Well, I saw her off. And it set me off.
Youngest. Gone off on ‘residential’ for the week* with her classmates.
*okay, three days.
Okay, two nights. It feels like a week, okay?
She’s my baby and was a bit anxious about sleeping out. It was no different when my eldest did her final trip away for a week in Year 6 and I can still remember my own residential trip in 1986 to Boreatton Park.
Aside from abseiling, archery and other outdoorsy antics, I remember: stonewash denim, cartoon characters on my jeans, reversible jumpers and my snazzy ‘Le Clic’ camera.
Whether you’ve done none, one or many of these trips, they can be a bit of a minefield.
Will this blog help?
Probably not – but it’s worth reading for the hell of it, especially for the recipe at the end. (Feel free to just skip to recipe.)
The School Meeting
A couple of months before the trip, there’s will be a meeting, featuring a powerpoint presentation of what the kids will be doing during their time away, culminating in a checklist of what’s required for the trip.
I like the parent questions part the best:
“So, can we definitely not pack them some snacks?” (That parent is definitely going to be packing contraband.)
“Can we send a letter in advance?” (Along with the many notes already stuffed inside the wash bag, underwear and fleeces.)
“Can squirrels get into the cabins at night? What about spiders?” (Their own childhood fears coming out right there.)
I’ve got two girls, so fortunately there is much hand-me-down activity in the way of wellies, waterproofs and those massive checked PVC bags for the duvet/sleeping bag situ.
I go by the list. I’m fastidious. I like ticking things off, bit by bit, like Mrs Hinch.
I also love the tech ban that most school trips have. It’s healthy. Far too much time screen time. (Maybe I should go on a school trip…? )
Can’t beat the innocence of a disposable camera. Don’t worry, my expectations are low. Mainly just flash reflecting in windows and mirrors, much red eye and lots of blurred action shots.
I think it’s important for the kid to be involved in the packing process. My daughter and I discussed and vetoed, removed and added until we reached the final selection. (That was just which leggings matched what jumper.)
I’m a huge fan of packing cubes for family trips, as they’re brilliant at keeping everything neat, tidy and organised. ‘Tick-tick-tick’ on all three thing in my book.
.. But! On this occasion, and call it spoon feeding, but I needed to make it super simple for my nine year old, so those massive resealable bags come in exceptionally handy. You can pack an outfit per day in each bag and simply mark the outside of the bag with what day/activity. Foolproof. (Until she decides to swap things from the ‘spares’ bag’. I’ve already seen pictures from the trip and she’s definitely not wearing Wednesday’s clothes.)
Sentimental and shameful stuff
I’m just going to throw it out there…
…Yes – I pack little notes for her.
…There may be a muzzie stashed in the bag, ‘liberally’ sprayed with Mummy’s perfume.
..There may also be Tisserand lavender essential oil in her wash bag. My kids have had a few drops on their pillow since they were babies, a tradition carried on from my Grandma. It calms them and sends them off to sleep peacefully.
…There may be a some fabric conditioner sheets inserted into each resealable bag of clothes. (All about the smells, me.)
…’Rab’ was the most essential part of the packing. A very worn but utterly adored Jellycat bunny, which was washed and mended in prep. Mainly because I’m so ashamed of the state (and farschtink) of it.
So, how will I be filling my spare time with one less child to tend to? Prepping for her return on Friday of course! She put in her dinner menu request, which culminated in Mummy’s cheesecake for dessert.
With Shavuot in just over a month, I view this as a practise run.
Baked Cheesecake recipe
9″ inch springform tin, lined
Pre-heat oven to 180°C
Crush 175g Digestives and mix with 50g melted unsalted butter.
Flatten mixture onto bottom of tin.
1lb fresh curd cheese.
250g Quark cheese.
3 large eggs, added one at a time.
6 oz caster sugar, added a bit at a time.
A capful of vanilla extract a few drops – I love the Nielsen Massey one.
Mix all of those things together by electric whisk til they’re smooth and silky.
Pour this mixture over the crushed biscuits.
At this point, it’s your choice if you go for a bain marie – I do. Barry explains it best.
Place foiled-wrapped tin in a bigger oven pan and carefully pour boiling water about halfway up the side of the springform. Like a bath.
Middle shelf. 25-30 minutes but keep an eye for browning as all ovens differ. A bit of browning doesn’t matter. Nor cracking. You’ll see why in a minute…
Heat off. Leave oven door ajar with tin in there for another 5 minutes – helps it set.
Remove tin from bain marie and let cake cool completely out of the oven. (For the idiots, do not remove springform. I didn’t;t say that, did I?
Hand whisk 300ml soured cream, teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons caster sugar and pour this on top of cooled cheesecake, thus hiding any imperfections.
Cover with foil. Fridge overnight. Release from tin and serve.
(2 more sleeps. Pass me some lavender oil…)