Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

How to Go On Holiday and Gain (X) Kilograms


First, go to France. Go directly to France. France is the land of flaky delicious pastries, and little flans, and yummy custard things adorned with fruit, and tartes, and all number of things you don’t know the name of but at which you very successfully point. France is also the land of baguette filled with cheese, sundried tomatoes and the world’s best salami. It’s the place where you stand drooling in the yogurt aisle of the supermarket, trying to make a decision about whether you should have coconut or lemon yogurt for your mid-morning snack. It’s the land where you eat moules mariniere within sight of the blue sea, bobbing white yachts and dark green pine trees. The land where you eat a herb omelette served with green beans and artichokes on top of a mountain, while smelling the perfume of rose and lavender. The land where you lick at a cone filled with purplish fig ice-cream while you traverse the alleyways of a famous yellow fishing village. The land of ice-cold pink rose, of nougat and black olive tapenade with its sinewy undertow of anchovy.

Then, you should be lucky enough to have the world’s kindest hosts, who are not only interesting, well-travelled, charming, open-minded and welcoming to you and your large family, but who can cook superbly. We ate duck breast with hasselback potatoes, and slow-cooked Easter lamb with root vegetables, followed by an enormous Pavlova adorned with strawberries, mango and kiwi-fruit. Thanks to Sig, Tittin and the three princes for opening their hearts and their home to us, as well as introducing us to their beautiful corner of France. It was wonderful meeting you at last.

Then you should conjoin two families of five for the Easter weekend, and ensure that the mothers don’t talk in advance about the amount of chocolate both are buying, so that the Easter lapin (Tittin and one of the princes) had an enormous sack of chocolat to distribute under the lavender bushes and lemon trees. Have one mother seduced by SIZE of chocolate rabbits and the other mother seduced by VOLUME of chocolate ladybirds so that the combined AMOUNT of chocolate is enough to keep small children – and their mother, freshly out of chocolate rehab – bouncing off the walls for some days.

Bid farewell to your lovely friends and repair to a beach resort where there are three beach restaurants offering pizzas, pastas and numerous tempting desserts in easy walking distance. Actually, make that easy crawling distance, if you have drunk too much rose while watching your children cavort outside your beach hut. Make sure that these are casual places where you can eat barefoot and where your small, squeaking children are welcome to be as small and squeak as much as they want to.

Then, bring on the bad weather. Closet yourself in a beach hut the size of one of your bedrooms at home with your children and the remains of the chocolate stash. Finish the chocolate stash, firstly ably assisted by your kids and later, by your husband and a bottle of rose, once the babes are sleeping.

All this eating, and the sudden onset of summer here in Germany (30° today) has made me self-conscious about the need to lose some weight. It was a lot of fun putting it on, but now it, and the remainder of the Christmas speck which doesn’t seem to have got the message yet, has to go. Lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables are on the menu chez Charlotte’s Web from here on.

While we were admiring the crowds of Saturday shoppers in Antibes, where human X-rays were buying huge custard-filled tartes and legs of ham to take home to their no doubt enormously fat husbands, Lily made a lovely remark. She said, “I am looking at all these ladies, and they are not very pretty. Not one of them is as pretty as my Mummy.”

Kids. You have them for a reason, you know.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

27 thoughts on “How to Go On Holiday and Gain (X) Kilograms

  1. I only ever go to France for a fortnight at a time; I come back weighing roughly a stone more than I usually do.

    And I’m a picky eater. I don’t like the cheese or seafood or salami.

    But I end up going to cafès and restaurants and all sorts and eating far too much bread with far too much butter….*sigh*

    Worth it though. And your children sound utterly adorable =)

  2. Glad your back. Glad it was such a wonderful trip. Please, please, stop talking about the wonderful, wonderful food. My chocolate bloated stomach is moaning, “More, more! With ice cream on top!”

  3. I wonder if jealousy translates through the web? Because, woah, am I jealous.

    Now you should post lots of pictures–especially of food. 🙂

  4. I am glad you liked France. Especially that part you visited: that’s where my Mum comes from.

  5. I’m going to France in two weeks. Eeeeeek! Lily sounds like a wonderful child 🙂

  6. OMG, that is my idea of heaven (without the weight gain of course).

    Yes–I agree with Marmite Breath–pictures!

  7. Mon Dieu, baguette filled with cheese, and fig ice cream? I think perhaps I need to expand my “desert island” food list.

    I hope you gave that Lily one huge smooch for what she said…that is priceless.

    I’m so glad you had what sounds like une vacances merveilleuses!

  8. Daisy, French bread is damn good, but to me it always seems to baying out for salami … I don’t know why.

    Lia, I will stop talking about the food. My husband, who is also on the lean meat, fruit and veg regimen is begging me to stop talking about the food.

    Hi Ms Marmite. Soon you’ll be posting about your trip to England, making everyone jealous. As for food pics, sorry, my only photographs are of little people my mucking about with buckets and spades.

    Mandarine, I do love France. Every time I visit, I love it more, and the Antibes region is so beautiful with its combination of sea and mountains.

    Ash, I’m looking forward to hearing about your French trip – where are you going?

    Jade, every food experience was perfect. I would have loved to have posted photos, but I was too busy eating my food to even think of taking pictures. Sorry …

  9. Pingback: Thingamy and a holiday. « Vendorprisey

  10. Well, I’ve just gained X/2 kilograms reading about your vacation. I’m sure, if there were photos, it would be much, much more. Tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes, salami, duck and all of the rest. It sounds like you found yourself in foodie heaven. Lovely.

    And god bless children, I say!

  11. Oh, and I thought New York City was bad. Thanks for letting me know that if I decide to go back to France (where I haven’t been since I was eight and eating too much didn’t matter), I’d better plan to either starve myself for two weeks prior or tack on some extra vacation time for the fat farm visit when I return.

  12. I am really enjoying reading your blog – think I might of gained a few kilos just reading about your trip to France! Yum! Those beautiful French women must know something we don’t… lucky things.

  13. Mmmmm, the food sounds lovely. I never had any Easter eggs, plus I was ill for exactly half the holiday, yet I still appear to have piled on X kilograms! Bah! No fun! At least you had a good time!

    I love what Lily said – children tell the truth!

  14. Sounds like a wonderful holiday – wish I could try that fig ice-cream and the herb omelette on top of the mountain, and, and, and….

  15. Ah! Come join me in california, then, where there are three different menus (low carb, low fat, low cholesterol) in every restaurant. I am only eating lean meats, fruits and veggies (and wine) and enjoying every bite. And I feel good, too.
    So glad you had such a perfect vacation!

  16. Charl, your words are better than photos. I am glad you had such a lovely foodie time. Are we now inspired to make creme patisserie..? I hope so..

  17. Wise Lily!
    Welcome back Charlotte! We missed you! I am glad that you had such a stunning holiday. Your words conjure up such wonderful images that one does not need any photos to accompany…

  18. Henitserk, I did thank her profusely. And the fig ice-cream was spectacular.

    Kerryn, it was foodie heaven. The best was going grocery shopping and getting lost in all the aisles of beautiful things.

    Emily, with a bit of planning, that could really work. I am now on a “regime”, my own personal fat farm, as it were.

    Lynda, I think perhaps they look and don’t touch. Or they buy and then feed it all to their families.

    Kit, it was lovely and you would definitely have enjoyed that herb omelette!

    Courtney, I like the idea of all the different menus. Europe is a long way behind California on that front.

    Emma, I think you and I need a France visit SOON! How about Saturday?

    Thanks Tanya! I know you love France too and those wonderful supermarkets …

  19. I had a wonderful comment to make two days ago, but my computer is having internet indigestion. It wouldn’t let me visit more than one blog at a time, and NO COMMENTS allowed. As soon as I tried to get to a comment page, it would tell me that “Connection test failed”. Little creep. Anyway, aside from enjoying this post and wishing I had access to all that wonderful chocolate, I have forgotten what it was I wanted to say. Oh well. glad you are back, good to hear you enjoyed your vacation.

  20. Hi Charlotte, sounds like an idyllic holiday to me! We are traveling to Italy, UK and France this year in July/Aug with our 4 girls in tow. We meet another Aus family in Rome then spend 2 weeks in a Tuscan villa with them. After that we have a week in London by ourselves, a week in Paris with relatives, then a week in the Dordogne region by ourselves again. I’ve never been to Europe before and your post makes it sound superb. I have fig ice cream on my list of things I must experience!

  21. This is the best way I know to begin spring! I’m glad I don’t hear even the tiniest hint of regret in your voice, darling Charlotte — it’ll all melt away soon enough, the extra stuff you brought home from France.

  22. Never mind the weight, the food sounds gorgeous! Welcome back, Charlotte!

  23. Thanks for the welcome back, Ms HMM.

    Bindi, you are going to have a heavenly time – soaking up sun, food and culture. And your children are old enough to all really enjoy it, too.

    You’re right BlogLily, no regret whatsover! It was worth it. Now I’m working on the melting …

    Thanks Litlove. There’s nothing like French food.

  24. Welcome back! Ditto on French food. And what a little princess Lily is!

    Slow cooked Easter lamb. Swoon!

  25. Thank you Charlotte, for making me see this land of abundance with fresh eyes? Isn’t it wonderful to see and taste the world through someone else’s words?
    Your words were yummy wonders themselves, so enjoyed!

    I see your readers are praising the lovely Lily’s apt comment. It amused me too, but I’m not surprised.
    I had the pleasure learning to know this special young lady and noticed that she does have an extremely good eye for detail. Liky is a budding artist and her sharp observations show in her drawings as well.
    Talented bunch, you Ottergirls!

  26. Oh wait, think of me! I live in France almost 50% of the year. It’s such a struggle! And now this suddenly-feeling-elderly person is going to have to fit into something suitable for my baby boy’s wedding … I have to say it’s a terrible shock to the system in many ways.

  27. Oh you are so right Charlotte! How come absolutely EVERYTHING tastes better in France?? From the sandwiches (feta, plum tomatoes and mint – who would have known!) to the ice cream (blood orange, gingerbread, pistachio, salted butter caramel aaaaaaarrrrrgh!). I have to confine myself to short visits lest I outgrow my entire wardrobe 😉 Great post – and what a perceptive daughter you have!

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