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 · 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

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

Community · fashion · plus size · travel

A return to The Curve Fashion Festival.

** This post is in collaboration with The Curve Fashion Festival **

Hi All!

I’m so excited to announce that I’m going to The Curve Fashion Festival! Really didn’t think I was going to make it this year but I’ve decided last minute to book a train and travel all the way to Liverpool to attend. I can’t wait to see all the brands including my friends at Topsy Curvy and to watch this years catwalks. This year Debenhams will be talking about all things lingerie which I am super excited about as I just love lingerie. As a plus size woman I’ve found it quite hard to find lingerie in the past but the market is expanding and I’ll be interested to see what the catwalk will bring. With my changing shape I’ll definitely need some great lingerie so I’ll be paying attention to both the catwalk and what the lingerie stalls have to offer.

Last year Debenhams talked about all things beauty . I didn’t attend last year which I was really disappointed about however I do love Debenhams beauty and regularly shop there in my home town of Middlesbrough as it has the best selection of different make-up brands. I’m also signed up to their beauty club which is amazing. Not only do you accrue points for every purchase, they also do regular freebies from different counters, you get birthday bonuses such as a free Benefit brow wax and a facial from Elizabeth Arden. Best part is – membership is free!

Like I said, I didn’t think I would be attending this year but when tickets became available I decided at last minute to attend. I’ve not been for a few years and every year I get quite gutted that I didn’t end up going. I think the worry of travelling such a distance alone has always been the key factor in me not going but this year I’ve decided to put my big girl pants on and just go.

I first went to TCFF in 2015 when I was quite heavily pregnant – 35 weeks in fact! SPD had set in and I was actually in a wheelchair by this point. Adam decided to take me to cheer me up as I was struggling at the end of my pregnancy and he drove us to Manchester where it was based that year. I’m so glad that we made the effort to go because it was just incredible. There’s nothing like being in a room with not only other plus sized people but with a load of brands who want to dress us. Where I live there’s literally one plus size shop you can physically go in and so it is quite surreal to go into a room which is literally full to the brim of beautiful fashion that is all available to you.

On top of all the stunning clothes on offer, TCFF is the ultimate place to meet up with friends that you may only talk to online, with other bloggers and where you can actually meet brands face to face. As much as I love the big brands, there’s nothing quite like meeting the small independent brands and meeting the people behind the clothes. A big example of this is Topsy Curvy. I’ve been friends with them for a few years now and I can’t wait to see them again at TCFF. I’m a part of their community group and a very active member. I’ve made friends in the group who I will be meeting up with at TCFF and I really just can’t wait.

I’ll be travelling down on the train. Can’t say I’m looking forwards to the three hour journey there and back, but it will be well worth it to see the brands, the people, the clothes and of course the goodie bag!

No doubt I’ll be posting on here once I’ve returned, so keep your eyes peeled for my post. I’ll try my best to take lots of pictures!

Are you going to The Curve Fashion Festival? Let me know! I’d love to meet up with as many people as possible.

Hannah x

personal

Why I’ve had bariatric surgery.

Hi everybody!

The past few months has been a whirlwind for me. We’ve bought a house, totally redecorated the house and moved into our new house. More importantly, I’ve actually undergone bariatric surgery. This is a decision that I didn’t make lightly, and a process that I’ve gone through since October 2016. Now, as a plus sized woman who is proud to be plus sized and actually identifies as “fat” this has been tough for me. I don’t want people to think that this has anything to do with how I look or my size because it isn’t. I love how I look and I believe that fat bodies can be healthy but unfortunately mine wasn’t. I was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic and also diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea and I knew something had to change otherwise I wouldn’t live as long as other people. Me and Adam also want to have another child and I just couldn’t go through another plus size pregnancy. Some people breeze through but for me it was physically and mentally (which was worse) exhausting. I just couldn’t do it again. I made a choice for my own health and to benefit my family and I hope it will be worth it.

This is my journey.

My journey started in October 2016. During a routine appointment with my diabetic nurse she mentioned bariatric surgery but I told her I wasn’t interested. She went on to say I could do weight management with the GP whilst I waited for my hospital referral and I could make a choice later. My hospital referral was going to take around 6 months and even then I wouldn’t have to make a decision straight away.

(Me in October 2016)

I did the weight management with the GP which included seeing a dietician, a psychologist and the diabetic nurse. The dietician gave me a short term goal to try and eat breakfast because one of my issues was I didn’t eat till early afternoon then I’d have 2 large meals or pick all day at junk. The psychologist appointment was really positive and she thought I was in the right frame of mind for the process and it was really positive. All through the process every member of staff has been kind, supportive and really friendly. A massive difference to when I was pregnant. I started losing weight and lost just over a stone and then started slimming world in around march just before my hospital appointment.

(Around March 2017)

My first appointment at the hospital was the surgery seminar where we would learn about our options and which surgerys were available. There was three main ones, Bypass, mini bypass and sleeve. I liked the look of the mini as it was less complications and I was coming around to the idea of surgery as got to see success stories and speak to somebody who had had it done. I also then joined a facebook group for people having surgery/had surgery at our local hospital. They then did my height and weight and calculated how much I would have to lose to qualify for surgery. You have to lose 10% of your excess weight. I was 139KG and I had to lose 7KG by the time I saw the surgeon.

Next up was a whirlwind of appointments. I had to see another psychologist who was amazing and he referred me for counselling and wanted to see my again. On the second visit he okayed me for surgery. I had to be okayed by several departments before I could join the waiting list. My next visit was to the diabetic doctor who signed me off straight away and then I had to wait for the sleep clinic and the surgeon. Unfortunately my first home sleep test (a box on your wrist and probe on your finger) failed and I had to re-do it with a different box which made the process longer.

Whilst I was waiting for my appointment with the surgeon we went on our first family holiday abroad. We went to Ibiza at the end of September 2017 and I was terrified. I thought I wouldn’t fit on the plane, that the seat belt wouldn’t go around me and that everybody would be staring at me. I worried for nothing! My seat belt fit going there and it fit in the first seat I sat in going back however the two people sat next to Adam didn’t turn up for their flight and so I moved to sit next to him as we had booked aisle seats each not actually together. When I moved into my new seat the seat belt didn’t fit (despite fitting in the one I was sat in 30 seconds earlier) so i quickly rang the buzzer and got an extension. The stewardess was discreet and it slipped on easy. I never noticed anybody staring at me on holiday, in fact there was quite a few plus size mums so I wasn’t the only one. It felt nice! We even made friends with a lovely family and it was just an amazing holiday.

(November 2017)

We got back to reality and I psyched myself up for my appointment with the surgeon. I had lost the weight required (despite being all inclusive) and was nervous but excited. After meeting with the surgeon we agreed that the mini bypass was my best option and after my sleep appointment I would be put onto the list and I would then have all the pre operative appointments.

(December 2017)

My next appointment was the liver reducing diet. Before the operation you need to do a special diet for 1-2 weeks with the aim to reduce the size of your liver which will make the surgery easier as it is done keyhole. It was quite a basic diet and you followed allowed foods from a list. This was in December 2017.

 

(January 2018)

January 2018 came around and I finally got my appointment at the sleep clinic. They agreed to give me a new machine for my sleep apnea as I didn’t get on well with the last one and I got a new mask too. This machine massively changed my life and for the first time in about 5/6 years I finally felt rested. At the end of January I had my endoscopy appointment. An endoscopy is when they put a camera down into your stomach to look at it and they also took a biopsy of my stomach. They do this because they staple and seal your stomach creating a new tiny stomach but they leave the rest of the stomach in there too as you still need the gastric juice.
Image result for mini gastric bypass diagram

Not gonna lie, endoscopy’s are disgusting and I never want another one. I did it without sedation and just listened to the surgeon and nurses but it was brutal.

I was then told by my surgeon to expect a surgery date in March/April. However this didn’t happen. In fact I didn’t get a date until October due to the hospital being super busy over winter and a miscommunication between the sleep team and the bariatric surgeons administrators. The sleep team sent them a letter okaying me for surgery and they didn’t receive it, until I rang up querying my lack of date and they found the letter. I was finally put on the list properly in June 2018 and promised a date by around September.

With this in mind me and Adam decided to cancel our family holiday in September. We were supposed to be going with loads of family but didn’t want to pay it off for me to not go so we cut our losses and cancelled. We did however go ahead with the purchase of a house which we finally completed on in August and moved into at the end of August. We were keen to get the house ready to move into and not have to do any work later and so we worked flat out for two weeks to achieve this.

(August 2018)

We moved in and I finally got my letters for my pre op and operation. I knew the date though because I had been ringing every few weeks and I was told over the phone. I had my pre-op on September 19th which entails blood test, weight, ECG, MRSA swabs and an appointment about anaesthetic which lasts around 2 hours. The day after I started my liver reducing diet for two weeks.

 

 

These are a few of the meals I ate on my pre-op diet. I ate a lot of handmade lean mince burgers, meatballs, quorn chicken stirfrys with courgettie spaghetti, stuffed peppers/mushrooms and turnip chips. It actually wasn’t bad at all and I was really full the whole two weeks.

(September 2018)

Operation day rolled around. The day before was awful and I couldn’t stop crying or writing mental “if I don’t make it” letters in my head. Eleanor slept at Adams mums the night before as I had to be there for 7:15 and as soon as she left I sobbed. I cried my eyes out actually. I was an emotional wreck the night before my op, me and Adam went to bed early, had a long talk and just hugged each other. I woke up early on operation day and put the last bits in my bag, then Adam drove me to hospital and dropped me off. I cried all the way to the surgical ward and waited for it to open. It opened at 7:!5 and I went straight onto the ward had bloods, urine samples, was weighed (I was 120KG), put my compression stockings on and got gowned up. I had to speak to the surgeon, nurses, anaesthesiologist and sign forms to allow them to give me blood, fully open me, do an alternative surgery and accept that theres a tiny mortality rate. Pretty terrifying really!

Then came the time to go down to theatre. I walked there in my gown, slippers and dressing gown and the laid me on a table propped up with a squishy mat under my feet. I laid there crying and trying to calm down whilst talking to the people working away and they quickly put my cannula in. Last time I knew it was 9:15 and I slipped into sleep quite easy.

Next thing I knew it was 11:25 and they were waking me telling me the operation was a success. I stayed in recovery until 4:30 because despite them booking a bed for me weeks ago, there wasn’t any available. I felt immediately sick and in slight pain so they kept me topped up with anti sickness and some pain relief and I was restricted to 30ml of water per hour. I couldn’t leave the trolley, couldn’t really roll on my side and I didn’t have any of my belongings. I just had to sit and wait.

Finally got back to the ward after 4:30 and was placed in my own side room. Managed to transfer beds myself without help and started to feel a bit better. I was hooked up to two drips and I finally got my phone and glasses back so I contacted my family and let them know I’m okay. Adam came to visit me and I was allowed some time off the drip so Adam could take me for some fresh air and for a bit of a break from the room.

Adam helped me put some fresh pj’s on and finally left. I was managing to walk myself to the toilet (with drip) and generally feeling 1000 times better than I expected. I settled down with some wordsearches and my phone and managed to sleep.

The second day I had no pain relief and only anti sickness on the morning and I was allowed to drink more fluids. The morning was boring, just lots of visits for blood sugars, blood pressure, IV changes and my stupid IV machine buzzing like 5 times an hour. The physio came and was shocked I was up and walking and said I didn’t need them, but I managed to persuade them to go for a walk with me out of the ward and back so I could stretch my legs. By the time afternoon came my beautiful friend Hollie came to visit me like a breath of fresh air. She made me laugh and I was so grateful for her being there. Adam and his mum also came to see me and once again Adam took me out in a wheelchair around the hospital. Adam left and I bought a TV package (which was extortionate) as my phone signal wasn’t good enough to watch things on and I watched a few films. I managed another decent nights sleep and anticipated going home the next day.

Friday came around and I was finally allowed my cannula out. This felt amazing because I had two IV’s in and my hand was throbbing. Also the machine kept beeping and getting blocked and was generally a pain to drag to the toilet all the time. I also started on food again. For my first meal I had a tiny bit of toffee yoghurt which I managed well and I had some soup for lunch. I was so scared to eat but it wasn’t bad at all, but was really strange getting full off tiny amounts. Then I sat and waited to go home. I was told lunchtime but due to my meds not being prescribed on time they weren’t brought on the lunchtime round and so I had to wait till 6. Adam came to collect me and I was finally discharged after 6:30. I was packed up, ready and waiting at the door. Once my meds came I was out!

I was so happy to leave hospital. Being away from Eleanor for so long broke me a little bit. It just felt unnatural to be away from her and I cried missing her.

I went straight to Adams mums house where Eleanor was staying and was so glad to see her. Poor Adam hadn’t seen her too as he had been coming to the hospital and she had been sleeping at his mums. She was so sweet with me, wanted to inspect my tummy and kept asking if I was okay and if the doctor had made me better.

Me and Adam left again and Eleanor stayed there as she was going to Disney on Ice the next day with Adams gran and sister and she came home to us after.

Waking up with Eleanor Sunday morning was amazing. I had missed her so much!! She actually went back out that night to stay with my cousin Carley till Tuesday because we had arranged it when I thought I was going to be more poorly. I used those few days to rest and relax and get into a routine of eating little and often.

Since then I’ve been going from strength to strength. I’ve got back into a bit of a routine, and I’ve been on days out but I’m trying not to do too much and I’ve avoided heavy lifting. I’ve already noticed small changes which is weird. As much as I haven’t done it to change my body, I am excited about some aspects like fitting into Primark clothes….and cheaper clothes in general. Plus sized clothes are a fortune!!

(Outfit from Primark)

(Tracksuit from Topsy Curvy)

(Dress is very old from ASOS!)

I just wanted to give a massive thank you to our amazing families who have just been amazing. My mum for being my supporter, Adams mum, sister and gran for looking after Eleanor so well and my cousin Carley and her boyfriend Jamie for having Eleanor for a couple of nights (even if she did come home wanting a puppy). Thank you to my friends. Tina, Emma, Katie, Beki and everybody else who I’ve spoken to daily and who has been a huge support system for me. Huge thank you to my followers and friends on instagram who kept me occupied with questions, instagram lives and who reached out with supportive comments and messages. They meant the world to me and I was genuinely overwhelmed with the response. The amount of love and support was unreal and I feel like it made the hospital stay that little bit easier.

Thank you to Eleanor for being my inspiration, for looking after me and asking me if I’m okay and for keeping me amused with your funny antics. I couldn’t ask for a better kid.

Finally a massive thank you to Adam. My rock, my better half and my best friend. From visiting me, supporting me, looking after me when I was having a few wobbles, making me food, making me rest and just generally being an amazing man as always. You are such a wonderful person and I’m so very lucky to have you.

Who knows what i’ll look like in a years time. That’s not what matters to me. What matters to me is that my health improves and I’ll be around longer for my family. Thats why I’ve gone through this whole process.

Apologies for the long post. I’ve been asked about how, why, the process and how I’m recovering so I thought a whole post with everything in would be best.

Lots of love,

Hannah x