Posted by / Category Politics /

It is going from very bad to even worse. All the social media networks are rife with rumors of pregnancy of Julie Gayet, the mistress of the French president. Despite yesterday’s news conference, we still don’t know whether Valerie Trierweiler (the First lady/girlfriend) will go to the USA with Francois Hollande in February. She is still in hospital. Why did she checked herself in? What will she do when she gets out? Nobody knows. What a soap opera! 

Because of my article in The Times magazine, Sky News, ABC Australia and various other TV/radio have interviewed me. The publicity that I am receiving is possibly the only good thing to come out of ‘l’affaire Hollande’ and I am seriously wondering whether I should send him a Thank You card.

On a more serious note, this affair has highlighted the schism between my home country and the rest of the world. I was talking to my family over the weekend, and they didn’t understand why the foreign press was making such a big deal out of it. 
” Why is Francois Hollande on the front page? After all, it is his private life. Why do you Brits even care?”, said my Dad. And, pragmatic as always, he added “It looks like his prostate problems are over.” It does indeed.

Over here, nobody understands why the French press and the French opposition are so lenient with Francois Hollande. Yesterday’s news conference didn’t clarify much, if anything at all. Difficult questions were asked after a much too long preliminary speech (playing the clock, Mister president?), and in a very polite and circumvoluted way (such as: were there any security lapses?). Francois Hollande’s responses remained general and at times patronising, and I couldn’t help but compare Hollande’s vague responses with Sarkozy’s frankness when he admitted to being in a serious relationship with Carla Bruni. Whatever you and I think of president Sarkozy, he clearly owned up to what was going on.

So, why doesn’t anyone care in France? Apparently, the whole affair might even have marginally increased president Hollande’s approval ratings, because it has made him look more human. This is also because, as we French have no king any more, the President is, I believe, implicitly expected to behave like one, and part of the job was to be the Father of the nation, right? Well, he quite clearly took his role very literally indeed.

Two things are worrying me right now: as a French woman living in London, I can clearly see that the French president is a laughing stock everywhere in the world except in France. This is hard to deny, right? Just look at the press everywhere (Look here if you don’t believe me). This is clearly not going to help my home country in the long run, as it makes us look like clowns at best and amateurs at worst. More importantly, when will the real issues be dealt with? Can we please get back to work? PLEASE!!!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Woke up with a terrible headache. Might have had a tad bit too much champagne. Don’t shout, please, and be nice…What a weekend! What a start of the year! Thanks to all of you, my article is still going strong on The Times, and was the most read piece all of Saturday and Sunday. I can’t believe it. I am in shock. Mind you, as much as I criticise French politicians in general and our president’s tumultuous love life in particular, I am convinced that the whole Julie Gayet affair increased the number of hits on my article. So here it is: Thank You, Mister Hollande!


Some of you have told me that I am now a celebrity, a star, and so on, and so forth…Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it is still me, and I don’t feel changed at all. I am just another blogger and aspiring author. Please keep your fingers crossed for me, I still don’t have a book deal! The only thing that has changed is that my newsagent knows my face. When I was buying my Sunday newspapers yesterday, he asked me:
“- So, are we on the cover today too?”
Me:
“- No, it is complete crap today.”

Let’s hope he doesn’t make the same joke every day, it might become a bit boring. Come to think of it, there is something else that might have changed. Some British men don’t dare to look at me any more, and can only manage to talk to me while looking at their toes. I must be really scary! Great.

On a different note, did you know that the scriptwriter of “The Young And The Restless” soap opera wants to sue the French president for plagiarism? I am joking of course.

Right, I need a rest now.

 

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

Have you read The Times this morning? If not, please do me a favour, go and read it. Do it for me.The paper version has more pictures if you can get it. Because guess who is the cover girl this Saturday? Yep, it is me. I am still in shock. I can’t believe it.  Thanks to my readers, look where I am!!! Guys, I love you!!! You ROCK!!!

Mind you, my daughters, whose picture is inside the magazine, are not that pleased. I suppose that you can’t please everybody, right? That’s also part of being a mum. What a start of the year! The thing is, there is so much more to say…Watch this space, some good news might arrive soon. thanks again for all your kind words. x

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /

 

First thing this morning, a couple of friends called me. They were all excited to tell me that the French president, Francois Hollande, is apparently having an affair with a French actress, Julie Gayet. It is all over the French press this morning. If you haven’t followed the whole saga, let me summarise (please concentrate, it is complicated): Francois Hollande has four children with Segolene Royal, but never married her. He might -or might not- have had an affair, and a child, with Anne Hidalgo, a fellow Socialist politician, while he was still with Royal. They (i.e. Royal & Hollande – Bear with me please) broke up in 2007 and the first lady/girlfriend/mistress (take your pick) is now supposed to be the journalist Valerie Trierweiler. Except that she seems to have been cuckolded. Did you follow? This whole story is not making my life any easier. “You see, said one of my friends, I always knew that French men were warm-blooded.” Damn it. Here we go again.

We started a heated debate on whether or not British politicians were as prone to affairs as their French counterparts. I personally believe that the British behave slightly better. My friends disagreed, and told me that the UK had had a fair share of recent sex scandals: look at David Blunkett’s affair with a married woman, Kimberly Fortier, Libdem politician Mark Oaten, and so on, and so forth. OK, point taken, power is an aphrodisiac. That said, most French politicians seem to rebound after a sex scandal. It even seems to enhance their CVs. That’s not really the case over here. Just saying.


Don’t get me wrong: what happens between consenting adults is none of my business (except if my husband was involved, to be perfectly honest). That said, I have to admit that I am intrigued: where do the politicians find the energy? How do they do it? Don’t they have 24 hours in a day, just like the rest of us? I am not the president of any country. I am just a blogger, a wife, and a mum. But believe me, my days are pretty full-on, and I never seem to be able to stop. I feel knackered most of the time, and right now I could kill for a lie-in (not of the naughty kind, to be precise). How do they do it? Don’t they have a job to do? Where did I go wrong? OK, I will admit it, I envy their energy (but not how they use it, just to be crystal clear).

The irony is that my home country is not going well at all: France is still lagging behind, hindered by lots of structural issues that are simply not being dealt with. This was reflected in Standard and Poor’s credit rating cuts at the start of November2013. Unemployment keeps rising (10.9% of the population according to the latest figures, an increase of 0.4% compared to last year), and the government’s only response seems to raise yet again already punitive taxes. In short, there is a lot to do, but right now the only indicator that seems to exceed expectations is the number of mistresses of the president.

So here is my suggestion to all French politicians: get your priorities right. Instead of screwing around, have your head screwed on and make the headlines for the right reasons. Tackle the recession and the growing number of unemployed. Please.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /

Definition of a fuckwit, by the  Urban Dictionary: ‘a person who is not only lacking in clue but is apparently unable or unwilling to acquire clue even when handed it on a plate in generous portions.’ New year, new me? Well, not quite…the fuckwits are back with a vengeance. Have you noticed it? Well, now you are warned. They are more condescending than ever, and they will make a point of, well, scoring points. Fuckwits do not care about what you say, they are going to correct the way you say it, and will be immensely proud of themselves along the way. Fuckwits come in all forms and shapes. In France, I used to try to answer back to them with a witty comment. To be fair, it was quite easy because most comments were sexist and easy to brush off. That said, I think that I was wasting my energy. Fuckwits don’t learn.

In London, I have given up answering back. There is no point, anyway. You can’t educate a fuckwit.   And as English is not my mother tongue, I often think of something intelligent I could have said a couple of hours too late. Not very useful. Since the start of 2014, I have already had to deal with a few fuckwits, and, believe me, it wasn’t pleasant. This year, the British fuckwit seems to love to correct my bad English in public, and preferably in slightly humiliating ways. Don’t get me wrong: I know that English isn’t my first language, and I do appreciate it when people take the time to correct my mistakes. What I don’t like is when it is done in a nasty way, or with an ironic twist. I find it completely unnecessary. Let me take a couple of (very) recent examples: I moved house, and I have sent cards to my new neighbours to introduce ourselves. I started each card with ‘Dear new neighbour…’ One of my neighbours replied that we were the new neighbours, not him. Lovely touch. I could have thanked him for the vocabulary lesson. I didn’t. I let it slide. 

Then, at work, I wrote an email recommending triple glazing for a building (there were sound proofing issues). Instead of writing ‘triple glazing’, I made a typo and wrote ‘tripe glazing’. It happens, right, especially with a tablet? no big deal, and I am sure that everybody understood what I meant. A well-meaning colleague made the point of replying to all that ‘glazing with tripe may prove tricky’. How funny.

I am glad that nobody (not even me) answered back. It restored my faith in humanity. He might be a fuckwit, but I am surrounded by nice people. Well, that’s a relief!

So, tell me, what is it with fuckwits? How come they never learn? Why do they think that they are intelligent and witty when I find them full of themselves and condescending? Come to think if it, the fact that I am a French woman living in London must make me an easier target, right? I think that it might also be a personality thing: I care more about substance than style, and because of this I seem to attract fuckwits like a magnet. I really don’t know why. Where did I go wrong?

 As I am older now, I have learned to ignore silly comments. Onwards and upwards, as they say. For me, one thing is crystal clear: I will move on and not let fuckwits get in my way. On the bright side, lots of nice people are surrounding me. It is what matters, right?

And it gets better: I will be on the cover of The Times magazine this Saturday. No fuckwit, British or French, can take this away from me…
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /


Whatever your nationality, some things never change. Planes are always late. Always. Today is no exception. I am in Nice, and we are supposed to go back to London tonight. But we don’t know when we will board. The screen just says ‘Delayed’. It doesn’t look good. Writing a post might help. So here I am.

We haven’t had another lame excuse as to what has caused the delay. The other day, my Eurostar service was late ‘because of the late arrival of the train from Paris’. That’s helpful, isn’t it? It sounds a bit like ‘I am late because I didn’t wake up this morning’. How about waking up earlier?

I wonder what tonight’s excuse will be. Let’s take a guess: ‘late arrival of the plane’ . How original! Maybe I should trademark this one, because it is very similar to the one I had on Eurostar. I would probably make a fortune. Come to think of it, it sounds a bit like a tautology, right? I am late because, well, I arrived late. Or maybe this time, the excuse will be: ‘Bad weather in London’. The weather is never that great in London, right? Except last summer. We had a fantastic summer. That said, I should be greatful that it doesn’t snow there, because otherwise we wouldn’t stand a chance to catch our plane. London is blocked when it threatens to snow. Completely paralysed. I once managed to take the girls to school but it was closed because it might have snowed during the day. We had to go back home.

The best excuse I had once was in France ‘the train will not depart because the driver decided to strike’. How very French. Another time, they told us that there was a ‘mechanical issue on the plane’. I wasn’t too reassured. I am still grateful that we eventually arrived. I also remember that once, two passengers were fighting and had to be disembarked, delaying everybody. They said there was a ‘passenger incident’. How very nicely put.

Why is it so important for transport companies to give us a reason for the delay? Right now, I just want to know when we will be able to board. I don’t really have time for silly excuses. Actually, I do have a lot of time, but frankly, I am not interested. I also wonder whether companies have a ready-made list of acceptable excuses and pick one randomly. So, what is it going to be today? How about air control restrictions? Or shall we stick to the good old ‘late arrival’ one? How about something a bit more fruity ‘well, we are late because the pilot was having some quality time with the stewardess in the cockpit and the door ended up being blocked’? At least it would be more fun. Oh, and I almost forgot: once, we couldn’t take off because no toilet was working in the cabin. I kid you not. Just imagine the smell. They need to strike it off the excuse list.

Aha! There are some news. My plane should take off 50 mins late. They haven’t given us any excuses, and I prefer it this way. I hope we will make it. Because the problem with planes is that they keep being later and later. It is going to be a long night…
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /

An Intricate Network Of Lies…
I can’t believe that it is already 2014. I wish all my readers a great year, and I would like to thank you all for your continuous support. It means a lot to me, and thanks to you some great things are starting to happen to me. I haven’t made any new year’s resolutions…I am just too old for resolutions, and I never stick to them anyway. I just have a wish for 2014: I wish that we were all more honest, more direct, and less politically correct. Come on, wouldn’t it be great? 

Just imagine: my home country is in denial….Growth is starting to arrive in the UK, but France is still lagging behind, hindered by lots of structural issues that are simply not being dealt with. This was reflected in Standard and Poor’s credit rating cuts at the start of November. Unemployment keeps rising (10.5% of the population according to the latest figures, an increase of 0.6% compared to last year), and the government’s only response seems to raise yet again already punitive taxes. Despite an increased life expectancy, the French president cut retirement age last year. In the meantime, the state sector keeps growing, and much-needed reforms to make it more competitive have yet to be implemented. In short, billions are wasted every year, and nobody bats an eyelid. I would love someone to say: ‘hey guys, wake up and smell the coffee’. Nobody has done it just yet…

As for Great Britain, right now the newspapers are all about the so-called Romanian invasion, because some work restrictions have been lifted for a few Eastern European countries. Give me a break! On a similar note, I was walking close to the Lithuanian embassy, in Pimlico, the other day, with an American friend of mine. There was a long queue outside. Despite being an educated lady, she started a racist rant about the fact that ‘these people’ -i.e. the Eastern Europeans- had more rights than her in the European Union in general, and in the UK in particular. What a shame it was- she said. I couldn’t believe it. Isn’t America a land of immigrants? I didn’t say anything. Maybe I should have. After all, I am one of ‘these people’ -an immigrant- too. And it didn’t prevent me from becoming British eventually. I pay my taxes, I work, just like everybody else. Chances are, we all have at least one ancestor who was an immigrant. Nothing to be afraid of. We didn’t steal anything. We just came to make a living. And we are here legally. I wish I had said this to her. I didn’t.

That said, maybe all truths are not to be told. I wanted to say ‘I don’t want to see you any more because I think that you are a twat,’ ! But surely I can’t say this. So instead I made my goodbyes and left. It made me realise that the number of little white lies I have to say is simply huge. But how can I be more honest without being too hurtful? I really wonder.  I need to keep trying. How do you say such things?

I suppose that I will just have to keep trying, right? So, after all, here is my new year’s resolution: to say what I think a bit more, or a bit louder. To be more, well, French…How about you: what is your resolution? When was the last time you lied?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London