Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


Lockdown Life Skills - what new skills many of us learnt during lockdown

bath bombs
We tried our hand at making bath bombs

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With much of the past year spent in lockdown, life as we know it has been flipped upside down, even when restrictions are lifted, life at the moment isn't the same. Gone are the days of rushing here and there and travelling for hours to work with many opting to work from home for the long haul, has meant for some extra time saved on the commute and more time to try new things 

These are some of the most popular hobbies people have taken up over the past year


It’s no surprise that a lot of us decided to take up running as our “one form of exercise”. With many calling it a “lockdown lifesaver”, research from Macmillan Cancer Support has found that almost one in 10 Brits have started running or jogging to look after their mental health during the pandemic. Running app Couch to 5K has become hugely popular and the London Marathon in October is set to be the biggest ever.

black and white photography


Lockdown has certainly taught us to appreciate our surroundings and what is on our doorstep, with many people heading outdoors for their daily exercise and taking their camera along with them. There’s been no end of budget-friendly online courses that many of us have signed up to in the hope of learning a bit more about photography.

Cutting Hair

With hairdressers being closed for months on end and though many women decided to love their roots and embrace their split ends & men growing out their hair and beards, many have still felt the need to tidy their locks. During the first lockdown, web searches for 'How to cut men's hair' increased by an incredible 632%. With many buying their own set of hairdressing scissors to make sure they do the job properly, we could have a generation of talented barbers on our hands.

Learning How to Cook

Many have been spending more time in the kitchen than ever before, so many have taken advantage and tried to increase their cookery knowledge. It takes little investment but promises to deliver a lot of satisfaction. Some of us have mastered the art of baking bread, while others have been learning to make pasta or pursuing the recipe for the perfect cookie. The majority of us, of course, can now bake banana bread with our eyes closed.

family bike ride


Riding a Bike

OK – I'm talking mainly about children here. Huge numbers of youngsters learnt how to ride a bike in lockdown, as it’s a great way to get outside and there were far fewer dangers on the roads. The good weather helped and now with children back at school, many are ditching the car or the bus and choosing to cycle to class instead.

With so many new skills being mastered, it’s no surprise that towards the end of 2020, more than half of us were planning to make a change to our careers as a direct result of the pandemic. Life may have been very difficult for the past year, but a lot of us are leaving lockdown with new talents that could change our lives – or even just bring us a little extra joy.


Ways to Pass the Time When Travelling

London travel

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While we are not doing as much travelling as we were pre-covid, things are slowly but surely looking more positive, with local travel around the UK already starting to happen, here are a few ways to help pass the time and boredom when you hit the road. Firstly it's all about the preparation and making a trip as organised and relaxed as possible so if you plan to travel in your car it's well worth having it checked over, or perhaps a partial service to make sure it's in good condition, or if you use a train or flying, make sure your passports are up to date and double-check departure times as well as local Covid regulations. 

But travelling, of course, is not all about essential preparations, that's just one small part of it, having activities planned that will make you enjoy the journey should also be considered especially as not all journies take the time you expected. Delays and mishaps are to be expected when travelling so having a few things on hand to pass the time, especially when travelling with kids, is always a good idea. Our expert Lucas Goldberg (check his profile), seeks to inform you how to pass time during your journey.

Listening to your favourite music

Music is a great way of relaxing the mind and listening to your favourite music is one of the best options for making the journey enjoyable. If you want to have a better listening experience, carry a pair of noise-cancelling headphones with you. That will be a great way of enjoying the journey without disturbing those around you.

Make a Kids activity pack

Keeping children happy and entertained on a long journey can be a lifesaver so putting together a fun activity pack is really important. Firstly make sure you have plenty of water and snacks, to keep hangry moments at bay, then if your child does use screens things like tablets and games can be really useful when travelling, along with some puzzles, sticker books, magnetic board games such as chess and a notepad, pens and stickers. 

kids stickers

Play online casino game

When was the last time you played a casino game when travelling? The majority of Canadians play casino games often when travelling than in other places. That’s when they are free from the distraction they would get when in the house or with friends.

Playing casino games is currently convenient considering that most of the games are available online and accessible via smartphones. Furthermore, there are downloadable mobile apps that make mobile gaming possible anywhere. There are also new online casinos in Canada that you can always visit and have some good time. I also love apps for other kinds of online games such as scrabble go. 
Get into deeper conversations

When travelling, don’t let the opportunity of connecting with new friends pass you. Use the chance to introduce yourself to those seated next to you. After that, start conversations with them and seek to know about their culture and other important aspects.

A better way of starting a conversation is having an array of topics to discuss with them. Choosing topics relating to religion, politics, or culture is an excellent way of doing that. If you are travelling together in a group, starting a conversation will be the easiest.

It will be a better opportunity of reflecting on past events you attended together or debate on productive ideas. Before you know it, you will be almost reaching your destination. Conversations are among the ways to pass time when travelling.

Listen to audiobooks

Listening to audiobooks is a great way to pass the time while travelling. There are many platforms with a collection of audiobooks. Your work will be to select the best and listen to it.

Downloading a few copies before the journey is another excellent way of preparing for it. That’s because network stability may be an issue for you as you travel. Getting a few podcasts is also among the few Ideas for making the journey great.


Watching your favourite TV shows as you proceed with the journey

If watching TV programs is your hobby, catching up with your favourite program during the journey will be a great way of making the long journey shorter. It’s also a way of making boring journeys better. Watching your favourite program will be possible through your smartphone. Carrying a laptop with you is a great idea.

If you don’t have a stable network, opting for a movie will be a great way of enjoying the journey. Movies are the best way of keeping yourself occupied till you reach the destination.

Above some of the ways to pass time as you travel. You can select those that suit you best.


How to reduce your carbon footprint while travelling

sustainable travel

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We’re all excited by the prospect of leaving the local area we’ve been more or less bound to for the past 12 months and heading away to explore the world again.But one important lesson that’s been confirmed to us since the pandemic struck is that when people don’t travel, the world is a cleaner place. So how can we continue to see and love our planet without creating a huge carbon footprint? Here are some tips...

Use green transport

Obviously, there are times when avoiding taking to the air is impossible, such as travelling from the UK to New Zealand. But for shorter journeys to other European destinations consider taking the bus or train. After all, why the rush? You’re on holiday!

The easiest way to minimise the carbon footprint from the transport you use is to holiday within the UK and take public transport to your destination. It can be a much more relaxing way to travel than by car, and you tend to see more of the landscape through which you travel, as you’ve nothing else to worry about.

Also, think about the transport you use once you’re actually on holiday. Do you need a hire car, or could you travel by bike? Do you need to go anywhere at all, or could you just enjoy spending a week lazing around your beautiful destination?

local food

Eat local

This is an important one, as well as a thoroughly enjoyable one. Shop at the local markets, choose restaurants that serve local food. You’ll discover more new tastes than you thought existed, it greatly enhances the cultural experience of your trip away, and the food miles will be cut dramatically.

Choose eco-friendly accommodation

Choose those that have made a commitment to cutting their carbon footprint. They might be using renewable energy, sourcing local cuisine, are off-grid such as glamping or offsetting their carbon. If you make it clear to everyone that this is why you’ve chosen this particular hotel, other accommodation providers will realise this is a way to attract new visitors and will put their efforts into cutting their carbon footprints too.



Offset your own carbon footprint

This is accepting the fact that your trip will harm the environment to some extent, despite your best efforts to minimise this. Instead, you can buy carbon offsets to neutralise your impact. That would mean giving money to an organisation that plants trees, creates green renewable energy, or a whole host of similar schemes.

It’s not always comfortable to consider the contradiction between your desire for a greener planet and the problems you cause the world from your desire to travel. But if you manage the issue head-on, you’ll see there are plenty of ways you can reduce your impact to a minimum, and perhaps even help the situation by encouraging others to do likewise.


Useful gadgets and tech for your next adventure abroad


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While we cannot travel much at the moment, hopefully, things will slowly change for the better soon and we can start getting excited about planning for our next adventures. Wherever you are in the world, chances are you’ll see someone using at least one form of technology as they go about their day. The most obvious one is a smartphone, with our phones capable of performing a whole host of functions they have become quickly embedded in our lives, not only for communication but for photography and sharing our travels with others. There is also a range of travel tech many modern-day holidaymakers can’t seem to get enough of it.

Some of the products on offer are a tad gimmicky, promising to provide a range of functionalities when in actual fact, they hardly deliver. So I thought I would share a few tech products that are beneficial to any traveller and enable even the most tiresome of journeys to go a bit more smoothly. Just like a comfortable travel pillow or a camera capable of capturing high-quality images as you venture through Italy, or a portable white noise machine to help your little one sleep, the options are vast.

With holidaymakers turning to a number of popular travel tech and gadgets in 2021, I thought I’d narrow it down to some of the best products ahead of your next trip away.

Osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal

Being placed in charge of capturing some memorable holiday snaps or footage can be a big ask, especially if you’re only using a smartphone. To improve your chances of nailing the challenge, consider purchasing an Osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal. This clever device will hold your phone steadily in place thanks to its built-in controls, which allow you to move the phone in a sweeping motion, enabling you to take solid images without the worry of having any shaky or blurry shots.


PowerCore 20100 Power Bank

I personally always carry a portable charger with me on my travels and adventures because you can never be sure when you may have access to a charger, especially as we have become increasingly reliant on our smartphone devices not only for taking photos but for email, booking details or Sat Nav to help locate a local restaurant or to pass the time on a coach by trying games online for a change. Keeping a battery fully charged can be a challenge, though, particularly if you’re travelling from location to location. In order to make sure your battery doesn’t die, buy a PowerCore 20100 Power Bank. This power bank is easy to carry around, and it offers two USB ports so you can charge two devices at the same time.

No Bounds House of Marley Bluetooth Speaker

I have one of these speakers myself and can vouch for how well made they are and the quality of sound -  perfect for a little bit of music when you're on the beach or having a picnic on a hike. It's also pretty robust being water and dustproof and has a 10hr playtime so isn't going to flake out on your mid-song. The No bounds speaker is also crafted with sustainable cork which is pretty cool. 

Nano smart backpack

Nayo Defensor Anti-theft Smart Backpack

The Nayo Smart Anti-theft backpack is perfect for those who are travelling with high-value tech such as a laptop and camera that you want to keep safe, along with your passport and travel documents. The Nayo Defensor makes it really hard for any pickpocketers to gain access to and has locking zippers, slash-proof and waterproof fabric and secret pockets along with an ergonomic design making it comfortable to carry. 

OVO Travel-Size Iron and Steamer

Creased or wrinkled clothes can be a real pain in the backside for people while they’re on an adventure abroad. To make sure you always look your best, consider purchasing the OVO Travel-Size Iron and Steamer. This miniature iron and steamer works brilliantly, and it only weighs 1.6 lbs, too. 

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