Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

A UK family travel and lifestyle blog

12/12/2018

5 things to do in Cheltenham with Kids



We recently jumped in the car for a little road trip to the regency town of Cheltenham. I have done a few day trips here many years ago, all sans kids so I was keen to see what this beautiful town had on offer for families. En route we stopped off at Chepstow Castle before heading up the Wye Valley (a more scenic route) before arriving into Cheltenham and checking into the Cotswolds Grange Hotel which has family rooms and were extremely accommodating so do check out my review. While Cheltenham isn't the biggest town it's fairly easy to navigate and explore on foot for both adults and kids, there is also plenty to do in the surrounding areas but I wanted to focus on what there is to do within walking distance of the town centre for those who are visiting by train or are short on time. 

1. Find Neptune's Fountain

It is said that Neptune's fountain was modelled on the Trevi Fountain in Rome and while this isn't Rome this fountain is still very impressive and captivating and can be found on Royal Well Rd which is lined with pretty boutique stores and quaint coffee shops and also just a short walk to the Imperial Gardens which is cute little green space and perfect for kids to have a little run around. The fountain itself is a very impressive piece of art with the Greek God Neptune being drawn by four sea-horses on his shell chariot while clasping a Trident. 


2. Ride the Regency Cheltenham Cycle Trail

As a family we love to cycle as it's a great way to explore somewhere new and also means you get to cover more ground while enjoying the outdoors. We headed over to The Bicycle Hub which is only a few minutes away from both the train station and traffic-free cycle paths. The owner Steve couldn't be more helpful and sized up the right bikes for every member of the family before showing us how to use the Compass Holidays App. The Regency Trail is a circular route and you can do as much or as little of it as you want. We rode to Pittville park and back which is around half of the trail as 95% traffic free and perfect for families. I highly recommend doing this if your in Cheltenham. 





3. Pittville Park

Pittville Park has to be one of the highlights when visiting Cheltenham as this large ornamental park really offers everything you want for a fun few hours outdoors with kids. Besides historical gardens beautiful lakes, including one you can hire rowing boats there is also a skatepark, a large and fairly new children play area where you will also find the aviaries and small cafe. There is also a pitch and putt course, tennis courts and another nature based park in the western side of Pittville. You could literallt spend hours here just enjoying all that is on offer, taking it easy with a cup of coffee watching the swans on the lake or working up a sweat in the skate park. We were also really impressed with how clean and well maintain Pittville is and has excellent facilities.

4. The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

This free museum is small but perfectly formed and a great spot if you are feeling the cold or it's raining (although worthwhile visiting anytime) and after a recent boost in funding they now have a new family friendly gallery space called The Wow Gallery that encourages visitors to touch, play, sing and dance. There is a small buggy park for those with very young children as well as The Wilson Cafe which serves up some delicious cakes and light meals using locally sourced ingredients.





5. Paint it yourself Pottery

If you and your kids are into crafting or getting creative then it's well worth a visit to the Paint It Yourself Pottery Co on Winchcombe Street. You can choose an item of pottery that catches your eye from over 200 choices and have fun decorating, painting and getting creative with that piece using non-toxic ceramic paints. They then glaze and fire your piece and even though it usually takes around three to five days for your work t be ready for pick up they do offer an overnight service which is great for those who are only in Cheltenham for a weekend or overnight break with kids.

No matter if you are looking for an action packed break or just simply want to stroll around the town taking the atmosphere in you won't be disappointed, especially if your a lover of buildings and interiors as Cheltenham is well know for being the most complete regency town in England and is famous for it's Regency architecture. We had a fantastic time and thumbs up all round.




* We were kindly invited to explore Cheltenham with Visit Cheltenham, words and views 100% our own

09/12/2018

Losing friends to Cancer, New Alternatives & Immunotherapy


wellbeing


Cancer. The word no one wants to hear but will at some point impact our lives in one way or another.

My first realisation of the devastation that cancer can cause was when I was a teenager and a family friend, whose daughter was in school with me, fought hard against a brain tumour. She lost her fight. My mother and I visited her while she was ill, it was the first time I had seen what cancer does to a person and to a mother, and the effect cancer has on a family. When I was in my early twenties, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Again she fought hard, had endless bouts of chemo which made her incredibly ill from which she had very little rest. She unfortunately passed away.

With both of these there was a level of acceptance, they were adults in their 50's and 60's which, of course, is still very young but was slightly easier to understand. What really stopped me in my tracks was what happened last year, I lost my two longest friends to cancer within 10 months of each other. Two people who had always been there for me, who I have known from the age of 7 - both healthy, both active, and both taken way too young and, to be completely honest, I am still in disbelief they are no longer here.

Having two friends, both near to my age go through something like this was an emotional rollercoaster as well as an eye-opener into the reality of what cancer and going through gruelling treatment is like. They both passed around 18 months post diagnosis and had very different journeys. One tried everything from rounds of chemo and radiation to trial drugs, while my other friend didn't have any treatment at all except for some medication to manage pain - his peace and acceptance is something I will forever be in awe of.



Alternative cancer treatment


Of course, during this time I did a lot of research because when you’re in this type of position, you feel like you have to do something no matter how small that may be. It also made me reflect a lot on my own situation and what I would do if I was diagnosed with cancer. To be completely honest, I think this is something that has crossed most parents minds at some point or another. With anything in life I have always been a strong believer in a more natural approach while still remaining open minded in regards to medication as modern medicine is so innovative and advancements are being made all the time.

What I also learnt (and witnessed firsthand) was how destructive chemo and radiation can be as they are toxic for the body. Chemotherapy and radiation do not discriminate between healthy cells and cancerous cells, while reducing and killing the cancer, it also kills the immune system so while you have an initial reduction in cancer it often can come back and far worse, this is what happened to my best friend (of course this isn't always the case, I am only talking from my experience).

I would like to point out these are personal views, each person’s approach would be different and with anything in life, you have to go with what feels right with you and get as much advice as possible before making any decisions. If you read the news, however, you probably have come across the breakthroughs that are being made with Immunotherapy which is a treatment that uses certain parts of the person’s immune system to fight and attack cancer cells and according to the Cancer Research Institute it's already proven successful in treating some previously incurable cancers as well as being the first line of treatment for many others.



Wellbeing for cancer


I do, however, feel that when it comes to something like this, multiple approaches need to be taken which is what Akesis Life, an integrative oncology centre in Bangkok Thailand does, as they step away from the use of high-dose chemo and radiation, and offer Immunotherapy alongside other integrative cutting-edge science-based treatments. They design individualised wellbeing integrative cancer programmes that focus on being kind and restorative to the body while targeting and getting rid of the cancer cells.

When it comes to cancer and having witnessed friends endure horrible treatments which only offered small benefits (in their case's) I think as a society we really need to be more forward thinking. Chemo and radiation are often offered first even when the effectiveness is known to be low with certain cancers. But there are places like Akesis Life that rely on science, not chemo, to help patients enhance their immune system in a healthy and kind way.



cancer alternatives


This integrative cancer treatment centre is headed by Dr Thomas Lodi who is part of the American College for the Advancement in Medicine. Dr. Lodi s a true believer in integrative medicine and has helped educate thousands of doctors worldwide, especially those who are unsatisfied with the current cancer treatment system in hospitals today. You can see why people travel from around the world to Akesis Life and #SayNoToChemo. The integrative healing approach is the path I would aim to follow should it be a direction my life takes one day and I was in the position and had the opportunity to do so.

*Sponsored post. I was asked by Akesis Life to talk honestly about this topic and the words and views expressed in this post are my own.

04/12/2018

Gratitude and the Balancing Act

family adventures


So I've been a little quieter over on my blog for the past fortnight or so, there have been a few reasons for that, mainly I've been working on some great posts and projects coupled with the kids catching that awful stomach virus going around and also changing my youngest childcare, which in hindsight was not the best idea just before Christmas, my busiest time, as he is really struggling to settle, so much so that it's massively reduced my childcare at present.

Working from home as a freelancer as well as being the main carer to my two active boys it's an easy task and occasionally the routine does go a little haywire and with the additional stress and chaos of Christmas it's been a balancing act to keep all the balls in the air thats for sure (I've dropped a fair few too lately). So I think it times like these when it's been less than smooth sailing, it's really important to practice some gratitude especially when I am aware how lucky I am to be able to travel a lot with the kids.


Here are a few things I've been really grateful for the past two months

1. I've paired up with the fantastic JD Williams in the run up to Christmas, picking out my favourite pieces to make you look and feel good this festive season.

2. I've been making sure to have some individual time with my children, as much as we love being together as a group it's also really special to find an hour or so once a week to have some one to one time.

3. We headed off to Windsor and Lapland UK a few weeks back for a little mini break which was really refreshing and we enjoyed the beautiful Christmas lights as well as visiting the Castle.

4. I've also been making sure to find quiet moments just for myself and to recollect my thoughts especially in the run up to Christmas when my stress levels start to raise more than normal.

 5. The boys and I had a fantastic Glamping break away in Cwmcarn Forest on what happened to be the coldest night of Autumn. We managed to stay nice and toasty so do read my review of our little trip.

6. This past year I have been working with Little Freddie, a small organic food brand who have just released the UK first pouch recycling scheme, read more about it here.

7. We also where lucky enough to spend a weekend in Cheltenham at the end of half term and stayed at the gorgeous Cotswolds Grange Hotel.

8. I have also been getting back into Skateboarding, something I've done since my teens but due to having knee surgery twice and then kids it meant I had a 11yr hiatus so really happy to be back on my board.

9. Have been making sure to have my Keep Cup on hand at all times, not only does it mean one less single use coffee cup but at most coffee shops they also give you a discount for bring your own cup - win!
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