That’s it, we are at the airport lounge, waiting to board. It feels a bit like the summer hols, except that it is Christmas.
|I am going to the other side of the world…|
As an expat, packing up is one of my favourite activities. I love packing up to go somewhere, and I have to do it a few times every year. I am now an expert at travelling light -I usually manage to fit everything in my hand luggage to avoid queues at the airport, and everybody in the family is so used of doing it that it has become a second nature. And travelling light is a good excuse to indulge in some shopping at your destination anyway. Just saying.
I also love packing up little bottles of my creams and lotions -I usually buy them at Muji. When I get bored and can’t sleep, I start my impromptu spa session. The looks of fellow passengers is priceless.
” Great, I have a bimbo next to me.”
A French woman’s got to do what a French woman’s go to do, Darling. Oh, and go easy on the wine, please. I will never understand what the point of getting drunk on a plane is anyway. So uncivilised, right?
The Christmas presents have been sent, the house is (sort of) tidied up, everything is as ready as it will ever be.
I am so excited that I can barely think of anything else. We are leaving tomorrow.
There are some exciting news coming soon. It will be HUGE (I kid you not), so watch this space. Oh, and if I am a bit sloppy in posting, check out my newly revived Instagram account: @FrenchYumMummy
No need to buy expensive perfumes. Ditch the complicated clothes. Today, I had a revelation: some men like sweaty women. Seriously, I wonder why we bother to wash at all.
|Me, 10 years ago. Have you noticed the smile?|
|I told you I was much happier in London…|
|Not My Street, But Seriously, Would You Be Bothered By A Green Roof?|
Is it a British thing? Is it this time of the year? I don’t know, but, clearly, the snide comment is back with a vengeance.
|My Green Roof: Is It That Bad?|
|Picture by Alejandra Moral|
When you are French, as I happen to be, you are supposed to look good effortlessly. Of course you are. Did I tell you that I wake up already made up? No seriously, this is how I look in the morning. As in, first thing every morning. Of course, right? So very French. So very perfect. So very me.
|My car As The James Bond Villain (I wish!)|
Well, that got your attention, right? The reality is that I am having a terrible week. Seriously, there is something new with the schools every day, and I can’t take it any more: Christmas fair, Christmas jumper, Christmas hat, Christmas donation, Christmas panto, and so on, and so forth. Where does it stop?
“But the kids love it sooooo very much, Darling!” said Boden mum with a huge fake smile, trotting in her chic ankle boots.
Well, it must be my French side, but I don’t. I didn’t say anything but managed my best fake smile back, and felt very dressed down with my black leggings and cowboy boots.
To make matters even worse, there is an unofficial competition on our street: each house needs to try to have the best Christmas decorations. Suffice to say, we are losing. One of the neighbours down the road had the whole shebang delivered by a truck: four reindeers, Santa Claus climbing on the windows with a huge bag full of presents, stars, illuminated Christmas trees in the front garden…Seriously? I can’t take it any more. If it were down to me, I would move right away to a remote island in Nova Scotia, and spend the next six months or so on my own, without talking to anyone. Pure bliss.
Anyway, here I was, attending my umpteenth Christmas play. I knew the lines by heart, and the inevitable happened: I started daydreaming. Yesterday, they announced the title of the next James Bond movie: Spectre. James Bond is my favourite British institution.I started to think of what the plot could be. I would love to be the villain in the next James Bond movie. The French accent would work a treat, right? Come on, I could be the new Sophie Marceau. Daniel Craig would of course try to seduce me, and I would give him such a hard time. Getting back to reality was hard, and I couldn’t help yawning. Things went from bad to worse when one of the girls who was supposed to appear on stage went missing, and all the parents had to wait while the headmistress was looking for her. I had this irresistible urge to yawn again and again. And again. Boden mum was looking at me angrily. I was in trouble. What to do? I started rubbing my eyes like mad to try to stay awake. My James Bond moment had gone. Damn it.
The play finished eventually. Still thinking of 007, I stood up. Boden mum asked me whether I had enjoyed the evening. I hate lying, and she had probably guessed the answer anyway. That said, I didn’t have to say anything, because American mum bumped into us and told me that she loved my smokey eyes. It was probably because of all this eye-rubbing, I thought to myself.
It is official: when you are a French woman, you can get away with anything: black smudge on your eyes is a stylish make-up.
I just smiled and thank them both. One less Christmas play, still a few fairs to go to. How do mums survive the festive season?
It will be an unusual Christmas for us, because the whole family is going to Brisbane and then Sydney during the holidays. It will be my first time down under, and I am getting more excited by the day…I simply can’t wait! I have had enough of the cold, the rain, and the fog.
As it looks like this year is a bit, well, exceptional, I wanted to do something different in London too. Usually, we go to a panto or attend a Carol service. This year, we headed to Westfield Stratford to try out a new Christmas attraction called The Hidden House (#HiddenHouse).
It is hard to explain what The Hidden House is about, and the words that come to me is that, to cut a long story short, it is deliciously scary. I had a great time. Children need to be at least 8 to take part. Basically, you need to find Little Red Riding Hood, and to help you do this you will encounter live actors and you will have to find your way through a maze. It is really nicely done. The whole attraction lasts 10 minutes or so but I still remember some scenes very vividly indeed…Now you are aware!
My 9-year-old found it incredibly scary. She begged us to go home, but ended up being very proud of eventually finding Red. That said, as it was my birthday when we did it, the whole family insisted on me going first. Of course they did. This means that I had to deal with the riddles, the dark and the actors bursting in the small rooms. There was a notable exception: at one point, one of the actors joined us in a dark room from behind. My husband turned around quickly, and almost hit him. Acting can be dangerous -poor guy!
Today, I am back to the old routine, and Christmas preparations are in full swing. I seem to be spending my time helping the schools for all the Christmas fairs. I need to come clean here: in France, I don’t remember having to do anything for such fairs. And parental involvement was minimal anyway. In short, I don’t really like it.
If it was down to me, I would send everybody to the Hidden House. Problem solved. What about you? How do prepare Christmas?
Please note that I have teamed up with Westfield to write this post.
|Picture By Alejandra Moral, hair & make-up by Anastasia Parquet|
|Alejandra is photographed by Christa Meola|