fashion · personal · plus size · review

Jumping on the trend. Featuring THE eBay dress.

Hi everybody!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged and honestly I’ve missed it. Long story short is I’ve had a few different bouts of illness, I’ve been super busy at home as well as stressed because – I’ve bought a house! We complete today and get our keys and I’m so excited. It’s going to be so cool to be in our own home and be able to do anything we like to it – you all know I LOVE to decorate. I’ll post lots of pictures on here because we have a few DIY’s we’re going to do and I’ll be posting before/after pics of how we decorate. We’re even going to be installing our bargain lino flooring ourselves!

Speaking of bargains, it’s no secret that when it comes to clothes I love a bargain. I generally buy everything either on sale or with a discount code. I hate paying full price and I will shop around for the cheapest version of something before I commit to a purchase. It’s something I’ve always done as I’ve grown up with not a lot of money, then I was a student with zero income and lately we’ve been saving for a house deposit so haven’t really been spending as much on ourselves that hasn’t been essential.

As it got to summer this year I looked at my wardrobe and realised there wasn’t much casual stuff I could wear day to day which wasn’t shorts. I started looking at options and loved the look of the strappy summer dresses with buttons down the middle. I saw loads of people getting them cheap from Primark but being plus size Primark cuts off at a size 20 and I figured I’d never get into one. I did find a few plus size versions in places like New Look but they were around £23 for a plain dress and I really wanted something with a print.

My friend Tina added me to a facebook group called Mrs Gloss & The Goss which is a group centred around hair/clothes/makeup and I saw these eBay dresses popping up on everybody. There was a ton of prints and people were saying they were generous sizing so I decided to see what size they actually went up to. When I looked they went up to a 3XL or a size 20 but the size chart was quite high and I’d read that there was a lot of stretch in them and so I decided that cause they were only £7.49 each I’d just go for it and order the two I was really lusting after.

  

  My first was this beautiful navy sunflower dress. I’m pretty obsessed with sunflowers and they’re my favourite flower so when I saw this print I just had to have it.

The second dress I bought was this pineapple print dress which is just the cutest thing ever. I love anything kitsch and pineapples are definitely one of my favourite prints.

I tried them on straight away expecting them not to fit at all and was pleasantly surprised when they not only fit but really looked nice. I’m a size 24 and the ones I’ve bought have been a size 3XL/size 20. I initially tried them on with no bra but have since worn then with a normal strap bra which does show the bra straps slightly and a strapless bra. I did also worry about the buttons gaping but they’re actually just for show!

I went on to purchase 3 more, white/black/pink stripes, blue/white stripes which I haven’t pictured and a plain khaki one. Now the khaki one never arrived and so I was refunded but I’m almost glad because I’ve read the plain ones are a completely different material and have no stretch. So be mindful if you do order one that plain ones have zero stretch.

These dresses have been a godsend this summer and each one has been well-worn. From family days, meals out and even nights out the dresses have been perfect for different occasions and have been easily dressed up or down.

 

I even wore the dress for a beer garden date with one of my good friends Claire. It was perfect for sitting in the sun drinking hooch.

I’m tempted to buy more of these dresses because there’s just SO many prints and I know I’ll wear them not only in summer but also autumn with boots and a cardigan and even winter with tights and a t-shirt under for a more 90’s look. Such a versatile dress and for the money they are SO worth it. I couldn’t recommend them enough and I know a few people on my instagram have since purchased them because I do bang on about them so much!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

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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

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

food

Maki-ing Memories. YO! Sushi Review.

Hi All!

Last year Adam worked a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. From October to Christmas he pretty much did 7 day weeks every week in the rush to get houses finished for Christmas. I didn’t see much of him and it was safe to say I really missed him. I was counting down the days before his Christmas break which meant I would get to spend a couple of weeks with him and do some fun stuff. Sadly my family had a really sad time over Christmas with the passing of a much loved family member and then my brother emigrated to Australia and really I didn’t have the most jolly of Christmases. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad time but there was just a lingering sadness and so when it came round to actually having some time with my bear I was pretty excited.

We managed to do loads of fun stuff together (including redecorating which is always my fave) and before he went back to work we decided to drive up to the metro centre just the two of us and go to IKEA and then to the actual metro centre.

For the trip I decided to go comfy and casual and wore my Boohoo Curve smock dress which has a floral/retro inspired print on it. It’s such a lightweight and comfortable dress which was perfect for wearing in the car and walking around in. I paired it with a pair of leggings, slip on floral shoes and a jersey blazer. My hair, which matched the dress pretty well was pulled up into a half up/half down style to keep it off my face whilst doing some serious shopping.

IKEA was amazing as ever. I fell in love with some amazing huge cacti, got some essential toy storage, did about 1000 separate orders for all my friends who wanted little bits that it’s not worth driving up for and even got some new glasses. To drink from – although the ones I’m wearing here are also pretty new.

As ever, Team Lister were there bright and early and we were done and dusted by 12. We then drove over to the Metro and had a browse around a few shops before deciding on dinner. I got a new nose ring and some heavily reduced items from LUSH and Adam bought two pretzels. Of course we didn’t leave Eleanor out and we got her some new Minnie Mouse slippers from the Disney store.

Time came for lunch and we passed YO! Sushi which is one of my all time favourite places and Adam suggested we go. There was no queue for one and we were seated at the bar seats pretty quickly.

We then set about deciding on what to order. I DO have my favourites but I also try to sample new bits when we go.

If you haven’t been to YO! Sushi before the concept is that plates go around a conveyor belt and the different colours correspond to a different price, so you pay for what plates you take. You can also order from the menu and it will be brought to you. The food is freshly made in front of you and you can see right into the kitchen.

I browsed the menu for a few moments and then started to make my choices.

I generally start with plain and simple Cucumber Maki which I drizzle in soy sauce and eat with chopsticks. I also tried the Ebi rolls which is katsu prawn and avocado which was delicious.

Next I ordered some food. I got a miso soup which is refillable and delicious and has pieces of tofu and spring onion. I usually order tofu katsu curry but they had none and so I ordered the chicken katsu curry which was served on a bed of fluffy sticky rice which is just how I love it. I then ordered the cod nanbanzuke which I’ve never tried before and I loved. It was served with a sweet and sour sauce and was really tasty.  I also tried some of Adams furikake fries but I wasn’t that crazy about them.

Finally I considered trying one of their new desserts but honestly by this point I was pretty full. We stacked up our plates, paid the bill and had another walk around the metro to burn it off.

Going to Y0! Sushi has always been a fun experience and the staff really make your visit so welcoming. I’ve never had a bad experience in there (apart from Inari – YUCK!!) and it’s a bit of a novelty picking up the plates and trying something new.

Hopefully we will head back soon as we always really enjoy it and it’s not something we have local in Teesside which makes it a bit of a rare treat.

If you’ve tried YO! Sushi or know of any great alternatives, let me know below!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah xx

baby · parenting · personal

Who’s baby? My Babiie! My Babiie MB200 Rose Gold/Blush Review.

Hi All!

It seems to me that every mum that I meet has a complete and utter obsession with prams. I’ve heard of mums going through 6-7-8 prams per child! For me I spent a long time choosing my perfect pram and I originally had a Venicci polka-dot travel system which I absolutely loved. As Eleanor got bigger and I started venturing out with her more without putting her into the car seat on wheels I realised how much effort and bulky a travel system is. I would never be able to drop it down on a bus if needed and we really struggled to get it into our car at the time and still have space for anything else. I decided to get a stroller and got a second hand Cosatto which I wasn’t crazy about and I quickly re-sold it. I then decided for Eleanors birthday to get a My Babiie MB51 in pink/grey chevron which both Eleanor and I completely loved.

Last year we were going on holiday and Eleanor was starting to get a little bit long for her MB51 and so I decided I’d go on holiday and then buy a new one when we returned, that way if anything happened to the pram whilst on holiday we would still be getting a new one. We were very lucky on holiday and our pram still came back in great condition and so we sold it on to make space for our new one!

I knew straight away I wanted another My Babiie. I had trust in the brand and Eleanor had always been cosy and comfy in hers. I also had got a ton of compliments about the pram from strangers and really loved the designs. I decided to go for the MB200 as it was a bit bigger and I wanted to go for a U shaped fold rather than an umbrella fold so it was easier to store at home. When choosing a design I never hesitated – I was definitely sold on the blush and rose gold. Blush and rose gold are two of my favourite colours and the pram that I chose is so stunning.

I did however have a bit of a mess around getting it. The hype for the pram was crazy and places were selling out thick and fast. Thankfully, I managed to get one from ASDA online and it was shipped quickly to my home address.

The delivery day arrived and I quickly unboxed it and slid it together. I was even more impressed with it in person and it certain looks more luxury than it did online.

I soon got to grips (literally) with the new handle and adjusted it to size and had a little push around my living room. It was smooth, easy to push and quite lightweight for its size.

  

Next I put it side by side with my old pram and looked at the differences. The MB200 has a wider and taller seat, more luxury fabrics and a much nicer finish. The wheels are higher quality and the bumper bar is one full piece not folding like the MB51.

I then looked at how I would store my new pram and was pleased to see it folded quite small and stood up itself. This now lives under the breakfast bar where my old fridge sat and is neatly tucked away.

I couldn’t wait to take it for a spin and we headed out that evening for a walk around Teesside Park whilst I pushed my new prized possession.

I’ve always loved having a fur on my pram and I quickly ordered a matching fur and personalised pom-pom from Big Mamas Baby Boom which I would highly recommend as the service was prompt and my fur is such great quality. I really love the pom-pom, which has survived all sorts of toddler messes and is still going strong!

 

I was so pleased with it once the fur arrived, but more importantly Eleanor has loved it since it arrived. She ran over and climbed straight into it the day it arrived and sat for quite a while watching a movie happily tucked up into it.

She has always managed to sleep in it and drops off quite easily in the padded seat. This makes life much easier when you’re out for the day as she can be quite ratty without a decent sleep. The hood fully extends so she can snooze in peace without having any sun/wind/people disturbing her. Thankfully there’s a little viewing window so I can still check on her and make sure she’s okay.

I love this pram. I get a ton of compliments and always see a lot of people looking over and talking about it. Apart from it being pretty, it’s also super practical. It’s comfy, easy and lovely to push, super simple to fold down and up and even has a carry handle. My only negative with it is I wish it had a toddler sized cosy-toes that went with it as the apron velcro isn’t the longest and can often be a pain to get on – but that’s only a tiny thing. Oh and a matching bag would be a dream!

Sadly this will probably be Eleanors last pram, and what a pram it is. If I was to have another baby I would most definitely have another My Babiie and really like the look of the travel systems. They’re really affordable and for the price are really great quality.

Let me know below if you love my pram or have any thoughts on My Babiie!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah xx

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