Wanderlust wish - Koh Samui


luxury Thailand holiday
Stunning Koh Samui

It's Monday and that means my mind is usually wandering off to far flung places and this week I am dreaming of crystal water and white beaches f Thailand and Koh Samui.

This island is located off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus, Thailand. It has two basic seasons including rainy and sunny, but there can be rain during the sunny season and plenty of sun during the rainy season. Most people consider February, March and April the best months because they are the driest, but others have visited during the rainy season and had good weather and enjoyed greatly reduced hotel rates.

Kids playing in Koh Samui
Kids playing in Koh Samui

The rainy season is when even the luxury hotels offer budget rates. The rates are as low as 50 percent less. Even though many people know this and plan their travel during September to November, there are still fewer people on the beach, in the nightclubs, restaurants and shopping centers. If you can avoid visiting Koh Samui during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, you’ll get the best deals in hotels and have a quiet place on the beach, which is what would suit us as we would be traveling with kids.

Hotels for Any Season

Bo Phut Resort

This resort is right on Bo Phut beach and is surrounded by indigenous plantations. It’s a luxury resort with gorgeous gardens and water features in a tranquil setting. It’s considered the most exclusive resort on the island and has a spa and children’s activities.

luxury Thailand resort
Bo Phut Resort

The Nest Samui

A budget hotel that has full amenities, an outdoor pool and sun loungers and is also near several popular beaches, the Big Buddha Statue and the airport. This is a budget hotel that offers guests a relaxing vacation on this extraordinary island without breaking their budget.

Muang Samui Spa Resort

This five-star resort is right on the beach as well as near some other interesting places such as the Chaweng Thai Boxing Stadium and the Samui Crocodile Farm. It has a beachside bar as well as a pool bar and a rooftop terrace with magnificent views. It also offers a fitness room and a children’s pool. The rooms have complimentary WiFi as well as all the amenities you would expect in a first-rate resort.

Four Seasons Resort

If you’d like to stay in a quiet corner of the island and visit the hot spots only occasionally, this is the resort for you. The villas and suites are on the side of a hill and offer great views of the ocean. It also boasts one of the best restaurants on the island as well as kayaking, a kids club and kick-boxing lessons. There is a golf course just two miles away, and the hotel offers many water sports including windsurfing, diving and fishing.

Vacation Rentals

Throughout the year, Samui offers Airbnb rentals that have the lowest rates on the island. They range from open-air bungalows to luxury villas. In many vacation rentals you’ll find a local who is willing to show you the special places most tourists never see. This may include traditional family meals, special events or hidden, secluded beaches where you can be alone. Some vacation rental owners even offer Thai cooking classes.

Saumi is as close to paradise as any place on Earth, so even if it rains once in a while during your stay, it won’t ruin your lovely vacation, and your vacation budget will go much farther if you travel during the off season.

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Skimming stones



As a family we are really working towards slowing down and savouring the simple things in life, it's always really apparent that the fresh air, connecting with nature and exploring our surrounds is the most stress free way to spend time as a family. Last week we decided to walk from the city side of Bute Park to Blackweir which goes through a lovely forested area as well as the chance to skim some stones along the river Taff, as well as watch some kayakers float by.

John is pretty good at skimming stones, much better than I am (I have to admit I have never truly mastered it) and he loves showing Mr A. We also spotted a school of minnows in the river. We spent a fair amount of time down by the river, without a care in the world or the need to rush off anywhere as we had brought a little picnic with us.

We decided to take a slightly different route back which follows a nature trail and rubbing stamps that you use a crayon to rub different animals onto paper, we did nearly all of them which is great fun for kids. We also came across a fitness trail which the boys loved showing their muscles off on. It was such a simple and easy way to spend a day outside with no toys just sticks and stones.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Top six things to do in Cardiff


city life

Whether it’s raving in an abandoned bank vault, watching top flight international rugby, or getting some fresh air in breath-taking local countryside, Cardiff has a wealth of attractions to offer.

The youngest capital in Europe, this vibrant, exciting and affordable city is easily accessible and should be a must-see for any UK resident. If you’re planning a trip there any time soon, this handy guide will give you the low-down on some of the sights and experiences that should be included on any Cardiff itinerary.

Cardiff social
Having a drink in Cardiff

Watch some huge men chase a ball

Wales is arguably one of the spiritual homes of rugby (despite what Kiwis, Aussies, Saffas and the English will tell you), and Cardiff is the centre of rugby in Wales. This is largely due to the presence of the impressive Millennium Stadium - the second largest sports venue in the world - which hosts some of the biggest international rugby fixtures in Europe.

In fact, this September the Millennium stadium will host a number of Rugby World Cup matches, including Wales vs Uruguay on the 20th and Australia vs Fiji on the 23rd. If you’re in Cardiff, it’s well worth trying to catch a rugby match in this prestigious venue.

Sample some Victorian style shopping

While in the Welsh capital, it’s well worth visiting Cardiff’s rambling, chaotic arcades.

There are six Victorian arcades in Cardiff, with the Castle Quarter hosting three of them: High Street Arcade, Duke Street Arcade and Castle Arcade. These historic structures are jam-packed full of vintage clothes stores, craft shops and coffee shops. Cardiff Market on St Mary’s Street has been there in one form or another since the 1700s, with the current Victorian building offering a unique shopping experience under a huge glass roof.

Cardiff Fashion
Shopping and Street Art in Cardiff

Channel your inner Bear Grylls

Plunge into the epic Welsh countryside with an adrenaline-fuelled gorge walking tour, which you can book through The Stag Company.

It’s an action-packed day of climbing, swimming and crawling through the canyons. You’ll need to brave deep caves, burst through waterfalls and navigate your way through tangled undergrowth. The countryside surrounding Cardiff is arguably some of the most beautiful in the UK, so it’s well worth including a day out of the city in your itinerary.

outdoor adventuring
Mr A being Bear Grylls 

Become a foodie

Cardiff has seen a real food revolution of late with various pop-up festivals and street food markets as well as new and on trend independent restaurants, cafes and bars opening across the city centre. With some inspiring dishes in amazing settings such as an old bank vault, visitors are coming from across the boarder to try out some of these new joints.

Not only is the centre a hotspot but it's also spread further afield and it's worth checking out city road, Pontcanna and Canton for some of the most creative dishes.

Street food cocktail
Cardiff Street Food cocktail 

Make a visit to the Doctor

Fans of long-running and national favourite BBC show Doctor Who will be keen to immerse themselves in the world of the show with the unique Doctor Who Experience.

Many of the scenes from the series were actually filmed in and around Cardiff: Doctor Who lovers can head to Cardiff Bay and see lanto’s shrine, as well as the waterfall that was the entrance to Torchwood HQ.

Explore a Viking and smuggler past

If you hire a car, head south out of Cardiff and visit the small hamlet of Swanbridge. When the tide’s out, you’ll be able to walk out to Sully Island – an old smuggler’s hideaway.

There’s even a shipwreck from the Victorian era times visible, which you’ll be able to see from the wild, overgrown island.

With suggestions from The Stag Company
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Friday Finds - Simple Interiors


simple interiors
Porcelain tumblers on etsy 

It's that time of the week again when I pull together a few inspirational pieces and make a little wishlist of things I would like to pick up for the house. It's a strange thing as we are actually trying to get rid of a lot of the things we own and simplify our life but that doesn't mean we won't be replacing things that are a bit chaotic or not what we really want with beautifully designed objects that make our heart sing. I have been browsing Etsy lately and here are a few bits and bobs I love

beautiful things

1. Simple Plant hanger £7.50
2. Natural wooden clock £27.65
3. Look inward hand-stamped spoon £10.70
4. Keep Love Simple printable poster £4.50
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Wild things and outdoor learning



natural childhood

It's always been really important to me that both my children have a real connection with nature, especially with the way the world is going and technology is truly apart of everyones life it can be easy to overlook the simple and amazing things that happen in nature everyday. Summer is such a fantastic time for learning about different floral and fauna as well as foraging and growing your own fruit and veg and it's a real delight for the senses. We often spend long days out in the woods or country parks trying to expand our knowledge as well as having fun making wild art.


natural childhood

We always make an effort to go outside even when it's raining and both Mr A and I love growing vegetables in our small but perfectly formed vegetable patch. Last year we had a bit of a bumper season successfully growing runner beans, tomatoes, courgettes, onions and aubergine. This year we have focused more on potatoes and herbs and would love to have more space in our next garden for a small poly tunnel. 

forest life

outdoor fun

As Mr A is Home Educated it's really important to find fun and creative ways to learn and the outdoors is the perfect place for that and it's easy to incorporate math challenges (conkers are great for this) or basic science experiments as well as watching things like caterpillars turning into butterflies which is totally magical in itself. Premier Polytunnels have put together a fun little infographic to help inspire some outdoor learning with your little ones and has some fantastic ideas.

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Family Travel - going inclusive


swimming pool

We have up until this point always booked our holidays independently and have always made our own way places or booked travel and accommodation separately but now Baby G is 6 months and we have had a pretty miserable summer in terms of weather we are thinking of possibly taking an all inclusive trip to somewhere hot that involves minimal organisation on our part making it as stressless as possible, giving us as much time to relax and soak up some much needed sun. So I thought I would  lay out the pros of going all inclusive...

Vacation should be a fun time and it is but sometimes that are a lot of hassles, especially if your travelling overseas. You don’t know where to stay, you don’t know how you’ll get transportation, there are language and currency issues and getting tours and excursions set up without knowing the local terrain is difficult. There’s also not knowing where you’re going to eat your meals and that’s not something you can plan for beforehand, this can also be exciting exploring somewhere new but when you have a young baby in toll it can cause some problems. Luckily, there are all inclusive resorts that take the hassle out of your vacation, especially if the purpose of the holiday is just to relax, slow down and not worry about a thing.

South of France
Mr A in Cannes

Before you travel you can research places to stay but when you get there you don’t always get what you think you’re getting. A lot of inclusive resorts are fairly big and well known and it’s easy to find fairly honest and unbiased guest reviews online on things like TripAdvisor. There’s a good chance you’ll know exactly what you’re getting if you go with a popular all inclusive resort.

Arranging for transportation beforehand can be done but it’s not always reliable, for example I remember being stuck at the bus station in Bratislava with no idea how to get to the nearest bureau de change and my pre-arranged taxi had not shown up.  If you book with an all inclusive resort, they can arrange transportation for you and if your travelling with kids this can be a massive help, also if there’s a problem beyond your or their control, they can solve the problem themselves. They can even arrange transportation for any tours or local places you might want to visit.

London colours
Enjoying some family adventures on a trip to London

International travel most always includes dealing with unfamiliar languages and currencies. Since all inclusive resorts include everything, you don’t need the local currency and their staff speaks English. You can take away the hassle of language and currency by staying at an all inclusive resort.

You also might know what you might want to see and do but you don’t know which operators or tours are good and which ones won’t rip you offer. The all inclusive resort does know and can make any arrangements you want. Most also allow you to book these tours with your account at the resort rather than having to make payments to the variety of tour operators. And if you don’t know what you want to do, they have suggestions.

Local restaurants can be hit or miss. You might get overcharged or not like the food at all. Plus, you waste time going to and from 3 times a day to eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner. At an all inclusive resort your breakfast, lunch and dinner are all taken care of and on site. You can even have them delivered to your room, pool or beach spot. And don’t forget drinks. Most all inclusive resorts give you unlimited drinks and offer them anywhere on the resort. There are many advantages to staying at all inclusive resorts when travelling, especially international travel. Have everything taken care of for you and enjoy your much needed vacation without any hassles.

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Monday interiors - Miffy is 60



The Dutch classic children's character Miffy is 65 years old and to celebrate they have created these cute little wall tiles and as soon as I came across them I just had to share as I love the idea. Just like Miffy these are totally child friendly in terms of being easy to put up, no nails required, can be changed over time and are not only colourful and fun but also waterproof. They are available from Ixxidesign and I hope to pick some up for the boys rooms when we move later this year.

children rooms

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Love Water naturally + Giveaway



Water - we really should be drinking more of it and I certainly try and make an effort daily although even for myself who is health conscious, water at times can be a little boring, especially on a lovely summers day when you just want little something extra but without all the sugar and nasties that normal squash crams in. When Stur asked me to have a go at their new sugar and calorie free liquid enhancer that uses all natural fruit and tea flavours combined with 100% of your vitamin C in one serving I thought I would give it a go.

It's very lightly sweetened with Stevia, which for those who don't know comes from the Stevia leaf and does not affect blood sugar and with some ice and sliced lemon makes for a really refreshing drink that also tops of your vitamin C which can help reduce tiredness and fatigue. Of course with any of these things you need to aim to have a well balance lifestyle and should still aim to drink as much water as possible but as flavoured water goes this certainly has more benefits than most alternatives on the market. Another wonderful fact from this small homegrown company is that they are members of the 1% for the plant which donates 1% of their profits to organisations working to ensure safe water for all.

The lovely people at Stur have also offered one of their variety packs worth £20 for one lucky reader of Side Street Style to win. It comes with 6 different flavours all in their handy travel bottles which contain 30 servings each.

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Festival fashion & Secret Sale


So tomorrow we are heading off to the Just So festival which should mean a weekend full of fun, music, outdoor adventures and a little fashion. It's forecast for rain showers on and off during the weekend which means wellies are a must, as well as good waterproof jacket, but a little bit of rain is certainly not going to dampen our spirit and Mr A is so excited, in fact he was up at 7am this morning wanting to pack.

The one thing I love about festivals is that it's a chance to capture that carefree feeling that comes with summer, music and good food. It's a seasonal trend I never get bored or tired with and it's something I look forward too so I thought I would put a little inspiration and wish list together from award-winning and stylish UK-based online retailer Psyche which stock some amazing high end brands as well as unique and quirky ones for the whole family. Psyche are among Vogues top 100 Best British shop so you know your not going to be sort of choice when it comes to on trend style.

Levi's dungarees, Ralph Lauren Bag, bracelet 

My most recent love is that of dungarees - denim of course is such a go to fabric which never goes out of fashion and is a key piece for this summer such as this Levis pair. Another classic festival look is tassels and I am in love with this Ralph Lauren tassel bag matching it up with a bohemian bracelet.

Joules wellies
A hunter waterproof jacket an Joules wellies

You can still stay very chic despite the rain with this Hunter jacket and Joules polka dot wellies. Like I said they cater for the whole family and also stock menswear and kids including brands such as Paul Smith Junior, Polo kids, Edwin, Nudie organic jeans and Dockers to name a few, best of all they currently have a 2 million clearance SALE on at the moment and I have an extra 10% code #SECRETPSYCHESALE  to use on all their sale items

I cannot wait to update you on all the exciting things we get up to this weekend and fingers crossed there is at least a little bit of sunshine but either way it's going to be an adventure, especially for Baby G from whom it's going to be his first camping experience.

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Picking Blackberries & Celebrating Grandparents


natural childhood

It's that time of the year when it's coming to the end of summer but as the days get little shorter the berries that have been growing all season have become riper and ready to pick. We headed down to a place in Llandaff, near the Taff trail where we picked some last year but unfortunately the harvest was not as fruitful as last time although we still had a lot of fun in the process, especially as my mother and Mr A's grandmother joined us for this little outdoor adventure.


anchor jumper

I feel very lucky that Mr A gets to have active grandparents in his life, who can do things like this, share their knowledge, make crafts, garden, bake and provide a loving environment as well the occasional break for myself. I can't recall either of my grandfathers as the one passed away when I was 3 months old and the other who lived in the UK (I grew up in South Africa) passed when I was 5yrs old, I had met him when I was 3 but cannot remember him. I did have a great relationship with my grandmother who lived to the ripe age of 100 years, although she struggled with mobility in the later years she was great at knitting and sewing also enjoyed travelling and flew out to South Africa a few times to see us, even in her mid eighties.

So when HSL Chairs asked us to be apart of their blogger challenge to celebrate grandparents and all the amazing things they do especially during the long summer holidays, we naturally said yes and Mr A even had a go at a mini vlog about his favourite things to do with his.

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Off the Beaten Path: Exploring Melbourne’s Laneways


Sunset in Melbourne 

Melbourne is the home of Aussie rules football, the film and TV industries, and a major center for literature and street art. Those interested in exploring something unique to Melbourne, and not seen in many other cities, should consider spending a day exploring the various laneways of the city, also known as “arcadeways.”

In the early days of the city, the laneways, which date mostly to the Victorian era, consisted of pathways for horses and carts, behind buildings, with roofs later added to protect from the weather. For decades, the untapped potential of these lanes remained dormant, until about 30 years ago when a change in Victoria’s liquor laws spurred a laneway renaissance.

Side streets in Melbourne

Architect and urban designer Craig Allchin noted in an interview about Melbourne’s unique laneways that the then-newly created “small bar” licenses, originally set up to spur the development of a local casino, alow allowed enterprising Melburnians to set up small bars all over the city. Before the change in law, establishments were required to serve food to serve alcohol, with the operational cost of kitchens making most undertakings difficult.

With an eye toward maintaining the historical character of the laneways, state policies also forced businesses to get creative in the existing small spaces. Today, the laneways, which vary in size from very narrow to comfortably accommodating outdoor seating and music, have been transformed into “hole in the wall” delights, with the various arcades, each with their own distinct personality, boasting acclaimed bars, al-fresco dining, unique shops, and urban art.

laneways Melbourne
Street Art in Melbourne's lanes 

For music fans, AC/DC Lane located off Flinders Lane, is a must-see. Named for the legendary band, which filmed a video for their 1976 classic “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll” while riding a truck down Melbourne’s streets, this laneway boasts the popular live music venue Cherry, host to many a rock band.

Walk 5 minutes away from AC/DC Lane, back down Flinders Lane, and turn onto Hosier Lane. The center of Melbourne’s street art scene, this sprawling alley way features every kind of street art – colorful murals, stencil work, and classic graffiti “tagging.” References to both popular culture and Australian politics makes a jaunt down Hosier both educational and entertaining. The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Melbourne, near Flinders Street Station, is just around the corner from Hosier Lane and the perfect affordable option to make “home base” when venturing out to explore the laneways.

In search of food? A 15 minute walk away from Hosier, down Collins Street and Elizabeth Street, will bring you to Hardware Lane, a foodie’s delight with unmatched ambiance – outdoor seating beneath the facades of 1900s-era warehouses. At night, live music complements the food and drink. Try Amigos for tequila and tapas, Il Nostro Posto for pasta, and Aloi Na for Thai. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time eating your way through all of Hardware Lane’s options, the nearby Westin Hotel, just a 10 minute walk away, is a great option for home base.

Melboune streets

Finding a drink isn’t difficult in Melbourne, but for a special experience, after dinner in Hardware Lane, walk 15 minutes down Little Bourke Street and into Meyers Place. There are several bars to hole up in, from modern cocktail bars to old-school style speakeasies, but make a point to stop by the city’s oldest laneway bar, Meyers Place, which often has great happy hours deals.

These are just a smattering of the laneways of Melbourne – part of the fun is going on a walking tour of the city and discovering the hidden delights! There are group tours available, or, download your own map and see where the laneways lead you!

This is a guest post by Fiona Moriarty
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Street Style Sunday - Poco Nido


slip on shoes

So it's another kids fashion take over on the blog and this week it's all about these lovely printed clothes from Poco Nido who were kind enough to send Baby G this quirky little owl baby grow and super cute soft shoes. Mr A also has some colourful slip ons which come in a mini suitcase which is such a fun way to package them and we really love anything a bit creative or different as boys clothes can be on occasion rather boring which Poco Nido is not.

baby grow

Poco Nido

These clothes are really well made, especially the little shoes which are so soft. They also stock some really cute girls clothes including the sweetest little bonnets plus blankets and bibs and there is a pair of high top shoes which I wish they made in adult sizes as!

I hop you can come and join in with Street Style Sunday - remember anything fashion related goes, including what you or your kids are wearing or simply what is inspiring you

Have also joined up with What my Baby Wore

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A little bit of life



Every month or so I like to look back on our instagram and do a little round up, it's a great way to see what we have been up too in a snapshot, as well as a way to reflect and be grateful for all those little moments. So I thought I would share a few favourites with you

1. The little man is growing so fast and rocking a little number from Mamas & Papas
2. Getting outside and slowing things down..even when the sun is not shining
3. Warmer weather means sandals, I have been enjoying my mint Jelly shoes and we picked up a new pair of crocs for Mr A who refuses to wear shoes at the moment.
4. We are slowly getting the house ready to sell and have been hanging some prints up.
5. Still editing and going through our trip to London and Holland, love this photo of John and Baby G
6. In the field with a floral cap
7. Baby G's favourite place to nap is in my Papoozle sling
8. Have been making some hama bead birds with Mr A
9. Really inspired by this great photographic book - Humans of New York
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