personal

Why I’ve had bariatric surgery.

Hi everybody!

The past few months has been a whirlwind for me. We’ve bought a house, totally redecorated the house and moved into our new house. More importantly, I’ve actually undergone bariatric surgery. This is a decision that I didn’t make lightly, and a process that I’ve gone through since October 2016. Now, as a plus sized woman who is proud to be plus sized and actually identifies as “fat” this has been tough for me. I don’t want people to think that this has anything to do with how I look or my size because it isn’t. I love how I look and I believe that fat bodies can be healthy but unfortunately mine wasn’t. I was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic and also diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea and I knew something had to change otherwise I wouldn’t live as long as other people. Me and Adam also want to have another child and I just couldn’t go through another plus size pregnancy. Some people breeze through but for me it was physically and mentally (which was worse) exhausting. I just couldn’t do it again. I made a choice for my own health and to benefit my family and I hope it will be worth it.

This is my journey.

My journey started in October 2016. During a routine appointment with my diabetic nurse she mentioned bariatric surgery but I told her I wasn’t interested. She went on to say I could do weight management with the GP whilst I waited for my hospital referral and I could make a choice later. My hospital referral was going to take around 6 months and even then I wouldn’t have to make a decision straight away.

(Me in October 2016)

I did the weight management with the GP which included seeing a dietician, a psychologist and the diabetic nurse. The dietician gave me a short term goal to try and eat breakfast because one of my issues was I didn’t eat till early afternoon then I’d have 2 large meals or pick all day at junk. The psychologist appointment was really positive and she thought I was in the right frame of mind for the process and it was really positive. All through the process every member of staff has been kind, supportive and really friendly. A massive difference to when I was pregnant. I started losing weight and lost just over a stone and then started slimming world in around march just before my hospital appointment.

(Around March 2017)

My first appointment at the hospital was the surgery seminar where we would learn about our options and which surgerys were available. There was three main ones, Bypass, mini bypass and sleeve. I liked the look of the mini as it was less complications and I was coming around to the idea of surgery as got to see success stories and speak to somebody who had had it done. I also then joined a facebook group for people having surgery/had surgery at our local hospital. They then did my height and weight and calculated how much I would have to lose to qualify for surgery. You have to lose 10% of your excess weight. I was 139KG and I had to lose 7KG by the time I saw the surgeon.

Next up was a whirlwind of appointments. I had to see another psychologist who was amazing and he referred me for counselling and wanted to see my again. On the second visit he okayed me for surgery. I had to be okayed by several departments before I could join the waiting list. My next visit was to the diabetic doctor who signed me off straight away and then I had to wait for the sleep clinic and the surgeon. Unfortunately my first home sleep test (a box on your wrist and probe on your finger) failed and I had to re-do it with a different box which made the process longer.

Whilst I was waiting for my appointment with the surgeon we went on our first family holiday abroad. We went to Ibiza at the end of September 2017 and I was terrified. I thought I wouldn’t fit on the plane, that the seat belt wouldn’t go around me and that everybody would be staring at me. I worried for nothing! My seat belt fit going there and it fit in the first seat I sat in going back however the two people sat next to Adam didn’t turn up for their flight and so I moved to sit next to him as we had booked aisle seats each not actually together. When I moved into my new seat the seat belt didn’t fit (despite fitting in the one I was sat in 30 seconds earlier) so i quickly rang the buzzer and got an extension. The stewardess was discreet and it slipped on easy. I never noticed anybody staring at me on holiday, in fact there was quite a few plus size mums so I wasn’t the only one. It felt nice! We even made friends with a lovely family and it was just an amazing holiday.

(November 2017)

We got back to reality and I psyched myself up for my appointment with the surgeon. I had lost the weight required (despite being all inclusive) and was nervous but excited. After meeting with the surgeon we agreed that the mini bypass was my best option and after my sleep appointment I would be put onto the list and I would then have all the pre operative appointments.

(December 2017)

My next appointment was the liver reducing diet. Before the operation you need to do a special diet for 1-2 weeks with the aim to reduce the size of your liver which will make the surgery easier as it is done keyhole. It was quite a basic diet and you followed allowed foods from a list. This was in December 2017.

 

(January 2018)

January 2018 came around and I finally got my appointment at the sleep clinic. They agreed to give me a new machine for my sleep apnea as I didn’t get on well with the last one and I got a new mask too. This machine massively changed my life and for the first time in about 5/6 years I finally felt rested. At the end of January I had my endoscopy appointment. An endoscopy is when they put a camera down into your stomach to look at it and they also took a biopsy of my stomach. They do this because they staple and seal your stomach creating a new tiny stomach but they leave the rest of the stomach in there too as you still need the gastric juice.
Image result for mini gastric bypass diagram

Not gonna lie, endoscopy’s are disgusting and I never want another one. I did it without sedation and just listened to the surgeon and nurses but it was brutal.

I was then told by my surgeon to expect a surgery date in March/April. However this didn’t happen. In fact I didn’t get a date until October due to the hospital being super busy over winter and a miscommunication between the sleep team and the bariatric surgeons administrators. The sleep team sent them a letter okaying me for surgery and they didn’t receive it, until I rang up querying my lack of date and they found the letter. I was finally put on the list properly in June 2018 and promised a date by around September.

With this in mind me and Adam decided to cancel our family holiday in September. We were supposed to be going with loads of family but didn’t want to pay it off for me to not go so we cut our losses and cancelled. We did however go ahead with the purchase of a house which we finally completed on in August and moved into at the end of August. We were keen to get the house ready to move into and not have to do any work later and so we worked flat out for two weeks to achieve this.

(August 2018)

We moved in and I finally got my letters for my pre op and operation. I knew the date though because I had been ringing every few weeks and I was told over the phone. I had my pre-op on September 19th which entails blood test, weight, ECG, MRSA swabs and an appointment about anaesthetic which lasts around 2 hours. The day after I started my liver reducing diet for two weeks.

 

 

These are a few of the meals I ate on my pre-op diet. I ate a lot of handmade lean mince burgers, meatballs, quorn chicken stirfrys with courgettie spaghetti, stuffed peppers/mushrooms and turnip chips. It actually wasn’t bad at all and I was really full the whole two weeks.

(September 2018)

Operation day rolled around. The day before was awful and I couldn’t stop crying or writing mental “if I don’t make it” letters in my head. Eleanor slept at Adams mums the night before as I had to be there for 7:15 and as soon as she left I sobbed. I cried my eyes out actually. I was an emotional wreck the night before my op, me and Adam went to bed early, had a long talk and just hugged each other. I woke up early on operation day and put the last bits in my bag, then Adam drove me to hospital and dropped me off. I cried all the way to the surgical ward and waited for it to open. It opened at 7:!5 and I went straight onto the ward had bloods, urine samples, was weighed (I was 120KG), put my compression stockings on and got gowned up. I had to speak to the surgeon, nurses, anaesthesiologist and sign forms to allow them to give me blood, fully open me, do an alternative surgery and accept that theres a tiny mortality rate. Pretty terrifying really!

Then came the time to go down to theatre. I walked there in my gown, slippers and dressing gown and the laid me on a table propped up with a squishy mat under my feet. I laid there crying and trying to calm down whilst talking to the people working away and they quickly put my cannula in. Last time I knew it was 9:15 and I slipped into sleep quite easy.

Next thing I knew it was 11:25 and they were waking me telling me the operation was a success. I stayed in recovery until 4:30 because despite them booking a bed for me weeks ago, there wasn’t any available. I felt immediately sick and in slight pain so they kept me topped up with anti sickness and some pain relief and I was restricted to 30ml of water per hour. I couldn’t leave the trolley, couldn’t really roll on my side and I didn’t have any of my belongings. I just had to sit and wait.

Finally got back to the ward after 4:30 and was placed in my own side room. Managed to transfer beds myself without help and started to feel a bit better. I was hooked up to two drips and I finally got my phone and glasses back so I contacted my family and let them know I’m okay. Adam came to visit me and I was allowed some time off the drip so Adam could take me for some fresh air and for a bit of a break from the room.

Adam helped me put some fresh pj’s on and finally left. I was managing to walk myself to the toilet (with drip) and generally feeling 1000 times better than I expected. I settled down with some wordsearches and my phone and managed to sleep.

The second day I had no pain relief and only anti sickness on the morning and I was allowed to drink more fluids. The morning was boring, just lots of visits for blood sugars, blood pressure, IV changes and my stupid IV machine buzzing like 5 times an hour. The physio came and was shocked I was up and walking and said I didn’t need them, but I managed to persuade them to go for a walk with me out of the ward and back so I could stretch my legs. By the time afternoon came my beautiful friend Hollie came to visit me like a breath of fresh air. She made me laugh and I was so grateful for her being there. Adam and his mum also came to see me and once again Adam took me out in a wheelchair around the hospital. Adam left and I bought a TV package (which was extortionate) as my phone signal wasn’t good enough to watch things on and I watched a few films. I managed another decent nights sleep and anticipated going home the next day.

Friday came around and I was finally allowed my cannula out. This felt amazing because I had two IV’s in and my hand was throbbing. Also the machine kept beeping and getting blocked and was generally a pain to drag to the toilet all the time. I also started on food again. For my first meal I had a tiny bit of toffee yoghurt which I managed well and I had some soup for lunch. I was so scared to eat but it wasn’t bad at all, but was really strange getting full off tiny amounts. Then I sat and waited to go home. I was told lunchtime but due to my meds not being prescribed on time they weren’t brought on the lunchtime round and so I had to wait till 6. Adam came to collect me and I was finally discharged after 6:30. I was packed up, ready and waiting at the door. Once my meds came I was out!

I was so happy to leave hospital. Being away from Eleanor for so long broke me a little bit. It just felt unnatural to be away from her and I cried missing her.

I went straight to Adams mums house where Eleanor was staying and was so glad to see her. Poor Adam hadn’t seen her too as he had been coming to the hospital and she had been sleeping at his mums. She was so sweet with me, wanted to inspect my tummy and kept asking if I was okay and if the doctor had made me better.

Me and Adam left again and Eleanor stayed there as she was going to Disney on Ice the next day with Adams gran and sister and she came home to us after.

Waking up with Eleanor Sunday morning was amazing. I had missed her so much!! She actually went back out that night to stay with my cousin Carley till Tuesday because we had arranged it when I thought I was going to be more poorly. I used those few days to rest and relax and get into a routine of eating little and often.

Since then I’ve been going from strength to strength. I’ve got back into a bit of a routine, and I’ve been on days out but I’m trying not to do too much and I’ve avoided heavy lifting. I’ve already noticed small changes which is weird. As much as I haven’t done it to change my body, I am excited about some aspects like fitting into Primark clothes….and cheaper clothes in general. Plus sized clothes are a fortune!!

(Outfit from Primark)

(Tracksuit from Topsy Curvy)

(Dress is very old from ASOS!)

I just wanted to give a massive thank you to our amazing families who have just been amazing. My mum for being my supporter, Adams mum, sister and gran for looking after Eleanor so well and my cousin Carley and her boyfriend Jamie for having Eleanor for a couple of nights (even if she did come home wanting a puppy). Thank you to my friends. Tina, Emma, Katie, Beki and everybody else who I’ve spoken to daily and who has been a huge support system for me. Huge thank you to my followers and friends on instagram who kept me occupied with questions, instagram lives and who reached out with supportive comments and messages. They meant the world to me and I was genuinely overwhelmed with the response. The amount of love and support was unreal and I feel like it made the hospital stay that little bit easier.

Thank you to Eleanor for being my inspiration, for looking after me and asking me if I’m okay and for keeping me amused with your funny antics. I couldn’t ask for a better kid.

Finally a massive thank you to Adam. My rock, my better half and my best friend. From visiting me, supporting me, looking after me when I was having a few wobbles, making me food, making me rest and just generally being an amazing man as always. You are such a wonderful person and I’m so very lucky to have you.

Who knows what i’ll look like in a years time. That’s not what matters to me. What matters to me is that my health improves and I’ll be around longer for my family. Thats why I’ve gone through this whole process.

Apologies for the long post. I’ve been asked about how, why, the process and how I’m recovering so I thought a whole post with everything in would be best.

Lots of love,

Hannah x

 

 

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fashion · personal · plus size · review

Jumping on the trend. Featuring THE eBay dress.

Hi everybody!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged and honestly I’ve missed it. Long story short is I’ve had a few different bouts of illness, I’ve been super busy at home as well as stressed because – I’ve bought a house! We complete today and get our keys and I’m so excited. It’s going to be so cool to be in our own home and be able to do anything we like to it – you all know I LOVE to decorate. I’ll post lots of pictures on here because we have a few DIY’s we’re going to do and I’ll be posting before/after pics of how we decorate. We’re even going to be installing our bargain lino flooring ourselves!

Speaking of bargains, it’s no secret that when it comes to clothes I love a bargain. I generally buy everything either on sale or with a discount code. I hate paying full price and I will shop around for the cheapest version of something before I commit to a purchase. It’s something I’ve always done as I’ve grown up with not a lot of money, then I was a student with zero income and lately we’ve been saving for a house deposit so haven’t really been spending as much on ourselves that hasn’t been essential.

As it got to summer this year I looked at my wardrobe and realised there wasn’t much casual stuff I could wear day to day which wasn’t shorts. I started looking at options and loved the look of the strappy summer dresses with buttons down the middle. I saw loads of people getting them cheap from Primark but being plus size Primark cuts off at a size 20 and I figured I’d never get into one. I did find a few plus size versions in places like New Look but they were around £23 for a plain dress and I really wanted something with a print.

My friend Tina added me to a facebook group called Mrs Gloss & The Goss which is a group centred around hair/clothes/makeup and I saw these eBay dresses popping up on everybody. There was a ton of prints and people were saying they were generous sizing so I decided to see what size they actually went up to. When I looked they went up to a 3XL or a size 20 but the size chart was quite high and I’d read that there was a lot of stretch in them and so I decided that cause they were only £7.49 each I’d just go for it and order the two I was really lusting after.

  

  My first was this beautiful navy sunflower dress. I’m pretty obsessed with sunflowers and they’re my favourite flower so when I saw this print I just had to have it.

The second dress I bought was this pineapple print dress which is just the cutest thing ever. I love anything kitsch and pineapples are definitely one of my favourite prints.

I tried them on straight away expecting them not to fit at all and was pleasantly surprised when they not only fit but really looked nice. I’m a size 24 and the ones I’ve bought have been a size 3XL/size 20. I initially tried them on with no bra but have since worn then with a normal strap bra which does show the bra straps slightly and a strapless bra. I did also worry about the buttons gaping but they’re actually just for show!

I went on to purchase 3 more, white/black/pink stripes, blue/white stripes which I haven’t pictured and a plain khaki one. Now the khaki one never arrived and so I was refunded but I’m almost glad because I’ve read the plain ones are a completely different material and have no stretch. So be mindful if you do order one that plain ones have zero stretch.

These dresses have been a godsend this summer and each one has been well-worn. From family days, meals out and even nights out the dresses have been perfect for different occasions and have been easily dressed up or down.

 

I even wore the dress for a beer garden date with one of my good friends Claire. It was perfect for sitting in the sun drinking hooch.

I’m tempted to buy more of these dresses because there’s just SO many prints and I know I’ll wear them not only in summer but also autumn with boots and a cardigan and even winter with tights and a t-shirt under for a more 90’s look. Such a versatile dress and for the money they are SO worth it. I couldn’t recommend them enough and I know a few people on my instagram have since purchased them because I do bang on about them so much!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

family · fashion · food · plus size · review

Mothers Day Bottomless Brunch @ Hope & Union

Hi All!

I’ve never really been one for going out on Mothers Day as I find that it is generally over priced and too busy and so I tend to do something with our mums before/after Mothers Day or cook a meal at home. This year however we decided to change it up and actually went out just the three of us. We had planned to do something at home but when one of my favourite independent pubs announced a Mothers Day bottomless brunch then how could I resist?

There was two options for the brunch. You could go non-alcoholic for £15 or you could include bottomless cocktails for £30. We decided to go non-alcoholic as we had plans for the rest of the day. I messaged to ask if it was okay to bring a 2 year old and I was assured it would be fine to bring her and they would provide a highchair and that she would be free of charge. We booked up and got excited.

The day came around and I got ready to head out. I put on this dress from New Look Curve which I managed to grab in the sale for about £9! I wore it with nude flatform sandals from ASOS and my handbag from Primark.

We drove over to Hope & Union for the first sitting starting at 12pm. We took our seats and started to look at the menu. This is where our confusion started. We were expecting to be able to order as much as you like and that it would be small versions. We were wrong.

Whilst we viewed the menu we ordered a coffee each and Eleanor drank milk.

We both ordered the Union Breakfast with the thought that we’d also try the H&U Eggs Florentine.

And then started the waiting game. We waited for an hour for food which was ridiculous considering there was only four tables in there – it was by no means busy! Eleanor was getting super bored and she was hungry. We then asked if we could order the H&U Eggs Florentine too as we were concerned our 90 minutes time slot wasn’t that far from ending and we were told we had already ordered. We said that we thought it was bottomless but were told this only applies to the drinks.

We were a little annoyed at this. It wasn’t super clear on the online posts and as much as we were fine just having one meal we felt that £15 for a cooked breakfast with coffee and orange juice was really steep. The food quality at Hope & Union IS amazing but £15 was definitely too expensive for what we got.

They agreed to bring us a H&U Eggs Florentine to share which actually came before the meal we had ordered and we were happy for it to come as we were all quite hungry by this point. The dish was delicious and they put a twist on it by serving them in puff pastry cups.

Our actual meals came and we thought they were a little on the small side for the price paid. They were really delicious and again the quality was fantastic but they were small (to us) and they had taken an hour.

 

Eleanor was happy enough with a sausage and some toasted brioche.

We finished our meals and after over an hour and a half we were ready to leave. Eleanor had 2 sausages, a glass of milk and toast off my plate and the person serving tried to charge us £5 for her meal. I was a bit taken back! I explained that we had been told we wouldn’t need to pay for her and so the bill came to £30.

Now I don’t think £30 for two meals is unfair by any means, however I do think that it wasn’t worth it. To wait for an hour for food when there’s only four tables in, to be promised on their online posts “you will not be left hungry” and to then be served two small breakfasts and a couple of coffees I just felt like it wasn’t great value for money. I’ve always had a great experience in Hope & Union and you can’t argue about the quality of their food as it is fantastic and this is what attracted us to attend in the first place – however on this occasion we felt a little frustrated. Having said that, we’ll still be back in the future as we like to support smaller local businesses and their food is fantastic. We love their Yorkshire pudding wraps and they have a grapefruit beer which Adam is obsessed with. I’ve always found their staff welcoming and knowledgeable when I’ve asked for gin recommendations which is great for me as I like to try as many new ones as possible.

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

baby · home

Tidy Home, Tidy Mind – IKEA Trofast hack

Hi All!

So Christmas has one again came and gone and the only thing that’s left is a slowly decreasing stack of biscuits and chocolates and a ton of new toys that need to find a home. We knew that we would need some new toy storage because we previously just had two large plastic boxes in the corner and some bigger items to the side. With us getting her a play kitchen this year and family getting her a range of new toys both big and small we knew we needed to look at what storage we had and make some changes.

I have always been a fan of IKEA storage and we have IKEA Kallax systems in both Eleanor’s bedroom and my office and they have served us well. We considered getting another Kallax system but one problem with her old storage is that smaller toys fell to the bottom where she couldn’t reach and forgot about them and the bigger ones sat at the top. This meant that many of her toys were forgotten about and unused.

I then looked at the IKEA Trofast systems and thought this could be a great solution to our toy troubles as you can purchase different sized storage trays and customise it to your needs. You can also buy different colours to match the room. This was definitely the best fit for our needs and so we planned to head up to IKEA. Before we went to IKEA I had a sort through Eleanors toys, rehomed anything that was broken, unused or missing pieces and just kept what she loves/plays with. I was quite brutal with it but I needed to be as she had so much new stuff.

My cousin kindly offered to watch Eleanor and even have her overnight the night before and we headed up on a Saturday. IKEA is around a 45/50 minute drive and we jumped in the qashqui bright and early and managed to get there for around 10:15 which was great as it wasn’t super busy. We navigated our way around IKEA and found the Trofast we wanted which was the pine 3×3 and the pine mini 2×3 to go on the wall above. We also wanted to do an “IKEA hack” and bought spice racks to screw to the sides to house books as welll as a huge roll of paper and two rails – one to hold it and one to feed the paper through to keep it neat.

For the boxes we got clear mini boxes, then 3 small clear drawers and 3 orange medium drawers. These have worked so well and all her toys are split into categories so she knows exactly where everything is.

When we got home we quickly assembled the Trofast which were very easy to put together and then painted them with the same grey paint which we have on the walls. The paint has a matte/chalky finish on the wood and has tied them into the room beautifully and made them look more luxury. We then redecorated and finally installed our Trofast system onto the wall. We screwed on the spice racks which were also painted and added the paper roll and fed it through a second metal bar to keep it from rolling loose.

This is the finished product and honestly I couldn’t be more pleased with it! Not only does it look really nice in our living room and go well with the decor, it works so well for Eleanor and she loves it. It’s so easy to scoop everything up on a night and hide it away ready for the next day. Eleanor has really been loving the drawing table part and spends hours creating masterpieces and forcing me and Adam to go over and draw with her. She pulls us a tiny chair up from her little table and insists that we join her and make some artwork.

We have had a ton of compliments from friends and family and it’s a huge conversation point with visitors who come into our home. I love that Eleanor has her own space in the room and it almost makes the room have “zones” so that it’s not a complete and utter child explosion. I do think it’s good for my mental health to be able to relax and with the toys contained on a night me and Adam are able to have time that feels more adult and really switch off and just enjoy spending time together without bumping into something loud and plastic.

I always love a good trip to IKEA and my house is pretty much full of IKEA furniture, a lot of which has been painted/changed in some way. It has stood the test of time and still looks great. Cheap doesn’t always mean low quality and you can get some really pretty things from there. Plus even if you don’t end up getting something big IKEA is always a fun day out. I always end up with a ton of candles, some random kitchenware that I probably don’t need and leave with some extremely low alcohol ciders that taste of apple juice and possibly a hot-dog.

I hope this has inspired you to really think about how you can take a piece of furniture and make it work for you. I couldn’t be without Eleanor’s little toy station now and really love how it looks in our room. Now it’s time for the next project!

Thanks for reading!
Hannah x

family · food · parenting · personal · plus size · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 3.

Hi all!

This is the third and final segment of our time at Butlins. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

Day Three –

We headed out early for breakfast as we planned to go out for the day. As I knew we were heading to the seaside with lots of walking I put on my favourite boohoo turn up cuff trousers. They’re high waisted, fit perfectly on my short legs and are a jersey crepe fabric with lots of stretch. I have them in black AND pink and love them! I wore them with a long sleeve cold shoulder striped top from New Look (no longer available) and my New Look longline blazer which I wear to death as it’s SO comfortable and goes with everything. We had our breakfast and then me and Eleanor had a walk through the arcades whilst Adam went and got the car which we had already packed up with our swimming bag for when we returned.

We got the the aquarium as it opened and managed to park in a fairly cheap car park just a short walk away from the aquarium and the town centre. It was well located for the pier too but we didn’t visit there this time.

We entered the aquarium and apart from one other group behind us it was pretty quiet! We had a photo op (which came our awful as we both just had glasses glare) then went through a small room with a video playing which was set out as a ships cabin. The video explained that we had to answer questions we’d find along the way to work out the secret word and win some treasure.

Then we were pretty free to roam! We moved through the aquarium taking it all in whilst looking for the secret questions.

As we thought, Eleanor was pretty taken with the “fishies” and her and Adam spent great time watching the various fish and going into all the little spaces.

I on the other hand was determined to find all of the questions and spent most of my time reading all of the display information to find the answers.

Halfway through the aquarium there was a crafts area which was totally empty apart from us!

I’m pretty sure that Adam had more fun decorating his seahorse. Eleanor and Adam coloured in the seahorses and added strips of tissue paper.

Then we went and finished off the exhibition. The last room featured a huge full wall view of the main aquarium tank with benches to sit down.

In this tank you can actually book to swim along with the fish and sharks however we weren’t feeling that brave!

After the aquarium there’s an upstairs cafe with some pretty beautiful views and a built in soft play area. Adam and Eleanor had the run of the place and enjoyed the different slides. We were going to get some food in there but it was pretty overpriced so we decided to wait until we headed out into the centre.

We left the aquarium via the gift shop where we handed in our treasure map and found that we had got the word correct. We received our treasure which was gold chocolate coins.

We walked over the road from the aquarium and we were straight into the centre of Skegness. We had a look in a few shops as we were on the look out for new towels and had intended to get some from Fantasy Island but all the rides were closed so we decided to go to the aquarium instead. There isn’t a huge amount of shops there but there’s enough for a wander around and Adam managed to get some new dust brushes for work. Exciting ey?

Whilst waiting for daddy to finish picking brushes me and Eleanor had a look around and I found some ear muffs which I put on her as a joke expecting her to hate them. Well I was surprised to see that she loved them and didn’t want to take them off so we bought them. She had them on five minutes and was flat out to sleep.

Next we headed towards the sea front to find somewhere to eat as Adam fancied some chippy chips. Well we were at the seaside! We found a decent place and grabbed some lunch whilst Eleanor napped. We had another walk around and headed back to the car with Eleanor still asleep. As we headed back to Butlins we stopped at a garage with a shop as Adam wanted to top the diesel up and we grabbed Eleanor some snacks so she could have a car picnic! She’s obsessed with babybel, sandwiches and cocktail sausages so was in her element.

When we got back to the resort we headed straight to Splash! for an afternoon swim. Once again Eleanor was in her element and loved going round and round in the lazy river. Me and Adam took it in turns to go on the slides and I made the mistake of going on the rapids which is a ride that goes outside and is slides that go into little pools with lots of waves. As I’ve lost weight recently my bikini bottoms were a bit big on me and I had to cling onto them all the way. I eventually splashed down into the last pool with my boobs spilling from my top and my bottoms rolling down.

Very awkward.

 

We eventually headed back to the room and got ready for dinner. I decided to wear my New Look velvet dress I got for Christmas over a year ago. It was perfect for the slightly colder weather and it’s such a beautiful colour.

We headed down to dinner early as we wanted to go see a show at Centre Stage after and it gets very busy.

The line actually stretches back to the arcade some times although if you buy the b-line passes you get priority entry.

We did not.

Surprisingly we managed to get in fine without queuing and although we didn’t get a table, we managed to get seats with a great view and we settled down to watch the show “Cinderella Rocks”. It’s a spin on Cinderella in which she wants to audition for a talent show. The best character was easily the evil stepmother – they were fantastic and in the tradition of panto this was a dame. We sat and watched the full show, wandered around the arcades and headed back to the room to pack ready to leave in the morning. We were surprised how quiet it got on the Sunday night, however we did see a lot of people packing up the cars and leaving on the Sunday not Monday, and on the Friday night a lot of people arrived at tea time with kids in school uniforms so I figured that people went for the weekend but left early for school/jobs.

On our way back we noticed quite a lot of people smoking away from designated smoking areas. In fact, this was a common occurrence throughout the whole weekend and was something that really annoyed me. This is a place primarily aimed at families with children and so it was pretty annoying when people were walking down to the skyline/restaurant with a fag in their hand at times which were quite busy. If you want to smoke, that’s cool. Do what you want, but please use the designated areas and don’t smoke over my child! It’s not fair on her.

 

The next day we were up and ready early as ever. We had to be out of the room by 10 but we were allowed to use the park for the rest of the day but we didn’t hang around. We wanted to take a detour to York outlet on our way home so we wanted to get out early.

We packed up the car, had breakfast and then practically ran back to the car as the heavens opened. I drank two coffees for breakfast and was like the energiser bunny!

We drove to York outlet and spent a few hours there. We got a few bits for Eleanor and Adam bought some t-shirts in the Vans store but on a whole we found it a bit disappointing. We found that places were still quite expensive and the shops were quite repetitive. We stopped half way through to go to the food court then headed back to the car.

It wasn’t a long drive home from York and we managed it in around an hour, maybe less. We were happy to be home and in our own surroundings again and within the hour we were unpacked, washing in and suitcases away. We’re really like that though – we plan things and are super organised when it comes to things like trips away. We’d rather get it sorted and done with then be able to relax!

All in all we had a lovely family trip away but some of the magic of Butlins has certainly gone for me. If we went again I’d request an upstairs room and probably go in the warmer busier seasons and may even consider self catering or even premium dining (which wasn’t actually available as they only had one restaurant open).

It was good for the price and worth it just for a weekend, but any longer and I think I’d get bored!

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

family · fashion · personal · plus size · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 2.

Hi all!

This post follows on from part 1!

So we had returned to the room to go to sleep and we were watching tv and then around quarter to ten to noise started. Thud. Thud. Thud. It was coming from the stairs next to our room, from the room next door (separated by an adjoining door) and from above. We fully expected some noise but it was SO loud. There was kids just running around upstairs until nearly 11 and we had to contact the reception who sent somebody to ask people to be quiet. I’m surprised that Eleanor didn’t wake up because it was so loud. We finally managed to sleep after 11.

We woke up the next day early as ever and got ready for the day. We headed down to breakfast pretty early and we were glad we did as it got pretty busy towards the end of the allotted time.

After breakfast we walked down to Splash which is the onsite swimming baths. I’ve always loved going to Splash since being a kid and so was really excited to head back. Last time we went Eleanor was still tiny and in a swim ring but this time she was armed with a pair of armbands

Safe to say Eleanor was obsessed! She swam independently and didn’t even want us to hold her going around the rapids.

After swimming we headed to the pavilion to eat lunch and then watch a show. Adam being the big kid he is was sat on the floor too. The show was great and Eleanor sat for the whole thing totally hooked!

After the show we had a wander through the site and decided to take some pictures on the giant beach figures!

Eleanor was quite content sitting on her huge beach ball.

We also took a quick detour to play on the penny machines before heading back to the room to get showered and ready for the evening.

  

I actually had time to put makeup on and make more of an effort and wore my lovely In The Style Curve shirt dress (you can find similar here) which I added the patches to.

 

We headed down to dinner which was quite disappointing and pretty much the same as the previous night. Every night was a fish/chips dish, meat dinner, vegetarian option and pasta. Got quite boring and I don’t think we had a cohesive “meal” the whole time we were there.

That night we hit the arcades, watched a Mr Men show in the pavilion which was pretty good and had a few drinks. The good thing about the pavilion is you don’t have to buy from the bar. They have a shop which sells a good mix of things, including food and alcohol. We kept buying a few ciders or my guilty pleasure – smirnoff ice – and sitting in the main area watching the shows. You couldn’t take them into centre stage or reds (as Adam found out when they were confiscated) but we only went in one night out of three.

We headed back for the night and thankfully after complaining it wasn’t as loud as the first night, although from 9:30-10 with everybody arriving home and running up the steps it was still quite loud. I am quite hypersensitive to noise so definitely think it bothered me more than it would bother most people. Thankfully it died down after 10 and didn’t wake Eleanor.

We made our plans for the next day and headed to bed. We had a look to see what was on in the area and found cheap aquarium tickets on groupon and so decided to head there.

I’m going to leave this post here. The next post is going to feature quite a lot of pictures so don’t want it to be too long!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

 

family · fashion · parenting · review · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 1.

Hi All!

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’ve been with Adam for like, forever. Well maybe not forever, but it was 6 years in January and that’s like a quarter of my life so seems like ages! For our anniversary my mum suggested we went away and even gave us money for a trip away at Christmas but we didn’t book anything. Around mid January we started to entertain the idea of going away again just the two of us but we couldn’t agree on a place and honestly I didn’t really want to leave Eleanor for a couple of days. Sad I know.

Whilst scrolling through social media I saw an advert for the Sun Holidays and remembered one we went on many years ago to Cayton Bay and decided to see what destinations were on it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Butlins Skegness was one of the holidays on offer and so I got the 10 code words from the internet and decided to get booked. We wanted to book for the middle of February just after Valentines Day and thankfully this date was available. I think with dining and housekeeping/towels included we paid just under £250 for the three of us in a silver two bedroom chalet and food which I thought was such great value.

For the trip I just wanted to be comfy so I popped my hair up into the mummiest of mum buns and popped on a boohoo chiffon shirt with floral embroidery. It has a slip underneath and I wore leggings and slip-ons for comfort.

We packed up the car and headed out on the Friday around 11. Travelling with toddlers isn’t always the easiest and I was honestly dreading the car journey. We decided to stock up on car snacks, my mother in law bought us a back of the seat organiser for Eleanor and we managed to sit her iPad on it with some pre-downloaded films on and she was pretty happy!

I sat in the back with Eleanor and was really comfy in our Qashqai +2. It was a fairly straight forward drive and we only stopped once at a service station to use the facilities and grab a bite to eat. We sat outside on picnic benches and introduced Eleanor to her first ever lunchable. She didn’t really get the hang of one piece of cheese/ham at a time and pretty much just bit into the full stack.

We arrived on site quite early and decided to check in and explore. We went through the drive through check in, found a parking space near our chalet and went for a look around. We headed towards the fairground which Eleanor really loved. Most of the rides are actually free and there’s also a playground.

Eleanor ran straight for the slide and was happily climbing up herself.

Next we went to find a ride that Eleanor could go on. She was slightly too small for most of the kids rides but we found a little train she could ride on with us and she loved it. Not sure if she enjoyed it more or if Adam did!

After checking out the Arcades we headed back to our room. We unpacked, pushed the two twin beds together and build a pillow fort for Eleanor then got ready for dinner.

For the first night I decided to go for something quick and comfortable as we weren’t allowed into our rooms till 4 and so we were a bit pushed for time. I kept my hair up and added a flicky pony I had previous bought from a small independent shop in Middlesbrough Town Centre. It’s one of the drawstring types and it super easy to put in.

For my outfit I wore my favourite stripy culottes from New Look Curve with a hook and eye top which was also New Look and ankle boots from Primark wide fit range. The whole outfit was bought on sale and probably cost around £15-20. Bargain!

Eleanor wore her new unicorn dress from H+M which was a steal at 2.99 with a pink fluffy cardigan she’s had quite a while.

We headed down to dinner which was quite busy as they only had one restaurant open. It was pretty standard food and honestly not as good as last time we went. Each night there was a fish meal, “dinner” style meal with a different meat, some form of pasta and a vegetarian option. We didn’t go hungry but most dinners were kind of pieced together rather than proper meals.

 

After dinner we headed to the skyline pavilion and of course Eleanor had to sit on every ride we could find. After a brief stint in the arcades we decided to find some seats, get some cans and watch the entertainment.

Adam was quite pleased to see that the evenings entertainment was wrestling. The company was NGWUK and they were pretty entertaining. Eleanor seemed to really enjoy herself and was shouting and pumping her fist in the air. I think she enjoyed the popcorn more though which was being sold by attendants going around with trays.

We headed back to the room tired after a long day and put Eleanor to bed who had fallen asleep in her pram on the walk back. With Eleanor safely tucked up in bed we chatted, planned the next day and watched a little tv. We ended up upgrading our wifi as the signal was so poor on the site and so we couldn’t contact anybody or even each other.

We made plans to watch some shows and go swimming the next day after breakfast and headed to sleep.

I’m going to break these posts up as they’re quite photo heavy and will finish this chapter here! Please keep an eye out for part two and let me know below if you’re a fan of Butlins, or if you prefer elsewhere!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x