We had a great holiday, apart from the bed situation. We had to sleep on a small uncomfortable mattress for 16 nights. By the end of our time in France, we were both looking forward to our beds on the ferry which are surprisingly comfortable. When we got home and slept well on our very comfortable memory foam mattress I was never so grateful for a good night’s sleep. I have growing to appreciate these types of things more and more. I guess I don’t need that much at all.
We’re off to France soon. I was at home today so able to get a lot of preparations done. First on my list was going through our perishable food and using as much of it as possible, so we have dinners and lunches for the next week all sorted. We’ll bring whatever’s left with us, either to eat on the ferry (given that the food on board hasn’t really been worth the money we’ve paid for it) or during our holiday.
Last year, I realised for the money we spent on hot drinks on the ferry we could have bought a kettle and made our own, much nicer, tea and coffee in our cabin. Today I bought the smallest ‘proper’ kettle I could find, having researched travel kettles and rejected them on the grounds of cost and being far too small. We’ll bring cups with us and bypass the disposable cups I still feel guilty about using last year.
I’m bringing cloth wipes and tea towels with us, as I ended up using far too many paper towels last year. You live, you learn. Ditto bringing our own containers for the supermarket, and we hope to hit the local markets for plastic wrapping free produce.
I need this holiday very badly. Planning is all part of the fun.
Getting home early from work and being able to enjoy a walk after dinner.
Planning for all kinds of future possibilities.
A friend in work getting two madeleines from a cafe and generously passing one onto me to enjoy with my coffee.
18 days to holidays.
Washing fresh from the line, ready for ironing. I love ironing.
Sunshine on my walk home, and a weekend of good weather to look forward to (apparently).
A clean fridge, empty vegetable drawers and meals all done for the week.
Planning for holidays knowing that in a month we’ll be sitting on our sunny deck in France sipping wine.
Having a safe, beautiful home to live in and the sense of peace and security that brings to us.
Drawers that are empty, and not needing to cram anything into them because we’re almost at exactly the right level of ‘stuff’ in our house.
Having had some time to declutter and reorganise some more, I’ve found some of the things I need to help me along with our zero waste holiday plans. I knew we had more vacuum bags than I had folded away and lo and behold some turned up when I sorted a random box of crap and more turned up when I did a job on our attic space and realised I was ready to let go of more things belonging to another phase of my life which would spark more joy if used by others than if stored for months ‘just in case’.
Packing everything in vacuum bags rather than in suitcases was probably our best packing decision last year. The bags took up no room and kept everything clean and dry en route, then took up no space and-or were pressed into use as laundry bags. We didn’t have to worry about how to squeeze suitcases into the tiny mobile home and our packing to come home was easy as we could squash everything around all the boxes of wine we picked up.
I also found our bedlinen that works fine for a more rustic holiday and which can do double duty wrapping things on the journey home. I might invest in a travel kettle this year because last year we wasted a lot of money and disposable cups on very mediocre tea and coffee. As we bring a picnic bag on board with us, packing two cups and some snacks makes financial and environmental sense.
I also found many summer tops I had totally forgotten about, plus a kaftan that I was sure I’d donated. I’m currently using some of the tops for the gym and I’ll see how I feel about them for summer. An old pair of jeans turned up too, I had been looking for them as they’ll make great shorts once I cut the legs off. The legs parts can be used for cleaning.
After some weeks of mainly pointless research and reading of reviews, we’ve decided to return to the same place we holidayed in last year. This will be our third year of the same sort of holiday and I feel like this year is the one we’ll nail it. We’ll be travelling on a ferry and staying at a campsite in Brittany.
Last year, having started on a zero waste approach, I noticed some of the supermarkets in France had dispenser like things for putting nuts, pulses and pasta into your own containers. I plan on bringing some of our own containers this year to take full advantage. There’s also an excellent deli about five minutes’ walk from where we’re staying, so the containers will come in handy there too.
We eschewed suitcases last year for reasons of space in the car and in the mobile home. Packing everything into vacuum bags, even if they’re not actually vacuumed out and fill with air before you even drive onto the ferry, was a revelation. We also brought about half of what we did the year before. I plan on bringing a capsule wardrobe of whatever worked last year, including two pairs of my trusty Saltwater sandals, and washing everything half way through the holiday. Fingers crossed the sunshine will do the drying.
I never liked waste even before trying to go zero waste. Therefore, it came naturally to me to pack a box of things we know we’ll use while away. We tended to eat in most days, a BBQ and a glass of Crement de Loire being as relaxing as any dinner out after a long day of sitting on the beach reading. So packing a box with staples from home, including our salt and pepper grinders, condiments we like and our own linen napkins and tea towels is a must. We shop while away, but knowing we have the basics to tide us over saves time, hassle and money.
This year I’m going to do a little more research into local caves and see what’s on offer. We always leave room for plenty of wine and sourcing amazing finds locally, as we did on our first holiday like this, is even better than a large supermarket run.
Sometimes I think planning is the best part.
All the jobs are done, our house looks festive and we’re completely organised for hosting our guests tomorrow. It’s probably been the most stress free Christmas Eve for us ever. We’ll be going to lunch shortly and then coming home to a clean, tidy and organised home, to drink our coffee and read the Saturday newspaper. I love this day, almost as much as the big day. One thing I like doing is rereading the Christmassy bits of some of favourite books. This year, Jo of the Chalet School’s Christmas in Innsbruck will be on heavy rotation.