Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

19/09/2021

7 Essentials for hiking in Autumn

autumn hiking

*This post contains affiliate links 

As we slowly wave goodbye to summer and say hello to Autumn and the colder months ahead, getting outdoors is just as important for our overall wellbeing. Although, unlike those warm summery days where you can head out on a hike with just some sunscreen, water, in a t-shirt and shorts, well a little bit more planning Is needed as the temperature drops, to ensure you have fun and stay safe. 

Autumn is one of the nicest times to get out into the forest or head on a walk up to a trig point or mountain summit as the landscape is full of change, with golden and brown hues from the fallen leaves & kids enjoy this time of the year as well, making it the perfect season for family hikes. 

So I thought I would share the essentials I pack on any autumn hike

1. Extra Layers

As the weather is very changeable this time of the year, while it may feel mild at the start of your hike, if your heading higher up to a summit, it will without a doubt be colder the higher you go, as well as the temperature drop later in the day, so do prepare for that with extra layers such as a fleece jumper and woolly hat.

2. Waterproofs

The worst thing is getting caught by rain on a hike when you are miles always from the car and no waterproofs in sight, what it's even worse is when it starts to get cold, in fact, it can be dangerous. So a lined waterproof jacket is a must at this time of the year and waterproof trousers isn't a bad idea either.

3. A good pair of socks

I can't stress how important a good pair of walking socks are, not only will they keep your feet warm but also help prevent blisters. A good pair of socks will also be breathable, help regulate temperature and wick away sweat to help keep your feet dry even in the wettest of weather. 


hiking boots


4. Hiking boots

While you may be able to get through summer with a simple pair of trainers, Autumn brings with it more wet and damp conditions which can also mean more treacherous terrain so having a decent pair of waterproof or Gortex lined hiking boots that offers better support as well as needing a rugged sole for better traction on slippery surfaces. The more comfortable your shoes or boots the more enjoyable the hike

5. Headlamp or torch

In the UK as soon as we start heading into the colder months, daylight hours drastically shorten and it's easy to get caught out on the trail with evenings getting darker earlier so it's always a good idea to have a headlamp or small portable torch just in case you find yourself in need of some light. 

6. Mobile phone charger

We rely on our phones for everything these days, including using trail finder apps such as the Ordnance survey or my kids favourite outdoor adventure app - Geocaching, of course, these things drain your battery and if your hiking somewhere remote it's also your connection to the outside world in case of an emergency 

7. First aid kit

As I said the terrain can become somewhat more treacherous and slippery in autumn and winter so it's worth having a small first aid kit with you, especially if your hiking with kids. You can easily put a mini kit together at home containing things such as plasters, hand sanitisers, antiseptic cream and a few painkillers. One last thing always pack more water than you think your will need.

The main thing as always is to have fun and having the right equipment certainly helps with that as you will feel more comfortable, which is what you want when heading outdoors. 


Hiking Wales



13/09/2021

Slowing down at Fforest, West Wales

fforest


Fforest Farm, near Cardigan in West Wales, has become well known among those who seek a place to slow down and step away from the modern world for a few days and reconnecting with nature without any compromise on comfort and luxury, so of course, I was interested to see what it was all about.

Summertime here is pricey (and busy) so I would recommend going at an off-peak time like we did, it's quieter and prices drop somewhat making spring and autumn a great time to get away.

Fforest has an array of accommodation options from their chic Geodestic domes with log burners and Kata Cabins, all located in stunning meadows or forest settings. You can also go for the Garden or Hill Shacs or the Crog Lofts. 


Geodesic Dome

Fforest Farm


We booked 2 nights in the Crog Loft which is perfect for a family with young kids as it has a double bed on the mezzanine and bunk beds downstairs and is also dog friendly. It is very stylish and heated and has a gorgeous walk-in shower, however, it still offers that connection with the outdoors as the kitchen area is outside (undercover) naturally encouraging you to eat al fresco outdoors. There are plugs but no TV, instead a lovely mini library and no Wifi means you are encouraged to leave the screens behind but with a beautiful lawned area just in front of the Crog lofts, with swings and views of the Welsh countryside, it's very easy to leave any tech at home. 



Fforest Farm

Fforest farm


The one thing that became quickly apparent was how spacious this site is being on 200 acres, while there are many different accommodation options you don't feel like your on top of other people, with most of the glamping domes being hidden away from sights altogether and the Kata Cabins having their own large meadow. 

There is also a central hub at the lodge which has a small shop and cafe where you can stock up on freshly baked pastries for breakfast or their own craft beer in the evening while watching the sunset. Up from the lodge is the Bwthyn, their own little pub, along with plenty of outdoor seating and a large fire pit for social evenings. There is also an on-site cedar barrel sauna which unfortunately due to Covid was not open (that may have changed by now).

Fforest Farm

Fforest Farm

Fforest Farm


We went earlier in the year and the weather gods were kind, offering up 3 dry and sunny days with glorious sunsets each night (of course this cannot be guaranteed). We walked to the Welsh Wildlife centre from Fforest through some ancient woodland (I highly recommend you do this while your there) and spent a lot of time soaking in the surroundings, we also spotted some deer. 

The boys and I felt really rejuvenated and rested even though we only spent two nights here, the surroundings are so calming and it really is a great spot to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.

 

31/08/2021

5 Safety Tips for Your Next Camping Trip

camping sunset

*This post contains affiliate links 


Camping trips are usually loads of fun, but they can come with a fair share of risk as well. Depending on where and who you are camping with, you will need to take the right precautions to ensure that everyone is safe at all times. You will need to bring some essentials, but also start laying down some rules with the other people in your party, and know what should be done in case something happens. Let's take a look at a few safety tips for your next camping trip.

Plan Well in Advance

You need to start thinking about things like the type of shelter you’re going to be using such as smaller tents for wild camping, van setups or glamping options. You want to consider the weather in the area you’re going to camp, and what amenities will be available to you. You should also look at your group and the type of activity they prefer. Some people might like to take it easy and go bird watching, while others might prefer things like whitewater rafting or challenging treks. It's up to you to look at your group's fitness levels and preferences and pick a spot that works for everyone. Don't be afraid to ask for suggestions either.

wild garlic



Have the Right Equipment

You'll find many packing lists out there, but no list will work for every group and every trip. Some specific items should be on everyone's list for safety, however especially if you are heading somewhere more remote. This should include some navigational tools like a GPS (most smartphones have one), travel chargers, a compass, a map, headlamps and flashlights.

You will also want to bring a first aid kit with you. You never know when you'll need it. You might get small scratches or bruises, or something a little more serious like an injury, so make sure that you have a well-stocked premium first aid kit that will have you covered no matter what.


campfire



Understand Fire Safety

If camping wild or even up a campsite that allows bbq's or fires then you should bring some fire-making tools with you as well. However, you also have to be very careful about how you use them. One of the first things you have to know is how to safely start a bonfire. You should never leave it in the open and it should be as far away from your campsite as possible. You need to be at least 15 ft away for it to be safe. You should also create a fire pit so that the fire stays contained.

Stay Hydrated

Staying properly hydrated will also be of extreme importance during your trip. Know that if you're feeling thirsty, you're already dehydrated, so you have to constantly drink throughout the day. You should also make sure that you replenish those electrolytes. One of the ways you can do this is by packing sports drinks and a few salty snacks. We also suggest that you get yourself a hydration bag instead of a bottle as they're more convenient.


forest camping



Know How to Interact with Wildlife

You also have to learn how to treat and respect animals in their habitat. Teach your children to not draw too much attention to them and contain their excitement if they see an animal. Always stay at a safe distance and don’t feed them. If you do, it will increase the chances of them approaching future campers. Also, make sure that your food is safely tucked away in an airtight container, your car, or your camper.

Conclusion

These are all things that will help you stay safe and have a great time on your next camping trip. These tips could literally save your life, so don’t take things lightly and get prepared with your group as soon as possible.


camping mug


29/08/2021

Glamping at YHA Manorbier, Pembrokeshire

Manorbier

This post is not in association with the YHA & we paid for our trip in full, although I have worked with the YHA in the past


Hand's up who loves budget-friendly family travel (or solo travel) in amazing locations, I know I do and who doesn't love glamping! Not everyone knows that the YHA or Youth Hostels Association as it's otherwise known not only offers bunk & private room rooms but also camping and glamping options at some of their locations and I've been keen to try out their glamping options for a while, as the kids and I have stayed in a few different YHA's in the past but never their glamping.

We love West Wales but hadn't yet visited Manorbier so when I spotted two nights available in the YHA Manorbier Camping Pods I thought why not. YHA Manorbier has 3 large camping pods which comfortably sleep 4 on two single beds and one double futon (with fresh bedding included) there is also space for a dog if you want to bring your four-legged friend along for the ride. While the pods are fairly basic they have everything you need to be comfortable and cosy including a small wall heater for those colder nights (although we didn't need to use it), lights and plug sockets to charge any tech. Each pod also has its own decking area with chairs along with some additional picnic tables.
 

YHA Manorbier


YHA Manorbier, however, doesn't just have Camping Pods but they also offer Bell Tents through the summer months, LandPods and a very cool and shiny Airstream, which I would have booked but it only sleeps two people but it's definitely on the list for a solo adventure at some point. 


Airstream YHA

Landpod glamping


Guests of course also have year-round access to the camping facilities including showers, hairdryers, toilets and lounge, there is also a self-catering kitchen although this is closed due to Covid, however, their Cafe is open all day and very reasonably priced. The only thing I would like to point out is that because it's in a beautiful rural location (which is what we like) that phone reception is very patchy at best with minimal 4g (3g) which was great for us as we wanted to disconnect for a few days, the lounge in the YHA, however, does have some wifi but it doesn't reach as far as the camping field. 


So what did we think of the actual pod

It's certainly an easier, quicker and more comfortable option to traditional camping (which we still love but now we have a dog its a real tight squeeze in our car with all our equipment) while still keeping things fairly basic and capturing that camping feel. The beds were very comfortable and had enough space for all of us, including the dog. The decking area was also very handy as we could keep wet or muddy shoes outside as well as enjoy a drink while watching the sunset. Overall we loved the accommodation which was lovely and clean, with easy access to the car park, showers and on-site cafe.

The staff were also incredibly friendly and welcoming and on hand for any questions or recommendations on local walks. We also enjoyed at least one lunch and one supper at the on-site cafe and the food was fresh with good options for both myself and the kids as well as being very really reasonably priced. 


YHA food



We went just before the summer holidays so the site wasn't too busy while still taking advantage of the summery weather and our dog enjoyed all the walks and trails literally right on our doorstep including exploring Church Doors Cove and Shrinkle Haven. I will be following this post up with a list of things to do in the area as we were really spoilt for choice for free outdoor activities.

We had such a lovely time that we are planning on another visit as there was so much to do in the local area and we didn't have time to do all of them.

Do also check out our stay at YHA London Central, YHA Ironbridge and YHA St Briavels Castle


YHA Manorbier


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