family · fashion · parenting · review

Once Upon A Christmas @ Durham Gala Theatre

Hi All!

With the Christmas season approaching I have actively been looking for festive events to take Eleanor along to. I’m such a huge fan of the whole Christmas season and thoroughly believe that doing fun festive things together in the run up is just as much fun as, if not more fun than the actual day itself. With that in mind my mum booked a few shows for us to go see over Christmas period and I kept my eye open for any other shows that popped up.

One of the shows we had booked up was Snow White at The Gala Theatre in Durham. We chose this because it’s one of Eleanor’s favourite films and I knew she would love it. A few weeks later a blogger opportunity came up for both Snow White but also an under 5’s interactive Christmas show called Once Upon A Christmas. With us already having tickets to Snow White for January, I decided to request tickets for the under 5’s show. I asked for four tickets so we could bring our friends Tina and Albie along as Tina has also been looking for things to do in the lead up to Christmas.

 

So looking back at my outfit choice it probably wasn’t the most practical but I didn’t think I would be sitting on the floor in the front row!

Outfit details –

Mesh top – New Look

Longline Vest – Primark

Cord mini skirt – ASDA

Tights – New Look

Boots – Matalan (not pictured)

I plaited my hair when still wet the night before and brushed it out into soft waves, then I went for a simple make up look using my new HUDA beauty liquid lip from my Glossybox.

We made the drive over to Durham (and spotted llamas on the way!!!) and parked in the Walkergate car park. This was super convenient as the lift brought us out literally across from the theatre and the parking charges aren’t bad at all. We picked up our tickets and headed up two floors to the studio to see the show. The show had just started as we entered (we got a little bit lost in the building) and so we quickly took up a space on the mat.

The story focuses on a mother and son. The mother has a list of things to get through before Christmas and so the son decides to “help” without her knowing. The was some great audience participation with some actions relating to wrapping presents and baking biscuits. We were on the present wrapping side of the room and my little girl picked up the actions super quick. In fact, she still knows all of the actions now.

The son then went on to read a book to highlight the spirit of Christmas. The book was about a woman who owned a toy shop which was failing and only had a few materials left to make toys. Very much alike the story “The Elves And The Shoemaker”, elves came and night time and made toys which sold – thus building the toy store back up to its former glory.

The kids both absolutely loved the show. They’re both a little reserved and don’t tend to join in with interactive things or even with baby groups but they both joined in and had huge smiles. Eleanor loved shouting out to answer the questions and waving at the characters as they came into the audience. It was nice that children were encouraged to go as close as they liked and it was a really relaxed atmosphere.

 

 

On our way our we had to stop for pictures of the Elf Village. It was beautifully decorated and even had a bridge! We loved all the lighting, the snowy areas and the toy shop windows.

Our final stop was on the landing. As an extra little touch there was a couple of child sized tables and chairs set up with festive sheets to colour in. Eleanor and Albie pulled up a chair and made themselves comfortable whilst they did some colouring in.

Thank you so much Durham Gala Theatre for having us. It was such a sweet show which both kids loved (and Eleanor still talks about) and we all thoroughly enjoyed attending. Me, mum and Eleanor will see you in January for Snow White!

Have you been to any shows/pantos? Or are you attending any? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading

Hannah x

 

**Tickets gifted for review purposes, however all opinions are my own**

 

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fashion · music · plus size · review

A night filled with a lorra lorra laughs.

Hi All!

In my post last week, I mentioned I had been in touch with Darlington Hippodrome and had chosen some shows to attend. Last week was the amazing The Full Monty and honestly I didn’t think it could be beaten for enjoyment factor. I was wrong. Fast forward a week and it was time to attend Cilla The Musical which I’ve been so excited to see. As a kid I grew up watching Cilla on my TV – no Saturday night was complete without shows like Blind Date or Surprise! Surprise! As I grew older I discovered that Cilla wasn’t just a warm hearted and down to earth TV Host, she was also an incredible singer. I later watched “Cilla” with Sheridan Smith and was shocked to learn of her humble beginnings in “Scottie Road” and her ties with The Beatles. When I saw Cilla The Musical on the press list I jumped at the chance to go and promptly invited my mum to join me as I know how much of a Cilla fan she is too!

The night came around quickly and soon it was the usual decision of what to wear. My shape has been changing recently and so my wardrobe is getting more and more limited. With the show being set in the 60’s I wanted to reflect the era and went with a checked mini skirt and a flared sleeve  blouse. I bought both items last year in the New Look January sales and I think they both came to around £8 – BARGAIN!

My makeup and hair I kept quite simple. I went for eyeliner only in a dramatic cat eye with a little colour on my lips and a sparkly highlighter. My hair I wore straight (something I rarely do) and down. I had planned to wear it in a slight beehive however my hair was too clean to cooperate and I didn’t particularly want to fill it with hairspray – I’d of only had to wash it again!

I decided to “borrow” Adams coat again as I felt like it went with the outfit, I popped on my new Matalan boots and I was ready to go!

We made the journey there full of excitement and chat about both the show and the actual building. Darlington Hippodrome has recently been renovated and mum was eager to see the changes.

We parked over the road and walked over to the Hippodrome whilst taking in the beauty of the building. Mum was shocked and amazed by the renovations inside and we took a few moments to explore the downstairs before popping up to meet Julian for our tickets.

As well as a similar programme as last time, this time we were provided with a CD with a few songs on from the show. I gave this to my mam to play in her car and honestly I’m sat here wondering how many hundreds of times she’s played it so far.

We slowly made our way to find our seats whilst mum told me about how Darlington Hippodrome used to be and mentioned shows she’d been to previously.

  

Seats found we marvelled at how cool the stage curtain was and picked out our favourite bands whilst we waited in anticipation for the show to start.

The first act started with a bang and honestly the show didn’t lose momentum at any time. Kara Lily Hayworth was just the most incredible Cilla. She had the accent, the voice, the mannerisms. She put on such a brilliant show and we were hooked from the first scene “speaking to the paparazzi” in front of the curtain. The show progressed with some fantastic live music from all the bands, beautiful perfomances from Kara as Cilla and really hilarious scenes. Neil MacDonald as John White was just hilarious and every scene with him was an absolute cracker. I have to mention Andrew Lancel who I recognised straight away as Frank from Corrie. He played Brian Epstein and he really portrayed him so well. He made me laugh, smile but most of all he made my heart ache as he showed Brians closeted homosexuality.

The interval quickly came around and we went for a look around the theatre. I was surprised to see that there was three tiers of seating and fell in love with the Edwardian splendour of the first floor boxes.

We went and got our interval drinks and sat in a quiet spot at the top of the stairs taking in the beauty of the stained glass windows and all the original features.

 

We returned to our seats for the second half and we were gripped all the way till the end. The show is so clever in its use of live music, moving stages and simple scenery to transition scenes and the whole show just flowed effortlessly. Before we knew it, huge letters were coming down from the ceiling to spell out CILLA and everybody was on stage for a finale mashup. We were dancing and clapping along and we were so pleased to see so many other people just dancing and having fun because thats what theatre is about – the enjoyment. At one point I looked to my right and there was an older lady dancing in the aisles and it made me smile even more. The show ended and we were all on our feet for a standing ovation. The atmosphere in the room was electric and I could of honestly stayed for hours more just listening to the live music. The music just blew me away, I knew that there was going to be a lot of talent on the stage but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how much there was!

As we were leaving I spotted the lady dancing in the aisle. I went over to her and told her she was amazing and was my new favourite person. She kissed me on both cheeks and told me it was her 70th birthday. Rose, where ever you may be I hope you had the most fantastic birthday – it looked like you were having a blast!

We drove home on a high, listening to the Cilla CD which took away from the fact it was absolutely bouncing down with rain. I made my way to bed and must of sang myself to sleep with Cilla songs. Even a week later they’re still stuck in my head!

Thank you again Darlington Hippodrome for having me. Cilla was just incredible and I feel so lucky to be one of the people who has been to see such a wonderful show.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

Uncategorized

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

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

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

 

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

fashion · food · personal · review

Hope & Union. FabFatMama Reviews!

Hi All!

So I feel like since I’ve been hanging out with my gorgeous new gal pals I’ve been out loads. Don’t get me wrong, I still used to go out but not for nearly as interesting places as I’ve been going recently!

One of these new places I’ve been to is Hope & Union in Stockton and is somewhere I’ve been eyeing up for quite a while ever since I found them on Instagram. They hold gin nights which is how I originally came to follow them and they also have live music. Once I showed my partner that they did yorkshire pudding wraps we vowed that one Sunday, we would go.

This has not happened.

Fast forward a few weeks/months and my friend Charlotte was planning a gig in another local establishment, a cocktail bar called The Nuthatch and me and Adam decided to meet up with the rest of the “squad” and our significant others. My mum kindly offered to have Eleanor for the night and as she came quite early we thought we would make the most of if and grab a bite to eat out before the gig. Knowing that the Hope & Union was nearby we finally had an excuse to pop in and decided that’s where we would head.

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Now, some of you who have followed me for a long time will know I used to be a huge wig enthusiast. In fact, at one point I had over 70 wigs in my collection as I used to write a separate wig reviewing blog. I sold off/gave away most of my wigs after having Eleanor as I didn’t have the space to keep them and they weren’t very practical with a new-born. I did however keep a handful of my favourite wigs for special occasions and on a whim I decided to pull my all time favourite out of retirement for a night out. This was mostly because I fancied changing my look up a bit but also partly because I’d been swimming earlier in the day and my hair just was not playing ball.

Outfit wise I slipped on a velvet dress I got for Christmas which, didn’t fit me quite how I wanted it to anymore (it’s gotten too big as I’ve lost weight) and teamed it with my trusty flat-forms and my devore kimono.

When we got to Hope & Union I had to laugh – it was literally a stones throw from The Nuthatch. We were worrying it would take us a while to find them both or to walk from one to the other but unless they were physically touching – they couldn’t be closer.

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We walked inside and I immediately loved the atmosphere and the decor. I’m massively into the industrial/DIY look which is quite a key design feature in the venue. There’s handmade tables with pipes and wood, scaffolding board bar shelves, an amazing see-through barrel store/”cellar” and cages containing beers/items to buy. This is mixed with old Chesterfield sofas, low tables built up from crates and booth seating. I was impressed.

Although I was quite impressed at the decor, what impressed me more was the HUGE selection of gins for sale. I couldn’t choose one and so asked the bar man for something citrus based and he recommended Williams Seville Orange with classic tonic and lemon/lime garnish. I accepted and was so glad I went with his suggestion as this was so delicious. The orange bursts through and is truly a beautiful drink.

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We found a table and started looking at the menu. The menu is really small and there’s also some daily specials. We were quite impressed to see that the meat comes from a butchers literally 5 minutes walk away from the bar and is a butcher we’ve actually used ourselves who sells really quality meats. I thought about getting some of the small plates which reminded me almost of a british style tapas with things like pork pie and mushy peas, black pudding bon bons and runny in the middle scotch eggs but I ultimately decided on the Dirty Dawg. The Dirty Dawg (as pictured above) is a Cumberland sausage wrapped in bacon and brushed with mustard and smothered in cheese on top of butter rolled cornbread and served with rustic skin on fries and homemade slaw.

I loved this dish. I couldn’t finish it all and had a little help from Adam but it was amazing. The cornbread completely melted in your mouth and the quality of the meat was so obvious. I’m not really one for chips but these steak cut skin on chips were delicious and cooked quite honestly to perfection. A real stand out part of the meal though had to be the slaw. It was just a great, homemade delicious slaw and it cut through the richness of the cheese so well.

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As much as I enjoyed mine, Adam enjoyed his even more. He went for the beer and beef burger which was topped with bacon jam and he also upgraded his chips to loaded chips which meant they were topped with cheese and thick chunks of ham. I tasted his and instantly regretted not upgrading mine.

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Adam washed his down with this grapefruit beer which is about 2. something percent and was recommended as a great beer for those who are driving. Adam thought it was really tasty, almost like a fruity shandy. In fact, he liked it so much that when we went to the next venue he nipped back in for another one and drank it outside.

We both really enjoyed our time in the Hope & Union. The food and drinks were all delicious and it was nice to be in somewhere with my kind of music playing (yes, they even play The Smiths!!!!!). I like to support independent local businesses and I can most definitely see me heading back here for yorkshire pudding wraps, British tapas and copious amounts of gin!

Hannah x