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

Advertisements
family · fashion · personal · plus size · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 2.

Hi all!

This post follows on from part 1!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eleanor was quite content sitting on her huge beach ball.

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

  

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

 

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! 

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

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