Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

A family travel and lifestyle blog


Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Review

Leicester Square

On our recent trip to London's West End as part of Kids Week we stayed at the beautiful Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel in the Leicester Square, even though I briefly mentioned it in my post about our weekend I wanted to do a separate review as this place really warrants that. 

We love visiting London as a family but the one thing I have learned is if you have planned an action packed day than staying somewhere which is well located is key in reducing the stress that comes with carting kids from one side of a city to another. Also having somewhere comfortable, welcoming and family friendly to rest your head at the end of a busy day makes for a happy family in the morning and luckily The Radisson Blu Hampshire is all these things. Located on Leicester Square and only a stones throw away from all the theatres of the West End, the National Portrait Gallery and Trafalgar Square plus plenty of places to eat you really have everything you need.

Family travel London

luxury London hotel

We arrived early as the West End show we had tickets for was on around midday, our room wasn't ready yet but the reception staff could not have been more helpful and immediately whisked away our bags into storage and helped with directions to the Theatre. Once we returned our room was not only ready but we had been upgraded to a Junior Suite which was perfect for our little family of four with two small single beds and a super luxurious king. Bottled water and fresh fruit was waiting on our arrival and after having a little recharge in our room we headed back out but you could easily spend a few hours just relaxing here or popping down to the stylish city bar downstairs.

Radisson Blu Hampshire

Radisson Blue Hampshire

The one thing we all love doing is trying out different hotel breakfasts and my eldest especially enjoyed this, he is not a particularly adventurous eater at home but at a hotel he will give pretty much anything a try such as the Chia seed pot and fresh fruit smoothie shots. The breakfast dining area is lovely and light filled and very stylish, with staff being attentive but not intrusive in anyway and on hand to help you with anything you need. John ordered the Mexican eggs with Avocado and I had the most delicious French toast while my youngest loved the freshly baked pastries.

Leicester Square Kitchen

If your looking for an oasis in the busy capital city than I highly recommend the Radisson Blu Hampshire whether you are with kids or not as this would also make for a great child-free break as they also offer in-room spa treatments as well as a gym, luxury bar and lounge and The Leicester Square Kitchen for those who are keen foodies. Do check our our vlog from our family fun weekend on the West End.


Give up Clothes for Good

This year for me has been a lot about personal development, learning that great things can happen from small ideas and one person really can make a difference and if we work together that impact can be even greater. With so much going on in the world its felt in many ways a bit of a negative time but I have been very focused on bringing positivity into my life through positive actions that can help others. Having grown up in South Africa I am fully aware of how lucky I am to be healthy and able to provide for my children, for many this is a huge struggle, not only in South Africa but worldwide.

I still work on my minimalist challenge and even though I am not as far as I was hoping I would be at this point it's something that is changing the way I think about things and putting gratitude at the forefront of my daily life through simple pleasures, family and wellbeing. Minimalizing my life has also been a slower process than expected because I didn't simply just want to get rid of things I wanted to do it in a sustainable way by recycling, upcycling, finding a new home for the things I no longer need and hopefully also raising some money for charity and giving back to organizations that really need help.

So I'm really excited to be collaborating with TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens who are encouraging people between 1st Sept - 30th September to give up any unwanted good quality clothes, accessories or homeware items and drop them off instore as part of one of the UK's longest running clothes collections. This fundraising partnership has raised £30.3m since 2004. £26.3 million of this total directly funds research into cancers affecting children and young people, with a further £4 million supporting general cancer research. September is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and being a mother myself I feel it's really important to support charities like this because they rely so heavily on donations.

Even though I have already done quite a big clear out of my wardrobe I still managed to find a few pieces I simply don't wear anymore and remember what no longer works for you could be perfect for someone else. Also we all know kids shoot up and quickly out-grow their clothes and they quickly pile up so not only would these go to a fantastic cause but also free up some space in their wardrobes too, so a win win all round.

The whole process was really easy, I simply bagged up some clothes I didn't need, headed into Cardiff and dropped them off at the city centre store and was immediately hit with that feel good factor. So now that I have donated I nominate Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog, Claire Evans from the Diary of Evans-Crittens, Gill from Baby on Board and Rachel from The Little Pip, as well as anyone who is reading this blog, share the love and get involved. 

Donated items are sold in Cancer Research UK shops and all money raised goes directly towards helping beat children’s cancers sooner so let’s pull together and make a real difference this September.

So I'm really excited to be collaborating with TKMaxx and Cancer Research Kids & Teens who are encouraging people between 1st Sept - 30th September to give up any unwanted good quality clothes and homewares in one of the UK's longest running clothes collections. This fundraising partnership has raised £30m since 2004. September is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and being a mother myself I feel it's really important to support charities like this because they rely so heavily on donations.


Exploring The Old Station, Tintern, Wye Valley

Welsh wandering

We love the Wye Valley and feel very lucky to live close enough to enjoy day trips to this beautiful part of Wales with quaint towns and plenty of countryside to explore. During the summer we wanted to keep our family days out as simple as possible and get outdoors at every opportunity. As my youngest is obsessed with trains we came across The Old Station in Tintern and after a little research we thought it fit the bill for fun train inspired day out.

Old Station Tintern

Old Station Tintern

The drive there through the winding roads from Chepstow is really spectacular especially as you pass the impressive Tintern Abbey (highly recommend you visit this Cadw site) along the river Wye which eventually leads you to the Old Victorian Station. We didn't really know what to expect and if there would be enough to do to full up a whole day, we had checked in advance that the narrow gauge train was running which we knew would be a hit with both of the boys. This train is run by volunteers and you can find out the days they are running on the Old Station Facebook page.

Old Station Tintern

Old Station Tintern

There is plenty of parking spaces and despite a small charge to park the site is free, you can also camp here overnight in a small camping area at around £5 per night which is amazing value given the location. There are two old train carriages, one is a small shop which stocks treats and train related toys and the other an information point offering history on the area and the station. The original signal box has been converted into a small art gallery with local artists displaying work and the large green lawn is perfect for picnics and kids to run up and down. 

The old station building is now a bustling cafe, with memorabilia hanging on the walls and offers up traditional afternoon tea, freshly baked scones and locally sourced ice-cream. On the day we were there they had live music and it was really nice being able to sit outside eating good food listening to the band while the kids playing in the wooden train and play park. The play are has plenty for young and older kids including a popular zip wire and small obstacle course.

Countryside walk

Wy Valley

Just beyond the kids playground is a 1 mile trail that is suitable for all ages and has iron sculptures to spot along the way. Around half way you come out along the River Wye where we spotting people fishing and offers some wonderful views across the countryside. There are also plenty of cycle routes near here and even the 1 mile trail was cycle friendly with my eldest putting that to the test on his bike. 


Tintern Wales

If your looking to get away from the city for the day or just fancy exploring somewhere new than the Old Station is a great choice and offers plenty of open spaces for children to run around without any distractions, just enjoying the simple pleasures in life. I can also vouch for the homemade scones in the cafe which are delicious (as is their vegan dark chocolate covered flapjacks). We spent the best part of a day her, riding the narrow gauge train twice, listening to good music and taking the calming surroundings and this is certainly somewhere we are sure to go back to in the future.

father and son

Wye Valley Wales

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