We were thrilled that Dan, Elaine, Scarlett and Isobel were able to beat the Volcano and fly down to Nice and meet our wee Liam. They arrived on Friday morning, and left again on Monday morning. 3 very full fun-filled days!

Friday was drizzly but warm, and so we hung around the apartment all day, feasting on a traditional french brunch:  charcuterie, cheeses, olives, fresh baked bread and fruit. Both Scarlett and Isobel have a delightful sense of adventure when it comes to trying new foods, and have a surprising preference for strong cheeses and salami!
We all took an afternoon walk in the light rain into the old town, returning back to our place for an amazing barbecue lamb dinner (courtesy of Adam).

Saturday we got out and about and took a train into Italy so that the girls could experience yet another country. Scarlett switched from the Bonjours to the Buongiornos in 30 seconds flat and one hour later we crossed the frontier into Ventimiglia. We found a great park close to the sea where the girls could play (and Liam could eat), and then strolled along the seafront to a lovely waterfront restaurant on stilts overlooking the beach. The view was great, as was the food, but of course mealtime was a bit of a handful with 3 kids under 3 years of age but with some juggling a great time was had by all.

We picked up a dinner’s worth  of fresh pastas from the local market before coming home:  ravioli stuffed with proscuito, ravioli stuffed with zucchini and speck, and a stuffed gnocci filled with the freshest pesto. Delicious for dinner later that night, served simple with freshly grated parmesan and olive oil – they were delicious and needed nothing else.

Sunday weather was spectacular – what the cote d’Azur is famous for. We all got together at our place in the morning for a breakfast of pastries and treats, and to have a skype call with Granny and Grandpa Simmons, and with Adam and Dan’s sister Sarah, both hours ahead of us in New Zealand. It was so nice to have the families ‘together’ for the morning, as best as we could.  Gotta love Skype video!

Afterwards headed off to the market to pick up some food for a picnic lunch, and took the kids up to the park at the Chateau, overlooking the bay of Nice on one side, and the port on the other. Scarlett and Isobel had a fantastic time at the toddler’s playground, and Liam slept through the entire thing while we had a light picnic of wine, bread and cheese, fresh cooked Jamboneau (ham).  We took in a drink at Le Castel Beach Restaurant, where Scarlett was brave enough to get her feet wet in the coooold water, and then we took 3 very tired little children back home for a simple pasta dinner (whew, a break from the weekend feasting!) before the girls and Mum and Dad left for bed and bathtime.

We had such a wonderful time with Dan and Elaine and the Girls and we’re so lucky to have them close by. We hope to be able to bring Liam up to London later this year, so the kids can continue to get to know each other. Watching them all together was magical.