Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


Going Ape for these plant-based snacks

funny kids

This post is part of the Ape snacks x Mumsnet partnership

As a family we are always trying to make small, healthy changes to our daily lives, one's the kids will approve of that are easy to implement and sustain. While I am vegetarian, not vegan, I do try and bring as many plant-based meals and treats into our daily lives as I can and with such tasty snacks such as the new Ape Puffs which come in three different flavours, including Really Cheesy which has recently been awarded the Mumsnet Rated badge.

We spend a lot of time outdoors so taking food with us is key for helping keep those hangry moments to a minimum, as well as being the more budget-friendly option for a family day out. I always put together a well-balanced pack with some water, fresh fruit, maybe a sandwich or two and some treats such as a pack of crisps or cereal bar - this will usually keep us going for a few hours and the same can be said when it's raining outside and we decided to have a bit of an indoor picnic to switch things up and keep boredom at bay. If we can keep things as natural and wholesome as possible the better, although of course, we do allow for the odd treat too because moderation is good too.

Ape Snacks

Now we have tried a variety of plant-based snacks before and while some have been amazing others have fallen short, mainly on taste or texture and I find kids are often the best critics because they don't hold back when it comes to what they do and do not like. So I am glad to report that these Ape Puffs are BIG on flavour and they really have got it right, in fact, their Really Cheesy flavour has recently been awarded the Mumsnet Rated badge, creating the perfect tasty on the go snack for all the family. What's even better is that these puffs are baked not fried, are of course vegan-friendly, gluten-free, contain nothing artificial and in a recent test of 135 testers, 83% said they would recommend the Ape Puffs range.

But it doesn't stop there - they are also a very ethically minded business and have undertaken the mammoth tasks to offset their entire carbon footprint to become one of the few food companies that is Carbon neutral. They also support 1% for the Planet which means they donate 1% of sales revenue to good causes so these Vegan Society approved snacks really are a win-win all round.

Ape Snacks

As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day and being a freelancing busy mum of two active boys means that while we are trying to do as much as we can for the planet in terms of what we eat and our daily lifestyle, I also have to be practical. We have already long switched to reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes and the like so when I can get ethically-minded snacks easily to add to the kids packed lunches, it makes life a whole lot easier.

Ape snacks


13 ways to enrich your time at home

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For many over the coming weeks, life is going to look a little different, with many now working from home and along with lots of families having children at home full time. Whether you are a family, a couple of single living in your own space, I wanted to share a few things you can do to enrich your time at home and help break the monotony.

I work from home as it is so that part for me is not such a big adjustment but regardless it takes time to get into a routine but it's really important to break that up and make time for the things you enjoy, Perhaps in your day job you commute for an hour each day and that gives you time to catch up on news or read a book, so make sure you still have moments like that, that allows for some downtime.

When you’re at work, whether your self-employed or work for an employer, you should be taking care of your mental health, and employment law for employers shows them the ropes for this. At home, you’re in your own space and can be in charge of your own mental health there but it also opens you up the possibility of feeling isolated or not sticking to any kind of routine, which can occasionally be problematic so looking after yourself must be made a priority. 

Here are 10 ways to improve your wellbeing at home  

1. Enrich Your Mind

Whether it be reading, completing puzzle books, like crosswords and sudoku, or even learning a new language, the options are endless. With apps available for almost everything and many of them being free, you don’t even need to worry about lugging a huge book around with you. It couldn’t be simpler.

2. Make time for exercise

It’s no secret that exercise is super important, not just for your physical health, but your mental health too. There are lots of free youtube videos with everything from Yoga to leg workouts that can be done from the comfort of your own home. At the moment we are also allowed to go outside for short brisk walks (please adhere to social distancing) and some fresh air will do you a world of good. This is also a good one for kids and I highly recommend Cosmic Kids Yoga

3. Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook

Alongside reading and learning languages, our smartphones are the best place to find podcasts to listen to. These have become extremely popular in recent years, as they require little concentration, but provide laughs, scares, sadness, and everything else in between.

Podcasts or Audiobooks are also perfect for lunch breaks or in the evening when you are starting to wind down and relax.

4. Write a Gratitude List

One interesting idea, which many bloggers and YouTubers use daily, is a gratitude list. The idea behind this is that you list a few things that you’re grateful for every morning. It could be something as small as:

Your mum sending you a lovely message the night before.
Your kids giving you a big hug
Eating a delicious lunch

Whatever the list contains, this is a really fantastic way of remembering the small things, and injecting some positivity into your day. Amongst it all, it can be easy to tune out the small things and focus on the big and bad things. Don’t forget that the little bits and bobs that make you happy are also what makes us human.

5. Listen to Some Music

Music is an amazing way to help people express emotions and feelings. It truly has the power to make you happier, and more positive for the day ahead. While music can sometimes be a distraction, why not take some time out to enjoy it, over morning coffee, or your lunch break or have a dance in the kitchen while making supper.

6. Read Up on Your Industry

If you don’t fancy using your brain for general life skills, you could use this time to educate yourself on your particular line of work! Every day, new and interesting insights into every career pathway are brought to light. Use this time to browse through LinkedIn, read some blogs or articles, and just enrich your mind with useful tips.

7. Write Some Lists

Now is a good time to start noting down any goals you have, from long term to short term goals, things you want to achieve or just a snag list of things you want to do in the house, such as paint a door or re-design a room.

A really popular past time these days is to create a bullet journal; a beautifully designed notebook with to-dos and lists for the week ahead. So, if you want to get crafty, and let your creative juices flow, this is the perfect time to get your mind prepared for the day.

8. Call a Friend or Family Member

Why not use this time at home to have a chat with your mum or dad, your best friend, or your sibling. You could even call up someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and there is no excuse these days with free apps such as Skype, Zoom and Whatsapp which allows you to make calls and video calls across the world for free. Who knows, you might even rekindle a lost friendship along the way.

9. Explore Some Positive Social Media Accounts

One of the more modern commuting problems is the exposure we now have to negative online content. Especially in situations, such as the one we are currently in with Covid-19, this negative content could be difficult to ignore. To combat this, try to take care of your mental health by following social accounts that make you feel good about yourself. Be it body positivity, inspiration and motivation, or something creative and fun.

10. Explore Some Mindfulness Apps

Mindfulness is such a key part of living a happy and healthy life. So, whether it be meditation, gratitude, motivation, or anything else which keeps you thinking about your mindset, there are hundreds of apps available. Just head on over to your app store, and you’re bound to find something that could help you flip the positivity switch.

11.Try Some Brain Training Apps

If you really want to keep your mind active and improve your brain health and cognitive function, brain training apps are perfect. They keep your mind active, wake you up before work, and are likely to benefit you in the long run.

12. Declutter

Why not use this time to get some of those jobs on your snagging list you have had no time for? Maybe your doors need to be painted or your spare room needs to be sorted out? Decluttering is a really positive thing to do for your overall wellbeing so now is a good time to do that although no need to take it all on at once - maybe just one room or one small corner.

13. Just Pause

In the modern world, there’s little time to just sit and reflect. We’re constantly distracted by work, people, phones, and general life woes. With that being said, there’s no need for you to “self-improve” or “be productive”. In a world of side hustles, be someone with a good work/life balance. So, take this time to just look out the window, and watch the world go by. When else do you ever get a chance to just get lost in your own thoughts?

These are just 13 ideas or ways to enrich this extended time at home we have during the current pandemic and hopefully help ease stress and anxiety. Do let me know what your best way to use this time is in the comments below.


How to Wear Cufflinks

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Firstly what are Cufflinks?

Cufflinks put simply are an alternative for buttons on the cuffs of shirts. Some shirts, especially formal dress shirts, are made without any buttons at all. They often have simple holes, perfect for cufflinks to come in to tie the cuffs together! Cufflinks offer the wearer to showcase a bit more of their own personal style, and add a bit of flash to a formal outfit.

History of the Cufflinks

Wearing cufflinks became common place until around the end of the 18th Century. It was in the 19th Century, with the emergence of a bigger middle class, that more and more men came to wear suits and tails for the day and evening respectively. It was at the end of the 19th Century when cufflinks really became popular. It seemed like every man (and some women) in the upper and middle classes wore cufflinks. The industrial revolution helped keep up with the demand for cufflinks, as they could be easily mass-produced. It also meant that cufflinks could be produced at a cheaper price, and so they became more accessible for others – not just those in the upper and middle classes.

Edward VII helped introduce gemstone cufflinks to England, or at least helped make them popular! His first coloured cufflinks were actually Faberge cufflinks no less.

During the 20th Century, cufflinks were even more sought after. This allowed designers to really get stuck into different designs. Cufflinks became available in varying colours, materials, and sometimes included intricate designs. This was also around the time that many shirts were being designed in a more ‘sporty’ style. The sporty style had un-starched cuffs which could be easily fastened with buttons, instead of cufflinks.

Cufflinks dipped in popularity slightly in the 1970’s, as most shirts were produced, already having buttons sewn on, instead of two holes for cufflinks. However, thankfully the 1980s saw a resurgence in traditional male attire and with it resurgence in cufflinks and now you can get a whole range of unique antique jewellery cuffs.

Types of Cufflinks

There are many different types of cufflinks, incorporating different materials such as: gemstones, gold, platinum, and titanium, knotted silk or soft cord (the more affordable choice).

There are two common styles of fittings for cufflinks: bullet back, and whale back cufflinks.

Bullet Back

These types of cufflinks are very durable and easy to use. They have a hollow frame with a small tube or bar of metal that sits inside the frame. The tube then rotates at a 90 degree angle, which allows the cufflinks to lock, leaving the hollow frame as the post. Bullet back cufflinks only have one decorative face, with a simple tube of metal at the back.

Whale Back

These types of cufflinks have a flat head with a solid straight post. There is a ‘whale tail’ at the end (hence the name) that twists completely flat against the post. Similar to the bullet back cufflinks, the whale backs are very durable and easy to use.

There are also other various types of cufflinks such as: chain link, ball return, stud or button, and locking dual-action.

Chain Link

Chain link cufflinks have two decorative faces, typically identical decorative faces. The faces are connected with a short length of chain. They are usually looser fitting than other fastenings. Chain link cufflinks are perhaps the most traditional style of cufflinks.

Stud or Button

This style of cufflinks has no moving parts. Instead they have a large decorative face which is attached to a small solid post with a smaller face or backing. They are put into place by manoeuvring the smaller head through the button holes.

Ball Return

Ball return cufflinks have a small, heavy ball of metal on one end, and the decorative face on the other end. They have a looser fastening than other style of cufflinks, but a tighter fastening than chain link cufflinks.

Locking Dual-Action

This particular style of cufflinks is very contemporary in style. They work like a clip, or like the fastening of a wristwatch. The locking dual-action cufflinks has a hinge in the centre that allows them to slide into the buttonholes, which then clips shut to hold the cuff together. 

How to Wear Cufflinks

There are a couple of ways you can wear cufflinks: the barrelled cuffs, and the kissing cuffs.

Barrel Cuffs:

This is a casual cufflink wearing option. It makes the cuffs appear thinner, giving the shirt a more contemporary look. The wearer places one cuff on top of the other and then lines the hole up. This way it fastens just as it would if a button were attached.

Kissing Cuffs:

The wearer needs to make sure that the bar of the cufflink, if it has one, is pointing straight down, then they need to line the two holes up on the cuff. The wearer then needs to insert the cufflink into the two holes with the ornate face pointing up; twist the small bar back to the original horizontal position to lock the cufflinks in.

This technique works well with single cuffs, or double cuffs, as long as you line up the hole correctly.

When to Wear Cufflinks

As I’ve mentioned above, cufflinks are typically worn for semi-formal and formal events, such as weddings, and sometimes work.

There are many different styles of cufflinks, some that are more of the playful, fun side that could work well in a more dressed-down look. However, it is advised that cufflinks should be avoided when wearing a completely casual outfit, especially if it doesn’t include a suit or dinner jacket.


Cufflinks can introduce some energy into an outfit, and weddings can be the perfect time to experiment with this! Add a pop of colour, or an interesting design to your wedding outfit in the form of cufflinks.

If it is in keeping with your personality and your chosen outfit, then why not branch out into novelty cufflinks. Novelty doesn’t mean that they can’t be stylish. Think outside of the box when it comes to wearing cufflinks at a wedding.

Black Tie

I recognise that I’ve just emphasised the use of fun and novelty cufflinks, throw all of that advice out of the window! When it comes to a very formal event, it is best to stick with the classic and traditional designs, which are more subtle.

Work and Business

When it comes to business and work attire anything too crazy is again not the best idea. Simple designs are the way to go. However, colours and materials can still be incorporated, just in an understated way. As with most things, it is wise to match the metal of your cufflinks to any other accessories you are wearing – matching here is key.


The rise of the School Prom's in the UK

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School Proms used to be something you would see in American teen films but now they have become a regular occurrence here in the UK and it's got me thinking whether that's a good or a bad thing especially in terms of young peoples wellbeing and mental health. On one side it's a great way to celebrate your time at school and have a fun night out with your friends but on the flip side, there is also a lot of pressure for young people to look a certain way, spend a lot on outfits and keep up with everyone else.

When I was growing up, during my teen years, we had much more relaxed school discos or small dance parties at friends houses or local halls. There was a lot less pressure in terms of what you wore and I never even put any makeup on as it was a more casual affair all round. Of course, there was the typical peer pressure that comes with being a teen but in general, was a lot more low key than Prom's are today.

There are of course some real positives to School Proms and that's what should be the focus as we can support our children, boost their self-confidence and encourage them to make memories with their friends. You want their Prom night to be filled with laughter and smiles and not stress or have a negative effect on their wellbeing. I think as parents our role is to be there for our children as they grow older and face more formal socialising situations and usually at this point they have a close-knit circle of friends. What is a good idea to ease any nerves is to host a pre-prom meet and greet at your house, where all your child breast friends come with their Prom dates, have a few canapes and take photos before heading to the dance together, this also gives a good space for parents to be able to share the experience together as well as any worries they have.

You also don't have to spend a small fortune and I like to think I instil in my kids that life is not all about show. There is no need to hire a limo, hairdresser or expensive dresses when you can shop around. You can also call in favours if you know someone with a nice car or have a friend who is a dab hand with makeup then get them involved. There are some fantastic sites if you do your research for a Prom Dress Finder that will help you find the perfect dress without a huge price tag. This way children can feel good in what they are wearing without the extra pressure on parents.

The vintage look is also very popular right now so don't completely cancel out spending some time with your child visiting different vintage and secondhand stores as you never know what you could find. This is also a nice way to support your child and chat over coffee and lets them know you are there for them, because a Prom is more than just a dance, it's often a farewell to high school and moving forward in a new chapter of their lives.

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