This year I will be spending Christmas in London. Things are slightly different over here, which makes it good fun. I have had to learn how to British up Christmas celebrations. And I like it…So what is the result? Well, double the fun, and my very own blend of French and British food. What’s not to like? Here is how I do it:
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.
Life is all about having fun and making the most of what you have, right? This year, I changed a few habits of mine. From now on, I am renting my dresses instead of buying them. That’s because I hate to wear the same things more than a couple of times. And it’s good fun to rent! Not to mention that’s it’s cheaper than buying a dress I will only wear once or twice…The thing is, I like to try out new things and new designers. This is why I use Rentez-Vous for new styles and new clothes. You can read all about it here: http://blog.rentez-vous.com…Enjoy without moderation: this is a guilt-free fashion experience…and oh so French!
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.
Christmas lights at Heathrow T5
I am back from Phoenix and my head is still in the clouds. It was my very first time in the West of the United States (I have been to New York a few times, but never elsewhere before). I loved it!
It was colder than expected, especially in the mornings. Me being me, I had booked a 10k race on Saturday (i.e. a few hours after landing). You see, I don’t like to make excuses…That’s just me, I suppose. And it’s also part of the dream: I want to run in the most beautiful places on earth. And some dreams require, well, dedication. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise (I am a bit patronising today, it must be the jet lag).
The thing is, the race was starting at 8 o’clock in the morning, and we needed to leave the hotel by 7. It was too early to have breakfast. As my husband isn’t a runner (as in, not at all), he didn’t see what the problem was. Running on empty? Of course you can…Yeah, right. I ended up having to gulp a snickers bar, which wasn’t ideal. To make matters even worse, I am always a bit nervous before a race. That’s just part of the fun, isn’t it?
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?”
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?
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!
My 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!
I tend to write light-hearted things on this blog. That’s the way I have always wanted it, because there are far too many people taking themselves far too seriously already, and I don’t want to be one of them. My blog is supposed to make you smile. Sometimes cringe, maybe. But that’s all. And, to me, that’s more than enough.
But today, I can’t really write about anything else than the Paris attacks. Because I am still in shock. Because I used to live in Paris. Because somehow I naively believed that we were dealing with a few ‘lone wolves’ rather than such a well-organised terrorist organisation. Because I still can’t believe that what has happened has actually happened. A part of me still expects the whole thing to be a nightmare. Let’s face it, it could have been any of us having a drink on a terrace, or attending a concert. We are all potential victims of terrorism. My daughters. My family. Me. My friends. Anyone, really. And anywhere too. Why would a group of human beings do something like this? We are dealing with monsters here, not humans. That’s the only plausible explanation, right? They are already dead inside.
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…