Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Looking Good /



The truth is that we French women are not so blooming perfect. Yep, you read that right. And do you know what? It’s all right not to be perfect.

We all know someone prettier, younger, slimmer or fitter. So, frankly, why do we keep punishing ourselves all the time? Don’t you think that it might be time to take it easy and enjoy what we have? The fact that French women have the reputation of being glamorous in all circumstances this side of the Channel says more about the British than the French, in my opinion. Maybe, just maybe, this cliché has everything to do with British insecurities rather than this perceived French je-ne sais-quoi. Just a thought.

So, why are women that little bit more insecure this side of the Channel? I wonder. French women seem to ooze confidence because they know that they are unique, despite –or even thanks to- all their imperfections. In general, they know how to behave. They try to remain classy. For instance, binge drinking isn’t really their thing. Don’t get me wrong, we let our hair down from time to time, but not in the same way. And frankly, getting drunk on cheap wine is a terrible experience; there should be a law against it. I wonder why governments haven’t thought about this. I need to write to my MP about it…

Maybe this Anglo-Saxon insecurity stems from the fact that boys and girls are usually educated separately in the UK. In France, all schools are mixed (except some marginal exceptions), and boys and girls are more probably used to interacting on a regular basis. That said, I recently found out that going to a single-sex school doesn’t mean that boys and girls don’t interact. Quite the opposite, in fact. But still, it’s different, boys and girls are not used to being together.

So what is it that we French women do differently? I thought I didn’t know until I noticed small things that we French women tend not to do, whereas they seem to be common practice this side of the Channel. As you will see, we are not talking about big things here, but, added together, they might tip the scale in the right direction. Here are the main ones:

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Posted by / Category London, Looking Good /

Have you noticed how often we are judged? People judge each other all the time. Well, as you probably know, when you are a woman, it is twice as bad. And if, like me, you happen to be French, it gets even worse. For some weird reason, we French judge each other all the time. And why do people always have an opinion of women’s choices? I have heard countless times comments like ‘she is so selfish: she doesn’t want another baby’, ‘she needs to dress her age’ , or ‘it’s normal to be overweight after having babies, your children must be your priority. Don’t exercise too much!’. I am sure that some people mean well. Well, most of the time anyway. As for me, the penny dropped when I made the cover of The Times (see here). The picture was nice, but I was, well, a bit fat (As I happen to be French, I judge myself all the time. Not nice, I know). I decided to take action. Fast forward to now, and I have never felt better. And I think that I have never looked better…What do you think? I shall let you be the judge of that…

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Posted by / Category Looking Good /

No, not me, silly! As you know, we French women don’t do cosmetic surgery. Because we don’t have to: we don’t age. We mature. We get better. It’s a genetic predisposition. And if some of us indulge in a little bit of nip & tuck occasionally, we will never, ever admit it. That’s just us, I suppose. What can I say? We are beautiful naturally, and that’s all there is to know. Did I also tell you that I wake up already made up? No seriously. It’s a French thing, we all have it. It is in our DNA. And no, I didn’t go to the hairdresser to have a blow-dry. Somehow, my hair places itself naturally. I promise. As for my dress, well, it just happened to be placed in my wardrobe and was just, well, perfect. So lucky, right? And of course I am naturally slim. After all, I am French. I didn’t go to the gym this morning. It wasn’t me, you must be mistaken.

This is, apparently, what everybody believes. Seriously, guys,  how gullible can you be?

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London, Looking Good /

I hadn’t realised that there were so many articles about the French paradox out there. That’s actually another paradox: we French are not really aware that there is, apparently, a French paradox. So what is it all about? Well, to cut a long story short, despite drinking more wine and eating an awful lot of fatty stuff, we French tend to suffer less (20% less, if you must know) from coronary heart diseases. What can I say? Life is seriously unfair.

The Internet is awash with lessons that the world needs to learn from France. Other deny that such a paradox even exists. Fear not, I will not lecture anyone. It’s not my style anyway, and I hate lecturing (or being lectured, if you must know).
I first realised that there was a French paradox when a British colleague of mine explained it to me. I couldn’t believe it. She added that it was healthy to drink a glass of red wine a day, and that from then on she had decided to do it (because it was healthy, of course). I wasn’t convinced. And I wanted to point out that a glass of wine wasn’t the whole bottle anyway. I didn’t say anything in the end. You can’t fight all battles, right?

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Looking Good /

Picture by Alejandra Moral. Prep Anastasia Parquet. I told you, I am not skinny.

From time to time, I meet up with friends and, inevitably, we talk about losing weight. Because women of all shapes and ages seem to be obsessed with their weight. Go figure. And when I dare say that I don’t really care about it, they reply:
“- But it’s so easy for you, you are French. French women always stay slim.”
I so wish it were true. Seriously, I didn’t know that being French came with mandatory instructions to stay slim, but here we are. And apparently, it is easier for us. But is it really?

So, what is the secret of French women to stay slim? There are books about this. Seriously? Well, here is a newsflash for you: there are fat women in France too. 

I thought about this statement long and hard. I came to the conclusion that the main difference between us and our British counterparts is that there is more pressure on we French women to look good. Even if we are older, or just had a baby, we are expected to look after ourselves. This means that we will continue to wear make up and nice clothes, and try not to balloon. It is ingrained in us. My mother bought me a silky red nightie the day of the birth of my first daughter. She said that it was for me to look good on the pictures. I was shattered, and got so ill that I don’t remember much of what happened, just that I needed to look good. So much for being French!

Galette Des Rois

But I digress. To me, this ‘obligation’ to look after myself means that if I overindulge a bit (which happened recently with the lovely epiphany cakes), I am going to eat less the next day, to compensate a bit. It is common sense, really. As I stuffed my face over the weekend, I ate a bit less yesterday, and today all is back to normal. My point is, if I need to lose weight, I am not going to wait indefinitely to do it. I am going to do it as soon as possible. I am going to take action immediately. It is all about losing a little extra weight now, as opposed to having to lose a lot more later. Again, it is common sense.

I exercise a lot (it doesn’t need to be something big, but I try to do something every day, even if it is just a bit of walking or tidying up the garden). I don’t smoke. Never have. Never will. Not very French, I know. I have heard many times over that French women smoke casually to cut their appetite, but frankly most of my friends don’t smoke. 

I try not to have too much sugar. Here is a little trick that I will share with you -It usually stops me from stuffing my face with bread or sugar- : I always start a meal with proteins. This means that, in a restaurant, if I am hungry, I will not eat all the bread or have all the crisps. I will wait for the prawns, or the fish, or whatever. And the beauty of having proteins is that it makes me feel fuller. No need to stuff my face. And I like real food: no shakes/substitutes or whatever. It is all about quality and not quantity, right? And yes, I love champagne, chocolate and I have a piece of cake from time to time. After all, I am not French for nothing.

But the main thing is to do what I like. Because having fun is the best diet of all, right? So next time, I will tell my friends that they need to enjoy their lives more. You can’t get wrong with having more fun! Go try it!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London