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10 things I love about England

10 things I love about England

I was making myself a cup of tea this afternoon and was suddenly filled with gratitude towards England (and by extension China) for good tea. Twinings just ain’t the same in France, it’s weak and terrible and like drinking sock juice, whereas England is full of good strong brands like PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea and […]

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In which a French person replied to me i...

In which a French person replied to me in English

The French Market was back in town this weekend. It was advertised as such but it would be more accurate to call it the International Market, as there were Italian and Spanish stalls too. There was no bakery either, which is near sacrilegious and not very French at all! As per usual I lurked around […]

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A Very British Diamond Jubilee Street Pa...

A Very British Diamond Jubilee Street Party

Today we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a quintessential British street party: lovely neighbours, a mountain of finger food, Pimm’s galore. Followed by rain, a freezing cold wind, and more rain. Towards the end, I was wearing a fleece! I severely overestimated people’s appetite, as did everyone else, so we are back home with […]

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It’s May 1st, have some Muguet!

It’s May 1st, have some Muguet!

I totally forgot about this until a moment ago, but there’s a wonderful little tradition in France whereby on the First of May, you give people a sprig of muguet i.e. Lily of the Valley to mark the arrival of Spring. We used to have some growing in our garden when I was little and […]

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National Rail vs the French Elections

National Rail vs the French Elections

I should have been going off to London today to cast my vote in the first round of French presidential elections but thanks to National Rail, it is not going to happen. There is some engineering work taking place on the train line and so half of the journey needs to be undertaken by bus, […]

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Told you it wasn’t summer

Told you it wasn’t summer

A few posts ago, I ranted about the fact that the Brits jump at the first warmish ray of sunshine and make grand announcements in the media and elsewhere that ‘Summer Is Here’. Ironically, since the warning last week that there was a drought in the South of England, it has not stopped raining. That’s […]

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The pleasures of dealing with the French...

The pleasures of dealing with the French administration

There are only two things that are sure to send me into a whirl of anxiety: car maintenance and French bureaucracy. In the case of car maintenance, it might just be inherent weakness on my part. For no reason whatsoever, the thought of having to put oil in a car makes me feel really stressed. […]

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Dodgy French in books

Dodgy French in books

Novel writers occasionally like to use foreign language to convey the fact that their character is in or from another country. Unfortunately these writers often don’t research said foreign language in any depth before sending their work to the printers – or so it seems to me. Some you can tell have tried hard to […]

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Listography – 5 Reasons I Know I’m…

Listography – 5 Reasons I Know I’m…

Today’s Listography is so full of possibilities, I want it to be a recurring one. Kate Takes 5 went with 5 Reasons I Know I’m… a Mother in celebration of Mother’s Day, but you can add anything you want. So today, I give you 5 Reasons I Know I’m… French living in the UK. I […]

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French Parents, Food Throwing and Learni...

French Parents, Food Throwing and Learning To Be Patient

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon this Wall Street Journal article entitled ‘Why French Parents are Superior’. It is an adapted extract from Pamela Druckerman’s recently published book ‘Bringing up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.’ The UK version is entitled ‘French Children Don’t Throw Food.’ I’ve not read […]

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