baby · family · parenting · personal

A letter to my daughter for International Womens Day

Dear Eleanor.

On international women’s day I can’t help thinking about what kind of a woman you will be when you are older.

As any mother would, I have all these hopes for you. I hope you grow to be clever, courageous and kind. I hope you grow to be strong, smart and generous. I hope you grow to always love your family, to help your friends and to always find the good in the bad. I hope you laugh lots, I hope you know it’s safe to express yourself, I hope you follow your dreams and know it’s okay if you don’t always achieve them.

I want you to know I’ll always love you, never judge you and you always have my support. I’ll hold you up when you’re down, I’ll laugh with you when you’re happy and cry with you when you’re sad. I’ll be there to embarrass you when you bring your first love home – no matter what gender they are, all I’ll be there with a box of tissues should they break your heart.

I’ll always be your best friend and help you see the beauty in being a woman – if that’s what gender you feel you are.

You are incredible and one day you could change the world, and I’ll be there by your side.

I can’t wait to see the woman you will become, but for now I’m just enjoying my wonderful toddler who always makes my day and amazes me with her intelligence, her spirit and her loving nature.

Eleanor Bridie Lister you are my greatest piece of art and I love you dearly.

Happy International Women’s Day! 

food · review

Mam VS Food. Middlesbrough’s Man VS Food Grill House Review.

Hi All!

Me and Adam are always looking for new places to head out for food, and one of our favourite places to head to is Linthorpe road as they are always opening new places. On Linthorpe road there is a huge range of cuisine from greek to italian, chinese to turkish and many more. It feels like they are constantly adding to it and it’s stretching further and further along the road.

One place we haven’t had until recently is a real “smokehouse” place such as the likes of Reds True BBQ, a place we have been to before and really enjoyed. When we heard that one had opened in town (Man Vs Food Middlesbrough) we kept saying that we would visit but didn’t get round to it. One night after running some errands in town we decided we would just head out for tea and agreed that we would finally go in and try it out.

The interior is very retro american with an industrial twist. We were quickly seated and given menus. It was a Friday night we attended and we had no wait for a table as it was pretty empty.

We ordered some drinks whilst we decided what we were going to eat. They had menus with various deals on but we pretty much looked at the main menu. Adam was pleased to see they served Iron Bru which came in a kitsch jam jar style glass.

We decided to go for the sharing BBQ smoke tray which was £25.95 and contained brisket, pulled chicken, half a chicken, beef ribs, wings, spicy lamb sausage, pit beans, nachos, fries and a side of your choice. We chose mac and cheese bites as our side and waited for it to arrive.

The food came pretty quickly. Almost too quickly! We soon tucked in and honestly, it was pretty average. Some bits were great such as the mac and cheese bites but some of the meat was quite tough. The worst part though was when Adam pulled a long black hair from inside of his beef ribs. Thinking it was mine, he just tossed it to the floor but then I quickly reminded him that I had dyed my hair auburn literally the day before – guess he didn’t notice! We called the manager over and told him what we had found and he informed us that all of their meat is shipped down and is pre-cooked and then grilled to order. That was why it was so quick then! Honestly I think this is a bit of a cop out and really they should be doing things on-site. I can warm food up at home.

After finding the hair we were offered an apology and a free dessert. Adam got a peanut butter cheesecake which was pretty huge. This picture doesn’t do it justice at all, it was bigger than a fist!

I went for a banoffee waffle which was delicious but I just couldn’t finish it all.

The dessert was definitely the best part of the meal and honestly I would probably go back just for dessert but I don’t think I will be going for food anytime soon. It wasn’t the greatest and for the price I expected more from them. I have heard that some people really love the place but it’s just not for us.

Have you been to Man Vs Food Middlesbrough? Let me know your thoughts!
Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

home · personal

New Year New Living Room! Getting Geometric Whilst Redecorating.

Hi All!

When I first got together with Adam I thought “Great, he’s a painter and decorator – I’ll never have a boring house!”. I mean he did have some other great features too but that was definitely something that won him a few brownie points. Little did I know that because he does it all day, decorating is NOT something he wants to do in his spare time. Pretty much I have to wait, nag, then wait some more for Adam to do some DIY around the house and it is always on his terms.

When we moved into our current home almost two years ago we rushed to pick wallpapers and I slowly went off what we had in the living room. It was pretty, but it was only on the chimney breast and it didn’t have a lot of impact. I wanted something a bit more “modern” that would be a feature point in the room.

Earlier in the year Adam did a job for a friend and worked up at the Graham & Brown shop in Dalton Park. Afterwards he took me up there for a day out and I fell in love with a geometric white/grey/orange wallpaper called “Tarek”. I ordered it a few months after and sadly it sat in the box for many months after that and just after Christmas it was finally time for it to be put up.

We actually got the paper up in a few hours and it went up quite easily. We peeled off the old paper in full strips to stop it coming through the new paper and got to work. The match wasn’t too bad and we did the chimney breast and the rest of the wall in just over 2 rolls.

We also painted the stair wall at the same time in the same grey as the living room. Our stairs are in the living room and the wall was previously painted orange but we grew to dislike it. After painting it grey it now seems so much lighter and airy and has really opened up the space.

We have photo frames going up our stairs and also found this macrame wall hanging from Matalan for only £3. It hangs on the small patch of a wall between my bathroom and window and just adds something interesting to my stair landing. It also ties in (get it?) with the geometric/triangle theme.


I then went onto eBay and bought this copper wire geometric lampshade…

..and a matching lamp.

I have been obsessed with triangle shelves for quite a while now and knew I definitely wanted some for the room. I again found some on eBay but I’m not going to link them because honestly up close they’re not the greatest. I get that they’re reclaimed wood but there is quite a lot of holes and craters in them and they feel quite rough. I put our lightbox on one, a frame I made for Adam for Fathers Day on the second and a mini cactus from Primark with a geometric tealight holder on the third.

The last decoration I bought is this copper geometric decorative piece with a faux cactus inside. It sits on my shoe cupboard and I love it! I picked this up from Primark but I’ve seen them in New Look and a few other places.

I’m really pleased with my living room. It HAS been a long time coming but now it’s finished it’s beautiful. It’s a great mix of child friendly space as well as a real grown up adult room  and is perfect for just relaxing after a long day. I love to have guests over and really enjoy having my home looking beautiful and I feel like we have really achieved this with what we have chosen. This was the last room we had to do though and I am slightly sad that we don’t have anywhere else to decorate. I’m addicted!

Let me know what you think of our choices!
Thanks for reading,
Hannah x


Maki-ing Memories. YO! Sushi Review.

Hi All!

Last year Adam worked a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. From October to Christmas he pretty much did 7 day weeks every week in the rush to get houses finished for Christmas. I didn’t see much of him and it was safe to say I really missed him. I was counting down the days before his Christmas break which meant I would get to spend a couple of weeks with him and do some fun stuff. Sadly my family had a really sad time over Christmas with the passing of a much loved family member and then my brother emigrated to Australia and really I didn’t have the most jolly of Christmases. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad time but there was just a lingering sadness and so when it came round to actually having some time with my bear I was pretty excited.

We managed to do loads of fun stuff together (including redecorating which is always my fave) and before he went back to work we decided to drive up to the metro centre just the two of us and go to IKEA and then to the actual metro centre.

For the trip I decided to go comfy and casual and wore my Boohoo Curve smock dress which has a floral/retro inspired print on it. It’s such a lightweight and comfortable dress which was perfect for wearing in the car and walking around in. I paired it with a pair of leggings, slip on floral shoes and a jersey blazer. My hair, which matched the dress pretty well was pulled up into a half up/half down style to keep it off my face whilst doing some serious shopping.

IKEA was amazing as ever. I fell in love with some amazing huge cacti, got some essential toy storage, did about 1000 separate orders for all my friends who wanted little bits that it’s not worth driving up for and even got some new glasses. To drink from – although the ones I’m wearing here are also pretty new.

As ever, Team Lister were there bright and early and we were done and dusted by 12. We then drove over to the Metro and had a browse around a few shops before deciding on dinner. I got a new nose ring and some heavily reduced items from LUSH and Adam bought two pretzels. Of course we didn’t leave Eleanor out and we got her some new Minnie Mouse slippers from the Disney store.

Time came for lunch and we passed YO! Sushi which is one of my all time favourite places and Adam suggested we go. There was no queue for one and we were seated at the bar seats pretty quickly.

We then set about deciding on what to order. I DO have my favourites but I also try to sample new bits when we go.

If you haven’t been to YO! Sushi before the concept is that plates go around a conveyor belt and the different colours correspond to a different price, so you pay for what plates you take. You can also order from the menu and it will be brought to you. The food is freshly made in front of you and you can see right into the kitchen.

I browsed the menu for a few moments and then started to make my choices.

I generally start with plain and simple Cucumber Maki which I drizzle in soy sauce and eat with chopsticks. I also tried the Ebi rolls which is katsu prawn and avocado which was delicious.

Next I ordered some food. I got a miso soup which is refillable and delicious and has pieces of tofu and spring onion. I usually order tofu katsu curry but they had none and so I ordered the chicken katsu curry which was served on a bed of fluffy sticky rice which is just how I love it. I then ordered the cod nanbanzuke which I’ve never tried before and I loved. It was served with a sweet and sour sauce and was really tasty.  I also tried some of Adams furikake fries but I wasn’t that crazy about them.

Finally I considered trying one of their new desserts but honestly by this point I was pretty full. We stacked up our plates, paid the bill and had another walk around the metro to burn it off.

Going to Y0! Sushi has always been a fun experience and the staff really make your visit so welcoming. I’ve never had a bad experience in there (apart from Inari – YUCK!!) and it’s a bit of a novelty picking up the plates and trying something new.

Hopefully we will head back soon as we always really enjoy it and it’s not something we have local in Teesside which makes it a bit of a rare treat.

If you’ve tried YO! Sushi or know of any great alternatives, let me know below!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah xx

baby · parenting · personal

Who’s baby? My Babiie! My Babiie MB200 Rose Gold/Blush Review.

Hi All!

It seems to me that every mum that I meet has a complete and utter obsession with prams. I’ve heard of mums going through 6-7-8 prams per child! For me I spent a long time choosing my perfect pram and I originally had a Venicci polka-dot travel system which I absolutely loved. As Eleanor got bigger and I started venturing out with her more without putting her into the car seat on wheels I realised how much effort and bulky a travel system is. I would never be able to drop it down on a bus if needed and we really struggled to get it into our car at the time and still have space for anything else. I decided to get a stroller and got a second hand Cosatto which I wasn’t crazy about and I quickly re-sold it. I then decided for Eleanors birthday to get a My Babiie MB51 in pink/grey chevron which both Eleanor and I completely loved.

Last year we were going on holiday and Eleanor was starting to get a little bit long for her MB51 and so I decided I’d go on holiday and then buy a new one when we returned, that way if anything happened to the pram whilst on holiday we would still be getting a new one. We were very lucky on holiday and our pram still came back in great condition and so we sold it on to make space for our new one!

I knew straight away I wanted another My Babiie. I had trust in the brand and Eleanor had always been cosy and comfy in hers. I also had got a ton of compliments about the pram from strangers and really loved the designs. I decided to go for the MB200 as it was a bit bigger and I wanted to go for a U shaped fold rather than an umbrella fold so it was easier to store at home. When choosing a design I never hesitated – I was definitely sold on the blush and rose gold. Blush and rose gold are two of my favourite colours and the pram that I chose is so stunning.

I did however have a bit of a mess around getting it. The hype for the pram was crazy and places were selling out thick and fast. Thankfully, I managed to get one from ASDA online and it was shipped quickly to my home address.

The delivery day arrived and I quickly unboxed it and slid it together. I was even more impressed with it in person and it certain looks more luxury than it did online.

I soon got to grips (literally) with the new handle and adjusted it to size and had a little push around my living room. It was smooth, easy to push and quite lightweight for its size.


Next I put it side by side with my old pram and looked at the differences. The MB200 has a wider and taller seat, more luxury fabrics and a much nicer finish. The wheels are higher quality and the bumper bar is one full piece not folding like the MB51.

I then looked at how I would store my new pram and was pleased to see it folded quite small and stood up itself. This now lives under the breakfast bar where my old fridge sat and is neatly tucked away.

I couldn’t wait to take it for a spin and we headed out that evening for a walk around Teesside Park whilst I pushed my new prized possession.

I’ve always loved having a fur on my pram and I quickly ordered a matching fur and personalised pom-pom from Big Mamas Baby Boom which I would highly recommend as the service was prompt and my fur is such great quality. I really love the pom-pom, which has survived all sorts of toddler messes and is still going strong!


I was so pleased with it once the fur arrived, but more importantly Eleanor has loved it since it arrived. She ran over and climbed straight into it the day it arrived and sat for quite a while watching a movie happily tucked up into it.

She has always managed to sleep in it and drops off quite easily in the padded seat. This makes life much easier when you’re out for the day as she can be quite ratty without a decent sleep. The hood fully extends so she can snooze in peace without having any sun/wind/people disturbing her. Thankfully there’s a little viewing window so I can still check on her and make sure she’s okay.

I love this pram. I get a ton of compliments and always see a lot of people looking over and talking about it. Apart from it being pretty, it’s also super practical. It’s comfy, easy and lovely to push, super simple to fold down and up and even has a carry handle. My only negative with it is I wish it had a toddler sized cosy-toes that went with it as the apron velcro isn’t the longest and can often be a pain to get on – but that’s only a tiny thing. Oh and a matching bag would be a dream!

Sadly this will probably be Eleanors last pram, and what a pram it is. If I was to have another baby I would most definitely have another My Babiie and really like the look of the travel systems. They’re really affordable and for the price are really great quality.

Let me know below if you love my pram or have any thoughts on My Babiie!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah xx

baby · fashion · parenting · personal · plus size

Black Cat Birthday On A Budget!

Hi All!

When I got my c-section date to have Eleanor, I wasn’t very pleased. They had scheduled it for Tuesday 13th, which meant that growing up some of her birthdays would fall on Friday 13th and being of Irish heritage, I can be quite superstitious. In the end though, I didn’t really care what the date was as long as she came healthy.

As her second birthday approached, It was evident that this would fall on a Friday the 13th. Rather than dreading this day, I decided to embrace this by throwing Eleanor a black cat party!

When I sat down to plan the party I decided that because she had a christening/birthday the previous year that I would throw her a proper party this year and invite her friends along. I was lucky enough to have a great venue available and soon made plans on how I was going to make her day special.

Her party was going to be held in St Lukes Church, which is the church I attend and where I hold our baby music class Wriggle & Rhyme. I thought about how I could decorate the space and soon found out that “Black Cats” isn’t a massively popular theme and I struggled to find anything that would actually go.

Thankfully, I’m quite crafty and set about making my own decorations. I made cat face shaped bunting, cat face paper fans, decorated black plates and cups with cat faces and other bits I went for black/white/gold and polka dots.

I managed to buy polka dot straws, white/black/gold tassel bunting and polka dot table covers from eBay and found some gold Happy Birthday balloons from New Look. I even got black, white and gold balloons for the floor for the kids to play with from card factory but unfortunately these were the WORST balloons ever and most of them popped the night before as we were setting up the space!

My last little touch was some cat faced pumpkins I found in ALDI! These sat at each end of the table (and we got to re-use them for Halloween!)

For the food we catered ourselves and did most the night before and some fresh on the morning. We did four types of sandwiches, sausage/cheese rolls, chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken and some other party style food which we purchased from Iceland. We saved quite a lot of money doing this and we got quite a lot of compliments on the food.

For Eleanor’s cake I decided to make it myself. I’m quite a good cake baker and knew I wanted to keep it simple. I made her a devils food cake (ironic that we were in the church..) and then vanilla cupcakes.

I made this cake topper from glittered paper by cutting out two identical cat faces, then using a craft scalpel to cut out the letters and then glutted the two layers together and attached it to cocktail sticks.

I also made different shaped cat toppers for the cupcakes. I used a cookie cutter as my stencil and then cut them out by hand. I finished them with a cocktail stick so they would sit neatly into the cupcakes.

The cakes then sat around the main cake on a separate table which I sprinkled with handmade confetti. The confetti was made from the leftover scraps of glitter paper which I cut out with a heart hole punch. 

Eleanor loved her cake. Here she is blowing out the candles with daddy!


We went with a “cat dress optional” theme and some people did, some didn’t. We attempted to draw little whiskers on Eleanors face but they were mostly off by the end of the day. She wore a sparkly black velvet dress, tights and a fluffy cropped cardigan.

I of course dressed the part and decided to wear the cat whiskers that Eleanor refused to.

For my outfit I went with a lace top over a strappy vest tucked into a fluffy tulle skirt. I finished the look with some gold cat ears that I made from leftover glitter paper.

For the entertainment my mum kindly booked a bouncy castle which we set up in an adjoining room which was great as it meant we could contain the kids in one area whilst we set up and unwrapped the food. The bouncy castle also had a slide which the kids seemed to love. I set up a spotify playlist and linked it to a docking station I have and let the kids listen whilst they bounced. We then went back into the hall and we had set up lights and projected “Happy Birthday” onto the wall.

For games we had a few round of pass the parcel. I wrapped up some mini plushy toys and some sticker books with sweets in between each layer and made sure every kid won something. We then finished with a disco and cake!

Considering we did it on a budget we had a fantastic day and we got loads of compliments on the decor, the cakes and the food. We were even asked by some kids if they could come next year which was a huge compliment. The biggest reward was seeing Eleanor really enjoy herself – she loved it!

If you’re willing to do things yourself and put the work in you can achieve a lot on a small budget. If you’d rather buy things and hire people in, that’s also great but I didn’t want to throw money away at a party she probably won’t remember when she’s older!

Now I’ve got to start planning for next year, I wonder what weird and wonderful party that will be! Or maybe I’ll do a quiet family meal and give myself a little break.

Who knows.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah xx


personal · review

A trip down memory Lane 7

Hi all.

Many years ago, whilst I was still in college at the tender age of 17 I used to work in a call centre for Orange (now EE!) in the middle of town. The company was called Garlands and we operated from the CNE (Centre North East) building. Sadly, Garlands ended up closing and the building was mostly empty bar a few floors. Underneath CNE there are a few units which have been a myriad of businesses and clubs over the years. One of them was Walkabout (now Turtle Bay!) and we used to roll out of the building on a Friday night and straight into there for post work drinks. It’s safe to say I had some of the best nights out of my life in those days!

As part of the regeneration of the building some of the units have been taken over and turned into new businesses and one of these businesses is Lane 7!

Lane 7 is a retro style bowling alley with a full bar and an amazing retro arcade. They have two other locations in Newcastle and Aberdeen and I was so excited when I found out that there would be a new location opening in Middlesbrough. I was then even more excited to be invited along to the opening night.

I’ve always been a huge fan of bowling. Mine and Adams second ever date (6 years ago this month ahh!!) was at Hollywood Bowl and it’s always been an activity I’ve loved. Sadly we don’t go so much because honestly the only local place is Hollywood Bowl which I find to be absolutely mental and over run with kids screaming and running all over the place. When I found out a more “adult” bowling place was open I just knew we had to visit.

As I said previously, I was invited along to the opening evening of Lane 7 and was offered a free game for me and my friends, drinks and tokens for the arcade. Of course I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to check out a new place!

We invited along our good friends Luke and Anna. Luke is actually Eleanors godfather and has been Adams pal since school. We managed to part pretty close by and walked to the venue unsure of what we would find. Lane 7 is in the basement of the CNE building and is accessed by a door just next to the CNE entrance doors. You walk in and immediately walk down a flight of stairs and find yourself right next to the shoe hire.

We went and checked in and got our shoes. The shoes were velcro for ease and retro style. We of course had to take a shoe selfie!

Next we went to the bar whilst we waited for our friends and I got a peach schnapps and lemonade – such an underrated drink! I was pretty taken with the novelty bowling balls on display and the red pins.

After drinks it was time to bowl. There’s only four lanes so there’s a real intimate feel. The retro look is paired with an industrial feel which suits the building. Sadly I didn’t win at bowling. I started strong and just slowly went downhill, but I didn’t mind cause I had a lot of fun just playing.


After bowling we were given some tokens to hit the arcades. It’s not the biggest of arcades but there was some great games and my favourite was this pinball machine.

Adam was more taken with “The House Of The Dead”, a game he used to play in his younger years.

Sadly the zombies were a little too much for Adam and I had to step in and show him how it’s done. Couples who slay together, stay together!

(Thanks Anna for the pic!)

As much as I loved the bowling and the arcade, one of the coolest aspects was the gender neutral toilets. I thought this was a really great touch.

We loved our evening at Lane 7 and have already been talking about going back. It’s so nice to see more entertainment options coming to Middlesbrough, more than just going out for a drink. It’s opened up more options for me and Adam for date nights as we often have to get back for the baby and we aren’t big drinkers anyway. That said, they do have a fully stocked bar and open till late so it could be a good place to start a night out.

We can’t wait to head back and have to say a huge thank you to all the staff who made us feel welcome and spoke to us about the venue.

So if you’re in Middlesbrough and fancy something different, definitely check it out!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x