Wednesday, September 17, 2014

At Home with Madame Chic a new book by Jennifer L. Scott

Have you had the pleasure of reading Jennifer L. Scott's book "Lessons from Madame Chic?"
If not you might want to get a copy and read it before you delve into her newest book "At Home With Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life.

Jennifer is a gifted writer, blogger and mother of two...
She lives with attention to detail and does so with a gracious style and poise.

Jennifer sent me an advanced reading copy and I've savoured her new book and deliberately have not rushed through the chapters...I re-read passages and thought about each chapter after I closed the book.
Taking a leisurely tea break mid afternoons with Jennifer's book was a luxury.
Her thoughts, daily routines, philosophy of life, and her attitude of gratitude all resonate with me.

Reading this book now in my late 50's I can honestly say that I wish I had read this when I was much younger and struggling with the rigorous and demanding schedule of motherhood. It would have given me insight into how I could improve and streamline my routine and do it in a way that was positive and enriching.
I am certain that I would have benefited from her fashion advice, domestic tips and especially her signature 10 piece wardrobe strategy.

Her home keeping habits make sense and are streamlined to fit into her busy family life.
She adds elegant touches wherever she can and likes to putter in her balcony garden and grows orchids.
Jennifer makes sure that she has some personal time to recharge and relax, not always easy for a young mother of two, but so sensible.
I know how important it is to have some quiet time...even if you can only rest while the babies are napping.

Some highlights from her book without giving it all away are:
 ~ use your best everyday ~
~ prepare nourishing and healthy food (recipes included) ~
~ cultivate a 10 piece wardrobe ~
~ listen to uplifting and beautiful music everyday (suggested play lists included) ~
~ Madame Chic's recipe for a fabulous organic cleaner ~
~ finding time for yourself ~
~ and so much'll have to read it for yourself!

I really enjoyed reading her book and am sure that you will too.
I also think that this book would make a great gift...especially when paired with the first one.

Perhaps you know a lovely and deserving woman who enjoys cultivating and honing her chic habits.
You can order the book here....

Meet Jennifer here on her You Tube page, she has a lot of great thoughts and a wide variety of videos.
Happy Watching!

Thank you Jennifer for allowing me to read your book and share my thoughts and comments on your book.
I wish you every success on the publication of your new book...


Monday, September 15, 2014

Orange...a pop of colour that elevates the spirit and energizes.

The heart of the home...
our kitchen
in The Humble Bungalow
where I spend many contented hours cooking, baking and cleaning.

Orange Gerberas in a vintage vase add a shot of colour.

I keep an old fashioned day timer in which I record our appointments and meals.

Mandarin oranges add colour and a tangy flavour to this coleslaw salad...

Mandarin Orange Coleslaw

Shred or slice a red cabbage
chop a few scallions
grate a large carrot
1 cup mandarin oranges sliced in half
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Place in a bowl and top with dressing.


1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Toss together and chill until ready to serve.

I served this to company with BBQ ribs and boiled new potatoes topped with butter and freshly chopped mint.

Dessert with a little help from Ina Garten.
It is from her Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook.
(You could substitute the lemons for oranges and make orange bars.)

A delicious and easy recipe.
The Kitchen aid gets plenty of work here in The Humble Bungalow.
I love mine and they come in many colours...even orange!

Luscious lemon squares served with fresh blackberries.

This luxurious linen towel is made specifically to clean glass and crystal.
I use it to clean the windows.
It is from the Irish Linen Shop here in Victoria and I cannot recommend it highly enough...
some may like micro fibre for this job but I am a die hard linen fan.

The drawers in the kitchen have been cleaned and sorted.

The Humble Bungalow everyday cutlery is Reed and Barton stainless.

If you have a bumper crop of tomatoes you might like to pop them in a hot oven for a few minutes
so that they take on a rich flavour and top them with some freshly grated pepper and sea salt.
I like to drizzle mine with some balsamic crema...which is a reduced balsamic vinegar.
I buy mine from the deli area of Thrifty Foods.

I'm feeling in an orange mood and will pop this vintage silk Lanvin scarf on when I go out to do my errands.
It may hide my pearls but that's OK as I know they'll be on my neck...
rather like wearing nice lingerie..
it's a secret that makes me feel a bit more dressed up and adds that little bit of French Chic.

Hope that your week will be fun...
thank you for taking your precious time out to stop by my humble blog today
and I appreciate the emails you sent introducing yourselves to me. 
It's nice to meet and connect with readers.


Thursday, September 11, 2014


One day last week I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that I was going to head downtown for a day of shopping.
I bounded out of bed bright and early and hopped in the shower.
Pulled on my jeans, sandals, a top and sweater...
I was ready to go early so I hitched a ride into town with Mr. HB on his way to work.

Ten minutes after driving to town I was breakfasting on hot oatmeal and sipping a decaf Americano at Starbucks.
Located near our historic Chinatown I sat at a table by the window, a great location for some "people watching" observing the fashionable folk as they passed by the window.

I was on a shopping mission to find two mugs.
I've been on a bit of a breaking spree and thought I might find some beautiful replacements for those that were beyond repair.
One of the drawbacks of having hard granite counter tops is that crockery rarely bounces off, it fractures instantly.

Black Toast Pattern designed and made by Emma Bridgewater

I found the mugs and bowl at The Knightsbridge Shops.

Have you tried Lapsang Souchong Tea?
It's a bit of an acquired taste and quite a change from mainstream orange pekoe tea.
I purchased this wee box at Murchie's on Government Street.
The label describes the tea as "pan fired" from China with an intriguing smoky flavour...

Murchie's Teas has a great website if you like tea.
They carry a wide assortment of teapots, cups, and coffee paraphernalia.

You can enjoy elevenses, afternoon tea or lunch at Murchie's
 at peak times be prepared to wait and stand in line 
as this is a popular spot with the locals and when tourists are in town the crowd swells.

I grabbed this Tee shirt as it is awash with colour...
I plan to pair it with jeans and my lightwash denim Gap jacket.

Red white and blue, a classic combo...
The Union Jack is undeniably bold and recognizable.

You'll be seeing double Jacks if I carry my straw tote!

more red white and blue...

I retire the straw tote after summer is over and store it for next year.

Pristine navy blue vintage leather handbag circa 1980.
Lined in leather, beautifully crafted, lovely detail with long gold chain handles and a tassel.
Can be worn as a cross body bag for hands free shopping.

 L. J. Simone of New York.

I've never owned a navy bag before and thought that maybe I should leave it on the shelf.
All my bags are black so why not shake it up a bit?

"Push the envelope Hostess and dip your toes into a tiny well of inky blue..."

So with that in mind this bag is mine and I will now be consigning a few of my other bags.

My rule is that when "something new" comes into The Humble Bungalow "something old" needs to go...

Hope you have a fabulous weekend.
Thanks for stopping by...
I feel so much more connected when you take the time to leave a comment and if you are too shy consider sending me an email at

"Do one thing every day that scares you."

~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fall Wardrobe basics, after the heart rocks...

I started out thinking about rocks when I sat down to write today's post but I segued into my thoughts about my wardrobe quite bear with me as I take you on a bit of a romp from rocks to clothes!

Collecting heart shaped rocks has proved ot be quite a challenge.
They are rather illusive on the beach and searching requires a lot of concentration and patience.

Thoughts flutter through my mind as I am in a meditative mood when sorting and seeking rocks.
I sit on a log and scan the area at my feet...
I am the first to admit that it is an odd activity. 
I wonder why I am preoccupied with only the heart shapes
 as there are so many beautiful stones in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes.

The collection is small enough to fit into a vintage silver compote.
These few hearts represent a few hours of beach combing in a calm and focused state.

Alone with my thoughts
 in a natural setting
of beauty.

Shaped by the tides
they feel smooth in my palm.

Each one is different...

This was the first one I found
while walking along the beach off of Dallas Road waterfront 
I did a double take when I saw it and knew I had to take it home.

Places by the ocean offer up opportunities
 for thoughts to bubble up 
which in a peaceful place 
help me sort out things that might be preying on my mind.

The days are getting shorter as the seasons are in flux.
Soon we will be cocooning indoors by the warmth of the fire with mugs of hot tea to chase the chill away.

Speaking of chill chasers...
sweater and vest weather is coming...

Last year's investment piece, a Barbour vest,
 I wore it often.

Hermes scarf in shades of white and grey...
a great accent piece to add to my basic casual tee and jeans.

These reliable and machine washable Merino tee sweaters will be back on the beat.
They were purchased at Costco last year and look as new and fresh as the day I brought them home.

Shoes will replace sandals...

The quilted Burberry will carry me through the Fall in style.

This Breton striped top layered with the Barbour vest and worn with a Hermes scarf and jeans is an easy look to put together for a day of errands.
It is comfortable to wear to the grocery store.

I'll be wearing boots a lot...

My cashmere cardigans get worn most fall and winter days during the week...
they are my "go to basics" for they offer warmth without the weight and bulk of most wools.

I have a few dressier items in the closet for dinners out and parties.
Peter Nygaard skirt.

A basic black dress can take me almost anywhere.

A vintage beaded cardigan is incredibly versatile and it's a fun and whimsical piece to add some interest to a basic black and grey wardrobe.

A little black skirt can take you most places...

A sweater like this can do double duty as a jacket.

A pair of basic dressy shoes like these will go with everything.

I love my jeans and I practically live in them now that I lead a casual lifestyle...
retirement dressing is so much simpler than when one is working.

It doesn't mean sloppy dressing for me...even my walking gear is pretty.

You'd be surprised how few clothes I have left hanging in my closet.

Since I started blogging I have become so much more aware of my tastes 
 what clothes suit my shape and what I feel good wearing.

Not all my clothes are purchased new.
Some are investment pieces and others are bargains...
this jacket is a wonderful example of a thrift shop find.

This soft cashmere Burberry scarf was a gift from my sweet husband.
It kept me warm and cozy last year and I can hardly wait to wear it again when the temperature dips.

A nod to colour...a bright walking jacket.
Cheerful for our rainy days to come.

A Chanel inspired jacket can elevate a pair of jeans and take me out to lunch.

I like to use accessories to make the most of my basic minimal wardrobe.
They change the mood and feeling and add interest.
They needn't be expensive and can be readily found in stores.
Don't overlook gallery and museum gift shops, ethnic import shops and thrift shops.

Have fun hunting for the pieces that you like and you don't have to settle for the mass produced plastics...
look for the unique, vintage, designer pieces or if you are creative make your own! 

Tune into your inner voice and wear something that expresses a little bit of your personality.
I dare you to push the envelope with accessories.
Fashion should be fun.

My take on dressing is to keep my wardrobe small and manageable.
The basic palette is black, white and grey.
I like to have something hanging in my closet for any occasion so there is no panic shopping required.
I take stock each season of the garments and their condition before storing them.
If they need repair or if they need to be replaced.

At the start of a new season I look at what I already own before embarking on a shopping spree.
I make and use a list so that I do not fall prey to impulse buying...
Too many dollars have been wasted when I shopped as a hobby.
I record all my purchases in a book since retiring and it gives me an idea of how much I spend on clothes.

I am enjoying dressing on a budget and find that I am much more selective and creative with less.

Are you happy with your wardrobe?
Do you have a few choice garments or a closet crammed full of clothes?

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”
~ Coco Chanel ~
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