Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic:  Lessons in Everyday Elegance, the long awaited third book by Jennifer L. Scott.  It totally did not disappoint!  Written in the same easy-going manner as Jennifer’s first two books, Polish Your Poise expands more fully on the concept of cultivating your poise and how this relates to your daily life.

Even though I’m very familiar with Jennifer’s blog and her first two books Lessons from Madame Chic and At Home with Madame Chic, there were still new takeaways for me.  I prefer not to write in my books but I had quite a few Post-it flags sticking out by the time I’d finished.  Just a quick tip – when I’ve gone through a book and noted down all the quotes I want to keep, I stick all the Post-it flags to the back of a bookmark, ready for my next book.

One of the first takeaways from Polish Your Poise that I could put into immediate practice was not to lean on things all the time.  Jennifer writes that she couldn’t stand somewhere without leaning and I realised I do this too.  If I’m chopping vegetables I’m leaning on the kitchen counter.  If I’m brushing my teeth I’m leaning on the bathroom vanity.  If I’m serving a customer in the shop I’m leaning on the counter or even a wall or doorway…

It was just a lazy habit I’d not been aware of.  It’s much better for your strength, your posture and how you look if you’re holding yourself up rather than slouching against something. 

I don’t have scientific evidence of this, but a friend of my brother who needs a double hip replacement at the young age of 50 said it could be partially hereditary but he also believed that years of working in hospitality contributed to it and he spoke of standing on one leg a lot, which is exactly what you do when leaning on something, and it puts unnatural pressure on one hip rather than spreading your weight evenly over both.

So between the advice from Polish Your Poise and not wanting to damage my hips, I have stopped leaning on things.

There were also plenty of beautifully worded reminders too in this lovely book, such as this:

“You might not be living your dream life right now, but if you’re serious about cultivating poise, you must change your perspective.  Take pride in absolutely everything you do.  Cleaning house.  Filing those spreadsheets at work.  Ironing your clothes.  Dealing with that customer who walks through the door just as you’re about to close the shop.  Cleaning the pots in your kitchen.  Volunteering at your community’s spring fair.  Take pride in what you do.  Give it your all.  Give it your full attention.  Madame Chic took pride in everything that she did.   She didn’t waste time griping about her lot in life.  If she wanted to be doing something other than what she was doing, I would not have known.”

There were also many other sections I made notes on, to do with establishing routines, the helpfulness of having still moments throughout the day, exercises to do for good posture, the proper etiquette of greeting people (kiss or hug?) and a great chapter on ‘charming communication’.

Because I’ve watched Jennifer’s YouTube videos a lot and am very familiar with her voice, often when I was reading Polish Your Poise I could hear Jennifer’s voice reading it to me in my head – it was nice!

If you enjoyed Jennifer’s first two books – Lessons from Madame Chic and At Home with Madame Chic, you are sure to enjoy Polish Your Poise too.  And if you are a new reader to Jennifer and her Daily Connoisseur blog I don't think need to read the first two books before this one to enjoy and get the most from it.

Polish Your Poise is to be released this week, on the 27th of October.  I’m not surprised that it is a #1 Bestseller already, just from pre-orders.  It seems to be on a really good discount right now too.  I encourage you to treat yourself to the gift of inspiration and encouragement from Jennifer and Madame Chic.

I hope you enjoy Polish Your Poise as much as I did, and a big thank you to Jennifer for generously sending me an advance copy.


  1. What a great review, thanks Fiona! I have my copy on pre-order so I'm looking forward to it arriving.

    That tip about the post-it notes and bookmark is great! I'm usually pretty organised but I hadn't thought of that one.

  2. Thank you Rose, and I'm glad you like the Post-it flag tip, I'm such a fan of Post-it flags. You get about a million of them in a packet and they're smaller and plasticky. One packet lasts forever since you can reuse them over and over. I used a sample packet for years and have only just 'invested' in a full-size packet with five different colours. I'm in heaven.

  3. Dear Fiona, I've just found my way to you here through Jennifer Scott's FB posting, and recognized your name from the beautiful comment you left for me at A Lady's Code. I am delighted to find you here and discover your books. Have just purchased the first and am eager to begin! Best Wishes, Nancy

  4. Hello, Fiona,

    Yes, this is a lovely review, but to me it seems strange that we're having to learn about poise. Things such as "not leaning" were de rigeur when I was a child;I was taught to "stand up straight" and such lessons learned in childhood stay with us for life, they become part who we are. Sadly, many people have not been taught basic behavioural lessons, for they are not something we know instinctively. Therefore I'm grateful to Jennifer for bringing them to the attention of a generation younger than my own. I am looking forward to this book very much - I have read and re-read Jennifer's first two books several times and even someone of my age (I was growing up in the early 1950s) can learn from them or, if not learn, then have them reinforce our ideals.
    Margaret P

  5. It was an enjoyable book and like you I have taken a few things from the pages on which I plan to implement in my life!
    I like your review and hope you do save your hips! I play bridge with a woman who is going in for a hip replacement this December.
    Best wishes

  6. Hi Fiona! What an interesting tip about better the hip. Save it quick:) Thank you for this review and I'm glad that I can just pick this book up without having reading the other two (once I decide which to get in paperback or kindle).
    Have a chic day to you! Cheers, Ping

  7. I really enjoyed reading your review. I am new to your blog but have been following Jennifer for a while now. I am so eager to purchase her book. I can't wait to read it. I really like your idea about the post its too. I have been struggling to find a way to write down thoughts/ideas I have while reading but still being able to preserve my book. I think I'll give your idea a go. Thank you for sharing! :)

  8. Thank you for the review. I believe this is arriving in my mailbox today and I am really looking forward to reading it.

  9. I enjoyed her first two books and am looking forward to reading this one as well! :)

  10. Hi Fiona,
    I'm 15 and 4'11 and really self conscious about my height. Do you have any 'appreciation' tips and does this affect my chances of being chic?

  11. Thank you for the review Fiona. Sounds like a great book; I really enjoyed her first one (haven't read the second yet). We can all use reminders, even if we were taught these things, because the casualness of our culture tends to influence us (to our detriment!).

  12. I had to chuckle as I read this. My mother was an absolute bear on the topic of good posture. I can still hear her saying: stand up straight! shoulders back & head up! when you walk down the street look people in the eye, don't scuttle with your head down! stop leaning on things -- you've got two good feet, use them! All this drove me mad as a child, of course, but I thank her now. I'm in my 60s & have never had a problem with my back, hips, shoulders or any other part of me, so maybe all her nagging paid off (or just good genetics). I sometimes think it's a good thing she's gone now -- she'd have apoplexy at the way everyone wanders down the street nowadays, heads down, shoulders rounded, eyes glued to their smart phones.

  13. Candice, using post its doesn't interrupt the reading flow either. I used to write down passages in a notebook as I went but didn't like stopping reading to do this!

    Julia, I'm writing a post about your question.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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