Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


Gardening ideas for a stay at home summer

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This has been a difficult year for many of us, but it seems like there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. As we slowly move out of lockdown procedures, it is time to start embracing some elements normal life again while others may take time, such as quick weekend breaks aways, meaning many of us are staying at home more than ever. While my boys and I love to travel we have also really been enjoying looking after our garden and growing our own veg this year and it's been a great learning experience for all of us.

During this transitional period between lockdown and navigating a new normal which includes social distancing, wearing a mask it, it's still the perfect time to put some energy into your outdoor spaces if you have any so check out these glorious ideas that you can use to make your garden shine this year.

Grow Your Own Food

One of the key things you are going to need to get right is focusing on growing your own food in the garden. If there is one thing this global pandemic has taught us, it’s the value of being self-sufficient, and your garden can go a long way toward helping with this. It is so important to be able to grow your own fruit and veg, and if you have space, you can make the most of this right now. Try to make sure you do as much as possible to make the most of this right now.

Family-Friendly Garden

It is so important to take steps right now to try to create a garden that is more family-friendly and aimed at helping entertain your kids as well. There are plenty of different types of family-friendly gardens for you to use as inspirations, and you can create your own unique twist to yours. Trying to develop a garden that will cater to the whole family can prove to be a challenge, but it might also be something that you can achieve very comfortably this year even if it's with temporary things like a tent or den for children to play in or putting up a swing and sandpit which are sure to be a hit with kids.  

Consider Revamping the Lawn

The lawn is probably the key area of the home, and there are a lot of things that you need to work on getting right as much as possible. This is something that plays a massive part in the process of getting an impressive and memorable garden, and this is why you need to work on improving it. One of the best ways of doing this is to look at where to buy artificial grass samples so that you can test these out and

Add Features

Adding features to your garden is important, and there are a lot of things that will play a part in this moving forward. Try to consider the features that you feel would be best for the garden, and consider things like decking, or a patio, or even installing your own pool. Making the right additions will make your garden shine as much as possible.

Make sure you understand what it takes to improve this and take it to the next level and try to think about what this means. There are a lot of elements that play a part in this, and it is crucial that you take steps to help make the most of it right now. Having the best possible garden is something you should look to make the most of right now.


Win 3 months worth of Moving Beans Sustainable Coffee

sustainable coffee

Like many people across the world, I myself am a coffee drinker and like to wake up to a good cup of coffee although over the past few years I have become more aware of what I consume and how I can make my life more ethical and sustainable. While I am no means plastic-free I am aware of reducing my carbon footprint and always use a reusable coffee cup and water bottle, recycle all plastic and food waste, buying more local produce as well as opting for eco products when I can afford to do so.

A few years ago I invest in a Coffee pod machine as I do love Espressos as well as having a go with some latte art (I must admit I am not very good at it). However I very quickly realised that a lot of plastic waste was being caused from using single-use coffee pods, luckily there is now a way around that, that allows for delicious single-origin and espresso-blend pods that are plastic-free and far more sustainable.

sustainable coffee

Let me introduce Moving Beans who make Nespresso compatible coffee pods that compostable, biodegradable plant-based and aluminium-free pods that you can even compost at home. The pods are made from sugar cane and sugar beet and can be thrown in your organic food waste. They also have an excellent range of coffee including Colombian, Kenyan and Indonesian single blends, as well as Decaf espresso and Reserve and Classic espresso blends.

You can buy single packs that contain 10 pods or you can opt for a convenient subscription package which starts at £2.66.

Good news is I have 3 months worth of Coffee Pods to give away to a lucky reader! The prize contains 3 packs of Reserve Espresso Blend, 3 packs of Colombian single-origin and 3 packs of Indonesia single-origin coffee - for a total of 90 coffee pods. The giveaway will end of the 14th July 2020. One winner will be drawn at random, the prize cannot be exchanged or transferred for anything else. Giveaway is open to UK residents.

ethical coffee


The Three Castles, Monmouthshire

The White Castle

Both my children love visiting historical sites especially castles and ancient ruins and luckily Wales is jam-packed with them. Even though Wales is still under stay local guidelines, which means we are limited to staying within 5 miles of our home unless, for essential reasons such as work, this will slowly start to change so I thought it would be a good time to share our experience of visiting the Three Castles.

 The Three Castles comprise of Grosmont, Skenfrith and White Castle, all located in Monmouthshire, Wales and only a few miles from each other, all looked after by Cadw and are free to enter. You can spend the day walking between the three but with small children, I decided driving would be the easiest way to see all three castles although hope to do the walk at some point in the future. 

If you have explored Monmouthshire before you will know it's a beautiful part of the UK it is, with some gorgeous countryside, fantastic pubs and quaint villages and by visiting all three castles it's a great free day out and a fun way to explore the local area. 

The White castle

The White Castle

We arrived at The White Castle first, which has a small free parking area and with its far-flung views of the Welsh countryside along with its impressive moat and gatehouse, it makes the perfect starting point. There is also plenty of green space for kids to run around and get into the swing of things, mine are usually dressed up in knights costumes re-acting pretend battles.

After spending around an hour at The White Castle we heeded to Grosmont Castle, around a 15min drive away which is located in the stunning village of Grosmont. There isn't directly parking next to the castle but we managed to find a space in the village a couple of minutes walk away, there are also public toilets in the village. While Grosmont is more in a state of ruins that the White Castle there is still a tower you can ascend which gives you fantastic views and also a very ornate 14-century chimney in the north block. No one else was at this castle while we were there meaning we could run around and enjoy the space as much as possible. 

Grosmont castle

Grosmont Castle

The final castle was Skenfrith Castle in the village of Skenfrith, again only a few miles away from Grosmont and built right alongside the River Monnow in another beautiful Monmouthshire village, plus there is plenty of parking right next to the castle. This castle mainly consists of ruins and foundations but the three-story circular keep is still standing and very impressive. What I really found fascinating about this castle is you could really imagine what life was like there in the 13th century, while the Lord at the time would be nice and dry in his tower keep it must have been very wet and damp for those on the ground floors being right next to the river. 

Skenfrith Castle

As with all the castles being free and open to the public (due to Covid-19 please do check before leaving as Cadw has yet to open their doors again) means that there are no staffed facilities or toilets so do try and plan beforehand as well as packing a picnic as there are plenty of places to sit down with some food and take in the scenery. 

There are also plenty of amazing walks nearby and on our drive back we passed Sugarloaf mountain, on of our favourite family mountain hikes as well as the Skirrid - both make for a great day out once Wales reopens to the rest of the UK which should be around the 19th July. 

castle kids


Road trip planned? Here are 5 stylish & practical cars for all adventures

off road driving

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As we all start to slowly adjust to this new normal and looking further afield and possibly a little bit of travelling this year, many of us are considering local road trips and exploring more of what the UK has to offer. Of course, this requires a decent pair of wheels and I would know, I've broken down in the Scottish highlands as well as en route to Cornwall and it's just no fun and certainly throws a spanner in the works with regards to planned trips and holidays. If you already have a decent car then do check out my post of essential checks you should take before heading off on a trip. Otherwise, if you're looking for something new or a car to hire check our these versatile cars.

Mitsubishi Pajero

The Mitsubishi Pajero is not only practical but also has a stylish appearance and plenty of space to pack everything you need for longer trips away including camping gear. Known for its outstanding all-terrain performance, it still has a passenger car-like drivability making it suitable for anyone who has a sense of adventure.

Fiat 500L Trekking

A much larger version than the Fiat 500, the Fiat 500L is very spacious with more than enough space for a weekend away and I know, I reviewed one of these cars a few years ago and drove all over South Wales and to Tenby in West Wales. It has plenty of added features including traction control, mud and snow wheels, built-in Sat Nav and rearview camera and is also very fuel-efficient.

family travel

Toyota Camry

A very solid mid-sized car that is said to be extremely reliable and due to it's popularity is constantly being updated. Modern Camry models have received major changes after the seventh restyling (2011-2014). The car itself has become larger, the front housing has changed and the radiator grill. It is in demand in the secondary market as well. You can find high-quality car parts on this website

Volkswagen Golf

There is a reason why the VW Golf remains so popular since it came onto the since in the 70's and it's mainly down to reliability and practicality. There are several body styles - wagon, hatchback and convertible meaning you can usually find something that works for your family dynamic and it's a car the is popular across all ages from new drivers to those in their golden years.

Toyota Rav4

Each year brings more features to the Rav4 which now fuses the practicalities of an SUV but with style and technology making the is the perfect "go anywhere" vehicle and a great choice for families wanting to hit the road and travel further distances. It's low emissions and fuel economy are also excellent.

Of course with any car purchase make sure to do your research, get a second professional opinion and shop around and if you are not sure why not test drive or hire a car similar to the one you are interested in.

road trip

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