Side Street Style

Side Street Style

A family lifestyle, interiors & travel blog

23/08/2016

Northern France with P&O and Hotel Du Parc

Happy baby


If you follow our family travel adventures on Instagram you may have already noticed that at the beginning of summer we spent a long weekend exploring the small village of Hardelot in Northern France as well as the fascinating sea centre Nausicaa in Boulogne-sur-Mer. 

We have done a fair few short European breaks taking either the Eurostar or Ferry although always as foot passengers so my eldest was extremely excited at the prospect of driving our car onto a ferry and driving off again in another country. The journey from South Wales to Dover  is just over 4hrs so we decided to stay at a Premier Inn on the way down from Cardiff to split up the journey. This meant we were only an hour away from the ferry terminal in the morning making for a far more relaxed start to what would be a long day.

Once we arrived into Dover, the check-in service for our P&O Ferry  was very quick and straight forward despite there being cues later in the season our experience was a positive one. After we had parked our car up before boarding we went for a little walk around the ferry terminal which has views of the ships as well as a cafe, bar and shop. 


channel crossing



Once on board we made a beeline to the open deck as my eldest wanted to wave goodbye to the White Cliffs of dover and I always find leaving port an exciting time. The crossing was a little windy but mainly smooth throughout and there is just enough to see and do on these medium sized ferries that young children don't get bored including a little play area, TV or if you want you can now connect to the wifi. There is also plenty of food options from more formal dining in the Brasserie to a more casual family affair in the food court or coffee shops. 


family travel


Once we arrived in Calais it didn't take long to get back on the road and on our way to Hardelot, a small French costal village around 45 minutes away and close to the northern city of Boulogne-sur-Mer. Finding our  hotel was surprisingly easy (okay so we used a SatNav) despite its wonderful rural location. Hotel Du Parc is the perfect spot for those who want some down time, relaxing with long walks as the hotel is surrounded by areas of forest, golf and horse riding facilities. 


Hardest

stunning pool


The area is very French and therefore a lot of the hotel clientele is also French which is lovely and added a real authentic feel to the place, although this did causes a few interesting attempts at conversations with the reception staff who were very friendly and patient of our terrible attempts at French (at least we always try). The room was fantastic with a small balcony eating area and more than enough space for a family to be comfortable in for even extended stays. There is also plenty to do onsite including a stunning outdoor pool, sauna,  tennis courts and a small kids play park. The hotel also houses one of the best restaurants in the area although it was fairly formal and would be easier with slightly older children then our own although the bar area had plenty of seating and was a nice relaxing and family friendly space with a small bar menu. 

The small town of Hardelot is only a 2 kilometre walk or a matter of minutes in the car and has a variety of bakeries, cafes, creperies as well as a variety of restaurants and boutique shops and it had a really lovely atmosphere to it. This is certainly an area we would like to explore more in the future especially as we ran out of time to visit Chateau d'Hardelot, a local historical site. 

We only spent two nights at Hotel Du Parc but it was very relaxing and the perfect base for exploring the area including visiting one of the biggest attractions outside of Paris and leading marine centre in France, Nausicaa. I will be sharing our experience of Nausicaa very soon. 


Hotel Du Parc


We were guests at Hotel Du Parc in associating with Nausicaa

22/08/2016

Skinfix Giveaway

skin care


Some of you may remember that I was lucky enough to attend Britmums this year thanks to the amazing Canadian skin brand SkinFix, which has recently landed in the UK and can be found in Boots. Since Britmums we have been putting their essentials baby kit to the test and I have to say it's easy to see why they have gardened so many fans and go on to win a variety of awards. 

Not only has their baby care range helped to keep Baby G's dry skin flares ups at bay but their fantastic Hand repair cream has become a permanent resident in my handbag! As most busy mama's (and Dads) know our hands take a beating with all the multi-tasking we undertake each day from nappy changes to keeping kids entertained, working and everything in-between and this has made sure to keep my hands soft and crack free.

What we have loved most about these products is not only are they clinically proven to help, prevent and quickly soothe skin problems such as eczema, nappy rash and cracked skin but they are also made from natural ingredients and is suitable for the whole family. Plus Baby G loves bathtime now especially as the gentle body wash doesn't cause any irritation or red eyes.


baby skincare


I am pleased to announce as an out-going partnership with Skinfix that I have a baby Essentials pack worth around £45 up for grabs. It's super easy to enter via rafflecopter and the giveaway ends 5th Sept 2016.

The pack contains four of their leading baby products including - 
Cana
Skinfix Baby Gentle Eczema Balm
Skinfix Baby Gentle Lotion
Skinfix Baby Gentle Hair & Body Wash
Skinfix Baby Nappy Balm.

I am going to be sharing a far more in-depth review next month as part of Eczema Awareness, including how amazing the nappy balm has been, especially while Baby G has been teething and I honestly highly recommend these products. They may be on the more pricey side of things but the results have been great and also a little goes a really long way.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

19/08/2016

A Greener home with Siemens iSensoric

Siemens washing machine


As a family we are very interested in reducing our carbon footprint, making less waste, using what we have went it comes to our food shop and not only being more frugal but also more ethical and eco aware. We have wanted to implement this right across our home and are looking at ways to reduce our energy consumption, so while it may be more ideal to hand wash our clothes - something we did do for a few months last year when our washing machine broke, it's not something that is practical when you have two young children, one of which is still using both disposable and reusable nappies. 

Saying that there are some fantastic new, low energy and highly economical washing machines out on the market, on of them being the new Siemens iSensoric which has an A+++ energy rating which is currently the best rating you can have making it incredible efficient as well as saving you money on your household bills. 

Beautiful Aesthetics, Better Washing 

So what have been our first impressions of the iSensoric, well for one it's nice and compact but also visually aesthetic and pleasing to the eye. We really like the large touch screen control panel which is both easy to use and uncomplicated, making washing a breeze. Also from a safety point of view with young children around it has a built in Child lock you can adjust to your needs as well as a load recommendation which lets you know if the machine is over or under loaded. 


washing machine


Real Results 

As any parent will know with every single wash you will be dealing with a variety of food, grass and outdoor stains across your children clothes (and most likely your own if you have a toddler deciding to rub his sticky hands into your jeans) so you need a machine that is not only economical but also gets results, so I was interested in how this machine would really stand up to the family laundry test.

Having done a few loads I can honestly say that the fact this is so energy efficient it certainly didn't compromise on the results which is fantastic as being a busy mum I certainly don't have time to rewash clothing. This machine also works out exactly how much detergent you need with the clever i-Dos function which dispenses precisely to the millilitre based on the type of fabric, size of load and degree of soiling - clever right!!


washing machine



So far we have been really impressed with our new Siemens iSensoric machine and now are looking into ways of reducing our carbon footprint even more by nature based detergents, drying balls and of course washing on the safest lowest temperature for a clean and hygienic wash. 


We have been provided with the washing machine in exchange for an honest and fair review. So far we have had excellent results and genuinely recommend this product. 
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