Posted by / Category Politics /


Every week, in London, there is a press article about French politicians. Unfortunately, it is not about politics or economics. And no, it is not about elections either! It is all about the politicians’ tangled love life. What vaudeville! The latest articles were about Rachida Dati, a former Justice Minister. She decided to sue a well-known French businessman to establish the paternity of her baby daughter. The said businessman implied that the lady had numerous lovers at the time. The saga continues. This new episode left me wondering when French politicians actually work. Don’t get me wrong: what happens between two consenting adults is their own business. But come on, surely the French politicians have too much time on their hands. Maybe it is a side effect of the 35 hours per week. It must be.
Francois Hollande had various partners, mistresses and an actual girlfriend. Apparently he has a love child too. It must be some sort of compulsory routine when you want to be a French president. Love child: check…Giscard d’Estaing had an accident with the milkman when he came back from a night with one of his mistresses. I don’t get it. Where do they find the time to do some actual work? Correction: do they actually work?
I am starting to wonder whether it might actually be me. My life seems, in comparison, incredibly boring. I wouldn’t be able to do a tenth of what they do. Not that I would want to. Is there something wrong with me? No wonder that the French social security deficit is so abysmal when what is expected from some is so, let’s say, incredibly demanding. What is going on in my home country?
Where in America we would have tears and confessions and promises that it will never happen again (remember John Edwards? Mark Sanford?), everything is kept under wraps in France (literally and, well, figuratively) and, even when the rumours are founded, French politicians will sue the newspapers for ‘invasion of privacy’. And most of the time, they will win, although the fines are ridiculously low.
So there is another French paradox: in France you are protected, and sometimes even rewarded for a tangled love life. Especially if you are a man, that is. I am not sure that Rachida Dati will have such an easy escape: apparently she could be jailed if she was to travel to Morocco, her country of origin, because of its strict morality laws. In the meantime, all the male French politicians can travel as much as they want with all the honours. Some things never change.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /

Picture from http://www.pilotfashion.com
There is a new fashion in London. You can’t have missed it. It’s everywhere, and most mums at the school gates follow it. I believe that it must be a consequence of the success of 50 shades of Grey. Basically, you now need to have spikes and studs everywhere if you want to be taken seriously. On your shoes of course, and if you want the complete look, you might consider them on your coat, on your skirt and on a bracelet too. The more and the shinier, the better. It is all about unleashing your inner rock chick while still looking respectable. A difficult balancing act. Not recommended for fashion beginners…
Studs are simply a must. From the banker’s wife to the moody teenager, everybody wears them. Don’t get me wrong, it is not about getting the gothic look, it is a lot more mainstream. Wearing studs implies that you are cool. It probably also implies that you have read 50 Shades and that you are totally in tune with it. Studs and spikes make you look experienced, apparently. It is all about appearing to be fearless.
Well, don’t count me in. I am not into studs. I will resist it until my very last breath. No spikes or studs for me, thank you very much. Come on, what’s next? A whip? Handcuffs? Call me old-fashioned, but I simply don’t need all this attire. And it doesn’t do anything for me. First of all, on a practical side, I would be worried because I might hurt someone. Maybe that’s the whole point? And then I don’t really like the dominatrix look. Maybe I am really getting older, after all.
I really don’t get it: where does this love of studs come from? Why would you be willing to pay a huge premium for extra studs and spikes on your clothes? Surely it is cheaper to do it yourself at home anyway. What is the point of having pointy shoes? Maybe there is no point. Maybe it is just another trend that will pass in a few months. I do hope so! What about you? What do you think of studs?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

Yep, you read this right. You see, I have a bad cold. I feel like curling in bed all day long but I can’t because of my various responsibilities. Basically, you can’t take a break from being a mum. It is not nice to be in apnea most of the time. My nose seems to have a mind of its own and I feel bad because I probably have used half of the tissues of the whole planet.
To make matters even worse, when I am like this, I crave the food of my childhood: brandade de morue, aioli, bougnette (respectively local fish pie with garlic, garlic mayonnaise & local version of garlic bread). So I decided to act on my cravings and all my meals, for the last few days, have come with some form of garlic. My daughters were a bit surprised to see me cook and add garlic into virtually anything but I didn’t give them much choice.
Come on, what’s not to love about garlic? They say that you mustn’t eat any garlic if you want to be kissed but hey, now that I am dangerously nearing forty I don’t care any more.

My garlicky breath didn’t seem to deter the guy who followed me for a while after lunch to try to buy me a cup of coffee when I was in fact rushing to pick up my younger one from school between sneezes. In fact, eating as much garlic as I can seems to give me a certain glow, despite my runny nose. Don’t worry, dear readers, you won’t smell anything while reading my blog. You are totally safe. At least that’s what I am told.
I am honestly starting to feel better after a couple of days of my new diet. But that’s it, I am hooked. I think that I will continue to eat garlic for a while. Beware!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /


We are back to London and it feels like coming back to the Arctic Circle. I think that I can feel a cold coming. Damn it. What a shock, after warm Dubai! That said, all is not doom and gloom. I have just seen the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall. 

James Bond is my favourite British institution and, to top it up, some scenes were shot very close to where I live. I felt a bit part of it –I will have to buy the DVD, because I think that I saw me walking around Millbank. (I was there during the shooting – see here if you don’t believe me!). 


I liked the movie a lot. I didn’t get bored at all, even for a few seconds, which is always a good sign. I liked the sense of humour most, and I am really pleased about this because I thought that I didn’t get the British sense of humour. It is distilled throughout the movie and all it takes is a few words such as ‘You didn’t think you were sleeping here, did you?’ (M to a resurrected Bond), or ‘Well, [if you want to stay safe] you’d better keep moving then…’ (Eve –who shot Bond while trying to kill one of the villains)-. Maybe I am making some progress on the humour front, after all. Miracles do happen. 

Bond appears to be older and weaker, and the whole movie is actually quite sombre, but at the same time the plot is crisp and, again, the dialogues are really, really excellent. Sam Mendes, the Director, manages to keep the story riveting –I liked the action scenes as much as the plot. While I usually do not warm up for blonde guys but I could make an exception for Daniel Craig. 

 Come to think of it, there are just a couple of scenes that I didn’t warm up to: one where James Bond crosses over with Star Wars and our national spy has to fight giant lizards, Skywalker style. The villain, Silva, is very credible, except when it is hinted that he is bi. Come on, why was it necessary? I can’t find a French equivalent to James Bond. But, come on, nothing tops up French Bond girls. You just have to look up Berenice Marlohe if you need any convincing!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

photo.JPG

My French passport doesn’t work any more. Every time I go abroad I get sent to a special counter, because the magnetic stripe is not recognised and they need to check it manually, which takes more time. I think that my passport might be trying to tell me something: it is not happy because I am getting a British passport soon. I don’t want to listen. I don’t want to negotiate.

It has gone on strike and the situation has reached a dead-end.

 You have got to give it to my fellow French citizen : no-one strikes like the French. In London, when there is a Tube strike, some lines are still running. As a passenger, it will be more painful but you have a chance to reach your destination. In France, it is far less likely. I remember having to walk to the office. It took me the best part of three hours. I also remember a couple of American tourists trying to go to the airport, only to be told sternly that there was a strike and nothing could be done. They were the hostages of a social conflict that had nothing to do with them. They looked bewildered. Welcome to France!

 Sure, I could give my passport back to the French consulate to get it changed. I have to admit that I can’t face the long wait. A quick look at the website proved me right: you can’t make an appointment this side of Christmas. Somehow the various queues at foreign customs suddenly seem more appealing than the French administration. And, once you have explained the situation it usually takes a few weeks to have a new passport. Nightmare. Another option would be to do it the French way: I could go to the front desk and loudly complain. I might get a lecture about the fact that an appointment might be required but, on the positive side, it might work and usually they might get me straight in. None of these two options appeal to me.
 I suppose that I will have to be patient and wait for my British passport. On the bright side, it is nice to have the option to have two passports. Lots of my friends couldn’t get out of the country because they were waiting for their travel documents. For this, I am grateful!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

Fwd:

Whether you are French or British, some things never change: everybody needs a break. I am no exception. So we left rainy London, wet and miserable, and headed to sunny Dubai. It is baking hot over here. There is a word in French to describe what I am doing here: farniente. I believe that it is the same in English, despite the fact that I think the Brits say Far Niente.

I went for a swim in the Persian Gulf this morning. I think that I will go every day. Then I will rest. Here, no-one comments on my French accent. Pure bliss. To be fair, the whole place seems to be full of Russians. The hotel is magical, with its Arabic-inspired architecture. I feel like a princess.

 And here I am, doing absolutely nothing, enjoying the sunshine and forgetting the business, the stress and the greyness. My only concern is that my daughters seem to be stuck to the swimming pool whereas if it was only me, I would stay on the beach. On the bright side, swimming in a pool remain the best way not to be attacked by a shark, right? Not that there had been any shark attacks that I know of, obviously.

 What is not to love about doing nothing? Well, apart from the fact that we are having far too many ice-creams, that is.

 There is also something about the food over here. I am a huge fan of hot and cold mezze and I am currently living on hummus and moutabal (that’s made with eggplants -we say aubergine in French). The food somehow goes well with the sun. I think that I must have lived in the Middle East in another life. There is simply a magic in the Middle East that I haven’t found anywhere else.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /


Ok, I will admit it. As you may have noticed, as far as my style is concerned, I am quite conservative. I love black outfits. Or dark blue. Or grey. Maybe dark brown from time to time. My idea of change is a crisp, white shirt. Or maybe my beige coat. Even in my own house I believe that you can’t go wrong with neutral colours. Have a look: this is how my daughter’s bedroom looked like. Come on, be kind, it looks nice!


But now that I am a fully-fledged British citizen, it is time to brighten up and to slowly start to add a dash of colour to my life. I know that it will be a slow process: I cannot rewind years of believing that dark is smarter in the blink of an eye, right? But in Rome, you need to do as the Romans. And I keep seeing all sorts of colours over here (sometimes, a bit too many, actually –I am still very judgemental!!!). I hate to admit it, but it is time to brighten up.
Let’s be honest here. I needed a bit of help. Actually, that’s an understatement (I am really turning British!): I needed a LOT of help. Miracles do happen: Joules contacted me and suggested that I should take a look at Joules. I had never heard of the brand Joules before. That’s pretty normal, because Joules the epitome of Britishness. It is all about bright colours and enjoying the British countryside. The designs were simple, yet colourful and uplifting.
But guess what: I was so sure of my conservative style that I turned their offer to try some of their clothes down. Yes, that’s just me.
They didn’t give up. They came back to me suggesting that I should have a look at Joules’ section for home and garden. Clever move: my teenage daughter has been asking for more colours for the best part of a decade. So I gave in and decided that she might be right, after all. Now was the right time to give in to my teenage daughter and let her have a more colourful bedroom. The deckchair stripe duvet cover arrived today, courtesy of Joules and, in my household, it was out with the grey, in with the beautiful stripes!
What’s not to love about the duvet cover? The fabric is soft and thick and the design, well, changes everything! Well, not everything to be completely honest. My DD is now taking a nap in her brand new duvet cover and I can’t wake her up…
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t reached the stage where I will buy a pink hat and dye my hair green. No, I am still very reasonable. Too reasonable, probably. But I am starting to be more tolerant about colourful clothes. And, after the lovely duvet, I have my eyes set on the Alfreda top. Wat do you think? Should I buy it? Would it be a good start for the next stage, ie brightening my wardrobe? Do you have any advice as to what to do next?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

London is very cold right now. This means that I have had to dig out my winter coat and my scarf. Obviously, despite my new citizenship, I am not truly British because I keep seeing men of all ages wearing short pants and a vest in arctic temperatures. I wonder whether I will get there eventually. Probably not.
Mind you, the cold temperatures do not deter some from trotting along with just an evening dress and high heels. I can understand that: you want your outfit to be seen and admired, right? That said, I saw something new today. I apologise for the quality of the picture, I just had time for a quick snap.



Basically, this young lady is wearing a mini-skirt, woollen socks, a warm coat and a hat.
Her thighs had nothing on. Yep, you read that well. Absolutely nothing.
This got me thinking. Maybe I just have too pragmatic a mind. I don’t get it. My question is:
Why would you keep your head warm and your bottom cold?
I tried to think of possible explanations:
1.    She wants to impress her boyfriend (but honestly, would you risk a bad cold just to show your thighs? I certainly wouldn’t. A runny nose is so not sexy. Maybe she wants him to nurse her. Hmm, not a good plan)
2.    She misses the beach (but we all do, right? And we don’t wander half-naked in the cold because of it. Well, I certainly don’t. I am such a conformist nowadays!)
3.    This is yet another new trend that I missed. I have seen quite some girls dressed like that. Maybe, after all, it will stick.
4.    I am becoming way too judgemental. That’s what age does for you –I am too old to change anyway and I stopped trying a long time ago. But, honestly, this is just common sense, right? And I don’t want our already very busy doctors to become any busier because of a naked butt in the cold.
In short, you will not see me running around in the cold like that. What about you? Would you dress like this in the cold? And if so, why? You see, I need to understand.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /

That’s it, I am a fully-fledged British citizen. The funny thing is that I have been asked a few times whether I will change the name of this blog. Well, no, I won’t. After all, I have dual citizenship! And now that I have the domain name, I might as well use it…
It all happened last Wednesday. I took the Tube to Baker Street during rush hour, in the morning and the whole experience was made that little bit worse when I saw a woman puking in a bin at the station. How lovely! I tried to think of something else: it was a bright, crisp day. No rain in sight. Surely this was a good sign!
I walked along Marylebone High Street and initially thought that Westminster Council House was this building…Well, I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed!


It turns out that I was wrong. It was the opposite building. That’s lucky, I much prefer this one!!!


We were 43 British-to-be citizens and we were later told that, amongst us, 27 different nationalities were represented. Most of us had brought guests. I hadn’t. I took it to Twitter to share my thoughts and it was nice to get responses in real time as the whole thing was happening. What would I do without social media? Here are some of the tweets I received. I felt immediately better!
@FrenchYumMummy stiff upper lip. Your nearly British.
@FrenchYumMummy The very best of luck lov
@FrenchYumMummy indeed. Hope u enjoy it. People say it is good.

The waiting hall was full. This didn’t deter the lady at the front desk to tell me to take a seat. Well, no more seat were available but I didn’t say anything. It must have been some sort of British understatement I am sure that she was just trying to be polite. We then had the treat of having a fire alarm test. No more surprises happened after that.
After a long registration, we were finally led to some much-needed tea and coffee (and chocolate biscuits). The ceremony itself didn’t take more than 45 minutes and was led by the Westminster deputy mayor in the council room.


 I didn’t really feel any different after my pledge and the cab driver taking me home even asked me where I was coming from. I replied that I was British and he didn’t seem to believe me. He said something like ‘it is nice to have kept your French accent’
I guess that some things will never change!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /

I have found the perfect bracelet for the ceremony

Tomorrow is the end of a journey for me. I have my citizenship ceremony at 9.30 am. Then, I will be a British citizen. I thought that it was going to be a formality but I can already feel butterflies in my tummy. I also have a vague feeling of betrayal, probably because my education instilled in me a sense that nothing could top up France. Everybody keeps asking me why I want to become British, which doesn’t help. After all, with a French passport, surely I don’t need to become British. Well, my daughters are answering back to me in English now and, the more I look at what is happening in France, the more I am convinced that I am making the right choice. I will have dual citizenship anyway.

 
What really tipped the scales in favour of British citizenship was what happened a little over a month ago. National French newspaper “Liberation”’ main headline was as follows:
Liberation

This is a picture of Bernard Arnault, one of the wealthiest French businessmen, with a luggage. The headline translates “P**s off, rich c**t !” – without the stars, obviously. The rude headline was published because Bernard Arnault has applied for Belgium citizenship. He denies that his application is for tax reasons and will keep his dual nationality, but because of it he had to face a torrent of abuse.

 I am stunned. The violence of this headline gets me. This is pure incitation to hate, don’t you think? Is it ever acceptable to insult somebody in such a public way? Whatever your political opinion might be, I don’t think that the use of such an invective is ever justified. I hope that Bernard Arnault will win his case against them. Castigating the rich and the entrepreneurs might not help the ailing French economy. Quite the opposite, in fact. Let’s face it: I don’t understand my home country any more.

To make matters even worse, this headline also implies that applying for another nationality makes you a bad person. There are all sorts of reasons why people want to apply for another citizenship. As for me, I just moved to London to keep my family together. Should have I stayed in France out of patriotism? Please, give me a break.

The good news is that I seriously doubt that my application will make any headline. Phew! Just don’t tell the French!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London