Manley Mere AirBnB Accomodation Review

Manley Mere is a Sail Sports and Adventure Trail in the heart of the Cheshire countryside. We found it on AirBnB and its location and closeness to Chester Zoo was what made it stand out for us. And boy we weren’t disappointed.Manley Mere Review

Upon arrival we were met by our host Jane who was lovely. She showed us to the accommodation itself, which is a 2 bedroom, ground floor annex attached to the main building of Manley Mere with an open plan living space. The living area had a 2-3 seater sofa and TV with some Freeview channels. There was a very modern dining table and chairs to one side.

The kitchen was adequately equipped with a washing machine and basic cooking equipment. However, there was no microwave nor any ovenproof cookware, which made cooking one of our dinners interesting.

There is a double bedroom and a twin, and one family bathroom. There was just about room to put up a cot bed in the twin between the beds but it was a squeeze.Manley Mere Review

There is private parking behind gates with room for two cars, although you do need to be careful of the roller shutter doors off the main building that back onto the parking area of the annex.

The patio doors on the living room were bifolding doors and were a really nice touch. Overall the accommodation is clean, modern and well decorated.

What we loved about the Manley Mere accommodation:

  • Great location for Chester Zoo, the Blue Planet Aquarium and Cheshire Oaks Retail Park.
  • Nice bifolding patio doors, ideal for summer evenings.
  • Secure private parking.
  • Clean, modern and well decorated.
  • We had the whole place to ourselves after 6pm which is the closing time for the public. This includes the lake and surrounding area. It was very quiet after 6pm. The only time this would change is if they are hosting a wedding at the venue.
  • There is a bar and restaurant on site, open between 9.30am (for breakfast) and 6pm. They serve food, drinks, snacks and food, all at reasonable prices. We opted to use the self-catering facilities and cook for ourselves.

What we didn’t like about the Manley Mere Accommodation:

  • There was a wedding on the Saturday during our stay. This meant some guests were walking through our parking area after 6pm and the music was quite loud until 11pm.
  • There is no WiFi nor 4G data signal. 3G is very patchy. There wasn’t enough strength in our mobile data connection to watch Netflix or even for WhatsApp or Facebook for that matter. Great if you want a weekend free from social media, not so much when you are a blogger.

Manley Mere Review

Overall, despite the lack of mobile signal, we really enjoyed our stay at the Manley Mere accommodation we found via AirBnB and would consider staying there again if we were Chester-bound. It’s location is ideal for everything you need without the hassle of being directly in Chester. The accommodation is really good and the setting is just fabulous. If you have older kids they might just want to try surfing on the lake or exploring the woods.

At the time it cost us £150 per night plus a service charge (as is customary with AirBnB). Our 3 nights stay over the August Bank Holiday cost us £512 in total. Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

Manley Mere Review

Hidden Drives of Ireland – Where Would You Go?

As many of you know I originate from Ireland. It’s a beautiful country full of character and legend and is one I hadn’t explored until about 10 years ago. Beautiful coastlines, cities full of the craic and hidden drives of Ireland are what make it so special.

A work colleague of BattleDad’s got in touch recently to ask about visiting Ireland with his family and we told him that visiting the West of Ireland and its hidden drives was a must with his nomadic family. After a few days in Dublin we suggested hiring a car and heading West where we are sure they won’t be disappointed. Chill Insurance  have recently put together an e-Book of hidden drives in Ireland and they include many of those we suggested to BattleDad’s work colleague.hidden drives of ireland

You see, BattleDad and I had both holidayed in the West of Ireland with our respective families when we were younger and my parents had a second home near Tuam, in Galway which I visited from time to time. But I knew there was so much more of it I wanted to see. So, ten years ago when BattleDad passed his motorbike licence, we rode the bike home to visit family.

During our few days in Ireland we rode the bike to my parents’ home in the West of Ireland and enjoyed a short trip to Achill Island, where my husband had spent many a summer holiday. I had never visited Achill Island but immediately fell in love with it. We had company on the trip in the form of my sister and three of her children and it was lovely, us on the bike, she in the car, discovering a part of Ireland I hadn’t visited before.

I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of the bike from the pillion seat and it brought a whole new meaning to exploring Ireland. We were also there to visit the registrar in Dublin to organise our wedding back home the following year.

The next year we decided to have a different kind of honeymoon and as the date of our wedding approached we got planning our route to tour quite a bit of the West and South West Coast of Ireland. BattleDad knew he wanted to include the Ring of Kerry and the Gap of Dunloe, and we made sure these routes were included in our itinerary.

hidden drives of ireland
That’s me, on honeymoon, photographing the Gap of Dunloe

And boy was I surprised. These hidden drives were some of the most scenic and stunning areas of Ireland I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Despite the potholes causing us some sore bums, we had the most memorable honeymoon and it suited us down to the ground. We did have a more traditional lie-on-the-beach-with-a-book honeymoon a few years later in Cuba, but the bike honeymoon in Ireland was just what we needed after the hustle and bustle of our wedding.

It is for this reason we suggested the West and South Coast of Ireland to BattleDad’s work colleague. He and his family travel the world and with it being their first visit to Ireland, we knew it would mean so much more to them to see some of its hidden beauty alongside Dublin.

Don’t get me wrong, Dublin is our home town and is a great city to visit, but to truly appreciate the wonder and beauty of Ireland you must head out of Dublin and into the country. I am sure they will not be disappointed if they visit the West Coast of Ireland, taking in part of the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway City and on to the Ring of Kerry.

If you are considering a trip to Ireland, and want more than just the nightlife of Dublin and Temple Bar, I strongly suggest you head West and South. You will not be disappointed.

If you’d like to discover some hidden drives of Ireland, you can check out the e-Book  created by Chill Insurance. There are quite a few drives from our honeymoon featured.

Cath x

*Collaborative Post

Get Your Teens Cooking with Dublin Cookery School

As a parent of a pre-schooler I am yet to discover the wonders of what to do with him once the summer holidays hit. But I know enough mums and dads with children of all school ages who really dread the summer holidays and how they are going to keep them occupied enough not to hear the words “I’m bored”. Planning for the summer holidays is no doubt underway in some homes already. Well, parents of teens in and around Dublin who may be too old for traditional summer camps, I’ve got you covered. Why not get your teens cooking with Dublin Cookery School this summer on one of their Growing Gourmets courses.get your teens cooking with dublin cookery school


For quite a number of years now the Dublin Cookery School has run two week-long summer courses for teens aged between 12 and 16, both in June, in a bid to get them cooking and interested in getting into the kitchen more.

I became aware of these courses when a colleague of my mum’s mentioned that her son was too old for summer camps but was desperate to attend something like it. That’s where Dublin Cookery School came into play.

The aim of Growing Gourmets over the course of the week is to not only improve the teens cooking skills, but also introduce them to new techniques in the kitchen while discovering new tastes and recipes they can recreate at home.

This could be a win-win situation. As their confidence increases while mastering new skills, you could find the kitchen taken over and a range of new dishes being served up as they learn to make things like Soda Bread (my person favourite), Thai Meatballs and Lemon Drizzle cake.get your teens cooking with dublin cookery school get your teens cooking with dublin cookery school

Classes are small and held in a fun and relaxed environment where you can be guaranteed lots of one to one interaction between your teen and the friendly and supportive tutors. The programs are unique and could be just the ticket to start off the summer holidays for your teens. It’s like a summer camp with a food playground.

It’s also a great way to strike a balance between teaching your teens a great life skill while creating some fun-filled memories too. The teen son of my mum’s work colleague absolutely loved his week at Dublin Cookery School.get your teens cooking with dublin cookery school

There are two courses in June this year. The first is a four-day course (6th June) and the second is a five-day course (19th June), costing €250 and €295 respectively. Each day lasts from 10am until 3pm.

Lunch and a recipe book are provided, as are all ingredients, so there’s no need to worry about additional costs like sending ingredients or lunch/snacks with your teens. Dublin Cookery School is located in Brookfield Terrace, Blackrock, close to both the DART line and bus stops.

So, if you have a budding Jamie Oliver or Darina Allen, why not get your teens cooking with Dublin Cookery School this summer. BattleKid enjoys being in the kitchen with both myself and Lolo, a retired chef, and were he older, I’d be looking into something like this for him!

For more information about the course or to book a place for your teens, please visit the Dublin Cookery School website.

And what better way to get your teens cooking with Dublin Cookery School than with some supplies. The lovely people at Dublin Cookery School have kindly offered one of my Irish readers the chance to win a copy of From Lynda’s Table cookbook, the owner of Dublin Cookery School, and a Dublin Cookery School goodie bag too. To be in with a chance to enter, please click the widget below and follow the instructions. And good luck!Lynda's cookbook

Win a cookbook and goodie bag with Dublin Cookery School

Cath x

*All images have kindly been provided by Dublin Cookery School.

Terms and conditions:

  • Open to my Republic of Ireland readers only.
  • On winner will be picked at random and notified within 5 days.
  • The winner will receive their prize direct from the Dublin Cookery School.
  • There is no cash alternative.
  • The prize is a From Lynda’s Table Cookbook and goodie bag which includes an apron and mitts, cookie cutters, decorative cupcake papers and icing nozzles to get you started with baking.
  • Competition closes on Thursday 25th May 2017.
  • Although this competition is broadcast on my Facebook page, it is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Facebook.

Living Arrows 20/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

What a difference a week makes. This week’s Living Arrows pictures come from our ferry trip from Portsmouth to Santander and an evenings ride around on his bike and play in the playground. The 3-day trek from South Wales to Southern Portugal was not without it’s hiccups and surprises but we made it and are settling into life in the warmth and sunshine. BattleKid is still a bit all over the place, naturally, sometimes asking to “go to my house” but once we settle into our new place, I think he’ll adapt quickly. It’s all new and fresh and I think he thinks we are on holiday with his grandparents, who we are staying with, but once his bed, toys and other bike arrives, I think he’ll get the idea soon enough that this is where home is for the foreseeable future.

my sunday photo living arrows living arrows

Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

Living Arrows