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When The Full Monty MEANS The Full Monty.

Hi all!

A few months ago now I got an email from a man named Julian regarding going to review shows at Darlington Hippodrome. As a huge fan of the theatre, of course I instantly replied with my interest. Julian sent me over a few different shows I could request tickets for and my eye was immediately drawn to two. The first one, was The Full Monty. Now, I’ve always been a huge fan of The Full Monty film because it’s both absolutely hilarious but also touches on deeper storylines such as suicide, joblessness and homosexuality. I requested two tickets, one for myself and one for my friend Tina and we eagerly awaited the day to come.

The day came for us to attend the performance and so I started to get ready. I couldn’t quite decide what to wear but settled on my new dress from Topsy Curvy. I actually won a voucher for Topsy Curvy so I only actually paid £3.50 for the dress – amazing ey?!

I actually ordered a size down in the dress and so I didn’t expect it to actually fit, however when it arrived I couldn’t help but try it on and was pleasantly surprised that it fit.

With it being so reasonably priced I never expected it to look as nice at it did.

I thought it would cling to my tummy and show every lump and bump, however the shape of the dress meant that it flowed over my stomach and tapered back in which made such a lovely silhouette.

I made the decision that I would scrap my original outfit idea and wear my new dress and I was so glad I did. It was super comfy which was perfect for sitting in but also looked really smart. I got so many compliments on social media and felt super confident all night.

I paired the dress with some sock boots with a chunky heel and a pair of tights as it was a cold night!

My hair I kept quite natural and added some sea salt spray to accentuate the natural wave in my hair and for my makeup I decided to try a few products I got in this months Glossybox. I used the STYLondon Palette which was real warm autumnal tones (nothing I’d EVER choose for myself) and the HUDA Beauty liquid lip in shade Girlfriend which I also wouldn’t of chosen for myself – however I really loved both! I felt they really went with the deep green of the dress and felt like the rusty tones on my eyes really made them pop.

As I mentioned, I invited my friend Tina to come along with me. I made the guess that she might like to see the show however I didn’t realise that she was both a huge fan of The Full Monty movie and also Theatre so it was definitely a good guess on my part! Tina picked me up and we drove through the Darlington and found Darlington Hippodrome with ease. Parking was amazing and was literally over the road and through a little walkway and was free after 6- even better. We were both taken back by how beautiful and traditional the Hippodrome looked from the outside and took a moment to admire the stained glass windows and Edwardian architecture. The Hippodrome has been recently restored and they have done a beautiful job which got even more stunning inside.

As we walked into the foyer we were immediately greeted by staff who were so friendly and attentive. All of the staff throughout the venue were so lovely, polite and helpful and it really stuck in our mind all evening. We spotted this poster on the wall of the downstairs bar and then it dawned on us – The Full Monty was in fact going to be the FULL Monty. This made us a little bit giddy, not going to lie!

  

We popped upstairs to meet Julian and collect our tickets and programme, then we settled in with a drink each to flick through the programme and take note of which actors were playing which role. We were pleasantly surprised to see Gary Lucy playing the lead role as well as other recognisable faces from various soaps including Louis Emerick AKA Mick Johnson on Brookside.

We decided to use the loos (and take selfies) and then go find our seats. We were both very pleased to see the toilets were immaculate and found out that “having a look around the facilities” was actually a shared hobby of ours. We probably need to get out more..

We went and found our seats in the Theatre and we were actually blown away. The theatre is so cosy and intimate that you could sit anywhere and feel like you were so close to the show. We were in row K and had a perfect view of the stage without being too close.

We spent the next few moments taking in the beauty of the traditional Edwardian theatre, the detailing, mouldings and the gorgeous ceiling.

 

We chatted excitedly, got comfy and waited for the curtains to open.

The first 60 minutes flew by and it was time for the interview. Julian had kindly arranged drinks for us and they were waiting outside the bar for us to collect. The attention to detail was amazing and the little touch of my blog name on a sign made me feel quite important for a moment!

 

We took the opportunity before we returned to our seats to take some shots in my favourite area of Darlington Hippodrome. The woodwork and tiles were absolutely stunning and we took a few moments to admire them.

We returned to our seats and the last hour flew by whilst we laughed our heads off and got a little bit giddy at the ending. Definitely wasn’t prepared for full frontal nudity when I left the house that leaving but hats off (pardon the pun) to the actors for going for it!

The whole show was amazing. I fell in love with Kai Owen who played Dave and we both really rooted for him. I also loved Andrew Dunn who played Gerald and some of my biggest laughs were at his moments. The whole show flowed effortlessly, it was funny without trying to hard but also emotional at the right moments. All the actors did a brilliant job and even Gary Lucy’s awful Yorkshire accent seemed to add to the humour of the show. The thing that really stood out to me was the staging. As somebody who has studied performing arts and also costume I’ve always been hugely into theatre and the clever transitions just added the extra edge. The best transition was before Gerald’s dance class when the people acting as stage hands danced off. The main set changed smoothly with sliding doors, different “furniture” arrangements and clever lit up signs. It really made a difference to the show and I enjoyed watching the quick changes which were done to different songs – most of which would be on the recently played section of my Spotify.

I would 100% recommend seeing both this show and visiting Darlington Hippodrome. As much as we were gifted the tickets, myself and Tina both agreed that we would of happily paid to see the show because it was so brilliant. We actually looked at where the show was heading next but sadly it wasn’t local – we probably would of went again!

I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all the staff at DH who made us feel so welcome and at ease. As a person who struggles with anxiety it can often be quite overwhelming going to events such as this, but everywhere we turned there was a friendly face and somebody who just wanted to help you. To somebody like me, this makes a huge difference. I loved the intimate feeling of the actual theatre too which didn’t make me feel overwhelmed. The other spaces are so light and airy so to me I didn’t feel packed in squashed in with everybody else, this also makes a huge difference to me.

Thank you to Julian for making the arrangements for tickets for us and of course thank you to my beautiful friend Tina for coming along with me. I’ve not laughed as much as we did in a long time and it was truly an incredible night.

I can’t wait to do it all again next week because I’m going with my mum to see Cilla which looks so good!! So watch this space, I’ll make sure to write up about our evening.

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

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Crafts For Confidence!

Hi All!

A couple of months ago now, I attended the first ever Stockton Soup which I wrote about on my blog. Stockton Soup is essentially an event where people come along, pay a suggested donation of £4 and listen to four pitches from people who want to do some good in the local community. You then get some soup and live music whilst you decide on who to vote for and depending on how many votes a project gets – they go home with a percentage of the money. Its amazing because everybody gets something, and the money raised is matched by another funding source and so for every £1 donated – £2 will go to fund a project in the local community.

 I decided to attend as it sounded interesting and I had seen my friend Emilee promoting it on Instagram. I went that night and was blown away by how much people were doing for the local community and I decided that I wanted to be a part of it.

The real fire was lit under me when I was introduced to a man who asked me what I do. I told him I was a stay at home mum and he replied with “is that all”. I was pretty taken back and in that moment decided that I was going to make my own change.

I quickly decided on setting up a crafts club for a number of reasons. Firstly – crafts are fun! They can be done by children of most ages and generally are enjoyed by all. They can be easily adapted and themes changed to fit different seasons and various people’s needs. Secondly – i’m a big believer that art is good for the soul and is a positive hobby. Thirdly – arts and crafts are a good platform for self expression and is a great way to build confidence within people as in art – nothing is wrong and what you choose to create is entirely up to you. I like to teach the children that nothing is “wrong” and that if they’re happy with what they’re making – then it’s perfect.

I got really lucky with my club. I mentioned my idea to my lovely friend Emilee who just happened to know somebody who was wanting to set up exactly what I wanted – but didn’t quite have the creative skills but she had a venue, children who needed a club and most of all she had the biggest amount of passion and love and just wanted to be there for these kids.

Enter Jenna.

So I met Jenna through Emilee at Stockton Soup and explained what I wanted to do, and that was exactly the same as the ideas that Jenna had been having for a club at St Lukes in Thornaby where her church “The Vine Project” had taken over and was trying to put on sessions for the local kids in the area. Straight away me and Jenna just clicked, but it’s hard not to with her. She is such a fantastic, enthusiastic role model for the kids we work with and she puts her everything into being there for them – it’s so humbling to see. We knew what we wanted to achieve ( a safe space for children to come and learn crafts and also build confidence/self esteem) and within one meeting we had it all set up and had plans to start the following week.

It’s now April and apart from Christmas break, we’ve been doing crafts club every week and honestly there’s been so much change. Those who were quiet and timid now have a voice and those who were loud and didn’t listen now sit patiently waiting, ready to quietly get on with the sessions.

I feel by working closely with these children that we are able to develop their skills and also make an impact on their lives. I love doing this group and hope to set more up in the area including a group for older children teaching not only crafts but life skills too!

I’m now looking to expand my little club and will be starting training with a local organisation called A WAY OUT who support at risk teens, vulnerable families and women in the area. I’m hopefully going to be working with the youth division to run craft sessions and I’m super excited about it all. I’m also open to running other groups or one off drop in sessions so if you know of somewhere that needs help – feel free to email!

I’m so glad I have these groups to focus on. Being a stay at home mum I often felt like my skills were being wasted at home and this way I get to help others whilst also getting to do something which I love. It also gives me a break from being “mum” and although I’m spending my free time working with other children, it feels refreshing to be doing something different. It feels great to feel like you might be doing something worthwhile and giving the kids something to look forwards to. Hopefully I will expand – i’ll keep you posted!

Hannah x

P.s, here are some of our crafts!

  

We made a tree with our hand prints as leaves!

Pipe cleaner tree decorations.

Handmade, painted baubles.

Noah’s arc and the children’s animals.

 

And my fave – our Christmas wreath! All the kids decorated a pinecone and I put them together as a wreath with the message that we might all be different, but we can all come together to make something beautiful.

baby · home · parenting · plus size · Uncategorized

Becoming “Mummy” – My plus size pregnancy story.

 `Hi all!

Two months ago my little girl Eleanor turned one years old. Those who have followed me for a long time will be just as shocked as I am how quickly the time seems to of flown by. It seems like just yesterday it was just me and Adam in our flat in Fairfield, and now its me Adam & Eleanor in our big family home in Stockton (with a quick detour along the way to an awful streethouse..)

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I don’t think I’ve ever really told the story of how Eleanor “came to be”, and I always get asked online by other plus sized women how I managed to get pregnant and really I had no secret. I only had unprotected sex once and fell pregnant. Me and Adam had had a pretty average Christmas but both felt like something was missing. After a long chat on Christmas Day we decided that when we came back from our little getaway to Edinburgh we were going to try for a baby. At the end of January we stopped using any contraceptives and it happened first time we tried (if the dates are correct!). I’m not sure how Eleanor managed to cling on for those first days because I had an MRI scan whilst not knowing I was pregnant and also went to an event in London where I wore a tightly bound corset all day and drank!

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I found out I was pregnant quite quickly. I thought I was having the period from hell and I remember being at the gym about to go swimming and my boobs were like rocks and so I had to wear a crop top in the water rather then a bikini top because they were so sore. I remember swimming along with my nipples like marbles and the freezing cold swimming pool just made them worse!

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The thing that really made me realise I was pregnant was my sense of smell went crazy. I’ve never liked coffee/the smell of coffee before and it was just getting worse and worse to the point of it making it unbearable. What really pushed me over the edge and prompted me to wonder if I was pregnant was somebody at work was cooking popcorn which is usually one of my favourite snacks but at this time I couldn’t stand the smell at all.

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My first test actually came back negative, but my second had a very faint positive line and my third was really dark and so I knew for sure I was pregnant. I rang my doctors straight away to book in for a blood test and had it confirmed that I was pregnant that same week. Next I had to have my “booking” appointment with the midwife which was my first proper appointment.

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With me being a student when I moved in with Adam in the flat, I never ever swapped doctors and so my appointments were always still at my doctors near my mums. My first appointment was a no show, then she turned up randomly 2 days later but I of course wasn’t there (and was working!). Finally we rearranged for the Friday and she finally showed up…nearly 2 hours late. As midwives over my pregnancy went. they were very hit and miss. Unfortunately she wasn’t one of the good ones and she banged on for over an hour about how breast is best and how breastfed children have higher IQ’s and achieve more.  She also went on to tell me that women should be the one to feed a baby so the baby associates feeding with her mum and how it certainly should not be  getting fed by the father. Needless to say – there was much eye rolling on my part.

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Apart from morning sickness, most of my pregnancy went swimmingly and sailed by. We found out we were having a girl, agonised over names but settled on Eleanor – which we chose after I read out the name and Adam started singing a Biffy Clyro song he loved – and started buying clothes second hand off eBay. We also moved house when I was around 4 months pregnant so that we were close to family and in a “proper” house. We soon regretted this decision as the house was just a damp mess which ended up full of various problems such as holes in the floorboards in the stairs, crooked tiled in the kitchen which we stubbed our toes on, a pipe in the bath was held together with a rag, the bath wasn’t draining properly which made our yard stink etc etc! We ended up moving out when Eleanor was 5-6 months old because the damp was consuming the house and making her ill and the house was going to have to get half ripped out to fix!

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I said my pregnancy mostly went swimmingly, but I did have a few hiccups along the way. When we went for our gender scan, Eleanor would not co-operate at all and kept wrapping her legs around the cord so we couldn’t see what gender she was! The poor nurse tried for over a half hour and had me in allsorts of positions. Finally, on her last attempt she managed to see as Eleanor moved that she was going to be a girl. I was so relieved that we got to find out – I cried. I also found myself in hospital on a few occasions, once to a bleed, once due to a fall, once due to fake contractions (where after a few test I found out I had group b strep which I was glad I found because it can be problematic if undiscovered) and once due to a fall.

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I ended up having a week long stay in hospital after going in with stomach pains which I feared might be pre-eclampsia. I went in and due to the sound of my breathing they were convinced I had blood clots in my lungs which could of put the babies and my life at risk. In one day, I had an ECG, x ray, nuclear x ray, a camera down my nose, an ultrasound, various blood tests, urine tests, half hourly blood pressure tests and more. I was exhausted and just wanted to go home. I moved wards 8 times during my stay, including being put on the labour ward which was terrifying and spending a night in intensive care which was even more terrifying and extremely uncomfortable. They have these beds which constantly move to stop bed sores as people spend so much time there. I HATED it there and couldn’t wait to leave. They wouldn’t even let me go to the toilet alone and begged me to use a bed pan. No.

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I was finally allowed back home after being diagnosed with sleep apnea and given the all clear about my lungs. I did get plenty of scaremongering  chats about my weight which ruined my pregnancy a little if I’m honest. Nobody would take the time to talk to me and ask what i’ve been doing or would check the records to see I’d actually been losing weight – I just got a lecture about dying young or harming my baby.

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My pregnancy went on and so did my cravings. Thankfully I didn’t crave anything “too” wild – apart from loving the smell of ice and crunching it and the smell of old dusty boxes. I craved normal things like bags of tangerines, grapes, vol-au-vents, jacket potatoes, tuna and sweetcorn pasta. I even started liking things I wasn’t a fan of originally such as pizza, orange fanta, trifle, cheesecake and chicken – strangely all the things that Adam absolutely loves.

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By the end of my pregnancy I was pretty much crippled with SPD and ended up using a wheelchair to get out of the house which was awful. So many places are so unsuitable (I got stuck in the middle of the road in Manchester) and people truly see you as a second class citizen it was disgusting the way people shoved in front of me or tutted at me or just gave me filthy looks. If poor Adam wasn’t so kind as to push me round places, I wouldn’t of gotten out at all. I was pretty miserable with it and climbing our stairs 5-6-7 times a night to pee was killing me. I also developed gestational diabetes triggered by steroids I was given in the hospital so I was injecting insulin my last few weeks. This concerned the doctors who thought my baby would grow to be huge and wanted to give me a c-section at 37 weeks.

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As you can imagine, I wasn’t best pleased by this as I wanted to go naturally. They told me I’d be too tired to push and would probably end up needing a c-section anyway so it was best just to choose to have one. They set up the surgery date for Tuesday 13th October (which I pleaded with them for as 13th is superstitious) but they wouldn’t change it.

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A few days before I was due to go in and have Eleanor, I had to go for my pre assessment where we’d chat about a few things and talk about the c-section. When I got there, I was super anxious and as a result of this – my blood pressure was sky high. After the high reading, they refused to let me go home and said I had to stay in until she was coming which sucked as it was my cousins 21st at the weekend and I still wanted to do some bits at home etc. I finally accepted that I had to stay after more scaremongering chats about me having a fit and after having to have the worst injection in my leg for Eleanors lungs to develop – I got settled in my side room. I’d been there since 11am and got settled by 9PM – yet between all this time I hadn’t even been offered a glass of water or anything to eat.  By Sunday I was bored, fed up and pissed off at the lack of food. Some how they kept missing me on the lunch runs or people would be in the room when orders were taken so I ended up with what was leftover or more often – nothing. GREAT way to treat a pregnant woman. However, nothing pissed me off more than a doctor popping in on sunday and asking why I was still there and that I had been allowed to go home for the weekend. I was livid!

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The only good part about hospital was Adam. He really looked after me and made sure I got out and about and brought me food to eat and fresh PJ’s and drinks etc. He tried his hardest to make it a positive experience for me and spent as much time as he could at the hospital with me. He even painted my pump for me in my little en-suite bathroom because it was on my “bump bucket list”.

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Soon it rolled round to tuesday and it was time to go down to theatre to have my little girl. I was so scared and nervous but also so excited to meet her and finally not be pregnant any longer!

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My “birth story” was quite traumatic so I’m going to write about this in another post so keep an eye out for it!

Hannah x

baby · fashion · food · home · Uncategorized

Putting on a party! Mums 50s 50th.

Hi all!

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

Venue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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food · review · Uncategorized

FabFatMama reviews! – Creams Cafe Middlesbrough

Hi all!

A few weekends ago me, my mum, Adam and Eleanor went out for some dinner together in Middlesbrough. As my mum was having Eleanor for the night, me and Adam decided to try out a new dessert place together and spend some time together before going home.

Middlesbrough is erupting with new places to eat/drink and we’re really spoilt for choice whenever we head out. I knew however that I wanted to head to Creams at some point and was glad when we decided to pop in.

The interior is gorgeous.

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It’s clearly part of a chain and is immaculate an really sticks with a black and purple theme. There are various styles of seating such as booths, tables with tub chairs and tables with normal chairs so there’s really something for everybody’s comfort

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There’s so many icecreams on offer and you can get cones, tubs and custom sundae’s. There’s also a menu full of ready made combos including crepes, waffles, milkshakes and other drinks. We sat for ages trying to decide but finally decided on a sundae each.

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I went for the classic banana and toffee split. If I’m honest I was slightly disappointed. The banana was fresh and the cream and sauce was lovely, but after that it was just whipped ice cream from a machine – I would of much preferred real scooped ice cream as the whipped stuff got a bit samey. The wafers were lovely and it was great to see the branded wafers which added a nice touch, however the tiny fudge pieces were quite hard and took some chewing. I don’t think I’d order this again and would probably go for the scoops which looked much more interesting.

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Adam went for the choc fudge hot’n’cold volcano which looked amazing and which Adam really enjoyed. Adam loves a hot and cold contrast and this sundae was full of hot chocolate fudge cake and hot toffee sauce mixed with the whippy ice cream – perfect for him. It was absolutely stuffed with cake and sauce and I was a little bit jealous watching him eat his.

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I think next time we go I’d try one of the waffles which come with various toppings and the whippy ice cream on the side, or a custom sundae with the delicious looking scooped ice creams. I really fancied the pistachio!

There’s a little bit for everybody’s price range here, from single cones to something called “the crowd pleaser” which is a huge platter of ice cream, waffles, cream and other bits. I’d definitely love to get a few people together and dig in! It’s definitely a nice place to go with the family and all the staff were warm and welcoming – plus they have disney movies playing!

What more could you want?

Hannah x

baby · parenting · Uncategorized

A Spot On Ride. – Venicci 3 in 1 Travel System Review.

Hi all!

Today I’m bringing you a review which has been a very long time coming! This is because I’ve only really got into the third part of the travel system in the last few weeks. Finally – I’m going to talk about my pram.

When I found out I was pregnant, my mum told me she would like to buy my pram which was an amazing help as prams are expensive. If we were buying our own, we’d of got something second hand  but mum wanted us to have something new as Eleanor was going to be her first grandchild.

I initially decided that I wanted a Cosatto due to the bright colours and prints, but we just couldn’t decide on a print we both liked and so I had to look at other options. I ended up going to a local pram shop and telling them I wanted a sturdy 3 in 1 system for less than £600 which also included the car seat and they gave me a few options.

They suggested the Venicci to me and I loved it from the first second that I pushed it. I toyed between the salmon pink or the white polka dot and ultimately went for the dot as I know patterns are good for babies brain development.

I love the polka dot pattern. It’s so very me and I’d not seen the pram anywhere else which also attracted me. I was also attracted to the fact that absolutely everything you need was included such as mosquito net, raincover, changing bag and even a drinks holder. The main attraction to me though was the chassis. It’s so easy to fold, it has a large zip up bag in the bottom, a slot to host a drinks holder but best of all – it bounces. The way the chassis bounces has been absolutely brilliant and helps bounce Eleanor to sleep. It’s also great for going up/down steps and curbs as the chassis takes the impact of the movement and so baby doesn’t feel a thing. The handle is one continuous leather handle which I love – I specifically didn’t want two separate ones. Pushing the pram is so easy (I often push it with one hand) due to the wheels which swivel in all directions (but can also be locked). The wheels also have the added bonus that they all come off with one click which makes putting it in small boots a lot easier! It folds down so easily by pulling two triggers whilst pushing a button and can be put back up by pulling back a tab that keeps it together and simply lifting the handle. I struggle to lift things but find the chassis easy to lift and maneuver when folded. I love the fact that all three seats co-ordinate in colours and just click onto the chassis by sitting them into the slots and then can be removed with the push of a button which has touch memory so no fumbling to push two at once! Finally, the chassis handle has a place to hang your bag which is so helpful as it makes it so much easier when you’re looking around in your bag for items.

Car Seat

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The most used portion of our 3 in 1 travel system is definitely the car seat as it is just so convenient. We decided against getting the expensive Isofix base as we knew she would be in other family members cars quite often and just belt the seat in each time which takes around 20 seconds.

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The car seat clicks straight into the chassis so you don’t need to fuss on changing the baby from car seat to pram – perfect for when they’re tiny or napping.

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The straps have lovely padded covers which also have the dots so it’s comfortable for baby. The car seat came originally with a baby insert (which we’ve not long removed) so that you get much longer use out of the seat. The straps are adjustable at the back and are easy to loosen/tighten as needed. The car seat and cover all click off easily and can be washed which is a god send with it being white!

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The handle has nice hand shaped grooves so it’s much more comfortable to carry. It can also be clicked back so that you have better access to baby/baby can see more.

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We’ve had good use out of this car seat and will probably get another few month out of it before we have to go on to the next stage.

Pram Base

Another piece to the travel system is the pram attachment.

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If I’m honest, I didn’t use the lay down section as much as the car seat because of the convenience of not having to swap her from car seat to pram and disturbing her, but when I went out on my own I used the pram base. It felt lovely to push a “proper” pram and It had to many great features too. My favourite feature was probably the vent, which made sure air could circulate around baby whilst she was snuggled in and toasty. I also liked that the cover clipped up onto the handle so It gave a bit more coverage and was great when It was windy. The handle and hood on the pram is super easy to fold down with two small buttons and the whole base collapses into itself when you want to store It. The pram has a lovely padded mattress in which makes it super comfy for baby and it also has a mechanism under the mattress to make it sit up slightly so baby can see more.

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Eleanor is propped up here. After a few weeks she didn’t really take kindly to laying flat on her back and so being able to prop her up was great. She doesn’t even lay flat t0 sleep and screams when you lie her down so this stopped a lot of tantrums. Once again, she was obsessed with the dots on this and would roll over and try to pick them off or would sit chatting to them. With the pram having a proper mattress, it could be used as a mini travel cot and was handy for long days out/visits to family so that nap routines weren’t messed up.

Pushchair Seat

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I’ve only recently moved into the pushchair seat but I really love how easy and comfortable it is for Eleanor. It’s also really beautiful and a pleasure to push it around – I’m like a proud peacock with a beautiful pram and beautiful baby to match.

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The seat in this is adjustable via a large clip at the back and can be pulled right down flat for baby to sleep. It then has a semi sat up and fully sat up position. The hood on this is large and sun blocking with UPF 50+ fabric and alike the pram attachment, it has a vent. There’s also an extra mesh bag where the seat adjustment handle is for extra storage. I think this would be handy for snacks or things you want to quickly grab without rummaging through the nappy bag.

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It also has an extra zipped section for when the seat is laying down so you don’t have excessive hood but still have full coverage when baby is laying down. The 5 point harness clicks in really easily and can be moved as baby grows to continue having the best fit. The straps are soft and padded for comfort.

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The bumper bar has a lovely soft finish and can be detached from both sides. My only gripe is that it’s not adjustable height wise as a the moment it is nowhere near her and she can’t reach her buggy toy.

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As with all the seats, this seat can be put onto the chassis either facing you or facing away. For now I choose to have her facing me as she likes lots of eye contact and to chat away to me, but I’m sure as she grows I will change it to facing out.

Extras

As I’ve mentioned earlier the travel system comes with a few items. It comes with a mosquito net which I haven’t actually used but think I will over summer as there’s an area that’s lovely for walks but is absolutely plagued with those tiny little flies so the net will protect baba from them. The rain cover I’ve used and is easy to pop on and has a vent to talk to baby. It also folds back down easily and doesn’t take up loads of room like some covers do. The bag is excellent. Not only because it clips onto the handle but because it is compact and attractive. It has a slot either side for bottles and two internal pockets to pop items in. The bag, alike the foot muff, covers, hoods on all seats are machine washable and come out gleaming white again. I was unsure of the white at first but the ease in which it can be stripped off to wash changed my mind. There’s also a parasol which matches the travel system which I will be purchasing as summer is coming up and I want enough sun protection for bab as she absolutely hates the sun being in her eyes.

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In conclusion we love our Venicci and we are so glad the man in the shop recommended it to us as I possibly wouldn’t of picked it out myself. It’s a great price for everything that is included and is a dream to push. When I was ordering my pram my friends told me I’d be rid of it and onto my second by she was around 6 months as a lot of mums like to swap/change prams as they get bored but I still love mine as much as the first day that I pushed it. I hope Venicci extend their range into some compact strollers but keep a lot of the same quality features – I would definitely purchase one! Oh and next level car seats too as this one has been excellent.

So here’s to many more days pushing my Venicci with my happy, beautiful baby inside. If you’re thinking of purchasing a travel system – Venicci is the way to go.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

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From drab to fab – My office overhaul!

Hi all!

I have recently moved house and have been having the fun of doing all the rooms up to our taste. Having a three bedroom house with only one child meant that we had a spare box room. As I am a keen crafter/machinist I decided to take over the room as my craft room/office which will be useful when I start making baby clothing to sell! It’s good to have your own space and be able to leave work out and just close the door behind it.

The room was a mess when we first moved in. The walls had holes, there was a built in bed which was filled with rubbish, half a carpet and a badly boxed in staircase. This room initially became the dumping room whilst we sorted  the more important rooms out and so it got put on the back burner for a few weeks; however once we got the ball rolling with the room it came together pretty quickly.

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The first thing we had to do was remove the bed. The room is pretty tiny so it had previously been used as a child’s room with a bed built into the space. We removed the bed which came out in small chunks and unfortunately couldn’t be salvaged and given to somebody else like we’d hoped.

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When we removed the bed we found out that only half of the room had been carpeted and so we would have to think of something to do with the floor such as a new carpet, laminate or stripping back the floorboards. We also found a ton of old lego, toys, rubbish and general dirt. I got the lovely job of cleaning this up!

Once the bed was ripped out it left a huge hole in the wood that was boxing in the stairs. Adam decided he was going to rip the rest out and rebuild it so that it looked better and was bigger so I could use the area as a built in pattern cutting table/place for storage.

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Next, we decorated. I have an obsession with flamingos and knew I wanted flamingo wallpaper. I looked at a few different styles but settled on this amazing collaged flamingo blown vinyl paper by Albany from Wallpaper Direct. The Flamingos have all sorts of different peach, pink, grey and black tones running through the paper and it’s so gorgeous.

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I made the decision to just wallpaper one wall as it is such a busy pattern. The other walls we painted in a deep grey in a matte finish called Storm Cloud. I’m a huge fan of grey, I think it always looks really modern and always sets off other colours well. I have grey in almost every room in my house in various different shades to support the feature walls. I think grey looks nicer and Adam paints magnolia/white every day at work so wanted to steer away from those colours!

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The final really cosmetic decision to make was what to do with the floor. I was keen to sand and paint the floorboards but Adam wasn’t as keen on this idea as some of the floorboards were uneven/gappy, however they were fine after being sanded down and nailed in properly.

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Adam mixed the colour for the floor himself which is a very light grey and goes beautifully with the rest of the room. He made this from using white undercoat mixed with dark grey undercoat. Adam sanded down each floorboard, painted it and then sanded it again so it now has a super soft feeling to it and is lovely to walk on.

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I had most of the furniture for my office already but needed a few bits just to finish it off. I bought this chair from a massive warehouse charity shop called Daisy Chain which helps children and families affected by Autism. I paid £6 for this chair and at the time it was a pine colour. Adam found the paint in a bargain box in b & q for £6 and he upcycled the chair for me. He put around 3 coats on the chair and sanded it between coats and after. He finished the chair off by adding some felt pads to the bottom of the chair so that the floor won’t get marked.

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Another piece of furniture I bought from the charity shop was this vintage tea tray. I bought it for two reasons- one being that it’s beautiful, and one being that moveable storage is a great thing to have in such a small room. I’m using it to stack all my storage boxes and it’s working out great as I can have it right up against my desk, then put it back against the wall when I need space.InstagramCapture_f9a457af-a4dd-4cdb-947b-f1cfe2372325

These are my storage boxes. I recovered them in leftover wallpaper so that they would go with the room. I decided to do this after not being able to find anything at all online that I liked. It also saved me money not having to buy new ones! I’ll pop a tutorial on how to do these at a later date.

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I added some bits for decor such as this amazing flamingo light bought for me by my brothers lovely GF Verity!

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And a frame wall with a mix of photos, prints, handmade items and a few plaques.

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And here it is with my furniture in! My desk is of course from IKEA and has been with me since we moved into the flat in 2012! It was pretty cheap and has always been used as my sewing table so has taken quite a battering with pins/machines etc but it’s still in great quality. My record stand was actually built by Adam from some leftover spindles and offcuts of wood which he assembled together and then painted. I’ve always loved it – not only because it’s a super handy bit of furniture which fits records perfectly, but because it’s one of the first things Adam ever did/made for me and it reminds me of our early days.

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So that’s my office transformation! I think it’s a pretty dramatic change and I absolutely adore it. I just need a few finishing touches such as the right lamp shade and some touching up on the skirting boards, but i’m practically there! It’s so nice having my own little room I can keep all my crafts in and have to my taste. When you’re a mum you sometimes feel like you lose a bit of your identity and so it’s great that I can make sure I keep a little piece of myself.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x