Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

27/11/2020

How To Know If A Country Is 'Just Right' For You

Bath City

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Most people like to have a rough plan of their lives and what they want to achieve in the future, or at least consider how we would like to live them, it’s very easy to think along conventional lines. Note that there’s nothing wrong with doing this. It might be that you wish to follow in the career footsteps of your parents and that living in your home town for the rest of your life is something you truly find appealing.

However, many other people wish to consider just what else is out there, and how they can grasp it with both hands. They might think of moving to the big city and trying to chase their own career. However, there are even more options than this. With hard work and a little planning, you could live in many countries around the world, live many lifestyles, prioritize many pursuits. With a lot of research (and hardly any budget) and securing a job before I travelled, I've been able to live in South Africa, France, Netherlands and the UK. That’s not to say obstacles don’t and won’t exist for you, only that the options going forward are so numerous it’s hard to understand your best pursuit unless you take stock and consider. 


Amsterdam
I love the culture in Amsterdam



Let’s answer that first question we brought up - how do you know if living in another country is right for you? Let’s consider:

Loving The Culture

To live anywhere well, you have to have an appreciation for the culture. Of course, culture shock is a real thing, and it doesn’t mean you’re bigoted if you feel that for a while. However, if you’re to one day apply for an indefinite leave to remain status, exploring and enjoying the culture is important. Eat the food. Speak to the people. See more than just the tourist traps. Learn the culture, and learn the language. The more you put in, the more you get out, and the more you begin to appreciate it. People will often notice that you’ve put the effort in, too, which can be something quite amazing to consider.

Understanding Its History

It’s very easy to see history as a divorced, heady concept, but it’s not, it thoroughly permeates everything we do, think, and see around us. History allows us to understand our surroundings. For instance, if you hope to live in a town in the North of England, it can seem much more magical to learn of the Viking origins of that settlement and what that meant for the culture at large. It helps the environment around you to seem more worthwhile, more interesting, and more present than it may have.

Experiencing The Flow Of Life

Every culture has its own flow of life. Life in Barcelona, for instance, is much different to life in New York. People move more slowly, they’re more interested in relationships and being kind, they don’t mind relaxing or taking a break while still valuing hard work. In New York, cultures are mixed and for the most part work together well, they have real pride for their city, and the fast-paced and highly productive nature of its environment helps foster the most impressive marvels and architecture the world has ever known. Experience these lifestyles for yourself, wherever you hope to move. They will illustrate and punctuate that which you may one day expect.

With this advice, we hope you can come to the understanding of whether a country is ‘just right’ for you.


Nice
I also lived in Nice, France and loved the laid back Riviera vibe

22/11/2020

Why Small Weddings are the new trend for 2021

wedding flowers

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We all know that Covid has caused chaos for a variety of reasons this year, with many of us feeling like our lives are on hold. Many events and celebrations have been cancelled and everything from shopping to visiting friends has changed. For many of us, we have reduced or travel, stayed local, shopped local and avoided large gatherings, the environment has also benefitted from society slowing down and that really has been a good thing. I have never been one that feels like bigger is better so it's good to hear that the trend of less is more and going small is the new thing, including weddings. If you needed convincing on why a small wedding is a great choice then here are a few non-covid reasons to help persuade you (as well as save you money). 

The Benefits of a Small Wedding

The more you consider what a small wedding will be like, the more you'll come to the realization that this should have been your first choice in the first place. Here are all the benefits of a micro wedding and why you should choose to have a smaller wedding. 

It's Cost Efficient

Unless you plan to have your wedding at the rooftop of an expensive hotel, overlooking the sea, and serving unlimited champagne, a small wedding is definitely an affordable option. The biggest problem most soon-to-be newlyweds experience is just how to fit a budget around a big wedding. The bigger the wedding, the more guests, decorations, meals, and staff are needed. This all adds up to an unpleasant overall bill. A smaller wedding simply means a smaller price to pay, literally. 

It's More Environmentally Friendly

The events industry is known to be a huge contributor to garbage and pollution problems all around the world. Big weddings play a big role in this unfortunate fact. If you're wondering if you should have a small wedding or not, this is a good reason to consider a minimal wedding. You'll be eliminating what would be a truckload of single-use plastic garbage, fewer cars used related to your event, and overall a smaller contribution to climate change and pollution. 

More Options for a Venue

Another problem most couples struggle with for their big wedding is finding a good venue to accommodate a big party. In many cases, only a limited number of venues in a city can be used for a large wedding. This results in everyone in town using that same hall for their wedding. With a small party, you have more options for your venue. You can even use non-traditional choices like a library or a beautiful garden. 

A Lot Easier to Plan

Planning how to entertain, feed, and keep a room of 200 people happy is a huge dilemma for most couples and wedding planners. You want this entire event to be a pleasant experience. But it's not easy doing this for a large number of people, for an entire day. A small wedding simply means less stress during the wedding planning process. You have a better chance of enjoying planning your wedding (as it should be). 

The Chance to Spend Time With Your Guests

Ask any couple who have had a big wedding if they were able to spend time with all of their guests, and you’ll most likely get a ‘no’ for an answer. You simply can’t spend quality time with 200 people all in one go. But if you cut it down to 50 people, you will have enough hours to go to each table, make memories, share stories, and actually have a great time chatting with everyone you’ve invited. This is a big benefit and reason why you should have a small wedding. It’s a great time to truly enjoy the company of all the people you love in your life. 


wedding cake




You Can Have More of the Things You Love

You don't have to be so tight with your budget with a small wedding. And this means that you have the luxury to splurge a little. You can have the salmon for dinner. Or have that beautiful cake you've always wanted. Or hire that expensive photographer who can get your dream photos. You can even buy the dream Bridal Set diamond rings you've always wanted. The options are better with a smaller wedding. 

You Can Spend More on Your Honeymoon

The first trip as husband and wife is the ideal time to really enjoy the incredible milestone you've just achieved in your relationship. This is the beginning of the rest of your life, and celebrations are in order. If you're wondering 'should I have a small wedding?' , just think of how great it will be to have the dream honeymoon you've always wanted, that you can now afford because your wedding didn't cost a fortune. Go for that small wedding and get that once in a lifetime honeymoon. 

Final Thoughts

It seems that the smaller your wedding is, the more opportunities you have to really make it your own and enjoy every moment of your big day. You don't have to worry about cutting costs, big venues, and the stress of planning. You can truly make the most of every second of your big day. This should answer the big question of 'Should I have a small wedding?'.


wedding


11/11/2020

Weekend in Dublin? 7 things you should do in the city

Dublin

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While we cannot do much travelling at the moment due to Covid, it's still a good time to start putting pen to paper on plans and thinking ahead to weekends away and day trips because eventually at some point normality will return. One of my favourite places I have visited is Dublin, it's such a fun and vibrant city and offers to much whether you are there for the day, weekend or even longer. Here are my 8 favourite things to do in Dublin when you only have a weekend to explore the Irish capital city.

1.Visit Temple Bar not just for the beer but for the Art

Temple Bar is without a doubt one of the most lively areas of Dublin and there is a fantastic atmosphere with plenty of pubs and cafes as well as boutique stores and is often referred to as Dublin's "culture quarter" famed for the nightlife. But there is also the Temple Bar Studio's and Gallery that is well worth a look as it's one of the leading contemporary art galleries in the city there is always something going on, from exhibitions to events, as well as engaging workshops and learning opportunities, if you looking for a hit of inspiration and culture than it's work taking a look.  


Ha'Penny Bridge



2. Walk over the Ha'penny Bridge

This may be a popular tourist sight but there is a reason for it and I always think you might as well, it's free, it's pretty and it has some history to it. For those who don't know the Ha'penny Bridge was the first pedestrian bridge to span over the River Liffey and the name came from the halfpenny toll pedestrians had to pay to cross the bridge after it was built int 1816. This striking white bridge also makes for a great Instagram spot.

3. See the Book of Kells at Trinty College

Visiting Trinty College not only to see the magical and Instagram worthy Library but also to see The Book of Kells should be at the top of your list of historical and cultural spots in the City and is well worth the admission. The Book of Kells was created around 800AD and today it is housed in Trinity's 18th-century Old Library building which is also home to the Long Room, a 65-meter long chamber and one of the most beautiful and well know libraries in the world. 


Trinity College



4. Eat in Style

When it comes to food you are really spoilt for choice in Dublin with some amazing places to sit and enjoy locally produced meals while taking in the Irish atmosphere. Here are 3 places that are excellent and you won't regret booking here for a special night out, 1. The Woollen Mills, located next to the Ha'Penny Bridge, this all-day hangout spot is super chic and hip. 2. Drury Buildings, based in a former rag trade building in the city centre this screams that cool industrial-chic atmosphere and a great spot for some cocktails. 3. Brasserie Sixty6 near Grafton street, it's low lighting and wooden floors give this place a real cosy feel along with amazing food is the perfect place for a chilled evening meal with friends. All three of these places also offer private dining and can be booked through Squaremeal.


5. Drink Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse 

Yes the Guinness Storehouse is one of the most popular tourist attractions but for good reason and it's also a spot of fun and personal I found my visit very interesting and insightful. Guinness is one of the most famous Irish drinks and one of the most successful alcohol brands in the world. The tour takes you on tour through seven floors where you learn the history of the Guinness family and what goes into brewing this Irish dark stout with it ending at the stunning Gravity Bar on the 7th floor with amazing views across the city where you can enjoy a pint of Guinness for yourself. 


Guinness Store



6. Enjoy the free street entertainment on Grafton Street

Buskers around the world know of Grafton street, with many famous faces having taken "stage" here from Damien Rice to Rodrigo y Gabriela, you never know who you will stumble across and they could be the next big thing. From traditional Irish to rock and pop, there is always some kind of free street entertainment going on.

7. Spot the doors of Dublin

I didn't even know that Door spotting was a thing you do in Dublin before I arrived but quickly found out why, the city is dotted with colourful Georgian style doors across the city with the best places to views on the south side of the city, especially Merrion Square which is considered one of the finest surviving squares and a great place to spot these colourful doors which have become somewhat of a trademark for Dublin.

Dublin really is a great city to explore and visit for a weekend or longer and once some sense of normality has returned it on my list of places to revisit soon. 


Dublin doors


06/11/2020

Thinking of travelling to the US in 2021? Here are 5 States you should visit

San Fransisco


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While right now for numerous reasons travelling to the US may not be the best idea but hopefully in the not so distant future things will feel brighter, safer and more positive as the States really has some fantastic places to visit and experience.  


There is no doubt that the US is a destination perfect for travel junkies being so vast and offering everything from deserts to forests, stunning coastlines, mountains and everything in between. No matter what you might be hoping to get out of your travels, you are bound to find it in some way or another somewhere in the US. Of course, there is so much variation throughout the United States that it is hard to know where to go or how to make the most of it. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the best and top states you might want to visit, to ensure you make the most of your travels.



Colorado


Colorado

Probably best known for its fantastic outdoor scenery, Colorado is one of the best parts of the USA to go to if you love to explore the great outdoors. In particular, it is home to the Rockies, which are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, and a great spot to go hiking if that is up your street. Plus, if you go to Denver you will find the famous 300 days of sunshine won’t go amiss, especially if you are travelling over from the UK. And if you are into your American sports, you might even get to see the Denver Broncos play while you are there.

Colorado is known to be a progressive state, and you will find the people incredibly accepting of you as a tourist, making the whole experience a lot easier and less stressful on the whole. If you love to ski, there are countless places you can do that, and there’s even some of the country’s top nightlife in the cities of Denver and Boulder.



California



California

This state is one of the top three most-visited states in the country, so no list worth its salt could possibly exclude it. If you have never been to California before, the main thing to be prepared for is that there are so many different ways to experience the state, and different types of experience you can have.

Whether you want to do the family Disney thing, or you are just looking for a relaxed surfing holiday, or maybe if you want to go golfing, you will find it all at different parts of this varied and sunny state. Some of its cities are among the most beautiful and fascinating places in the country or even the world, including world-famous San Diego, known for its idyllic weather and perfect sandy beaches, not to mention being the home of Anchorman. It’s also the home of Comic-Con, so this might be a good option for all you nerds out there


New York



New York

Not to mention New York in this list would be true sacrilege, being as it is the cultural capital of the USA. If you have ever dreamed of going to the States, at least part of that dream has probably involved this amazing and vibrant city at some point or another. It is truly an amazing and wonderful place to visit, and it offers a little something for everyone. From having some of the best theatres in the world to some of the best art galleries and museums, and just generally a culture that you are going to fall in love with, again and again, it really must remain at the top of your list every time.


One thing about New York is its shopping, and if you are looking to buy pretty much anything you are going to find it here - though, it is fair to say, at a price. Nonetheless, it’s the kind of city that is going to give you memories you can hang on to forever, and that is one of the best things you can possibly get out of any kind of travel.


Connecticut

It is fair to say that the state of Connecticut gets a bad rap, but actually, it has plenty to offer if you scratch just slightly below the surface. If you are looking for a truly unique and fascinating time in the States, you might want to check out the little-known town of Mystic, which - as its name suggests - provides the weary traveller with many strange and unexpected delights. That’s all we’ll say on the subject. Needless to say, it’s worth a visit.


Virginia


Virginia

This State really has a little bit of everything along with four distinct seasons meaning sunny beach days in summer and hitting the ski slopes in winter. It's also a great destination for Wine lovers as there are around 300 wineries in the state you are really spoilt for choice. For those who are big into hiking The Appalachian Trail also runs through Virginia and offers up some fantastic walks across this state, while those who rather enjoy a spot of retail therapy the city of Richmond has a vibrant cafe culture, galleries and craft breweries along with some great shopping. 


So there you have it. Any of these states are going to be worth a visit, so pick out your favourites from among them, and set sail. You’ll be bound to have the time of your life in any of these fine destinations.
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