Side Street Style

Side Street Style

A family lifestyle, interiors & travel blog


Why Mauritius is on our Wish List

There are some places in the world that when you say their name just feel right, places that capture that sense of tranquility, exploration, relaxing and in short paradise on earth and Mauritius is certainly on of those.

It sits firmly on our list of places we want to visit before the kids get too big as there are so many fantastic things to do on this Island nation more than 1000 miles off the southeast coast of Africa. Mauritius has always been a very popular destination with not only the British but also South Africans as  it's fairly easy to get to without having to fly to Europe first for connections and I remember hearing tales of white beaches and palm trees from friends who had visited the island when they were young.

So what makes Mauritius different to other island destinations? Well for one it's a very diverse multicultural, multilingual nation which is highly ranked for it's democracy and economic freedom making is a safe and culturally exciting destination for people of all ages. It's also has a variety of natural and man made sights as well as a huge variety of different floral and fauna and of course not forgetting the beautiful beaches and luxury hotels that cater to the whole family.

So what would we get up to in this beautiful place if we had the chance?

Here are our top 5 things to do with kids in Mauritius

1. Visit the Blue Penny Museum - most will not know this about me but I love collecting stamps and the Blue Penny Museum is the home of the worlds most expensive stamp, for me personally this would be a must visit museum as well as offering an interesting introduction to stamp collecting for kids.

2. Meet a 100yr old Tortoise - you can have the chance to get up close and personal with some Giant tortoises at the Crocodile and Giant Tortoises Park and Nature reserve which is set in a beautiful rain forested valley with natural freshwater springs.

3. Introduce them to watersports - if you find yourself in such a place one should naturally embrace the exciting water sport activities available and going for something fairly slow paced but still very exciting such as paddle boarding or snorkelling is the perfect way for kids to develop a life long love for the ocean.

4. Street markets and local food - the one thing we always do as a family when travelling is try out as much of the local cuisine as possible and hopefully developing a broader palate and love for different species and world dishes. The cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Chinese, European and Indian meaning here is something for everyone.

5. Embrace Island Life - one of the main reasons for visiting a place like this is to slow down, recalibrate and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. For us that would mean spending long lazy days roaming white beaches looking for shells and building sandcastles, easy, simple and the perfect way to spend a day with kids in paradise.

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Slow evenings at Penarth Pier

The one thing I love about summer's is warm evenings which at times in the UK seems few and far between but when they do come we take them, we don't worry so much about the kids routine and instead head outside and enjoy the moment. When we had a mini heat wave last week that is exactly what we did, I bundled the kids into the car and picked up John from worked and headed to Penarth Pier for a cheeky chips and ice-cream on the pier.

There was a lot going especially with the RNLI sea rescue doing training in the bay with a huge Helicopter hoisting people up from the water and all the lifeboats out and about. There was also lots paddle boarders, jet ski's and people whizzing by in speedboats waterskiing as the water was so calm and perfection conditions for water sports, which provided perfect entertainment for the kids. My eldest is also fascinated with the tidal cycles, when we arrived the tide was in but by the time we had left it was going out again, revealing some sand for them to play on, it may seem like a small thing to us but to him this was magical.

I always find the scene such a calming place, having grown up on a peninsular in Cape Town the sea was only around 15 minutes from my house and was a place I spent many a weekend at building sandcastles and then when I was little older lots of surfing. I'm not sure what I would do if we lived far away from the sea, I find it's a great place for putting things in perspective as well as a sense of freedom and adventure comes to mind whenever I see it. Hopefully we will get a few more warm evenings like this one were we can just wind down the days along the Welsh coastline

Life has felt really busy lately and my laptop hardrive failed last week and I lost a few weeks worth of work including images I had already edited, video footage and slowing down and spending time in the fresh air really made a difference. I often think I would love to do a course in mindfulness as occasionally in this modern world things just seem to go at such a fast pace and can be really pressured, Private Therapy London have some fantastic courses as do some Cardiff based clinics.

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Go bold by updating your home with Aluminium

kitchen space

Wait did I just say Aluminium? It's probably a material you have not considered using before but bear with me while I explain why you should consider this bold, stylish and durable metal if you are looking to update your doors and windows this year.

So why Aluminium and why now? Well unless you have been living under a rock you will know 2016 is all about the copper and metal interior trend and aluminium certainly has it's place in this current trend. With Aluminium being a combination of being light, flexible and very strong, it truly is the perfect material to use for things like aluminium window and sliding doors with the extra bonus of being an environmentally and recyclable resource.

large windows

We have PVC french doors in our home and even though we have not been living in this house very long they have required some maintenance, which of course costs money so we have certainly learnt with this type of thing it's far better to install quality frames such as the bespoke made Kingfisher Windows that are going to last a long time in not a lifetime.

Good news is that Aluminium is extremely low maintenance and is made to withstand extreme conditions and even those homes near the seaside as the effect of sodium chloride and rust are so minimal. But what I like most of all is the aesthetic side, it instantly makes any home look sleek and chic no matter what age or style of property, which is why I think the copper and metal trend has been so big as it works just as well in a Victorian Bay fronted property or a New build and everything in-between.

Here are my top 5 reasons why Aluminium is the next big thing for Interiors

1. Long lifespan and highly resistant to rust

2. Eco friendly as Aluminium is 100% recyclable

3. Super light and perfect for window and door frames

4. Suitable for all different styles of home

5. Maintenance-free

If you are a little bit nervous of bringing the copper and metal trend into your home why not start small? I have put together little mood board below which should help inspire you as well as show just how versatile aluminium can be.

Aluminium Cooper interior trend

1. Copper Plated Aluminium Pendant Light from Not on the High Street - £72
2. Alessi Moka Coffee Maker from Coggles - £40
3. White and Copper Wall Clock from Nu Casa - £44.99
4. Bermondsey Aluminium Floor Light from Amara - £165
5. Candle Holder in Copper and Aluminium from Out There Interiors - £53
6. Rose gold hammered aluminium side table from Habitat - £125
7. Philippe Starck swivel chair from Kartel - £414

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