This time last week I was getting ready for my imminent trip to France with Tom. I couldn't wait as it was the second time this year that we'd be travelling together to see his family and get some much needed relaxation time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Come Thursday, we quickly packed, got our bits and bobs together and hopped on a train to Stansted to board our afternoon flight to Poitiers. We managed to watch half a film on the flight before we touched down at the tiny, remote airport in the mid-west of France. We were greeted by freezing cold weather as we got off the plane and awkwardly waddled our way through passport control with our luggage to be welcomed by Toms stepdad who had kindly agreed to collect us.

As we had planned to stay with Toms mum and stepdad for the first night, we were driven back to their quaint little home town of Charroux (Sha-roo) just north of Angoulême . We took a pit stop in one of their local watering holes called The Green Man Inn and rehydrated with their signature drink called the TGV (tonic, gin, and violette). I might add that this drink went down very easily and I was soon feeling the effects of the gin. We had a very enjoyable evening in the pub where we reconnected with people we had seen on our previous visit and met up with Toms sister, Grace, who had driven all the way from Belgium to see us for the weekend. At around 9pm we retreated back to the house and spent the rest of the evening chatting and enjoying each others company.

On the second day, we travelled to Paizay-Naudoin to see Toms dad, stepmum and brother, Harry. The house was packed that night as everybody had their partners over to enjoy Vikki's famous roast dinner (which was to die mouth is watering just thinking about it!). The games came out and the alcohol soon started flowing. The entire evening was just a fun and pleasant time spent with loved-ones, joking and poking fun at each other like families so often do. It made me extremely happy and grateful to be able to share the moment with them all.The more we drank, the louder we got (unfortunately, the adults had already gone to bed) so we decided to call it a night and hit the hay soon after.

The next day we had planned to meet up with Toms mum again at a place called La Vallée des Singes (The monkey valley). I had heard many stories from Tom about this park so I was extremely excited to go and visit the monkeys as I had never seen one up close before. Little did I know that I'd be leaving the park with a sore finger and a prescription for antibiotics!

They may look cute and cuddly, but believe me, they have very sharp teeth for their size! It's worth noting that these monkeys roam free in their section of the park and people often go up to them and feed them small nuts from the trees. I had seen Grace feeding some of them from her hand and thought that it looked fun so wanted to try it for myself (1st mistake - I literally have the worst luck in the world!). I picked a few nuts from the tree and held my hand out for the monkey to be able to grab them. I must have left my hand slightly too far from the tree (2nd mistake) as one of the monkeys accidentally pushed the nuts from my hand. Instead of retreating back into the tree, it started rubbing my fingers with both of its tiny hands (it's very difficult to describe if you hadn't actually witnessed it, but I was essentially getting a tiny hand massage from a tiny monkey). When the monkey had confirmed that there was no longer food in my hand it did what was necessary (in the monkeys mind) and sank it's teeth into my right index finger - drawing blood. The bite itself didn't hurt, but the shock at what had happened caused me to quickly pull my hand back and look at the others to see if they had seen what had happened - they had! We had a good chuckle at my bad luck, wrapped my finger in a tissue and continued on to see the rest of the monkeys in the park.

It's also worth noting that if you don't want anything stolen from your handbag or hand then you should probably hide them, as they're very cheeky and will get their hands on anything they can. One tried to steal Toms mums phone!

All in all it was a terrific experience that I would highly recommend if you're ever in the area. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the entire park as I began feeling unwell, so Tom suggested that we go home. I felt extremely guilty dragging them all away from the park early just because I didn't feel 100%, but I was assured that everyone was fine with it and that they had seen everything they wanted to anyway. It didn't stop me from feeling bad about it though :( 

On the final day, Tom and I had a late afternoon flight back to Stansted. We enjoyed a little lie in and packed our bags again ready to leave. Toms dad suggested taking Lily (their border collie x Pyrenean mountain dog) to a village called Rejallant before lunch. When we got there, Tom told me about how he used to go there as a kid in the summer with his family and friends and how they all went swimming and kayaking. Looking around I could genuinely imagine growing up there and what fun it would be.

En route back to the house for lunch, we pulled over to admire one of the many Châteaus in the area. This particular one is called Château de Verteuil owned by the famous La Rochefoucauld family in a town called Charente. It was genuinely breathtaking and looked like it belonged in a fairytale with the numerous towers and massive gates. We made it back to the house soon after and sat down to enjoy another delicious meal courtesy of Vikki.

Toms dad and Harry dropped us off at the airport in the afternoon where we said our au revoir's and boarded the plane again. The weekend went so quickly that it felt like we had blinked and it was over. Before we knew it we had landed back on British soil dreading the thought of returning to work in the morning. I guess we'll just have to book flights to go over again soon!