Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

A family lifestyle, interiors & travel blog

18/01/2017

Slow down at Karma, St Martins

Isles of Scilly



With these short days and dark nights my mind certainly wanders to memories of the fantastic adventures we had over 2016, especially that of our trip to the Isles of Scilly. It was on my bucket list of 40 things to do before I'm 40 and it was a wonderful as I thought it would be, in fact if your looking for a place to really slow down, relax and disconnect from the rest of the world this is the place!

During our trip we spent the first few days on St Martins and then two nights on St Mary's, both equally wonderful but both with a completely different feel. St Martins certainly captures that slow lived feeling where everything is laid back, wifi is slow at best (which is perfect if you want to get away from it all) the island is practically traffic free apart from one or two vehicles and much time is spent relaxing and looking out across the sea and crystal waters.



St Martins


Isles of Scilly


During our time on St Martins we stayed at the fantastic and luxurious Karma Hotel which is perfect for couples, families and anyone in need of a good back massage from their resident masseuse or island cocktail to sip on while watching the sun set. Our room, which was two interconnecting doubles was extremely spacious and perfect for our needs as it mean we would put the kids to sleep in one room while we got to have sundowners on the balcony overlooking the bay. On arrival we had a local bottle of wine in our room from the one and only wine farm on St Martins and I have to say it was a very good.


stylish hotel room

Karma St Martins


I loved the eclectic interior design which infused seaside chic with modern luxurious touches such as grand piano in the reception area and the small library and record room just a few feet from the bar which was very inviting after a day spent outdoors. The breakfast room which filled with natural light in the morning had a fantastic view out across the bay and was the perfect place to enjoy a slow cup of coffee and some fresh pastries.


Isles of Scilly

breakfast room



What we really enjoyed was the outdoor area right in front of the hotel with seating for al fresco lunches and late afternoon cocktails while the kids run around wild and free playing foot ball or croquet within the safety of the grounds of the hotel. It also has a perfect location as there are two different quays on the island to get the ferry depending on the time of the day and the tides and one of the quays is right outside Karma which means you don't have to go very far to explore the other 4 islands. If you rather enjoyed a day close to the hotel they also have a games room filled with different board games and a TV console for kids although there was little reason to use this when you have a huge beach only a few feet away. 


outdoor fun

Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly



During our first night at the hotel it was hosting an open air theatre company while the chef set up an outdoor bbq before a little drizzle came in but didn't spoil the evening at all. We also enjoyed a more formal meal on our last night in the hotel restaurant and they had a menu inspired by the local produce including home grown salad and locally caught fish with plenty of options for kids and vegetarians as well and even if you don't stay at Karma but find yourself on St Martins and are looking for somewhere special to eat I do recommend here.

Throughout our stay the staff were professional, friendly and very helpful and they also made the children feel very welcome and were always on hand if you needed anything. Each morning you would receive a little newsletter of all that was going on on the island from ferry times to events and specials in the restaurant, we found these really helpful even though most of the time we spent on the beach or walking the length and breath of St Martins. We loved our stay at Karma, it was truly beautiful in every sense of the word.



Isles of Scilly

isles of Scilly



Thanks to Isles of Scilly travel. You can reach the Isles by either flying on the Skybus or taking the Scillonian, you can read about our trip to the Island Here

17/01/2017

10 ways to bring simplicity to your home


simplicity


So as some of you may already know I've set myself a Minimalist challenge for 2017, which means our family is having a major sort out in the aim of cleaning our home, minds and leave behind only what truly makes us happy and things that bring joy into our lives. A few weeks in and I am already learning a lot about myself and the reality of trying to minimise a whole home that is crammed with not only toys, books, DVD's and everything else in-between but also lots of memories and sentimental things, but what I can say is once you start to sort through things it does slowly get easier, letting go becomes easier but it's not something you can do overnight so I thought I would share my top 10 ways to simplify your home this year and make it a place that is calm away from the chaos.


1. Get rid of Stuff Daily - Okay so yes this may seem obvious but there is one thing talking about it and another thing actually putting this change to practice and and even a small declutter can have a huge impact. Focusing on not only letting go of stuff but also be more conscious of bringing less into the home in the first place. By doing a little each day over time you will really start to notice the difference and also if you choose to donate some of your goods to a charity shop you are also helping the community which is a win win all round. Apartment Therapy have a great post about 5 tricks to help get rid of stuff.


simplicity




2. Re-arrange your living spaces - when was the last time you re-arranged and re-evalutated your living spaces and the furniture that take up that space? I bet it's been a while, so why not change it up a little and try out new arrangements and you might find one that works a bit better than what you already have. Also have a good look at your furniture, are there any pieces that are simply taking top space and not being used? Perhaps its time to get rid of one or two things.


3. Bring Nature indoors - houseplants can have a real calming effect on a room and your general wellbeing and can help detoxify the air inside our homes. They also provide a pop of colour in a room as well as a focal point and you can also get a great sense of wellbeing looking after a plant that thrives. You can pick up house plants at your local garden centre or Ikea have a nice range.


stylish blinds


4. Make the most of your windows and natural light - not only is natural light very important to your health but there is something very warming and comforting about a room filled with natural light. When we moved into our current home we had awful heavy curtains in our living room which did nothing for the space, we decided we wanted something more suited to our needs and make the best use of the three windows in our main family space. We opted for twist shade blinds which allow us to control the amount of natural light we have in our room which still giving us privacy, any time of the day without having to open up the whole thing.

5. Become Storage savvy - in most homes you have some kind of built in storage and I know from experience that these spaces usually become some very disorganised and messy very quickly, especially if you have children. The main thing is to sort out these spaces and use the space in a way that maximises the amount you can store, keeping your home a little bit more clutter free. Also buying some storage boxes for files, books etc can be very handy and help keep things a little bit more organised.


simple wardrobe


6. Re-organise your wardrobe - this one will have a big impact on your daily life because a messy wardrobe most certainly means a delay in getting ready in the morning as well as the possibility of clothes being left lying around. If you reduce what you have down to what you actually wear and get rid of anything you have not put on for more than 6 months you will see a real difference.

7. Invest in better quality furniture that you actually love - we all have furniture that simply serves a purpose, that we don't particularly love or even like and in many cases we hold onto things simply because we paid money for them rather than wether they are used much. Re-evaluating the furniture in your home is very important, getting rid of some frees up space and what you leave behind should be what you love and reflects your style - when it comes to these things less is always more.

8. Make your bedroom a tech free zone - your bedroom should always be a haven away from the chaos, somewhere that is free from technology and you can truly relax. It's really important to try and keep this area free from clutter and as I stated said in number 6 keep that wardrobe clean and tidy. Have a collection of your favourite books on your bedside table and as with number 4 make the most of any natural light you have coming into your bedroom. I mean is there anything better than the morning light flowing in on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Luxaflex do Silhouette Shade that takes the harshest sunlight and smoothly transforms it into a soft diffused light which is perfect for being clam into a bedroom.


stylish bathroom



9. Detox your bathroom - we all do it, we hoard beauty products we never finish and for what? Just in case we may need them? We have to start being honest with ourselves and as we become more and more busy and have less time for things we need to streamline our lives and get rid of anything that is not being used fully or bringing joy into our homes. Creating product free surfaces in our bathrooms is really important.

10. Streamline your digital clutter - we often talk about the material things in our life getting on top of us but it can quite easily happen with our digital lives as well, hundreds of unread emails, files that need to be backed up, cluttered desktops and these things need to be address to bring calm both into your real life and digital life. If you need a little direction or inspiration there is a great article on Zen Habits all about decluttering your digital life.


You don't have to do everything at once, in fact just focus on one thing at a time Sao you don't start to feel overwhelmed by it all and end up procrastinating. Just aim to have more go out than come into your home and take time to focus on yourself as well as becoming more organised which will really aid to free up time you can use to relax and enjoy the simply pleasures in life.

Associated Post 


14/01/2017

Why you need to visit St Martins on the Isles of Scilly in 2017


St Martins


Are you looking to explore a place that is truly special, somewhere that is so close yet so far and detached from manic city life, a real haven in which to slow down, switch off and relax. Somewhere where children can run around, free and wild and without the fair of busy roads or technology overload and a place where nature is just a few feet away at all times. Than the island of St Martins in the Isles of Scilly is a must for your bucket list this year, in fact I encourage everyone to visit this beautiful archipelago off the Cornish coast at least once in their lives. St Martins is less than 1 square mile and has a population of around 130 but believe me there is still plenty to do here. 


Isles of Scilly
On the ferry from St Mary's to St Martins 

Admittedly it's not the easiest place to get too at times, you may have read my post about travelling to the Isles of Scilly but it's isolated position is what makes it the most exotic staycation you will ever have in the UK and I would do it all again in a flash.
So why St Martins and not one of the other four inhabited islands? Well during our time on Scilly we visited Tresco and it's amazing Abbey Gardens as well as spending two nights on the biggest island St Mary's which the locals often refer to as the "mainland" and has a vibrant but slightly busier feel despite having less than 2000 inhabitants. We sailed past Bryher, the smallest island which we would love to go back and explore & St Agnes, the most far flung island of them all, we simply didn't have time to get too. 

St Martin however just felt right, not too big, not too small with beautiful white sand beaches, car free roads, a small pub, cafe, bakery and island shop which is all you ever really need plus a few different options when it comes to accommodation from the island campsite or private self catering or the luxury Karma Hotel which is where we stayed. 


Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly

isles of Scilly


From the moment we arrived we couldn't wait to explore our surroundings and Karma was a great base for that with a stunning beach just a few feet away from the hotel which looks out across the other islands. We discovered a variety of sea life on the beaches from crabs to a jellyfish and couldn't get over how clear the water was. Also the whole time we were there we didn't come across any litter at all and it even though it was a "busy" time of the year we often found ourselves to be the only ones on the beach which is a real luxury in the UK. 


The Seven Stones

Isles of Scilly


During our time on St Martins we enjoyed some al fresco picnics on the beach, a sunset bbq at the hotel as well as a delicious lunch at The Seven Stones pub which has a raised position on the side of a hill overlooking the bay, it's truly dining with a view. The lunch menu was small but perfectly formed and packed with fresh dishes using mainly locally sourced ingredients with the salads being island grown. I opted for a giant cous-cous and halloumi  salad and John went for a traditional ploughman with freshly island baked bread. 

We also popped into Polreath Tea Rooms on the way back from a day spent at the beach and it was such a quiet spot to sit and relax in the tea room gardens filled with mediterranean flowers such as proteas and succulents while the kids ran around enjoying ice-cream while John and I shared one of their famous chocolate brownies.


Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly
Waiting for the Island ferry on St Martins 


If you do ever find yourself on St Martins and I hope you do, Karma also has a fantastic lunch and evening menu and if your looking for something a little bit more formal and special this is the place to go, we enjoyed our last evening here with our table overlooking the beach and quay where you get the water taxi back to St Mary's. 

The islands are incredible safe, in fact it is said to be the "place the crime forgot" and there is in fact a serve yourself organic vegetable stand as well as little craft donation booths for the local school. 


Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly



In terms of outdoor pursuits you are really spoilt for choice here as you can pretty much explore the whole island on foot, with an array of paths and trails to follow around the coast line to the Daymark and prehistoric cairns. If you time the tides right you can walk over to White Island at low tide, it's an uninhabited island and has been designated a site of Special Scientific Interest.
You can also indulge in the simple things such as walking along the coast barefoot, searching for seashells and of course also take a dip in the clear blue water and if your more adventurous there is an variety of water spots on offer such as kayaking from one island to another, paddle boarding, snorkelling and diving to name a few. 



Isles of Scilly

beach fun


During our few days spent on the island we experienced all different types of weather from drizzle, overcast to clear blue skies and sunshine and this didn't make any difference to how magical these islands are and they make for the perfect family getaway. Every minute you are there you want to soak up the atmosphere and stunning views you get from pretty much anywhere you stand on St Martins. While there is limited wifi at a few spots in St Martins you really won't mind not being connected because the pace is far slower and there is simply no need to be looking at a screen when you can look out across the ocean. 

You can arrange travel to the Isles of Scilly by either Sky Bus, a quick flight from three different airports or the Scillonian ferry with Isles of Scilly Travel  





Mini Travellers
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