many women keep a notebook by the side of their bed and everynight before they go to sleep,  write down all the things that they have to be grateful for and the things that have happened during the day for which they are grateful.

Keep a Gratitude notebook - it is a great way to remain grateful, content and positive.

How to be Chic - Saying "No" gracefully

It is impossible to do everything and being able to say "No" gracefully to other people's requests for your time is a useful skill to have.

When defining elegance, Coco Chanel is known for saying "Elegance is refusal". Although she was probably refering to designing clothes, her definition can also be applied to life and relationships.

It is ok to say no to another persons request of you to do something for them. If you are unable or unwilling to do something, just say no. You don't even have to give a reason.

If you want an elegant life, sometimes you have to say "NO".

By saying "No" you give yourself more space in your life to just be, rather than be on the go all the time.

If you find it hard, start with small a request and see how empowering it feels to sometimes say no.

How to be Chic - Chic Posture

How to be Chic - Chic Posture

Having good posture when standing, walking and sitting is important if you want to become chic.
I have noticed that all of the chic women I meet have good posture, and on enquiring usually find that as a child they attended ballet classes. Ballet is a great way to develope an inner poise or balance, as is Yoga.
Another good way to start improving your posture is as follows:
  • Posture when standing and walking: Stand up straight, pull your shoulders down and back, your stomach in, your chin up and your head held high. It will feel strange at first but after a while it will become second nature.
  • Some women have even gone as far as walking with a pile of heavy books on their head. This does teach you to straighten your body out, and walk slowly and elegantly.
  • Posture when sitting: When sitting at a dinner table it is chic to sit up straight. When sitting on a chair at a desk or an armchair in your living room, again try to sit up straight and instead of crossing your legs at the knee, cross them at the ankle.
Chic posture is not stiff and formal, it is relaxed and easy going. So, once you have achieved a good posture when you are standing, walking or sitting, let yourself relax slightly. You will look and feel a lot more relaxed but still have good posture and be chic.