LAURA CARTLEDGE Life’s like That...Socks, books and batteries, check. But what about that passport?

Organisation is one of my strong points.

And I pride myself on being able to make a list, table or spreadsheet for any occasion.

But despite my best efforts pre-holiday planning is not just my forte.

Don’t get me wrong I adore travelling, from breaks abroad to a weekend at friends.

And I am lucky to have done a fair bit of it, so really I should be better.

But something I cannot stand is the countdown to going away.

It’ll start a couple of days before, when I make piles of the clothing I plan to take and track down the missing items from the bottom of the ironing basket. Once in these piles they are not to be touched.

And seeing as I am somewhat limited in the wardrobe department this means my outfits for the rest of the time I am at home consist of dregs from the bottom of drawers.

However having made a good start doesn’t set me up for success.

Instead it always gives me a false sense of security so I do nothing more until the night before.

Then it is the extra bits that get me. And it’s when I think I am all packed and climb into bed feeling content that the little voice whispers ‘shampoo’.

I then have to get up, or write it down, and then settle back anxious to sleep. Then just as my eyelids close, there the voice is again, and again. Until I end up with a list of things to do in the morning which is so terrifyingly long I spend the night staring at the ceiling or fetching things.

Either way, when the time of departure rolls around I am always tired and bedraggled. Bundling the final items into my bag and squeezing it shut only to have to wrestle it open again when I see my pyjamas still sitting on my bed.

And then, with a huff and a puff I’m off. I quite like this bit. Mainly because it is now too late to worry about anything I have left behind. But that doesn’t stop me playing a little game I like to call ‘what have I forgotten?’ – and I don’t stop until I have thought of something.

Part of the problem, I will admit, is that I have my priorities wrong. For me spare camera batteries come up higher on the list than, say, my passport.

And I will take more time in picking my books for the break than making sure I have enough socks.

But all this said once I arrive at my destination I always seem to have done all right. Making me wonder what all the fuss is about until next time...

* Tubs of temptation

Selection boxes are marvellous things.

Whether you are looking for a fail-safe present or something to keep the family quiet after dinner.

They are a staple of Christmas too.

The only problem is our office has seen an influx of the boxes of temptation ever since. In just two weeks we have made it through three tubs, meaning some people’s healthy resolutions are over before they have really begun.