Just 72 hours ago, I was on a sun drenched beach, holding hands with HAW whilst we watched the kids playing in the surf. Fast Forward 48 hours and I was wearing my ski jacket on the school run, battling against the wind and lashing rain whilst trying to manoeuvre a buggy and 2 rain drenched kids...go figure.
We have just returned from an amazing 10 days in France. It was a last minute booking as we are off to Sri Lanka in a few weeks but really needed a break en masse. We decided on the beautiful islands of Ile De Re and Oleron and I cannot recommend these enough if you have a family.
We flew to Nantes from London City which is an amazing airport, efficient, quick but albeit a bit scary taking off from the middle of the Thames! We arrived in Nantes to find that Air France had lost our buggy in Paris but they were very quick to give us a replacement. We got our hire car and drove about 45 mins to our first destination...the AMAZING Manoir de Ponsay which if you ever need a stopover in the Vendee region, I can't recommend highly enough. The chateau has been in the family for centuries and is now run by the lovely Laurent and his wife. He trained in the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, and MAN this boy can cook!!! We had a fabulous HUGE room with period french chic furniture and a stunning bathroom with rolltop bath. It's in the middle of nowhere and has stunning countryside and a perfectly small swimming pool that the kids loved.
We were sad to leave but the islands were calling and we spent the next 9 days swimming, eating, chilling, playing, relaxing. This really is a case of letting the pictures do the talking.
The beautiful port of La Rochelle where we all ate moules frites and the kids discovered Orangina and HUGE flavoured meringues.
Why do my kids all NOT wear PJ tops???
HAW likes nothing more than cooking, so on the days we decided to stay home, we ate lobsters, moules, huge langoustines, fresh crab, and the speciality of the region - Oysters! As for the wine...Oh, La La...the french really do keep the best for themselves - amazing Pinot Noir for 4E and a Sancerre Rouge for 7E. We were in foodie heaven! The boys tried snails for the first time (Pixie wouldn't even look at them and they all had oysters (and then spat them out I hasten to add!).
I celebrated my *cough* 32nd birthday whilst in France and we had a lovely dinner at a local auberge with the whole restaurant singing happy birthday. The kids then ran around the square playing "Harry Potter vs Star Wars" until gone 11pm. It was perfect, it really was.
On our last day we got lost in a forest (separate blog post, I promise!) but spent most of the time on the beach. The beaches were deserted and are said to be the best in France. The sea was calm, the beaches uncrowded and so safe you could sit and watch the kids without fear of them drowning or getting lost.
Beansey learnt to surf and whilst doing so, met a beautiful french girl called Justine who is now his penpal!! BoBo spent most of his time on his "island" playing Captain Jack Sparrow whilst Pixie was Elizabeth.....
It was a truly magical holiday and we will definitely be back!