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

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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

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

food

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

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

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