Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, French food /

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.

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Politics /

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.

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

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.

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Christmas lights at Heathrow T5

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Posted by / Category Looking Good, Stereotypes /

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 ”

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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?”

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

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?

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, French food /

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!

 

IMG_9996My 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!
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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Stereotypes /

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…

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

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:

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

I keep being asked whether the stories that I write are autobiographical. Well, there is no easy answer. Obviously what I write is loosely based on my own experiences, but have things happened exactly the way I have written them? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes no. To make matters even worse, some of it might be –gasp- parody.

Because believe it or not, we French have a sense of humour. Well, sometimes at least. So yes, what I write needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

As some of you are obsessed with number, here is my scientific assessment of the situation: I would say that 50% of what I have written in my manuscript has actually happened to me, one way or another. 30% is slightly exagerated. The rest might be invented. But here is the twist: I will not tell you which is which. Because it would be far too easy, wouldn’t it?

As for Carine and Archie, I thought that the love story between a French woman and her British boyfriend would be the perfect platform to explore the cultural differences between the French and the British, because, just like in a couple, we love each other, but we sometimes don’t understand each other.

 

As a treat for today, I would like to share with you a chapter that actually has happened to me in real life. I didn’t know it when we moved to London, but the Brits are obsessed with the Napoleonic wars. The thing is, I belong to a generation of French student that never, ever was taught anything about Napoleon. We just skipped it. This much is true…Now read on:

Tapisserie de Bayeux - Scène 51 (partielle) : la bataille d'Hastings, chevaliers et archers normands. Continue Reading

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

What is it with the Brits and pub quizzes? Why do they love it so much? I have been dragged to a few of them and I must say that well, it looks like fun.

Except that I don’t really get the fun. Maybe I have become an old bore.

For starters, I don’t know the responses to all the historical questions. And to the other ones, if I am completely honest.

Which Hollywood sex symbol has the middle name Tiffany?

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