- Food - Food always makes me happy. French food even more so. I do not know how anyone is thin in France, when they are constantly surrounded by croissants.
- Sunshine - I had been checking the weather forecast religiously in the week leading up to our departure, and on the basis of this, had mentally prepared myself for a week of clouds, rain and thunderstorms. The first day was pretty miserable, but after that we got some real and actual sun! And warmness! It was rather lovely, and I didn't even burn the children overly much. The Toddler's left arm got a bit singed, but other than that, I actually managed to be vigilant enough to keep them pretty much un-burned. Result.
- Seeing my sister - I adore seeing my sister. As do my children. And as she is not a haggard, lazy, sleep-deprived mother-of-two who spends most of her life in the company of two small people, but an energetic aunt for whom said small people are still very much an exciting novelty, they run around playing together, while I sit and watch, eating croissants.
- Sleeping - as a result of playing all day, and going to bed at ridiculous hours (well, they went to bed at fairly reasonable times, but then, fired up by the excitment of sharing a room, they sat and giggled at each other for hours before finally falling asleep), the kids actually did some pretty good sleeping. The Toddler fell out of the very narrow bed a couple of times, and The Littl'un still usually had a litttle bit of a yelp about something or other at some point, but overall, much better sleep was had by all. It has, sadly, not continued now we are home.
- Not having housework - The best thing about holidays is not being in your own house, surrounded by all the things that you know you should be doing. We did have to keep on top of the cleaning - the house was so tiny that I would have swung a cat in it, but only because I don't really like cats so wouldn't care if it took a few knocks to the head, so it got messy really quickly - but being able to switch off from thinking about the constant cycle of dusting and hoovering and washing and ironing and tidying and sorting is all kinds of awesome.
And now we are back, and the washing is almost under control, and today is The Toddler's third birthday. (I have decided to re-christen her, as The Littl'un is starting to toddle, and The Toddler just walks. Henceforth, she shall be known as The Big'un, until I get fed up of it)
We had nice plans for today. Due to her current obssession with princesses, and her disappointment that Caen castle was just the battlements, and not "where the princess lived", we decided to take her to a castle which looked like a princess might live in it, so thought we'd drive up to Alnwick for the day, then go out for tea with my parents. It was all going to be very lovely, and I was looking forward to it immensely, until Husband decided to contract some kind of stomach lurgy, which has made him so ill that I'm even being sympathetic and kind to him. He managed to get up and see The Big'un get her drum kit ("It's my favourite! I can't belieeeeeve it!!"), but anything more was beyond him. My mother had it too, which meant even the tea with them was off the agenda. Obviously, it couldn't be helped, but it made me a little bit sulky anyway. I tried my best to make a nice day for her anyway. I allowed her to ride her trike to the shop, where she brought a smile to several people's faces because she was wearing her new fairy princess outfit, complete with wings and tiara. I even tried not to despair over the fact that the trip, which is 10 minutes maximum sans children, took nearly an hour. We made it to a castle, which, even though it was "broken" (ie, in ruins), she was quite impressed with, where we met up with a friend and her little boy (he taught her to say "It's boring!", even though they were clearly having a whale of a time, she taught him to roll around in the grass, so they even had a mutual exchange of useful life skills). I bought a chocolate cake and let her decorate it with chocolate buttons. But I fear that large portions of the day still ended up being how they always are when I am tired and have to deal with them both alone when they are in high and defiant spirits, which is with me being tetchy and impatient and a bit useless. Ah well. Her party is still to come so we have another chance to give her the perfect birthday day. If your definition of "perfect" involves several small children hyped up on icing, of course.