Identity crisis: the perfect combination of French and British?

“Mitigé” Adj: Mixed, combined, confused, complicated.

I have had a nomadic upbringing living in France, England and Africa as a child, which has given me what you could call eclectic tastes as well as a strange character.

I have now lived in Scotland for over 20 years and confess to being confused as to my roots and nationality! I see myself as a “European” rather than anything else. Not because I’m a great fan of the EU but because, being brought up in France I have very strong French characteristics as well a English and Scottish ones – and its probably true that they don’t always sit well together! There’s a reason why the Brits and the French have this long standing love/hate relationship – they’re poles apart, yet totally fascinated by one another.

 If as a Brit you have any kind of  interest in France – or indeed if as a French person you find something fascinating about Britain –   you should read “The Secret life of France” by Lucy Wadham.  Here you will to get a better understanding of the intricate, confusing and often infuriating relationship between these two nations! I discovered recently that my brothers, who are identical twins, hold different nationalities – one British the other French – says it all!

French characteristics such as a penchant for enjoyment rather than the serious, passionate temperaments, a cavalier attitude to time keeping, a love of all things aesthetic, the worshipping of food, affect mixed blood children in different ways. Traits differ among my siblings and me, with my sister being the most British of us all – efficient, organised, pragmatic, serious (dare I say it boring?) but we clearly all still have a strong Gallic line. 

Now a mother of three, aged, 17, 15 and 12, it’s fascinating to see how my children have picked up on this love of France, one in particular, and now that we will be able to spend more time there I hope their passion will grow. Appreciation of food has always been a great thing in my family and wondering around the markets and sampling strange things is a popular pass time.  Dare I admit that even shopping in the giant Leclerc in St Foy La Grande, fills us with joy and amazement as we gaze at the assortment of butters with an entire chilled isle to themselves let alone the cheese and fish counters . We have made sure our kitchen at Les Galineaux is well kitted out to help cope with the foodstuffs that bombard our senses.  A love of cooking is a great thing to cultivate. Even my son is a keen chef!

Panacotta with strawberry coulis.

Panacotta with strawberry coulis.

We are now fortunate enough to have this lovely big house in Aquitaine, South West France where we can indulge our love of all things French – not just the amazing food and wines but the relaxed pace of life, the sun, the joie de vivre and the conviviality of being with friends and family. In our house this is what we try to offer, a place to meet up with those you care about, in a simple and comfortable yet stylish setting, and enjoy lazy days in the sun, swimming, sightseeing,relaxing with a book or having an adventure.

Friends and family round the table

A good kitchen for cooking and a huge table for hours of enjoying local produce from the markets, talking, laughing and fun with children, friends, family and even newly discovered strangers – that’s what life should be about!

Aveline

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