Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Do you remember when we had the luxury of seeing the world in black and white? We were young and idealistic, and we thought that the only way was our way. Well, I am generalising of course. But I was like that, and I hope that I am not the only one who’s changed. Please reassure me. What am I talking about? Well, nowadays, I am hedging my bets all the time. It’s a second nature.

What’s happened to me? Well, life, I suppose. Take my daughter’s exams, for instance. She is now having lots of interviews for secondary schools. One of the questions she keeps getting is “Which school do you prefer?” I must admit that I told her to lie. Not as bluntly as this, of course. I packaged it. I said, for instance, that she shouldn’t hurt the feelings of the person who’s interviewing her, that she mustn’t say anything negative about the school, and should stress the positives of each school, and so on, and so forth….Again, we are hedging our bets. So much for telling my kids not to lie.

It must have something to do with age. I am becoming cynical. What can I say? I don’t put all my eggs into one basket. The other day, a friend of mine told me that I should buy a ticket for the lottery jackpot. I did, and hedged my bets with sites like this one. I was dreaming of far-away destinations and beaches. It couldn’t hurt, right? Well, it didn’t happen anyway. I didn’t win. But at least I tried. I clearly need to work on my hedging strategy. Must try harder.

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Posted by / Category London /

Life is full of challenges, right? I thought as much. Right now, I find it hard to run in the cold. You see, I don’t do cold. Maybe I am not as British as I thought.

So what is cold for me? Well, anything below 10 degrees Celsius (that’s 50 Fahrenheit, if you must now) is cold for me. What can I say? Growing up in Provence must have left some marks.

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The things is, I have some pretty important races lined up, and I totally need to train. If I could, I would move somewhere warm in a jiffy. Because right now, in London, it is really cold -as in, between 0 and 5 Celsius (and for the record that’s less than 41F). In short, it is freezing, and I can’t stand it.

I don’t think I am a wimp. Well, at least I hope I am not. But hear me out: when I go outside for a run, I literally feel my muscles tightening. Everything becomes hard, and I can’t move my legs. Warming-up takes at least 40 minutes in the bloody cold, by which time I usually give up and have a lovely cappuccino somewhere. After all, life is to be enjoyed.

So what to do?

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Posted by / Category French food, Uncategorized /

Some call it ‘Galette des Rois’, others ‘Epiphany cake’. It remains one of the small things I miss from France. And to make matters even worse, I have always had a sweet tooth. I probably always will. It’s so difficult to change at my (ripe) age…That’s my excuse anyway.

The thing is, people keep tweaking the recipe of the King Cake. You can find some with raspberries, chocolate or even apples. No, no and no. I want the galette des rois of my childhood, not new trendy recipes. Let’s just stick to basics, shall we? I am sure they are all delicious, but why would I want to try out new fancy cakes when all I want is the original cake? I am risk-adverse, you see.

That’s is, I sound like like my late grandmother.

So what am I talking about? Well, a King Cake is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany. The cake often has a small plastic or porcelain inside, and also a bean. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket or the bean has various privileges and obligations (including wearing a crown). For health and safety reasons, the trinket and the bean are now often given separately.

 

I grew up knowing of two types of ‘galettes des rois’. One was a brioche and you could only find it in Provence. I have never seen one in a bakery in London, so I ended up baking my own version of it. I love making it, and eating it. If you ask me, there is something therapeutic in kneading flour to make brioche.

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Posted by / Category Looking Good /

I think that 2016 will be the year of the comebacks. Why? Well, for starters I was pleased to read that the classic shirt is coming back with a vengeance. See here if you don’t believe me:

http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2016/jan/05/the-return-of-the-shirt-how-the-classic-got-reworked

You see, I love shirts. Especially white ones, come to think of it. Always have. Always will. A white shirt is simply a must-have in any women’s wardrobe, isn’t it? A white shirt makes you look -and feel- cIean and crisp.

As you know, I am always being asked for some tricks to look and feel more French. I am afraid that this year is no exception. I was asked how to look more French no later than yesterday after my run (all sweaty and stuff. Can you believe it?). I will never understand such an obsession for anything French but hey, as I am polite, I am always happy to oblige. It must be my British side taking over…What can I say? More than a decade in London was bound to leave a mark.

Come to think of it, nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for such an obsession for ‘the French’. I suppose that you have to live outside of France to start grasping its full extent. My French friends and family don’t believe it when I try to explain to them the reputation we have. They think that I am kidding. If only!

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