Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


8 things to do before a Family trip to a hot destination

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As we head towards summer many people are planning family trips abroad to warm and sunny destinations, travelling overseas is something we all look forward too, visiting beautiful countries such as Spain or Italy and enjoying fascinating cultures and people. However while this comes with a lot of excitement there are also some essential preparations we need to take to ensure everyone stays safe, healthy and has a good time. I thought I would share eight critical things that you and your family can do to prepare for a holiday in the sun.   

1. Pack loose-fitting clothes

Yes I know many pack outfits and styles for a breakaway (Instagram pictures come to mind) but do make sure you also take some practical and loose fitting clothes that help keep you cool and help you from overheating and feeling the effect of the heat, this is especially important for young children who just want to be comfortable and run around. 

2. Pack extra Sunscreen

You can never have enough sunscreen on a beach holiday so doubling up on the sunscreen is always a good idea as well as having some packed in your day bag and main luggage making it really accessible as soon as you get off the plane. Also, sunscreen is much cheaper at home and you will pay a premium buying it at a store near a beach. 

3. Carry Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Why do I sweat so much as soon as the sun comes out?" If so, then you need to look for a solution as soon as you can because most of the paradise and European summer destinations can get very hot. It may seem simple but making sure you pack some deodorant can help ensure you don't get caught out which can be a little embarrassing. 

4. Don't forget the Hat, Sunglasses and UV protective clothing 

We recently visited the Channel Islands and it was unseasonally warm and I was annoyed that I hadn't packed hats for the boys as a bucket hat is essential in hot weather and helps protect your head and neck. The same can be said for your eyes so investing in a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. For children packing some UV protective swimwear that covers most of the body will help alongside suncream to make sure their delicate skin doesn't feel the effects of the sun.  

5. Invest a child-friendly cameras

It's not only the adults that want to capture the holiday memories but also the kids. While my children are far from having phones of their own, my eldest who is 8 does have a camera which he enjoys capturing our adventures on. Getting him into photography also entrusting him with his own piece of tech has been a fun learning opportunity as well as encouraging personal responsibility. You don't have to buy a "kids camera" but rather a budget-friendly robust camera that takes a decent photo. 

6. Read Travel Guides by Others

When I travel I always read up "real" reviews by real people and with so many travelling enthusiasts around the world love documenting their travels on their respective social media accounts and blogs there is a wealth of information out there. Following these individuals and learning from their experiences can go a long way in preparing you for your trip and helping you find those hidden gems. You’ll not only know what to bring with you but also which places to visit and so on.

7. Learn the local language basics & get a translator app

I've just written a post about why it's important to learn the local language basics as it can really help to reduce stress as well as improve your overall travel experience. Many sunny destinations in Europe do not have English as a first language so one should expect it to be widely spoken. If you do run out of time or just have not got to gist with the local language than downloading a translator app can also be very handy.

8. Check you're up to date with your vaccinations

If you're travelling somewhere hot, especially exotic destinations, it's really important to make sure you all have your vaccines up to date as they can protect you against some serious and potentially fatal diseases found in other parts of the world. Just remember that some vaccines need to be given weeks in advance of the trip and are there to keep you and your family healthy. 

Travelling to other parts of the world, it is vital for you and your family to prepare in advance. Doing so will help eliminate many inconveniences that come your way. Remember to carry out extensive research on the best preparations for your vacation so that you are well equipped both physically, financially as well as psychologically. Last but not least, don’t forget to go out there and have as much fun as you can! Spain is indeed a beautiful country, and that’s enough a reason to have the time of your life during your stay.


Travelling Abroad? Why you should learn the local language

female travel

Travelling, especially as a family can be an exciting time, discovering new cultures, experiencing new places, trying out the local food and opening your mind to a different way of life. Travel, however, can at times also be fairly stressful so planning in advance I find is always key, knowing where you are staying and get acquainted with the map of the area can help you feel less disorientated but what I find the biggest help is having a basic grasp of the local language.

I remember once when I was a young girl travelling with my parents in Paris, one evening, them with a phrasebook in hand trying to negotiate buying some baguettes from a small bakery in the Montmartre district for a budget dinner on the go. I remember there being a lot of back and forth and misunderstanding but they persevered and in the end managed to communicate enough to be successful. My parents always instilled in me that we are guests in another country and should never expect them to speak our language but instead try and speak theirs no matter how basic our level is, it's a mark of respect and politeness and the response in my experience has always been warm and helpful.

If that's not enough to persuade you here are 3 reasons why you should learn the local language before travelling somewhere new

1. It makes your travels much easier

You don't need to be fluent by any stretch of the imagination but just knowing some of the basics when travelling in a non-english speaking country will go a far way and make your whole experience an easier one. There is nothing more daunting than travelling to a city and negotiating local transport when you have no idea of what anything says or ordering that much needed cup of coffee after a long day of exploring. Also having a grasp of basic numeracy in another language can help you from being taken advantage of when buying at the local market or store.


2. To fully immerse yourself in the country

The only way to really experience a place is to get to know its history and the people and being able to communicate even on a basic level with able you to immerse yourself in the local culture on a deeper level. It also opens you up to meeting more local people and seeing the city or town through their eyes and having more shared experiences. If you're serious about immersing yourself in the local way of life then do check out Couchsurfing, which I have used a few times, not only for a place to stay but just to meet up with locals in a city and go for coffee. When I was in Zagreb a local girl took me to see a black and white Croatian film at an Art house theatre and it was fantastic - I'd never had known about this if I hadn't connected via Couchsurfing.

3. Develop a new life-long skill

Learning a new language takes times and while the basics are a massive help you can return home with a new love for learning and developing your skills further and can build on what you already know and being able to speak another language can help with job opportunities as well. Learning a new language also helps to improve memory, the ability to problem solve and creativity and can be helpful to your general wellbeing as well as opening more of the world up to you.

I'm sure by this point I have convinced you of the many reasons why learning the local language when travelling is key, now what is the best way to learn before you go? Well, there are a few.


1. Use a language school or online course

Gone are the days when you have to go at a set time each week, nowadays you can do most things in a time that suits you, in your own home but many providers still provide that face to face interaction via Skype and offer just this which is amazing and means you still get all the benefits of one to one learning with a native speaker without having to leave the sofa! There are also some super easy to use apps and online language tools to help brush up your knowledge such as Duolingo, which is worth checking out.

2. Swap Language skills

There are plenty of people who want to improve their English skills, you may even know somewhere already, so meeting up on a weekly basis over coffee and doing a language swap is a great way to learn from a native speaker while also helping them improve their skills. These kinds of swaps are great as they can help build friendships and skills in a casual environment.

3. Watch Foreign films

When we are learning a new language we need to get ourselves acquainted with proper pronunciation and what better way than to enjoy a foreign film over the weekend? I love watching European movies, especially ones based in France or Italy. There is also plenty of resources and inspiration on YouTube that can help you get on your way and works well in addition to using a language course. 

When you are travelling in a foreign country you never have to feel embarrassed about trying to speak the local language especially as most locals are likely to be impressed that you're trying to communicate in the local dialect even if it's far from perfect. The great thing about learning a new language is you never know where it may take you or who you may meet during your journey so what not start today?

learning language


Easter Adventures to be had across the UK

Easter holidays

The days are getting longer, and the kids are on their Easter holiday break so if you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to keeping the kids entertained over the school break, don't worry, I have it sorted.

There are eggs-cellent events for families taking place across the Easter school break all over the UK – and they don't all involve eating chocolate! Whether you want to take the family to an Easter-egg hunt or take a trip to a museum, check out my top Easter activities for kids in the UK.

RHS Flower Show Cardiff 12-14th April

For the past three years I have taken my boys to the RHS Flower show and have always had a blast as there is an array of things to see and do and makes for a great day out. Located in Bute Park in the heart of the city, it the perfect way to get some garden inspiration as well as encourage children to get outdoors and learn about plants, flowers and wildlife in a fun way. You can get tickets here and also check out my vlog from last year. Also each paying adult can bring in two children under 16 for Free!

RHS flower show

Warner Bros Studio Tour – Leavesden

Enter the breathtaking world of Harry Potter and take a behind-the-scenes look at this worldwide phenomenon. Warner Bros Studio Tour in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, gives you an incredible glimpse into the magical world of one of the most successful movie series of all time. On the tour, you’ll be transported to an enchanting world bursting with special effects, amazing costumes, legendary props and mythical creatures. Take a look at if you need more info. 

Storytelling and Music Sessions (0 to 4-year-olds) – Royal Albert Hall

Storytelling veterans Paul Rubinstein, Becky Dixon and Samantha Sutherland will take little ones on an interactive journey through the history of the world-famous venue. They’ll present a series of sessions for babies and toddlers, with a view to engage and encourage communication between parents/carers. The kids can have a go on some musical instruments, too, and enjoy singing, movement and stories.  The aim? To develop self-confidence, coordination and awareness through sounds, songs, rhythms and rhymes, as well as learn all about the hall’s musical history. The sessions run up until 25 April and tickets cost £5

Free Gingerbread Baking Masterclass – GAIL’s Bakery (3 venues in London)

Try your hand at a spot of gingerbread baking and decorating at GAIL’s Bakery this Easter. With bunny cookie cutters and rolling pins at the ready, you and the kids will use GAIL’s famous speculoos biscuit dough to make your delicious creations. Once you’ve baked your handmade treats, kids can then decorate them with icing before taking them home to devour – along with other GAIL’s goodies. And rest assured: there’ll be enough for you to eat, too! 

easter gingerbread

Leeds Castle – Kent

Walk off all the Easter chocolate at Leeds Castle. Stroll through the glorious woodland and admire the blossoming parklands. Marvel at the rainbow tulips in the beautiful grounds and witness daffodils bedecking the ancient moat. There’s a family-friendly event this Easter at the castle with the Junk Orchestra. Little ones can get creative with the skilfully assembled pieces of ‘rubbish’ and help create an awesome structure. They’ll place all their creations on the Pavilion Lawn which was erected by respected eco artist Sarah Turner. 

Easter Egg Hunts and Chocolate Party – Whitemead Forest Park 

Located in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, Whitemead Forest Park promises a fun-filled Easter break. Stay in a woodland lodge, cabin (with hot tub), glamping pod, caravan or modern apartment.
The popular family resort even has its own on-site swimming pool, spa, restaurant and bar. What’s more, there’s a raft of kids’ activities on-scene – namely the site-wide Easter-egg hunts. And let’s not forget the exclusive chocolate party where kids get involved in loads of madcap chocolate games!

Eureka! – Halifax

Featuring six interactive zones, this National Children’s Museum event lets your youngsters learn about the incredible world of science and technology this Easter holiday. Taking place every day from Saturday 6 April to Sunday 28 April, your kids will be totally awestruck. They’ll watch science demonstrations and learn about everything from deserts to the human body. For a truly one-off Easter weekend, how about taking the whole family to meet the Easter Bunny here? Created by Same Difference Arts, you can come here from Friday 19 to Monday 22 April.

Easter Egg Hunts with the National Trust 

Every year National Trust properties pair up with Cadburys and put on an array of fun activites and easter egg hunts. We have taken part in two over the years, once at Aberdulais Falls and the other at Dyffryn Gardens. The hunts involve searching for clues and figuring out puzzles and gets the kids outdoors, running around and being active with of course a little treat at the end. It's always a fun way to spend the day and National Trust properties are of course inspiring places to be such as Bodiam Castle in Sussex, one of the most atmospheric fairytale castles and great for the whole family.

Springtime activities

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