family · fashion · plus size · review

Taking A Walk On The Wild Side – Featuring Primark Green Leopard Skirt

Hi All!

I’ve never been a fan of leopard print. It’s never appealed to me at all and it’s always reminded me of people like Kat Slater and so I’ve just avoided it completely. This year I’ve seen leopard print creeping in and becoming more and more popular – there’s been a ton of different colours available and the print has been used in ways I’ve not really seen before. So, imagine my surprise when I walked into Primark a few weeks ago looking for something to wear for my nephews christening and fell in love with a leopard print skirt!! The skirt is part of the Stacey Solomon collection and is stunning. In fact, most of her collection is stunning.

Stacey Solomon x Primark green leopard

I picked the skirt up because I loved both the pleated style, the green colour and the scattered leopard print and spent the next half hour walking around the shop with it trying to decide if it was me or not. I decided to purchase it but made sure to leave the tags on and hung it up whilst I decided what I would wear with it.

As much as I intended to wear it to my nephews christening, I decided to give it a road test on a date night with Adam. We headed to Uno’s in Middlesbrough and at first I was going to go casual in a jumper but Adam came down the stairs looking all fancy and so I decided to dress up a little. I popped my new skirt on with a ribbed black eyelet opening and some suede loafers.

My hair is looking very blonde at the moment!

We had a lovely meal (well Adam did, I still can’t eat much) and just enjoyed spending a little bit of time together after a crazy few weeks.

I next wore my skirt for my nephews christening which is where I intended to wear my skirt in the first place. As it was a special occasion I made the effort to put makeup on and went with a smokey gold eye to pick out the colours in the leopard.

This time I went for a bardot top with long flared sleeves and a pair of sock boots with a block heel. It was a comfy choice but I still felt quite smart. Not as smart as my mum though, how gorgeous did she look?!

Some more snaps of the day! With two of my favourite men, first with Adam and secondly with one of my brothers and the father of my nephew who’s christening it was!

I felt super confident all day. All my cousins are absolutely beautiful and so sometimes I feel a bit intimidated standing next to them because they always look so glamorous and then there’s me with no makeup and a mum bun – however I felt just as beautiful as them.

After the christening we headed back to our cousins house and hung out before we went out for some dinner. When we went to head back out it was absolutely freezing so Adam offered to borrow me his coat. Big mistake! Huge! It’s never fit me before so I’ve never tried it on and honestly camel isn’t a colour I would of chosen for myself but I love it! Adam has kindly told me we can share, so I’ll definitely be wearing it again! I felt like it actually really went with my outfit and finished it off nicely.

I’ve definitely been taking more risks and been quite out of my comfort zone with the outfits I’ve been choosing lately but I’ve loved trying new things. Who knows what I will try next?!

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

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fashion · plus size · review

Getting back on track – Featuring Topsy Curvy Khaki Sports Stripe Tracksuit

Hi Everybody!

So as you know I’m a huge fan of independent brands and so I was so pleased to hear that my favourite girls over at Topsy Curvy had returned to being an independent again!

With them returning to their own website they put up a code for 10% off your first order and so I decided I would make use of it. The code is HELLO10. Being newly post op my immediate thought was to buy something comfy, to lounge around in but also something I could wear whilst doing the school run as Eleanor has just started nursery. I eventually decided on a tracksuit but couldn’t decide between the black and the khaki. After consulting my lovely followers on Instagram I settled on the Khaki Sports Stripe Tracksuit. I placed my order, got the discount and eagerly awaited my new tracksuit arriving.

The tracksuit arrived quicker than anticipated – perfectly in time for Eleanor’s birthday outing to the cinema. We planned to have a walk around the shops in town after and so I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to wear my new tracksuit as it’s comfy, cosy and practical. I ordered the 22/24 and found it true to size, if not a bit generous – depending on how you would want to wear it. I liked to wear mine fitted but still found that I had a bit of wiggle room.

 

Despite it being quite a thin material it was surprisingly warm and I didn’t actually wear the jacket I took out with me. I also found it really comfy just to sit in because the waistband is elasticated and so it doesn’t dig in when you sit down. I wore the tracksuit all day and then till I went to bed that night and I didn’t want to take it off (I soon put it back on the morning after though!)

I’m definitely glad I went with the khaki. I feel like it’s a bit different from the safe black I would usually choose and it really suits my current hair colour too. I’ve since worn this tracksuit a few times and have loved wearing it every time. It’s just so easy to throw on and it’s practical but still looks quite smart. I think as the colder days are coming I may invest in another Topsy tracksuit because I’m definitely going to get my moneys worth out of them! I have to say, I was a bit uncertain when I bought this tracksuit thinking it wouldn’t suit me because of my shape. I’ve never worn a full tracksuit before and tend to avoid things that are high necked and generally prefer things which a button/zip front but I felt surprisingly good in this. I pushed what is my comfort zone and ended up with something that I actually love. I’m definitely going to try more things that I wouldn’t usually wear because it seems that sometimes a gamble can pay off. I think as a plus sized woman I have really stuck to “safe” clothes and tried to dress for my “body type” but I’m actually sick of wearing the same things. I’m ready to take more chances with my wardrobe and try new things.

 

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

 

Community · parenting · personal

Making friends as mummy.

Hi all.

I’m not sure if it’s the same for everybody, but when I found out I was pregnant I had a lot of expectations and scenarios playing in my head which I thought would happen. I imagined being inundated with people wanting to spend time with me and the baby, I imagined going for coffees with groups of “yummy mummy’s” and our wee ones and I imagined weekly play-dates.

Honestly? It hasn’t quite worked out as I expected.

Starting from announcing my pregnancy, it almost felt like my friends dropped like flies. I stopped getting invited out to places, people stopped coming round and I started to feel so lonely. I ended up with SPD so was pretty trapped in the house and isolated.

In reality, it’s nobodies fault. People don’t want to feel like they’re imposing and as life moves on, people tend to drift apart.

For the first few months of Eleanors life I was too scared to really mix with other mums and tended to avoid playgroups as when I had tried, everybody seemed to know each other and I felt like a complete outsider. I was determined to make friends, but needed to do it on my terms.

Last year I started a crafts club within the church I now attend and I met a lovely lady named Paula who has fast become a great friend of mine. I had wanted to set up my own baby group as a way to get Eleanor to mix with other kids whilst doing something I love (music, dancing and crafts) and when I spoke to Paula she was also wanting to set up a similar group and so we put our heads together and Wriggle & Rhyme was born. We’ve been going for a few months now and seem to be going from strength to strength. I think my favourite part of it is helping people who are first timers feel comfortable enough to join in with our conversation and build friendships. This is one way I’ve found friends, but there are many other ways you can find new friends too, such as –

  • Join an online group. I was added into the “Mama Mates” group and honestly haven’t looked back. These women have become my village and I know I can always get help. I started somebody just reading posts but soon became engaging online and adding people. I then answered a post asking for volunteers and found myself invited to different events. When I put myself out there and actually accepted an invite, I found myself connecting with a wonderful, down to earth bunch of women whom I never thought I would of met. Our friendships then grew from me actually putting myself out there and suggesting meet ups and since then there’s been parties, ice cream dates, hang outs and just companionship. I know that at any moment I can pop into my group chat and one of my pals will be there to help me and that’s such an amazing thing.
  • Try a new hobby. I’ve made friends from going to Aqua Zumba/swimming and after a while of seeing the same faces we have just naturally started chatting. I’m also starting a new adults crafts club to bring people together.
  • Host/go to a playdate. I’ve hosted a playdate where I invited people I’ve met on parenting groups to my home and we’ve had a great time despite never meeting before. I just looked to invite children of a similar age to my little girl and Eleanor has always had a great time.
  • Don’t be afraid to say hi. You never know where a simple hello will take you.
  • Let your children make the introductions. If your children are playing together, try to strike up a conversation. I find it easy to ask about their child or to introduce my child to theirs.
  • Put yourself out there. I know it’s scary, I know it’s nerve racking but you don’t know where a simple hello will lead! A silly comment such as “I fancy a dinner” might lead to arranging a meet up and if you’re as lucky as me, you could end up finding a great group of friends from it.

Making friends is hard. There’s no real “etiquette” and as a whole, us British are painfully awkward. However if this is how you feel, then you’re probably not the only one who feels like this! I always make a real effort with new people who come to my groups to help them feel comfortable and a lot of them say “I don’t go to many groups because I’m scared and I feel like my child misses out” so generally, most people are just as scared as you are. Sit next to a stranger, have a tea together and see where the conversation takes you.

My last year has been enhanced by the wonderful women I’ve met both as friends and through my baby group who have grown to also be good friends. I bit the bullet and put myself out there despite being terrified and for me it has payed off massively.

I’m always looking for more friends so if you’re in the Teesside area and want to come to our events – get in touch!

Hannah xx

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