I was momentarily elated that we’d reached the school holidays. Fair to say my kids are pretty over the whole home school thing and we’re all ready for a break.
Which is when I realised that actually we now have six more weeks of still being at home. Together. Oh boy!
I’ve gone into panic planning mode. Even just knowing I’m making plans somehow makes me feel like it might all come together. The usual repertoire of visits, a week away and weekends with friends isn’t going to quite come together this year, I know.
Which is when I thought about a fakation. We’re not on for a staycation this year or a proper vacation. But why let that stop the fun. We can fake it right?
So, this week, we’re drawing on nostalgia to guide us. We’ve spent many happy hours camping in France and that’s where we’ll start. Cold red wine by a hot campfire. Kids padding barefoot across the grass to their instant new BFFs. Frogs, owls, bats, flaming mashmallows. Long days, pottering in and out of the stream. Nights sharing food as the sun sets. Heaven.
Here’s my plan. France for a day.
Breakfast – Coffee, 100% (just for me). Croissants, really decent strawberry jam, cold unsalted butter and a big glass of fresh orange juice. Thankfully there is no queue for the showers, but I think it may be a good idea to keep my flip flops on. It has been a long week.
Morning – We normally start slow in the mornings on a campsite. Books, chatting, planning. But I always love to head out before it gets too hot and feel like we’ve done something with the day. So, I’m reckoning a trip to a local farm. Anything animal related works for my youngest. Making this French, and interesting for my big one, more challenging. So, I’ve done a list of French animal noises. If they can correctly match them to the right animals and they win crepes with Nutella for dinner (and squirty cream – win).
Afternoon – Lazy lunch, baguettes, jambon, fromage, tomatoes, Followed by a game of petanque. We tend to improvise the jack and the balls – save having to pack so much in the car. And try to stop the dog stealing them (Simple rules – mark a starting line or circle, split into teams. Youngest player throws the jack and then battle to throw your petanque balls closest to the jack. The team with the most balls close to the jack wins).
Maybe some craft time after lunch. It’s a good chance to stay cool in the heat. This is a pretty awesome option that could be done with finger prints, sponges, potatoes – whatever you have to hand https://thecraftyclassroom.com/crafts/famous-artist-crafts-for-kids/monet-craft-for-kids/
Late afternoon – Tour de France bike ride, enjoy the last of the sunshine before dinner. You can check out the 2019 kids guide to the race here https://www.cyclesprog.co.uk/family-cycling-advice/tour-de-france/tour-de-france-kids-guide/
Dinner – well, it is the holidays.
Crepes with Nutella, squirty crème, strawberries recipe
For crepes with Nutella you’ll need –
140g plain flour, pinch of salt, 200ml milk, 100ml water, 2 eggs, 25g melted butter plus a bit extra for greasing. (or a bottle of pancake shake mix)
Mix the flour and pinch of salt in a bowl. Make a dip in the middle.
Mix the milk and water together.
Break the eggs into the dip in the flour and start to whisk slowly.
Add the milk and water, whisking constantly and bringing in all the flour.
Whisk until smooth
Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Whisk in the melted butter.
Grease the pan with butter. Heat the pan over a medium heat.
Using a ladle, add batter to the pan and swirl so it evenly covers the bottom of the pan.
Cook for about 45 seconds on each side until it freckles.
Then go mad with toppings – Nutella, strawberries, cream, banana.
If you are feeling like dipping into some more French vocab, there is a brill BBC bitesize on how to make crepes https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/z7ts3dm/articles/z4j6t39
We’ll take it easy after tea and go back to a classic movie for old times sake, you can’t beat chilling with Madeline on the tv. If you really want to recreate that camping experience, you can set up in the garden with a laptop. We usually end up the rainy day tent when we’re away with a small crowd of children, chilling on pillows but banned from jumping on the airbeds all gathered contentedly around a laptop screen.
Hot chocolate for the kids before bed, and a big glass of red for me. Another day safely navigated.