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It has been a pretty full-on year. Come to think of it, it has been a pretty full-on decade. Of course on the paper I am British now, but every morning I flick through the French press. I am probably better informed than when I was living in Paris. You can take the girl out of France, but not France out of the girl, right? We settled down in London, bought a house, renovated it, had a baby, struggled with the British educative system, set up a business, and so on, and so forth. Oh, and as you may know I write a blog too…

Here, on holidays, in Dubai, the enormity of what I have achieved is finally hitting me. I have come a long way, in a completely unexpected direction, and to top it up my journey is far from over. The thing is, when you do nothing, reality hits you in the face. And that’s what is happening here. 
I am stunned -literally. So stunned I had to take a nap in the afternoon, which usually never happens.
Is it some sort of holiday blues? I don’t know. I can’t be the only one, right? What is going on?
Part of the problem is that I have to do something. Always. I don’t know how to do nothing. Not possible. Actions speak louder than words, as I always say. So tell me, what can I do now, apart from relaxing? How did I become such an action junkie?
I keep thinking of my business, my book, my writing.
I can’t let go. Damn it.
What should I do?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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Trafalgar Square at 6.15am

In France, in Great Britain or anywhere else, there is nothing worse than a bad Monday morning. Mine was no exception.

It was all about work today -don’t ask…-. I had booked a car to pick me up from home, and drive me to the airport at 6am -which means that I had to get up at a ridiculously early time. Not nice. Not to mention that I am not a morning person…
It soon was 6am, but no car had arrived. I had to call the company to find out that the mini-cab had been delayed/canceled/whatever excuse they could make up to hide the fact that they too were probably having a tough Monday morning. Undeterred, I managed to hail a black cab on the street. I even made it on time to the airport. It was actually quite nice to see London waking up, even if I wasn’t completely awake…
Once security was cleared, I waited for my flight’s gate. All other flights already had a gate, but not mine. Sigh. Some things never change. 
Just be patient. These things happen.
Eventually and with a 30-minute delay, we were allowed to board. We had to walk on the tarmac to get to the plane. As soon as I stepped outside, it started to pour and I was soaking wet when I entered the plane. Great.
At least I made it, I thought to myself. Come on: it could have been worse: there is no mistral today…
I eventually sat down. The flight was full and the guy who was sitting next to me immediately fell sound asleep. Bless him.
The thing is, once we had taken off, he started snoring loudly, and everybody was looking at me as if I had anything to do with it. They all thought that he was my husband -he wasn’t of course-. They were expecting me to do something, but I simply couldn’t do anything.
I decided to try take a little nap, but my neighbour was making far too much noise. I had to endure the disapproving looks of fellow passengers for the best part of the flight (which lasted an hour or so).
We finally made it and I could start my business meeting. All went well. The week is in full swing now, but what a start! Seriously, how do you survive Monday mornings?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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What a week! It was hectic, and I barely had a minute to myself. Except today. It was nothing short of a miracle: I had the whole day without anything planned, which hadn’t happened for a very long time. Because usually, between work and family duties, I have to be on the ball. Always. It just never stops.

Unsure of what to do with such freedom, I went to a small local beach for a leisury swim. In pure British style, I ended up working on my tan afterwards.

As you can see (yep, these are my legs), there is still a lot of work to do. From the fellow swimmers’ glances, it was obvious that everybody noticed that I was:
1. On holidays;
2. In desperate need of some sun.
But the best part of the day is that I am catching up with a couple of childhood friends tonight. In a funny way, I think that I became a friendlier and more social person when I moved to London. This is because, there, I can’t rely on my family for anything. I had to create a network of support from scratch. I rely on my friends a lot, and of course I try to be there for them too. In short, believe it or not, I understood the importance of friends in London.
Because of this (late, I know) realisation, I love reconnecting with childhood friends. After all, there were there for me, and at the time I might have been too proud/stuck in my own way to even notice it. I was taking them for granted. Don’t judge me too harshly: French families (like mine) can be a tad overbearing and not very inclined to let children broaden their horizons. No external influence, it could be dangerous, right? Well, lesson learned, it’s time to change. Seeing old friends is bringing back many happy memories. I feel in touch with my younger self (does this even make sense?), and more at peace too.

On this note, I am late as usual and need to dash. But I will say cheers to friends, old, new, French, British…in whatever shape of form, really ! Cheers, and thank you.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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The day had started so well. I had reached City airport on time to catch my flight to Toulon. I had cleared security reasonably fast despite the fact that it was a busy day. The flight was full of pale English men and women in desperate need of some some sun. I was of course no exception: my own daughter called me Snow White the other day. So much for living in London.

Once onboard, the captain mentioned something about strong winds in the South of France. Ah, the good old mistral, the dry, northerly wind of my childhood…I remember smiling. Silly me.
The flight was fine. I started reading, and I barely noticed that a middle-aged couple was sitting next to me. Soon enough, I could see the Mediterranean through the window. We were told to prepare for landing.
And that’s when it all went wrong.The plane started its descent, but the mistral was so strong and the aircraft so light that, as we were about to land, the plane went back up again. The plane simply couldn’t go down. A second attempt gave the exact same result, and we eventually managed to land on the third try.
The thing is, I was so scared that I was shaking. It is not that I am afraid of flying -I am not a huge fan of it, but usually I am OK with it-, it is just that I don’t like it when it gets bumpy, especially in a smaller plane. And things were really bumpy.
Once we eventually landed, I realised that I had grabbed my neighbour’s arm and wouldn’t let go of it. To make matters even worse -shame oh shame-, just when I had understood what had happened, the wife of the guy sitting next to me said something like:
“Would you please let go of my husband ?”
I promise, hand on heart, that I had absolutely no intention to make a pass at the husband in question. No intention whatsoever. I can’t even remember what he looked like. I was just in desperate need for something to hold on to, that was all.
I said that I was sorry and just scared because of the turbulences, but she didn’t seem to buy it. She gave me a disapproving look. The guy, in the meantime, hadn’t said a word, and seemed to find the whole thing hilarious. When I finally got out of the plane -which I did as quickly as I could- she sighed loudly. I could hear.
“Ah, French women!” 

Great, now I feel like I have betrayed the sisterhood.
Next time I will consider taking the train. Seriously, what would you have done? Where did I go wrong again?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

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It is this time of the year. Some mums have it all planned out. Well, I haven’t. This means that I am running around like a headless chicken. As an example, my little one insisted on getting a bikini. What can I say? She must be British. When I was her age (she is 9), I was never, ever wearing the top half of a bikini. To be frank, on French beaches, nobody was wearing a bra. Not even adult women. But she absolutely wanted one. I am ashamed to say that I gave in. I feel slightly cheated because she has absolutely nothing to cover, but hey, I have to go with the flow.

And then, there is the bikini wax. Seriously, I don’t remember that it hurt so much when I was younger. Complete and utter nightmare. Am I the only one to be convinced that you have more hair when you grow older? And not necessarily in the right places. How unfair! To make matters even worse, as I am French, I must appear to be beautiful effortlessly. The pressure is on me. It just never stops. I wonder what would happen if I were to stop trying. No hair cuts, no waxes, nothing. Would looking like a gorilla really be a turn-off? Seriously, how bad can it be? Any advice?

My teenage daughter needs something new every other day. I have lost track of what she has already bought. I just know that it will probably cost me a fortune. But I am not complaining, she has good tastes and, occasionally, let’s just say that I subrepticely ‘borrow’ her stuff. There has got to be something in it for me, right? I keep telling her that she can wear my clothes too but she doesn’t seem that interested, I have to say. Such is life. 

Everybody is looking forward to the holidays except that it is down to me to organise everything. When do I completely relax? Never. I just have what I have carefully planned. Nothing more, nothing less. Some things never change.

But this year, all is not doom and gloom. For the first time in years (ahem, some might even call it a decade), I have my bikini body back. I am back to where I was before kids (with a bit more hair and some grays too, if you must know). It was all about cutting down sugar, and exercising instead of stuffing my face when I am stressed (and as a business owner I am always stressed!). I was convinced that it wasn’t possible to achieve it, but clearly I was wrong. It isn’t that I was huge before, but I am a lot fitter now. And it feels good. Really good.

As everybody knows that French woman don’t get fat, I will of course pretend that it was easy and clearly no big deal. But here is the truth: I can’t wait to flaunt my body on the beach. Watch this space.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Monet Montorgueil

Today is Bastille day, aka French National day. Obviously everybody has to work this side of the Channel, but that’s not the case in France. In my home country there was a huge military parade on the Champs Elysees, and everybody was watching it, just like any other 14th of July. If I were in France, I would probably be at the village ball by now, dancing the night away. I always thought that the 14th of July was the real start of the summer holidays. Ah, memories…

But no, instead, I spent the day working, like any other day. I couldn’t go out in the evening because I hadn’t booked a babysitter. Maybe I should have. Going out when you have kids is a bit like planning an expedition : you have to do it a lot in advance, and I couldn’t be bothered. In short, it was just a regular day. Nothing more, nothing less.

Does it mean that I have become British? Well, I wouldn’t be so sure. I am starting to miss the Mediterranean like mad. It’s something about the light and the cicadas, and I badly need it right now. And for some reason, I remain the French expert. I often get questions about ‘the French’ -if there is such a thing!-. A friend of mine called me today: she was all excited because after a few days her brand new French boyfriend had told her that he loved her. I had to explain that he doesn’t really mean it. He just means that he kind of likes her. I was as diplomatic as I could, but I think that she couldn’t help being a bit disappointed. She thought that he was going to ask her to marry him soon. Well, the average French guy probably says ‘Je t’aime’ more than the number of times he brushes his teeth -and French guys usually have good teeth. So much for cultural differences. Or maybe I have just become too cynical. That’s just me, I suppose. I hope I didn’t ruin her day. I might have, actually. I will never get it right. Sigh. So much for trying to help. 

On this note, I hope that you enjoyed Bastille day! And I will go to sleep listening for French music to put me in the right mood!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /

Armenian Church In London

It is the small things that matter, right? Let me explain. When I take the Tube, I can walk to the station along the High Street, but I tend to find it a bit boring, and also noisy, if you must know. I prefer to take what I call the ‘quiet route’. I stroll along lovely Victorian houses and lush trees, then I take a left and admire one of the few Armenian churches in London. Of course, the quiet route is a bit longer, but it always makes me feel happier. Always.

It got me thinking: what would you do to make your life more beautiful? How far would you go? 
What would you give away? Obviously spending a few more minutes walking isn’t that big a deal. And if it makes me happier, well, it can’t be that bad. But what about other choices, as in the big choices you have to make to change your life for the better? 

I moved to London to keep the family together. It sounds like an easy move. But for me, it wasn’t, because I was born and bred in France. I just tried to enhance all our lives. Somehow I always try to make life that little bit better. For me of course, but also, I hope, for my friends and family. Right now there is a brownie baking in the oven and just the smell of it is making me incredibly happy. Maybe that’s how you recognise a woman: always trying to make things better. That’s probably when you stop being a girl and step into adulthood: you try to take ownership and improve things as best as you can. Just a thought.
My new dress…

I take pleasure in the small things, the ineffable moments when you just feel, you know, like yourself. That’s what beauty is about, right? Which is why I bought a lovely white dress on sale. A woman has got to do what a woman has got to do. What do you think? Well, I think that I will continue to indulge in beauty from time to time. Actually, I will do it as much as I can. What about you?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

My first (and probably last) buttie ever!

What a stonking start of the week! I was walking to the bus stop with my younger daughter this morning, because my beloved Chelsea tractor is at the garage for a MOT. I didn’t understand what was happening, until suddenly I heard a few cars tooting their horns, and another car braking violently. Such chaos was slightly unusual because it was still early morning.  I noticed that a white van was following me slowly, hence blocking the whole High Street. It was followed by a bunch of frustrated drivers. There was nothing wrong with us, and the only logical explanation was that the guys in the white van were admiring me and/or my bottom. I couldn’t believe it. My daughter was finding the whole episode hilarious 
“Mummy, they like you!” she said. Bless her.
Are they for real? I stared at the driver, only to notice that he was so young that he could have been my son.
Has the world gone mad? I asked myself.
We eventually reached our bus stop, and the guys in the van waived enthusiastically at us, and finally started to accelerate. Phew! The few people waiting with us looked at me as if I was some sort of alien. I didn’t say anything. Maybe I need to write to Levi to let them know the effect of their skinny jeans. I wonder. Seriously, what the hell is going on? I don’t remember anything like this happening to me in France.

Picture By Jo Crawford of

In fact, come to think about it, I spent most of my teenage years in France trying without any success whatsoever to get a boyfriend. I remember fancying a few guys, but they ended up going out with my best mates. Some friends I had back then, right? In French, se prendre un rateau (lit-‘to take a rake’) means to face a rebuttal. Come on, it is much funnier in French, right?

Let’s just say that if there had been a price for taking ‘rateaux’, I would have been a champion. Not to mention that my butt back then was probably a lot better-looking.
Fast-forward more than 20 years, and here I am, getting so much attention that I almost caused a traffic accident.

How did it all happen?

Maybe I was in the wrong country. Maybe French women are better appreciated outside of their home country. Maybe 40 is the new 20. Well, this much I know: I really will never understand men, French or British. Please, does any of you have a sensible explanation? Oh, and this much I know too: I can’t wait to get my car back!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /

London is great right now. The light is amazing, and we can finally use our summer clothes. What’s not to love? I was walking on High Street Kensington this morning, with my sunglasses firmly stuck on my face. Everything was going well, and the morning was soon going to become even more interesting. I put my hand in the pocket of my denim trousers to try to find an old receipt. The thing is, I always keep all sorts of things in my pockets. Often, I am too lazy to put back my small change in my purse, and instead I leave the odd coin in any pocket instead. I always find long-lost objects in there before doing the laundry. But I digress. This morning, I didn’t find the receipt I was looking for. Instead, a yellow coin flied as soon as I had removed my hand. It fell on the ground and started rolling. It was about to slip on the road and be lost forever, when suddenly a guy managed to stop it. He promptly crouched and skilfully caught it. Very impressive.

I had been saved by a knight in shiny armour. How lovely! This morning, I had a guarding angel. But there was a  twist. Come on, there always is a twist, right? The guy was pale-skinned, ginger, and wearing a formal suits with stripes. In short, he was oozing Britishness. I thanked him profusely, and he smiled. He gave me my coin back, but not before carefully looking at it. And then he said:
“- You know that we don’t accept Euros in this country, right?”
Great, my saviour is Eurosceptic. Or he feels compelled to teach me a lesson. Either way, I am slightly peeved. Believe me, I am fully aware of where I can use Euros.
“-Well, I answered, thanks for the update, and the help.”
Why do some British guys have this tendency to talk too much? It was such a perfect meet cute! Had he just smiled and shut up, I would have melted. He hadn’t. Problem solved.
In France or in the UK, I wouldn’t have gone very far with 5 cents anyway. I decided not to mention this point. Because I am not a point scorer, and  I have to give credit to the fact that he probably was just trying to be nice. So I kept smiling, and walked away.
The magic of the moment had gone, because politics had come between us. Damn it.

What about you? Have you ever experienced such a failed meet cute?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London