Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Packing Up

I am going to the other side of the world...

As an expat, packing up is one of my favourite activities. I love packing up to go somewhere, and I have to do it a few times every year. I am now an expert at travelling light -I usually manage to fit everything in my hand luggage to avoid queues at the airport, and everybody in the family is so used of doing it that it has become a second nature. And travelling light is a good excuse to indulge in some shopping at your destination anyway. Just saying.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Girls, Don't Sweat It!

Post-Run Yoga. 

No need to buy expensive perfumes. Ditch the complicated clothes. Today, I had a revelation: some men like sweaty women. Seriously, I wonder why we bother to wash at all.
Let me explain: I was running in Hyde Park, with my beanie and fluorescent top. Today was my long run (10k), and as a result I was quite sweaty. Frankly, I didn't run to get noticed. I was running to stay in shape.  

Sunday, 14 December 2014

After 10 Years In London, Have I Really Changed?

Me, 10 years ago. Have you noticed the smile?

A conversation with a Twitter friend triggered some sort of identity crisis. Basically, he told me that he would love to read about what changes my French friends and family noticed in me, now that I had a British passport. What a difficult question! First of all, my friends might not be the same than 10 years ago. I have lost touch with some old friends, and rediscovered others. Overall, I think that they find me happier and funnier, because I do things I like, now that I am (slightly) older, and that I care less about other people's opinion. That said, I don't think that I have really changed. Except maybe for the following:

1. I keep being told that my driving has changed. Truth be told, I am a lot less aggressive at the wheel. You see, I am from the South of France, and it used to be common practice to show your middle finger to another driver who had annoyed you. I don't do it anymore. Frankly, I couldn't. I became a lot calmer. So much that my own grandfather wondered what was wrong with me when I let an elderly driver pass before me despite the fact that I had priority the other day. He wanted me to accelerate.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Snide Comment Is Back

Not My Street, But Seriously, Would You Be Bothered By A Green Roof?

Is it a British thing? Is it this time of the year? I don't know, but, clearly, the snide comment is back with a vengeance.
I find it really annoying, because it takes me ages to figure out what it is that people really mean when they indulge in such remarks. Unfortunately, yesterday was no exception.
I bumped into a neighbour on the street and he asked me whether we had leaks on our roof. I was quite surprised and answered that no, we didn't, thank you very much.
He then told me that 'there was a forest up there' and 'he thought that the pipes might get clogged'. Aha! (Lightbulb moment for me)...The real issue was that he didn't warm up to my green roof. He couldn't care less about us having leaks. No, he had to make a comment disguised in a false concern. Come on, it says more about him than about me, right?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Lesson Of The Day: Deny, Deny, Deny

Picture by Alejandra Moral

When you are French, as I happen to be, you are supposed to look good effortlessly. Of course you are. Did I tell you that I wake up already made up? No seriously, this is how I look in the morning. As in, first thing every morning. Of course, right? So very French. So very perfect. So very me.

Monday, 8 December 2014

My First Encounter With Long Johns

was warned: in the school bulletin, the headmistress promised an 'action-packed' week. Today, I barely had time for lunch, because somehow my daughter was finishing even earlier than usual (how was it even possible?). But all was not bleak: while queuing at the post office, I overheard the conversation of the British couple in front of me.
Tweed man: "Darling, I need a new pair of long johns"
Wife-in-yellow:"Don't worry dear,  I will buy you a pair at John Lewis for Christmas"
I was puzzled. Despite having lived more than a decade in London, I didn't know what long johns were. I googled it quickly on my phone, and understood that long johns are thermal underwears for men.

Friday, 5 December 2014

How I Became A Bond Girl

My car As The James Bond Villain (I wish!)

Well, that got your attention, right? The reality is that I am having a terrible week. Seriously, there is something new with the schools every day, and I can't take it any more: Christmas fair, Christmas jumper, Christmas hat, Christmas donation, Christmas panto, and so on, and so forth. Where does it stop? 

"But the kids love it sooooo very much, Darling!" said Boden mum with a huge fake smile, trotting in her chic ankle boots.
Well, it must be my French side, but I don't. I didn't say anything but managed my best fake smile back, and felt very dressed down with my black leggings and cowboy boots.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

My Unusual Christmas

It will be an unusual Christmas for us, because the whole family is going to Brisbane and then Sydney during the holidays. It will be my first time down under, and I am getting more excited by the day...I simply can't wait! I have had enough of the cold, the rain, and the fog.

As it looks like this year is a bit, well, exceptional, I wanted to do something different in London too. Usually, we go to a panto or attend a Carol service. This year, we headed to Westfield Stratford to try out a new Christmas attraction called The Hidden House (#HiddenHouse).

Monday, 1 December 2014

#MySexySide: 42 And Fabulous

Picture By Alejandra Moral, hair & make-up by Anastasia Parquet
BREAKING: I am featured as a 'celebrity guest blogger' with ActionAidUk. Read here.  Woohoo!

Have you noticed that, the older you get, the more you are judged? Especially when you are a woman, people feel entitled to have an opinion on how you live your life, how you are bringing up your children, why you should have kids if you don't have any, why you should be married/single/divorced, and so on, and so forth. It just never stops. And, if you ask me, it is even worse when you are French. We French judge each other all the time. I remember a British colleague visiting us in Paris. She always had perfectly manicured nails. One of the assistants said, behind her back of course: well, she clearly has too much time on her hands (pun intended).

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Christmas Q&A For ActionAid

Someone Loves Unwrapping Presents

As you know, I am an online ambassador for ActionAid UK. I am therefore taking part in their Christmas Campaign. I hope that, during the preparation of the festivities, you will spare a thought and possibly some money for the many children all around the world whose basic needs are not met. I am talking about going to school, having enough food, or getting medical care. Nothing too fancy, really. To be clear, I am not talking about having the latest Frozen outfit or Lego's Cave.  If you can help, please donate here: Here are a few questions suggested by ActionAid and my responses:

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to become an architect to build houses all over the world. Well, things didn't happen as planned, but I eventually became a project manager. Instead of building houses, I started my career delivering trains to Transport Operating Companies all over the world. It was good fun, but I couldn't keep up with the traveling when I started a family. I had to reinvent myself.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

I Need A Bit Of TLC

It is all over the newspapers today: we French women are quite competitive. I am no exception. OK, I will go straight to the point: I need to be reassured. Right here. Right now. Let me explain: Valerie Trierweiler, the scorned ex-First Lady of France, is on the cover of this Saturday's Times magazine.

I am gutted. It is all going downhill from here, right?

First of all, I think that I look better than her. Please tell me that I look better. Then, I think that it is totally unfair that she has such an advantage simply because she slept with the French president. Because I never have. And I never will. We have an expression in French 'S'il etait dans mon lit, j'irais dormir dans la baignoire', which translates as 'if he was in my bed, I would sleep I the bathtub'. That's exactly how I feel about Mr Hollande. I simply don't understand what women see in him.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Turning 42

Me, 42. Picture by Alejandra Moral & make-up/hair by Anastasia Parquet

As much as I try to deny it, I am turning 42 by the end of the year. Sigh. The thing is, I feel 15 in my head. And I have never felt better. But the sad reality is that, just like everybody else, I am not getting any younger. My energy levels are not the same: after a  couple of weeks spent caring for the whole family and the business while hubby is away, I am knackered. The good news is that I look less like a monkey because of Jasmin, the lovely lady who threaded my growing moustache and shaped my thick eyebrows. But the bags under my eyes seem to be here to stay, and it doesn’t feel good. And who said acne is just for teenagers? I seem to have started a competition with my older daughter on that one –she is actually better than me at covering the pimples with foundation. Damn it-. To make matters even worse, I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted without putting on weight. Well, not any more. And the last time I had a haircut, we removed 25 grey hairs. Against only two not so long ago. Life is cruel. And it keeps getting worse. Seriously, why?