Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

05/12/2019

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum


Enchanted Christmas


We love exploring new places especially when it means getting outdoors and into the fresh air so when Westonbirt Arboretum invited us to walk along their Enchanted Christmas 1mile light trail, we couldn't wait. Westonbirt Arboretum is located in beautiful Tetbury and was around a 1hr drive from Cardiff and was really easy to find, plus there is plenty of free parking on site.

The light trail was Westonbirt was voted number 1 last year as being Britains favourite Christmas light display so booking for this event is absolutely essential and for good reason. There is also a fairly small but perfectly formed Christmas market which we wandered around before heading to the trail.

There are a couple of traditional rides including a Ferris wheel and a Carousel my boys really enjoyed as well as a hook a duck, roasted chestnut stand, marshmallows, crepes as well as plenty of savoury food stands from german sausages, falafel. As it's pretty chilly outdoors there is a warm indoor seating tent which also has an array of local produces including fudge and wooden craft decorations while you can sit and enjoy a hot chocolate or some mulled wine. It's really nice and relaxed and very festive without feeling over the top and capturing that traditional essence of Christmas which is what we love.

Enchanted Christmas


After we explored the Christmas market we made our way to the Light trail, The great thing about the trail is that to ensure that there are no issues with overcrowing and so everyone can fully enjoy the experience they have timed entry and once you're on the trail you can take your time.  

You are very quickly transported into a world of colour and sound as you enter the trail and my boys where mesmerised from start to finish. The talking tree and the forest Eleves were both a big hit as well as the drumming tree which offered an interactive feature for kids to drum and change the colours of the trees. 

As I said the trail is about 1 mile long although there is a halfway point which has toilets and offers up some refreshments in the form of Hot chocolate, doughnuts, mince pies or a little tipple, I went for the Mulled Cider which warmed me right up. The second half offers more beautiful light displays with mists that make you feel like your under the sea and large lanterns hanging from trees. There is also a Santa landing station which again allows kids to get involved and press the big red button for somewhat of a surprise.

If you have been good this year you will also come across the Big Man himself alongside some mischievous Elves and there is a chance to have some small interactions with him although its not a grotto and there is a fair distance between the trail and Santa it's still a lovely moment for kids to ask some questions. 


Forest Elf


There are also a few added extras such as a foam "snow" machine and a heat sensor screen which are really fun for kids but saying that the trail is really perfect for all ages and adults will enjoy and appreciate the beauty of it just as much as children.

We all thoroughly enjoyed it and despite it being an illuminated light train it wasn't too loud or overstimulating but rather a display of the connection between nature and Christmas festivities and embracing the forest and getting outdoors. 

The Enchanted Christmas trail is also fully accessible for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and push-chairs. I would also recommend wrapping up well as the temperature has really dropped and you want to allocate at least around 45mins to an hour to complete the trail which is all outside. We highly recommend this light trail, we loved it and felt it was a great way to celebrate the festive season.  


Hot chocolate



*I was provided tickets to the Enchanted Christmas in exchange for an honest review 

Talented Jewellery makers + giveaway


Hersey and Son

*Hersey and Son kindly provided the necklace for a giveaway. The other jewellery designers mentioned are my own recommendations

The one thing about Jewellery is the longevity it can offer, it can be not only beautiful but a very sentimental gift at the same time and one that can last for years. I still have some necklaces my mother gave me when I was 12, so that's 23yrs ago and they are still going strong. I also have pieces my friends gave me from school, which are very sentimental to me considering I no longer live in South Africa.

Jewellery is also very creative and with so many independent makers, local to the UK as well as small family-run businesses, I thought I would share a few that I really love at the moment.

Baked by Lou

Lou is a Cardiff local and the owner and creator of Baked by Lou, a really unique collection of jewellery and homewares with bold shapes and prints which are made by hand and fired in a kiln or oven. Her pieces are really fun and colourful and perfect for daily wear. She sells her jewellery on a variety of sites but mainly through her Etsy and her ceramics and homeware on Not on the High Street


Print jewellery


Rhian Kate

Another Welsh jewellery designer, Rhian Kate was set up in 2016 by designer Rhian Morris and her delicate and intricate pieces of work and I honestly have to say I love every single piece. All of her jewellery is hand made and inspired by the solar system. A lot of her work is completely unique with no one item being the same. She uses a mixture of materials from pewter and brass to sterling silver and her jewellery feels very special without the big price tag and really is affordable with earrings starting from £15


Cosmic jewellery


Merci Maman

From the kitchen table to a team of 45, Merci Maman has grown from strength to strength since 2007, but still feels like the small family brand is started out as, from a kitchen in Fulham, London. Their pieces are all about celebrating and cherishing special moments, mainly within the family dynamic such as the birth of a child or big milestones and offer personalised gifts which honour motherhood. In 2014 Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing one of their necklaces, which had been a gift from her sister after the birth of Prince George and well as you can imagine their business has been booming since. If you're looking for something special it's worth checking out their site.


keepsakes


Hersey and Son

Hersey and Son is now a long established family run silversmith which has been going since 1971 which still works on the basis of their ethos of creating handcrafted silver pieces made using time-home techniques. Their collection consists of well-designed and beautiful pieces for both men and women, made with longevity in mind while still being affordable. My favourite piece is the wishbone charm pendant which would make a lovely gift for someone this Christmas.


Hersey and son



Giveaway

I'm really excited to be able to giveaway a beautiful solid silver Wishbone Charm Pendant from Hersey and Son worth £29. It's a beautiful charm and would make a great gift and is said to help bring positive energy to the wearer. It's super easy to enter using the rafflecopter below and the giveaway ends on the 16th December and is open to UK and Northern Ireland only





Wishbone necklace

04/12/2019

How to declutter your home and life

declutter home

*Contains affiliate links 

We all go through stages where you can feel a bit bogged down in the baggage of life. The best place to start with a declutter is in your very own home and in turn that will affect your overall lifestyle. Here’s how to declutter your house (and your mind) in an easy and satisfying way.

Be Systematic

The first place to start is to plan what you want to get rid of, in what room, and in what order. Treat it like a house move, which often helps as you’re often against a final deadline to make decisions. Make a list of rooms from the kitchen to the bathroom and decide in what order you’ll tackle the house. Some suggestions for ordering include top to bottom, bottom to top, or tackling the most used rooms first. Tackle each room in 20-minute bursts with a break in between, so you don’t get declutter fatigue. This is also a good time to donate unwanted goods to charity shops, friends or sell on ebay and make a little bit of extra money.

Spring Clean Your Home

Once you’ve carted off the unneeded items, hopefully, your house will now be ready for the ultimate spring clean. And if you really want to boost your mood as well, you really want to deep clean everything. Take care of the things you want to keep for example if you have delicate rugs, it might be time to contact a rug specialist like Devine rug cleaning. That way you won’t undermine your own efforts by ruining your items and putting one red sock in amongst all your fresh white laundry as they say.


minimalist wardobe


Invest In Practical Storage 

Storage solutions have never been so innovative. You might have a coffee table that also acts as book storage, a window seat where you store your crockery or even a footstool mixed with a shelving unit. Try to keep your newly discovered floor space clear by keeping your storage solutions smart. It will make it easier to locate your items, keeping your time free and your brain happy too. At the same time though, try to only buy things that make you happy. If you see a great multifunctional shelving unit that looks like a big old cardboard box, make sure you take style over substance in this case and don’t buy. You still have to look at it every day.


Keep only what you need or what brings you joy

At the end of a busy day at work, sometimes all you want is to sit on your sofa and enjoy just being in your home. With this in mind, you don't need to strip your home bare, it's still important to keep the things that bring you joy such as your books, artwork and home decor items. To avoid the inevitable temptation to purchase new items and end up with a house full of knick-knacks, ask yourself if the item really makes you happy, or if you really need it.

Follow these simple steps to declutter your home, and hopefully, your mind will reap the benefits. Sit back, relax and enjoy.


woollen throw

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