Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


Exploring Coity Castle, Bridgend, Wales

Coity Castle

Coity Castle, an impressive ruin standing in the centre of Coity village, close to the town of Bridgend, South Wales, is well worth a visit. After more than 2yrs of extensive repairs and undergoing major conservation works, it's looking better than ever. 

What is the history of Coity Castle?

This castle has a rather interesting history (as most Welsh castles do) which can be seen in its ruins of jumbled architectural styles. Having begun as an earthwork castle around AD 1100, although some historians think there may have been a Roman fort here before. The stone keep and curtain wall was then added later, sometime in the late 12th century, before being expanded even further in the 14th century and then again in the 15th century after Owain Glyndŵr laid siege. 

The siege lasted nearly 2yrs and despite Owain's successes elsewhere, the owners of Coity managed to withstand his assault, this was the most historical event associated with Coity Castle and its 900yr existence. However very little is known about the exact details of the siege as no detailed account was ever published and most of the historical records of Glamorgan in the middle ages have mostly disappeared. 

The castle was eventually abandoned during the 17th century, having seen a peak of luxury in the Tudor times & 16th century, the ruins are now in the care of Cadw and there is still plenty to see and explore. 

Coity Castle

Why visit Coity Castle?

Despite now being a ruin there are still plenty of noteworthy features and both children and adults alike will find a visit here interesting and educational.  The impressive East gate, which opens towards Coity castle, with its draw bridge over what would have been a moat and curtain wall around the outer bailey, still stands today, along with parts of the ornate annexe where you can see the remains of what would have been windows, fireplaces of the upper floors and ruins of eight ribbed vaults. 

This castle really helps to give us an insight into the past and my children always enjoy a visit here. There is a large central green space where kids can run off some energy and the castle is also dog friendly, although you do need to keep your dog on a lead. 

Entrance to the castle is free and is open daily between 10am-4pm.

There is a small car park just outside the castle, with space for around 2/3 cars, otherwise, you can find parking in the village and walk up. There is no toilet here although there are plenty at McArthur Glen Shopping centre which is only a few minutes' drive away. The space is fairly flat although may be uneven in some areas. 

Coity Castle


Celebrating Love For all Mums this Mother’s Day

mothers day

*AD  This a paid partnerhsip with Boots #LoveforAllMums 

Families come in all shapes and sizes, all wonderful, all valid and this Mother's day is about celebrating ALL MUMS and those mothering figures in your life. The idea of the cereal packet nuclear family is thankfully changing and whether you are a single parent, biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, same-sex parent, a non-binary parent who sees themselves as a mothering role, or an older sibling taking on the role of parent, everyone deserves to be celebrated, because family life is diverse and unique and individually beautiful.

I'm so proud of my little family unit, the adventures my boys and I embark on, the things we learn along the way and that I get to see them grow into themselves, while I myself continue to grow as an individual. I am continuously grateful on a daily basis that I still have my own mum in my life, especially after losing my Dad in my late teens. She recently turned 75 and is still painting, tiling and getting out her power tools regularly to help me with fixing stuff around my house. Her support and love do not go unnoticed as well as being a role model to me on how to thrive as an independent person regardless of age, and I hope to be the same to my boys.

This year I am partnering up with Boots to encourage everyone to celebrate all the different mother figures we are lucky to have in our lives, including oneself. They have such a huge array of Mother's Day presents that you are sure to find a unique and meaningful gift.

hand cream


As my mum continues to make stuff with her hands, from sewing to DIY as well as being a keen gardener and never staying still, I thought I would treat her to a hand care set, as not only is this practical but also a treat I know she will actually use. The Joules Mini hand care set includes an exfoliating hand scrub, nourishing hand cream and soap, in a lovely toiletry bag.

While I never expect any more than a handmade card from my kids and some jam on toast in the morning, this year I am giving myself a pat on the back, for what has been quite an up-and-down year. I'm going to be turning 40 next year and I don't have a skincare routine, well I do, but it simply involves washing my face with soap morning and night and trying to remember to put on moisturiser daily.

face cream

Like most mums, I often overlook some of my own needs, and while I do focus on the things that give me joy, such as spending as much time outdoors as possible, there are other areas, especially as I'm getting older, that I do need to focus on a little more. But I am also about low maintenance and minimal fuss which is why the No7 Protect & Perfect skincare 5-piece gift set is perfect, it has everything I need in one box, to help me create an easy and doable skincare routine, that I feel even I can stick to and fits into my busy life and makes a great gift for Mum.

bath fizzer


I am also working on prioritising small moments of calm because when you become a parent you simply don't get enough of that. While my kids love bath fizzers I thought it would be nice to treat myself to a few that I can put aside just for me. These Joules bath fizzers are really sweet and a great little pick-me-up and would also be perfect for those who are searching for a first Mother's Day gift.

Mothers day


7 Ways to make gardening fun for kids

kids gardening

*This post contains affiliate links

Not only is gardening educational for children but it's also a lot of fun and as many know, being outdoors has lots of health benefits. I feel very grateful that I have an outdoor space and while it may be fairly small, every summer my kids and I like to create a space that is fun, inviting and somewhere we enjoy spending time in. We always try to grow some veggies, undertake essential maintenance, and make our garden a safe and happy place. I know parenting, work, life, travel etc can make life very hectic but there are simple ways to get kids interested in gardening and having fun outdoors even when time is limited. So I thought I'd share a few tips on how I encourage and promote a love of gardening with my own kids and hopefully it will help you get outdoors more with your family as we head into spring. 

1. Involve them in the planning 

Involving kids in decisions really helps to pique their interest. We have already made a list of the vegetables we want to grow, and walls that need to be painted (they get involved with the painting as well, which may mean things take longer but they really enjoy it). This year we also plan to put in raised beds, which they can decorate. 

2. Give them a patch that's theirs

Even in the smallest space, it's worth giving them an area that is solely theirs, perhaps just a container, patch of earth or pot, that they can call their own and helps give them a sense of responsibility. Encourage them to keep this area well maintained where they can choose their own seeds to plant as they wish, just make sure you get high-quality seeds from somewhere like Seed Parade

3. Start with easy-to-grow flower seeds and veggies

There is something really lovely about seeing the fruits of your labour and kids really respond positively to seeing their seeds grow although it can be deflating putting time and effort into growing flowers and produce and they don't thrive. So if you are starting out, I would advise opting for easy-to-grow seed varieties such as Sunflowers, cress, radishes and marigolds. Do check out this beginner's guide to growing veg.

outdoor kids

4. Don't be afraid to get messy

When it comes to gardening, don't get hung up on mess, it should be a space where children can get their hands dirty and have fun. So let them jump in the puddles, dig holes and have a go at things like pulling weeds, planting seeds and painting walls. You could even get them their own set of gardening tools, of course ensure there is always suitable supervision but say "yes" more rather than "no".

5. Set challenges

You could have a sunflower growing challenge, my kids and I do this every year to see whose sunflower grows the tallest or. you can grow the largest courgette. You could also see who designs the most creative pot plant or who can spot the most birds in the garden over a period of time. They could also take part in the Wildlife Watch Hedgehog award

6. Get them exploring

Yes most gardens in the UK are very small but that doesn't mean you can't go on a mini-exploration adventure! Having a magnifying glass really helps as it gives you a window into the micro world of bugs and worms and can make even the smallest space exciting to explore. 

7. Make your garden wildlife friendly

Bringing more wildlife into your garden is not only great for the environment but opens up a lot of learning opportunities and is educational for all ages. Easy ways to make your garden more wildlife friendly is to hang up some bird feeders or make your own with pinecones, peanut butter and seeds, build a bug hotel together or hang up a bird box. Perhaps even keep a small area wild, where you don't mow the lawn. 

bug hotel


Well paid jobs perfect for Introverts

work from home

*This post contains affiliate links 

Not everyone likes being around people 24/7, or perhaps you don't stay the same place for long and prefer to travel, with many roles heading back to the office after having moved to work from home during the last few years, many. rather not have to compromise your introverted or nomadic ways for the sake of a job. In fact, there are plenty of career paths that lean well towards those that thrive in their own space or feel drained when working around others for hours on end. 

This post will take you through some of the best antisocial jobs that actually pay well.

Freelance writer

With more freelance copywriting roles, blogger positions and written content creator jobs available that allow you to work from home, this is a great option. If you're leaning more towards being an author, then a writer’s inspiration can come from silence. If you have a knack for writing and go the self-publishing route, your income is potentially uncapped.

Virtual Assistant

Other than the initial interview, there’s very little communication needed when it comes to virtual assistants. You can operate from something as simple as a Trello board, and work through weekly tasks that way. Whether it’s general admin, site updates or other things in between, the average virtual assistant doesn’t have to be uber-social to get by.

Audio Transcribing

All you need is a high level of English language and grammar skills, as a transcriber, you will need to listen to audio and type what is being said across a variety of subjects and you could be transcribing video captions, subtitles and notes. 

There are quite a few agencies you can work for. The faster you can type the better as you usually get paid per audio or per minute of video you need to transcribe and typing can often take you to double the time of the actual audio. 

Music producer

Music producer

Do you love music and have a passion for how it’s made? Whether you’re making beats, mixing vocals or getting involved with all the audio post-production process, you won’t need to be that social to make a career of it. 

Of course, a lot of artists work with their producers, but that doesn’t mean you need to be in the same room. There are countless artists working from home studios who outsource their production, making it a remote and antisocial-friendly career path. With the rise of TikTok, you could even create music on that platform and if it goes viral or you build a large audience you can create an income without having to leave your home. 

Video Editor

If you have an editing-savvy bone in your body and like to put things together, this may be the job for you. Imagine, there are countless clients you can work with. From editing simple corporate videos to streaming videos and even music videos. If you work independently you can essentially choose the types of clients that flow into your domain.

That being said, you’ll probably only need to be in contact to establish collaborations and review feedback. For an experienced music videographer, you can get paid thousands per project.

E-commerce manager

When you’re paid to solve problems, a good employer will just leave you to it. As an e-commerce manager, you control levels of stock, conversion rates, as well as other updates needed.

There’s an understandable amount of communication involved, but more or less you’re left to be your introverted self. Not to mention if you choose to go down your own road and start your own e-commerce business, you won’t have to answer to anyone.

Graphic designer

Other than for briefing and review processes, a graphic designer is pretty much left to their own devices. A perfect job for the tech-savvy, where you have unlimited potential.

From logos to flyers and post templates, graphic design will always be in fashion and can be done remotely without ever having to physically speak to anyone. Graphic designers can get paid £25k+ for a full-time profession. As a freelancer, logos can go for as much as hundreds or thousands with the right client.

Dog walker

For those who still love to be outdoors but rather spend their time in the company of four-legged friends than people, then a dog walker is a great job. Many are self-employed or run their own Dog walking businesses, meaning you can choose your hours and work with the dogs you choose. A great job for those who love the great outdoors but on their own time. 

Dog walker

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