Posted by / Category London /

Today, I was treated to a live art performance. It was completely unexpected and happened out of the blue. In fact, the day hadn’t really started very well, I was coming back from an appointment with my dentist. Once again, he told me off for not flossing well enough. It must be the shape of my teeth, you see. I never get it right. Well, at least that’s my excuse.
Anyway, I was waiting for my Victoria Line train when I saw this:


I couldn’t believe it. What was it about? They seem to be coming straight from a Magritte painting, with their black hats, back suits, umbrellas and white masks. They were not talking, they were standing in line. They silently boarded the tube at Oxford Circus. Some passengers started to engage with them but they didn’t reply. A painting doesn’t talk, does it? Me being me, I started tweeting furiously about it.

They got off at Victoria, silently, after having handed over some flyers about a new bar/club. I have to admit that I lost the flyer. That said, what an original way to advertise for a launch! Seeing something like this simply made my day. I shamefully admit that it was the first live art performance that I ever saw.
Here is always something interesting on the Victoria Line (see here if you don’t believe me!). I love it. I love this city!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /


London is in a Valentine sort of mood. The shops are displaying heart shaped chocolate boxes everywhere and the price of red roses is going through the roof according to my next door’s florist.
Couples are everywhere. London could be re-named Snog-land right now. There was a couple sharing a passionate kiss in front of the Tube barriers yesterday. I had to wait patiently behind them with my Oyster card because I couldn’t get through. Another couple was kissing on the platform. The exercise was a difficult one because she was wearing a homemade horse mask, lovingly made with papier mâché. They found the whole experience hilarious and almost missed their train.
I went shopping on exclusive Kings Road last Saturday afternoon. As it was freezing, I decided to sit down somewhere and have a quick coffee. I went upstairs with my cuppa, only to find an army of teenagers passionately kissing each other and giggling between kisses. I believe that some of them were my daughter’s classmates. How embarrassing. It made me feel ill at ease. They were so eager! I had just come here to get a cup of coffee and feel warmer but it didn’t do the trick.
Nobody wants to be on his/her own for Valentine’s day. It has become some sort of competition really. I don’t remember Valentine’s day being this big in France. Where is this coming from? What did I miss?

The thing is, I love buying red roses from time to time. I suppose I will have to buy white ones instead!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /



To A French Basher

Yes, I have an accent. It is because I was brought up in France, you see. Education is good and free there, but obviously it is also in French. I have been living here for nine years now, so stop showing me your ear when I speak, please. You understand me perfectly well. Give me a break. Don’t worry, I get my revenge from time to time when you try to say a French word like ‘savoir faire’ to impress your audience. I frown. It is your pronunciation, you see. I didn’t get it. In fact, I hate to break it to you, but your French sucks. My English is so much better than your French and that’s something you should remember from time to time.
Don’t make a pass at me because I am French. I have been told far too many times that I look French and that the way I speak is sexy. I wouldn’t know, I did nothing for this, and it is definitively not a sign that I fancy you. I live here, just like you. I work, I take my kids to school, I pay my taxes. Now can we have a normal conversation please?
I know that it might come as a shock, but most French men don’t have any mistress and some of us (like me) don’t eat frog, snail and horse-meat. And yes, French women do sometimes get fat. In fact, there is no such thing as ‘The French’. We just take it one day at a time. Oh, and I don’t make political decisions in Paris, so stop implying that I have something to do with French agricultural subsidiaries just because I happen to be the only French in the room. Not my fault.
Well now, I have a confession to make: I am British too. Yes, I have a British passport. I will vote at the next general election, just like you. Now don’t give me another historical lecture to try to convince me that we are hereditary enemies and that you are so superior. Why do you need to score points at every possible opportunity? What is there to win exactly? I live here and I love it, I don’t need any convincing. Nor do I need constant reminders that I don’t really belong here. Whether you like it or not, I officially do, actually.
Finally, I would like to offer you some fashion advice: ditch the stripes, they really make you look fatter. And no, Evian doesn’t have an oily taste.
I sincerely hope that, one day, you will see me as I am.


Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

We all make mistakes, don’t we? Let’s be positive today: sometimes, there is a fine line between foolishness and genius, don’t you think? Unfortunately, most mistakes end up with us having to clean up the mess we made (literally or figuratively, of course). That said, today, I would like to think of some fabulous mistakes that have changed our lives for the better. This is not a selfless act on my part. I need some cheering up here. I was making some vegetable soup and for some reason the soup has ended up on all four walls of the kitchen. Apparently, it was all in the movement of my wrist when the saucepan started slipping. I am pretty sure that this incident could interest the army: so much soup, on so many walls, with so little energy is simply unheard of. Just imagine if it were ammunitions. I could have ended a war here.


Take the tarte tatin, for instance. What is not to like about a tarte tatin? It melts in the mouth, it is full of butter and sugar. It is simply worth getting fat for a tarte tatin. (a good one, of course). Well, the tarte tatin exists because two sisters were trying to make an apple tart. But the apples cooked for too long and were all caramelised. In order for them not to burn, the sisters put some pastry on top of it. The tarte tatin was born! Long live the tarte tatin!

I won’t bore you with the list of all the scientific inventions that were discovered by mistake. We simply need to make mistakes.  How else would we have discovered microwaves and potato crisps?

So why are my mistakes well, just mistakes? What is wrong with me? I guess I will just have to keep trying! Right, off to make more mistakes then!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /


As you may know, DSK has settled with the maid for his, let’s say, indiscretion in a top New York hotel. Until today, the amount of the settlement was not known. Well apparently, he had to pay M$ 1.5 for her to drop the civil charges. She will have to give 30% of this sum to her lawyers. Well, it certainly makes it one of the most expensive sexual acts of this world. Apparently, DSK might still have a future in French politics, which begs the question of what you need to do to get kicked out.
Arnaud Montebourg belongs to the same party than DSK and is one of the most vocal ministers in the French government. His style is very, very different. In order to promote what he calls “economic patriotism”, he didn’t hesitate and ordered a photo shoot where he was proudly wearing a French-made naval top, and various other French products could be seen in the background. The picture is on top of this post if you don’t believe me. Am I the only one to find the whole thing ridiculous? Honestly, what would you say if Tony Blair was pictured driving a Rolls Royce to incite people to buy British? Or Barack Obama stuffing his face with Kellogs Corn Flakes? Please, give me a break.
To me –and again this is a subjective judgement, the picture reminds me of an old Jean-Paul Gaultier perfume ad. Here it is. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jean-Paul Gaultier’s creations. But Jean-Paul Gaultier is nothing short of fashion icon, not an Industrial Recovery Minister (Arnaud Montebourg’s official job title).

French women have found him sexy. Really? Maybe it is a good thing that I have a British husband now. Maybe I just can’t stand stripes. Can I just say that Arnaud Montebourg doesn’t do it for me on this picture? Don’t you rather think that he is completely out of his depth and look a bit too, well, feminine? Honestly, what’s next? A photo shoot in his boxers to show us the French savoir faire in lace underwears? I hope that he will work out because I can see the start of a bulging tummy down there. How can he expect to be taken seriously during negotiations? If I had to talk to him, my opening question would be: why didn’t you wear your naval top today? How disappointing!
I know that I sound like an old bore but seriously, couldn’t French politicians just behave a bit better? How about hard work and more humility?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

We French believe in education. I don’t like to make such sweeping statements but today I will make an exception. The French system is incredibly selective and…free, except if you want to graduate from a business school or opt for a private education (which remains the exception rather then the rule). The only problem is that the French education is, well…French, and doesn’t really prepare you for the world outside of France. Oh, and you had better be good at maths too.
That said, I have to admit that I was disappointed when my daughter wasn’t accepted at the French Lycée in London. I was even more disappointed when I found out that other kids had got in -the selection process was quite opaque. Some things never change.
She started to go to a British school and has never looked back ever since. That said, I am always worried because it is a system that I don’t know. To make matters even worse, you are always told that ‘everything is fine’. Always. Even when everything is definitively not fine.
This means that you have to be smart. I soon understood that I needed to gather as much information as possible. It is not easy as it sounds, because people don’t share their tips (or their tutor. His or her name is a closely guarded secret). My motto is : prepare, prepare, prepare. It can be for my daughters’ exams, for my citizenship test for professional certifications.
It is all about finding old papers, exam questions and tips. Google is my best friends. So are the Bond papers for my daughters. I once attended a school presentation when I was told that the selection was based on ‘talent and potential’. In essence, they told us that there was absolutely no need to prepare.There is a saying in France ‘Talent without work is just a bad habit’. The thing is, you have to pretend that you are managing effortlessly over here. In fact, most kids I know are heavily tutored and all the adults around me trying to get a certification are working like mad to get it. Go figure. Why the big fat lie?
In short, it is all about preparation. For IT certifications, have a look at TestsLive or Adobe -they have mock-up tests on their sites, at at least you will know what to expect. In any event, the best advice that I received was: don’t listen to anyone. Get prepared.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /


It is raining. Or is it snowing? It is hard to say. There was a thin layer of snow outside this morning. My daughters were very excited. I wasn’t, because I knew that the school run was going to be a nightmare. I know, I have become an old bore. That said, it was indeed a nightmare, but we made it eventually and the school was open, which was a relief.
Whether you are in London or in Paris, you see, some things never change. For instance, you know for sure that public transports will be disrupted when it is snowing. You also know that the roads will be busier. If you have to fly somewhere, you simply know that our flight will be delayed. It is a given.
That said, what I like about London is that some things are still working when it snows. They even seem to be thriving. The snow hasn’t affected them at all. For instance, there is a guy in Pimlico that I see running every morning while driving the girls to school. He was here today, and had a short and a vest under the snow. Unbelievable. I think that he was even less covered than usual. Wow.
Then, on Crowmwell Road, the horse guards were still having their morning stroll. You will be pleased to know that no horse pooed on my car this time (read here if you want to know about this adventure). They didn’t seem to notice the snow at all. In London, you have to get your priorities right.
I find it reassuring that, for some, it is business as usual.
I now have to keep my fingers crossed and hope that it will not be total chaos tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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As a parent, I believe that it is important to read to my children as often as possible. To be honest, I think that it is a bit easier for me than for my English friends because I can discover new stories instead of the classic French ones (La Fontaine, anyone?). We don’t have the hungry caterpillar in France. Nor do we have the Tiger Who Came For Tea. But, best of all, we don’t have aliens love underpants (if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I think that I know if my heart now, because the other day I ‘read’ it while folding my little one’s clothes. My life is all about multitasking, and I must have developed skills I didn’t even know I had).
I also believe that bad readers don’t exist. They are just children who haven’t found the right books just yet. That said, as much as I like children’s books, it is not about me, it is about my little one. The school gives us books to read, which we do very diligently. It has become some sort of routine, really. We do it everyday. To be fair, there are a few funny books, but she is not reading them because she likes them, she is reading them because she has to. Sad but true. So, how on earth will I instill into her the love of books?
When I was contacted by My Little Big Town to review children’s books, I thought: why not? They kindly sent me three books instead of one and I decided to give it a go with my 7-year-old. She loved them, which surprised me positively. The books are short and funny just a few lines on each page- and once we had finished one, we had to read it all over again (lucky me!). The books are written in rhymes. The stories are uplifting and funny, it is all about building confidence while enjoying the story. For instance, Stuart The Bug Eating Man has a passion for bugs. He turns his unusual love of creepy little things into a lucrative job.
What’s not to love about this? Things didn’t really look up for him initially, but he decided to stick to his passion and it was all worth it in the end. The illustrations are very nicely done, and we had a lovely time reading and talking about this story. My daughter then asked me whether she could turn her passion for fairies into a business and I have to admit that I didnt know what to tell her, so I bought time and said that I would think about it. If you have any suggestions for me please leave me a comment. That said, it proves that she clearly understood what it was all about. We learned a few new words along the way too too, which is always nice (pungent, oodles).
She started reading the books on her own, which came to a pleasant surprise. We also read Pale Henry and Jenny .
In short, if you are looking for something new, different and funny, think of such books!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /


I am not sure that it is an upgrade, but, to cut a long story short, I have swapped my French husband for a British one. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t change husband overnight. it is just that he became British yesterday. And he is insanely happy about it.
To be honest with you, I didn’t see much change. He is still pretty much the same. Just happier, really. He still has a French accent when he speaks English (less than me, I give him that). He says ‘mate’ to his work colleagues, which I don’t really like. And he is British now.
My friends are all horrified: a French man has a reputation of being fit and charming. (They also are supposed to have a roving eye, if stereotypes are to be believed.) Well, English husbands are slightly different, apparently. They are supposed to have a beer belly and grey hair, I am told. Some even go to the pub every now and then. In short, a British husband is far less sexier than a French one. And the same goes for the wife of a British man. Where the hell did I go wrong?
I thought that our naturalisation was some sort of regularisation. After all, we have been living in London for the best part of 9 years now. It was time to take the plunge. We are both British now. I am keeping my French citizenship but I am not sure he will. He is just happy to be British. Why didn’t I see it coming? I thought that he would be torn. I was clearly wrong. Which team will he support for rugby? He doesn’t seem to care, as long as France or England beats the All Blacks. Things have really changed. What a difference a few years make! Where do we go from here?
I am not sure that it has sunk in yet.
I have a British husband. 

Any advice?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /

It looks like things are going pear-shaped in France. It started a few weeks ago when Gerard Depardieu decided to move to Belgium, just on the other side of the border. Everybody assumed, rightly or wrongly, that he had made such a move to avoid the new punitive French taxes. Gerard Depardieu’s ‘exile’ was ‘pathetic’ according to France’s current prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. The actor, understandably hurt, wrote an open letter in a national newspaper explaining that he had had enough of a country that didn’t recognise hard work and success, was coming from an humble background, and didn’t deserve to be branded ‘pathetic’ (you can read the full version – In French, here). Everyone, from politician to celebrity, had an opinion on the matter and voiced it. It is fair to say that it has kept the media busy for at least a couple of weeks -all thanks to Gerard Depardieu. What was, essentially, a private decision, became an overnight political debate. I wouldn’t want to be in Gerard Depardieu’s shoes -after all, whatever his reasons, he is free to go wherever he wants.
The story took an unexpected turn when Gerard Depardieu managed to get a Russian passport in a few days. He received it and showed it off in a Russian outfit. He was also offered a property in Mordovia, as well as a possible job as a culture minister.
My question is therefore: is Russia the way to go? I like it very much in London. Why does everybody want to leave France? Did I miss anything? What exactly is going on in my home country?
Come to think of it, it is a crazy world, isn’t it? In London, we don’t have a lot of sun, but certainly do have loads of fun. We take things a bit less seriously over here, which is nice. France loves to stigmatise successful people. I didn’t see it when I was living there. Maybe, sometimes, you have to leave your home country to have a more open mind and become less judgemental. That’s certainly what has happened to me.
And once you have your eyes more open, I am not sure that you can go back. I am not a tax exile (I wish I were, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case.), I am a fun exile. I laugh more over here.You can’t put a price on being less judged and having more fun, can you?
So what do you think? Will he go back to France after this media storm? I don’t think so.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London