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

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

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 of course keeping my French citizenship. He is incredibly 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

Posted by / Category London /

I sometimes think of our flat in Paris. It is not that I miss it, it is just that it was awfully quiet. Compared to our house in London, that is.

The problem with my house in London is that there is always something beeping. Mind you, I am sure that it helps my cerebral activity, because I have to react fast. When I hear yet another beep, I have to think about what it might be. Because otherwise, it might get worse. Much worse.


If it is the oven, it means that it is now pre-heated. I can ignore it, it won’t happen again. Lucky escape. If it is the microwave (yes, despite being French I use a microwave), it means that I need to get the food out of it right away otherwise it is going to beep again thirty seconds later. And again. And again.



If it is the dishwasher, I have to press the on/off button, otherwise it will keep beeping until the end of the night. Nasty, that one.
If it is the washing machine, it will beep every 5 minutes until I turn it off. Nightmare.
Then, you have all the unidentified sounds of the phones. It can get complicated. Some beeps mean that you are running low on batteries, others that you have received a message or that someone is calling you. It is a different beep for Skype. To be fair, I am still unsure of what some beeps mean. It is nothing short of a miracle that I am still reasonably sane (I think).

But that’s not the worst. In my house, if you burn your toast or your meat, the fire alarm starts and a maddening noise fills the whole house in a matter of seconds. You have to think fast, climb the kitchen table and press everything you can to try to stop it. Failing this, you have to open the windows and hope it will stop. It usually does. Phew!


Then, you have the security alarm. It is the worst. It starts with small beeps and if you don’t enter the code within a certain time (like a couple of minutes), you are sure to wake up half of London. If it happens in the middle of the night, it is simply terrifying, because you have to rush downstairs in your PJs to stop it. Not to mention that for some reason my alarm doesn’t like it when it gets windy. I don’t know what to do about it. I am having panic attacks when the wind blows outside for fear it might set off the alarm. Honestly.


But the other day, I heard a new beep. It wasn’t any of the usual suspects. It started low and went louder and louder. My darling husband had bought some carbon monoxide detectors for the home and was testing them. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it can save lives and is one of the big domestic killers, but right now I long for some peace and quiet. How does everybody cope with all the noise? I am becoming beeping mad. 

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /



There is something about my British friends. It took me a long time to put my finger on it, but I think that I have nailed it. Finally. They all seem to know all about locals and pubs. How do they do it? Where is such a knowledge coming from?


Just to give you a few examples: I wanted to meet up with a friend and fellow blogger for a catch-up on a Friday evening and she instantly knew somewhere ideal on Wardour Street, in Soho because it was nice and at the same time not too crowded. Maybe it is in the British genes. I really wonder.


Another time, I met up some old colleagues in a wine bar close to Embankment. It was small, busy and quite trendy. When I mentioned this to my current colleagues, the British ones knew instantly where I had been. How come? How did it happen?

My British friends are a walking encyclopaedia of where to unwind and have a glass of wine/beer/soft drink after work or after a meeting, wherever the meeting can be. I must have missed a trick somewhere. Is there a guide that I have missed? I really wonder. I have to research, ask and check to find the right venues. They get it instantly and effortlessly. How come?

Well, I suppose that I will have to work hard on my Britishness from now on…I have a lot to do. I’d better get started. Cheers to that!

And, if I need a little help -as we all do from time to time, I can always have a look at bars in London…enjoy the new year!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

I wish you all the best for 2013! I don’t know what’s in store this year, so I suppose that we will just have to wait and see. And keep a positive mental attitude. Easier said than done, I must admit.
As for me, I don’t know where I belong any more, but, honestly, who cares? Never before has my home country been so polarised, and all French living abroad are seen as tax exiles. How funny!


The thing is, I am happier here. I sometimes wonder why. Something to do with the fact that I feel less judged. One thing is for sure, it is not because of the weather, because the last few days have been a wash-out. But what would I do without the Tate Britain and chocolate croissants? I wonder. And yes, I have a French accent, but who doesn’t have an accent in London?

In short, contrary to what was implied when I was younger, there is a life outside of France. 

And I won’t make any New year’s resolutions because I never keep them anyway. Life is just too short, I will just enjoy 2013! How about you?


Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London