It’s this time of the year: tame new year’s resolutions are popping all over the Internet, and I can’t take it any more. Seriously, enough is enough. I am sick and tired of do-gooders advocating (in no particular order) clean eating, virtual kindness and hashtag solidarity. I am a French woman, and I want to be a badass. And I won’t apologise for being who I am. So what will I do this year? Well, I will try to be…myself, warts and all. Because that’s more than enough, right? So what does it mean?
I will not do any detox
Seriously, does anyone believe in detox any more? And what’s wrong with a glass of wine from time to time? Why do we have to detox from all the things we like? Life is to be enjoyed, me thinks.
I will have my cake and eat it.
I love baking anyway. And it’s all about quality over quantity, right? What can be better than a homemade cake? I have read somewhere that clean eating is a dirty word now anyway.
Don’t mess with me.
I am tired of being nice. Seriously, what is it with us women always trying to do ‘the right thing’ and suck it up? I have been told far too many times to grit my teeth and smile politely when someone says or does something stupendously rude, and I can’t do it any more. Furthermore, my choices may be unconventional, but I won’t apologise for them. And don’t you dare judge me. Not happy? Go get your own life and screw your judgement.
because life isn’t a fairytale…
My daughter received her GCSE results a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, there was no need to worry. That said, my biggest surprise came from the fact that she got A* both in English literature and English language. Why? Well, because, as you know, we happen to be French. The thing is, at around 95% in both subjects, she had better grades than her British classmates who want to study English at university. What happened? Why did none of her teachers tell us that she was bright in English? Believe me or not, I had always thought that it was her weak point. Now I wonder what I should believe. How could I get it so wrong? How could the school get it so wrong?
Every time I had to meet her English teachers I had a lecture on the fact that her punctuation was not up to standard. I have asked them to clarify, but never managed to understand what they meant exactly. To be fair, I always felt as if that they were trying to fob me off. I came to the conclusion that she needed to decorate her essays with more semi-colons, and add a few comas here and there. The fact that punctuation rules are slightly different in French obviously didn’t help her to comply with the strict English way, and probably prevented me from understanding what the problem was really about. Frankly, I wonder if there even was a problem in the first place. Well, clearly, I overanalysed the situation once again. I feel like I should have ignored the whole thing (but how can you when this is the feedback you get year after year?).
Let’s face it: holidays with kids are not real holidays. What am I talking about? Well, I can’t completely relax when I have to take care of the children every day. And don’t get me started about having to pick them up late at night (or staying up late waiting for them to come back, just in case something happens). It’s simply nerve-racking. It feels like everybody else but me is on holidays, and I hate it, because I have no time for me. None whatsoever. I am dreaming of going to a desert island for at least six months. On. My. Own.
But I digress. When I was growing up, we were watching TV or wandering about with very little supervision. Come to think of it, my parents were incredibly lucky that we were not offered drugs, or anything more sinister than the odd cigarette (which I rejected. I was such a good girl, right?). My parents simply didn’t have a clue. It was a different time, I suppose. Maybe I am becoming overprotective, but I want to be more cautious with my children. Since I caught a classmate of my younger daughter watching some porn videos on her iPad while waiting for her parents, I realised that it was time to up my game. The fact that I didn’t grow up with tablets, iPhones and the likes wasn’t an excuse. But let’s admit it: it didn’t make my task any easier. That said, I felt that I had no choice because I almost passed out when the little girl proudly explained that she had seen two women having sex together (and she gave some graphic details that, if you ask me, were far too much for her age). Maybe, despite being French, I am a prude at heart. I had a quiet word with the parents who found the whole episode hilarious but hey, each to their own, I guess (for the record they were British. So much for all the cliches).
Picture this: I was at the dentist for a routine appointment, and needed an X-Ray. The dentist asked me:
” Are you pregnant?”
I answered back immediately. I literally blurted out the words, without even thinking about what I was saying:
“Are you kidding me? NEVER AGAIN.”
Cost of a Child by the team at LV=
The dentist nodded, and said that he understood. It was far too expensive to raise a child in London. He does have a point. Actually, he has more than a point: at £231,843 on average in the UK, bringing up a child doesn’t come cheap (see the infographic). It’s actually slightly cheaper in France. But little did he know that I wasn’t talking about the financial cost of having a child. I was talking about the emotional cost. Simply put, I can’t go through yet another emotional roller coaster. I am not sure I have the energy. What am I talking about? Well, to cut a long story short, it feels like I have been exhausted for more than a decade. Not to mention that I have just been through the 11+ process for the second time. What can I say? I am simply shattered.
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.
Where do I start? Well, as you may have noticed, I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men. I can take care of myself, thank you very much.
That said, I sometimes wish I were Sleeping Beauty, lost in the land of sleep. Ah, the joy of being able to sleep as long as I want. No Prince Charming. Just send him back where he came from please. I just want to sleep.
You see, sleep is now a rare luxury, because there is always something happening: a child to pick up, a vomiting teenager, a deadline to be met, a train or a plane to catch, and as a result I have to sleep less. And I don’t like it, but I have to make do. Don’t we all? I don’t have a choice anyway.
To cut a long story short, most days I wish I had been able to sleep a bit longer. That said, I can’t complain as last weekend, we were able to sleep an additional hour. A whole hour, can you believe it?
This is because the clock went backwards. And although I’m not the only one to get a little confused by the clocks changing, I think we should do it every day. I am less pleased about the fact that we will wake up in the dark and come back home in the dark, but hey, an additional hour of sleep is not to be sniffed at. So I took it. With gusto, if you must know.
I am freaking out. This will be a short post. To cut a long story short, this weekend we have our 20-year university reunion in Paris. I rented a dress for the occasion. Watch my Twitter & Instagram feeds for some real-time updates (I am quite funny when I am drunk). If my memory serves me well, we were 35 girls out of a total of 400 students. I had short hair and glasses. And pimples.
Will it be nice (as in, sympa as we say in French)? Or will they only remember they bad stuff (I think I threw up during a party, not to mention all the stories about boys. Just don’t go there.)?
I have no idea.
Wish me luck. Between you and me, I am having second thoughts.
Come to think of it, I wish I could travel back in time with everything I know now…Wouldn’t you?
I will tell you all on Monday…Oh, the pressure!
Nowadays it is all about social media. I am often asked how I manage my Twitter/Instagram/Facebook page. Well, let me be honest here: it is a time-consuming task, but I think that I am addicted to it. And it is a real job. The beauty of social media, in my case, is that I can go on my phone during what I call my ‘dead times’. For instance, I might be French but I hate being late. This means that I tend to tweet at the school gates, while waiting for my children, or before a meeting. I tweet when I am queuing at the post office. On the bus. At the supermarket. Everywhere. The real question is, in fact, why I keep doing it. I should get help. In fact, I am considering it. Why?
Well, in no particular order, I have been accused of buying followers (I haven’t. I just follow back), of being too pushy in promoting my blog (so what?), of making spelling mistakes (who doesn’t? And my excuse is that I am French anyway) and of being a fake (really? Let me share a little secret with you: I am not a fake. And I happen to be silicone-free. I am far from being perfect, but there is nothing fake in me. Absolutely nothing). I have been trolled, blocked and reported. I have had love declarations, inappropriate pictures and intimate life stories shared with me. It just never stops.
I was recently nominated by Janine of Reflection Of A Redhead for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. I normally don’t pass on awards because I have become a grumpy old lady, but Janine isn’t any blogger: she is one of my very first readers and despite having never ‘met’ in person, I feel like I know her.
The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award is a bloggers-nominated award aimed at helping you and other bloggers to get to know me better, and for me and you to get to know other bloggers via the answering of some fun, silly or probing questions!
It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these posts, so let’s get started with the questions Janine provided:
Sometimes, the simplest things are the best ones. It’s good to live a little anyway. I must admit that I have always been a fan of Crème Brûlée. I like it best in my husband’s plate for some reason -he usually moans but always let me have some. Don’t ask me why…Ah, the joy of being married!-.
Crème brûlée, as I am sure you know, is a French term for a rich baked custard made with cream, rather than with milk. The custard is topped with a layer of sugar (usually brown) which is then caramelised (with a blowtorch or under a grill). Suffice to say, it is delicious. Who needs complicated food anyway? Sometimes I just need a treat, and I like real food. Crème brûlée just does the job. What’s not to like about it?
If you are French, there is a proper etiquette to enjoy Crème brûlée. You see, it is all about the top layer. You need to take your spoon and gently tap the caramelised sugar before eating it. The top layer must break. This looks anodyne but it is an important test for us French. If the top layer doesn’t break, then the Crème Brûlée isn’t how it should be. It’s too hard. But it the top layer breaks as soon as the spoon touches it, it isn’t good either. You want something perfect. Now you are in the know. The devil is in the details.
As most good desserts, some argue it is French dessert, others say it is English. Of course they do. Yeah right. Whoever invented it, let me confirm that it is definitively a French name. Just saying. Because for some reason everything sounds better in French. I will never understand why, but I have learned to go with the flow.