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3.3 out of 5 stars
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3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 11 April 2008
From the title I would have expected to read about some valuable life lessons, or at the very least some wise words. Disappointingly, nothing whatsoever of that nature could be found between the beautifully illustrated covers.
Basically a glorified shopping guide for the very well to do, Lucia Van Der Post comes across as shallow, snobbish and clueless.
Statements like "It is almost always the woman who benefits most from a marriage" in her tiny section on marriage left me feeling incredulous at this womans extraordinary naivety and lack of insight.
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on 29 January 2008
It's not a bad book, I happily read it through in a few sittings, but my jaw did drop occasionally. Like at the section on presents that seems to start at around the £500 mark and go up to splashing half a billion on a private island for a weekend!

For a book supposedly about things one's mother should tell one, I was also suprised at the vast amount on being a grandmother, and yet the brisk line about being a mother.

And there are too many sections where "cheap treats" are listed as things the rest of us save up for. And shops listed as "budget" that I find beyond mine!

I enjoyed the prose, but I think she would have been better writing an autobiography about a rich and glamorous life the rest of us can only dream of. Instead we have a how-to book making assumptions that the rest of us only lack the glamour, not the vast riches necessary to attain it.
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on 18 January 2009
I did read this book from cover to cover but it wasn't at all what I expected. I was hoping for wisdom and advice. The words of wisdom were few and far between. Most of the advice wasn't overly useful either. I felt it was only really appropriate for people in the same situation as the author i.e. extremely wealthy and living in London. I really am not going to spend £300 on an antique linen bed sheet for the single bed in my guest room!!! Identifying specific expensive products and then saying you can get something cheaper but pretty good in Boots just emphasized the theme of the book that you can only have style if you're wealthy. For me it was more of an insight into how the other half live but I didn't feel it gave much useful advice that was relevant to me.
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on 28 December 2012
Perhaps this book should come with the rider " Most useful for people with plenty of spare cash, need to start living a life and who live in central London"?! If most people could afford one tiny part of what she offers up as advice that is " insightful. Practical and poignant" according to the blurb on the back cover, well my dears we would not need to ask our mothers anything! We would probably just keep staff to do it all anyway! Sorry, I do not wish to sound cruel, but this is a book that only a very few privileged people could truly describe as Useful. I actually found it quite insulting when she describes starting out married life, very poor and living in a four storey terraced house in London ...... And suggesting that all women should get an Eve Lom facial treatment, or the latest in skin peels etc that cost £3000 ....but only every 2 years!
And as for those of us who live in the provinces and can't ' just pop in to Southall to buy 10 saris to hang as curtains" ....... Or haunt the SW3 emporia .....oh dear, what will become of US?!, Sorry, but I wasted good money on this. It is already on its way to the charity shop but I really felt compelled to write in the cover a word of warning!
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on 9 November 2007
I dipped into this book and found myself still reading an hour later! I loved her justifications for eating chocolate, tips on how to choose the perfect scent and ideas for finding the present for the person who has everything... Definitely recommended!
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on 11 October 2008
I was looking forward to reading something light hearted and entertaining but was left slightly disapointed by this book. First of all the book is a total contradiction, for example ''you don't have to have alot of money to look good'' BUT then lists a whole lot of ''the best'' places to go for clothes, marc jacobs, chloe, etc. This left me confused. Statements like only white candles will do because apparently coloured ones look cheap and nasty and don't eat pasta because it's fattening but a cheese board after a meal is fine, seriously irritating. What planet is this woman on!? As another reviewer pointed out perhaps seriously wealthy women might enjoy this book, emphasis on 'might'. Buying this book will only had to her extravagant wealth, spend your hard earned cash on something else.
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on 12 November 2007
A lovely book, full of practical tips and advice covering issues from how to eat asparagus to how to clean cashmere. It is a world apart from the endless tomes of advice for girls currently littering the shelves. This book is a truly elegant read that marries genuine words of life wisdom with real humanity, kindness and humour. Advice is delivered in a wise and helpful way, rather than in any sense hectoring. Lessons in style and elegant living that will resonate with women of every age.
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on 21 May 2008
How this address book of shops in London was ever printed is a mystery. Tips like, try the High Street as well as designer stores, brighten up an old sofa with a new throw, plastic surgery worked for me! The clear message is to be chic you must shop in London. If you are unsure, check out the picture of the author on the inside jacket. If that is what you call stylish... happy reading.
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on 6 August 2011
Although there is no way I can begin to afford designer clothes etc., I just love the beautiful way this book is written. It made me feel that, by looking at myself, my wardrobe, and my home with a critical eye I could really make some 'elegant' improvements - even if only to making sure there's a vase of lovely flowers somewhere where I can see them most of the time! A very enjoyable read, and some wonderful websites to browse through and 'train' one's eye with. Money is not the be-all and end-all of it, it's ingenuity that counts!
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on 25 January 2008
This book has good intentions - merely a middle aged woman wanting to share good advice and life experiences. However, unless you are another middle aged woman with a healthy bank balance, this book will not help you at all.
This is disappointing enough in the first section, but if you stick to it and read further, you then get to the chapter about relationships. Oh dear. Who needs a lecture about single mothers, happy families and the likes? I gave up at that point, as it felt like having my ears bent by an old fashioned Auntie who is completely disconnected from the the 'normal' world. Not what I wanted.

In short, this book will not be everyone's (Ritz) cup of tea. Try The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia instead.
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