My eagerly anticipated copy of At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life
by Jennifer L Scott finally arrived the other day, and I delved right into it! As you know, I loved Jennifer's first book, Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris, and her blog, The Daily Connoisseur, and refer to both often, so you can imagine my excitement at a new book that was about about incorporating Jennifer's style into you everyday life at home.
Divided into two parts, the first section deals with getting your house into shape, to make it an oasis, a sanctuary, a place you and your family will actually want to spend time in. It is all about cultivating beauty throughout your home, whether that is clearing the clutter, finding a homekeeping routine that suits your lifestyle, or finally being able to keep houseplants alive! What I loved most about this first section was Jennifer's gentle coaching to change your perspective; housekeeping and child rearing can be mundane and tiresome if that is how you choose to see it, so why not choose to see it in an entirely different, beautiful way.
This then leads to the second section about the rhythms of your day, the little rituals, and how we can savor each and every moment, no matter how mundane they may seem. While I found the first section useful, it was the second section, itself further divided into Morning, Afternoon and Evening routines, that I found invaluable.
Two seemingly small things from this second portion of the book have made a huge difference to our days. Firstly, getting up before the kids and being able to enjoy that small window of time to myself has made an enormous difference to my attitude in the morning, and this has flowed on to the children. No more frantically trying to get ready at the same time as helping the kids out, no more scrambling to get us all out the door on time. Instead, we have peace, smiles, cheerful chatter as we cruise along (most mornings!). Secondly, I took Jennifer's suggestion of classical music in the morning, and that is what we now listen to on the school run instead of the news channel that was our previous default. Instead of doom and gloom, we listen to peaceful tunes, and actually discuss composers, what instruments they can hear, what mood do they think the composer was trying to create. I truly believe these moments in the car are setting up our whole day on a positive, joyous note.
I will finish with one final point; while I mostly buy my books as e books (reducing the clutter and all that!), this is one tome I am happy to have in hardback. Not only is the book filled with delightful illustrations, taking the time to peruse through actual paper pages just seems to fit perfectly with Jennifer's over-arching philosophy of being present and enjoying each passing moment.