Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

A UK family travel and lifestyle blog


A weekend guide to Historical Durham

Following on from my review of Hotel Indigo Durham I thought I would put together a little weekend guide to the beautiful and historical town of Durham as we had such a fantastic time and I was really surprised at how much there was to see and do and all very accessible by walking making it a great weekend destination.

Firstly Durham is well connected by rail and road and we arrived into Durham by train from Cardiff and with it being a small station you don't have to pull luggage very far, in fact within about 2 minutes we were into a taxi and on our way. Yes you can walk down into the town but with the station on quite a steep hill we decided to take the easy route to the hotel via taxi (only cost £4). As Durham isn't the biggest city is the perfect place for a weekend break so here are a few ideas of what to do if your planning on visiting.

What to See

1. Durham Cathedral

The UNESCO world heritage sight that is Durham Cathedral simply cannot be left out, even if you opt not to explore inside you have to at least walk up to the Palace green to take it all in and have a walk around the beautiful gardens surrounding the Cathedral. If you do want to explore inside which I recommend because it's such an architectural feat of a building then opting for a guided tour is a good idea as you get a far better insight into the history and it only costs £5 for an hour long tour, you can also pair this up with the Open Treasures exhibition which I found fascinating. Also if your a Harry Potter fan than visiting the Cathedral is a must as part of the film was shot here.

2. Durham Castle

Unfortunately over the weekend we were in Durham the castle was being used for a private event but we still managed to walk up to the gates and have a little sneak peak. The castle however usually is open to the general public through guided tours as the building is still in use. The castle also shares the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Cathedral only a minute away across the Palace green

3. River Cruise on The Weir

During out stay one of the highlights was taking The Prince Bishops River Cruise on the River Weir. It's such a relaxing way to see the city from a different perspective and the one-hour cruise also provides some great narration as well as views of the Cathedral, Castle and Bridges. The cruise only costs £8 and has a sundeck and bar on board and if your only going to be in Durham for one day I recommend you do this.

Where to Eat

1. The Flat White Kitchen

If your looking for that hit of artisan coffee brewed by a bearded hipster than The Flat White Kitchen is the perfect place to grab some brunch or coffee and cake before heading out and exploring the city more. The laid back atmosphere and cosy interior make this independent coffee shop the perfect haven when you have been walking for a few hours.

2.  Garden Gate Cafe at Crook Hall

If you feel like talking a walk across the city and just outside of the busy centre and fancy a garden cream tea in beautiful surroundings that I really recommend The Garden Gate Cafe. There is a fantastic sun terrace which is dog friendly and we were lucky the sun was out and we could enjoy eating al fresco. The also have a delicious selection of home made cake and quiches.

3. Tapas Factory, Elvet Bridge

If your looking for Authentic Spanish Tapas then this place is a must, run by two Spanish brothers this place offers up some really authentic tapas with plenty of meat and vegetarian options. It has a nice laid back atmosphere and is a great spot for have a nice social evening meal over a glass of wine.

4. Tin Of Sardines Gin Bar

If you are a fan of Gin and lets be honest who isn't then you need to check out the Tin of Sardines, but beware you may have to wait to get a seat as this is one of the smallest bars you will ever visit but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot to offer with over 200 gins to choose from. We managed to get a seat outside after our meal at The Tapas Factory (which is right next door).

Where to Stay

We stayed at Hotel Indigo Durham which is housed in a listed building and is very stylish and chic but not pretentious at all and I highly recommend you consider it if your visiting as we couldn't fault our stay. It also ended up being a fantastic base for us to explore what was on offer in Durham as it was only a few minutes walk from the centre. I have written a full review about the hotel here. There are of course plenty of other places to stay I would say find somewhere that allows you to walk everywhere as Durham isn't that big and it's an easy city to explore over a weekend.

We really enjoyed our time exploring this Northern Gem and really want to visit this part of the world more because there is still so much we haven't seen. If you want a little bit more inspiration then do check out my vlog from our trip.


Going on a Road Trip? 5 Essential Car & Tyre Checks you need to do

I love a good road trip, we have been on many which I have documented on this blog as well as growing up in South Africa and driving extensively across that country. Over the years we have had very smooth trips to equally disasters ones such as breaking down near Exeter on the way to the Isles of Scilly in the middle of the summer holidays and having to wait on a hard shoulder with two small children for more than 2hrs, which is no fun believe me.

With a rise in staycations more and more of us are hitting the roads in the UK and exploring what is on our doorstep, as well as some taking the step further and driving across Europe. Of course you cannot foresee every unexpected mishap along the way but you can prepare and make sure that your vehicle is in the best condition it can be to hopefully prevent any issues as well as being organised in the event you do breakdown.

Here are 5 essential car and tyre checks you need to do before heading off on a road trip.

1. Check Fluids

So simple and so important yet many people overlook checking on fluid levels which is crazy because it can prevent breakdown. You want to make a list and tick it off as you go making sure you check your oil, coolant, brake build and windscreen wash. I also always carry a small bottle of oil and a 2 litre bottle of water in the boot on any trips we make as it's always best to be prepared.

2. Tyres

This is one of the most important checks that needs to be done and also making sure your tyres are roadworthy is not only a legal requirement but also for your own safety. If tyres are not maintained and neglected you could find yourself with a sudden blow out as well as a higher risk of accidents and worn tyres also do not perform well and consume more fuel which is not what you want especially on a long trip. If your tyre tread is worn and getting close to the legal tread I do highly recommend getting them replaced as soon as possible and certainly before your trip. Also make sure you have a spare with the right tyre pressure with you at all times and back to tyre pressure do look at your car manual and adjust your tyre pressure at your local petrol station to the right amount. If you are heading across the Channel and want to get rid of the old tyres, you can book car tyres from DAT tyres now

3. Lights

Again another legal requirement is to make sure all your lights are working properly so before heading off you want to check your headlights, indicators, tail lights and reverse lights and if any are out then you need to replace them and I would recommend going to somewhere like Halfords to do this as it could be a fuse and not the bulb.

4. Servicing

A lot of these will be done at your annual servicing and if your car is in need of one don't put it off, rather get your full or part service done before leaving for a big trip as this will usually flag up any issues as well as put your mind to rest. They will check all your car fluids and also check your tyres and give you an overall of the condition of your car.

5. Breakdown cover

I have broken down enough times over the years to know that even the most basic breakdown cover can be a godsend especially when you have children in the car. It also saves so much money if you sign up before a trip rather than on the roadside should an issue arise. There are some really competitive prices out there and you can usually get basic cover from around £30 per year.

These are all essential checks that need to be done before going on any big trip but should also be done every 6 months especially on the main family car because basic maintenance can not only prevent breakdowns or issues but also save you plenty of money in the longterm. If your looking for more road trip tips check out my post on how to stay stylish on the road trip and healthy food to pack for a trip


Organic on the Go with Little Freddie + Win Tickets to Gloworm Festival

pick your own strawberries

If you are a regular reader of my blog you may already know that this year I am working as an Ambassador to the new baby and kids organic food brand that is Little Freddie. I am really excited about this collaboration as I love this small family run business ethos and focus on getting the highest quality ingredients in a portable and delicious way making life on the go easy and healthy for busy mums and kids.

They have been working with an in-house paediatric dietician and I was lucky enough to join in a focus and early taster meeting in London earlier this year and seeing a brand grow from the ground up has been really interesting and exciting. Right from the start one of the things that has impressed me the most is the quantity of the ingredients and high vegetable percentage in their simply veg products as well as innovative flavour combinations such as my youngest favourite of Greek Yogurt, Carrot and Sweet Potato which is perfect for weaning and developing tastes. Little Freddie is also the first UK baby pouch brand to offer a Lactose-free alternative to the market with it's Lactose-free Pear and Blackberry yogurt.

organic baby food

Being a parent who is conscious about what my children eat I find these great for popping into my bag and heading out as both my toddler and my 7yr old love them. I also really enjoy sharing where we get our food from with my kids, besides gardening and planting our own potatoes, tomatoes and runner beans this year we also always make a few trips to a local pick-you own farm in the Vale of Glamorgan. It makes for a nice simple day out and also an educational one as children get to see first hand where and how fruit is grown.

So we headed out with our bottles of water at hand and a few pouches in my bag ( a mix of fruit and veg ones) and head to the farm. Luckily it was a gloriously sunny day and surprisingly quiet as we got their pretty early. While my eldest has a real passion for gardening and growing his own veg my youngest is still very captivated by the magic of it all which is wonderful to see.

fruit farm

fruit farm

pick your own raspberries

Being able to first hand show him some of the ingredients and how they grow and the kids having the chance to pick them themselves, when they are perfectly ripe and deliciously juicy only re-enforces a connection between food and plate. It also goes in-line with keeping things simple and fresh when it comes to kids food even when your super busy, travelling or just running around after the kids and knowing that Little Freddie has no preservatives, no salt, no added sugars and no colours and always organic makes it the perfect on the go food for us.

organic baby food

Organic food pouch

Little Freddie have also teamed up with the wonderful Gloworm Festival this year in Thoresby Park, Nottingham and I am very excited to be giving away a family pass worth £135 to this years festival happening on the 18th & 19th August so get in quick as this giveaway ends on the 15th August to make sure the tickets are sent out to the winner in time. 

Besides being able to meet favourites such as Paw Patrol, PJ Masks and Mister Maker, Little Freddie will be at the festival taking over the Tiny Tots Zone and will be hosting a range of fun activities such as creating your own baby food. 

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the Little Freddie products visit You can also find them on Ocado and Amazon.

I am working with Little Freddie over the next year. Words and thoughts are 100% my own. 

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