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

 

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fashion · personal · plus size · wedding

Plus Size Wedding Prep. Spend VS Save

Hi all!

I’ve always been one who loves to try to do things herself, especially when there’s some money to be saved. However, I do feel that sometimes it’s nice to have somebody else do things and leave the stress to them.

In August I attended two weddings. One was my brother Shaun and his now wife Anna, and one was a work friend of Adams. I’ll admit I was shocked I was invited to the full event with me not actually meeting his friend or the bride, but I was grateful to be asked along and happily attended as Adams plus one.

Before the weddings I was having a conversation with my cousin about just how much weddings cost and you don’t realise how much you pay out just as a guest. This set something off in my mind and I thought I would challenge myself to do an old vs new. So, for one wedding I would get my hair/makeup/nails etc done and buy a whole new outfit and then for the other I would do my hair and makeup myself and shop my own wardrobe for a dress!

Now I know personally which look I preferred, and I know which got the most comments etc on the day, but please do let me know below which look you preferred first!

Wedding one – Spend!
Of course I chose my brothers wedding to be the one I splashed out on. I did this for a few reasons. My mum was also getting her hair/makeup done, I had Eleanor to consider so had less time to get ready and I wanted to look my best for my brother.

 

My dress was from Little Mistress via ASOS and originally £62, however I did get it on sale and then used ASOS vouchers I had saved up. I wore my fave flatforms (also ASOS) and carried a beautiful beaded bag with chandelier style beading hanging from it.

 

I loved this dress as it was modest, but not too covered. It was incredibly soft and comfortable and very much “my” style. The tulle straps and top of the dress were my favourite and I felt very girly and ethereal throughout the day.

My makeup was done by an old friend from college who decided to re-train as a MUA. I chose her because I found her makeup style to be very natural but still with an impact. I went for a smokey eye, strong brow and pinky/nude lip and quite honestly loved the look.

My hair on the other hand wasn’t what I asked for, and this is after asking for it to be changed. I had originally asked for a beehive style front, with braiding around the sides into the back and then the hair in a chignon. Instead she fish braided my hair using plastic hair ties and then tucked the bottom up in a weird bulky bun. I didn’t like this at all and asked for it to be changed, but didn’t have time to change the full thing as she was already running 40 minutes behind and I was late for the MUA. My mum actually had to leave me at the hairdressers and get her makeup done first as it was taking so long.
I asked for the plait to be changed more like a bun and the lady did this which I did like more but still wasn’t what I had in mind. Still, it looked pretty and went with the flowers I’d bought to pop in (again from ASOS). Untangling it and those plastic ties however – wasn’t very fun!

 

Some more snaps from the day! It was such a beautiful day and so special. I was so glad to spend it with the people I love and felt confident and happy in my outfit choice.

Wedding two – Save!

The second wedding we went to was a friend of Adams. I was actually quite surprised to be invited to the whole event as I’d not met the bride or groom, but thankful to be going along as Adams plus one all the same. I actually ended up getting to know some really wonderful people who were all so kind and complimentary and I had a really great time. So if you’re reading this Kieran & Aimee, thank you for having me – I had a blast!

For this wedding I decided to go for the save option and did my own hair and makeup and dug out a dress from the back of my wardrobe. I borrowed a handbag from my mum and popped on my nude flatforms (ASOS).

 

The dress is one I’ve had for quite a long time. It’s the Collectif Dolores Doll dress in White Hibiscus print. This one has long sold but you can find similar here. I love the way a the dolores dresses nip you in at the right places and flare out just enough. I actually swapped this dress with another blogger a few years back so didn’t actually “pay” for it. Clothes swaps are a great way to freshen up your wardrobe without spending money but whilst also having a good clear out! Win win win!

For my makeup I went for a more understated look. I went for full coverage matte foundation, light pink blush, a smokey eye with cat flick and a dark nude lip. Oh and as always – a strong brow.

Again with my hair I wanted to give a nod to the vintage vibe of the dress and so curled my already short bette bangs under and pinned the sides back away from my face. I did this both so I didn’t get too warm and also to add some volume. I let the rest of my hair hang down my back and finished it with some pretty cream clips.

      

As I said previously, I had such a good time at this wedding. It was a beautiful day with an intimate ceremony then on to a stunning venue for the rest of the day/night and I felt comfortable in both settings in my outfit choice. My dress wore well and I felt confident all day!

Both days were both wonderful and I felt great in both outfits and got a lot of compliments. I think for me it was good to see that I could shop my wardrobe as needed and give an old dress a new outing.

Either way, I don’t think it would of mattered what I wore (within reason). The day wasn’t about me – it was about those two couples dedicating their love to each other and standing up in front of their friends and family and saying that this is the person I want to spend every day with for the rest of my life. And really, even Collectif dresses aren’t quite as beautiful as that.

Thanks for reading, let me know below which outfit you preferred!
Hannah xx

fashion · food · personal · review

Hope & Union. FabFatMama Reviews!

Hi All!

So I feel like since I’ve been hanging out with my gorgeous new gal pals I’ve been out loads. Don’t get me wrong, I still used to go out but not for nearly as interesting places as I’ve been going recently!

One of these new places I’ve been to is Hope & Union in Stockton and is somewhere I’ve been eyeing up for quite a while ever since I found them on Instagram. They hold gin nights which is how I originally came to follow them and they also have live music. Once I showed my partner that they did yorkshire pudding wraps we vowed that one Sunday, we would go.

This has not happened.

Fast forward a few weeks/months and my friend Charlotte was planning a gig in another local establishment, a cocktail bar called The Nuthatch and me and Adam decided to meet up with the rest of the “squad” and our significant others. My mum kindly offered to have Eleanor for the night and as she came quite early we thought we would make the most of if and grab a bite to eat out before the gig. Knowing that the Hope & Union was nearby we finally had an excuse to pop in and decided that’s where we would head.

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Now, some of you who have followed me for a long time will know I used to be a huge wig enthusiast. In fact, at one point I had over 70 wigs in my collection as I used to write a separate wig reviewing blog. I sold off/gave away most of my wigs after having Eleanor as I didn’t have the space to keep them and they weren’t very practical with a new-born. I did however keep a handful of my favourite wigs for special occasions and on a whim I decided to pull my all time favourite out of retirement for a night out. This was mostly because I fancied changing my look up a bit but also partly because I’d been swimming earlier in the day and my hair just was not playing ball.

Outfit wise I slipped on a velvet dress I got for Christmas which, didn’t fit me quite how I wanted it to anymore (it’s gotten too big as I’ve lost weight) and teamed it with my trusty flat-forms and my devore kimono.

When we got to Hope & Union I had to laugh – it was literally a stones throw from The Nuthatch. We were worrying it would take us a while to find them both or to walk from one to the other but unless they were physically touching – they couldn’t be closer.

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We walked inside and I immediately loved the atmosphere and the decor. I’m massively into the industrial/DIY look which is quite a key design feature in the venue. There’s handmade tables with pipes and wood, scaffolding board bar shelves, an amazing see-through barrel store/”cellar” and cages containing beers/items to buy. This is mixed with old Chesterfield sofas, low tables built up from crates and booth seating. I was impressed.

Although I was quite impressed at the decor, what impressed me more was the HUGE selection of gins for sale. I couldn’t choose one and so asked the bar man for something citrus based and he recommended Williams Seville Orange with classic tonic and lemon/lime garnish. I accepted and was so glad I went with his suggestion as this was so delicious. The orange bursts through and is truly a beautiful drink.

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We found a table and started looking at the menu. The menu is really small and there’s also some daily specials. We were quite impressed to see that the meat comes from a butchers literally 5 minutes walk away from the bar and is a butcher we’ve actually used ourselves who sells really quality meats. I thought about getting some of the small plates which reminded me almost of a british style tapas with things like pork pie and mushy peas, black pudding bon bons and runny in the middle scotch eggs but I ultimately decided on the Dirty Dawg. The Dirty Dawg (as pictured above) is a Cumberland sausage wrapped in bacon and brushed with mustard and smothered in cheese on top of butter rolled cornbread and served with rustic skin on fries and homemade slaw.

I loved this dish. I couldn’t finish it all and had a little help from Adam but it was amazing. The cornbread completely melted in your mouth and the quality of the meat was so obvious. I’m not really one for chips but these steak cut skin on chips were delicious and cooked quite honestly to perfection. A real stand out part of the meal though had to be the slaw. It was just a great, homemade delicious slaw and it cut through the richness of the cheese so well.

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As much as I enjoyed mine, Adam enjoyed his even more. He went for the beer and beef burger which was topped with bacon jam and he also upgraded his chips to loaded chips which meant they were topped with cheese and thick chunks of ham. I tasted his and instantly regretted not upgrading mine.

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Adam washed his down with this grapefruit beer which is about 2. something percent and was recommended as a great beer for those who are driving. Adam thought it was really tasty, almost like a fruity shandy. In fact, he liked it so much that when we went to the next venue he nipped back in for another one and drank it outside.

We both really enjoyed our time in the Hope & Union. The food and drinks were all delicious and it was nice to be in somewhere with my kind of music playing (yes, they even play The Smiths!!!!!). I like to support independent local businesses and I can most definitely see me heading back here for yorkshire pudding wraps, British tapas and copious amounts of gin!

Hannah x

fashion · music · plus size

Be Quiet – Dress Loud! Teesside music meets fat fashion.

Hi all!

When I was a lot younger I was a massive fan of the local teesside music scene and enjoyed going out to gigs and shows when possible. For me it died down a lot and I stopped going to as many local shows as bands I followed tended to settle down, move away or just fizzle out.

One band I’ve followed now since my late teen years is Teesside’s finest funky electro synth tribe – Be Quiet! Shout Loud. I’ve always enjoyed them for their incredibly catchy, disco influenced toe tappers and I’ve made a firm friendship with their bassist who is lovingly known as “Big Dave”.

BQSL have been on a break lately whilst they broke in new Guitarist Jamie Donnelly. This hasn’t been the only lineup change however as keyboardist Chris has now upgraded to the keytar, which I thought was pretty cool when I saw them live. After a 7 month hiatus, I heard that the newly structured band were coming back to support another local band at their final show! I figured it would not be a show to miss and made sure I was going to be free.

I asked my friend Claire to come along with me as she is massively into the local music scene and is even a fantastic artist herself! She actually sang at Eleanor’s Christening as she is a vintage style singer and she’s just amazing. Claire came to mine for a few pre-drinks (ended up drinking gin in the car whilst Adam dropped us off as we’re so classy) and I’m so glad I did as I needed a little bit of liquid confidence with my outfit!

As ever, I tried numerous outfits on and eventually decided to go for something a bit more “edgy” as I was going to a gig.

I ended up in a mesh top from Boohoo (which actually comes with a dress), a skirt from New Look which I bought at Christmas (but is still available here in straight sizes – sadly sold out in plus in the black but there’s a few in red here).

The bra is from a two pack I bought online at Simply Be and I really liked how the lace looked against the mesh. It gave it a little “something” rather than being just plain.

On my feet I wore these super comfy flatforms I found on ASOS. I thought I best boost my height so I could see better at the gig! I’m not that great at wearing heels, or most shoes in general for long periods of time but these are so comfy I actually managed to stand in them all night with only a few rests between bands in the bar.

We arrived at The Georgian Theatre which has recently been renovated and I was majorly impressed with the new glass frontage and the general decor in the bar. It has a really cool industrial look and has long tables with benches as well as some smaller intimate tables. The first band Serinette were already partway through their set when we arrived and I wish we’d of gotten there sooner as I really enjoyed them.

Next up was the band I’d gone to see, BQSL. I made sure I was right up front as frontman Jake Radio always puts on a show with his endless dance moves.

BQSL came onto the stage to a great reception from the audience and began their set which was a mix of some of their old classics, new songs and even a pretty amazing cover of “You Spin Me Right Round” which was unexpected but well welcomed.

Also keen to put on a good show was new guitarist Jamie who was full of energy and really looked like he was having a great time.

One thing I really enjoyed with the retro synth notes coming from Chris on the “Keytar”. I’ve never actually seen one in person and thought it was actually really interesting and it gave a different dynamic than a keyboard. I was enjoying seeing all the band dancing and actually enjoying making music, and to me BQSL have always been a band I’ve enjoyed visually.

He’s Dave, a man after my own heart on bass. In case you didn’t know I actually played bass for most of my teenage years and loved it. Sadly that fizzled out and I never really got the chance to play when I started working etc. I have been thinking lately how much I would love to be in a band making music again but I can’t see that happening anytime soon with the other things I have going on in my life!

  

The show seemed to be over in five minutes as every song flowed effortlessly with a bit of chat and banter from Jake in between. Me and Claire took it in turns to hit the bar and soon we were merry on cherry rum and tiki rum which we didn’t realise was 70% proof – oops!

We of course took some time out between bands to take some selfies!

We bobbed in and out for the last band The Purnells and also spent some time in the bar before calling it a night after all the acts. We both thoroughly enjoyed the evening but knowing I was on mum duty the next day I didn’t want to make it too late of a night – too sensible for my own good!

I really enjoyed getting out and hearing some live music. I really want to get out into the Teesside music scene more often as there’s some serious talent around here and shows seem to be picking up and there is an actual scene again which if I’m honest, seemed to lag for a few years. My friend Claire always has her ear to the ground about great shows and so I have no doubt that we will be heading out again soon…so I best get finding something to wear!

BQSL are continuing their comeback with a gig at Scarborough Tattoo Show  so make sure to check them out if you’re heading up there, although they’re also working on something secret so keep an eye out on their Facebook.

Hannah x

baby · Community · fashion · parenting · plus size

Why I Want To Lose Weight.

 Hi all.

This post has been a difficult one for me to write for a number of reasons. First and foremost I don’t want to upset/offend or trigger anybody with weight loss chat. Secondly, I am losing weight because I personally need to and believe that what everybody else does with their bodies is their business. Thirdly, I don’t want anybody to think that I’m now against fat bodies. I will never be against fat bodies. If I could be well and still the size I am – I would be happy with that. Unfortunately, I’m not healthy and this means I need to lose weight.

When I was pregnant with Eleanor, I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and it was tracked that I stop breathing around 100 times an hour when I’m asleep which is super scary. It means that I never ever feel well rested and I drop off asleep through the day for a few minutes which isn’t great. It’s quite embarrassing when I drop off and I hate it. The only way to tackle it is to use a c-pap machine which I just can’t get the hang of or lose weight…so I’m choosing the latter.

I’ve battled with my weight for quite a long time now. I’ve gone through every stage of hating my body to the point of hiding away and self harming, to parading my beautiful body along a stage at a plus size beauty pageant – whilst wearing a bikini! I’m at a happy place with my body and how I look, but not with how it functions and if I’m going to have a better quality of life then I really need to change.

For so long I’ve championed plus sized bodies and the amazing things they can do that defy the bullshit that doctors try to push on you. I’ve seen so many beautiful plus sized mothers bring their babies into the world when they were told they’d never be able to even conceive as a plus sized woman – I myself was one of these women. I was told at every step how high risk I was and truly bullied by the NHS. When Eleanor came there wasn’t a single thing about her that wasn’t perfect, and she’s growing to be an intelligent, bright and confident little girl; something they told me I wouldn’t be able to “cope with” and would have to have extra help with. I’ve had none and need none.

I’ve seen plus sized bodies climbing mountains and doing yoga, running marathons and being “healthier” than their slimmer counterparts.

Unfortunately for me – that not the case. My body is different from others because I have hypermobile joints which means they are unstable and move too much and even dislocate. This causes me extreme pain and so anything I can do to take pressure off them and improve my quality of life – I want to be able to go on long walks with my family and not worry if there’s somewhere to sit on the way around. I’m sick of staying in the house whilst Adam takes Eleanor out alone because I’m sore or because I need some rest as I feel isolated away from them and almost feel at times that they have a much better bond together.

The big thing I need to lose weight for is Sleep Apnea which is currently giving me no quality of life. I stop breathing in my sleep which means I never feel well rested and often fall asleep during the daytime – mostly when doing quiet tasks such as writing blog posts. I find it so hard to get the focus to write and finish a blog post, it takes me days/weeks to write just a snippet without nodding off which is why I’ve not been blogging as much.

With sleep apnea you get something called a CPAP (continuous positive airway machine) to wear at night which is a face mask which pumps out air into your nose and throat. Unfortunately, I find it hard to breathe through my nose and so I can’t use the machine without finding it very hard to breathe. It also triggered the PTSD which I was left with after my c-section that didn’t go to plan.. I’m hoping with weight loss that this gradually gets better.

It’s not just health why I want to lose weight. I’m sick of paying the “plus size tax” on clothes. I want to be able to go to shops like Primark and buy a pair of shorts for £3, not £30. I want to be able to see in my hand what I’m buying and not wonder what the sizing is going to be like on my online order. I want to have choices like everybody else and not have to stick to the same 2-3 shops I always do.

I’m going on holiday in September and in some ways I’m dreading it. I’m hoping that I fit in the seat okay and don’t need loads of extenders! I’m hoping I can fit down the water slides and have the energy to run around after Eleanor and dance with her at the kids disco.

Eleanor is my number one priority. I don’t want her to get bullied in school cause I’m the “fat mam” at the school gates out of breath and I don’t want her to be ashamed of me. I want Eleanor to grow up in a world that accepts people for who they are and doesn’t judge people for their appearance and I want her to grow up knowing that she is beautiful and perfect – but I also want her to be able to live her life without any complications like mine and I don’t want her to feel as unhappy I do at times. This world is a cruel place and people are really nasty (kids in particular who have been brought up to be fatphobic).

I really don’t want to cause any upset or offence to the plus size community because I fully intend to still be a member of the plus size community and body positivity for all – I just need to do this for my own health so that my life is actually worth living again and so that I can enjoy my family and be around to watch them grow.

Hannah x

baby · fashion · food · home · Uncategorized

Putting on a party! Mums 50s 50th.

Hi all!

As my mum was about to turn 50 years old we decide to throw a party for her. With my mum being a fan vintage dresses and afternoon tea it seemed fitting that we threw her a vintage tea party. We, or rather I decided to do the decoration ourselves so that I could make them exactly what we wanted but also to save a lot of money.

Venue

We decided on a local venue called the Normanby pub. As this was not the most up-to-date venue decoration wise, I knew that it was going to take quite a lot of imagination and lots of decorations. The first thing that I made was over 100metres of bunting to transform the walls. I used fat quarters which I bought on sale at hobby craft as well as some bits I already had in my craft drawers For speed and to conserve fabric, rather than sewing two pieces of fabric together and bagging it out I just used one piece and pinked the edges. Pinking the edges is great because it stops any fraying and it also looks very cute and kitsch.

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I also made  paper bunting from floral craft paper by drawing around a foam heart stencil and cutting it out with my pinking shears. I then threaded all of the bunting together with twine.

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I love paper bunting because it is so quick to make and looks beautiful because of all the patterns. It can also be made into any shape and is quick to cut out if you use a stencil.

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For centre pieces I decided that we would have jars of mini flowers as my mum really loves flowers. At first I was going to collect different sized jars but then we decided to purchase some from eBay which were hexagonal and really cute.

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To decorate them, I wrapped them with a piece of hessian and lace and finished them with a twine bow and hot glued it into place.

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Next up was filling the jars. Originally, my mums boyfriend was growing the flowers but unfortunately there was an infestation of caterpillars at his allotment and we lost all the flowers. So, for plan B me and my cousin Carley went to a few Aldi’s to pick up flowers. I can’t recommend Aldi enough for flowers – there’s a great selection of really cheap but beautiful flowers.

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We filled Carleys boot with flowers and took them back to mine. Thankfully Eleanor was out for the day because making 28 bouquets was hard enough without having a baby getting involved too! After trimming, de-leafing and separating flowers, I set about putting them into the mini bouquets. I used a good selection of different flowers in a variety of colours so they looked really kitsch.

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I tied the bunches with twine and sat them in the jars. We later filled these with water beads. We also used the water beads to fill bowls which we lit from the bottom with waterproof LED candles and floated flowers on top of. We put the bowls and jars of flowers in the middle of the tables on top of patterned doilies and scattered handmade heart shaped confetti -which I made from the paper scraps left over from the paper bunting cut out with a heart puncher – around them.

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We thought about photographers for the party and thought a photo booth might be fun way to get some great snaps. With hiring one being so expensive – again we decided to go down the D I Y route. I raided eBay, a few pound shops and the wardrobes of friends and family and ended up with two boxes of props to work with. My cousin Craig really excelled with the photo booth and built a fully light up fake 50’s style jukebox to step inside and take photos in. This was a huge hit at the party and we got some great snaps inside.

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Perhaps the hardest thing to find for the party was my mums dress. My mum can be quite picky when it comes to her clothing and with it being her 50th she wanted to make sure she looked extra special. With it being a fifties party, choices were limited and mostly online. My mum and I searched through the online offerings and my mum chose a dress, however when it arrived it just wasn’t like the picture and just wasn’t right – online shopping is always a risk! We were arranging to go away for the day to dress search somewhere bigger, when I popped into an alternative shop by the off chance and noticed it had a good selection of vintage style dresses that I thought my mum would like. After a visit to the shop together, mum found her perfect dress (at a bargain price too) from Hell Bunny.

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I also looked online for dresses but couldn’t find anything that was special enough to spend money on when I have already had a wardrobe full of dresses and settled on a collectif dress I’d had a while.

I did however order Eleanor a new dress! I managed to grab one of Lindy Bop’s baby range of dresses in their mega sale for £5 and accessorised it with a cheap head wrap from ebay!

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To accessorise my dress, I got a pair of Mary Janes from New Look which were reduced to £7 but scanned through the tills at an amazing £1 and I managed to get a £32 for £6 in Topshop.

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As I knew we were going to be busy arranging and decorating the room, I booked for us to get our hair done at All Dolled Up in Normanby and our makeup done by Kim Blair MUA and was so glad that I had. We were both pleased with both services and felt super glamourising.img_1460

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My hair and makeup was still perfect when I headed to bed at half five the next morning which was a testament to how great of a job both ladies did. I’d definitely use both again!

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(I went to bed so late the sun was out!)

All our hard work was worth it and we had an absolutely fantastic night which developed into a great weekend as we had a family barbecue the next night. After another late night, we were all wiped out on Sunday – I think it took me all week to recover afterwards!

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I really enjoyed all the work that I put in to my mums party and the effort was definitely worth it as the party was a great success and enjoyed by all. It was so much fun getting dressed up and seeing all the costumes and effort that people had made – it really made it all come together and made for a really memorable night which is just what my mother deserved.
Hannah x

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baby · fashion · food · parenting · plus size · review

Bears at Butlins! – Our family holiday. Part 3!

Hi all!

So finally here comes the final post about my time in Butlins which is part 3! (Part1 and Part 2 are also available to read.)

Day 4

On day 4 we decided the weather looked alright again and so decided to head out for the day to Fantasy Island which I was keen to go to as I loved it as a child.

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We got ready, threw on our shorts for a sunny day and headed for breakfast whilst we decided how we would get there. After the bus issues the day before – we decided to drive.

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We drove to Fantasy Island which was around 5 minutes away from Butlins and I felt a huge wave of nostalgia hit me. Even though it had gotten so much bigger in size and had tons more shops and cafes, so much of it was the same and I instantly recognised some of the rides as ones from my childhood. They still had the log flume I loved, the spinning ride my brother one fell out of, the magic carpet ride I used to go on with my dad and the indoor flume which stained mine and my cousins matching white trousers. Some rides, such as the indoor  rollercoaster which seemed so big and fast when I was younger now seemed so tiny. It was at this moment that I realised I had now taken the place of my parents and was actually the adult – what a scary feeling!

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We weren’t that bothered about going on the actual rides, and I was quite sore from pushing the pram which I grew to hate over the holiday so we didn’t go around all the shops and stalls – there were thousands there! We did pick up some good items though, such as wax tarts for our candle burner and most importantly – we found Eleanor the perfect Christening gown. My mum had wanted to go shopping for it with me and I’m sad that we didn’t get to have that experience but the second I saw the dress in the window I knew it was everything I was looking for. My mum really wanted to buy her dress so I called her and explained and she was happy to still buy the dress.Thankfully she loved it as much as I do when she saw it.

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After a good look around, a few games in the amusements (I won a teddy on hook a duck!) and our dress purchase, it was time to feed Eleanor and so we popped into a diner where we decided to grab a dessert whilst we fed her. Adam settled on a jumbo ice cream (not realising the sheer size of it at the time) and as what I wanted was sold out I decided I’d just have a few spoons of his. Well I’m glad we shared because it was absolutely huge! It had numerous different flavours of ice cream, cream, sauce, wafers, flakes and even spiral wafers – Adam was sad he had to share.

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After a slow walk back to the car we headed back to the site and back to our room to pick up swimming costumes. We headed to splash which was pretty quiet and had our last go in the swimming pools. We went on our favourite lazy river and found the wave pool for the first time which was fun and which Eleanor really enjoyed.

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We went for dinner a little earlier than we were used to as we were hoping to head to the Aladdin Rocks show afterward which we heard would be busy. Busy was an understatement! We only JUST got in and there was no tables so I asked people for spare chairs so we could at least sit! The show was amazing and had just enough adventure and sparkle for the kids mixed with enough smutty jokes and puns for the parents. After the show we had our final few games in the arcades and headed back to make sure we were all set for the morning (Adam had already packed most of the clothes whilst me and Eleanor had an afternoon nap) so there wasn’t much to do. We’re the kinds of people who pack as we go so we don’t have loads to do at checking out time – that way we can be relaxed and we don’t leave stuff.

Day 5

On the Friday we woke at our usual time and got little bear sorted with her morning bottle whilst we pottered around. We got ourselves dressed and started filling the car so we could leave after breakfast so we would hit her naptime as we were driving. We had our last breakfast and walk around the complex and even looked at prices for next year – I think we’d stay in an apartment next time for more space and so we had place to have drinks/food in the room.

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Leaving Butlins was sad. That place holds so many precious childhood memories for me – it’s almost like a little piece of me is there. Butlins is where my family was happiest, and where me and cousins bonded and grew up together and where I started to hate UB40 (after dad continuously played it on a loop driving there/back. My parents have broken up now and so it was strange for me to go back to a place where we were such a “together” unit and such a typical family. I also have a grandad and another family member who I have so many fond memories of at Butlins.

As I walked around the park it was so bittersweet to remember the happy times, the people who we had loved and lost and the old memories following me around and mixing with the new memories I was making with my child. I was surreal to think of her taking it in for the first time as I had once taken in the excitement for the first time, but even more surreal that I wasn’t 5 years old anymore, I was 25 years old and the tiny child I had been pushing around all week was my own.

I definitely want to come back to Butlins and keep making memories with my family. For value for money, fun and entertainment I really rate Butlins. There’s always something going on for people of all ages and the staff are so kind and helpful and really make your trip worthwhile. I can’t wait to return.

Here’s to making memories.

Hannah, Adam
& Eleanor x