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.
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?
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.
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:
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!
A woman has got to do what a woman has got to do. What do I mean? Well, here it is: I keep eating all the time. My excuse is that it’s this time of the year. What’s happened to me? I am usually quite reasonable. I have no idea. Well, that’s not exactly true. I have always loved food. Always have. Always will. That’s just me, I suppose.
It all started with the Christmas celebrations. I spent a few days in France, and stuffed my face with marrons glaces. I love marrons glaces. I find them as delicious as chocolates. And I didn’t want to carry them all the way back to London. So I ate them. That’s how organised I am.
This year I will be spending Christmas in London. Things are slightly different over here, which makes it good fun. I have had to learn how to British up Christmas celebrations. And I like it…So what is the result? Well, double the fun, and my very own blend of French and British food. What’s not to like? Here is how I do it:
It’s all over the news and I still can’t believe it. What am I talking about? Michael Gove’s wife Sarah Vine, a well-known journalist, hails separate bedrooms as key to a happy marriage. Oh, and for those of you who don’t know him, Michael Gove happens to be this country’s Justice Secretary. What can I say? It’s a small world. The article can be found here if you don’t believe me: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3361842/SARAH-VINE-Sorry-chaps-women-love-sleep-FAR-sex.html
As you will see, I didn’t invent anything, and the title of her piece is really ‘ Sorry CHAPS but women love sleep far more than sex !’ Wow! And it was in the front page -no less.
Life is all about having fun and making the most of what you have, right? This year, I changed a few habits of mine. From now on, I am renting my dresses instead of buying them. That’s because I hate to wear the same things more than a couple of times. And it’s good fun to rent! Not to mention that’s it’s cheaper than buying a dress I will only wear once or twice…The thing is, I like to try out new things and new designers. This is why I use Rentez-Vous for new styles and new clothes. You can read all about it here: http://blog.rentez-vous.com…Enjoy without moderation: this is a guilt-free fashion experience…and oh so French!
I can’t take it anymore. Christmas is everywhere, and for some reason, the spirit of Christmas should miraculously make everybody happy. Well, here is a newsflash for you: I have it up to here with Christmas. No spirit of Christmas for me. Why?
Well, in no particular order, I had to give countless donations (for presents, for all the fairs, for charities), endure the rehearsals of the concerts, prepare some stalls, bake some cakes, and so on, and so forth. I must admit that filling jam jars with stationery or sweets isn’t my cup of tea. That’s it: I am done. I am going on strike. I am escaping and taking the first flight I can for a much-needed business trip. Yes, now. Some of us have to work, you see. I have a life outside of the Christmas preparations. Am I allowed to say that I miss France? In my home country, schools might have a Christmas tree at this time of the year but that’s as far as it goes. Parents don’t have to do much, if anything at all.
Christmas lights at Heathrow T5
I am back from Phoenix and my head is still in the clouds. It was my very first time in the West of the United States (I have been to New York a few times, but never elsewhere before). I loved it!
It was colder than expected, especially in the mornings. Me being me, I had booked a 10k race on Saturday (i.e. a few hours after landing). You see, I don’t like to make excuses…That’s just me, I suppose. And it’s also part of the dream: I want to run in the most beautiful places on earth. And some dreams require, well, dedication. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise (I am a bit patronising today, it must be the jet lag).
The thing is, the race was starting at 8 o’clock in the morning, and we needed to leave the hotel by 7. It was too early to have breakfast. As my husband isn’t a runner (as in, not at all), he didn’t see what the problem was. Running on empty? Of course you can…Yeah, right. I ended up having to gulp a snickers bar, which wasn’t ideal. To make matters even worse, I am always a bit nervous before a race. That’s just part of the fun, isn’t it?
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?”