Andrea Mara

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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

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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,

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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

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The Picnic

Looking through old photos in my dad’s house one afternoon, I found a picture I had never seen before. It was taken in the early 80’s and showed a group of us on picnic at the beach. Studying it gave me a surge of nostalgia for a time I don’t remember at

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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

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Andrea Mara

Snapshot of a woman on the cusp

I was going to call this Snapshot of a woman on the edge but that was just too melodramatic for what really comes down to wishing away the long, final days of school before the summer starts. So it’s a snapshot from the cusp instead – from one tired mother

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Andrea Mara

The Photo Not Taken

Two summers ago, we spent a glorious fortnight in Marina di Venezia, a campsite near Venice that’s situated right on the beach. About five days into our holiday, I was lying awake in bed, cranky after a bad night’s sleep, and irrationally irritated that everyone else was still snoring (including the

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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Life Through a Lens

Sometimes I hide my phone from myself for an hour, so that I can concentrate on the kids without being distracted. And I have some reasonably strict self-imposed rules about not browsing mindlessly when they’re around. But one major weakness is taking photos – and it’s for that purpose more

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Andrea Mara

Holiday Friends – Watching From The Sidelines

Long, long ago, on a campsite far, far away, I met a holiday friend called Claire. She had long brown hair and was from Ireland or England – I wasn’t old enough to distinguish accents. I had spent two days sitting on the steps of our mobile home looking across

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