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When you are a mum, when does the hard work stop? I thought that things would be easier at some point but that’s simply not the case. Whether you are French or English, you always have to correct your children’s mistakes. Always. I am fortunate, it isn’t that bad. To cut a long story short, my teenage daughter decided to bleach her hair.

Well, it didn’t work.

And guess who has to pay to correct the mess ? Me, of course.

Hubby wanted me to buy something cheap at the supermarket in order for me to do it myself, but first of all I have never done it (you see, it is my natural colour and I am trying to postpone the moment I have to dye my hair to cover the greys), and on top of this, there were some green strands on top of the yellow-ish ones and I didn’t want a homemade job to make her hair an even bigger mess.

So here I am, £58 lighter to correct my daughter’s initiative. I feel old: you know, a bit like an experienced fairy godmother. In fact, a bit like a matron. Not nice.

Come to think of it, I am a bit jealous too: I have never bleached my hair. I have never dyed it green either. How come my own daughter is comfortable doing things I never had a chance or even the will to do? Do you think I should try it too, just for fun?

Ah, the younger generation…

That’s it, I sound like my own mother.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /

It is official: I am back home, in London. London is so much quieter than New York! I almost feel that I am living in the countryside. The only noise I can hear right now is a dog barking a couple of streets away. The other thing I can’t help noticing is that, in London, I keep being asked whether I am French. Honestly, why is everybody obsessed with the French? Yesterday it was the newsagent asking me ‘are you French?’. Today, it was at a local stationery shop ‘which part of France are you coming from?’. Well, from London, actually.

In the week I spent in New York, nobody ever asked me where I was coming from. Not once. Nobody cared and it felt nice. And, for the record, I talked a lot. What is wrong with the British? Maybe I should design myself a custom-made T-shirt saying ‘I am French, get over it’. What do you think? And how the hell do they know I am French? I suppose it is the accent. Or the fact that I am a brunette maybe.
I will never know. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being asked where I am from, but not in the first 30 seconds of a conversation with someone I have never met before. What is going on?
Or maybe I should give them a more detailed answer: I am 25% Italian, and I have dual French & British citizenship. What would you do?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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That’s it, we are going back. Spending a few days in New York is always re-energising, I don’t know why.

 This week was more emotional than I thought. I was browsing, just for fun, the immigrants database from the Ellis museum and found out that 3 of my great-great uncles (brothers of my great grandfather) had come here from Italy in 1907,1908 and 1913. My great grandfather emigrated to France around 1900. I knew nothing about this side of the family. What a surprise ! I wonder where they are now.
On a lighter note, I found out that:
1. Road rage is pretty widespread in NYC. Drivers keep tooting their horns all the time, especially for silly reasons. They don’t seem to understand that pedestrians sometimes need to cross the road because it slows them down when they are making a right turn.
2. Run rage is pretty big too. People who run in Central Park expect you to move as soon as you see them or they will call you birds names. Even if the pathway is empty.
3. American children can be very, very loud. In a way that I didn’t even know was even possible. And I am the mother of two very active daughters. Maybe it is something in the food?
4. In a restaurant, always take the smallest portion. It will be enough to feed two persons.
5. I bought our breakfast every morning at the local Starbucks. The very same thing every day. I paid a different amount every day. I was to jet-lagged to say anything anyway. On average I paid the right amount, so why fight?
Anyway, time to go back home now. In London. In fact, I am a bit sad to have to leave. 
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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Storm In New York

It was raining in New York yesterday. Don’t get me wrong: it was not like the rain in London. It was warm and it looked more like some tropical downpour. Nothing to do with the British drizzle.

It was the perfect excuse to do even more shopping.
That said, in the afternoon, there were some power cuts in Manhattan. Apparently Wall Street had to close the Nasdaq for a couple of hours because of this. Not that I suffered from it.
Anyway, I decided to spend a couple of hours indoors to write. My next door neighbours, probably already home because of the power cuts, decided to make out loudly. Nightmare.
I decided to go somewhere else (anywhere else really) but I had to wait a long time to get a lift -probably because of the power cuts.  The noise in the corridor was even louder than in my bedroom. Lovely.

Anyway, I managed to come back after a lovely cappuccino at my now local Starbucks. I found out that, in New York, people talk to each other, which feels nice, and sometimes a bit weird. I might be becoming a snotty Londoner, after all.  
Today the sun is shining and we are going to enjoy Central Park. I bumped into my neighbour and am surprised she could even walk. I think that maternity units in NYC will be incredibly busy in 9 months.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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Everything is huge over here. The portions in restaurants, the buildings, the museums collections…it is all gigantic. We went to the MET yesterday and it was fantastic. You could spend a year admiring all the collections. I saw sculptures from Rodin (Les Bourgeois de Calais) and I had no idea whatsoever that they were in New York. I felt right at home.

The shopping is also huge. We went for a shopping spree with my daughter. Like mother, like daughter. She is actually even better than me: we went to shops that I didn’t even know existed (urban outfitters, forever 21…) what do you think of our new outfits? Do you think I am having some sort of midlife crisis?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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We had a good time at the restaurant

Bloody jet lag. I fell asleep at 8.30pm and woke up at 2.30am. I have been patiently waiting for the Starbucks around the corner to open at 5.30am. Things are always far easier with a coffee. They even remembered my Starbucks name, Julia (Muriel is far too complicated). That’s it, I am Julia at the corner of 6th Avenue and 57th street.

The weather in New York is just great: warm, but not too warm. It feels completely natural to be here. 
We had lunch with an university friend in a Belgian restaurant and it was good to catch up. I had the best mussels ever (‘moules frites’). Why do I have to come to New York to eat Belgian food?
For some reason I feel right at home here. Maybe I have just become an international citizen. Well, a French one obviously…
I went to the local supermarket to buy some essentials. An American lady was behind me, at the till. She was looking at me in a funny way. 
Then she said:
“- I feel like I have seen you somewhere. Have you been on TV?”
In the flesh I am quite shy. She might have mistaken me for someone else or she might have read me.”
I just smiled back and said.
‘ No, never been on TV. Have a great evening!’
What do you think? I would like to believe she knew me from this blog but somehow it must be some sort of mistake…
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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We made it! We are in New York. It feels good, it feels different. I love it.

I love the energy, the pace. I love the fact that nobody corrects my French accent. Pure bliss. Frankly, nobody seems to care and everyone understands me.
I also noticed that the latest trend is to have bright orange socks and/or bright orange trainers. It is a must-have this season. Oh, and no red trousers for men in New York. Red trousers are for the UK only.
We took a yellow taxi from JFK airport. The driver eventually dropped us at our hotel. I like it when we approach Manhattan and see all the skyscrapers from the other side of the river. On the Eight avenue, we were following another yellow taxi. Suddenly, it stopped. Its driver opened the cab door, puked on the street, still sitting in his cab, closed the door and drove away. Unbelievable. In New York and nowhere else.
No British restraint and politeness over here. It is a different world. And guess what: sometimes it is good to change….
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /

New York here We Come!

It is Sunday morning and I would have liked to sleep a bit longer. I woke up at 6 am when the house alarm next door set off. Nightmare. Initially, I didn’t know what it was. Is it something in my house? You see, the dishwasher beeps when my plates are supposed to be clean. My oven beeps too, all the time: when it has reached the right temperature, when the food is ready… I hate it. But this was different. Persistent. It sounded a little bit like a lorry trying to back up on the small street I live on. And the lorry seemed to be stuck. It couldn’t get out. Hubby woke up too and after careful investigation found out that the nasty sound was coming from the house next door. Investigating the origin of the sound was way too hard for me. At 6am all I can manage is to be half asleep and in a bad mood.

Eventually it stopped. Phew. Darn it, 10 minutes later, a car alarm went off. It looks like we are doomed today. Come on, where does this love of alarms come from? We live a hundred yards from a police station but everybody seems to have state-of-the-art alarms. Anyone trying to break into a car or a house on our street would be noticed and arrested within minutes. What is the point of alarms? Is it for the insurance? I don’t get it.

Why are we so afraid ? Why do we need alarms all the time? In France, we never had any alarms and were never burgled. Maybe we were just lucky. I think that it is more because we had good locks. That said, in my small village, we never closed the door. That’s just the way it was. Things have changed, I suppose.

Anyway, on the bright side my daughters didn’t wake up (bless them) and in a few hours we are off to….New York. I am finally getting my New York fix. Not that it will be quieter, but at least it will be in New York!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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When are you too old to wear a mini-skirt? That is the question. I am French, and hence I believe that you are NEVER too old to wear a mini-skirt. As long as you have the right legs and of course high heels, that is. Before we go any further, I would like to say that I am talking about mini skirts here, not hot pants.

To be clear: mini skirts are short, but not TOO short. As a rule of thumb, a mini-skirt should arrive mid-thigh (maybe an inch lower). I know, I am talking grannies’ mini-skirts here. My daughters think that such skirts are long skirts (not maxi but almost). It is a generation thing. Anything that covers more than your underpants is long for them. Apparently, it is a British thing. Add to this the fact that my older daughter is a teenager and you will understand my pain.

To come back to my original question, it is all about showing your best assets, isn’t it? If you are flat-chested and have great legs, then go for the mini-skirt. Or skinny jeans. Anything that flatters your legs, really. If your legs are not so great but you have a good cleavage, then totally go for a tight top and all men will forget about your legs. Simple but effective. Come on, it is common sense, right?

And if you are lucky enough to be able to show your legs and have great boobs, well, you can just alternate between short skirts and tight tops (don’t show everything at once, it will confuse everybody and is considered bad taste).

The funny thing is that most men don’t have any problems with mini-skirts. The criticisms often come from other women.

OK, I will come clean. I am talking about skirts’ length because I had a nasty comment the other day. I was wearing –shame on me!- a mini-skirt (A short skirt. Well, a shorter than usual skirt), when the cleaning lady of the friend I was visiting told me, in a stern voice:

“- You are dressed like a 15-year old!”

“-What do you mean?”

“- Well, this is something a teenager could wear.”

What? Come on, this would be too long for her.

What a shame! I wasn’t expecting this. I ran back home and put jeans on. So tell me, should I have kept on wearing my skirt or was I right to change? I know I am 40 (don’t remind me) but I feel 15 in my head.

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Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

After almost 10 years in this country, I am still struggling to understand the difference between a bank holiday and a public holiday. Everybody has a different interpretation anyway. After asking the question on Twitter (what were we doing before Twitter?), I was told that it is the same thing.

@FrenchYumMummy Now that you are British I’ll let you in on the secret.Bank holiday n public holidays are the same.Don’t tell the furriners
— Tom (@BritagUK) August 14, 2013

See, no difference whatsoever. However, Google seems to disagree. Public holidays are supposed to be religious festivals, like Christmas or Easter, and Bank holidays are, well, the rest. Apparently, the August bank holiday was initially for bank clerks only, hence the term ‘bank’ holiday.

Christmas is a public holiday, and so is Boxing Day.  But shouldn’t Boxing Day be a bank holiday as it is not a religious festival? I don’t get it.
I suspect that some aspects of life over here will always be a mystery to me. That’s the beauty of living in a different country, I suppose. Along with a very British sense of style and a way of conveying messages that sometimes leaves me confused. Very confused.
That said, let’s take it easy for once: Bank holiday or public holiday means that you don’t have to go to work. Who cares about the difference?

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Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London