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?”
If you follow this blog, you know that I had my 20-year university Alumni reunion over the weekend. The thing is, I am not too big on reunions. But somehow this time I wanted to catch up with old friends. So off I went to Paris, and despite the late arrival of my Eurostar service I made it on time (just!). I had rented a dress for the occasion (this one here). You see, I wanted to look my best. I was a bit stressed, I am not sure why. Maybe because my own daughter will soon go to university. I also remembered that I had had a good time, albeit sometimes a bit challenging, but I couldn’t really remember why. It was so long ago. Frankly, the whole thing felt a bit surreal. Could 20 years have passed? Damn it. I couldn’t believe it!
The Power Dress I was wearing…
I bumped into an old classmate on my way to the Parisian restaurant where we were all meeting. I recognised him instantly. It had to be a good start, right? Old university mates kept arriving and I was pleased to recognised most of them They all recognised me of course, because out of less than 400 students we were only 35 girls. I was ashamed not to recognise some faces at all. Most of my old friends were now living in France. I felt a bit, well, different. I clearly had taken a wrong turn (and become British –what a shame). There used to be a guy who looked like a cool surfer. Well, he was still cool, but he had put on weight. Not a surfer any more. Then I saw the guy who was trying to grab my bottom at every possible opportunity, and steal my bras from the laundry to staple them on the class door (Don’t worry, I took matters into my own hands and he never bothered me any more. Suffice to say, I can be quite scary when I want to). I started to feel slightly uncomfortable, but I must admit that I shouldn’t have, because he was absolutely charming. He was now married and had three children, and was great fun to talk to. The old bully had mellowed! Unbelievable!
My life is never dull. Last week I was invited to a casting, only to notice too late that it was in fact about doing some stunt work, and even involved some pretend-fighting. To top everything up, I was by far the oldest women Damn it! Once upon a time, I used to be the youngest. The youngest student. The youngest project manager. Well, those days were clearly gone. That day, I was the oldest extra. On the bright side, the rehearsal was quite a good workout, and I had a good laugh!
I started talking to one of the assistants of the production company, because she thought that there was a mistake in my date of birth (of course there wasn’t!). She called her colleagues and they thought that it was some sort of joke (I wish!!!). I showed them some pictures of my daughters, and they looked startled. One of them then asked:
“- But what is your secret to look so young?”
That’s what I was expecting to do!
Let’s face it: marathons are so last year, right? And seriously, why should the fun stop at 42 km? When you run somewhere, you just run somewhere, no matter how far it is. You just want to reach your destination, whatever the distance.
The thing is, I didn’t know that ultra running even existed until a few months ago. I grew up in the countryside, and running up and down the hills (especially walking up, and running down in my case) all day long was what you’d do. As it turns out, this activity has a name: it is called ultra-running. I didn’t know. It made me wonder where I had been. Probably working, and bringing up my kids as best as I could. Anyway, we are where we are, no need to dwell on the past.
Granted, I will never be a champion. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t be a fun runner!
So here I am, at the starting line of the Thames Path Challenge in Bishop’s Park, Fulham, wondering whether I will make it in one piece at the finish line, in 50km. Why do I love running? I have no idea, but I believe that it has something to do with the fact that when I run, I can’t think of anything else, I just have to carry on. And for once my priority is, well, me. Just me. Pure bliss!
Everybody thought I was mad. Because I happen to be 42 (almost 43 if you must know), I was told (in no particular order) that I would hurt myself and especially my knees, that I wasn’t ready, that I should run a few marathons before (I didn’t), that I was addicted to running, and so on, and so forth. So here is a newsflash for everybody: I am fine, thank you very much.
Have you read my guest post on Bethanie’s website? No? What are you waiting for, read it here…BTW, I love the way she is introducing me. What do you think?
I will always remember my first day at work in London. At about 10 o’clock, I heard a bell. It took me a while to understand what was happening. A trolley was in the corridor. All my colleagues stood up and started queuing. The trolley man was in fact selling snacks like Mars bars, crisps and bacon sandwiches. Everybody had gone to buy something. I couldn’t move. This is because I wasn’t used to snacking between meals. I wasn’t hungry anyway. It must be a French thing, but we just don’t snack. In fact, come to think of it, snacking is looked down upon. Imagine my surprise when the very same trolley came again, fully re-filled, in the middle of the afternoon. To cut a long story short, on top of all their (already copious) meals, all my colleagues were having at least two snacks a day. No wonder most of them were overweight.
The weird thing was that some of my colleagues were also exercising during their lunch break or at the end of the day. But as soon as they had finished their workouts, they were having a couple of sandwiches and a chocolate bar. I started wondering what the whole point of exercising was. But they clearly didn’t see it the same way.
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!
I have passed yet another milestone in my journey to middle age. What am I talking about? I know that you aren’t supposed to talk about these things but do you know what? Sod it, I think that we should. And I am in a foul mood anyway. So what happened? I had my first mammogram. There is it.
To cut a long story short, I was advised to have one every 18 months to two years between 40 and 50, and one every year after that. I have seen too many friends and relatives suffering from breast cancer, and I took my doctor’s advice very seriously. Even if my insurance only reimburses the cost of a mammogram after 45, which means that I will have to cover the costs for now, I thought that it was money well spent. Obviously it doesn’t mean that I liked the whole experience. But I did what I had to do.
I was incredibly grumpy. When does being a woman get any easier? On top of (in no particular order) having our periods, bikini waxes, hurting like mad when we give birth, being less paid than our male colleagues even when more qualified, taking care of the family and (last but not least) not being able to pee while standing, we have to have our boobs flattened between two plastic sheet? Damn it. So unfair.
I know that it is a first-world problem, and I know that I am lucky to be able to have great healthcare on tap. But I couldn’t help feeling a bit, well, miffed.
It’s a post about boobs. What did you expect? Continue Reading
Whatever our nationality, we women usually have a much tougher deal than men. Seriously, why do we have so much pressure on our shoulders? And how are we supposed to do everything we have to do (kids, house, looking good, working, cooking…) without being overwhelmed? I simply don’t know. In fact, I must admit that I am exhausted most of the time.
Yes, I look this good all the time, I promise…
Take for instance the fact that we have to look good when we go out, and pretend that we did it effortlessly. What a nightmare! I might be French, but I am not good at preparing myself. I could sort of manage in my twenties because I didn’t need to do much, but now I just can’t. It’s just too much hassle. I don’t have the patience, and I happen to be a bit of a tomboy. If you bumped into me on the street, I would probably be wearing my black running gear or my torn jeans. Not very French, I know! That’s just me.
Me on a regular day
Some things are simply universal. Chocolate is one of them. I prefer mine dark, and I like to dip it in my coffee. That said, I love milk and white chocolate too. And in case of an emotional emergency (you know what I am talking about, right?), I swear by a spoonful of Nutella. It usually does the trick. And I don’t think I am the only one. Friends of mine even have had the whole pot, but that’s a tad too much for me. But hey, who am I to judge? We all have different ways of coping.