What would a French woman do?

A few weeks back I blogged about the book French Children Don’t Throw Food where Pamela Druckerman, an American living in Paris, takes a look at how the French bring up their children.

Pamela, I have a suggestion for your next book. I want to know how French female teenagers make that jump to being a French woman.

Whenever I go to France I’m struck by the lack of overweight women, something that Pamela explains in her book – they don’t diet, they don’t snack – they just ‘pay attention’. That’s all fine – I get that. What I don’t understand is how they manage to look so polished and effortlessly grown-up. On holiday I either felt dowdy, under-dressed or like a teenage emo in a middle-aged woman’s body. I spent the week in Next jeans, Lee Cooper baseball boots and various T-shirts. The closest a French woman came to this was expensive, well-fitting skinny jeans, high-heeled boots and a tailored jacket with a huge fur collar. I don’t recall seeing a single pair of Ugg boots, except on MiniMe.

How do they do it? At what point does a French teenager ditch the Converse and invest in Louboutin? When are the hoodies replaced by Dior? French teenagers look just like British ones so when does the transformation take place? Do they retreat into a cocoon on the eve of their 21st birthday and emerge a fully fledged grown-up woman?

Anyway Pamela, I’d like you to make this the topic for your next book and I’m not sure I can wait on Bean going through the transformation – if I leave it much longer I’ll be heading straight for the elasticated waistbands from M&S.

Now this may sound sad but today I found myself trying on shoes thinking ‘What would a French woman choose’ and resorting to a cup of coffee instead of a bag of crisps when I was peckish by thinking ‘What would a French woman do?’

From all that I was reminded what I learned when I was a stylist (I know, you’d never guess I used to be a Gok!):

  • quality doesn’t come cheap
  • a great outfit looks like nothing without a great haircut
  • spend a little extra buying classics
  • never scrimp on shoes – they’ll only kill your feet
  • never scrimp on bags – cheap ones can drag down an otherwise beautiful outfit

Today’s track

Today’s recipe

Leftover Lasagne


Again, this was made using leftover bolognaise and lasagne sheets lurking at the back of the freezer. It doesn’t even warrant a recipe of its own as all you really need to make is some cheese sauce, layer it all up and stick it in the oven at 180C/Gas6 for 30 minutes.

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