My name is Muriel (you need to pronounce it MuriEL, not MEWriel, just so you know). I used to live in Paris and, when my husband found a job in London, I had two options: change husband or change job. I chose the latter, and the whole family moved to London as a result. I really wished I had changed my name to Julia when we moved here. No, honestly. Because every time I say that my name is Muriel, here is the reaction I get:
" Oh really? My great-great-grandmother used to be a Muriel too. She had a sister called Mildred who remained a spinster all her life. They lived together after the death of my great-great-grandfather. They both died in 1925, a week apart. Can you believe it?"
Great. You have just made my day.
But I digress.
I quickly found a new job, and a school for my daughters but struggled to understand the rules of the game on this side of the Channel. To make matters even worse, I wasn't taken seriously, probably because of my French accent. Because just by crossing the Channel, I had apparently become some sort of mysterious creature that was almost too beautiful to have a brain of her own. I remember presenting a new business case when one of the Directors asked me whether he knew me from somewhere. He didn't.
In the meantime, my daughters were thriving in the British system. They were all about show-and-tells and having bangers and mash for dinners. What was going on?
It was time for a change. I started writing a blog called French Yummy Mummy when I left the Corporate world in 2011 to set up my own business, spend more time with my children, and get back in touch with my more creative side. I had reached a stage where I couldn't see what was next for me. I was tired of always being considered as 'the sexy French lady' and wanted to debunk the myths on French women by making fun of them. I also wanted to help women of all nationalities, shapes, colours and ages to see the funny side of things, and feel happier about themselves. Because if I am the 'sexy one', warts and all, anyone can be.
The success of my blog took everybody by surprise (including me). I started writing for newspapers and magazines, and was interviewed by most major media companies. I also started modelling for photoshoots and commercials at the ripe age of 42. My business is doing well, and my daughters are getting more British by the day. The younger one wants to join a cricket team, and the older one is already playing in her school's netball team. It doesn't get any more British than this, right?
Ten years down the line and we all have British passports now. Moving to the UK has given us the push we needed to get out of comfort zone, and achieve a lot more than we would have in our home country.