Posted by / Category Politics /


It is all over the news. Audrey Pulvar, a well-known French journalist and her minister boyfriend -Arnaud Montebourg, have broken-up. You could argue that this is hardly a news as couples break up every day. But in this instance, Audrey Pulvar told the news to the French press by text message.

Female French journalists who are covering politics tend to end up in a relationship with politicians. We have plenty of examples. Some couples seem to last, even when they are not in the spotlight any more, which has to happen eventually… Others, such as DSK & Anne Sinclair, have known a different fate. Is this proximity between politicians & journalists unhealthy? I used to think so. Now I believe that we mustn’t read too much into it. And it is not really a French specificity, is it? Just look ad General Petraeus’ latest squeeze. They work together, they spend a lot of time together. Well, things happen. I suppose it is just human nature. Not always in a very dignified way, but human nature.
But when did it become acceptable to announce a break-up by text message? I still remember a Sex & The City episode where Carrie gets dumped by Post-It. At the time, I thought that it was pure fiction. Apparently not. Some break up by changing their Facebook status. Some tweet about it. Some email it around. How times have changed…how did we manage before social media ?
Unless I have missed something, you can not sustain a relationship using social media only. A kiss by tweet is not the same than the real thing. So why would you end a relationship that happened in the real world using the cyberspace? Is it easier to get read of someone in 140 letters than to face him or her? When did we pour our heart and soul on social networks?

Just imagine if we were using Twitter to stop our energy contract @supplierX had enough of your crappy customer service. Going to sign up with @supplierY. My followers would then ReTweet it and the whole world would know, except the energy company because their Twitter account hasn’t been updated since the latest ice age anyway.

So is the virtual break-up a French thing? I don’t think so. Again, I think that it is just human nature. It is easier to avoid a confrontation. But it is not human nature at its very best!
NB: How do you like my new design? It is not completely finished yet, so bear with me. I need to update the links, etc…And don’t forget to review my blog here! A big thank you for all your patience and support. Virtual xx

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /

I am not drowning! Promise! Copyright by Muriel Jacques

Some things cross borders. They simply never change. Denial falls into such a category. It transcends nationalities, genders and social positions. Come on, let’s admit it: we are all in denial in some form or shape. Right now, the French government is in complete denial when they say that there is no such thing as a tax exile issue in my home country. They should have a look at the Eurostar arrival terminal to understand what is going on. All French who qualify for a British passport are actually getting it.
So, tell me, why is it so easy to see what is wrong with someone else and not what is wrong with yourself? I don’t get it. I remember the mum of an anorexic daughter. She hadn’t realised that the girl was throwing up on purpose at every possible opportunity and kept saying that her daughter had a sensitive stomach. When some clinically depressed members of my family tell me that I look burnt-out, I feel like yelling at them that they should sort out their own issues before taking care of mine. But I don’t.  What is the point of getting angry anyway? If they don’t want to face their own demons, why should I spend some time and energy trying to enlighten them when, clearly, they don’t want to know. It would be cruel, wouldn’t it? And they wouldn’t listen -I have tried to have a chat with the mum in question and she brushed off my concerns, so there you go.
That said, if there were such a thing as a denial’s barometer, I believe that France would top up the charts. Being patronised by my French friends remains quite an experience. I keep being asked when I am coming back. Because clearly, according to them, life outside of France can not be bearable. My roots are French, are they not? Someone will also have to explain to me why people have this obsession of roots and origins. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to know where you are coming from, but I live in the present. Onwards and upwards, as they say. I had a stark reminder of this the other day when I bumped, on the street, into the guy who was sitting next to me at my Engineering university. We chatted a bit and he explained that he was only in London for a year. It is some sort of rite of passage in the French establishment, in order to be able to say that you have worked abroad. He looked horrified when I told him that I was living here for good. I have given him my business card but he won’t call back, I am sure. How can I leave France for good! Maybe he thought I was hitting on him (NOT the case).
Anyway, don’t you think that we just need denial to make our life easier? Right now, I am having a sizeable piece of brownie. I deserve it, I went to bikram. Am I in denial too?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /


Every week, in London, there is a press article about French politicians. Unfortunately, it is not about politics or economics. And no, it is not about elections either! It is all about the politicians’ tangled love life. What vaudeville! The latest articles were about Rachida Dati, a former Justice Minister. She decided to sue a well-known French businessman to establish the paternity of her baby daughter. The said businessman implied that the lady had numerous lovers at the time. The saga continues. This new episode left me wondering when French politicians actually work. Don’t get me wrong: what happens between two consenting adults is their own business. But come on, surely the French politicians have too much time on their hands. Maybe it is a side effect of the 35 hours per week. It must be.
Francois Hollande had various partners, mistresses and an actual girlfriend. Apparently he has a love child too. It must be some sort of compulsory routine when you want to be a French president. Love child: check…Giscard d’Estaing had an accident with the milkman when he came back from a night with one of his mistresses. I don’t get it. Where do they find the time to do some actual work? Correction: do they actually work?
I am starting to wonder whether it might actually be me. My life seems, in comparison, incredibly boring. I wouldn’t be able to do a tenth of what they do. Not that I would want to. Is there something wrong with me? No wonder that the French social security deficit is so abysmal when what is expected from some is so, let’s say, incredibly demanding. What is going on in my home country?
Where in America we would have tears and confessions and promises that it will never happen again (remember John Edwards? Mark Sanford?), everything is kept under wraps in France (literally and, well, figuratively) and, even when the rumours are founded, French politicians will sue the newspapers for ‘invasion of privacy’. And most of the time, they will win, although the fines are ridiculously low.
So there is another French paradox: in France you are protected, and sometimes even rewarded for a tangled love life. Especially if you are a man, that is. I am not sure that Rachida Dati will have such an easy escape: apparently she could be jailed if she was to travel to Morocco, her country of origin, because of its strict morality laws. In the meantime, all the male French politicians can travel as much as they want with all the honours. Some things never change.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /

I have found the perfect bracelet for the ceremony

Tomorrow is the end of a journey for me. I have my citizenship ceremony at 9.30 am. Then, I will be a British citizen. I thought that it was going to be a formality but I can already feel butterflies in my tummy. I also have a vague feeling of betrayal, probably because my education instilled in me a sense that nothing could top up France. Everybody keeps asking me why I want to become British, which doesn’t help. After all, with a French passport, surely I don’t need to become British. Well, my daughters are answering back to me in English now and, the more I look at what is happening in France, the more I am convinced that I am making the right choice. I will have dual citizenship anyway.

 
What really tipped the scales in favour of British citizenship was what happened a little over a month ago. National French newspaper “Liberation”’ main headline was as follows:
Liberation

This is a picture of Bernard Arnault, one of the wealthiest French businessmen, with a luggage. The headline translates “P**s off, rich c**t !” – without the stars, obviously. The rude headline was published because Bernard Arnault has applied for Belgium citizenship. He denies that his application is for tax reasons and will keep his dual nationality, but because of it he had to face a torrent of abuse.

 I am stunned. The violence of this headline gets me. This is pure incitation to hate, don’t you think? Is it ever acceptable to insult somebody in such a public way? Whatever your political opinion might be, I don’t think that the use of such an invective is ever justified. I hope that Bernard Arnault will win his case against them. Castigating the rich and the entrepreneurs might not help the ailing French economy. Quite the opposite, in fact. Let’s face it: I don’t understand my home country any more.

To make matters even worse, this headline also implies that applying for another nationality makes you a bad person. There are all sorts of reasons why people want to apply for another citizenship. As for me, I just moved to London to keep my family together. Should have I stayed in France out of patriotism? Please, give me a break.

The good news is that I seriously doubt that my application will make any headline. Phew! Just don’t tell the French!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Politics /

Everything is doom & gloom and it was time to talk about something a bit more light hearted, don’t you think?
So here it is: Fleur Pellerin is a newly appointed French Minister.

She is in charge of the digital economy, but I am not quite sure what it entails. Naively, I thought that she had an office on Second Life but no, I was wrong, that’s not the case. But I digress. Have you seen the picture of the skirt she was wearing a couple of weeks ago? First of all, is it even a skirt? Might it not be a large belt? Is it even possible that she forgot her skirt?
OK, I will admit it: I am a bitter old lady who might be (a bit) jealous of her legs. Actually that’s not true and to prove my point here is a picture of my legs. Yes, it’s me and no, you won’t see more. Not bad for an almost 40-years old, eh? See, I am absolutely NOT jealous.

Anyway, I might be more French than I thought, after all. What I like about London is that I can go out in my PJs or with my husband’s shirts and nobody bats an eyelid. In this country, you are not judged by the way you look and it feels great. Actually, it is more than great, it is liberating!
But here it is: Fleur Pellerin’s non-existing skirt is simply too short. She looks like she is going to paint the town red. I might let my teenage daughter go to a disco dressed like this but that’s about it…Fleur Pellerin was, in fact, going to a crisis meeting following the outage of a major mobile provider. It might have been a crisis, but come on, she doesn’t look too stressed, does she?
So why do I feel so judgemental? What is wrong with me? I like the fact that there are more women in politics and Fleur Pellerin, an adopted child, is a living proof that the social elevator might still be working in France. I am not the fashion police and should not care about what she wears.
But I do. And I feel slightly cheated. Come on, I am sure that her colleagues could see her ministerial brief and that’s simply a step too far, don’t you think?
Nb: if you could leave a comment saying that you prefer my legs it would make my day. Thanks in advance.

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Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London