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

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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

family · fashion · food · plus size · review

Mothers Day Bottomless Brunch @ Hope & Union

Hi All!

I’ve never really been one for going out on Mothers Day as I find that it is generally over priced and too busy and so I tend to do something with our mums before/after Mothers Day or cook a meal at home. This year however we decided to change it up and actually went out just the three of us. We had planned to do something at home but when one of my favourite independent pubs announced a Mothers Day bottomless brunch then how could I resist?

There was two options for the brunch. You could go non-alcoholic for £15 or you could include bottomless cocktails for £30. We decided to go non-alcoholic as we had plans for the rest of the day. I messaged to ask if it was okay to bring a 2 year old and I was assured it would be fine to bring her and they would provide a highchair and that she would be free of charge. We booked up and got excited.

The day came around and I got ready to head out. I put on this dress from New Look Curve which I managed to grab in the sale for about £9! I wore it with nude flatform sandals from ASOS and my handbag from Primark.

We drove over to Hope & Union for the first sitting starting at 12pm. We took our seats and started to look at the menu. This is where our confusion started. We were expecting to be able to order as much as you like and that it would be small versions. We were wrong.

Whilst we viewed the menu we ordered a coffee each and Eleanor drank milk.

We both ordered the Union Breakfast with the thought that we’d also try the H&U Eggs Florentine.

And then started the waiting game. We waited for an hour for food which was ridiculous considering there was only four tables in there – it was by no means busy! Eleanor was getting super bored and she was hungry. We then asked if we could order the H&U Eggs Florentine too as we were concerned our 90 minutes time slot wasn’t that far from ending and we were told we had already ordered. We said that we thought it was bottomless but were told this only applies to the drinks.

We were a little annoyed at this. It wasn’t super clear on the online posts and as much as we were fine just having one meal we felt that £15 for a cooked breakfast with coffee and orange juice was really steep. The food quality at Hope & Union IS amazing but £15 was definitely too expensive for what we got.

They agreed to bring us a H&U Eggs Florentine to share which actually came before the meal we had ordered and we were happy for it to come as we were all quite hungry by this point. The dish was delicious and they put a twist on it by serving them in puff pastry cups.

Our actual meals came and we thought they were a little on the small side for the price paid. They were really delicious and again the quality was fantastic but they were small (to us) and they had taken an hour.

 

Eleanor was happy enough with a sausage and some toasted brioche.

We finished our meals and after over an hour and a half we were ready to leave. Eleanor had 2 sausages, a glass of milk and toast off my plate and the person serving tried to charge us £5 for her meal. I was a bit taken back! I explained that we had been told we wouldn’t need to pay for her and so the bill came to £30.

Now I don’t think £30 for two meals is unfair by any means, however I do think that it wasn’t worth it. To wait for an hour for food when there’s only four tables in, to be promised on their online posts “you will not be left hungry” and to then be served two small breakfasts and a couple of coffees I just felt like it wasn’t great value for money. I’ve always had a great experience in Hope & Union and you can’t argue about the quality of their food as it is fantastic and this is what attracted us to attend in the first place – however on this occasion we felt a little frustrated. Having said that, we’ll still be back in the future as we like to support smaller local businesses and their food is fantastic. We love their Yorkshire pudding wraps and they have a grapefruit beer which Adam is obsessed with. I’ve always found their staff welcoming and knowledgeable when I’ve asked for gin recommendations which is great for me as I like to try as many new ones as possible.

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

family · fashion · parenting · review · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 1.

Hi All!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

fashion · music · plus size

Be Quiet – Dress Loud! Teesside music meets fat fashion.

Hi all!

When I was a lot younger I was a massive fan of the local teesside music scene and enjoyed going out to gigs and shows when possible. For me it died down a lot and I stopped going to as many local shows as bands I followed tended to settle down, move away or just fizzle out.

One band I’ve followed now since my late teen years is Teesside’s finest funky electro synth tribe – Be Quiet! Shout Loud. I’ve always enjoyed them for their incredibly catchy, disco influenced toe tappers and I’ve made a firm friendship with their bassist who is lovingly known as “Big Dave”.

BQSL have been on a break lately whilst they broke in new Guitarist Jamie Donnelly. This hasn’t been the only lineup change however as keyboardist Chris has now upgraded to the keytar, which I thought was pretty cool when I saw them live. After a 7 month hiatus, I heard that the newly structured band were coming back to support another local band at their final show! I figured it would not be a show to miss and made sure I was going to be free.

I asked my friend Claire to come along with me as she is massively into the local music scene and is even a fantastic artist herself! She actually sang at Eleanor’s Christening as she is a vintage style singer and she’s just amazing. Claire came to mine for a few pre-drinks (ended up drinking gin in the car whilst Adam dropped us off as we’re so classy) and I’m so glad I did as I needed a little bit of liquid confidence with my outfit!

As ever, I tried numerous outfits on and eventually decided to go for something a bit more “edgy” as I was going to a gig.

I ended up in a mesh top from Boohoo (which actually comes with a dress), and a skirt from New Look which I bought at Christmas  – sadly sold out now.

The bra is from a two pack I bought online at Simply Be and I really liked how the lace looked against the mesh. It gave it a little “something” rather than being just plain.

On my feet I wore these super comfy flatforms I found on ASOS. I thought I best boost my height so I could see better at the gig! I’m not that great at wearing heels, or most shoes in general for long periods of time but these are so comfy I actually managed to stand in them all night with only a few rests between bands in the bar.

We arrived at The Georgian Theatre which has recently been renovated and I was majorly impressed with the new glass frontage and the general decor in the bar. It has a really cool industrial look and has long tables with benches as well as some smaller intimate tables. The first band Serinette were already partway through their set when we arrived and I wish we’d of gotten there sooner as I really enjoyed them.

Next up was the band I’d gone to see, BQSL. I made sure I was right up front as frontman Jake Radio always puts on a show with his endless dance moves.

BQSL came onto the stage to a great reception from the audience and began their set which was a mix of some of their old classics, new songs and even a pretty amazing cover of “You Spin Me Right Round” which was unexpected but well welcomed.

Also keen to put on a good show was new guitarist Jamie who was full of energy and really looked like he was having a great time.

One thing I really enjoyed with the retro synth notes coming from Chris on the “Keytar”. I’ve never actually seen one in person and thought it was actually really interesting and it gave a different dynamic than a keyboard. I was enjoying seeing all the band dancing and actually enjoying making music, and to me BQSL have always been a band I’ve enjoyed visually.

He’s Dave, a man after my own heart on bass. In case you didn’t know I actually played bass for most of my teenage years and loved it. Sadly that fizzled out and I never really got the chance to play when I started working etc. I have been thinking lately how much I would love to be in a band making music again but I can’t see that happening anytime soon with the other things I have going on in my life!

  

The show seemed to be over in five minutes as every song flowed effortlessly with a bit of chat and banter from Jake in between. Me and Claire took it in turns to hit the bar and soon we were merry on cherry rum and tiki rum which we didn’t realise was 70% proof – oops!

We of course took some time out between bands to take some selfies!

We bobbed in and out for the last band The Purnells and also spent some time in the bar before calling it a night after all the acts. We both thoroughly enjoyed the evening but knowing I was on mum duty the next day I didn’t want to make it too late of a night – too sensible for my own good!

I really enjoyed getting out and hearing some live music. I really want to get out into the Teesside music scene more often as there’s some serious talent around here and shows seem to be picking up and there is an actual scene again which if I’m honest, seemed to lag for a few years. My friend Claire always has her ear to the ground about great shows and so I have no doubt that we will be heading out again soon…so I best get finding something to wear!

BQSL are continuing their comeback with a gig at Scarborough Tattoo Show  so make sure to check them out if you’re heading up there, although they’re also working on something secret so keep an eye out on their Facebook.

Hannah x