You don’t have to be a Cheshire Wife to enjoy Cheshire life

If there’s ever been a county that has a vast variety of house prices it’s Cheshire.  From Halton to Alderley Edge, Warrington to Wilmslow, there’s something for everyone.

We have all heard of the Cheshire Wives and their mansions but there are lots of us in lovely locations where property prices aren’t as expensive.

Outside Warrington alongside the Bridgewater Canal our location is close to some lovely Cheshire countryside and villages. We’ve been here for 21 years and it’s been a fab place to bring up our boys.

With the new Mersey Gateway Bridge commuting is easier than ever.  This means it’s now easy access to Liverpool as well as Chester and Manchester, and these transport links are keeping the housing market strong.

Local highlights are:

Walton Hall Gardens, situated amidst 32 acres of parkland and award winning Green Flag gardens and Children’s Zoo.

Daresbury, the birthplace of Lewis Carroll has a museum dedicated to Alice in Wonderland. As depicted in the  stained glass windows of the near 150 year old All Saints Church.

There are a number of nature reserves. Moore village comprises almost 200 acres of woodland, meadows, lakes and ponds. Home to many diverse species of plants, animals, birds and other wildlife. A wonderful area for walks with the family.

The medieval museum of Norton Priory is a haven for children’s activities and wildlife adventures. A very family friendly venue with a stunning walled garden and grounds.

Then for a bit of retail therapy there’s Stockton Heath with shops, restaurants, cafes and canal side pubs.

Wether you want a detached house or an apartment there is such variety you’ll find something in your price range. Even new developments fit in with the environment. One of the smaller Laurus Homes developments is within easy access to all the locations mentioned, and some great primary schools too. Which is often top of the list for family home buyers.

They did some research and produced this infographic. #ExploringCheshire

Cheshire #exploringcheshire infographic

Father’s Day gift ideas for outdoor dads

If you’re anything like me then this week will be spent looking for father’s day gift ideas.

When it’s present time for the Dad in our house we always try to find something that he really wants or might not usually buy for himself.  As funds won’t stretch to a 3D printer here’s a few less expensive ideas for Father’s Day gifts.

1.For outdoor Dads who like camping or like us, boating, there’s always a need for decent reliable torches. This Varta indestructible torch and lantern are ideal for boating and camping. The Torch incorporates a bottle opener, which seems to be essential in the summer outdoor life. The lantern has 4 light settings, a hanging hook and is waterproof so that’s an asset for our summer. This would be great in the garden too. The Dad in our house LOVES torches 😊

truprint personalised cushion

2.Something personalised is always a good idea. Truprint and their #swapsocksforselfies campaign are encouraging us to put extra thought into our gifts. Instead of socks for Dad how about something with a family photo or happy memory on. There are lots of items to choose from. I’d choose a cushion with this photo, the day he took the boat over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Llangollen.

pontycysllte aqueduct at Llangollen

3.For Dad’s who like activities how about a traditional skill or craft day. Norton Priory have craft days from willow weaving to fruit tree grafting or the very topical Meet the Bees workshops. I’m sure your local National Trust or Conservation Centre will have information.

4.How about a special day out. A boat trip on The Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire is certainly unusual. Built in 1875 this feat of engineering takes narrowboats from the Trent & Mersey Canal down 50ft to the River Weaver. The visitor centre is also a great family day out.

anderson boat lift

5.This is something I thought of after Dad had been gardening and he was stretching, but it’s also great for any active football, running or even golf Dads too. The Rehab Room for sports massage or rehab, a bit of beneficial relaxing time is not just for professionals. This is definitely a useful present, considering we have pamper days how often do we think of this for the men in our lives.

Hope you find these ideas useful, and although these are Cheshire based there will be similar where you live …but if all else fails the World Cup starts on 14th June so you could always buy him a football shirt.







Cholmondeley Castle Gardens – Days out with the dog

With the recent spell of nice weather we decided to take Cholmondeley Castle Gardens up on their kind invitation to have a wander around the stunning gardens in Cheshire. The teen didn’t want to come, as usual. But the good news is, the gardens are child and dog friendly and the dog never says no so off we went.

cholmondeley castle gardens

The day was a bit overcast but the grounds looked stunning despite the weather. The gardens are far bigger than I thought and there’s space for everything, children play areas, picnics, running around or relaxing. There is even an area for dogs to be off the lead. I think this is quite rare regarding visitor attractions.

There is plenty of parking, including a disabled area. We parked in view of the castle and first headed towards the Tower Hill woodland. Here Ralf the dog could have a quick run around after our drive.

The gardens are a real mixture. From meadow woodland to formal ornamental gardens. Structural features mark paths and walkways.woodland meadow at Cholmondeley castle

The Late Dowager Marchioness of Cholmondeley developed the gardens. Reflecting the character of the Castle, and her interests as a plants woman of an extremely high order. Her Ladyships interest in the landscape and use of trees and shrubs is reflected literally in her scheme for the development of the now famous Temple Garden.

The Temple Garden is my favourite, I could have sat there all day. I found a little bench tucked away on a terrace overlooking the lake and admired the view.

Temple garden at Cholmondeley

Continuing our walk we decided to head towards the Chapel. Taking approximately 20 minutes this might be a bit far for some. I later learnt you can drive down to it, great for anyone with limited mobility. The route is very picturesque as you pass through the arch of Somerset Lodge towards the chapel.

somerset lodge arch at cholmondeley

The white screen gates across from the tea rooms are another architectural feature of the gardens.

architectural white gates at cholmondeley

We all enjoyed our walk around the Castle gardens. The house is a gothic villa designed in 1801 in a romantic castle style. Though not open to the public as it is a private home.

Like every good walk we finished off with tea, which I have to say was a really good cuppa.

It was great to be able to take Ralf the dog with us, he definitely enjoyed his day out too.

Thanks again to Cholmondeley Castle for our day out, If you’d like to visit the gardens you can find more information here.

Cholmomdeley Castle is hosting Dogfest with Noel Fitzpatrick on 16/17 June 2018







From dialysis to dinner, Posh Pickles.

Do you like cooking?

I don’t, well not much anyway, but I do like tasty food and I’m always looking for easy tips and additions that can add flavour, that’s how I came across Posh Pickles & Preserves.

Steph the founder of Posh Pickles is an inspiration, she suffered kidney failure at the age of 20, and although dealing with a life changing condition she was determined to start her own business, which she now runs with partner Rob, in Cheshire.

Recently I went to visit PoshPickles, not only to sit in the gorgeous sunny garden and drink tea, but to find out what inspired Steph to start up a business, despite dealing with illness.

Steph knew her condition would dictate her working life so instead of worrying about the boss, she became the boss, and started the business in 2005,

The business went from strength to strength and won the Prince’s Trust Award for Business Success in 2006 and Outstanding Business Achievement Award in 2007.

Steph has always had a passion for food, taking great pleasure in discovering new and exciting flavour combinations that have created a delicious and varied range of chutneys, relishes, oils and jams, using all natural ingredients.

I got to try some when I visited…



The flavours are amazing, and with names like Peruvian Guindilla Fresca Hot Sauce,  Bloody Mary Chutney and Sticky Chipotle Onion Jam you know you’re in for something special.

Posh Pickles also blogs her recipes.

How about Sausage Curry with Cheeky Chilli Relish


PoshPickles happily donates money from the sale of Tangy Braeburn Apple Chutney to The National Kidney Federation,

Two million people in the UK have kidneys that are under performing. 60,000 kidneys have already failed completely (mine being two of them) There are 30,000 transplant patients that need ongoing support, and 30,000 dialysis patients and their families and carers that need ongoing support.

Always thinking of new ideas Posh Pickles now provide wedding Favours, how pretty is this.

Official Coady wedding favour shot alternative-wedding-photography-31

So if you’re looking for a tasty addition for meals or something different as a present, especially for a foodie, you can’t go wrong choosing a delicious jar from Posh Pickles and Preserves.

This is not a sponsored post, it’s about Steph, an amazing lady that’s working hard.


Six Degrees Of Harmony

Our stay at YHA Conwy


As the good weather is getting closer I thought it worth re-posting this holiday idea.

Last summer we went away to Wales. We always go to Wales as we love it even though it’s not a million miles away from where we live. We’ve stayed in hotels, cottages, caravans and lodges but this time we stayed somewhere different, it was part of the Youth Hostel Association.

I wondered what it was going to be like and if it would suit us, the location looked great and accommodation sounded modern, we were looking forward to staying somewhere different.

This is how they describe YHA Conwy…

Overlooking Conwy with spectacular views of Snowdonia, the castle and the beach, YHA Conwy is the ideal comfortable base for anyone wanting to explore this stunning area of Wales!  If you want to explore North Wales, YHA Conwy is perfectly located for families, groups or anyone wanting access to nearby coastal resorts or Snowdonia. 10 minutes walk from the centre, this modern hostel is on a hill just outside the historic walls and enjoys panoramic views of Conwy’s medieval castle. Large communal areas and good food at this newly licensed site. All rooms are en suite.                                                                 This description is spot on and in addition the evening view of the Castle which is lit up is exceptional.

Their description is true, I didn’t take a photo of the building itself  but the enclosed grounds are lovely, safe and perfect for letting children play outside as you sit on one of the patios relaxing with your favourite drink and admiring the view.

grounds of YHA Conwy

After our days of sightseeing and lovely walks we returned to relax at the centre.  There is a games room, a large dining room with views over the grounds and a lounge area to one side.  If you don’t want to meet an amazing mix of people, there is a library and some quieter parts in the building. We met some lovely people and a pool tournament was organised one evening and a game of football in the grounds for the next.  The children thoroughly enjoyed it.  There is also a TV room but with so much to do I’m happy to say it was always EMPTY.

There are amazing YHA places around the country from remote Country houses, Castles or city centre pads, you can hire the whole place with friends or a room for your family.  They seem to be holiday gems regarding cost and locations and as a family we would definitely go YHA again.