Well, once again my constant spending has had an adverse affect on my ability to save enough to get to the States - maybe next year!
All is not lost though as we've just booked to spend a fortnight at this Gite in the Charente region of France, not far from Bordeaux.
The area is lovely and quite, right in the countryside with plenty of Flea Markets in the area so I have a list of things I want to look out for.
The best thing is that this old building has been converted into two gites and my family are taking them both over. My sister and her family in one and us and my brother and his (growing*) family in the other. That means all the cousins can share a bedroom if they like, plenty of babysitters on hand if any couples want to go out for an evening on their own and hopefully an amazing family holiday our kids can all look back on.
The grounds look lovely and there is a swing set area for the kids and hammocks and barbecue areas. We are close to an old train track which runs through old villages and is now popular with people walking and cycling so plenty to explore on foot. We are also quite close to the coast so we can have the odd day at the beach although it's on the Atlantic coast and the waves tend to be quite big so I'm happy to explore the countryside and sleepy French villages more.
And not forgetting the pool. I don't know what it is about France but the minute I get there I seem to relax (I don't seem to be able to do this anywhere else). Everything is so slow and the villages are always very sleepy and quiet. They seem to be able to take life at a reasonable pace which is what I need! I expect I'll be spending a lot of time in this pool in my armchair inflatable with drink holder which we bought in France last year. My husband asked why I was bothering to bring it home with me, as he struggled to deflate it so that it would fit in the car. I obviously knew then that it would get a lot of use!
*after a year of no luck and months of fertility drugs my brother and his partner are expecting a baby later this year. We are all so delighted for them and for Renzo to become a big brother. And of course, for me to be an auntie again - almost as much fun as being a Mummy!