Side Street Style: March 2017

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

27/03/2017

Interior Style - The Oriental inspired Rug


interior style


Floor space can often be overlooked when it comes to interior design although it really shouldn't be, I have discussed before how important dressing your floor space is. It's a space that can add that much needed pop of colour to a room or a sense of warmth and texture, depending on what you decided to lay down. With so many choices it can be hard to narrow down what you want and an oriental rug may seem somewhat outdated but it's not at all, instead it's a classic piece that fits with so many themes and design trends. There’s an array of reasons for this—its craft, its presentation and its long-lasting qualities. I still remember lying on my parents rug looking at all small details in the print.

The great thing about these rugs is they fit really well in a Scandi inspired room with bare wooden floors and a massive Kazak rug with geometric patterns across its surface area looks very chic. Combining modern interiors with classic and traditional ones can make for interesting and inspiring spaces if done in there right way and can create a comforting homely environment.






However you choose to dress up your floor space it's really important to go with a product that is  built to last not simply from a quality standpoint, but likewise from a generational aspect. Traditionally handwoven rug beauties are meant to be passed down generation after generation. There’s a reason why their craft has been venerated for centuries, still maintaining the same allure that made that popular in days past.  The rug’s composition is something of wonder. An Oriental rug isn’t something made by machine, nor is it done in a few days. The process to create an Oriental rug takes months and not by one singular person. Hundreds of threads are woven into the smallest portions of the rug, honing itself so that its durable and sturdy. In doing so, it allows the dyes and inscribed motifs to “pop”.

If your looking for inspiration from real people and see how different rugs work in different spaces and styles of homes do check out their online gallery. Like the one my parents had in our hallway it's still going strong as it's a piece that's meant to last and can be handed down. 

Associated post

24/03/2017

Weekend adventures with the KA+ Part 2

outdoor childhood


We were set a challenge by Ford to get as much out of a weekend on a very small budget while trying out the new KA+. You may have read our first post about this weekend were we explored Tredegar House, a National Trust Property we had yet to visit and gave us a chance to use our family pass. On the Sunday we had planned to drive up to the Brecon Beacons but after a jaunt into the city and the changeable weather we decided to stay local and go to a nearby country park which was not only fun but also very budget friendly.


family car

Family car



So we packed the car up with the boys two scooters, a few snacks and headed off to have some outdoor fun. I was really pleasantly surprised at how much the boot of the car can fit in, we had no issues getting in both scooters, our wellies, backpack and bag of snacks and still have plenty of room left. Two days before this I tried out getting my youngest pram into the boot as my mother use to have an old KA and I could never get it in but good news is that the new Ford KA+ is far more spacious and I had no problem fitting it in. We also packed some bird seeds to feed the resident swans and geese and a hot flash of coffee to keep John and I warm.


country park

scootering



I initially thought we may go over our budget of £25 but we managed to fit two great days out for just under that. The thing is that enjoying your surroundings really doesn't need to cost loads and kids often want for nothing more than some sticks, muddy puddles and trees to climb when outdoors, as long as you keep things simple it's pretty easy. Most of the budget went on food and the two picnics we put together but had we ate out both of those days it would of be far more expensive. Luckily the new Ford KA+ is really fuel efficient and you get a lot of millage for your pound, as well as some great extra features such as seat warmers and rear car sensors.



outdoor adventures


You can see everything we got up too and what we spent our budget on in our little action packed vlog of a budget friendly weekend with the Ford KA+ and we would like to thank them for having us involved and asking us to take part in this campaign. 





22/03/2017

Mothers Day gifts that give back

Gentle parenting



As you may already know I am trying to massively minimalism my life and belongings and what I bring into the home, so when I do purchase something I try to find products that give a little bit back to this beautiful worlds of ours. Giving presents can be so incredibly satisfying and at times far more so than receiving so I thought I would share a few ethically inspired gifts that would make great presents for that all important mother figure in your life this Mothers Day.



loving tote



I thought first I would start off with one my favourite Interior Stores - The White Company and their White Heart Foundation collection. This foundation and collection is committed to helping vulnerable women and children build a brighter future but donating 10% of sales to three fantastic charities - Prince's Trust, Refuge and Place2Be. Out of the collection I love this Shopper Tote bag above which is currently on sale at £11.20 as well as this beautiful Porto Stoneware Heart Plate below - both would make perfect presents.



White Company


Next on the list is for the slogan loving fashion moms looking for something fun, positive and gives a little back, then these cute sweaters from Mother Like No Other could be the perfect option with part of every sale goes to Pandas Foundation who provide post natal depression support. The sweaters are also locally screen printed which is another reason why they are a great buy.


mama tee


If the Mother in your life loves to indulge in beauty products then the Deluxe Beauty Selection Box by The Body Shop may be just what they want. The Body Shop never tests on animals and is part of a community fair trade programme which benefits around 25 000 workers worldwide. So it's pretty feel good beauty.


Fairtrade beauty



Here are a few more fantastic feel good gifts, especially the Superwoman Smartbox from Buyagift, it gets two thumbs up as not only does it pamper the mum in your life with a variety of spa days, meals out or afternoon tea options but also £12.50 from the sale of this box will be donated to Breast Cancer Care.

The pretty necklace and star earrings below are both from my favourite ethical fashion retailer People Tree and they are both handmade in brass and are part of a fair trade social business in Kenya. If your going the tradition route with chocolate than why not opt for Green and Blacks organic or a Divine Chocolate tasting set which is made of fair trade chocolate.



Mothers Day ethical gifts

Mothers Day ethical gifts by laurasidestreet featuring a shopping bag


If like me you don't want for anything and rather give a gift back than one of the charity Mothers Day cards from Oxfam which is £16 and provides Day care for a mother and baby in a developing country. It's a wonderful way to support this charity. These Beautiful You from SevenSeventeen candles not only smell divine but also donate £1 of the sales back to PANDAS Foundation, supporting women suffering from pre and postnatal illness. The last in this gift guide is perfect Forde-stressing or the creative minded and comes from the small homegrown mama business that is Mere Soeur - The Art of Motherhood colouring book is £10 and all profits go to Home Start, a leading UK family support charity helping vulnerable families provide a better life for their children.



21/03/2017

Where Should You Go For Your Next Family Trip?





Choosing the perfect vacation spot is a task that should not be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration of all the family’s interests. This includes both the younger generation and the older generation, something that can prove to be tricky. Child-friendly holidays are key but that shouldn't mean compromise when it comes to design, style and adult facilities.

We have been doing a fair amount of research of late and what has really caught our eye is South Sardinia as its such a unique destinations to take the whole family to. Not only is it child-friendly, it is a laid-back and beautiful destination that everyone can appreciate. The South Sardinia landscape provides ample room for exploring with the family, especially if you are a creative one, who likes taking things out of the box.







We have done so many city breaks and countryside breaks over the past few years so the draw of staying in a luxury resort in the South Sardinia region is extremely appealing right now. As we plan all our trips we have never gone for an all-inclusive option but it does benefit families both financially and conveniently and takes a lot of stress out of the planning side of things. While there are various options available, you will surely be able to find the best luxury resort in Sardinia with Pullman Hotels.

The Hotel Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna offers everything a family could need. It has a great restaurant and bar, including the wonderfully relaxing La Veranda, where you can enjoy a drink by the pool while the kids play within eyeshot. The location of the hotel makes for easy access to all of South Sardinia’s attractions without a long commute.

The sights in Southern Sardinia are a once-in-a-lifetime draw. The beaches offer enough entertainment for weeks. From the small and calm Porto Sa Ruxi and Capo Boi to the more vibrant Campus Beach where you can rent canoes and paddle boards, there is plenty to explore. Timi Ama Beach is very close to Notteri, and offers a stunning view of mountain, sea, and sand.





The Stagno Notteri is a beautiful lagoon that is a must if you are in the South of Sardinia. It is located beneath Villasimius, a place where once can stroll along and bird watch. It is notorious for housing a permanent flock of flamingoes. As well as the many beautiful coastline, there are many historical and archeological sights to see in Sardinia. This includes the Fortezza Vecchia, a closed fortress built in the 1300s and abandoned. The Archaeological Museum is also a great place to take your kids for a great lesson in Sardinian archeological history.


The food in Sardinia is a draw to many. Its prime location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea guarantees that it will have fresh seafood and local fruit and veg. Its cuisine features a balanced mix of different cultures to create a unique experience. Since Sardinia being part of Italy, its food reflects that and includes many pasta dishes that will easily please a child’s palate. Sa Fregula is a small round pasta that is served in all different ways. Culurgiones is a potato and mint stuffed ravioli that is sure to satisfy all types of appetites. For everyone in the family, desserts are ultra rich delicacies in Sardinia, which should be enjoyed regularly. Children and parents alike will enjoy sebadas- honey brushed fried pastry that can be found all year round, and of course, gelato can be enjoyed regularly.





Visiting Sardinia is a one of a kind experience. With its sprawling, unique coastlines, delicious food, and exciting attractions, families need not look any further in choosing a place for their next holiday.

Collaborative Post 

20/03/2017

Recreating that hotel feel at home

London hotel



I don't think it's hard to dispute that once you become parents a relaxing break away every now and then is very much welcomed. To stay in a hotel where you don't have to worry about making the bed and a lie in on a comfortable king sized bed is a given. Of course due to time and expense it's not something many of us can afford to do as much as we would like which got me thinking why not inject a little bit of that luxurious feeling into your home and create a bedroom that is haven for calm and relaxation?

I thought I would share easy, simple and cost efficient ways to bring that luxury feel into your home when you don't have a massive budget. Here are my top 5

1. Declutter - edit your living, bedroom and bathroom spaces and by streamlining and making full use of any storage space you have will instantly make you feel more relaxed and make the room look more spacious. Go with a white or a more neutral palate to create a crisp luxurious feel that you get in a hotel.


luxury bed




2. White linen - this is possibly the easiest way to give your room that instant luxury weekend away feel with very little work. Also opting for light and bright linen will make your bedroom look cleaner, brighter and renewed. If you really want to throw the boat out why not upgrade to a quality hotel duvet because is there anything better than wrapping yourself up in a new and super soft duvet. You don't have to have everything white either, you can add a spot of colour with a throw or wall art.  Personally I opt for high quality synthetic fibre filled bedding but if you are going to invest in duck feather featherbed than make sure you go with a company that has animal well fare at it's heart and the down is a by product, this is easy to do and won't cost you anymore.

3. Pillows - so having discussed the duvets and linen what about Pillows which are equally as important and can have a real impact on your quality of sleep. I find after a while our pillows become somewhat lack lustre and loose their shape and flatten out so it is something that does need be replaced and investing in a luxury pillows will bring you comfort and well being during the night.

3. Bathroom towels - again soft and fluffy white and texture towels will instantly remind you of a night away. Also by recycling any old worn out towels and mis-matched prints and scaling down to a few that work well together you can minimalism a little bit of clutter in your bathroom and make way for a more stylish relaxing start to the day. Also why not treat yourself to a few at-home spa products so at the end of a long day you can sit and relax in a bath with some essential oils.



beautiful breakfast



4. Start the day right - one of my favourite thing about staying in the hotel is the breakfast, in fact it's my favourite meal of the day yet it's often overlooked and when people are rushing around it's the one things that seems be compromised. As they say it's the most important meal so take time to enjoy it with family. If you love coffee why not invest in a Cafeteria and pick up your favourite granola and some fresh fruit and a daily treat.

5. Fresh Flowers - now I know may of us are not Elton John and cannot afford an array of fresh cut flowers in our house but picking up a small bouquet every now and then or even some Daffodils (which cost around £1 a bunch) is an instant pick me up for any room and adds that touch of weekend feel

These are 5 fairly easy and cost efficient way to recapture that hotel feel at home. You don't need to do anything major, juts a little streamlining and minimalism and investing in decent bedding and linen as well as some morning self care.


hotel styling

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17/03/2017

Dealing with Anxiety when your Naturally Outgoing


Dealing with Anxiety



I have always tried to live life to the full, I love to travel, learn new things, meet new people and have always been naturally outgoing but on the other hand I have suffered on and off from panic attacks and anxiety since I was in my teens. I think because I love to be hands on, plan trips and know where I am going I struggle when things don't go how I planned, if I start to feel disorientated I have a tendency to panic or get overwhelmed. This is probably the biggest reason why I don't drink too much or like flying as I find it hard not being in control.

Sometimes I go for months of not feeling anxious at all but with everything that has been going on lately in the world and having children and I do have the tendency to over think things, it's certainly made me feel nervous about the future and visiting busy places like central London for example. I have turned down going to events or meetings due to feeling like I would get overwhelmed, even though most people think of me as out-going, which I am but sometimes this can be made harder if I am feeling anxious. Thats the thing about anxiety if can affect anyone at anytime and it can be the smallest triggers than can cause real uncertainty and worry for one person and not for another.

I find when I have a lack of sleep (which happens fairly often as my youngest seems to no need sleep at the moment) or I feel overwhelmed with work, running the household or general manic nature of having a young family things can flair up a little but I do have a few steps that really do help me put things into perspective and by keeping on top of these steps mean for the most part I can enjoy my normal active lifestyle.


outdoor family


1. Spend time outdoors - I always find getting outdoors into nature and fresh air is a great leveller and the perfect way to put things into perspective as well as maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle and reconnect as a family. Saying that I also like time outside on my own where I can focus on being mindful and stepping away from the online world for a moment.

2. Slow down - taking on too much stuff and feeling rushed and then stressed is simply no good for anyone really so slowing down, stepping away from screens, focusing on the smaller simple things and trying to get a little more sleep is a really good way to practice some self care and will certainly help to make your feel calmer

3. Starting the day right - what we eat can really play a role in how we feel and help keep stress levels down. I find when I am feeling a little on edge, starting the day with a comforting bowl of porridge topped with bananas or apples which are calming foods and a big cup of Chamomile Tea is the perfect way to feel rebalanced for the day ahead.


healthy lifestyle


4. Listen to music - Music is one of those things that can really help calm you down and connect to happy memories. I love to take time out and put my vinyl records one and listen to may favourite albums. Doing this is another act of slowing down and practising a little self care as the world just seems to be more manic than ever and some many are time short but zoning out and listening to your favourite tunes can help take your mind off things.

5. Talk it through - if something is really on my mind then I find talking it through with either John, friends or family members helps put it into perspective. Just having someone listen can really be helpful and is a great way to offload thoughts in a supportive environment.

6. Consider counselling or therapy. I will put my hand up and say that a few years before having kids I went to therapy for a while and it really helped and was certainly a positive experience for me. However with kids and being time short it can be hard to fit this in but you can now access Online Therapy sessions would could be something to look into

There are plenty of natural ways to help combat anxiety and keep it under control so it doesn't start to affect your daily activities. Yoga can be fantastic for learning breathing techniques or perhaps take up a mindfulness course as it might be a manic lifestyle that is affecting you. Staying on top of your Omega oils and eating nutrient dense nuts can help to raise the mood.

Kalms


Another fantastic herb is lavender which has been used for hundreds of years to help relax, de-stress and lift ones mood. Kalms have recently developed a 100% natural daily lavender pill to simple help aid and provide temporary relief of anxiety when it flairs up. There is not one single thing that will instantly make you feel better but this can certainly add to the tools you can use to create a more relaxed mind. I find I get particularly anxious and stressed when travelling so I'm going to give these a go next time I hit the road and will let you know how I get on.



Anxiety


Associated Post 

16/03/2017

Be Green when it comes to Energy

Energy saving tips



For a lot of people, normal energy bills will account for a quite significant portion of the budget for the household and it's also one of the biggest drains on the planet. In fact, this one bill is typically only surpassed in amount by the mortgage or rent. For this reason, it is typically in the best interest of your budget and the environment if you can keep this bill as low as you possibly can. This will not only save you in terms of money, it will also conserve energy and make your home a little bit greener which is something we really all do need to start addressing sooner rather than later. 

Let’s take a closer peek at some of the ways that you can save money on your energy bills.

Unplug It

If you are not using something that is plugged in, either turn it off or unplug it. This can be made easy
even for those items that are plugged in places where the outlet is hard to reach by using a power strip. Then, you can simply turn the power strip off when you are not using whatever is plugged in to it. If you are using a device that is not equipped with a switch to turn it on or off, use an outlet that has an off/on switch. For example, you can connect both your television and your speakers to a single plug connector. Then, you will be able to turn off both items at the flip of a single switch. 

Lighting


Lighting accounts for more of your energy bill than you might realize. This is why it is important to find the places for light switches and lights that are the most effective. You might also think about painting rooms bright and light colors. More light will be reflected by the brighter colors and this means that it will take lesslight to brighten the room. You can also replace all of your old fashioned incandescent light bulbs with the newer and more efficient LED or CFL bulbs. You also will want to avoid using ceiling flood lights, of course, this is unless they are using LED bulbs. Another great idea is to install dimmer switches on your lights. All of these things can add up to a significant savings.



energy saving
Keep rooms bright and light and saving on your lighting bills 



Compare Rates

When we moved into our current home more than 2yrs ago we stayed with the same energy provider because it seemed to make sense at the time and was far less hassle. Although after a year or so of us being very conservative with our use our bills simply were not reflecting this so we queried it and we were being charged way too much. We decided to go with a more ethical and greener provider which also saved us money, a win win all round. I your at all questioning your bill than why not compare it with out providers, such as the electric rates in Corpus Christi may be different to other areas and you may be shocked with what you find.


Turn down the Thermostat

Did you know the by turning down your thermostat but just 1°C can save you as much as £60 per year which is incredible and also very green. It's one of the easiest changes to make in your household and you really won't feel the difference. Also if you are feeling a little chilly why not put on a jumper and some cosy slippers before reading for the heating?



cosy scarf



Be laundry efficient

Again another really easy change and you have probably heard it loads before but washing your clothes at either 30-40 makes a huge savings especially as up to 90% of a washing machines energy expenditure comes from heating the water. Also if you have the space indoors or the weather is favourable hanging up your laundry to dry is a great money saving tip and far more economical on the planet.

Do you have any tips that you have found useful, energy efficient, economical and ethical in your household? Maybe you have shortened your showers or really good at reusing things, please share.

15/03/2017

Freedom to Express yourself

Street Art



A lot has changed over the past few decades in terms of the freedom we have when it comes to expressing our individuality in the way we dress and decided to present ourselves to society. I'm 32 and even when I was younger things like excess piercings and tattoos in the eyes of my parents generation was not something educated family people delved in but rather it had connotations with some less desirable groups of society. I however always loved the Bohemia side of things (think Woodstock, travelling the Silk Road etc) and I had a lot of persuading to do to just get my ears pierced at 15, to be honest it was more a peer pressure decision on my part and even though my parents eventually said yes when I actually did it they were not particularly happy.

Moving on from that ever since I was about 16 I wanted my nose pierced, I loved that is was something steeped in Indian culture and I had dreams of backpacking through Goa or hitting the road as a music journalist in the vain of Almost Famous (if you have not see this feel good feel - do). My parents of course always said no, it was from a good place though, I think they didn't want me having issues getting jobs or having people jump to conclusions on my appearance, which may seem irrelevant today but 20 years ago there was certainly less people expressing themselves this way. I waited patiently until I was 23 and living and working in Amsterdam, I felt I was old enough at this point to know who I was and my parents trusted my judgement, waiting was the right decision as it was never a problem in their eyes, I had earned it by this point. Today sees everyone from all walks of life express themselves in which ever way they want and personally I think its great as it makes the world a more colourful and diverse place than ever before and that can never be a bad thing.


Bristol street style


I went on to have a few more things as one does and I don't regret any of them as it's ones right to express themselves in a way that makes you happy. When I was living and working on the West Coast of Scotland I tried to stretch my ears a little (nothing too extreme) using wooden spiral tapers, it was a fairly easy and gradual process and I did get quite far although I had irritation in one that just wouldn't subside so I decided to not push it any further although if your interested in getting flesh plugs then the flesh tunnel shop offer some great advice. With so much great advice free available online at the moment I probably would of been able to do this better, slower and without issues. Again I found the history of stretch ears really fascinating - did you know that in 1991 a 5000yr old mummy was found frozen in a Glacier and had widened earlobes and many indigenous tribes and nations still practices this today


A few of Johns leg tattoos on show


The same can be said in many ways for John, he always wanted a variety of tattoos, original pieces of artwork but only ended up getting his first one at the age of 35. He spends a long time researching  the best in their field rather than just picking a shop by random and has worked with a few tattooists who have come to Cardiff on Guest touring spots. Together we are planning to go to Cardiff Tattoo Convention in July this year which should provide a host of inspiration. John like many has a smart dress attire for work and being self employe it's very important he has a professional appearance but also being in the Barber trade it allows for some flexibility as Barbering and Tattooing are actually very connected and have been for years, even so he doesn't have any he cannot hide easily.

Have you ever had a late interest in doing something a little different such as dying your hair a shocking blue colour and maybe in another way such a sky diving? Or have you ever regret a decision you made in hast while you were younger?



Associated 

14/03/2017

Feel Good Fashion


Kids style


When it comes to fashion I am passionate about buying Fair-trade where possible and what is even better is when I know some of the money is going to a good cause which is a win win all round. So I am really excited about these fair-trade fun and colourful designed t-shirts by the renowned photographer Rankin for the TK Maxx Red Nose day collaboration. 





I think that it's really important to educate our children about where clothes come from and how they are made as with most things its something we often take for granted. My son loves learning about the world and finding different countries on his globe and he gets especially excited when things have come from Africa as that's where I was born. These t-shirts are wholly made in Africa with the cotton sourced from certified co-operatives in Uganda and at least £3 of the sale of these t-shirts go to Comic Relief. It's such a small and easy way to give a little back and love this Bulldog print. 


Equality tee


As most know it was also International Women's Day earlier this month and in honour of that I picked up this organic fair trade Equality tee from People Tree. Not only do I love the design and quality but it;'s made by Assisi Garments which is a fantastic social enterprise in India started to help out Deaf and mute woman as well as medical treatment in India. 

It's really great to see more and more brands learning towards making their clothing more ethical and sustainable although there is still a long way to go but I love supporting fashion that is still fun and stylish but gives a little back.


Kids style

08/03/2017

Budget Weekend Challenge with Ford KA - Part 1

travel family


Over the Welsh half term while we had the chance to try out the new Ford KA+ for a few days, it was perfect timing in fact as our Van had to have an accelerator belt repaired so we were really looking forward to driving something far more economical for a while.

I have to admit I didn't know what to expect as my mother had one of the older style KA's for a while and even though it was a nice nippy car it was very small and not something that would be suitable for our out-going family but the new KA+ was the complete opposite and was extremely spacious. It has some pretty cool tech updates including heated seats and rear parking sensors as well as a good size boot which easily fitted our stroller as well as the boys scooters.


siblings


After a few months of driving a heavy and pretty old Camper Van we truly embraced the silent drive as we had become somewhat accustom to our vans quirky noises while the KA was as quiet as a mouse well except for the kids of course who were extremely excited about the budget friendly weekend challenge we had ahead of ourselves. Just like the KA you get loads for your money and we had to aim to get the same with an action packed weekend with only £25 to spend.


So on the Friday we decided to pick up some goodies for a family night in and spent around £20 on some Pizza, tortilla chips and dip and a little dessert plus good for our picnics before headed home to watch Swallows and Amazons, making for a cheap and cheerful night in. We also backed some flapjacks and prepared our picnic for the next day so we could get up early and make the most of it. We decided to use our National Trust passes and visit Tredegar House and Park as we had been meaning to go for a longtime but for some reason hadn't yet so we made our way to Newport on Saturday.






When we arrived we decided to first head to the house and explore the walled garden. The kids loved running around especially as the weather had not been great of late and we all needed a good few hours in the fresh air. I'm so glad we decided to join the National Trust a few months back as we have saved so much money visiting such beautiful places. The house also had a small vegetable patch and a few little secret paths to explore.

We then went in search of some picnic benches as we had a whole cooler bag filled with sandwiches, fruit, drinks and some homemade cake and flapjacks. It may seem strange to some having a picnic in winter but we all really enjoyed it and it was such a easy and stress free way to eat while out on adventure as sitting down in a cafe with two boys can be somewhat of a challenge in itself.






After our picnic we explored Tredegar Park which is right next to the house and open to the public and it has a beautiful lake with my two boys loved looking for fish and spotting ducks. We played a game of hide and seek and tag before starting to feel the wintery chill set in. As we had saved money on bringing food with us we had enough to get the boys a little babychinno each from the very cute and quaint coffeeshop. As it was starting to get late in the afternoon we decided to head back home while both boys ended up falling asleep in the back which was probably down to it being such a smooth ride home. Check out our vlog to see what we got up too and I will be sharing our Sunday adventure with you soon.





Thanks to Ford for inviting us to try out the new KA+

07/03/2017

How to be a Budget Savvy Traveller


airplane travel



Between John and I we have been to over 27 different countries and while that may not be loads in comparison to some it has taught us a fair amount about travelling on a budget and getting the best deal possible when it comes to booking. When we plan family trips I am usually the one assigned to finding the best deal from hotels to flights, trains and local transport which is something I love to do and I am a big fan of review sights such as trip advisor for getting a more realistic view on what to expect before checking in somewhere.

The great thing about travelling today is the array of free resources available online, along with an abundance of comparison sites but this too can mean you end up sending a very long time looking for deals which actually you may up end missing out if you don't act at the right time. When it comes to booking your travel timing really is everything.



Family travel



In fact a well known online travel agency Opodo recently shared their insights into when is the best time to book flights and it threw up some interesting facts according to their database over the past year. Did you know the cheapest days to book flights on is Saturday and Sunday - I honestly would of thought it would do been a week day. Also the cheapest months to travel were September and October which really does make sense as they are off peak times but still pretty good in terms of weather across Europe.


family travel



If you don't fancy flying or your just looking for a cheap staycation here are my top 5 tips on being travel savvy and getting the right deal at the right time.

1. Be flexible - if you are not set in your dates and can travel a few days either side of your preferred date it gives you a lot more options and the likelihood of finding a quiet off-peak flight, train or hotel is going to be much higher.

2. Use comparison sites - it's surprising how much you can save just by comparing the rate you have with any other online travel agencies - the amount can vary considerably.

3. Be flexible with your accommodation, have a look at some boutique hostels, self catering and apartment options as they can sometimes be a better deal than hotels.

4. Eat al fresco - a simple way of keeping down the costs when it comes to spending money on food is to eat al fresco at a local park or sightseeing spot. Simply shop like a local at a supermarket and make yourself a little picnic on the go which will be by far cheaper than eating out.

5. Find the free attractions - again research your destination and see what there is to do there for free. Many museums and public spaces cost little or no money as well as famous sights you can walk too.

Of course there are plenty of other tips such as travelling with only hand luggage to keep down any extra costs and if you are checking bags in then do make sure you weight them beforehand so you don't have any nasty shocks at the airport. Always carrying a refill water bottle with you, walking as much as possible (which is also the best way to see a city). Another major "Must Do" is always have both health insurance and your free European Health Insurance Card which will save you thousands should you get sick or injured during your trip.


poolside


The more you research the more prepared you will feel although don't allow this to stop you from being spontaneous and having some savings in the bank just incase you do find yourself short on money is always wise. The more you travel the better you will become at making your pound go that little bit further, the main thing is you get out there and enjoy this fantastic planet we live on and everything it has to offer. If you have any budget saving tips please share them below in the comments


savvy travel

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