Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

17/05/2022

How Working parents can Improve Their Time Management Skills

working parents

*This post contains affiliate links


One of the most important skills any working parent, carer, nurse etc needs is to have is time management. Without good time management, you will find it very hard to get everything done and still have some time for yourself, which is crucial if you want to stay happy and healthy. Time management also means being able to help those who rely on us, such as our children, work colleagues, and patients better and be there for our team or family when needed.


This may sound simple as time management doesn’t appear to be much of a challenge at first glance. However, the truth is time management is only easy when you don’t have a lot of things to do and plenty of time in which to do them, otherwise it's a pretty hard balance to achieve. This is often the opposite of how many working parents see their day as they have lots to do and in a very small window of time to get it all done. Therefore, time management is not only more important but more difficult to get right.


With that in mind, how can we improve our time management skills to ensure we don’t burn ourselves out in the process? Although it will be hard to do, it will also be worth all the effort, and here are some ways to get started.

Set Achievable Goals

One of the best ways to achieve good time management is to set achievable goals. When you do this, your productivity levels will increase, and your stress levels will reduce. The keyword here is ‘achievable’. Whether the goals are large or small, short-term or long-term, as long as they are things you can definitely achieve, they will be beneficial to you and your time management aims. If they are more difficult, perhaps even so large that you don’t know where to start, they won’t help at all and will just make things worse, causing stress and anxiety.


Start with your ultimate long-term goal. What do you want out of your career or family life for example? Where do you want to be in five, ten, or more years? Once you have this in mind, you can work backwards, setting yourself smaller goals in the short-term that, once you have achieved them all, will ensure you can also achieve your ultimate goal. By breaking this larger goal down into different parts, each one achievable on its own, you’ll find you are better able to focus on each one – one by one – and, once you have completed one task, you can move on to the next, gradually working your way up.


Not only does this approach ensure that you eventually reach your end goal, but it also means you can become better at time management. Rather than one vague future goal that seems too big to plan for, you’ll have smaller goals that can all be fitted into a schedule, giving you time to work on each one and not neglect your roles. You’ll be a lot less stressed, and you’ll have a roadmap to follow to get you where you want to be.
 

remote working


Implement a Routine

While not everyone is a fan of the routine (like myself), especially when no two days look the same and you are juggling a lot on your plate, when it comes to time management and making work (and life) easier for yourself, routines are important


By ensuring you have something of a routine, albeit a flexible one that you can adapt as you go along if need be, depending on your working day, you can give yourself a framework to employ better time management. For example, if you always take breaks at about the same time (again, you may need to be flexible, as this will depend on how busy things are in your department), plan this into your day so that you can also plan everything else around it. 


Making routines for yourself means that work becomes easier, as you’ll be able to become more efficient thanks to practice, and potentially even muscle memory being part of what you do. With all this added together, you can see how routines will help you and how you can benefit from having at least a little bit of routine in your working life, whether you enjoy it or not.


Learn Remotely

The majority of people these days have to continue their education, be it training for work or work-related courses that are going to advance in their careers. Even those who are happy where they are and aren’t interested in going further need to keep learning; there are always new ideas and innovations being developed in most industries.

The issue with gaining this knowledge is that it takes time, particularly if you want to obtain qualifications, in what. is an already busy schedule. This adds a lot of strain to your life and can make time management difficult when there are classes to factor in as well as assignments to consider.

The best solution, if possible, is to learn remotely. Online courses mean you can work at your own pace and gain the qualifications you need, this could be an IT or marketing course, parenting-related courses, safeguarding or any nursing role you might be interested in while you’re working. Because you can choose when you study, it’s easier to ensure you can still have good time management because everything is so flexible. When there is flexibility involved, deadlines are less problematic, time management becomes less stressful, and routines can more easily be formed.


education



Take Time To Rest

Burnout from overwork can be a big problem. There is a lot of pressure on working parents to get things right and although it can be hugely rewarding, it can be easy for burnout to occur and that can have a knock-on effect on your work and home life.

When you think about time management, it’s likely you only think of it in terms of how it can benefit your productivity and help you to become more efficient. However, you can also use good time management to ensure that you leave enough time to rest and relax and to effectively unwind and be more present with your family and home life.


Delegate Work

No one can do everything by themselves, sometimes, it’s best to ask for help if you need it and to delegate work when you are able to. If you have a lot to do and there is someone else who is ready to work but doesn’t have a task, give them some of your duties. 


Having a strong support network is an important part of the working parent's life. You need to be able to work well with the team around you and get help from them, as well as give help whenever you can. The more you work with people, the easier this will be, and if you’re truly having problems with the workload or anything else, always ask someone for advice, whether that’s a colleague, a manager, or a mentor. There is no reason to hide your issues, especially when there is always something that can be done to make things more positive.


time management



14/05/2022

Easy Exercises for Busy Parents

Hiking parents

*This post contains affiliate links

I don't go to the gym but I do make sure that I move my body daily, it helps with my well-being and mental health so much as well as calm my mind and helps me balance work, parenting and life better. I think we all know that regular physical exercise is crucial for living a healthy, happy life, but getting time to be active every day can be very difficult when trying to juggle parenthood especially when most parents are rushing around doing school runs, food shops, work, taking care of dinner and all the life admin and responsibilities, there can be very little time to get in any kind of exercise.

Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that it’s completely impossible. With a little adaptability, if you want it, even as busy parents, we can to an extent find time and can include more exercise in our daily routine. I can say first-hand how much exercise boosts your mood, make you feel calmer and more in control and can even improve other areas like making your skin clearer, and is recommended by a sleep clinic to help you sleep better at night.


So I thought I would share some tips on the most accessible exercises for parents that are constantly on the move. No one should have to sacrifice their personal health and well-being for anything, and these workouts will allow you to take control of your life and pursue the fitness that’s been on your mind.

Walking, Running, Hiking

Cardio is one of the most important exercises for keeping your heart healthy and what I love about it is that you can do it with your kids but also it's a very budget-friendly option and you don't need any specific equipment besides a comfy pair of trainers. 

Why not go for a nature hike after school especially during the warmer months when the evenings are lighter or you could try pop out for a jog around the neighbourhood before school pickup. If you have very limited time during the week then why not purchase a cheap jumping rope for the house? It's an effective way to get your heart rate up quickly and with very little additional equipment, allowing you to squeeze in a workout without having to sacrifice time for other responsibilities.

Bodyweight Exercises

While cardio is vital for keeping your heart and lungs healthy, it’s also important to work strength training into your workout routine to ensure your muscles and bones remain strong and durable. In a house full of children and other adults, it can be difficult to keep a weight machine in rooms that are taken up by other furniture. By using your own bodyweight for exercise, you can still get your blood flowing without having to rely on cumbersome equipment.

Some effective bodyweight exercises include push-ups, sit-ups, and squats, all of which can be done in any bedroom or living room with adequate space. Even if you can only get a few sit-ups in between housekeeping chores, your body will thank you for working your muscles and keeping them well-conditioned.


Yoga



Yoga

Now that we’ve covered heart health and muscular strength, the next thing to focus on is flexibility. Staying flexible is something that a lot of busy parents are already familiar with, as life is already filled with so many things that take adaptability and patience. When it comes to building physical flexibility, however, one of the best exercises you can do is yoga. You also need very little to get started and Adriene has plenty of free Yoga videos on her youtube channel to get you started so you don't even have to opt for expensive classes. 

Yoga can be an incredibly helpful exercise because not only does it allow for increased flexibility, but it gives stressed parents a moment to centre themselves and relieve some stress. There are various yoga positions you can start with to build your balance and flexibility, and as you feel yourself become more comfortable with certain poses, you can move on to more sophisticated ones that will challenge your body. Similar to the exercises listed above, yoga also requires minimal equipment, as you can complete most poses with only the assistance of a cushioned yoga mat.

A family bike ride

When it comes to the weekend most parents have a bit more time to spare so if you are unable to be as active during the week, why not head out on a family bike ride with your kids, it's something that can be enjoyed by the whole family and is a great low impact way to get active and your blood pumping, you could even pack a picnic and have a ride around a local beauty spot. 


family bike ride


Being a parent is tough, but finding the time for regular exercise can lead to a marked improvement in your health and energy levels. Whether you decide to focus on cardio, bodyweight exercises, or yoga, you’ll be able to take greater control of your life when it feels like you’re being pulled in so many directions each day. Just remember that exercise takes the same dedication as everything else you do as a parent, and the only way to fully succeed is to make a regular commitment to your well-being.

07/05/2022

6 Awesome UK family friendly Festivals 2022


family festival


I don't know about you but I am excited about the prospect of festival season finally being back after a very bumpy two years which saw many festivals and events being cancelled (which was the right reason at the time). While of course the virus has not gone away it does to an extent appear to be more manageable and therefore summer festivals have finally got the green light to go ahead again. 

I've taken my kids to festivals ever since they were babies, in fact my youngest went to Just So Festival at the tender age of 5months. It's something we love to do as it offers a break away from normality and a chance to indulge the senses in music, art, creativity and street food, along with camping and a sense of getting back to nature while also connecting with others. 

Of course there are some festivals which are simply not tailored for the younger audience and others which main focus is children - I like to find a good balance between the two, a festival that offers something for all ages and is enjoyable for every member of the family. So I thought I would share my top picks for family friendly festivals in 2022 that should be on your summer bucket list.

1. Elderflower Fields, 27th -30th May, Sussex 

Elderflower fields is always one of the first festivals of the season, happening over May half term rather than the summer holidays, meaning you can get into the festival vibes early. Edlerflower fields is a fun family friendlydesigned especially for families with younger children and is a packed weekend full of music, nature, arts and crafts, set in the Sussex countryside. While they don't have big name headliners they do have an eclectic mix of indy artists to keep you entertained coupled with tons of activities such as bushcraft, circus skills, raft building, pottery and kayaking to name a few. Adult weekend tickets are £160, Child 4yrs+ is £80 and Children Under 4 is £8. 


The big retreat


2. The Big Retreat Festival, Pembrokeshire, 3rd - 6th June

The Big Retreat is the combination of a well being getaway and art festival brought together in a sunning location overlooking the Pembrokshire coastline. With over 200 curated experiences, classes, workshops and inspirational talks, along with a pretty cool music lineup (Reef & Toploader) there is something for everyone and there is plenty for children as well. I took my boys in 2019 and they loved it, you can read my review here, especially the immersive story telling sessions, family yoga and art & craft spaces where they could let their creativity fly. Adult weekend camping tickets are £184, Childrens weekend ticket 5-15yrs £84.50, Children under 5 free, Day tickets are also available. 

3. WOMAD, Malmesbury, 28th - 31st July

WOMAD is such a fantastic world music, arts and dance festival and is great for families, in fact children 13 and under go free! They have a whole area dedicated to kids where they can explore, create, learn, play and have an awesome time. The World of Children area runs from 9am to 7om each day an all the activities are free. The great thing is they cater for children of all ages from the Weenies dedicated space for under 5s to Teens who have their own tent with comfy sofas, jam sessions and space to chat and chill, really means there is something for everyone, along with a sellar international lineup. Adult 3 night weekend ticket is £205 (inc free parking), Teenage (14-17yrs) 3 night weekend ticket £105, Under 13's free.


music festival


4. The Green Gathering, Chepstow 4th - 7th August

The Green Gathering is such a unique and special festival as it's the original off-grid festival 100% powered by sun, wind and people. It's a space for those who love music, comedy and culture but also have an interest in low impact living, nature & being inspired to live a greener lifestyle. There is so much to see and do at this festival from storytelling, poets, DJ's, live music, crafts, weaving, permaculture you name it & the offerings for families, children and teens is amazing such as kids yoga, woodcraft, tie-dying, nature club, dressing up, a plabus with library and for older kids there is a welcoming area for teens to chill out as well as workshops, skillshares & games. Adult advanced weekend tickets are £120, Youth Ticket (11-15yrs) £55, Child ticket (6-10yrs) £20 and children 5 and under are free.

5. Camp Bestival Shropshire, 18th - 21st August

Very excited to hear Camp Bestival is expanding to Shropshire this year as well as their Dorest Festival which runs in July. Besides a pretty sellar lineup including Rag'n'bone Man and Mr Scruff there is just so many activities for the whole family including bush craft, their famous cardboard castle, inflatable church and dingle dell and for those who really want to connect with nature wild swimming and ice baths are also on the list. There is also a focus on wellness this year with comsic kids yoga, breathwork and sound meditation and if that's not your jam then there is plenty of foodie options, workshops and live music to enjoy. Adult weekend ticket is £190, Teen (13-17yrs) £140, 10-12yr olds £115, 5-9yr olds £95, Under 4's £75

6. Between the trees, South Wales,  26th - 28th August

Between the trees is a fairly new festival in South Wales with a focus to reconnect people with the natural world and revolves around the themes of science and nature alongside music, art, spoken word and creativity. There are lots of hands on workshops for all ages including art classes making mandalas and floral head-dresses, investigating the natural world, films, story telling & family friendly entertainment. The 100 acre festival woodland site is also perfect for long walks and forest bathing and there will be plenty of local food trucks. While it's a smaller festival it's also one of the more reasonably priced ones with both weekend and day tickets available. Adult weekend tickets are £110, Children 4-17yrs £50 and children under 4 are free, although you do need to purchase a separate camping pass if you plan to camp for the weekend at around £30 per tent. 


family festival

Tackle pet hair with the Hoover Upright 300

Hoover upright

*I was kindly given a Hoover Upright 300 in exchange for an honest review AD

As some of you may know just over a year ago we welcomed 1yr old mixed breed dog into our home (and our hearts) and I've enjoyed every element of being a dog owner, well except for the dog hair in the home, that's one thing I could do without! I quickly realised my vacuum wasn't up for the job and simply was not picking up enough of the hair, which in turn was also agitating my allergies. Despite the kids and I travelling or being outdoors exploring most of the time when we are home we like to relax and enjoy our space & having a clean & pet hair-free home is important. So when Hoover got in touch for me to try out their new Upright 300 which offers impressive features for pet owners, I couldn't wait.

I had already actually seen an advert for the Hoover Upright 300 on the TV, it looked really impressive but would it stand up to the test of my cat, dog and rather messy kids? I was keen to put it to the test and find out for myself. 


Hoover upright


My previous vacuum had also been heaving and rather cumbersome and as I am only 4ft11 and not very big, lugging a heaving vacuum around the house was hard work so I was really excited to hear that the new Hoover Upright 300 was going to be the companies lightest steerable vacuum to date. In fact, the Upright 300 weighs under 5kg which means it's easy for me to take upstairs and with it's 80-degree swivelling floorhead it also means it can get into all those nooks and crannies & it easily glides around my home with ease. 

Going back to pet hair, the Upright 300 has an Allergy Care H13 HEPA filter which is washable and traps allergens and helps to purify the air and I can say first hand my allergies have calmed somewhat since using this vacuum which is a massive positive for me. The vacuum also has a mini turbo brush specifically designed to help tackle stubborn pet hair & helps to lift and loosen it from your floors and furniture. 


Hoover vacuum


Overall I am really impressed with the Upright 300, it gathers so much pet hair (I was actually quick shocked as a lot of the hair you can't see when looking at the carpet) plus it doesn't lose any suction power and it also very easy to empty and clean. Design wise I love the blue shade, it looks neat, tidy and isn't an eyesore like some vacuums are, in fact, I think it's pretty stylish. I definitely give it the thumbs up and it looks like I'm not the only one with over 118 customers leaving positive reviews on reevoo.

The Hoover Upright 300 also comes with a 1yr warranty for extra peace of mind and is currently on sale for £129

Pet Vacuum
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