On Being Prepared for Self Catering Holidays

Soon, we are off on a self catering holiday.  Like last year, we are sailing over to beautiful France, and driving through Brittany and the Vendée regions to stay in a Siblu holiday parc (great for families, lovely swimming pools, gorgeous locations) but unlike last year, we are more prepared. 

We had a hilarious trip to a supermarket last year, where we had to buy all sorts of stuff.  Things you don’t want to have to buy on holiday.  Things like antibac spray and washing up liquid and cloths and loo roll.  I am not sure why it escaped me to take those things on a self catering holiday, but it did, and so I had to buy them in Carrefour. 

fromage pate self catering holiday france

And if you take nothing else from this post, take this: finding antibac spray and cling film when there are gaping gaping holes in your French, will inevitably mean searching high and low on every single shelf in all the seemingly relevant aisles until they are located. 

Excusez-moi, Madame, où est le cling film? 

Well, not this year.  No, Sir.  This year, I have prepared an exhaustive list of everything I think I’ll need on holiday, thus freeing up more money to spend on French wine, and cheese and pâté.  You know, the important things. 



antibac spray
loo roll
washing up liquid
handwashing detergent for clothes
a washing up sponge
a cleaning cloth
kitchen roll

Food Prep, Storage and Picnic bits

Cling film 
Ice packs 

natural sunburn remedy self catering holiday france


Suncream and Aftersun (if you are like me, and can’t stand the chemical slop that is aftersun gel, check out this more natural remedy for sunburn, it works so well)
Calpol and paracetamol
Mosquito bite cream and repellant 
Baby wipes – even if you have no babies, take wipes anyway.  You’ll always find a use for them. 

Non Perishables 

Sugar, salt and pepper.  I fully intend to nab sachets of these on the boat. 
Coffee and teabags
Cooking oil.  

And just for fun, here are some things I think you should definitely seek out when in France:

Chocolate granules.  Like Nesquik but in granulated form rather than powder.  They come in enormous great tubs and last for ages.  We stock up on these when in France as they work out cheaper than Nesquik, especially if you get the supermarket own brand.

fruit tub, france, french food

Pureed fruit in tubs. I have said before I don’t know why we can’t get these in the UK.  They are delicious and go so so well poured over fromage frais.  Find them in the chilled aisles of the supermarket (with the puddings and yoghurts). 

Regional wine.  You’re in France, branch out a little with the wine.  In my experience, you can often get a decent bottle of French wine, local to the region you are in, for around €2.  Look at what the locals buy, and if you like it, stock up! 

Cheese and pâté.  I don’t think I really need to explain this. 

Carambars.  These are chewy sticks of deliciousness.  Go for the original caramel flavour.  You can find them with all the sweets and are a French classic!

Religieuse.  An actual religious experience in a patisserie.  Choux buns filled with chocolate or coffee flavoured crème pâtissière with icing on top, made to look (tenuously) like little nuns in habits – hence the name. 

religeuse self catering holiday

Have you got any other holiday must-takes I have forgotten? 

Anything else I should get my paws on whilst I’m in France?

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  1. Oh I want to go to France now. This post really got me into the mood for a holiday French style. Loved reading your post last year, so I’m really looking forward to read about the adventures you’ll be having this time round. Have a great time et bon voyage ;)

    Must-take: camera, battery, chargers, anything for an upset stomach ;)

    1. oh GOOD CALL on the tummy medicine. It would be sod’s law to get sick, and we’re not used to eating rich food like pate and blue cheese.

  2. Great list! We had a fabulous Siblu holiday last year with very fond memories.
    Were also off to Normandy in August so I’ve jotted down the milkshake granules and the Cara Bors.
    Have a fabulous time x

    1. I’ll let you know if I find any more French treasures. I hope you have a wonderful time in Normandy.

  3. The cream tarts from the patisserie! Amazing! (The ones with glazed strawberries are delicious.) And seafood – big fat juicy prawns! And BREAD – oh the bread, still warm from the oven. Man, I wish we were going! Have a lovely time – and eat lots! x

    1. I will definitely definitely eat lots. French food is the best, except for moule. They can keep their moule. Icks.

    1. I am just about as excited about wandering around Carrefour as I am about going to France in the first place.

      1. And because I now live in France and use Carrefour every week I get excited going round Tesco!!! The choice of stuff in the UK blows me away every time. Here we can find pita bread (if you’re lucky) in the UK there is a choice of about 5 kinds of pita bread!!! We go round Tesco stocking up on stuff, like you go round Carrefour – bizarre, isn’t it?!

  4. Oh my goodness those cakes! Love the tips, very useful! We buy that chocolate granule stuff too, good for hot and cold chocolate and for making chocolate icing! (:

  5. Something scented to burn on your picnic table at night to keep the mosies away while you quaff copious glasses of wine. Your readers are right Steph…you make us want to come too. Enjoy! Xxx

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