Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

A family lifestyle, interiors & travel blog


Inspiring a world view with simply toys + giveaway

wooden toys

1. Plan Toys Musical Band Planwood £34
2. Plan Toys sailing boat £10
3. Manny and Simon Red truck push toy £31
4. Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug £44
5. Melissa and Doug Jumbo crayons £5
6. Fat Brain Toy Tobbles £20

There are a variety of views and studies on the idea of simple toys being far more educational and beneficial for children over highly detailed flashing plastic ones which offer everything and leave nothing to the imagination. In simple terms if you take a stick it offers so much opportunity for the child to use his imagination as it can be a sword, a paddle for a boat, a flag, a pillar to keep up a tent, a musical instrument - in fact pretty much anything and it allows for the user to connect with nature and the world around them in a more organic way.

kids train
My sons love their simple train track

As some of you may already know it was my youngest birthday this week and I am taking on a minimalism challenge this year to get rid of 50% of everything I own so when it comes to things like this great thought needs to go into what we pick as it has to be beneficial, offer lots of scope for play, be made well and long lasting. We only got our 2yr old two small presents which we he can take with him on our travels and keeping things simple also offers lots of ways to become more aware of the world around you and there is some great inspiration from this post on the best toys for 2 year old boys (and girls).

The world feels so chaotic at the moment and it's easy for that to find its way into your home but with simple toys you can restore a little calm, such as a box of high quality crayons, my youngest loves nothing better than drawing and that opens up a whole world of creativity and imagination, it also gives us the chance to discuss different themes, what we saw that day, favourite colours and with my eldest practising drawing countries and the world. There is a lot to be said for naturing a playful mind and there are some great online resources about this.

musical kids
My eldest loves his wooden drum 

Musical instruments such as the little drum kit above are also fantastic as music is very therapeutic and enjoyable even from an early age and with older children you can listen to music from around the world together and discuss different cultures. 

Also you can share the importance of less is more and being eco conscious of what you buy from an early age by finding things that are more planet friendly such as Plan Toys Sailing boat which has been made ethically from organic rubber tree wood using non-toxic dye, as well as the Manny and Simon red push truck which comes from reclaimed wood and non-toxic paint. 

I found all of the toys above at which has everything you need for your little ones and has a huge array of fantastic toys and ship internationally and I'm very happy to say I have a $50 voucher to giveaway to one lucky reader, its super easy to enter and the giveaway ends on the 10th March and is open internationally. 

This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Now your Two

happy baby

When your a child birthdays are always joyous occasions full of excitement and the same when your a parent but there is also a hint of the bittersweet. As a mother of course I want my boys to grow up to be strong confident young men but equally its hard to wave goodbye to my baby and enter toddlerhood which is quickly followed by a young adventurous boy and then suddenly pre-teens are around the corner and so it goes on but not to wish the time away, in fact that is the exact opposite because right now I'd like to press a pause button for a while. 2 is such an exciting age, my littlest is full of character and personality and is like a parrot when it comes to talking and copying everything we say and it's been such a pleasure and gift to parent this happy little boy.

forest baby

To not be to melancholy about my baby turning a year older I am actually really excited about what this year holds for all of us. Already he has been on so many adventures with us from France to Finland and loads in between, he is such a happy go lucky boy who takes everything in his stride with a big smile on his face. Isn't funny that you don't know what your child is going to look like or be like but they naturally become the perfect fit for your family, him and his brother are completely different people which is great as their interests are so varied and individual.

happy siblings

The great thing about Birthdays is it's also a fantastic reminder to parents about being mindful and present as I know it's a huge cliche but time really does fly by and these moments while they are so young and full of curiosity is so short lived, I also fear that is I feel so up and down now about my kids growing older who knows how I am going to feel when they leave home for University, I foresee total empty nest syndrome coming on! So here's to you my littlest boy, you make us so proud and we can't wait to discover even more about you over the next year of discovery.


A New York Bucket list

New York

I love nothing more than planning trips, what we are going to see and do, working out the best way to navigate local transport systems and staring at maps for hours while imagining what is going to be like actually walking the streets of that destination. I still cannot believe that even though I have been to 25+ countries, including the US and even far flung islands like St Helena, I have never been to New York City.

John however has been three times and I know it would be fantastic to go with him which and the plan is to celebrate his 40th at Toms Diner which is in just over 2yrs time. As we do a fair amount of travel there is a good likelihood we may visit this amazing city before than but either way its time to start planning what I would love to see and do. We plan to have around a week in the city and while both John and I have similar interests he is a huge fan of The Warriors movie as well as shows like Seinfeld and have been to Coney Island, Greenwich Village, downtown Manhattan and few spots where they filmed these but I would want to shop for records, browse vintage stores and art galleries as well as walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and spend at least a day exploring Williamsburgh.

Art museum

1. Take in modern art at the Guggenheim

First of all the exterior of this museum which is found on 5th Avenue is iconic in itself and the building design is fascinating for interior lovers such as myself. I also find wandering around the Tate Gallery in London relaxing and inspiring and I know I would feel the same taking in all the greats of the impressionist, modern and contemporary art. The collection at the Guggenheim is always growing and is a museum now engrained in Manhattans history. The museum is also near Ralph's Coffee Shop - another place to visit on my to do list.

2. Explore central park by bike

You can't go to New York and now take a stroll through Central Park and I always think the best way to explore a city is either by foot or bike and with the park being so big and with so much to see, the quickest and easiest way is by bike. So many films have been shot in this park such as the famous lunch scene from "When Harry met Salt" at the Central Park Boathouse restaurant as well as Wollman Rink from "Serendipity" and "Home Alone 2" as well as the park being used as a film location for films such as You've Got Mail, Elf, Sex in City and many more. When it comes to New York Sightseeing a bike tour through Central Park is high on the list.

Central Park

3.  Walk the High Line

For those who don't know the High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the Manhattan West Side. This is a great place if your with kids as there is so much going on from live music, pop-up food stalls, warm summer evenings spent chilling on one of the sun beds or dipping your feet into one of the fountains. There is also the two-block-long Chelsea thicket to explore which has a miniature forest of dogwoods, hollies and a variety of fauna right in the heart of the city.

Street Art

4. Street Art and Coffee Shops of Williamsburg

Williamsburg is hipster central when it comes to finding the next big thing or creative like minded and forward thinking individuals. From what I have heard you will be really spoilt for choice when it comes to cafe culture, pop-up food and street food markets and up and coming independent fashion labels. There is also an abundance of amazing street art as well as weekend flea markets, record stores and of course a visit to Brooklyn Brewery.

Yellow cab

5. Take a yellow cab across the Brooklyn Bridge (and walk back)

Yellow cabs to New York are what Black Cabs are too London and when your in the city you have to enjoy at least one ride in a taxi and why not across the Brooklyn Bridge where you can take that iconic city scape at dawn and then treat yourself to some delicious breakfast pastries at Jacques Torres's Almondine just across the bridge which apparently has amazing Eclairs and Croissants.

Have you been to the Big Apple? What would be on your bucket list for the city of what have you seen that you would recommend as a "must do" when your in the city.

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