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

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family · food · parenting · personal · plus size · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 3.

Hi all!

This is the third and final segment of our time at Butlins. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

Day Three –

We headed out early for breakfast as we planned to go out for the day. As I knew we were heading to the seaside with lots of walking I put on my favourite boohoo turn up cuff trousers. They’re high waisted, fit perfectly on my short legs and are a jersey crepe fabric with lots of stretch. I have them in black AND pink and love them! I wore them with a long sleeve cold shoulder striped top from New Look (no longer available) and my New Look longline blazer which I wear to death as it’s SO comfortable and goes with everything. We had our breakfast and then me and Eleanor had a walk through the arcades whilst Adam went and got the car which we had already packed up with our swimming bag for when we returned.

We got the the aquarium as it opened and managed to park in a fairly cheap car park just a short walk away from the aquarium and the town centre. It was well located for the pier too but we didn’t visit there this time.

We entered the aquarium and apart from one other group behind us it was pretty quiet! We had a photo op (which came our awful as we both just had glasses glare) then went through a small room with a video playing which was set out as a ships cabin. The video explained that we had to answer questions we’d find along the way to work out the secret word and win some treasure.

Then we were pretty free to roam! We moved through the aquarium taking it all in whilst looking for the secret questions.

As we thought, Eleanor was pretty taken with the “fishies” and her and Adam spent great time watching the various fish and going into all the little spaces.

I on the other hand was determined to find all of the questions and spent most of my time reading all of the display information to find the answers.

Halfway through the aquarium there was a crafts area which was totally empty apart from us!

I’m pretty sure that Adam had more fun decorating his seahorse. Eleanor and Adam coloured in the seahorses and added strips of tissue paper.

Then we went and finished off the exhibition. The last room featured a huge full wall view of the main aquarium tank with benches to sit down.

In this tank you can actually book to swim along with the fish and sharks however we weren’t feeling that brave!

After the aquarium there’s an upstairs cafe with some pretty beautiful views and a built in soft play area. Adam and Eleanor had the run of the place and enjoyed the different slides. We were going to get some food in there but it was pretty overpriced so we decided to wait until we headed out into the centre.

We left the aquarium via the gift shop where we handed in our treasure map and found that we had got the word correct. We received our treasure which was gold chocolate coins.

We walked over the road from the aquarium and we were straight into the centre of Skegness. We had a look in a few shops as we were on the look out for new towels and had intended to get some from Fantasy Island but all the rides were closed so we decided to go to the aquarium instead. There isn’t a huge amount of shops there but there’s enough for a wander around and Adam managed to get some new dust brushes for work. Exciting ey?

Whilst waiting for daddy to finish picking brushes me and Eleanor had a look around and I found some ear muffs which I put on her as a joke expecting her to hate them. Well I was surprised to see that she loved them and didn’t want to take them off so we bought them. She had them on five minutes and was flat out to sleep.

Next we headed towards the sea front to find somewhere to eat as Adam fancied some chippy chips. Well we were at the seaside! We found a decent place and grabbed some lunch whilst Eleanor napped. We had another walk around and headed back to the car with Eleanor still asleep. As we headed back to Butlins we stopped at a garage with a shop as Adam wanted to top the diesel up and we grabbed Eleanor some snacks so she could have a car picnic! She’s obsessed with babybel, sandwiches and cocktail sausages so was in her element.

When we got back to the resort we headed straight to Splash! for an afternoon swim. Once again Eleanor was in her element and loved going round and round in the lazy river. Me and Adam took it in turns to go on the slides and I made the mistake of going on the rapids which is a ride that goes outside and is slides that go into little pools with lots of waves. As I’ve lost weight recently my bikini bottoms were a bit big on me and I had to cling onto them all the way. I eventually splashed down into the last pool with my boobs spilling from my top and my bottoms rolling down.

Very awkward.

 

We eventually headed back to the room and got ready for dinner. I decided to wear my New Look velvet dress I got for Christmas over a year ago. It was perfect for the slightly colder weather and it’s such a beautiful colour.

We headed down to dinner early as we wanted to go see a show at Centre Stage after and it gets very busy.

The line actually stretches back to the arcade some times although if you buy the b-line passes you get priority entry.

We did not.

Surprisingly we managed to get in fine without queuing and although we didn’t get a table, we managed to get seats with a great view and we settled down to watch the show “Cinderella Rocks”. It’s a spin on Cinderella in which she wants to audition for a talent show. The best character was easily the evil stepmother – they were fantastic and in the tradition of panto this was a dame. We sat and watched the full show, wandered around the arcades and headed back to the room to pack ready to leave in the morning. We were surprised how quiet it got on the Sunday night, however we did see a lot of people packing up the cars and leaving on the Sunday not Monday, and on the Friday night a lot of people arrived at tea time with kids in school uniforms so I figured that people went for the weekend but left early for school/jobs.

On our way back we noticed quite a lot of people smoking away from designated smoking areas. In fact, this was a common occurrence throughout the whole weekend and was something that really annoyed me. This is a place primarily aimed at families with children and so it was pretty annoying when people were walking down to the skyline/restaurant with a fag in their hand at times which were quite busy. If you want to smoke, that’s cool. Do what you want, but please use the designated areas and don’t smoke over my child! It’s not fair on her.

 

The next day we were up and ready early as ever. We had to be out of the room by 10 but we were allowed to use the park for the rest of the day but we didn’t hang around. We wanted to take a detour to York outlet on our way home so we wanted to get out early.

We packed up the car, had breakfast and then practically ran back to the car as the heavens opened. I drank two coffees for breakfast and was like the energiser bunny!

We drove to York outlet and spent a few hours there. We got a few bits for Eleanor and Adam bought some t-shirts in the Vans store but on a whole we found it a bit disappointing. We found that places were still quite expensive and the shops were quite repetitive. We stopped half way through to go to the food court then headed back to the car.

It wasn’t a long drive home from York and we managed it in around an hour, maybe less. We were happy to be home and in our own surroundings again and within the hour we were unpacked, washing in and suitcases away. We’re really like that though – we plan things and are super organised when it comes to things like trips away. We’d rather get it sorted and done with then be able to relax!

All in all we had a lovely family trip away but some of the magic of Butlins has certainly gone for me. If we went again I’d request an upstairs room and probably go in the warmer busier seasons and may even consider self catering or even premium dining (which wasn’t actually available as they only had one restaurant open).

It was good for the price and worth it just for a weekend, but any longer and I think I’d get bored!

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

family · fashion · personal · plus size · travel

Bears At Butlins – Round Two! Part 2.

Hi all!

This post follows on from part 1!

So we had returned to the room to go to sleep and we were watching tv and then around quarter to ten to noise started. Thud. Thud. Thud. It was coming from the stairs next to our room, from the room next door (separated by an adjoining door) and from above. We fully expected some noise but it was SO loud. There was kids just running around upstairs until nearly 11 and we had to contact the reception who sent somebody to ask people to be quiet. I’m surprised that Eleanor didn’t wake up because it was so loud. We finally managed to sleep after 11.

We woke up the next day early as ever and got ready for the day. We headed down to breakfast pretty early and we were glad we did as it got pretty busy towards the end of the allotted time.

After breakfast we walked down to Splash which is the onsite swimming baths. I’ve always loved going to Splash since being a kid and so was really excited to head back. Last time we went Eleanor was still tiny and in a swim ring but this time she was armed with a pair of armbands

Safe to say Eleanor was obsessed! She swam independently and didn’t even want us to hold her going around the rapids.

After swimming we headed to the pavilion to eat lunch and then watch a show. Adam being the big kid he is was sat on the floor too. The show was great and Eleanor sat for the whole thing totally hooked!

After the show we had a wander through the site and decided to take some pictures on the giant beach figures!

Eleanor was quite content sitting on her huge beach ball.

We also took a quick detour to play on the penny machines before heading back to the room to get showered and ready for the evening.

  

I actually had time to put makeup on and make more of an effort and wore my lovely In The Style Curve shirt dress (you can find similar here) which I added the patches to.

 

We headed down to dinner which was quite disappointing and pretty much the same as the previous night. Every night was a fish/chips dish, meat dinner, vegetarian option and pasta. Got quite boring and I don’t think we had a cohesive “meal” the whole time we were there.

That night we hit the arcades, watched a Mr Men show in the pavilion which was pretty good and had a few drinks. The good thing about the pavilion is you don’t have to buy from the bar. They have a shop which sells a good mix of things, including food and alcohol. We kept buying a few ciders or my guilty pleasure – smirnoff ice – and sitting in the main area watching the shows. You couldn’t take them into centre stage or reds (as Adam found out when they were confiscated) but we only went in one night out of three.

We headed back for the night and thankfully after complaining it wasn’t as loud as the first night, although from 9:30-10 with everybody arriving home and running up the steps it was still quite loud. I am quite hypersensitive to noise so definitely think it bothered me more than it would bother most people. Thankfully it died down after 10 and didn’t wake Eleanor.

We made our plans for the next day and headed to bed. We had a look to see what was on in the area and found cheap aquarium tickets on groupon and so decided to head there.

I’m going to leave this post here. The next post is going to feature quite a lot of pictures so don’t want it to be too long!

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

baby · fashion · parenting · plus size

Bears at Butlins! – Our family holiday. Part 1!

Hi all!

Me and Adam have been together almost 5 years now and up until a month ago had never really been on a holiday together. We’d been for weekends away and the odd night here and there, but not a full on holiday and certainly not a trip away with our baby.

We had toyed with the idea of going away for a while and decided on a caravan holiday not too far from home. Initially people were coming with us but it ended up fizzling out and was just going to be the three of us. Unfortunately, the caravan fell through all together as the one we booked ended up getting sold and so after months of it being planned, we were left with no actual holiday for the time we had allowed for a holiday.

Thats where mum comes to the rescue! Seeing how upset I was about potentially not getting the family time I had hoped for, my mum offered to give us some money towards the holiday (Adam then went and painted her kitchen to say thank you) which meant we could look into still going away. We were actually at a spa reminiscing about our old family holidays to butlins when my mum suggested we tried there. I was unsure as I thought it would cost a fortune and would be too far for the baby, but I decided to call and price it up anyway.

In the end we were offered a 4 night stay in a standard room only with dining for £300 for all 3 of us which I thought was a pretty good deal. Later I found out they actually offered premium dining but had sold out and so I kept checking online to see if anybody had cancelled so I could book it. Whilst checking this the day before, I found out that to upgrade to a “premium” room which actually had 2 bedrooms rather than just one was only going to be £16 more and so I called to make amendments. When I spoke to Butlins however, they told me it was going to be an extra £100+ to upgrade and so I sent in the screen shots to their customer services team and they said they’d see what they could do. Finally, I ended up getting an extra room for a whole £7.50 – and I’m so glad we did!

Soon the big day came around and we were so excited. We packed up the night before with military precision so we knew we had everything as packing to go away with a baby isn’t easy or quick! We packed the car full and off we went.

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Hat & Romper from Asda!

Day One

We waited until after Eleanor’s breakfast and when she was due her morning nap to set off so that she would sleep in the car and not get bored or cranky. This worked well and she woke up on schedule for our stop at the humber bridge for some lunch.

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We were not sure where we would actually stop or even if there would be much at the stop so we packed some mini bottles of pop, sandwiches and snacks to have a little picnic. I’m so glad we did because the only thing at the humber bridge was a greasy burger van. We actually used the leftovers from a family meal the day before and had delicious roast pork and stuffing sandwiches whilst we sat in the sun. Eleanor had her dinner in her bumbo seat (which I’m so glad I packed) and we played for a while in the sunshine to tire her out again.

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Passing the humber bridge.

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Playing whilst we pass the humber bridge!

We made good time to Butlins considering we stopped and we arrived around 30 mins before our room was ready but we were still allowed on site. Check in was conveniently through a drive through which was speedy and easy and we were directed to our room a short drive away. We managed to get parked not too far from our room and took all our bags/bits to a little picnic table outside and played whilst we waited for our room.

Once we were allowed in our room we were so glad we had upgraded. The room was small, with barely any room after the double bed, dressing table and wardrobe. I have no idea how we’d of even got the travel cot in there too – thank god I’d upgraded to a second room! The second room had twin beds, a side table between them and a dressing table with chair and wardrobe like the other room. Adam decided to re-arrange the room and pushed the twin beds together, put the side table on the desk and put the chair on top of the wardrobe to create space to put the rather large travel cot. We used the beds to put our suitcase on so we could re-pack as we wore our clothes to save us rushing around packing.

We put the travel cot up and it took up most of the rooms space. It felt so flimsy and thin but also really too hard for baby to sleep on so we folded up one of the quilts into the fitted cot sheet we brought to make it soft and cosy for her. We then unpacked and it was time for dinner!

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Eleanor wore her beautiful new dress from Next purchased by Nannie Helen! She also wore a hand knitted cardigan and a custom made headpiece from the lovely Lot’of’Lace Bowtique.

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I went out of my comfort zone and wore a jumpsuit! After travelling all day I just wanted something comfortable, and this jumpsuit from Pink Clove was perfect.  The fabric is super soft, the neckline shows just enough and the cutout detailing at the back is super cute!

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Both of us dressed for dinner!

We headed down for dinner not really knowing what to expect. I’d saw online it was canteen grab yourself kind of food which I don’t mind and I’d seen mixed reviews. We headed down 5:30ish and it wasn’t too busy and had a choice of seats. There was machines for hot drinks, juice and squash and anything else you bought at the bar. The food wasn’t too bad actually – every day had soups, jackets, salads then a “dinner” option, fish option, kids options, veggie options and accompaniments. There was also always a hot dessert, custard, a selection of cold desserts and a whipped ice cream machine. There wasn’t one night we really went hungry or couldn’t find something to eat – even if we did have some weird mixed up teas. The food definitely needed more variety though and next time we go we will definitely opt for the premium dining which had lots more choice.

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After dinner we checked out the skyline pavillion which Eleanor absolutely loved. We watched a fireman sam show which was super packed with kids just running here there and everywhere whilst their parents sat drinking at the centre tables – 0h well, what are holidays for ey!

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After the show we checked out the rest of the pavilion and worked out where everything was etc. We checked out the arcades and then decided to have some drinks in the room as Eleanor was getting sleepy. There was a really good Spar on site and the prices were quite reasonable and so we grabbed some drinks from there and headed back to the room. We used one of the bins as a fridge filled with ice we grabbed from Spar, put the sleepy baby to bed and had a bit of hang out time playing cards and having a few drinks. It was really lovely and reminded me of when we’d all come together as kids with my nana and uncle etc and we used to sit out and play outside the chalet on a night whilst the parents all relaxed together with a drink.

So that’s enough for part one! I have lots more photos and stories to share so make sure you check back for the next part!

Hannah, Adam & Eleanor x