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Just four little photos from the past week

natural childhood

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Happy Socks


Ahh how my feet long to be free, in the warm summer sun with the grass underneath them. When I came across these Flossy espadrilles it made me long for summer and all the fun that comes with my favourite season of the year. It reminded me of my student days in Falmouth, Cornwall, which seemed like a world away from the rest of the UK, as if it turn on it's own time. I pretty frugal with my money and only buy something when I need it but Box clothing currently have these on Sale for 50% so I think I'm going to get a pair now because I will want them when summer comes and I know I will probably moan about the price, so some forward thinking is needed here.

summer shoes

Until then though I like to keep my feet nice and cosy and John is a huge sock fan and has been wearing Happy Socks for a while and I am equally a fan, I think it pretty much got me with the name and the cute and quirky designs make my feet dance. It's no surprise these sweet little feet warmers are designed in Sweden and made in family owned worker friendly factories. Since I grew up in South Africa, I am not accustom to the UK weather and I always think that if your feet are cold you have pretty much had it, as I feel like the rest of my body is cold, so treating your feet is easy when the socks are so happy :)

happy feet

swedish socks

stripy socks

swedish design

polka dot socks

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Madagascar Live Cardiff Competition


This is your chance to win tickets for a family of four to the first arena tour of DreamWorks Madagascar Live! presented by Stage Entertainment Touring Productions.  There are 5 sets of family tickets up for grabs at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena.

Theatre show

Everyone’s favourite Madagascar characters will star in a live theatrical show based on the blockbuster DreamWorks Animation franchise, reliving the fun and humour of the animals and their escapades, brilliantly recreated in an arena production of lively storytelling, dance and music, including the hit song ‘Move It, Move It’.

madagascar live

Audiences of all ages will love the wild and action-packed adventure as Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo and the plotting penguins escape from their home at New York's Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien's Madagascar.


This celebration of friendship is brought vividly to life by imaginative sets and costumes, joyous dance numbers and spectacular new songs bringing West End values to the arena environment. A cast of 25 characters take the audience on a journey from Central Park Zoo all the way to the beaches of Madagascar in a song-filled show for the whole family.

Visit the official Madagascar Live! website for the full touring schedule and more information:

How To Enter

There are four ways to enter - you get one entry for each
1. Leave a comment on this post
2. Follow on the blog on GFC (let me know in the comment)
3. Follow on twitter @laurasidestreet
4. Retweet the contest

Contest ends on the 2nd Feb 11:59pm

Contest Details

* 5 sets of family tickets are up for grabs 
* They are valid for the 6:30pm show on Friday 15th Feb
* Can be used for any combination of 4 adults/children as long as one adult is present.
* Tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash-alternative

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A lunch date with Bill


So we had a rare day date the other day and decided to finally try out the new New York inspired Bill's restaurant and deli shop in Cardiff for a spot of lunch. It has a great vibe to it and it doesn't feel like a chain at all, with cool looking staff, bare-brick walls and wrought iron spiral staircase you feel like your in a downtown loft.

Tomato and Basil soup

Drinks - as soon as I saw they did Elderflower presse I had to have some - this can come either hot or cold and opted for a cold sparking class of elderflower with cut strawberries - very yummy. John went for a retro serve coca cola in the original glass bottles, which was a nice touch.


Food - John opted for the homemade fish finger sandwich - which may sound boring but this was fish fingers gourmet style - big chunky and tasty with equally well presented chips that came in a little tin cup. I only wanted something light and had a real craving for tomatoes so I had to give the Tomato and basil soup which was very tasty and not over seasoned and came with a chilli cheese bruchetta which was a really nice touch. I also had a tomato, rocket, red onion and olive salad on the side which was drizzled with olive oil but once again the seasoning was perfect and both dishes together where really filling.

homemade fish fingers

Deli shop - So Bills also makes and sells it's own products and we had a little browse to see if anything caught our eye, some of the products we felt were a bit over priced but we did end up making two small purchases in the form of 2 of Bills Beers and a Mango Chutney - the beers were drunk over the next two nights and both John and I were impressed with the refreshing and original taste of the Bills beer and John enjoyed the mango chutney is really yummy, not too sweet and nice and thick.

Overall - We would recommend Bills for any kind of date, whether meeting friends, drinks with the parents, coffee catch up or even with babies and kids. The staff where friendly, it's trendy but not pretentious and the food is honest.

Bills Deli

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Anyway Up Cup Review


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So the lovely people at Anyway Up where kind enough to send me a 360 toddler cup to review and I was really excited to receive this after so many spillages in the past and also because not only do they look more stylish than most toddler cups but they also have a different design that is more like drinking from an actual cup rather than a beaker.

360 toddler

Packaging and design -

I was really happy to see that the packaging was from 100% recycled materials and was easy to open. The 360 toddler cup is suitable for 18 months plus and features and innovative circular valve system which means Mr A could sip from anywhere around the rim - just like a real cup. So instead of sucking like you would on a beaker it moves with the toddlers progression to sipping and we feel it has really helped his confidence with using normal cups and now drinks from mugs and cups with ease. Also all of the anywayup cups are BPA free.

Non-drip -

This is a claim a lot of cups make and we no from experience that most of the time they do leak, in the bag, over you or over your child and it's very annoying. I have to say this one is pretty water tight and even after being upside down in the bag with only a little drip. The only thing to watch out for is that they handles are not attached to the cup and a few times just before washing I have taken the lid off which keeps the handles on and grabbed the handles only to tip over what was left in the cup - but that was more due to my own clumsiness than anything.

360 toddler cup


Arthur loves using this cup on the go which is important because some he has not been so taken with. It's a very well designed and good quality cup and really is as drip free as we have seen. I would recommend this to parents of toddlers who are looking to bridge the gap between beaker and cup.

Anyway Up Cup also do a beaker from 6months and really cute cow cup with an inbuilt drip free valve.

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Snow Dayz


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Winter hats
Winter hats became a must in our house

Well what a weekend we all have had here in the UK, with every house dusted in white and children loving their days off from school. For some reason I find people have very little sense of humour when it comes to snow, yes I know it can make the roads icy (I have experienced this myself) and it can be hard to get too work, it throws the train and bus timetables into turmoil and people panic buy so the shops are bare of eggs, bread and milk but on the other hand it makes everywhere look like a winter wonderland and it only happens for a few days of the year, so have a little winter spirit. Just be prepared and sensible about it, wrap up nice and warm and adventure out with the sense of magic in your heart. John couldn't get to work on Saturday so instead him and Mr A scrapped off the ice on most of the cars in the streets, Mr A also learnt how fun it is too make and throw snowballs at me and it was also a change to test drive his Joules snowsuit he got for christmas. We had a wonderful little hot chocolate break in a cafe that was open near us and this was in fact the first time Mr A had hot chocolate and it went down a treat. We also spent the rest of the weekend making a snowman, shovelling the snow and cosying up under blankets in the living room.

Ralph Lauren jacket

father and son
The two boys on a mission - Mr A wears Joules and John's wearing Ralph Lauren jacket, Edwin jeans and Redwings

Joules snowsuit
Mr A learning how to throw snowballs

snowy landscape
I love how the snow makes the landscape look so pretty

Hot Chocolate
Wellies and Hot chocolate

Frozen Berries

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Monday blues No More


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Since apparently it's the most depressing day of the year thought I would brighten up with the cute how-to-guide of cwtching. I mean who doesn't feel better after a good old cwtch, a recent survey discovered that 9 in 10 Brits say a cuddle makes them feel better, the ideal length of a cuddle should be 5.98 seconds and 25% of people don't receive a hug day-to-day which is a little bit depression so go forth and wrap your arms around someone you love

Instructions on creating the perfect cwtch

Brought to you by - Protect your loved ones with life insurance
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Hat Envy


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I am in love with this needs to happen. I have always been a fan of studs and embellishments and this just takes it too the next level, it's very brash and bold but it has that sort of "it's so wrong but yet so right quality about it". Best of all it's in my price range - only £19.99, saw in company magazine and loving it.

Jackee mix stud gold flap cap from missguided

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Green and thrifting tips for the home


So following on from my thrifty fashion tips I thought I would do a post on some green and eco friendly ways to save and make money around the home. Now more than ever people are watching their pennies,with the way the world is going now it's impossible not to feel the pinch, with job losses and food, utilities and travel costs rising while wages are staying the same it can be a pretty testing time for most of us. Thrifting really is the new chic thing to do and here are a few helpful tips that we have been sticking too lately

We love thrift stalls

In the home

1. Be energy conscious - switch off lights and appliances in rooms your not using and don't leave anything on stand-by over night or when your out and about.

2. Conserve water - it really is our most precious resource. Don't leave taps running while brushing your teeth or washing the dishes and why not decanter boiling water from a kettle into a flask - that way it will keep hot for far longer for when you want another cup of tea.

3. Don't reach for the central heating every-time it starts to get cold - make sure you have thick curtains on your windows to help keep the heat in the room, also have some nice knitted blankets near your sofa you can cosy under and wear a nice warm jumper. Why not have a go at making your own draft excluder.

dog draft excluder
Making draft excluders is not as hard as it looks


Plan ahead - never go to supermarket without a list and a plan for the week - you will always end of up spending more than intended if you do. Also cook from scratch and in bulk and freeze what you don't use - it's really easy to learn 4-5 basic recipes that can go a long way and are healthier for you.

Buy bargain kitchen accessories - I often find really unique and cute mugs, cups and utensils at charity shops as well as fruit bowls and other bits and bobs that would cost a lot more if you bought them in a high street store.

Bake your sweet treats - it's so much cheaper, for very little money you can bake 12 muffins easily and freeze them so you always have something sweet in the house.

healthy muffins
Mr A loves homemade banana and apricot muffins

Saving money and making money

There are ways to make a little bit of income while still being green, eco and creative.

Start a blog - especially if you have a unique knowledge in one area or simply want to share your ideas, you never know where this may lead, especially if you have a creative skill you want to show off like knitting or sewing - it can be a real platform for your talent and may lead to some paid work - you also have the chance to network with some wonderful people.

Recycle your old phone - we all update our phones year on year and apparently there are a lot of old phones lying around in people's houses, why not send it to a company that can put it to good use or dispose of it properly and also pay you some money for example Top Dollar Mobile reduce electronic waste and are a great choice to recycling your phone

Use cashback websites for your purchases - there are a lot around, we currently use topcashback and it really does add up a lot. We also use apps like vouchercloud and O2 priority for money off deals with food and leisure - its well worth the try.

Work freelance - if you have a creative skill such as design, illustration, writing or photography why not offer it on People per hour or if your a home maker and love to sew beautiful things why not sell your crafts on websites like etsy.

vintage bunting
Some homemade bunting makes our fireplace feel more homely

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Book Giveaway



Mei-Ling Hopgood

I am really excited about this giveaway - I have four copies of "How Eskimos Keep their Babies Warm" for four lucky readers of the blog from Pan Macmillan. Written by the award winning journalist and mum to two Mei-Ling Hopgood this book shares parenting wisdom from around the world for a modern, well travelled and adventurous mum.

Author Mei-Ling Hopgood

I am half way through my copy and I am loving all the worldly insights this book gives to bringing up babies in ways we wouldn't imagine in the West. It is funny and light-hearted and is a wonderful break away from some of the more condescending instuction manuals on what your doing right and wrong with your children - this really does show parenting in a new light and has really reassured me that if things don't always go to plan that it really is ok - it always sorts it self out in the end.

From toddlers dancing the night away in Argentina to the naturally healthy eating habits of the french children to the chinese potty training their babies at a really young age (my friend started hers at 6 months) to cultures living without pushchairs this book has something for everyone to learn. It's really refreshing, inspiring and a delight to read.

Best of all Side Street Style has four copies to giveaway and it's really easy to enter....

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thrifty Fashion Tips

Vintage Jacket
Wearing a vintage handed down Gerard Darel Jacket and thift store satchel bag

I don't know about you but there feels like there is a bit of a change in the air with regards to our already fragile economic climate, just as things were starting to look up and then in the past week both Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster have gone into administration, putting a lot of young peoples jobs in jepody. This reminds me even more to be thrifty and economical when it comes to clothes shopping. I have always been a cautious and I always try buy fewer but quality items rather than cheap one season trend purchases. I am also lucky that my mother happens to be a very stylish and chic lady and we are pretty much the same top size so I am always thrilled when I get something passed down to me from her.

I have a few key tips I use when shopping

1. Do I really need it, am I going to wear it - this is a question we all need to ask ourselves, everyone likes to keep up to date and fresh with each seasons but make sure you get some stylish staples over a one season gimmik trend that won't see the light of day after wearing it twice.

I bought this Velvet jacket in a charity shop years ago and it's still looks great

2. Have a rummage through Charity shops and vintage markets - I can't even begin to tell you what wonderful finds I have had in both at the fraction of the price. I have found some amazing Italian vintage bags, brand new labeled skinny jeans, beautiful jewellery and even some cute little on-trend wedges.

Thrifted jewellery
Charity Shop Bracelets

3. Be a treasure seeker when it comes to sales and discount retailers like TK Maxx - you need to have patience and have an idea of what you are looking for, don't buy things just because they are cheap but because you want them and if they happen to be in a sale that's a major bonus. John and I went to TK Maxx over the weekend and I had only just been talking about wanting a pair of Doc Martens and then we stumbled across some for £12 - I mean that's a real deal.

TK Maxx
My bargain Doc Martens

4. Accessorize what youv'e got - jazz up your items and make them feel new with some cute accessories stitched on like some beautiful fabric or buttons, or turn your shirt into a skirt and invent something new.

My DIY denim shirt heart I sewed on to add a little extra dimension to the shirt

5. If you have clothes handing in your wardrobe never being worn then sell it - there are all sorts of sites that allow you to sell clothes and if you haven't got the patience for auction sights like ebay you can now also recycle and get cash for clothing and use it to fund some new purchases. That's what I do quite a bit to keep the clutter down.

Just because times are tight does not mean your closet has to stand stagnant, just be a more savvy shopper, don't be put off looking in thrift stores or have a go at accessorising your own clothes or have a spring clean and sell your old clothes - there really is something for everyone.

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Illustrator Interview with Megan Eckman


Megan Eckman is a very creative person - fact! She is an amazing Illustrator and runs her own business called Studio MME which is based in California, our paths crossed a few months through this blog and I have been a fan of her amazing ink and pen drawings since. She captures that real sense of childhood imagination and the wonderful places your mind can take you. Megan was kind enough to take a pause from drawing for a few minutes to answer some questions for Side Street Style

Ink and pen illustration

1.So Megan, have you always had a passion for the Arts and when did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?

My father is a painter so art has always been a major part of my life. I've been drawing since before kindergarten and when I entered college, I knew I wanted to get as much training in art as I could. So I ended up double-majoring in art and English to make sure I got the training I wanted. It wasn't until my last year in college that I realized I wanted to make my art my living. I'm not sure I'd be good at anything else. Haha. Plus, I'd make a deal with my parents that in order to get my two 'artsy' degrees, I'd start a business before I graduated.

2. How would you describe your unique drawing style?

Edward Gorey but less...macabre.

red riding hood

3. You made a promise to your parents that you would not only finish your degree but also start your own business, do you have an advice for recent graduates starting up on there own?

Success takes two things: ambition and persistence. Talent only has a tiny part of becoming financially sound. Most of the extremely talented people I went to art school with are still working at Starbucks, drawing perhaps once a month. If you want to make a living from your work, you need to dream big and keep working at it. Contact galleries, shops, other artists, blogs, etc. daily to get the word out about your work. Never think any idea is too big or too silly. I actually wrote an article on How to be Part of the 10% for DesignSponge that gives more advice for graduating art students.

4. What would you say has been your biggest achievement in your career so far?

I just had my work published in an international book, 1,000 Portrait Illustrations alongside that of Lisa Congdon, Kelly Thompson, and Daniel Krall.
pen illustration

5. What keeps you inspired to create the beautiful illustrations that you do?

The more I create, the more crazy ideas pop into my head so really I can't stop or else my head might run out of room. Plus, it absolutely makes my day to see people smile when they take a piece of my work home with them.

6. Running a business during the recession is tough for anyone, how have you managed to ride the wave?

I know so many people who have started businesses and made six figures in this recession so I've never really thought of it as an obstacle. If you make work that resonates with your passion and purpose and share it with the world, the right people will find you.
beautiful interior


7. What is your motto in life?

Nothing is impossible...just improbable. Thus, anything is possible. :D

Megan currently has a wonderful 2013 Calendar out titled - Calendar of Magical Places, which features 12 stunningly colourful ink and pen illustrations and would brighten up any room for less than £10.

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Silent Sunday times three


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Welsh countryside

Natural childhood

Happy socks

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Little Sale wishlist


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So January is not only good for looking back and review the past year, making new resolutions and striving to make it a great year, January is also amazing to sales. I haven't had much time to actually go into shops as we are still unpacking from the move and Mr A is more active than it's all about the online shopping. Came across a cool site called Javelin, it has a ton of brands I love such as Barbour, Vivienne Westwood and Vero Moda to name a few as well as some great men's lines such as Carhartt and Fred Perry, the also one a Drapers Fashion award in 2012 so you know they know their stuff. Anyway they have an amazing sale on at the moment and here is my little wish list

Polka dot
Darling Anastasia dress £45
Coolway Chelva £45

Fiorelli bag
Fiorelli bag £21

Winter hat
Tommy Hilfiger beanie £31.50

I also came across this super cute hiking shoes for little Mr A because as you can see we do a lot of walking and they would come in handy. I only recently discovered that Brantano stock all sorts of brands like Clarks and they have a store near me so I am going to have to check them out.

Diggy Bee
Clarks Diggy Bee £33

Space rocket
Clarks Blaze £18

Hiker boots
Clarks Rayan hiker £40

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