Every once in a while you come across an idea that just makes perfect sense. It clicks in your mind and you can't help but feel excited that someone else out there just gets it. When I first came across Jennifer L. Scott's book 'Lessons from Madame Chic - 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris' I sat with bated breath while it downloaded to my Kindle, hoping that it would keep my inner Francophile satisfied. It is safe to say that I sat nodding along through the entire book and suddenly felt that I wasn't alone in looking for what is essentially a better quality of life without having to make any major changes, just those little things that make your day run smoother and leave you feeling more relaxed and satisfied at the end of the day.
Split into three parts and then broken down further into the 20 'secrets' this book encompasses all aspects of everyday life inspired by Scott's stay in Paris encountering two very different, yet very typical French women, Madame Chic and Madame Bohemienne who were her main inspirations. The three main sections of the book are Diet and Exercise, Style and Beauty and How to Live Well. From eating with pleasure but not to excess to ensuring that you look presentable everyday this book gives you the necessary tools to make living an art as the French do so well.
My biggest takeaway from this book, as you may recall from earlier in the year, was the 10 Item Wardrobe (here and here). While I do have more than 10 'key' pieces in my wardrobe I have to say that taking the plunge back in March to seriously streamline my clothing has made a huge difference. I have attended weddings, been to parties and moved house (and decorated) and haven't once felt the need to buy something new in order to attend an event or to be comfortable, and more importantly, I have stopped buying for the sake of it. I know my wardrobe. I know what I have suits me, fits well and is my signature style and on the rare occasion that I do buy something, it compliments my other items well. I have to thank Jennifer for enlightening me to this mindset, because I just adore it.
The French do a lot of things well, but let's face it, living well is the thing that they do best. I feel that Scott has tapped into their cultural habits perfectly in order to adapt them to life outside of l'hexagone. If you haven't already, pop this book on your Christmas list. It is a must read if you are a Parisian at heart like me.