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It is this time of the year, I suppose. For me, it happens every couple of years or so. OK, I will say it: we might be moving.  We don’t know yet. So far, it hasn’t happened. A few years ago, we were supposed to go to Singapore, but ended up staying in London. Will it be the same story again? Maybe. Maybe not.

This got me thinking. Over the last 15 years, we have moved 12 times. Yes,12 times. I think that, in terms of moving, I have been there and done it over and over again.
In pure control freak style, I started managing all the various moves all by myself. What a mistake! Things were lost and broken, and other stuff remains somewhere in storage in France. To top it up, I am not a huge fan of driving (especially driving vans) and I am not sure that anyone likes me when I am driving either.


I knew that I needed some help, so I ended up hiring a man with a van who came highly recommended by a friend of mine. He was supposed to drive our furniture back to France and the price was indeed very competitive. When the so-called man with a van turned up at my place completely drunk and smelling of beer at 8 in the morning. I had to sack him on the spot and pay him a bit because he was quite aggressive.  I thought that it was time to start working with proper removal and shipping companies. And so I did.

Well, there is no going back now. If we move, I will choose a professional and reliable company. I owe a huge debt to removal companies . You want someone who has got some experience in the matter. This is why, when I was contacted by International Removals from John Mason to write about removal and shipping companies, I jumped at the opportunity. They actually have a very useful checklist for where we might be going here.




I am always amazed to see the removal men put everything into specific boxes. They even have special boxes for plates and cutlery and also for clothes (not the same ones, obviously).  Actually, removal men can be quite funny (and fit as well, it depends. Not sure that the view is included in the price though. That said, I would recommend to stay to, let’s say, supervise the works!). Anyway, seriously, I couldn’t go back to my own way of moving.
So let’s wait and see…Will we stay in London?
I have teamed up with John Mason for this post, but the story and the opinions are my own!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

Photo by Schirley Amaral

That’s it, I am 40. The thing is, I feel a lot younger in my head. As I am entering into what is officially called middle age, I could have taken up gardening and given up on the way I look. Don’t worry, I am not there yet. At least not without a fight!

So, in pure French Yummy Mummy style, I decided to indulge in something that I had never done before: I booked a photo shoot. It was time to show the world that I have still got it. After all, age is just a number, isn’t it? And I am not going to let myself be intimidated by a number (even if it is a big one, especially in the blogosphere where everybody is sooooo very young!).


Photo by Schirley Amaral


You can see the results on this post. I have to admit that I got incredibly lucky because Schirley (you can like her on FB here), my local photographer -who actually happens to be Brazilian-, was incredibly patient and helpful. It took me some time to relax, because I sort of had cold feet on the day. What went into me? Why again do I bother at all? I am glad that I went ahead with it in the end, because the shots simply look great. Not too mumsy, not too fat -which were my main worries.

Photo by Schirley Amaral


At my age, every detail counts and yes, I am upping my maintenance regime. I have to. As an example, I am taking more care of my skin. I follow religiously the tips and advice of Dr Maigaelle Moulene (check out her site for some useful advice here) and my skin has really improved (I have very sensitive skin and I thought that acne was for teenagers, but no, it is not. I promise). I didn’t know that you need to protect your skin from the sun every day. Yes, even in London. Thanks to my new routine (and a little bit of foundation…), I now have a fantastic skin. It clearly works. See the pics (no photoshop). What do you think?


Photo by Schirley Amaral

I go to Bikram when I can and I try to run a bit. I am trying to eat sensibly but I seem to be putting on weight a lot more easily than before. Damn it.
Photo by Schirley Amaral

So tell me, is it worth fighting to try to look as good as possible ? How do you do it?

And please don’t forget to leave a review of my blog here if you haven’t done it yet. I might be 40 but I haven’t given up just yet!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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Just a quick post to let you know that you can read my interview here.
Would you also consider leaving a review of my blog here? A big thank you for your support…There will soon be a very special post on this blog, so bear with me!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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It is this time of the year. My to-do list seems to become longer by the minute and things were bound to reach breaking point. They did today. It started when I forgot the dentist appointment of my teenage daughter. It was on the board, on the calendar, everywhere, but we blanked it out completely. It continued when I tried to kick off my Christmas shopping this week-end, only to find out that I couldn’t park anywhere. I ended up going back home empty-handed, after having wasted the best part of a couple of hours with screaming kids in the car.

But the worst was yet to come. My younger daughter’s school has come up with the brilliant idea that each kid should come to school tomorrow with a Christmas decoration for the school’s Christmas tree. How lovely! The thing is, I have no Christmas decorations over here because we never spend Christmas in London. I have to find something by tomorrow -having just received the email this morning. My local shops haven’t started selling garments yet. What am I supposed to do without spending the day on it? I was waiting at the post office to send some letters and gifts when I saw it. A perfect Christmas tree was standing right in the corner, with tinsels, shiny stars and little baubles. Do you know what I thought? Here it is: maybe I could steal a bauble. It would save me a couple of hours. I almost did it. I was seriously tempted.


To make matters even worse, I have friends coming over this week-end and I love to have a cup of nice champagne for such occasions. Bubbles are the perfect antidote to the Christmas stress. But I haven’t had time to buy anything. My local wine shop sells my favourite pink champagne brand for a hefty £59.99 a bottle. I still have time to order on-line but it remains expensive at £41.99 per bottle. Maybe I have expensive tastes. They should invoice by the bubble. As I don’t have time to shop around, I often end up buying things at a huge premium -and feeling bad about it. It is all about juggle, juggle, juggle.

But something happened. In fact, it is nothing short of a miracle. I was contacted by mySupermarket to try out their services.
Basically, they do the hard work for you. They compare the prices between the main supermarkets and tell you where to find the cheapest option. The price comparison is easy to understand and if they don’t find the same product they suggest something similar, or cheaper. And the icing of the cake is that most on-line supermarkets deliver at my place.



In the comfort of my own place, I had a look at my favourite champagne. I could get it on-line for £32 (£31.99 to be precise). A saving of £18 per bottle compared to my corner shop and a saving of £10 per bottle compared to my usual on-line supermarket! What is not to like about such a site? I have never felt better about buying champagne. How come I hadn’t heard of this before? How silly of me not to compare more. From now on, it will be a lot easier to be a savvier buyer.

I also bought advent calendars, chocolates and everything I needed for my friends’ visit, including some nice Christmas gifts. I was chuffed to bits. No parking to worry about and no extensive researches to make to find the best bargain. For once, I felt that I wasn’t penalised for being short of time. And it felt good. The champagne will taste event better.

I have teamed up with mySupermarket for this post but the opinions are my own and I really was pleased to save on my Christmas shopping. Please let me know how you survive the Christmas season in the comment box below.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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Dogs are the latest fashion accessories at the school gate. Don’t ask me why, I really don’t get it, and I have no dog because I think that it would be unfair on the poor pet to live in my small house with noisy children. Basically, some mums have started to do the school run with their dogs. And for the record, we are talking about the pick-up and the drop-off here. They could leave them in their Chelsea tractor or tie them to a nearby tree, but no, they take them right in front of the entrance door and kids almost have to walk over them to get inside.


I have nothing against dogs. I just think that a school is mainly for kids, and not a menagerie. And I don’t have any sense of humour before my morning’s coffee  -ask my husband if you don’t believe me!-. In short, barking dogs first thing in the morning don’t make my day.

There is something else. Dogs love me, you see. Worse: they adore me. I don’t know why: I did nothing for this. To make matters even worse I don’t adore them back. It is nothing personal; it is just that, early in the morning, I simply don’t love anyone. I am just trying to get going. In order to show me their love, what do they do? They run to me and start smelling my rear…or my front. Usually, the owner of the dog finds it hilarious.  I don’t, which probably earned me the reputation of a grumpy mum. I have tried to stay away from the dogs, but to no avail.

So what am I supposed to do? Should I complain to the school and ask them to do something about it? I am pretty sure that there are some health & safety rules about the fact that bringing your dog inside the school premises should not be allowed. Am I overreacting? This is probably only a new craze that will eventually fade away. A few years ago, it was all about looking like you were going horse riding. Well, high boots and tight jackets are completely out of fashion now. So, maybe, I should just wait. What would you do?

NB: Come on, don’t be shy, leave a review here! A big thank you for your support and patience with my new design (do you like it?)

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /


It is all over the news. Audrey Pulvar, a well-known French journalist and her minister boyfriend -Arnaud Montebourg, have broken-up. You could argue that this is hardly a news as couples break up every day. But in this instance, Audrey Pulvar told the news to the French press by text message.

Female French journalists who are covering politics tend to end up in a relationship with politicians. We have plenty of examples. Some couples seem to last, even when they are not in the spotlight any more, which has to happen eventually… Others, such as DSK & Anne Sinclair, have known a different fate. Is this proximity between politicians & journalists unhealthy? I used to think so. Now I believe that we mustn’t read too much into it. And it is not really a French specificity, is it? Just look ad General Petraeus’ latest squeeze. They work together, they spend a lot of time together. Well, things happen. I suppose it is just human nature. Not always in a very dignified way, but human nature.
But when did it become acceptable to announce a break-up by text message? I still remember a Sex & The City episode where Carrie gets dumped by Post-It. At the time, I thought that it was pure fiction. Apparently not. Some break up by changing their Facebook status. Some tweet about it. Some email it around. How times have changed…how did we manage before social media ?
Unless I have missed something, you can not sustain a relationship using social media only. A kiss by tweet is not the same than the real thing. So why would you end a relationship that happened in the real world using the cyberspace? Is it easier to get read of someone in 140 letters than to face him or her? When did we pour our heart and soul on social networks?

Just imagine if we were using Twitter to stop our energy contract @supplierX had enough of your crappy customer service. Going to sign up with @supplierY. My followers would then ReTweet it and the whole world would know, except the energy company because their Twitter account hasn’t been updated since the latest ice age anyway.

So is the virtual break-up a French thing? I don’t think so. Again, I think that it is just human nature. It is easier to avoid a confrontation. But it is not human nature at its very best!
NB: How do you like my new design? It is not completely finished yet, so bear with me. I need to update the links, etc…And don’t forget to review my blog here! A big thank you for all your patience and support. Virtual xx

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Before I start, if you could write a review of my blog here I would love you forever. Sorry to ask you to work, everyone!


I was looking at French newspapers over the weekend when it downed on me: most French politicians and, more generally, most French citizen share a similar trait. What is it? No, it is not the clothes. You could argue that, for politicians, it is the background : most of them are graduates of the famous ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration), which basically allows them to lead France without having to make a single penny running a business. And, if you must ask, France does have a school for judges. Honestly. But I digress.
We French work under the unwritten assumption that we are different. The usual rules of common sense do not apply to us. Let me explain: apparently, we French are one of the worst countries in terms of fluency in English. Quizzed about this fact, a fellow Frenchman answered back with another question (a classic trick) ‘ how well do other countries speak French’. It is typical, isn’t it? We are the centre of the universe, hence the others should speak French. Of course. How come I hadn’t thought of this?
What is your first reaction when someone tells you ‘well, but this is different’? It usually drives me mad. Being different is too often an excuse not to have achieved something or not to follow the rules. France needs to reduce its debt. 56% of the GDP is spent on public spending (vs 48,5% in this country or even c. 39% in the USA) but massive cuts won’t happen any time soon because we are different. How we will reduce our deficit remains a mystery to me.
Being French has everything to do with being an exception. It is in our genes, and we will always be reluctant to follow the rules. Mind you, such a skill can be an asset when you need to persevere. But, more often than not, it is a hindrance: we just don’t want to change!
I keep being asked when I will move back to France. The sad fact if the matter is that I don’t think that I ever will. I might be French, but I am different.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /


There is a Christmassy feel in London. It is getting crisp and cold. Christmas decorations are popping up everywhere. And, on top of this, I am eating mince pies at every possible opportunities. Life doesn’t get any better than this, right?
Believe it or not, I was initially reluctant to eat mince pies because I thought that it was actually made with mince (yes, meat!). You see, I am not a huge fan of the whole meat and jam combination. I know, I am not very adventurous. But I was wrong. Mince pies are all about sultanas, oranges, nutmeg and cinnamon. There is nothing not to like about them. They taste like mulled wine without the alcohol. They make you feel good and get into the Christmas spirit.
So here I am, stuffing my face with a mince pie with my morning coffee, and absolutely loving it. I will burn the calories later, at Bikram or during a run. After all, who cares?
Christmas decorations on Victoria Street
I can’t think of any equivalent in France. Christmas food is usually for the Christmas lunch itself. Of course, you have to eat 13 desserts including nougat and other delicacies, on Christmas Eve. But I hadn’t heard about mince pies before moving over here.
Apparently, old recipes for mince pies mentioned the fact that you need to use 13 ingredients. Just like the 13 deserts in Provence. They represent the 12 apostles and Jesus. I shamefully admit that I didn’t know it until I researched it. How did we manage before Google again?
People are quick to admit that French food is up there in terms of taste. That may well be true but hey, the Brits have mince pies. I think that I am becoming more British by the day!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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Samantha Womack presents drawings made by British children to the children at school in Htan Taw (Credit: Christopher
Davy/ActionAid)


I need to come clean here. As I am French, I used not to give to charities. Actually, I am still reluctant to give to fundraisers on the street. This is because, in France, the State (‘l’Etat’) is supposed to play the charities’ role. You don’t have to give some money for the school charities every now and then and nobody is pestering you because they are running for a noble cause and need to be sponsored. Honestly, it has never happened to me in France. Fundraising in France is quite complicated and not as big a business as in the UK. No, we are not stingy (well, maybe a bit), we are simply not used to it. It is a cultural thing. I still remember when one of my neighbours knocked at my door because her husband was doing a parachute jump for a charity. She wanted some money. I looked at her as if she was insane, wondering whether I should call the police because an aggressive beggar was at my door. In my defence, when I asked her what the name of the charity was, she couldn’t remember.
Little by little, I understood that it was nice to get involved with some charities and I started to participate in fundraising events. The first time I sponsored a child was with ActionAid. I use the occasional sponsored post and adverts income of this blog to help Suresh, who lives in India. He is the same age than my younger daughter but instead of dreaming of Legos and DVDs all he wants is food (mainly potatoes, in fact). A very different perspective. And do you know what? It was exactly what I needed.
But there are some news. For the first time, ActionAid is starting its sponsorship programme in Myanmar (Burma). Myanmar is a country that it just starting to open up and the needs are simply huge. You can have a look here (http://www.actionaid.org.uk/103415/celebrate_child_sponsorship_week.html) for further information. Various celebrities have actually travelled to Burma to launch the new sponsorship programme. You can watch Samantha Womack’s video here:
And finally, here are some blogging friends with a big heart – visit them to know more about ‪#csweek
http://sylwiapresley.com                            @presleysylwia

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /

I am not drowning! Promise! Copyright by Muriel Jacques

Some things cross borders. They simply never change. Denial falls into such a category. It transcends nationalities, genders and social positions. Come on, let’s admit it: we are all in denial in some form or shape. Right now, the French government is in complete denial when they say that there is no such thing as a tax exile issue in my home country. They should have a look at the Eurostar arrival terminal to understand what is going on. All French who qualify for a British passport are actually getting it.
So, tell me, why is it so easy to see what is wrong with someone else and not what is wrong with yourself? I don’t get it. I remember the mum of an anorexic daughter. She hadn’t realised that the girl was throwing up on purpose at every possible opportunity and kept saying that her daughter had a sensitive stomach. When some clinically depressed members of my family tell me that I look burnt-out, I feel like yelling at them that they should sort out their own issues before taking care of mine. But I don’t.  What is the point of getting angry anyway? If they don’t want to face their own demons, why should I spend some time and energy trying to enlighten them when, clearly, they don’t want to know. It would be cruel, wouldn’t it? And they wouldn’t listen -I have tried to have a chat with the mum in question and she brushed off my concerns, so there you go.
That said, if there were such a thing as a denial’s barometer, I believe that France would top up the charts. Being patronised by my French friends remains quite an experience. I keep being asked when I am coming back. Because clearly, according to them, life outside of France can not be bearable. My roots are French, are they not? Someone will also have to explain to me why people have this obsession of roots and origins. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to know where you are coming from, but I live in the present. Onwards and upwards, as they say. I had a stark reminder of this the other day when I bumped, on the street, into the guy who was sitting next to me at my Engineering university. We chatted a bit and he explained that he was only in London for a year. It is some sort of rite of passage in the French establishment, in order to be able to say that you have worked abroad. He looked horrified when I told him that I was living here for good. I have given him my business card but he won’t call back, I am sure. How can I leave France for good! Maybe he thought I was hitting on him (NOT the case).
Anyway, don’t you think that we just need denial to make our life easier? Right now, I am having a sizeable piece of brownie. I deserve it, I went to bikram. Am I in denial too?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London