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

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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

family · fashion · parenting · review · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 1.

Hi All!

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’ve been with Adam for like, forever. Well maybe not forever, but it was 6 years in January and that’s like a quarter of my life so seems like ages! For our anniversary my mum suggested we went away and even gave us money for a trip away at Christmas but we didn’t book anything. Around mid January we started to entertain the idea of going away again just the two of us but we couldn’t agree on a place and honestly I didn’t really want to leave Eleanor for a couple of days. Sad I know.

Whilst scrolling through social media I saw an advert for the Sun Holidays and remembered one we went on many years ago to Cayton Bay and decided to see what destinations were on it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Butlins Skegness was one of the holidays on offer and so I got the 10 code words from the internet and decided to get booked. We wanted to book for the middle of February just after Valentines Day and thankfully this date was available. I think with dining and housekeeping/towels included we paid just under £250 for the three of us in a silver two bedroom chalet and food which I thought was such great value.

For the trip I just wanted to be comfy so I popped my hair up into the mummiest of mum buns and popped on a boohoo chiffon shirt with floral embroidery. It has a slip underneath and I wore leggings and slip-ons for comfort.

We packed up the car and headed out on the Friday around 11. Travelling with toddlers isn’t always the easiest and I was honestly dreading the car journey. We decided to stock up on car snacks, my mother in law bought us a back of the seat organiser for Eleanor and we managed to sit her iPad on it with some pre-downloaded films on and she was pretty happy!

I sat in the back with Eleanor and was really comfy in our Qashqai +2. It was a fairly straight forward drive and we only stopped once at a service station to use the facilities and grab a bite to eat. We sat outside on picnic benches and introduced Eleanor to her first ever lunchable. She didn’t really get the hang of one piece of cheese/ham at a time and pretty much just bit into the full stack.

We arrived on site quite early and decided to check in and explore. We went through the drive through check in, found a parking space near our chalet and went for a look around. We headed towards the fairground which Eleanor really loved. Most of the rides are actually free and there’s also a playground.

Eleanor ran straight for the slide and was happily climbing up herself.

Next we went to find a ride that Eleanor could go on. She was slightly too small for most of the kids rides but we found a little train she could ride on with us and she loved it. Not sure if she enjoyed it more or if Adam did!

After checking out the Arcades we headed back to our room. We unpacked, pushed the two twin beds together and build a pillow fort for Eleanor then got ready for dinner.

For the first night I decided to go for something quick and comfortable as we weren’t allowed into our rooms till 4 and so we were a bit pushed for time. I kept my hair up and added a flicky pony I had previous bought from a small independent shop in Middlesbrough Town Centre. It’s one of the drawstring types and it super easy to put in.

For my outfit I wore my favourite stripy culottes from New Look Curve with a hook and eye top which was also New Look and ankle boots from Primark wide fit range. The whole outfit was bought on sale and probably cost around £15-20. Bargain!

Eleanor wore her new unicorn dress from H+M which was a steal at 2.99 with a pink fluffy cardigan she’s had quite a while.

We headed down to dinner which was quite busy as they only had one restaurant open. It was pretty standard food and honestly not as good as last time we went. Each night there was a fish meal, “dinner” style meal with a different meat, some form of pasta and a vegetarian option. We didn’t go hungry but most dinners were kind of pieced together rather than proper meals.

 

After dinner we headed to the skyline pavilion and of course Eleanor had to sit on every ride we could find. After a brief stint in the arcades we decided to find some seats, get some cans and watch the entertainment.

Adam was quite pleased to see that the evenings entertainment was wrestling. The company was NGWUK and they were pretty entertaining. Eleanor seemed to really enjoy herself and was shouting and pumping her fist in the air. I think she enjoyed the popcorn more though which was being sold by attendants going around with trays.

We headed back to the room tired after a long day and put Eleanor to bed who had fallen asleep in her pram on the walk back. With Eleanor safely tucked up in bed we chatted, planned the next day and watched a little tv. We ended up upgrading our wifi as the signal was so poor on the site and so we couldn’t contact anybody or even each other.

We made plans to watch some shows and go swimming the next day after breakfast and headed to sleep.

I’m going to break these posts up as they’re quite photo heavy and will finish this chapter here! Please keep an eye out for part two and let me know below if you’re a fan of Butlins, or if you prefer elsewhere!

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

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

 

home · personal · review

Photowall* Fab Fat Mama Reviews.

Hi all!

Some of you may know that I absolutely love home decor and doing up houses. I love to express my personal style over my home by putting my stamp on it and I tend to go for bold colours and prints against a backdrop of grey. I’m so obsessed with grey, I literally have it in every room in my house. The only room that is grey free is the bathroom which was tiled before we moved in – however we bought grey towels.

I’m always looking for ways to add to my home and to make it more personal to us, and so I was super pleased when the lovely Christine from Photowall got in touch and offered me either wallpaper of my choice or a canvas.

I’m not going to lie, It took me quite a long time to decide what to get. I was pretty sad that I’d just bought wallpaper to re-do our living room and here I was hit with loads of amazing choices that I could of had but I got over it when I saw the canvas selection.

I ended up choosing a canvas because I love having images of my family around the house and I didn’t really have an up to date one. As we had just been on holiday it seemed the perfect chance to get one of our images blown up so we could keep the memory going.

I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to actually order the canvas and the number of different custom sizes you could choose from. It’s not in regimented sizes, you can pretty much choose what you want and you can crop parts from your image and move your selection around.

I chose one of the smaller sizes available, put the crop selection to the part of the image I wanted and ordered the canvas as well as a D I Y kit to make it at home.

My canvas came pretty speedily in a long box. I knew there was going to be some building involved and so I set everything out ready to go!

I rolled out the canvas and was really shocked at how good the quality was as I’d sent quite a bad image and thought it might not come out so great. I set this on the table to straighten out whilst I unpacked the rest of the pieces.

The D I Y kit contained some side pieces which had been pre-taped, some metal brackets and some plastic ended screws. This meant that you didn’t actually need any physical tools to put together the canvas which I thought was a really great idea.

I consulted the instructions and decided to just go for it. It seemed pretty straight forward to put together and the instructions were very helpful.

I got the wooden pieces on pretty easily. I made sure to leave a lip each side with the canvas and rolled it round the corner of the wood which it shows on the instructions. This helped to line up the wood and the bits of tape stuck together when the wood rolled in. I put the wood on the edges of the canvas and once all 4 pieces were on it was time to roll them in together and meet the corners.

Once rolled in, they were secured together using the metal brackets and screws. I found the easiest way to do this was to only screw in a little bit so there was some flexibility and then once all the screws were in to then tighten them. I managed to do this myself and finally the canvas was together.

I always knew where I wanted to put the canvas, which was at the top of my stairs on a patch of wall with nothing much around it. I didn’t actually mount it as we’re waiting to re-paint the wall but I actually like it here on the top of the drawers. It puts a smile on my face every morning when I step out of my bedroom and I’ve had so many compliments on it so far.

I would definitely use Photowall again in the future as their delivery was so quick and the product is really good quality. I would love to try their personalised wallpaper which I think sounds amazing and could be a great way to get a really unique look for your home. I can imagine scanning in Eleanors artwork when she’s older and decorating a play room with it – that would be so cool and cute!

If you would like to try Photowall they’ve got a black friday deal on for the next couple of days. You can use the code blackfriday17 for 25% off!

Thank you so much to Photowall for gifting me the canvas. As much as I was given the item for free, the words in this review are all my own and they are my own opinions.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah xx

personal · review

The Nuthatch Stockton – FabFatMama Reviews

Hi all!

This post is almost a continuation of my last post which you can find here!

So if you read my last post, you’ll of known we’d just been for some dinner at Hope & Union before going to see one of my besties Charlotte sing over at The Nuthatch. The Nuthatch is a small cocktail bar which started in Middlesbrough but now has a branch in Stockton too. I’ve wanted to go for quite a long time and I was very excited to actually book a table and go. I booked a table online and requested to be sat near my 3 friends and their husbands and we ended up actually being seated together which was great.

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The Nuthatch is situated in Wasps Nest Yard which can be accessed through a very colourful archway via Silver Street in Stockton-On-Tees – almost blink and you miss it. I loved the feeling of almost stepping into somewhere unknown and hidden, almost like you weren’t in Stockton at all any more.

We met 2 of our friends on the way and all arrived together. We’d luckily been seated in a table of eight which meant we were all together. I took my seat in-front of the open folding doors and took in my surroundings.

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The interior is tiny, but beautiful. It’s a mix of exposed brick, mixed shabby chic chairs, thick green foliage and small handmade looking tables. I was particularly in love with the bar area which was full of hanging cocktail glasses and copper equipment.

After taking our seats we were given two menus – one was the original menu and one was the special’s menu. They had a handful of cocktails on offer at just £5. I selected my first cocktail, one I was super excited to taste and it didn’t let me down.

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My first cocktail was Blueberry Amaretto Sour – Blueberries, Disaronno, Lemon Juice, Egg White. 

I’ve had a Blueberry Amaretto Sour at new year when I made them with my cousin and loved them then and so I was super excited to try their version and honestly, I wasn’t let down. I always think it tastes like fruity Doctor Pepper. This one was so smooth and velvety I literally couldn’t stop drinking it. The small glass was deceptive too as it felt like the drink never ended – not that I was complaining.

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Next up I tried The Nuthatch – Edinburgh Raspberry, Lemon, Pink Grapefruit, Framboise Liqueur, Cranberry, Rosemary.

This is the Nuthatch’ signature cocktail and is served in “that” bird glass. This was on the £5 menu and I really thought it was great value for money. I love a fruity cocktail and this one was just to my liking. I particularly liked the citrus flavours mixed with the hit of burnt rosemary. This cocktail doesn’t just tingle your taste buds but also gets your other senses going resulting in a well rounded cocktail experience.

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My final cocktail was the Passionfruit Martini – Absolut Vanilla, Passionfruit Liqueur, Apple Juice, Passionfruit Puree, Vanilla Syrup.

Being a huge fan of a “Pornstar Martini”, I had to try one of these. I got hooked on them thanks to my cousin Carley and was excited to see how they served theirs. Again, these were on the £5 menu which was a great deal. I really enjoyed this cocktail, it was smooth and sweet with a little bit of tang. It slipped down maybe a little bit TOO easily as I just couldn’t stop drinking it. I know the classic version comes with a shot of Prosecco but I honestly didn’t miss it.

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Of course the real reason I was there was to see my friend Charlotte perform. She was performing at their Songbird night which is held on a Thursday and features one local artist per week. It was lovely to have her perform in such a beautiful relaxed setting whilst we sipped away on our cocktails. The atmosphere was just what i’m into and I really enjoyed the evening.

One thing I was quite impressed with was the large gin selection, the “build your own gin” menu and the amount of different craft/flavoured beers they sell. They even have a “mocktail” menu so there is literally something for everybody.

In all I had a lovely night, and I’ll definitely be heading back. The Nuthatch is calm and relaxing, has really great drinks and is manned by some really lovely and knowledgeable staff. Me and my friend Steph had a great conversation with the guys behind the bar and they definitely made us feel welcome.

The only question is, what to try next? And who’s coming for a drink?

Hannah x