Andrea Mara

Official website

Holidays & Travel

Andrea Mara

The not-at-all definitive guide to holidaying in Kenmare

We’ve holidayed in Kenmare three times since 2009, and there are two things I know for sure: 1. We haven’t seen everything yet 2. We’ll be back The jewel in the crown of the three trips was local knowledge (thank you Aoife, Karen, and Maggie!) – tips on where to

Read More
Andrea Mara

London with a Dash of Hogwarts

Two years ago, we managed to have the most unexpectedly perfect time on a two-night trip to London with the kids. Unexpected, because the kids were five, eight, and nine at the time, and I didn’t think a city break would work. But we were visiting my sister and her

Read More
Andrea Mara

Something Old, Something New: Back for More in Union Lido

“We’ve been here six times,” said the woman behind me in the queue at the bakery, “and now we’re afraid to go anywhere different in case it’s not as good.” This was in Cambrils in Spain, and she wasn’t the only one who said it. One family reportedly rented the

Read More
Andrea Mara

Tell them the one about the fish

It was eleven o’clock on Sunday morning, and we’d been chatting to and entertained by our hosts, Jean and Dónal, for about an hour at that stage. We’d only met Dónal that morning but we’d meet Jean two days earlier when we’d arrived in her Airbnb in Ballybunion. She had welcomed us

Read More
Andrea Mara

Four Campsites in Italy: Comparison and Review

If you’re a campsite person, you’ll have had the conversation; the one where you chat with the people in the mobile home across the way about which campsites you’ve been to and which ones they’ve been to, and which ones were great and which ones were awful. Who you stayed with,

Read More
Andrea Mara

Union Lido Campsite Review: Going back for more

I need to preface this post with a caveat: we went to Union Lido campsite in Italy for the second part of a two-centre holiday, the first part of which was spent in Bella Italia. We had an incredible time in Bella Italia, and had agreed that it didn’t matter

Read More
Andrea Mara

Bella Italia campsite review – what’s in a word?

“So where are you off to?” my child’s teacher asked, as we chatted about holidays. “To a mobile home in a campsite in Italy,” I said. “Oh, is it Bella Italia? I went there when I was ten,” the teacher replied, and that was when I realised for the first

Read More
Andrea Mara

Wishing The Kids Were Here: Martinhal Cascais Review

*Review: I was invited to review Martinhal Cascais, but all opinions are my own* I put my book down on the lounger and turned my face to the sun, pausing for a few seconds to appreciate the moment – to appreciate sitting by a pool in Portugal, with nobody to look after

Read More
Andrea Mara

Take me to the beach: A weekend in Malaga with my BFFs

Are you and your friends like me and my friends? We stay in touch on WhatsApp and Facebook. We grab coffee when we can, and we have really, really good nights out when we find a date that suits everyone. But we haven’t been away together since our hen parties a very

Read More
Andrea Mara

Better than a Roman Holiday in Bloomfield House Hotel

We spent our first wedding anniversary wandering around Rome, eating pasta and drinking wine, and asking strangers to take our pictures in pre-selfie, pre-smart-phone days. We spent our second wedding anniversary sitting in Shanahan’s, eating steak and drinking wine, and praying we hadn’t forgotten to bring our voucher. Our third

Read More
Andrea Mara

London Calling

London. I mean it’s London. It’s hard to capture it in a sentence or a blog post or a photo or even a weekend. And when we were planning our recent trip, that was my only stipulation – let’s not try to capture everything. Small legs can’t handle hours and

Read More
Andrea Mara

Pushing Boundaries

Colouring outside the lines. Slipping beyond the boundaries. Leaving schedules shivering in the morning chill as the plane takes off for sunnier places. Forgetting the routine that wraps up the day during the rest of the year. That’s the theory anyway. But as soon as we arrived in Spain, I realised boundaries were up for

Read More
Andrea Mara

When is a holiday not a holiday?

What’s your ideal holiday? If you had asked me ten years ago, the answer was easy. Reading good books, getting some sun, sleeping in, eating out. Basically relaxing. I didn’t need to go to the warmest beach or the hottest club – my needs were simple. Or so I thought.

Read More

Not holding the jackets in Port Aventura

From the first pain of the first contraction, parenting is interlaced with self-sacrifice and doing all sorts of things you’d never do if you didn’t have kids. For me, going to a theme park or fairground (or The Merries as we called them when I was a child) ticks that

Read More
Andrea Mara

Cambrils Park: Is it as good as they say?

Have you ever been the last one to read the book everyone’s raving about – The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl maybe? Going to Cambrils Park in Northern Spain was a bit like that for me – at least a dozen people had told me how fantastic it is,

Read More

The Facebook Version of my Holiday

When I go on holidays, and I do what lots of people do – I put photos up on Facebook. It’s the modern version of the postcard isn’t it – “Having a lovely time, wish you were here!” So here’s the Facebook version of one holiday, as told through the photos

Read More
Andrea Mara

Feast or Famine at the Titanic Experience Belfast

It was one of those weeks – everyone had an upset of some sort. Nothing big – just little things that are tough to deal with when you’re five or seven or nine years of age. Or twenty-one-and-a-good-bit and all your kids are upset. On Friday morning, after a particularly fraught start

Read More

West Cork holiday – because the internet told me to

Once upon a time, booking a trip meant googling and trip-advisoring and searching and checking and reading every single review on the internet before finally deciding on what we hoped would be the perfect spot. But now, there’s no time for researching, and short-cuts are required, so my new modus

Read More
Andrea Mara

A Place You Have To Go Twice – Kenmare Bay Hotel

Back when I had two-under-two, I found that going anywhere further than the local shop was a challenge. Actually, even going to the local shop was a challenge. So when the smallest was nine weeks old, and the biggest was a whopping 23 months old, we were understandably nervous setting

Read More