Carry on Self-Catering…

You decide to go self-catering for a long weekend. It’s taken you ages to find anywhere because you’ve left it so late and then your husband bravely says…

‘As it’s only for 4 days in the UK, there won’t be much stuff to take will there?’


Doesn’t he realise that everyone always packs for 4 days, regardless of how long they’re away for? You also have to ‘pack up the house,’ find someone kind enough to feed the cat as well as fish number 2s out of the litter tray AND you won’t sleep a single wink unless you take your own pillow.

So there you are, finally whizzing up the motorway at 11 miles per hour. A combination of road works and an accident ‘somewhere in Cheshire’ and, instead of arriving in time for a whole evening at ‘the holiday place’, you’re making beds at 10pm with children behaving like baboons and you can’t find a socket to charge up your phone. Then you spot one – well not one exactly but one and a half. The other half is obscured behind the radiator…surely there must be another one?



How does this actually happen?
How does this actually happen?


Luckily you’re wise to this sort of trick and have brought an extension ‘dooda.’ What you hadn’t catered for however, was this socket being wedged between the wall and the far side of the bed, so drying your hair is simply impossible. No worries, there’s no point drying it anyway because the weather’s so awful. Your hair blows sideways right across your eyes every time you set foot out of the front door. In fact the wind and rain have done such weird things to it that you now look like a water buffalo.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by either your husband or the kids.


Holiday selfie...
Holiday selfie…


You’re just secretly ploughing your way through the fizzy bubblegum bottles you’ve stashed behind the kettle when ‘Tesco’ arrives. A rather cheery youth asks you how long you’re staying for because he’s never seen such a large order in all his life. You suddenly realise he’s right and what the hell are you going to do with it all?? The wine can’t possibly be a problem but all these onions? Did you really order 6 bags of 8 onions…?

You look around and realise there isn’t actually anywhere to put any food. You shove it anywhere you can…under the table, behind the sofa, in the wellies…and start cooking.

Family of five. Spaghetti Bolognese.  You pull out the two largest pans in the cupboard. The bigger of the two is just right to cook spaghetti for TWO people and the smaller of the two would be perfect for heating up a tin of ambrosia creamed rice (if you had one and wanted to eat it).


Great if you want to get into the whole mathematical problem solving thing...
Great if you want to get into the whole mathematical problem solving thing…


Emergency text to ‘David’ who owns the cottage about a) the pan thing and b) the dead-as-a-dodo DVD player.

Next thing you know, a very lovely man in a high viz jacket is pushing his way through the buffeting gales to your front door, with a couple of enormo old fashioned pressure cookers and a SCART lead. You don’t like to mention the wifi is down too and vow instead to spend quality time talking to your beloved and your children.

By Day Two you find yourself hanging out of the front bedroom window ‘just to see if it’s working’. It’s not quite enough to check Facebook or Twitter but it’s enough to receive an email from Tesco to say they’re coming again tomorrow at great expense, with an order containing just 3 items that you completely forgot to cancel three days ago. You have 6 hours until the cut off time for amendments but you can’t connect long enough to cancel the order. At least you won’t have to put up with that ‘this is the largest order I’ve ever seen remark’ again. Instead you get a cheery ‘oh don’t worry, this isn’t the smallest one I’ve had, do you need help carrying it inside?’

You go to a theme park and just as you’re unloading the youngest from the car, you notice a distinct smell burning rubber and two large screws sticking out of one of your tyres. Your husband goes off to sort it out leaving you and the three kids (one in the middle of potty training and without enough spare clothes as it turns out), to the joys of the theme park.  He returns several hours later with a boot full of wheel. No replacements available before the trip home he says. So now you have nowhere to put your luggage, you’re not allowed to drive home faster than 50mph on the spare and you husband states it will be impossible to put your beloved pillow anywhere other than directly underneath this wheel on the way home.

When you get back to the cottage you realise you completely forgot to order beans and chilli for the chilli, and your youngest has drawn all over their sofa.  Thankfully he’s only drawn on the removable arm covers (your view of these has now completely changed). You put them in the wash and minutes later, the kids are prancing about with the other arm covers on their heads, looking like Darth Vader.

‘Can we have ice-cream for pudding?’ asks the 6 year old hopefully. No you can’t – mainly because the ice compartment of the fridge/freezer is no bigger than an envelope, so even if I’d remembered to add some to the Tescos order we’d have had to finish it all at 9:36am when it was delivered.

Finally it’s bath time for the kids and with a glass of wine in one hand you realise you’ve got in a total muddle with the ‘linen pack’ and you’re drying the youngest with a bath mat…

Despite all this though, the kids have had an absolute blast, you’ve managed one lie-in, ‘a couple’ of bottles of wine and seen an alpaca…

(Everything in this post actually happened.  On a single holiday and in the first 24 hours….)


For a list of indoor activities we played inside during the worst weather with virtually no toys, please see Things To Do Inside On A Wet Holiday!

You may also like to see other posts on Parenting including:

Tape & Crȇpe. What Should Have Been A Simple Activity…
Why Being An Imperfect Parent Is A Good Thing
Potty Training A Child With Zero Interest
For Kids Who Hate Maths

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  • HonestMum
    April 25, 2015 AT 7:35 AM

    Actually crying with laughter here, and you didn’t film any of this?! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  • Dominique
    April 8, 2015 AT 10:01 PM

    I am so glad to read this and think it isn’t only our family who has this arrival hell!! However if it was all plain sailing you wouldn’t have such a great post!! x

    • International Elf Service
      April 8, 2015 AT 11:00 PM

      I’m so pleased to hear it’s not just us!! You are so right – the more that happens the funnier it gets! Thank you for your kind comments! xxx

  • martyn
    April 5, 2015 AT 2:21 PM

    This is so much like the holidays we’ve had. You sound like you had fun anyway and that’s the main thing. #bigfatlinky

    • International Elf Service
      April 5, 2015 AT 8:58 PM

      Oh you too? Is it an actual club do you think?? Yes we had so much fund and enjoyed all the extra laughs that all the quirks brought :).

  • Sabrina
    April 5, 2015 AT 9:56 AM

    This all sounds so familiar its comforting! Nice to know our own crazy chaotic trips are actually pretty normal! Great post!

    • International Elf Service
      April 5, 2015 AT 8:50 PM

      I’m beginning to think this might be the charm behind self-catering hols – for the extra laughs! Thank you for commenting x

  • Sunday Stars Linky {5th April 15} - diary of a midlife mummy
    April 5, 2015 AT 5:01 AM

    […] Worst That Can Happen?‘ by Carry On Katy and our lovely Karen from Stopping at Two chose: Carry On Self-Catering by International Elf Service, which she found […]

    • International Elf Service
      April 5, 2015 AT 8:44 PM

      Wow thank you so much for this mention and the star! That’s very proud making and I’m so pleased Karen enjoyed the post 🙂 Emily x

  • Sarah Christie
    April 4, 2015 AT 11:22 AM

    Ha ha, I am so glad you had a good time despite what looks like almost everything going wrong. I bet you will talk about this for years to come x

  • Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
    April 4, 2015 AT 8:35 AM

    wow…just…wow. So far the only holidays we’ve done have been with the grandparents, where they book somewhere nice and we arrive and hand over the Baby to them and go hide somewhere. I don’t think we’re ready for your kind of holiday…ever. 🙂 Thanks for the giggles. PS WTF was that plug all about??


    • International Elf Service
      April 5, 2015 AT 8:47 PM

      Oh wow, your holidays sound AMAZING! I really want one. Are the grandparents for hire?? All our holidays are like this and there’s always a plug story. I really think you should try a holiday like this once… 🙂

  • Karen (@karenjwhitlock)
    April 2, 2015 AT 12:20 PM

    This is so funny! Absolutely love it. But these are the holidays that always provide the best memories in years to come. Thank you so much for linking up to #SundayStars again this week.

    • International Elf Service
      April 2, 2015 AT 1:04 PM

      That’s so true!! We laughed so much about it all – I got the dreadful giggles several times much to the kids’ amusement. x

  • al ferguson
    April 1, 2015 AT 12:15 PM

    Good memories indeed! We go on our first family self catering holiday this Easter, I wonder all the things that will happen to us in our first 24 hours! Thanks for sharing this and for linking yup #bigfatlinky

    • International Elf Service
      April 1, 2015 AT 12:21 PM

      I look forward to reading your post afterwards ;). Do take plug sockets and saucepans!

  • Ebabee
    March 31, 2015 AT 1:36 PM

    Oh no… Sorry, I shouldn’t laugh but your post really did make me laugh! Love the Darth Vader bit! Hope you all managed some fun despite everything though.

    • International Elf Service
      March 31, 2015 AT 1:46 PM

      It was certainly good for our memoires!! Yes it’s always good to have time together and we did all find it very funny in the end! x

  • catherine
    March 30, 2015 AT 11:23 PM

    Oh dear! I thought I was the only person who had holidays like that! 😀

    • International Elf Service
      March 31, 2015 AT 9:26 AM

      I’m afraid not!!

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