scroll down to mentioned posts for full recipes...

Gooey Lemon Lime Salted Butter Slice ( Toys - manual or machine post)

Asparagus Appero Velouté ( A Thousand and One Things to do with Aparagus)

Oeuf Mollet ( A Thousand and One Things to do with Aparagus)

Fresh Asparagus ( A Thousand and One Things to do with Aparagus)

Strawberry Fool (Temperatures Rising post)

Death and Co (Desperate Target post)

Susie's Tian ( Summer Bliss post)

Spiced Up Chocolate Mousse ( Mummy Porn? post)

Bay Leaf and Lemon Roasted Coquelet ( Pizza Face post)

Cottage Cheese Salad ( Ouch! post)

Sunday Chilli ( Co Co CO Communication post)

Resolution Chicken Soup ( Sunshine and Joy post)

6 Minute Succulent Foie Gras ( Foie Gras Shortcut post)

Carrot & Coconut Spiced Soup ( Charm and Charme post)

Amaretto Chocolate Cake ( Autumn Dash post)

Sunday Supper Fettucini ( Haircut Hell post)

Susie's Fennel Seed and Lime Chicken (The Gracious Art of Meditation post)

Nigella's Coconut Rice ( The Gracious Art of Meditation post)

Cherry Tomato Curry ( The Gracious Art of Meditation post)

Old Fashioned ( Navigation Nightmares post)

End of Summer Apple Tart (Keeping Up post)

Warm Ravioli du Dauphiné Salad ( Cold Summer, Warm Salad post )

Pecorino, Tuna, Fresh Basil and Summer Tomato Salad (Salad Days post)

Easiest Dreamiest Dark Chocolate Ice cream ( Beware Pigeon post)

Ginger Kisses ( Mmmwah Mmmwah Dahling! post)

A "Lucky Stiff" Cocktail ( Are we all chambermaids ? post)

Blueberry, Banana, Carrot Smoothie ( Get Thin, Get Thin, Get Thin post)

Chilled Cucumber and Coriander Soup ( Husbands who do Housework post)

Pear, Almond, Dark Chocolate Spiced Coffee Cake ( Go Dutch! post)

Orgasmic Dark Chocolate and Lime Zest Gateau (Loss is Plus post)

Warm Parsnip Salad (Season's Parsnip post)

Champagne and Raspberry Gratin(Champagne! post)

Laksa ( Getting On post)

Cheat's Christmas Cake ( Last Minute Madness post)

Pecan Pie ( The Joy of "Thanks" post )

Flourless Dark Chocolate Almond Brownies ( Antumn Brownie post)

Christmas Chocolate Truffle Fudge Cake ( Christmas... Already ? post )

Foie Gras Sauternes Terrine ( Oh, To be a Duck post )

Fig Pear Apple Spiced Almond Crumble ( Linguistic LOL post )

Pepper, Fresh Tomato,Garlic, Serrano, Pasta Shells ( God Give us Parity post)

Lemon Ginger Hot Toddy for Colds ( Husbands with Colds post)

Autumn Tomato Soup ( Big Noise post)

Chocolate Mountain Crisp Cookies ( working, WORKING, Mothering, Exploding post)

Inspired Chicken Liver Paté ( Everything's Gone Retro post)

Spiced Apple Yoghurt Cake, Lemon Butter Icing ( Body Balance post )

Raspberry, White Peach and Limoncello Cups ( Disdain and More Summer Pudding #3 post )

Very Berry Summer Pudding ( Very Berry, Summer Puddings #2 post )

Minted Peach Soup ( Back to School, Summer Puddings #1 post )

Full Fibre Toasted Muesli ( World Cup Fever? post)

Energy Spring Salad ( Energy Spring Salad post)

Chicken Breast Tossed in Basilled Gremolato (Gremolato GOGO post)

Osso Bucco ( Monday Osso Bucco post)

Moistest Almond Expresso Cake with Coffee Butter Icing ( The Cake Which Gets you What you Want...Anything! post)

Red Pepper Tomato Tuna Pasta Bake (Pasta Bake for really Frustrated Mothers post )

Spring Strawberry & Blueberry Spiced Crumble (Dessert for a Spring Evening post )

Quinoa Asparagus Feta Salad (Annual Cringe post)

Lavender Dream Ice Cream ( Lavender Dream post)

Nasturtium, Cream Cheese & Ham Sandwiches ( Flower Power post)

Best Potato Salad Ever ( First Spring BBQ post)

Basil, Chive, Goat Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms ( Portobello Fresh post)

Balsamic Berry Salad ( Berry Power post)

Moist Raspberry and Lemon Zest Dessert Cake ( pre Wedding Supper post )

Mackerel Crumble (Omega Me post)

NYC Pecan and Choc Chip Cookies (MyAmericanMarket.com post)

Stawberry and Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil and Mint ( Salad Days post)

Spring Detox Smoothie ( Incredible Blimp post )

Baked Cinnamon and Orange Zest Cheesecake( On Cheesecake post)

Blood Orange Braised Endives (Beautiful Blood Oranges post )

Egg Free Choc Mousse ( Orgasmic Choc Mousse post)

Timeless Onion Soup ( Mid-Term Suppers post)

Caper, Red Onion & Bacon Tart ( Late Lunch Tart post )

Dale's Poisson Cru ( Don't Tell Them its Raw post )

Duck Sausage Curry ( Mid Week Bangers post )

Easy Crepes with various toppings (Its "Crepe Day" in France post)

Red Onion Tart (Winter Suppers Again - Classic Red Onion Tart post )

Classic NYC Bloody Mary ( Hangover Brunch Cure post)

Pesto Salmon (more Winter Suppers, Pesto Salmon post)

Soothing Lemon Soufflé ( Winter Suppers - Back to easy desserts post )

Mash and Variations (Winter Suppers 3 - The Glory of Mashed Potato post)

Braised Vegetable Hot Pot with Espelette Chicken ( see Winter Suppers 2 post)

French Apple Tart, Unadulterated ( Supper for Winter Term 1 post)

Spicey Chorizo Tomato Spaghetti ( Supper for Winter Term 1 post)

Veal/Veau Orloff, Julia Child (Just what is Veau Orloff post)

Christmas Detox Hints ( Over Christmas post)

Espuma Roquefort, Celery, Panacetta (We Workshopped post) Mille Feuilles Sud Ouest (We Workshopped post)

Gourmet Classic Egg Nog (Christmas Spirit post)

Lemon Roasted Chicken (ps More on Backdoor post)

Mrs Wood's Heavenly Honey Cake ( Mrs Wood's Heavenly Honey Cake post)

Black Ink Spaghetti with Shellfish (Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia post)

Boeuf Bourguignon, Simple ( Food is Love post)

Smoked Salmon, Dill, Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs (One Plate Brunch post)

Heavenly Green Soup ( Things Green post)

Dark Chocolate & Chestnut Muffins ( see Sunday Muffin post)

Rhubard, Cardomom & Lime Muffins ( Sunday Muffin post)

Date, Walnut & Marscapone, Lemon Zest Muffins (Sunday Muffin post)

Apple , Pecan, Toasted Rolled Oats Muffins (Sunday Muffin post)

Susie's Red Wine Sausage Hot-Pot ( see Perspectives Men & Women post)

Mother's Pumpkin Soup ( see 70's Orange post)

Mimosa ( see Back to Brunch post )

Chestnut Panna Cotta

Artichoke Risotto

Risotto alla milanese/Saffron Risotto

Susie's Side Artichokes

Slow Poached Figs with Amaretti Biscuits

Janice's Fig Preserves ( see Getting Figgy post)

Chicken and Prawn Thai Green Curry

Mother's Waldorf Salad

Cherry Tomato and Pistachio Deep Dish Tart

Walnut Tart

Green Crunch Salald

Gorgonzola & Parsley Fettucini

Berry Pavlova

Susie's Pesto - Parsley and Walnut, Basil and Pinenut

Tomato Home-Tapenade Poached Chicken Easy Tart

Susie's Comfort Risotto

Pat's Basil & Corn Soup

Susie's Raspberry & Lemon Zest Tiramisu

Chicken Stock


Desperateanglohousewives has the goal to network with local, offshore women and men from all over the globe.

The writer, Susie, an offshore kiwi, is an avid food and lifestyle fanatic who wishes to share her passion for cuisine, culture and laughter. Susie brings you her weekly lifestyle comments and recipes of the moment.

Your comments count! Please click onto the comments section at the end of any post. We would also love to know what part of the world you are from...
living in France

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Bordeaux Dream, or not?

After having read an article by novelist Stephanie Irwin in The Local about Bordeaux property this DesperateAngloHousewife is raising her head.

Writer SF Irwin writes a very pertinent article about the property boom in Bordeaux ending with the extremely fitting ending, "Time will tell?" She alludes to the continuing price hikes and developments echoing the Dublin pre-crash boom but also to the affordability of properties outside the central city area.
(I have attached a link to her article at the end of this post as it is well worth reading.)

I have been in Bordeaux for over twenty years now and have watched the butterfly burst out of its chrysalis. There was such pride in watching this beautiful city come to life - the black pollution washed from its facades like dirty varnish from an old master. 

Having been fortunate enough to buy my own home 10 years ago I have also experienced the inevitable climb in housing taxes - my taxe 'd'habitation alone has climbed from  650€/year to over 2000€ and let's not talk about taxe foncière ! The joy at seeing the city come back to life has just about been worth it. The transport system is amazing, the city gardens are stunning, the art and music world has improved enormously, gastronomically we are spoilt, for tourists we are getting close to perfection. Sadly however, the infrastructures such as rubbish collection have diminished and the council doesn't seem to be looking after the footpaths anymore - there are holes everywhere in the footpaths surrounded by meter high weeds which apparently we are now responsible for ourselves. Surely the tripling housing taxes afford the council some leeway in sending people to pull out the weeds? 

Then there's the attitude with the Parisians. After posters all over Bordeaux welcoming Parisians now we have the opposite with a new movement of cringe-making posters asking them to "go home!" The Bordelais didn't imagine that the two hour TGV would have quite the impact that it has had on property prices. In our own channel-visioned greed, we working Bordelais are being priced out of our own city. With salaries at barely a third of average Parisian salaries we simply cannot compete. Neighbourhoods such as St Michel and St Pierre are now losing their authenticity as they are gentrified out of all their character. 

In my own neighbourhood we have a large number of Parisian investors trading in their 2 bedroom apartments in Paris for large 4 bedroom houses in central Bordeaux. The footpaths are now crammed with sparkling Teslas and trains of black SUVs. My old Twingo has been retired in relative shame and I have opted for being an eco-citoyene - bike and tram! 

I am all for old buildings being invested in and brought back to their original beauty but the price hikes are worrying. I recently had my own experience with the Parisian investment bug. I was contacted out of the blue by a real estate agent, how he had my number I don't know. He told me he had a Parisian investor willing to pay up to,wait for it, 1.3 million euros for my home. ( about 3.5 times the price I paid for it 10 years ago) The dark side of my brain was screaming TAKE THE CASH wallowing in fantasies of casting out adult children  and buying that 2 bedroom 18th century apartment with triple reception rooms. My fury won - I replied that this offer was ludicrous and totally mercenary, my house was barely worth half of that and that if all Bordelais accept such unscrupulous offers we will all inevitably be property vagabonds by our own avidity. 

The simple truth is that we cannot compete. Harking back to Irwin's article ending that "time will tell"...time is already telling, the can of worms is well open. Like someone addicted to plastic surgery, has Bordeaux had one nose job too many?

SF Irwin's article : https://www.thelocal.fr/20171106/booming-bordeaux-how-the-south-wests-sleeping-beauty-has-woken-up

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Mammo - the big squeeze French style

Having recently turned 50 (argh) the French state sent me an invitation for a free mammo. I took this very seriously and went in for a check up.

Breast cancer, the second commonest cancer worldwide  (1.4 million new cases: 11% of all global cancers and 360,000 deaths), is the commonest potentially fatal cancer of women. There is currently a greater than 4-fold variation in age-standardized incidence rates between countries with the lowest (East and Southern Africa) and countries with the highest (Western Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand).

 We all have friends who have had scares and ops and I am the first to step up. But, I have to honest, I really hate mammos (who doesn't!), and frankly, they scare me. I have over-read about the risks of over-radiation with testing and over-prevention. In the end, who cares, I feel it's better to check myself out.I don't believe our health is something to play with.

The new testing system in France is the Rolls Royce of testing. You go in for your test and it gets sent to a second neutral Dr in another part of France who re-checks your results and sends them back to you for more or no further testing. Finally, my tax money going somewhere methinks.

Today was the day. I rolled up to my x-ray clinic. I was taken out the back to the "boob press" and had the full monty. It was as awful as ever, apart from the wonderful female technician who told me she hated this too, - the ever painful horizontal and vertical squeezing and all standing up ..."chin up to the ceiling please, pretend you're a model" said the technician as I stood for about a minute with my legs just about buckling under me in pain. 

The next step was a bit of a surprise. I was sent through to a second room, boobs blushing from the previous onslaught, for the Dr to come in.. He, yes a man, rolled in, telling me my "clichés" were perfect but that a scan was necessary for a double check. "Just lie back and relax" he said as he squirted freezing cold lube directly on my nipples ( I am now blushing head to toe as my nipples rose to the event!)...He basically told me I had great boobs for my age, which made me blush even further to parts I hadn't known existed, and did a full scan, giving me a full google earth of my boobs and then congratulated me, " je vous felicite Madame" on my booby density and went on to explain about density and age then gave me jolly good rubber gloved boob massage. By now I was about 6 feet under the floor boards with anglo saxon embarrassment. Really, he insisted, great boobs, and jumped up from his stool with such velocity that it fell to the floor and told me he looked forward to another rendezvous in two years. I felt less enthusiastic.

For what it's worth, in terms of health, all fantastic. Plus, it cost nothing! I left the clinic feeling 10 years younger and half porn star. However, on a more serious note, thank you France for taking womens' health seriously...I'd just LOVE a woman Dr next time please. Please!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

EURO FOOTBALL - violence unplugged

The last few days have left us all wondering just how much should we tolerate in the name of "sport."After personally experiencing supporter violence, my own tolerance levels have dropped considerably.

The international press has been kept very busy recounting violent outbreaks between supporters of the Euro Football Cup. Marseille has been a hot-pot of mass violence. The big question now being just who is to blame for the outbreaks between Russian and English supporters. Looking from the outside in, they seem to be pretty much as bad as each other. The British press has definitely pounced on the Russians as being "organised" in their " attacks" against English supporters, the BBC referring to them as " trained hooligans." Trained or not, they are all hooligans in one form or other. 

Having lived in France for over 20 years I have often seen heated behaviour during football matches but I have honestly never experienced violence on this level. I'm trying to work out if it is on-field violence leading to off-field violence or whether football itself simply fuels a culture of violence. As an avid rugby fan ( obviously, am a kiwi!!) I have never quite understood why football, such a tender and tidy game compared to rugby, is so closely related to hooliganism. What I also fail to get is the pack-like behaviour of seemingly adult men leading to street violence and public fear.

Public fear is something we felt at close quarters this Saturday evening after the Welsh defeat of Slovakia. Bordeaux is a pretty quite place and in all the years I have lived here I have never been afraid when out at night. Last Saturday was a life changer for me. Home late after a dinner party, Harry, my wee York, needed a walk. Walking down the road, a normally very quiet part of the Chartrons, we came across a group of four Welsh supporters who were not only yelling their heads off but amusing themselves by throwing beer bottles at the facades of houses, front doors, down the road... A couple of them were even pushing over dustbins and jumping up and down on them until they imploded. 

One of them made eye contact with me and I smiled and said " hey guys can we keep the
noise down a bit, a lot of families living around here.." He said, " shut the fuck up you fucking slag, you slut!" My partner replied most unaggressively, also smiling, " come on no need to talk like that.." With that all four rushed at him - he was head butted, punched, kicked in the legs and had two french passerbys not come running to our help, causing the four "toughies" run off, it could have been a lot worse. 

My partner was now lying prone in a pool of blood and in total shock. His first comment was to complain that he could not see. The police were called and after telling me they'd had a really busy night put me through to the pompiers/emergency service and an ambulance was with us in less than five minutes. The rest of the night was spent in emergency. Must add that Harry the York had his first experience in an ambulance and the medical staff were so shocked at what had happended  to us that they admitted him into the cubicle where he jumped straight up onto the bed to work as a  "comfort dog."

We left the hospital - my partner with eight stitches to the forehead, a battered, bruised and swollen face not to mention a possible delayed concussion. But apart from the physical injuries the worst was the huge fear of actually going back out into the street heightened by the anger that our city has been invaded by scumbag bullies who feel they have some kind of right to carry on violently to both its property and citizens.

In the aftermath my children were the first of many to criticise me for approaching the attackers. I see their point clearly however my question is still what kind of world do we live in where it is wrong to approach a wrongdoer and ask them to subside. Are we to just sit back and put up with such bullies and let them do as they please...and doesn't that just hark back to Nazi Germany where people just watched on, to scared to react, when "brown shirts" smashed up property and people alike?

Another rather obvious question is when did I as a tax payer "vote/agree" that my tax money would fund this event and all the supporting infrastructures needed to secure my city? I understand that this brings business to our city but the actual cost (building fan zones, police, medical services, overtaxed public transport) must surely outweigh any possible benefit.When speaking to our local baker she replied she was already fed up - visiting football fans had used her toilets and defecated all over the walls.

A final comment to all the international press's criticism of the French police firing tear gas onto the fighting crowds in Marseille,the very same press which has also criticised France of " extreme police presence" during the matches. Right now I take my cap off to those police who are brave enough to face these neanderthal individuals. It's not until you actually experience the violence that you can truly appreciate what the police are having to deal with and,frankly, what we experienced was pretty tame compared with what has been happening in Marseille!

Enough words. I am nothing but utterly disgusted!

Sorry, no recipes, no appetite!

PS I would like to add that this is in no way criticising the Welsh. They could have been supporters from any country. The fact that they were Welsh was nothing but a coincidence.
This post is a reaction to my horror of football fuelled violence and is in no way attacking any particular country's supporters.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

TOYS...manual or machine?

Are you a modern machine fan or do you prefer it the old fashioned way...by hand?

OK relax this is not a post about sex toys...that will be another day!

I have admired Nigella Lawson for years, although must admit that since she lost her wobbly bits I am not identifying as I once did. I have all her recipe books which I actually read. In one of my favourites, Kitchen, she lists her " Kitchen Gadget Hall of Shame." Everything from jam makers to super juicers were fired from her kitchen.

Totally understand these ridiculous fixations we all get for unnecessary kitchen gadgets - I once stayed up until 3am trolling the web for a second hand ice cream maker because I "NEEDED" it.
I have had everything from sausage makers (only used once because the experience was hideous and put me off sex for weeks!...what was I thinking, a sausage maker!!!) to thermal steamers not to mention the drawer full of once-used hand tools such as melon ballers, cherry pip removers, tomato peelers, and the list goes on.

In the end I could probably pick my top three which I absolutely could not live without - the three kitchen tools I would take to a desert island.

My top two are based on my ongoing love affair with lemons and limes.

My super zester which is used everyday. I am forever zesting lemons and limes over salads, cakes, fruit, gin and tonics...

This little baby is my Indian lemon and lime juicer which my friend Emma gave me years ago. It is "the thing I can't live without." It basically lives on the kitchen bench as is in constant use. I was pea green with envy recently as Emma gave the latest model to a friend and it now has a built in bottle opener...ah, bliss, another gin and tonic accessory.

Introducing Ken - my main man in the kitchen. A couple of years back I found my chap staggering about on the footpath outside the house with a coffin sized box - when I opened it I was at first horrified as had concept of kitchen tools as a rather unromantic "stay in the kitchen" offering. How wrong could I be. A real throwback to the 60s version my mother had in our pantry, "Ken" does it all and is never " unplugged!"

Here's a decadent slice to bring all three together..

Gooey Lemon Lime Salted Butter Slice

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup fine white sugar
150gr salted butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 180°. Line a 20 x 35cm tin with waxed baking paper.
Place flour and sugar into mixer bowl and pulse to sift. Add butter and pulse until crumbly. Press mixture into tin and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 140°.

4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups fine white sugar
zest of 3 lemons and 1 lime
juice of lemons and lime
1/3 cup flour

Whisk eggs and sugar together in mixer until thick and pale. Fold in remaining ingredients gently. Pour over crust. Bake a further 40 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and lime zest.

Your comments count. We'd love to hear from you.

Friday, 13 May 2016


Days off from work make me realise just why I love my
life in France so much....walking, market, coffee, crowd watching, cooking...

"Eating the seasons" has become a life choice in France. And it's easy! On my days off I just throw my basket over my arm and head off to the market where I find all the seasonal spoils. It probably sounds like a cliché but it's not.

In Bordeaux we are utterly ruined with good markets - the best has to be Capucins where the fruit and veg are lined up like jewels, the choice is phenomenal and the sellers charm you into buying twice as much as you need. 

I follow the market shopping with a long coffee outside on a terrace and watch the world go by then meander home and cook. It's bliss.

Today the markets were full of new season's asparagus in every colour, shape and form. Proudly sporting my new basket, I went to my usual chap who just loves to test his English on me. After buying what seemed like a few kilos of asparagus he turned to me winking and said, " Madame, now just WHERE would you like your asperges !" Blushing like a school girl at his innocent (one hopes!) sexual innuendo, I thrust my basket forward, smiled, paid quickly and skuttled away,totally lost in translation, for my much needed caffeine injection. 

What can I say...one man's vegetable is another man's sex toy?

Fresh Asparagus

Bunch of asparagus
Malden Salt
Olive oil
Lemin juice and zest
Freshly ground pepper

Boil 5 minutes

Serve...drizzle with best olive oil you can afford, a squirt of lemon juice and some lemon zest, a toss of Malden salt, black pepper....MMMM!!!

O t h e r   i d e a s...

Add an "oeuf mollet" or two to make this a balanced yet light meal.

Oeuf Mollet

Boil water
Place large organic eggs in boiling water
Time for 5 minutes

After 5 minutes, take off heat and plunge eggs into a bowl of iced water...wait 2 to 3 minutes then peel. Delicious served with asparagus with piment d'espellette.

Too much asparagus?..whiz them up into a thick creamy velouté to serve as an appero...Time:about 15 minutes, super easy and everyone will be wowed...

Asparagus Appero Velouté

1 kg asparagus

1 onion chopped
500ml vegetable or chicken stock
300ml fresh cream
2T finely scissored flat parsley
lemon infused oil

Boil a kilo of asparagus with chopped onion in the stock for about 8 minutes.
Drain but keep about half the liquid. Throw everything into your food processor or blender ( I use the blender for a smoother result)and whiz it all up. Add cream, continue to whiz. When completely smooth but not too liquid(stop adding cream if looks to liquid) pour the mixture through a sieve - this will make it extra velvety.
Pour into individual cocktail verrines or small expresso cups, add a little parsley to each verrine, a little Malden salt, freshly ground pepper and a few drops of lemon infused oil.
I often serve this with a big platter of radishes,gerkins,hams and patés...good on these chilly Spring evenings with a big glass of Madiran wine...

Thursday, 5 May 2016

TEMPERATURES RISING - it's menopause!

It's official - I am going to be reincarnated as something that doesn't go through menopause!

Just yesterday I received a knowing kind nod from a total stranger on the tramway when I pulled out my glasses to read a text -burning up in a hot flash,they completely fogged up as soon as I put them on. Note to self : must tell optician to devise temperature resistant lenses!  

For me it's the hot flashes which are the killer. My whole body transforms from clear skinned to blotchy burning scarlet in a matter of seconds - human combustion can't be urban legend after all. You could fry an egg on my chest! 

Clothes get peeled off at top speed only to be thrown back on again ten seconds later when the chills come on. My poor students have an air-conditioned classroom in the middle of winter - I'll be lecturing in a t-shirt (although would rather just be standing there in a muslin kaftan with no undies!!) whilst they are all shivering under their coats. 

Honestly,weren't periods, pregnancy, stretch marks, breast feeding and cellulite enough from nature already! And can someone please explain WHY,with all this heat, I'm not burning off all that new extra thigh, tummy and botty fat?? Seriously with all this heat I should be stick thin instead of feeling thicker and thicker. 

And there's more...

  • Eye sight so shot that need arms a km long to read without glasses. 
  • The most simplest of vocab in my second language which just somehow escapes me.Yesterday the lost word was potato peeler..actually I couldn't remember it in English either.
  • Running up the stairs and then,once there, forgetting WHY I am there
  • Calling the children by the dog's name, and vice versa
  • Waking all hours of the night craving poached eggs on toast and then going into mad fretting fits over things of little consequence and ending up playing Scrabble online until dawn with some stranger called Kanitra in India...and she usually wins
  • Weeping over insurance ads on the tele - in fact weeping over anything
  • Desperately seeking my waisteline which seems to have left the country
  • Forever trolling online for tummy trimming bathing suits but never quite finding the power to hit the buy button
  • Constantly repeating myself
  • Did I mention I repeat myself
Last week when my raging hormones woke me up at 4am, I started googling the phases of a woman's life. There are basically three official stages, maiden, mother and crone. And, according to my research, I am, without a doubt, the latter of the three. Gulp!

I have always considered the term " crone" to be similar to such things as harridan, hag, biddy, beldam and company..In fact, I have discovered that the term " crone" is one which has been completely redefined over the last centuries. Whereas the modern term refers to a cantankerous or withered woman, the ancient term referred to a woman 45 plus who was recognised as empowered, wise and self-defined. 

I have decided the latter ancient term suits me to the ground. I shall attempt to strap on my sense of humour and as a wise, empowered, self defined woman try to cruise through the rest of this change without letting it get me down.We all deserve to find our inner "menopausal goddess." 

It's time to see the positive side of menopause and yell it out to the stars. Think of all that money you're saving on tampax - it can be redirected into chocolate and chardonnay.This is a beginning of something new not the end of life.

Meanwhile I shall go online today and buy myself one hell of a kaftan AND a tummy trimming bathing suit. I will stop beating myself up when I put the mail in the dishwasher and the dog's croquettes in the cookie jar. More walking, time out, hot bubble baths, spa days with other "menopausal goddesses" are on the menu. I am also going to try and embrace my wobbly bits and my rekindled love of gin and tonic whilst remembering the final words of the stranger on the tramway yesterday...as I was getting off she whispered to me, " Don't worry dear, it DOES stop."

In need of something cool and creamy? Here's an old recipe, great to use with new season strawberries,gariguette strawberries are the best if you can find them. 
I use about 1 1/2 cups of fruit to 300ml fresh cream.

S T R A W B E R R Y   F O O L 

1 1/2 cups fresh gariguette strawberries 
2 T icing sugar
1T lemon juice
lemon zest
300ml cream, whipped
Frangelico liqueur
Amaretti biscuits
mint leaves

Blend the strawberries to a puree with the icing sugar and lemon juice. Fold into the whipped cream and chill. Serve with lemon zest, scissored mint, a drizzle of Frangelico and Amaretti biscuits.

Your comments count. We would love to hear from you.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016


Last week I asked one of my marketing students which population target group I belong in. Having expected " Baby Boomer" or "Generation X,"  imagine this Desperate Housewife's inner goddess when he simply said, " Old. 

Trying to help him out of the hole he'd just power-dug himself I foolishly asked him to elaborate. The hole became an abyss. "You are a Senior Madam," at which stage he started giving me retirement advice. Briefly touching my head, just making sure my hair hadn't morphed into a tight blue perm, I asked him to define " Senior." He raised his eyes to heaven and replied, "4O plus! "

Putting this into perspective, France is considered one of the better places to grow old. Pensions are high but the honey-jar risks being empty when my time comes around. The legal retirement age in France now stands at 62 for people born between 1955 and 1973. However a full state pension is only awarded for those who have worked 40-43 years. With that info, my guess is that I could be going on for at least another 20 years!

Many sectors benefit from " Special Retirement Plans" which are partially financed by the concerned business sectors and of course the rest is paid by the government AKA the tax -payer. In terms of some of these I truly understand why my student was calling me a "senior." Check out the retirement ages and  please avoid chin dropping to floorboards:
  • French Millitary: average retirement age is 45.7
  • EDF & GDF ( French Electricity and Gas Companies): average retirement age: 55.4 - now I know why my gas bills have shot up!!
  • RATP ( Paris Public Transport): average retirement age: 54.8
  • SNCF( French Railway): average retirement age: 52.5 
  • Banque de France: has retirement plan based on the civil servant one, but keeps a separate fund - well, obviously!
  • Sailors: average retirement age: 57.6 - Hello Sailor!!

Enough ranting for one week. 
Next week's post - Menopause, IF I remember!

Don't know about you, but I could use a drink. Just discovered a vintage martini cocktail called " Death and Co," - seems appropriate.

D E A T H  &  Co

This is a 3 to 1 ratio cocktail. Please make sure you are over 18...way over!

  • 2.50 ounces  Tanquery London Dry Gin
  • 0.75 ounce  Dry Vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
Stir all the ingredients over ice, then strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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Monday, 11 April 2016


After a 4 year break I had one of those hallelujah "in
France" moments today that forced me back to my keyboard....

No longer a 40-something, I recently turned the page,rather reluctantly,to 50! Since I reached my half century,I have been reflecting largely on educative matters...hmmm would that have something to do with the myriads of teenagers dragging their designer-booted tooties through my corridors..?

I don't know about you but I was always told "manners before God!" What is it about we anglo-saxons,whether harking from the South Pacific or floating somewhere off the French coast (jab!), that makes manners and being polite a true part of our culture. I would go so far as to state that manners are "indigenous" to us...needless to say, this is open to anthropological debate.

So, the hallelujah moment...early this morning my trusty York,Harry, and I were out for our morning stroll. Spring is in the air, clear skies ( and that is really something in Bordeaux!), the trees are in vibrant green leaf, blossoms inside and out, it is simply gorgeous. 

The traffic alone serenades us and I have drifted back into one of those superb 1980s
moods where I forget reality of my age, Katrina and the Waves are singing "I'm Walking on Sunshine"...I am,in all probability, smiling like a nutter..maybe even humming. 

I step out onto a pedestrian crossing and an older bearded chap on a scooter stops for us, I smile, wave and say thank you, to which he breaks my Spring fever with yelling out, " I stopped for the dog, not for you!!" 

Ah France and its gallantry...at least he respected animals, I suppose?

Happy Days and welcome back to DesperateAnglo Housewives.

Here's the music,I'm Walking on Sunshine, go on have a listen!(Copy and paste...)

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