Foreword: this post is sponsored by Return To Glory
If you want to look French, you have to get your make-up right. And, if, like me, you are not very patient, well, it can be a bit of a challenge. That said, fear not, we French women are very good at using a minimalist approach as far as make-up is concerned. It is all about looking fresh and natural, and less is definitively more. For instance, it is either the lips or the eyes. Not both. I told you already. And I rarely spend more than ten minutes on my make-up. My excuse is that I don’t want to overdo it…and I am sticking to it!
That said, if you go for the eyes, then you have no choice but to master the smokey eyes. Nothing looks more French than a good smokey eyes. The beauty of the smokey eyes is that I find it incredibly easy, especially compared to other very defined alternatives. And if the result appears a bit messy, well, it is all part of the dramatic effect that you want to create. What’s not to like?
So, here is how I do it…And it has got me a lot of attention. A bit too much sometimes, if you ask me. I hope it will work for you too. Keep me posted!
Today I need a bit of help. I found an old manuscript I wrote a couple of years ago, and I think that it has some potential (I spent most of the night reading it, if you must know). It is a love story between a (far from perfect) French girl, and a (very) British man. Following various Twitter exchanges, I have named him Archie. Here is the first chapter. It is supposed to explore all the cliches…in a funny & sometimes provocative way. Tell me what you think…
Oh, and I came across a great initiative by the talented Arnaud: if you want to brush up your French skills and enjoy good food, check Arnaud’s Language Kitchen. He is starting a supper club on Bastille day in Marylebone, London. Email him (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further info.
It is lucky. Really lucky. I can leave work early for once. My boring business meeting has been cancelled and I won’t have to go through my bloody PowerPoint presentation on European building regulations. I am looking forward to a nice calm evening at home with my English boyfriend, Archie and my little one, Alexandra.
But first, I need to pick her up at the nursery. Alexandra has settled in well, and she seems happy there. I push the front door. The receptionist, once again, doesn’t recognise me. She sees me most days. How silly can you be? I really wonder sometimes.
“ I am here to pick up my daughter Alexandra”
“ Oh yes, I remember you now. Sorry, you look so… um …young. You French women always look good, even after having kids.”
She sighs heavily.
She checks me out from head to toe. What she probably means is “You look so skinny”. I feel like slapping her right across her fat British face. I am about to say ‘how about cutting down on bacon sandwiches every morning? It might save your stool from breaking under the weight of your bulging bum!’. I just smile and mutter an unconvinced “Thank you”.
Nowadays it is all about social media. I am often asked how I manage my Twitter/Instagram/Facebook page. Well, let me be honest here: it is a time-consuming task, but I think that I am addicted to it. And it is a real job. The beauty of social media, in my case, is that I can go on my phone during what I call my ‘dead times’. For instance, I might be French but I hate being late. This means that I tend to tweet at the school gates, while waiting for my children, or before a meeting. I tweet when I am queuing at the post office. On the bus. At the supermarket. Everywhere. The real question is, in fact, why I keep doing it. I should get help. In fact, I am considering it. Why?
Well, in no particular order, I have been accused of buying followers (I haven’t. I just follow back), of being too pushy in promoting my blog (so what?), of making spelling mistakes (who doesn’t? And my excuse is that I am French anyway) and of being a fake (really? Let me share a little secret with you: I am not a fake. And I happen to be silicone-free. I am far from being perfect, but there is nothing fake in me. Absolutely nothing). I have been trolled, blocked and reported. I have had love declarations, inappropriate pictures and intimate life stories shared with me. It just never stops.
Since I started blogging, I have received lots of invitations for various events and openings. Some look interesting, others, well, not so much (and some are way off limits, if you must know). This one caught my eyes. No, it wasn’t about some fancy restaurant launch. It was organised by British Gas, and it was about Women In Engineering. You see, I happen to be an Engineer by background, and I had to study hardcore science subjects such as Quantum Physics to become what I am. I still do the occasional job reviewing technical notes, and I manage my construction projects myself (not as easy as it sounds, there is some water resistance and strength of materials involved). I was curious. Had things changed? Was it any easier to be a women in engineering nowadays? Memories started coming back to me. When I moved to Paris after my baccalaureate to start university, I remember that my bras were stolen from the tumble dryer by a male class mate. I found them a few days later on the class door. Lovely, right? So thoughtful and subtle…We were 3 girls out of 50, if my memory serves me well.
But I digress. So, were things any different this side of the Channel?