Yesterday I was asked by the friend of an acquaintance what my secret to look so young was (really? I feel my age, this much I know). I was very embarrassed. I didn’t know what to answer. The secret is, well, there is no secret. I still feel 15 in my head but I will be 40-something + one year very very soon (just don’t mention it. Birthdays are overrated anyway).
I therefore decided to tell the truth. Because I am well-behaved. Because I am honest. And, most importantly, because I have nothing to sell. I therefore said:
” Well I run almost every day ”
I even run in the bloody British rain
She looked so disappointed. She was clearly expecting something else. Like ‘I have found the youth elixir, and here is what you need to do…”
She didn’t believe me. She looked suspicious.
I felt ill-at-ease. I shut up.
“Really? Nothing else? No miracle product?”
I didn’t sleep well. What can I say? I am stressed. Why? Because today my younger daughter had her first pre-assessment for secondary schools.
She will have to endure 4 or 5 sets of exams over the next two months, with two or three papers each time. Then, there will be the interviews. She is ten years old and a big baby, if you ask me. But that’s the way it is. We have to go with the flow. I am starting to question my choice to stay in the British system. Gone are the days when you just went to your local school, as I did in France.
I am freaking out. What if she doesn’t get into the school she wants? What if we end up with a school that is on the other side of London? And what is it with this testing frenzy?
Life is full of challenges. Today was no exception. Let me explain. I was contacted by Tesco to participate to #FestiveFoodSwap, and I said yes. What is it about? This Christmas, one of Tesco’s helpful little initiatives is to inspire people to experience new flavours, with a range of products from across the world available in store. I had to give them a festive recipe from France that another blogger will make, and they said they would send me a festive recipe from someone that I would have to make.
The packet arrived yesterday. I hadn’t realised that it included a superb hamper with everything to feed an army until Christmas. Oh, and I had forgotten how good lebkuchen tasted…Yummy!
My daughter found that there was a gingerbread house, and was jumping with joy. I felt guilty about the fact that I had never, ever, given her the opportunity to make a gingerbread house before, and it was clearly something she wanted to do. Well, she did it there and then, and the result was amazing!
I tend to write light-hearted things on this blog. That’s the way I have always wanted it, because there are far too many people taking themselves far too seriously already, and I don’t want to be one of them. My blog is supposed to make you smile. Sometimes cringe, maybe. But that’s all. And, to me, that’s more than enough.
But today, I can’t really write about anything else than the Paris attacks. Because I am still in shock. Because I used to live in Paris. Because somehow I naively believed that we were dealing with a few ‘lone wolves’ rather than such a well-organised terrorist organisation. Because I still can’t believe that what has happened has actually happened. A part of me still expects the whole thing to be a nightmare. Let’s face it, it could have been any of us having a drink on a terrace, or attending a concert. We are all potential victims of terrorism. My daughters. My family. Me. My friends. Anyone, really. And anywhere too. Why would a group of human beings do something like this? We are dealing with monsters here, not humans. That’s the only plausible explanation, right? They are already dead inside.
I discovered this side of the Channel that we French were supposed to be (in no particular order) romantic, sexy, cute, stylish, and so on, and so forth… Don’t you find it amazing what people assume about us? The reality may be quite different. Here is a list of 10 things you probably didn’t know about us. So much preconceived ideas, right? Read on…
Obviously as you know I am a glass-half-full sort of person. I keep complaining about all the cliches about French women, but I thought that I should let you know what the main advantages of being a French woman abroad are. Because after all, it’s all about being balanced, and all isn’t doom and gloom. Quite the opposite in fact. So here we go:
There is no denying it: it’s getting colder and darker. Fair enough, we have had a bit more sunshine than usual, but do not kid yourself: it will soon be winter. That said, fear not, I have come up a few tricks to cheer yourself up. Enjoy without moderation:
- Bake, bake, bake. There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread to feel warmer, and generally better.
- Go and watch Carmen at the Royal Opera House. Come on, sing along “l’amour est un oiseau rebelle…”
- It’s just a little Crushed: come on, have some compote. There is nothing to feel bad about, because there is no added sugar in Crushed compotes. Who said that compotes were for kids anyway? Well, not me. In short, it’s time for a Crushed. After all, it’s just a bit of fruit, right?
- Ditch the baggy pants. Go lingerie shopping. You will feel so much better for it. What is it with all the bright yellow green panties this side of the Channel. Nobody looks good in them! It’s time to do something about it!
- Mulled wine. Because you can buy the spices in Fortnum & Mason. Believe me, it will lift everybody’s spirits!
- Listen to this: the Summer Of Boys. It will wake you up. And it’s all about a summer romance. What’s not to like?
Where do I start? Well, as you may have noticed, I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men. I can take care of myself, thank you very much.
That said, I sometimes wish I were Sleeping Beauty, lost in the land of sleep. Ah, the joy of being able to sleep as long as I want. No Prince Charming. Just send him back where he came from please. I just want to sleep.
You see, sleep is now a rare luxury, because there is always something happening: a child to pick up, a vomiting teenager, a deadline to be met, a train or a plane to catch, and as a result I have to sleep less. And I don’t like it, but I have to make do. Don’t we all? I don’t have a choice anyway.
To cut a long story short, most days I wish I had been able to sleep a bit longer. That said, I can’t complain as last weekend, we were able to sleep an additional hour. A whole hour, can you believe it?
This is because the clock went backwards. And although I’m not the only one to get a little confused by the clocks changing, I think we should do it every day. I am less pleased about the fact that we will wake up in the dark and come back home in the dark, but hey, an additional hour of sleep is not to be sniffed at. So I took it. With gusto, if you must know.
According to a study posted on The Daily Mail, 16.8 million tourists flocked to the English capital in 2013, one million more than any other year. And it begs us to question what all the fuss is about? Why does everyone want to travel to London so badly when it rains so much throughout the year? And more specifically, why are there so many French in London?
To be honest, there are way too many reasons as to why people spend their holidays in London, yet there are still a handful of people that need convincing. On the other hand, some like it so much over here that they make London their new home (like me!). Travellers may shy away from the capital which is home to overcrowded airports like Heathrow, but London Gatwick and the other less busy hubs in and around the capital are equipped to provide you with all the services you need to soak in all the city’s offerings, including parking and transportation services. In short, don’t listen to the killjoys who tell you that the British infrastructure isn’t on par with the French one. It’s not true. Oh, and I almost forgot: we even have water and electricity. I kid you not.
Here are five reasons why you should plan your next holiday in London: