Monday, 30 November 2015

Polishing my poise*

A series of books I've been loving recently is the Madame Chic series by Jennifer L Scott. I got the first one in my local library, bought the second on my Kindle and received the third to review from the New York publishers.

I'd been kind of lost since my baby was born in the summer. I didn't know what kind of clothes I wanted to wear, nothing fit me, my house was a mess and I needed some guidance to start living my life the way I always envisioned it. Madame Chic via Scott provided the framework for me and given me some useful lessons in really stepping up to the plate. I received a genteel ass-kicking about my less-than-perfect habits. I now feel more confident in my ability to keep house and provide a comfortable home for my kids, just an all-round layer of completion really.

If you always wished to go to finishing school these three books are a shortcut to the genteel art of living and presenting yourself well.

Some points I learned from this third book Polish your Poise are:

  • My children are watching and learning from me always. How I behave and present myself at home with them will become their lasting memories of me. That alone is a wakeup call to lose some of my worse habits, standing eating leftovers at the stove, wearing ratty clothes in the house etc. I don't want my kids remembering that.
  • How I behave when I'm alone/at home has to be consistent with how I behave in public. I used to come home, whip off the nice clothes in place of worn-out lounge wear and slob out for the evening. I'd have hated people to see me like that. But now I have three little people watching and learning I need to be a role model for them.
  • Screen time. I need to detach from my screens, use them with purpose when they are needed, not be skimming my Facebook feed on and off all day. I don't want my kids remembering that.
  • I would like to clean up my language. My spoken language is full of expletives, not chic.
  • I need to cultivate my mind a bit more, make more effort to read all the Sunday supplements, see more good movies and have more to talk about with people than my kid's latest exploits.

Thanks to the book I now have a list of old Hollywood movies I want to watch, and I'm slowly getting my house in order. Scott makes a great point that if something is out of place i.e. a used cup, if instead of clearing it to the dishwasher you move it to the counter, you will actually be dealing with it twice instead of once. So I'm using this idea to keep me motivated putting away clean laundry and dishes.

Any of her three books would make a lovely present for a lady in your life. It's all common sense, but lovely to have it written down in one place and full of real-life examples of Scott's journey to poised living. She makes a great case for formal dressing in everyday settings, saying that our children will be the first generation to grow up seeing sportswear as acceptable everyday wear. I like her ideal of "looking presentable always", and "if all the clothes you own are presentable you will never be caught out". Says she in her pyjamas on the sofa at 11am, but this is an exception, ok?!

What are your personal guidelines for looking presentable? Please let us know where you draw the line. (I shopped beside a woman in a dressing gown in Tesco yesterday!)

Find out more on Jennifer L. Scott's website here, and see her YouTube channel here.

Nee x

* I received a review copy of Polish your Poise, but all opinions are my own.

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