Is there an age when you stop going on family holidays?
A time when you turn down a week in the sun with your relatives in favour of something else?
Well, if there is, I’m not there yet. And considering that the age of the “children” in our recent family holiday ranged from 21 to 28, I don’t think it’ll be happening anytime soon!
Though it might seem strange from an outsider’s perspective, the holidays I’ve spent with my parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and godparents - yes, often all at once - are easily the happiest and most enjoyable.
And this summer, my time en famille wasn’t limited to just one holiday. Instead, between July and September, our family put emphasis on spending time together.
We had a surprise weekend in Amsterdam, a cousins trip to the Goodwood Revival, and a by-the-pool break in southern Italy.
Collectively, these events and holidays were known as Project Happiness - we even have a group chat to make it official.
Our week in Italy at the end of August was the Project’s pièce-de-résistance.
And in true Ray-Tennant style we went way over the top.
I’m talking inflatable Olympics, pool-side tricks, badminton and table-tennis championships, Fred Fit workouts, the list goes on.
(Annoyingly Squarespace doesn’t support uploaded video, but if you check out @fred_fit_ on Instagram you’ll be able to see all the vids from the aforementioned holiday shenanigans)
The whole holiday was fantastic. But, if I were forced to pick a highlight, then in would have to be our Masterchef Competition.
And, as with everything else our family does, this was no normal cooking competition.
Each pair (and one group of three) were judged not only on their cooking but also on the presentation, and general atmosphere of the evening. Most importantly, there was a category for the best apron design.
As each team battled to out do the previous night, the apron design got more elaborate and it soon became clear that a 3 course meal with canapés and cocktails was essential if you wanted any chance of triumphing. Similarly normal crockery just wouldn’t cut it, instead canapés we’re served on cacti leaves and slate boards, and sauces came in individual espresso cups.
The teams were as follows:
Phoebe and Tabitha - The Best Exotic Marigold Masseria
Freddie and Genevieve - FiG
Rowena and Albert - The Prickly Pair
Myself, Mark and Chris - Loulah and the Dads
The cooking ability of our family is quite honestly outstanding!
From homemade chapatis and handcrafted mille-feuille, to ‘prickly’ poached pears decorated with almond ‘spikes’, and olive wood and rosemary roasted lamb.
In the end, the competition was too close to call. So instead we celebrated our hard work with a catwalk soundtracked by “Buttery Biscuit Base”.... you couldn’t make this stuff up!!
I’m thinking that by now you probably understand why I enjoy family holidays so much.
We’re ridiculous, over the top and definitely a bit bonkers but it all comes from love - love for each other and for spending time together.
Now I just need to find a suitable outfit for our Downton themed Christmas!