Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


How to spend 24hrs in Nottingham

Nottingham castle

Over the past few years, my children and I have developed a love for tabletop role-playing games, model-building and boardgames. Initially, it started with a few Pokemon cards and Airfix models and has since developed into my kitchen table being taken over with Warhammer miniatures, Citadel paints and Codex books (play manuals). Like all parents, I try to support my children's interests and hobbies as much as possible, which recently lead us to Nottingham, not only the home of Robin Hood but also Warhammer World.

That's the thing with these types of games, one leads to another and as we started learning more about the RPG community in the UK and quickly we put a visit to Warhammer World in Nottingham on our bucket list and decided to head up there for my son's birthday, in what felt like our first RPG pilgrimage. Of course, like all our travels, we wanted to get the most out of our time in Nottingham and see as much of the city as possible, so here is what we got up to in our 24hrs in Nottingham, on a budget of course.

We had debated driving up but managed to find cheap tickets from Chepstow to Nottingham, with an extra discount using our family travel rail card, as well as there being free park and ride. Our train ride up from Chepstow was fairly stress-free, although not as comfortable as hoped as Cross Country Rial uses very old stock on this line, with minimal leg room and take a portable battery charger as there are no plugs, but other than that the 3hr journey was seamless. 

Standing next to the Robin Hood Statue

Our feet hit the ground running as soon as we arrived into Nottingham and leaving the train station we headed straight to the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, one of the oldest pubs in the UK and built into the side of stone caves with a fascinating and rather wonky interior. This unique public house deserved a quick stop for cold refreshments after our train trip. The pub is conveniently located at the bottom of Castle Rd and while sadly Nottingham Castle is currently closed it's still worth walking up to the castle to not only take in some lovely views but also to pay a visit to Robin Hood and Friar Tuck and Little John's statues.

After a brief walk up to the castle & statues we headed to the Kitty Cafe which we had rebooked and was our first visit to a "cat cafe" and something both the kids and I were very excited about. Sadly the food wasn't much to write home about although who really goes to a Cat cafe for food? We really enjoyed the experience though of being surrounded by such lovely cats, all of which are available to be rehomed. As the cafe is a charity and rescue centre you need to pay a welfare charge for your booking on top of food purchases, it came to £17 for the 3 of us and that secures a 1hr slot but it is a unique experience.

Kitty Cafe Nottingham


After our time with all the gorgeous cats was over we headed to the Old Market Square for a quick stroll before heading to our hotel. The square is actually the largest public space after London's Trafalgar Square and has some cool fountains and statues. 

We booked a family room for 1 night at Premier Inn Goldsmith Street for just under £50 which was a great deal, especially as the hotel is within easy walking distance of the city and well connected with a tram line right outside the hotel. Once checked in we finally had some downtime after what was a busy start to the day, in the early evening we decided to head back out into town and grab a bite to eat for supper before having an early evening as we had another action-packed day ahead. 

We always sleep well in a Premier Inn and after a very filling breakfast (who doesn't love a Premier Inn Breakfast) and checking out, we walked over to Nottingham Arboretum, a beautiful Victorian park with a pond, rose garden and Chinese bell tower only a 2 min walk from the hotel and a nice place to run off the excess energy before heading to the piste de resistance that was Warhammer World. Once we had filled our lungs with fresh air we jumped onto the Toton Lane Tram and headed straight to Warhammer, jumping off at Gregory Street station only a few mins walk from WW. 

Nottingham Arboretum

The majority of Warhammer World is completely free to enter and explore, it's only the special exhibition floors that you need a ticket for, but I highly recommend it, especially as you can revisit the exhibition as much as you want in one day and the prices are very reasonable with children under 11 free, 12-17yrs £5 and adults £7.5

As I said though there is plenty on show that is completely free of charge and right from the start excitement was high as the kids posed with the huge Ultramarine Rhino vehicles at the entrance of Warhammer World. As soon as you step inside you are faced with the Giant Nurgling and Lurtz Statue before heading upstairs to the huge Warhammer stores and workshop spaces where you can paint a free miniature. Of course you also need to stop by Bugman's Bar for some middle earth inspired food and see the Witch-King sword hanging up.

Warhammer World

As we are not sure when we will get the chance to visit again, we, of course, visited the ticketed exhibition space and it did not disappoint, with thousands of miniatures and impressive worlds created and on display, it's a feast for the eyes.

I would say you need at least 3hrs in Warhammer World, if not more, to really appreciate everything on offer and the staff are always on hand to help answer any questions. It's also very family-friendly and children are welcomed and encouraged to ask questions and paint their own miniature to take away.

We spent around 4hrs here and had planned to spend another 2 but while sitting down and eating I thought I would double check our train times, only to see that the train we had reservations on had been cancelled and so after another quick browse in the shop and picking up one or two things to add to our Warhammer collection at home, we had to race back to the tram and head to the train station to try and find another way back home. 3 trains later and we finally managed to get back to Chepstow, had I not checked our times we would have been stranded, so grateful that we still packed everything we wanted to into the day.

Warhammer World


Ethical Fashion Choices for Supporting Pride


Most people know that Pride/LGBTQ month starts in June and all the festivities that go along with it and is a great time to support the community whether are a part of it or an Ally. If you and your friends are going to a local Pride festival or parade are you thinking about what you are going to wear? It’s an exciting celebration to be a part of for all ages and many have quieter family-friendly areas. Fun, fashion, colour, music and friendship are all a part of the Pride celebrations.

If you are thinking about an outfit for Pride, or just want to build a wardrobe that supports the LGBTQ+ community,  such as a portion of your purchases going to a local lgbtq charity, artist, designer or creator, you need to think about the impact of your fashion and whether or not your fashion choices are sustainable and ethical.

What is sustainable and ethical fashion?

Sustainable and ethical fashion refers to clothing that has been made with the environment and textiles industry workers in mind. Unfortunately, the fashion industry is notorious for its environmental impact and the exploitation of its workers. This is why it is important that brands start to take responsibility for their impact and find ways to lessen their adverse impacts.

There are so many ways that fashion brands can make a difference in relation to social justice and the environment. These ways include:

Paying their employees a fair wage
Making sure their factories are safe and comply with safety regulations
Recycling or using older clothes to create new garments or styles
Raising awareness of important social and environmental issues on their brand’s social media
Avoiding greenwashing and organising volunteering events
Donating to charities
Supporting small independent businesses
Using recyclable materials in packaging and clothing

Small changes can mean a lot when it comes to making our planet a better place to live. This is why it is so important that we do our best to challenge fashion brands that do not take responsibility for their products.


Fashion and Pride

The community plays a large part in the fashion industry, but when Pride month comes around, this community does end up experiencing something similar to greenwashing, which is where a business announces it is more eco-friendly than it actually is. This is known as rainbow washing.

Rainbow washing is where a business tries to make its fashion or overall brand look like it supports the LGBTQ+ community, but only explicitly for Pride month. Many fashion brands try to do this during Pride month and will advertise rainbow or related products, in hopes of selling more.

Unfortunately, a lot of these companies do produce a lot of environmental waste and do not necessarily fairly employ their workers. So, not only are they taking away business from LGBTQ+-run businesses, but they are also exploiting their employees and causing a lot of environmental damage.

It is important that we call out these companies when we see that they are rainbow-washing. For instance, some fast-fashion brands outsource their Pride-related materials from Turkey, China or Myanmar. These are countries that do have laws in place that discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community. So, it is important to not support brands that effectively endorse, condone, or excuse this type of behaviour.

Supporting Local Businesses

Nowadays, there are many smaller businesses for fashion that are related to Pride and are run by people in the community. It is important to let the community represent its own brand. By supporting LGBTQ+ local businesses in your area, you can make a difference and support the community as an ally.

A lot of these businesses try to produce ethical and sustainable fashion, some of which would be perfect for Pride! So, make sure to research your area carefully to find the right brand for you.

Are you ready to build your sustainable and ethical wardrobe for Pride?

Honestly, it can be really tempting to buy clothes online without doing much research into them. You want to look your best and stand out during Pride. Expression means a lot to people and you deserve to feel comfortable, however, it is also important that your clothing comes from the right brands that are sustainable and ethical.

There is LGBTQ+ Pride clothing for everyone and you deserve to feel good while you wear it. So, make your fashion choices count and do your part for supporting the LGBTQ+ community.



6 of the best board & card games to take when travelling

Canary Wharf

When it comes to travelling with kids, especially when long distances, layovers and potential delays, you want something on hand that is light, easy to play and entertaining as well as space saving. When we interrailed for 3 weeks across Europe each of my kids had a small backpack, which they were responsible for and contained their water bottle, notepad, and small stuffed toy and they each had at least 2 travel games. On our first day, our train was delayed for nearly 3hrs and these card and travel games really helped to keep boredom at bay. 

Here are 10 board and card games I would personally recommend packing if you are travelling with children this year. 

1. Top Trump's

The great thing about Top Trumps is that they take up minimal space, are very light and there is so much choice when it comes to the theme of your deck. My kids have nature-based ones, dinosaur ones, sports ones etc and it's such an easy game that most children 4yrs+ can enjoy it. There is a reason why it's sold more than 10 million packs around the world and we love it. 

travel chess

2.  Magnetic Travel Chess

Chess is always a winner in my mind as no game is the same and it's also a great way to meet other travellers (in my experience). Both of my kids know how to play chess and it's a great way to keep the mind sharp while travelling. 

3. Uno

We love Uno as it's a fun and face-paced card game that most children 6yrs+ can grasp and can be played with anywhere from 2 to 10 people meaning the whole family can take part and it also takes up minimal space in your luggage.  


4. Pokemon TCG

Once you grasp the basics of the Pokemon Trading card game it can be so addictive to play and is a great way to introduce strategy play to kids (and adults). Again each child only needs one pack to play so is a nice pocket-friendly game to take on your travels. What I also love about Pokemon is that things like booster packs are sold all over the world so my boys love to pick up international booster packs with their pocket money and it's such a great game to keep expanding with things like a Pokemon elite trainer box

5. Exploding kittens

My children taught me how to place Exploding kittens after their neighbour got the game and it's so much fun and guaranteed laughs. Everything you need comes in a small box and this is one of the games we took with us on our interrail trip as it's easy for both child children and adults to grasp and can be played with 2-5 people which is perfect for siblings and small families. 

6. Battleship grab and go

Who isn't a fan of battleships? Now initially you wouldn't think this is the type of game to take on your travels but the grab-and-go version is fantastic as they have managed to size everything into a small and compact box and is great for two players and can really help pass the time when you are delayed or on a long train or flight. 

There are plenty of other travel-friendly games out there but these are the ones we have tried and tested and therefore recommend but would love to hear what your favourite travel games are. 

Italian travels


8 Welsh festivals to put on your summer bucket list

The Big reatret

Summer is nearly upon us and for many that can only mean one thing, festivals! As they say music is the source and combined with camping, good food, meeting new people and stepping away from the normal day-to-day reality, festivals are always a highlight on our summer bucket list, plus children of all ages love festivals and I say this from years of experience. 

While Wales doesn't have Glastonbury, it is often referred to as the "land of song" and for a good reason, with its rich musical heritage and is now home to some incredible medium and small festivals that are well worth checking out. Here are my top picks for the best Welsh music festivals of 2023

In It Together Festival, Margam, Port Talbot, May 26th-28th

Set to be one of the most diverse lineups of the year, In it Together Festival, despite being fairly new to the scene is shaking things up. You can expect to see Natalie Imbruglia, The Kooks, Anne-Marie, Kelis and The Vamps to name a few along with a fairground, immersive theatre and a children's area. They also have various camping options for a family field to glamping. 

Adult weekend tickets with camping is £186.15 and day tickets are £71.75 for adults and £27.75 for children.

The Big Retreat 1st-4th June

Located on the Pembrokeshire coastline, The Big Retreat truly has one of the most spectacular locations. It's also very much a hybrid festival that seeks to engage all your senses from adventure, well-being, taste, and music and nourish both your body and soul, this festival offers so much. A weekend ticket gives you access to over 300 experiences from wild swimming, bushcraft, yoga, workshops, and foraging, along with a stellar music lineup including Scouting for Girls, Toploader and a DJ set from Huey Morgan. My kids and I attended this festival in 2019 and had a blast and would highly recommend it, especially if you want to delve deeper into all things health and well-being. 

Adult weekend tickets including camping £219, family weekend camping £149 pp, under 5's free and day tickets are available.

food festival

Pride Cymru, Cardiff, 7-8th June

One of the most popular events on the Cardiff calendar is always Pride Cymru, which brings music, colour, love and equality to the capital. The march, which usually takes place on Saturday through Cardiff City Centre is free to watch and is fully inclusive and accessible to everyone.

The Festival part takes place on the ground of Cardiff Castle and you need to purchase a ticket to attend. There will also be a market and kids' area along with food vendors. They are still announcing the lineup but so far have announced that Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Claire Richards will be performing. 

Adult day tickets are £15, Child ticket £5 and Children under 5 free 

Vintage For Victory, Cardiff - Fri 7-9th July

This is truly unique, family-friendly, nostalgia-loving festival is one you won't forget. Inspired by the 1940's, 50's & 60's this festival you can expect some incredible vintage fashion and music. This boutique festival is now in its 6th year, taking place within easy reach of Cardiff city centre, in The Library Gardens, Whitchurch. 

While the music is fairly niche, there is plenty of it across two stages, with a very lively lineup that caters to all ages as well as Jive and Lindy hop lessons to get your dancing the day away. There is also going to be a full-size replica spitfire and hurricane aircraft, period vehicles and re-enactors keeping people entertained all weekend, along with a vintage fun fair, fashion, street food and big-screen outdoor cinema. 

Adult weekend tickets are £60, Youth (16-21yrs) £50 and Under 16's Free when accompanied by a paying adult. If you want to camp there is a separate ticket £45 for 3 nights. 

Beyond the border
Storytellers at Beyond the Border

Beyond the Border Festival, Carmarthenshire 7-9th July

The UK's biggest storytelling festival and this year celebrate 30 years of the festival, making it that little bit extra special. My boys and I have attended this festival twice, in 2014 and 2018 and both times we loved it, such rich and engaging storytelling, music, performances and food in stunning surroundings. 
Situated near Dinefwr castle, the festival is all about celebrating the diverse communities of Wales in the many languages of this land, including storytellers from Wales, the UK and the world. There is also an array of workshops, inspiring talks, outdoor arts, walks,  circus experiences and plenty of ways to unwind and relax, this is a wonderful family-friendly weekend in a unique location. 

Adult weekend ticket (camping not included) £154, Children under 17yrs £66. Camping pitch £22 per tent.

Steelhouse Festival, Ebbw Vale, 28-30th July 

If you like rock music then this festival is one for you! Celebrating 12 hard rocking years in a stunning location on the edge of the Brecon Beacons. Purposely with only one main stage to ensure no band clashes means you will get to see the whole line up and every night after the stage closes the beer tent keeps everyone going with Rock DJ sets. The headliners this year are Black Stone Cherry, Airbourne, Kris Barras and you also have the chance to get some merch signed at the Planet Rock signing tent.

You can also expect award-winning locally crafted ales, a fully stocked cocktail bar, street food vendors, camping within a short walk from the arena and the Mini moshers play pit kids area, making this a festival suitable for all ages.

Adult weekend ticket £145, Children under 14yrs £20, camping ticket per person £25

Green gathering

The Green Gathering, Chepstow, 3-6th August 

The original off-grid festival is one that everyone should experience at some point. We went last year for the first time and really enjoyed it, such a brilliant atmosphere and great for families. Four days of low-impact living, in a gorgeous location, with so much going on, every nook bursting with music and creativity and all powered by sun, wind and people. 

As I said there is so much to see and do at this festival, with over 100 incredible acts along with talks, workshops, community crafts and campaigns, permaculture, green market, organic food, kids areas, teen space, library bus and many more. 

Adult weekend ticket £130, Young Adult (16.17yrs) £80, Youth Ticket (11-15yrs) £55, Child (6-10yrs) £20 and under 5's free. Day tickets are also available.  

Between the trees, Merthyr Mawr, 25th-27th August

3 days of nature, science, music, dance and creative arts along the Welsh coastline. This family-friendly festival is all about reconnecting with nature in a stunning location. It has a stellar lineup this year including Seth Lakeman along with a medley of authors, speakers, poets and talks on things like conservation and sustainability, films, hands-on science workshops, immersive walks, creative arts and well-being sessions.   

Adult weekend ticket £135, Child (4-17yrs) £60, children under 4 free, camping pitch from £30

Welsh festival

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