Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Five Mid-Term Deals for Teachers! (Lawd knows you deserve a break)

Spurred on by a message I received from a reader, who happens to be a school teacher, looking for recommendations for budget midterm breaks for couples, I gathered up 5 fantastic deals for 2 nights for 2 people for less than €100 in total.

5. County Arms Hotel, Birr, Offaly

Escapes.ie has an amazing deal on at the moment, €99 for 2 people for 2 nights B&B including a complimentary bottle of wine if you dine in their restaurant and full access to their leisure club. This beautiful family run Georgian country house hotel is set on 9 acres of landscaped gardens. 

There’s lots to do in the area should you choose to leave the stunning surroundings of the hotel such as a visit to Tullamore Dew, Birr Castle, a walk through Lough Borra Parklands or a hike up the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Whatever you decide to do you can rest assured you’ve gotten a real bargain!

See the deal HERE. 

4. The Wyatt Hotel, Westport, Mayo

Head over to pigsback.com to grab this deal while it’s still available, €89 for 2 nights B&B for 2 people sharing. Included in the offer is a host of extras such as a 2 for 1 deal on a future hotel stay at any Select Hotels of Ireland hotel, discounts in local shops, full access to Westport Leisure Park and late checkout. The Wyatt Hotel has recently undergone extensive refurbishment and upgrades so you‘ll be in the lap of luxury complete with a Nespresso machine in your room. 

The list of things to do in and around Westport is long and varied; you can cycle the Great Western Greenway, go on a cruise in Killary Harbour, hike up Craogh Patrick and visit Kylemore Abbey. Whether you choose to island hop in Clew Bay, visit the Céide Fields or do none of the above one thing is certain, you’ll fall in love with the scenery and come back relaxed and refreshed ready for the new school term.
3. Self-Catered Apartment, County Leitrim

Livingsocial.com currently has a great deal for a self-catering break to Carrick-on-Shannon, €89 for 2 people for 2 nights with an option to add up to 3 more people as these apartments sleep 5. Relax and unwind in one of the many coffee shops and bars in the area or if you’re more adventurous you could go sailing on the Shannon or take a ramble along the local nature trails.

Treat yo'self HERE.

2. Auburn Lodge, Ennis, Co Clare

Now this is what I call a deal from escapes.ie, 2 nights B&B for 2 people including a main course evening meal, full access to the leisure centre and late checkout all for the amazing price of just €99. You can spend your day chilling in the sauna, steam room, Jaccuzzi & pool or brush up on your history and visit the Burren a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

There are oodles of things to do in County Clare such as a trip to The Cliffs of Moher, visit the Ailwee Caves or a road trip to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

1. Benners Hotel, Tralee, Co Kerry

This 200 year old family run hotel is located in the heart of a medieval town. Benners is famous for its quality food and impeccable service. Groupon.ie has an offer of just €89 for 2 nights B&B for 2 people sharing with late checkout included. If you’re new to Groupon sign up and use code SAVE10 to save a further €10 on this already superb offer. 

Fans of Star Wars would particularly like this deal as it affords you the chance to visit Skellig Michael where the last movie was filmed. One of my favourite scenic road trips in Ireland is the Ring of Kerry which is easily accessible from Tralee.

Awaken your Force HERE.

These are travel bargains that
I have personally sourced on 
foot of a reader's request with 
neither input nor sponsorship from 
any of the hotels or agencies featured. 
All imagery sourced from official links provided. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Imperium - Movie Review!

Who's In It?

Tracy Letts, Toni Collette, Sam Trammell,and Daniel Radcliffe

What's It About?

Nate Foster is an FBI agent sent undercover to infiltrate a skinhead gang and find info on missing nuclear material. As the tension amps up lines become blurred and loyalties are questioned. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lapland is the Trip of a Lifetime ~ Here's How to Do It on a Budget!


I’m so excited to even be writing this post as I’ve always wanted to take my kids to the North Pole but with 5 little ones it’s always been way out of budget; until now that is! Since I’ve upped my game in travel bargain hunting, I thought I’d go all out and price the ultimate trip. So, is it possible to visit Lapland on a budget? YES it is. I’ve been scouting around online for a while now looking for prices.

The best price I can find with a travel agent is €578pp for a DAY trip to Lapland, leaving Dublin at 7 am returning at 9 pm. Total cost for my family of 2 adults and 5 children would be €4,046. If I booked it all myself I got it down to €1,308 for 4 nights for the 7 of us including a trip to Helsinki to visit the Christmas Markets.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday's Moments ~ 19/09/16

Monday's Moments posts have been a scarcity of late, what with worry over Heidi & filling every hour sent with work but, you know what? I need to reset with a little gratitude. Here's what's chasing my Monday blues away today: 

1. THIS weekend interview with me RSVP Magazine online. 

2. Being caught out with the Dublin Bus strikes last week meaning I'd plenty of time to pop into The Woolen Mills on Liffey St to pick up a couple of Repeal the 8th tote bags for €5 each. 

Won't be without it now. 

3. Being appointed as the new Brand Ambassador for The Loop Duty Free! It couldn't be a better fit & I couldn't be more excited to get cracking. 

(To say thank you though, I'm paying the good luck forward & giving a little back - I've a luxury hamper up for grabs to celebrate HERE. Thanks, lads <3)

4. The new medication meaning Wagatha Christie is coming on leaps & bounds!!

5. The overwhelming support I've received on Snapchat this past fortnight; first when poor Heidi didn't look too good then when I lost a close work colleague this weekend. 

I had messages from people that hadn't been to mass in years but went to church to light a candle for Heidi, a young mum send on a greeting card her daughter had drawn & a huge number of  heartfelt & considered condolences this past weekend. 

Sometimes we take social media for granted but, hand on heart, each and every one of these messages was like a salve, like warm hugs from good friends when I needed them most. Yep, welling up typing this but if you were one of those kind messengers please know you've helped me through. Thank you. 

Tell me, what Moments mean you've no Monday Blues this week? 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

It's no secret the last couple of weeks have been pretty full on with Heidi Peep putting years on us. She could never rustle one of my jimmies though, not a single one - these shysters though?........

1. When PR companies forget to BCC press releases with a bajillion recipients. 

2. When inexperienced, HUGELY ENTITLED bloggers accidentally hit 'Reply All' with their demands...

3. Going to the wrong Dublin hotel because TOO MANY OF THEM start with D or M...

4. Taxi drivers that whinge about taking a short fare...

5. Casually ambling back down the docks on a summers evening, moseying into the Donut shop, ambling into the pizza place for takeaway then sauntering to the bus stop by 9.06 - 

Tell me, can you relate? What's been rustling your jimmies this week? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Budget UK Road Trip ~ The Big Pit!

Welcome to the final instalment of our budget UK road trip, over the course of the last few weeks I’ve told you about the cracking deal I got with Stena Line, I paid just €10 return for 5 of us from Rosslare to Fishguard. I also told you about the deal I got with the hire car & our hotels, I even told you all about our day trips to places such as Legoland, Harry Potter Studios, Chelsea F.C., Tower of London, Sky Garden, London Eye and Highclere Castle the real Downton Abbey with all the information you could possibly need to do these trips yourself.

We left Highclere Castle and hit the road for another highlight of our trip, a two hour drive to the foot of the Brecon Beacons to visit my big brother BattleDad, his wife BattleMum & their son. We had to cross the Severn Bridge that connects England to Wales, while it’s free to enter England using the bridge there’s a toll to enter Wales and it’s steep at £6.60/€7.88 for a car. The scenery as you drive over the bridge and on into Wales is just stunning. The following morning before we headed to Fishguard we had just enough time for a visit to the Big Pit National Coal Museum.

What is The Big Pit?

The Big Pit is a coal mine that was operational from 1880-1980, it was officially opened as the National Museum of Wales in 1983 and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

Where is The Big Pit?

It’s located in Blaenavon South Wales. There’s a plethora of things to do in the locality such as a Heritage Railway, Rhymney Brewery, Blaenavon World Heritage centre, The Blaenavon Cheddar Company, Festival Park Owl Sanctuary and our favourite Blaenavon Ironworks a former industrial site transformed into a museum complete with renovated workers cottages.

What’s to see/do at the Big Pit?

Lots! There are two parts to the museum over ground and underground. Children must be over 1 meter in height to go underground and are measured at reception, if you are visiting with children make sure to ask for your free children’s activity pack at reception. While the museum is open daily from 9.30am-5pm underground excursions are operational from 10am-3.30pm and only weekends in January.

What’s underground?

Firstly you are kitted out with your own headlamp complete with a battery pack that’s attached to a belt and a hard hat. Both children and adults will need to carry this equipment weighing 5kg. You must leave all electrical or incendiary substances above ground such as your mobile phone, camera, key fob, cigarettes, lighters etc. Then you enter the lift with your group for the 300 meter descent to a real coal mine to learn about the working day of the coal miners who worked there. All of the guides are ex-miners so they have some fantastic stories to tell, they had us all in stitches with their funny anecdotes. You should bring a coat for the 50 minute underground guided tour as it gets quite cold you’ll also need sensible footwear. Unfortunately on this visit we didn’t have time to go underground but we did on our last trip and we loved every minute.

What’s to do over ground?

There’s a state of the art multimedia tour of a mine above ground. You’re guided around by a virtual miner that jumps from screen to screen as you move around the museum. Its highly educational and quite entertaining too, even my 4 year old loved it. You can explore the mining galleries, historical buildings, Medical centre and the pithead baths at your own leisure. In the medical centre as you enter the room audio is triggered by a motion sensor, the voice of Mrs Phyllis Jones a former colliery nurse tells stories of her job as a nurse in a working mine. In the pithead baths we learned about how the miners had a clean and a dirty locker at opposite ends of the block. Miners would take off their work clothes and put them into their dirty locker where hot air was blown through to dry their clothes for the next day while they took a shower and exited at the opposite end to dress in their clean clothes, simple but genius. 

Is there somewhere to eat/drink?

The original miner’s canteen is open for business, a large selection of hot and cold meals and drinks are available including a children’s menu. There are lots of high chairs available, there’s even colouring sheets to keep your little artists busy while you eat. If you just want a snack there are vending machines located in the hall outside the canteen. The canteen has a large indoor seating area and there are picnic benches outside with spectacular views from their elevated vantage point. There’s also a coffee shop open during the summer season.

How much is the admission fee?

This is the best bit it’s completely free as is Blaenavon Ironworks just up the road. As you exit there’s a great gift shop with very keen prices where my sheep mad 4 year old bought himself a Mammy and baby sheep! They didn’t have any Christmas ornaments so I bought a miner key ring made of coal so I can detach the metal to replace with ribbon to hang on our travel Christmas tree.

Stone Travel verdict?

We had a fantastic time, even though we only had an hour and a half we got to do everything bar the underground tour. The ground is uneven and the hills are quite steep but the last time we visited I had no major problems pushing a buggy around. I particularly liked the fact that the underground tour is accessible to wheelchair users, the only stipulation is that you must book in advance.

I didn’t factor for so much traffic on our return journey to Fishguard resulting in us being the last to check in for our ferry home. What should have been a two hour drive took well over three hours. The lady at Stena Line was fantastic she called the guy with the luggage cart and told him to hold on as we had a lot of luggage we wanted stowed away for the journey. Hertz were also brilliant; a quick panicked call from me had them come collect the car from me at the port within 5 minutes for a token fee of £5. 

Friday, September 09, 2016

An Early Gamestop Xmas

Recently at Chez Cherry we received an invite to the Gamestop and Zing Pop Culture Christmas showcase, and dear mammy knowing that games are my JAM immediately told me - only she forgot to mention it was at 7:30 IN THE MORNING!!

Now I can tell you that getting the bus at 6:30am on a 17° sunny morning didn't exactly set sleigh-bells ringing, but being greeted with lovely doughnuts and coffee certainly didn't hurt!

I know, I know, vertical pictures (IT WAS 7AM!!)

If you haven't been to the Gamestop on Henry Street here in Dublin you're missing out - being a PC person I hadn't in years - but they've opened the top floor as a lovely merch and model floor for more than just games. 

Coming up the stairs I was greeted by their life-sized Spider-Man wearing the new Fifa Ultimate Team jersey (Fifa is not my thing, but the jersey looks gorgeous) and a very friendly Snow Trooper from Star Wars (he was an Empire Did Nothing Wrong theorist..).

Here they were showcasing their new merch from Star Wars (!!!) and Harry Potter upcoming for Christmas. Sadly I couldn't get a full picture of the Star Wars setup because they have some top secret gear coming out soon for a certain movie, but there was a surprise appearance by Ms. CherrySue herself! 

Yes, they have a full sized one, no, he wasn't there :(

The Harry Potter setup had some really interesting stuff - the most impressive being a beautiful etched glass lamp of the Hogwarts crest that lit up from the stand (sadly that wasn't on).

Aside from the lovely plates, cups and mugs, what really interested me was the Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit. While we all have friends obsessed with the series, not many people know that one such person is de mhóthair herself! 

I remember lying in bed as a child, almost asleep; getting 'accidentally' nudged by my wonderful, young adult mother (perfect demographic!) because she was enjoying reading the book to us too much to stop - so I know for a FACT any attempt to play her in HP Trivial Pursuit will result in a swift brain beat-down.

The lamp really is beautiful

Just wandering around the store gave me great ideas for gifts for any time of the year, as they weren't specifically for Christmas at all. If you're looking for somewhere to shop for gear like game and movie merch I'd honestly recommend looking in your local Gamestop; I've actually started buying some lovely comic/game brand clothes from our local one.

I'll also be doing a post focused on the gaming part over on my own blog (Diehard Dublin) if you're interested - it'll even have a quick hands-on with the new South Park game!

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Cherry Pick of the Week: Le Galaxie ~ Love System

Long before Drive or Stranger Things brought that 80s synth/sax sound back into our lives (or into some of our lives for the first time *weeps*) Le Galaxie were representing in 2012. 

You might recognise Love System from the current Virgin Media ad with the incredibly unprofessional DJ doing a bunk mid tune - you might even love it as much as I do!

Tell us, what's been on repeat in your life this week? 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

This week I've been angrier than I have in a very long time. Whether it's willfully ignorant young 'pro-life' women online, my inability to ignore them or the fact that in 2016 we still need a hashtag called #HerNameWasClodagh. Truly, it's trying. Apart from the colossal issues going on though, you bet your sweet bippy there's some not so colossal ones too:  

1. Buses Simply Disappearing from the LCD Sign

2. 'I'm freezing, feel how cold I am'

3. Finally sourcing Glendalough's Summer gin, only for the courier to deliver the Spring version'

4. Waiting for my head to catch up with the scales. 

5. 'I prefer when you talk about beauty'

Tell me, can you relate? What's been rustling your jimmies this week?