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Apparently French women have this amazing capacity to remain skinny. I have been told this several times. Well, I am afraid that’s just another unfounded myth.
I normally don’t do reviews on this blog, but today will be an exception. The thing is, when I came back from Bali, all this coconut milk and amazing food had taken its toll. I simply needed to loose some weight. I am not obese, I was simply fatter and felt that I had to do something.

But I don’t do diets -I find them boring, and I always end up putting the weight back on anyway. I love good food. I bake my own bread. You see, good bread is notoriously difficult to find in London, it usually tastes like the plastic bag it is wrapped in. I live for olive oil, chocolate, tiramisu and pasta. I try to exercise a lot to burn the calories. I love running. But I needed something more this time. A little help.

So, when I received a PR agency request from the lovely Sasha to review the Thinking Slimmer Slimpod ( ), I thought that, after all, I had only weight to loose. I decided to give it a go. To be frank, I was a bit skeptical at first. How can this work? How is this even possible?

Well, all you have to do is spend 10 mins every day listening to your Slimpod. I usually do this in the evening. It is all about positive thinking, and making changes at your own pace in your eating habits.
The unexpected benefit of the approach is that I often am sound asleep by the end of the Slimpod, and, as a result, my quality of sleep has greatly improved. In 3 weeks, I have lost a bit more than 2 kgs, or 5 lbs. I have noticed some little changes too: no sugar in my yogurt or my morning’s lemon juice. Less sugary snacks as well. All in all, I am more relaxed despite the fact that I stopped being employed and am running my own business. In short, I am simply more confident and I am not using food to reassure myself, which is unexpected. Maybe life is easier that I thought?

Me being me, I want to continue and loose more weight. Why do I keep wanting more?
Maybe because I am on my way to the new me.

I was given a free Slimpod but wasn’t paid for this post. The opinion in this post is therefore my own!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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I am posting a bit late today because time here, in Saint Tropez, seems to be different and it is starting to get to me. My Internet connection is very slow so no pictures. Sorry.

Everything is much slower here.

Really slower.

Or, as time is relative, maybe it’s me. I have become too accustomed to a fast-paced world and I am feeling a bit lost now.

First of all, most shops are closed between 12.00am and 2.00pm. Time to have lunch and a quick nap. I had forgotten that it was like that here.

Then, I have asked for a couple of quotes for my business. I am looking for a local gardener to take care of a few trees and plants in front
of our offices. Some companies came to see it and promised me that they would come back to me with a price. It has been a week and I am still waiting.

Finally, there is my insurance company. I have sent an email to my usual contact there, only to receive an out-of-office reply, saying, in substance (and in french):
” I will me on Annual Leave from 31st of July to 15th of September.”. No apologies, no “Thank you for your email” (I think that I miss London).
Please note that we are the 23rd and she doesn’t seem to be back. Go figure. It looks like France doesn’t only stop in August now. things have changed and I am out of touch!

To make matters even worse, one of the waiters in the restaurant started talking to me in English. It is official: I am not French any more.

The good news is that anyone who has even a very limited notion of customer service can make a fortune here.

The bad news is that I can’t stand this attitude any more. I used to live and work here. I probably used to do the same. Somehow I have changed!

So, for me, it is : back to London. Pronto!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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The saga continues. But this time, it is not with the same neighbour and you will be pleased to know that this story doesn’t involve any bottoms (See last post…). I am starting to understand why some people are tempted to live on a desert island. Let me tell you what happened.
I love being surrounded by children. As I grew up pretty isolated, I have always promised myself that my daughters would be able to have play dates and see their friends.

This means that we had a few children with us over the week end. They were happily running in the street (it is a small, secure street). I was watching over them, happy that they were having fun, when another new neighbour came to me. She didn’t say hello. She didn’t introduce herself. She just explained to me that her son’s girlfriend was staying with them and, should we want a babysitter, she could help with the kids. She was about to go back to her house when I dared to say (silly old me):
“- By the way, I am Muriel”
She looked surprised and ended up muttering “-Sheryl”. And off she went.
The whole conversation lasted less than two minutes.
So, let me spell out what I really, really think: how dare she? She wasn’t interested in us, she didn’t even ask for the name and ages of the children. She just wanted to make a few bucks.
I felt older and none the wiser…So tell me: am I just becoming a bitter old lady?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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I found out a few days ago that we have new neighbours in our street. They just moved into one of the houses on the other side of the street. They seem like a nice family. Mental note to self: need to knock at their door to say hello at some point.
That said, when I was going out to start the school run yesterday, my new neighbour was putting his rubbish in front of his house, for the Thursday’s bin collection. The thing is, he was in his boxers. I mean: just his boxers (they had yellow and pink stripes. Lovely). Truth be told,  he doesn’t exactly look like Brad Pitt or Daniel Craig and I wasn’t thrilled to see his bulging tummy without anything on. I actually pretended I hadn’t seen him (I think that I deserve an Oscar for my performance as he was standing less than 5 yards away) and we didn’t speak.

The problem was that I can’t help thinking of my new neighbour’s bottom and I am terrified to see it again. It is the first time in my life that I wish for a really cold winter. He would need to get out in his coat. As long as it is not stripy as well we’ll be fine. The British summer usually doesn’t last long anyway. I should be ok. I hope. I am stressed.
I am becoming paranoid too. I think that I saw him in his PJs this morning. Next time, I promise, I will confront him and say “hello”. That’s the polite thing to say, isn’t it? Very civilised. If he doesn’t get it, I will add “nice underwear”. That should do the trick.
I don’t think that it’s a British thing. Where I am from, close to St Tropez, our next door neighbour is naked most of the time and sunbathing on her balcony. She is also hanging up her laundry without anything on. My 90-year old grandfather is absolutely delighted as it provides him with some year-long entertainment. He told me the other day that she had had a boob job and, frankly, it was disgusting and looked like plastic. He would know, he has been watching her for the last ten years. I have always thought of her as a charitable lady and was even considering writing her a thank you card.
That cannot be said of our next door neighbour. On the bright side, this shows that he is very much at ease in his house. I don’t know what to do.
So how do you deal with such situations? 

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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After the best part of eight years in London, I pride myself in the fact that I have some British friends. Don’t smile, it is not that easy, it took me a long time, and I just have a few!
London is an international city with plenty of different nationalities and initially my friends were everything but British. I don’t really know why. The only reason that I can think of is that, as we have no family here, we tend to befriend people in the same situation.
Anyway, along the road I managed to gain a few British friends. The funny thing is that I found them a bit distant initially. Every time I was trying to get to know them better it felt as if they were shutting down. Not nice.
I remember asking a good friend of mine whether she has found a new boyfriend only to be told quite coldly that she wasn’t discussing these things. I was slightly taken aback and later found out that she was going out with a work colleague. We eventually discussed the relationship, some 5 years after its start (it became difficult to hide when they had a baby together).
But who said that the Brits never open up? You never know when, you never know why, but, from time to time, they tell you slightly more than you expect. It happened with a friend of mine, who, after a glass of wine, explained to me that she had bought new undies -bright red ones- and that “it might finally spice up her nights with her husband, as they haven’t done anything for 2 weeks”. Right. A bit too much, even according to French standards.
The Brits also have a convoluted way to talk about what matters to them. I remember a work colleague who had just had a baby. He told me once that he and his wife had not had any time at night to read a book…”let alone do anything else”.
That’s it, I thought, I am now an agony aunt ( Please leave your issues in the comments and I will answer…just kidding). I just muttered  “give it some time” and hoped that the matter would be closed. It was. Phew!
Is it because I am French? Is it because they finally trust me? I will never know. As a result, I can’t completely chill out with my British friends because I never know what is “too much” for them and they don’t seem to assess what is “too much” for me. Any advice for me?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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I told you that I was behind. I normally post on Wednesdays. But the thing is: despite the fact that I have stopped being employed I have never been busier. I suppose that I need to catch up with lots of things. On a positive note, I found some new clients for my business and it looks like resigning has in fact allowed different opportunities to come to me. Maybe I am not cut out for the corporate world after all.
The theme of this week blog hop is  “Mistake Of Youth”. Come on, share one of your mistakes of youth with me. I will share one of mine with you.
OK, here we go.
I was young and probably wanted to impress some geeky fellow student (knowing me, it can be the only reason, and the sad fact of the matter is that I completely forgot whom I wanted to impress. I can’t remember a face or a name. Life is cruel).
I was studying in Paris at the time and with my Renault Clio I was feeling on top of the world. I had just passed my driving license and was far from being a confident driver. But of course I wanted to pretend the opposite.

There is a huge roundabout in Paris called “la Place de L’Etoile”, around “L’Arc de Triomphe”. It is on top of the Champs Elysees and basically the rules of the game, when you drive, are: look forward, look to the right (in France, the rule is to give priority to the right), and don’t brake. It is a known difficult spot, and if you have an accident there your insurance company will not even try to understand, the blame will be 50-50 between you and the other driver.

I bet that I would drive “Le Rond Point De L’etoile” the wrong way. I remember being mortified but I didn’t want to back down.  So I prepared everything and decided to go at the safest possible time. I did it on a Tuesday night at 3 am. I was lucky. The roundabout was completely empty. I did it and won my silly bet.
Now, 20 years later, I still don’t understand what went into me.
So please, tell me I am not the only one.
I also would like to draw your attention to a beautiful post from Stuart, a fellow blogger, called my worst mistake.

The rules of the Blog hop are very simple:
1. Follow me on GFC and Twitter if you have an account – I will follow back ;
2. Leave a link to your blog below -if you have one-;
3. Share a mistake you have made in the comments. Please do it for the rest of us!
4. Visit as many other blogs as you can!
5. Have fun!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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I told you that I was behind, and, as you can see, I wasn’t lying…Before I go to the award part of this post, I would like to talk a little bit about DSK –you know the former IMF director who ended up in a very sticky situation with a hotel maid in Manhattan (see, you remember now).

Well, he is back in France and, as I am sure you have heard, the criminal charges against him have been dropped. As for me, I am disappointed. Secretly, I was hoping that the Americans would do what we French never dared to: punish him. I know that it is childish and that you are innocent until proven guilty, but come on, the guy doesn’t deserve to be hailed as a hero (as he was) when he landed in France. You see, DSK has simply been too lucky and it certainly looks like he is never going to be caught for what he did.

Let me refresh your memory here:
1.     He has falsified invoices for a student health Insurance company (MNEF). He recognized it and claimed it was a mistake. He wasn’t charged but had to resign (he was the “minister of economy” at the time -the French equivalent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer );
2.     He had an affair with one of his subordinates, Piroska Nagy, when he was in charge of the IMF. Once again, despite the fact that she stated that she had been coerced into the affair, he was cleared of any wrongdoing and simply admitted an “error of judgment”;
3.     This self-proclaimed happily married man had a sexual encounter with a maid in his hotel room. No-one but them knows what happened. But shortly after, he went on to have his lunch with his daughter as if nothing had happened.
There are other stories about him but frankly, I think that you get the gist of what I am trying to say. Don’t get me wrong: I know that everybody makes mistakes, but this is a bit too much –even with my French hat on-. In short, my conclusions are as follows:
       Some can get away with a lot. Even if he hasn’t committed any punishable crime, I don’t think that his behavior is exemplary and this whole saga makes me uncomfortable.
       As my mother told me: always close your hotel bedroom’s door when you travel.

Anyway, to come back to something a bit more light-hearted, I have received another Liebster award, from my friend, fellow blogger and soon to be writing buddy Stacey- see her blog Nail Polish, here .

The rules, as you know, are:
The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers, all in the spirit of fostering new connections. 

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet—other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread the karma. 
So, here are the lucky winners tonight:

1.     Dathai c : an Irish expat in London, also struggling to understand the Brits and passionate about London  you can read him here
2.     The talented Kenya and her blog, Sleep Deprivation and Me. Kenya has a gift with words, she has a limpid style.
3.     Mary/Hocam’s musing and fantastic pictures @ the adventures of Cilgin Kiz. Just looking at it makes you feel on holiday…
4.     MarieHarmony, the mysterious French lady living in Dublin who writes wonderful poetry at To make a Rhyme
5.     And, last but not least, the wonderful Brynne, who once posted about the pleasure of dancing naked in the rain (I am sorry to admit that I am not quite there yet, Brynne), @ The Presence of magic.    
Finally, I have to tell you that I have at least another award that I need to pass on…Watch this space.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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I am so behind that it scares me. No-one told me that when you stop working you become far busier. I am driving all over London for the school run, trying to manage my business on the phone and when I come home I need to help on the geography project. To make matters even worse –shock horror!- I have to brush up my latin skills (Who would have thought?). This means that I am back to my good old diet of chocolate and 5k runs (to burn the calories), and things are pretty intense. But, best of all, I am much happier. I think that I simply needed a break from my day job.

Anyway, back to business. I was given lots of very nice awards and it is my turn to share them with fellow bloggers.
Let’s start with the start. I received a Liebster blog award for Jennifer @ Serenpidity’s library

So here are the rules of this award:
The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers, all in the spirit of fostering new connections. 
1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the internet—other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread the karma. 

So, guys, here is my list:
1.     Thom Brown ( I like his thoughts and wisdom. Thom’s words are soothing.
2.     Life through Lucylastica’s sense. She is British (well, no-one is perfect, right?) and incredibly funny. Check her blog out here
3.     The Garden Gate: Elizabeth is a very talented writer who suffers from bipolar depression. I like reading her posts and commenting on her blog because I grew up in the shadow of my Dad’s mental illness. She managed to make me understand him a bit better, and I am grateful for this.
4.     Lalia’s blog, Skant, Rattle and Roll. I love her honesty (and she seems to have the same in-laws than me!)
5.     Alexandra’s blog will lift your spirits up. Guaranteed. Check it out here 

So that’s is for today. More awards will be circulated this week (I told you, I am behind). Now, off to bed. Night night!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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Here we are, safely back in London and, after all the hype in New York, London feels really slow, even sleepy. It is very clear to me that the two cities don’t have the same energy, but it’s also good to be home, even in sleepy London!
I had a really good laugh at the funny mistakes that everybody described last week (See here). I especially like Lucylastica2’s one: she picked the wrong wedding –how hilarious! To top it up, I was reassured: I am not the only one to have made silly mistakes (Thank you everybody!).
So this week, I wanted to discuss life-changing mistakes – you know, the type of decisions that you wish you had never made. Again, for this blog hop, I want to explore the idea that you are at your most free when you make a mistake.
So here we are: what are the decisions I wish I had not made? Well, I have made plenty of wrong decisions, so I came up with a short list:
1.     Shortly after graduating, I was offered a job in a well-known bank. I chose not to take it and decided to join the transport industry instead, helping the delivery of new trains and Signalling systems around the world. Maybe if I had worked in a bank I would be richer and life would be that little bit easier. Maybe not. I will never know…
2.     My education was way too French. There were exchange programmes between my universities and foreign universities. I wish I had taken this opportunity to get out of France much sooner. I would have discovered my passion for travel and probably visited more countries. And I would have lost my French accent;
3.     I should have left my job a long time ago – I am much happier now that I am gone, and there was no point in making it linger.
That said, my mistakes are part of me and, to an extent, they have shaped me into who I am. And it’s not worth having regrets, isn’t it? So I have moved on and tried to continue to go ahead (I have to admit that Chocolate and tiramisu have helped me a lot along the way)
So what about you, have you ever regretted your decisions? Please let me know…
The rules of the Blog hop are very simple:
1. Follow me on GFC and Twitter if you have an account – I will follow back ;
2. Leave a link to your blog below -if you have one-;
3. Share a mistake you have made in the comments. Please do it for the rest of us!
4. Visit as many other blogs as you can!
5. Have fun!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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Irene has come and gone. And now, I am going to be blunt: in New York City, it was nothing more than a summer downpour.  At 10 am this morning we went for a walk and quickly managed to find an open coffee shop. New York was back to its former self.
I have seen much, much worse weather conditions in Singapore or in Saint Tropez, without half of the sensationalist media coverage. On the cable, the reporters have remained outside during the “hurricane”, always yelling in their microphone, iPads tucked under their arms, and using words like “fury”, “full force of Mother Nature” and to be honest with you, we were all made to feel that it was going to be Armageddon…In the street, at the hotel, people were telling us to “stay safe” and we even heard things like “see you tomorrow – if we all survive!”.
Everything else has stopped. Even now that the storm has gone, nothing is said about the fights in Libya or the typhoon in the Philippines. We keep hearing Major Bloomberg and a suite of officials on the news. I am not from here, but there is some serious political positioning going on.
Don’t get me wrong, the weather conditions were severe, but not extreme. And they didn’t last long. I believe that the metros could have circulated until much later and there was no need to completely shut the city down. Some flexibility could have been kept (minimal service of metro and buses), depending on how the situation was going to develop. I know that it is easier said than done and hindsight is a wonderful thing. But I also know that if mandatory evacuations are set up every time there is a summer storm, people will not trust the system any more. On top of this, something uglier is going on: listening to the media, you were led to believe that this was going to be a life or death situation, and that most of New York would be flooded. As a result, the “hurricane” that dared not say it was a storm became the common enemy, and people went over the top to protect themselves from it, shielding the glass windows with wooden panels and putting useless sandbags in front of the doors, even in higher grounds. Irene had become a common obsession, an excuse not to think about anything else. To me, this was a direct consequence of the style (and lack of substance) of the media coverage.
Well, I hope that things will go back to normal.
As for me, I should be back home Tuesday morning.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London