fashion · personal · plus size · travel · Uncategorized

A learning curve – Featuring The Curve Fashion Festival.

Hi all!

 I wanted to save writing this post until this The Curve Fashion Festival 2019 had been announced and then I decided to give myself a little break over Christmas so I apologise that this is almost two months after the event but here goes.

I was lucky enough to be gifted two tickets last minute for The Curve Fashion Festival 2018 in return for a previous blog post. Having only attended one previous TCFF (whilst heavily pregnant) I was super excited to attend and quickly made travel arrangements. I was quite apprehensive about travelling 3 hours on a train alone (and then 3 hours back) so soon after my op but I thought I’d bite the bullet and attend as I really wanted to go! I booked my train tickets and started to plan what I was going to wear. I was really lucky that Matalan were interested in dressing bloggers for the event and so I was kindly offered an outfit to wear for the day. I looked through the plus size offerings with excitement and settled on a boho style embroidered blouse and chunky cleated boots which I decided to wear with a high waisted button up denim skirt and a suede tassled shoulder bag which converts into a backpack.

All laid out!

Trying my outfit on!

My cousin kindly came over the night before and pincurled my hair for me and so I wrapped it in a bandanna to keep it covered and went on the train like that. In fact, the night before I went car shopping like that – zero shits given! I took my tangle teaser with me to do my hair on the train as I was heading to the train before 8am and didn’t want my curls to drop! I also took my makeup bag with me to do my makeup on the train so I didn’t have to get up even earlier!

 

I got a quick snap of my outfit (with added tassel earrings) and got in the car. Adam was dropping me at the train station before he headed to work so we were out nice and early.

I worried about my trains because of the strikes but my first one came on time and I found my reserved seat easily and got comfy for the journey. Once we were going I started applying my makeup and got it half done before it was time to swap at York. I used the stop over to grab a quick coffee, facetime Eleanor who had slept at my cousins house and I boarded my second train. Unfortunately on this journey I encountered an older couple who were taking the mick out of me putting my makeup on and making faces. I promptly called them out on it and they didn’t dare look at me for the rest of the journey. Half an hour before we arrived I took my pincurls out and gently brushed them in to place. They came out beautifully and I was in awe of how well the pincurls worked.

I arrived at Liverpool Lime Street and set off to find my friend Dawn. I met Dawn on the Team Topsy group which is a group linked to the Topsy Curvy business – however it has became a place of body positivity, friendship and self love. We have been chatting/facebook friends for quite a while and so I mentioned that I had a spare ticket and Dawn kindly agreed to accompany me.

The venue was literally over the road but there was slight confusion over how to get in but we eventually found a red carpet and a balloon arch. We actually thought it was a different event at first but I asked the security guard who told us it was the entrance. Of course I needed a picture in the balloon arch!

Once inside we were quite excited, but started to notice how the venue was quite restrictive. Straight through the door was a big set of steps to get in with only one lift. We were able enough to walk up but for those less able it must of been a bit of a struggle or they would of had to queue for the lift. We gave in our tickets and found our way to the main hall.

Inside was super overwhelming. The first row of stalls was completely packed with a tight walkway which was made even tighter by one retailer deciding to put their stock half way into the aisle which made a tight space even tighter. It took us quite a while to get through the first row and it was an uncomfortable squeeze to get through so many people. I felt like I couldn’t really stop to look at the stalls because there was constantly somebody pushing past or shoving me out of the way.

We eventually made our way to the middle of the rows which was wide and open however a lot of the retailers stalls were small and hard to access. They almost packed too many clothes into the spaces which made viewing really hard. I went with the intention of buying clothes but I came home with a set of underwear and a belt.

I made a beeline for the third row to find our babes at Topsy Curvy. I was so happy and proud to see their stall super busy with loads of people buying their beautiful stock. I of course got a picture with Jo & Nat and we had a good chat and I also chatted with some of the people shopping at their stall.

I also got this beaut picture with Nat and the lovely Dawn who was just a wee babe all day. I kept getting tangled in my bag and she kept rescuing me and also took photos for me too.

I then headed over to the River Island stand to ask why plus size clothing was being taken out of stores. I was told this had happened much earlier in the year due to lack of purchasing. I told them that their plus size range is poorly advertised as being available in store and not many people knew it existed. I was eventually fobbed off with a “it may be returning soon” and a free goody bag.

After a look around the stalls me and Dawn headed for some dinner at a Wetherspoons over the road. We had our lunch and headed back hoping it would be a bit quieter. We came into contact with a few people on our return who were fed up, upset and disappointed with the access in the venue. We learned that there was only one lift which was super busy and a bit out of the way and that the catwalk seating was small and uncomfortable. I was stopped by Georgina Grogan who was actually leaving TCFF early due to the poor accessibility. Georgina had spent a fair bit of money on hotel/travel etc but was leaving as it was just too much. She has written a post on the day  which highlights a lot of the issues she faced.

I was starting to feel a bit more comfortable at this point as the crowds had thinned a bit. I kept heading back to the Topsy Curvy stand which became my safe space but I also browsed the stalls too. Here’s some of my highlights!

I met up with the gorgeous Kirsty who is just a wee babe!

Before/After

I braved the first row and got my boobs measured by the wonderful Weir Wonderful Fit. She measured me at 2 back sizes smaller and 2 cup sizes bigger than I was wearing.

I found the most beautiful rose wall at the Pink Clove stand!

I met Gemma Collins at the Boohoo stand who is a total sweetheart in person!

After a final look around it was time for me to head for my train home. My Matalan boots remained comfortable all day which I was super surprised and glad about! I settled in for my train home which would take me all the way to Darlington and I would only have a short train back to Thornaby after that. Unfortunately the strikes caught up with me and they cancelled my second train and Adam had to drive over and pick me up. It was a cold and annoying way to end the day but thankfully the wonderful Team Topsy ladies kept me company as I went live in the group to keep me occupied.

Finally home, I curled up on the sofa and unpacked all my goodie bags to see what I had gained. Most confusing was the random mash pots given by one brand – however I have eaten them when I was poorly and couldn’t be bothered to make food and so maybe they were a genius idea. I also loved the free mirror from Pretty Little Thing! I love a little pocket/handbag mirror and I’ve already used this loads.

I opened my free goodie bag from River Island which I later found out was given out when people made a purchase rather than just given out. I feel like she gave me one to silence me when complaining about lack of plus sizes in store – however I’m not complaining. I’ve worn those hoops loads and I’ve worn the necklace and even used the eyeshadow palette. There was also a green lipstick but I rehomed that to Jo who took a shine to it.

I actually did an online order or something I’d seen at TCFF. I ordered this totally boujee and beautiful robe with matching romper from Boohoo. I got it 25% off and I was glad I swooped in when I did because they sold out super quick. I like to swan about my house in the robe or just sit looking at it hanging in my bedroom. ROBE. OF. DREAMS.

Final thoughts?

I am extremely lucky that I had no physical accessibility issues this year however if I had attended in a wheelchair like I did previously I would not of coped at all. The first row of stalls were hectic and busy and I was super annoyed at that brand for causing an obstruction with their clothing rails which was most of the issue. I kinda hoped there would of been more brands and I felt there should of been more refreshment options. The cocktail bar was a cute idea but it was super busy and so we didn’t get anywhere near it and we had to leave the venue to find somewhere to eat.

THAT BEING SAID.

I still had an amazing day. It was just wonderful to be around so many inspirational, beautiful, unapologetically plus sized humans and I loved seeing more and more trendy clothes filtering in. I was in awe of some of the gorgeous outfits that people were wearing and got inspiration from so many people. I went home wrapped in a self love bubble with excitement for the next year. After all the complaints/comments/posts about the accessibility this year the TCFF have already confirmed a venue change and have promised they will be working hard to make sure it is accessible for all. I have so much faith in the team and the fact they have already addressed this and the fact that they are working so hard to make the appropriate changes is amazing. The venue for next year is The ACC at Liverpool docks which I have previously been to for a huge conference and can confirm is a really excellent choice for the venue. I’ve already booked my hotel for the weekend and I’m hoping to take Eleanor and Adam with me and make a weekend of it. Loads of the Team Topsy members have booked the same hotel which is so exciting – I’m hoping for an after party, maybe dinner with friends or just a hang out! TCFF18 has left me wanting more and I’m already counting down the months for TCFF19.

If anybody is considering going to TCFF19 – DO IT! It’s such a positive day full of the best people and with all the changes being made this year I feel like it’s going to be the best/most accessible one yet. Tickets are already on sale and can be found here ! I’m waiting to buy mine as I can’t decide on regular or VIP. There’s more to be announced about VIP so I’m waiting to see if that sways my decision.

I wanted to finish this post with a few thank yous. Thank you to Dawn for coming with me! Thank you to Jo & Nat and everybody who stopped and chatted with me on the day and took pictures. I love the community that Topsy Curvy have built – it’s truly amazing. However the biggest thank you has to go to The TCFF team for all the hard work that goes in to putting on such an incredible event. It must take so much organising, so much effort and must be exhausting in both the run up and on the day. You are amazing and should be so proud of yourselves!

Are you going to TCFF19? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading.

Hannah x

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personal

Why I’ve had bariatric surgery.

Hi everybody!

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

This is my journey.

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

(Me in October 2016)

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

(Around March 2017)

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

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

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

(November 2017)

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

(December 2017)

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

 

(January 2018)

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

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

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

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

(August 2018)

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

 

 

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

(September 2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Outfit from Primark)

(Tracksuit from Topsy Curvy)

(Dress is very old from ASOS!)

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

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

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

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

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

Lots of love,

Hannah x

 

 

fashion · personal · plus size · review

Jumping on the trend. Featuring THE eBay dress.

Hi everybody!

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

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

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 3.

Hi all!

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

Day Three –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very awkward.

 

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

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

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

We did not.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

family · fashion · personal · plus size · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 2.

Hi all!

This post follows on from part 1!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eleanor was quite content sitting on her huge beach ball.

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

  

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

 

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