Bestselling author – and Kobo/WHSmith UK author of the month – Catherine Alliott is no stranger to family holidays, or to writing about family drama. Her warm, witty, escapist novels feature characters you will recognize from your own life, and fall in love with just as fast.
To celebrate the summer holidays we asked Catherine for her top tips for thriving and surviving this wonderful, if sometimes tricky, time with family.
1) Always buy magnums, not bottles then everyone will get so plastered they'll forget their niggles and differences. Nine between twelve were once famously consumed on a first night in Greece, but we'd had a wretched time getting there.
2) Always get a satnav. If lost, never laugh at your husband's attempts to speak the local lingo. Your children will already be sniggering in the back and your role is to support, not guffaw.
3) On the catering front, always defer to the bossiest female in the party. If she wants to cook Lapin a la Moutarde for twenty, let her. If thwarted, she'll be miserable.
4) Insist your own signature dish is melon and parma ham.
5) Still on catering, whilst it might seem fun to let the children "have a go" one night, the food will be inedible and the chaos in the kitchen more work than the meal would have entailed. No of course they won't do it.
6) Hangovers are best dealt with lying comatose by the pool in dark glasses. Staying in bed all day and blaming it on "a dodgy prawn" is frowned upon, particularly with grandparents around.
7) Put teenagers as far away from the main house as possible, preferably in a converted barn or outhouse. Approach with caution. Heat and hormones don't mix.
8) Never underestimate the acceptability of hard cash. Older children will babysit younger nephews and nieces for a fistful of euros and a fridge full of beer.
9) If staying in a hotel with a gang of family friends, never let the young put "the odd drink" on your bar bill. Parents Room Roulette is something no one ever wants to become acquainted with.
10) Smile. You're supposed to be on holiday.
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