The pen is mightier than the sword!

Thursday 14 February 2019
This week Top Shop and I went into battle over the case of the ‘Missing Parcel’. I followed the suggested Customer Service channels, only to be fobbed off with standard replies about 48 hour response windows and nobody taking responsibilty for anything. The thing is, I’d paid for next day delivery, because I didn’t have 48 hours to spare. And, I’m a single mum who is used to fighting her corner, so I abandoned politeness and patience with their incompetence and wrote this review on Trust Pilot.

The parcel that still hasn’t arrived.
Ordered online from Top Shop on 10th Feb and paid £6 for next day delivery. Received a confirmation email from Top Shop on 10th .
That was the last I heard from Top Shop until, by the end of 12th Feb, we wondered where our parcel was. No emails and no texts from Top Shop but, on my account, a tracking message claiming that my parcel of 4 winter jumpers had been delivered ‘through your letter box’. I contacted them to say that we had no parcel and that fitting jumpers through my letter-sized letter box was unlikely. Thereupon, they suggested checking with ‘neighbours’ and in my ‘safe place’. I did check the shed and the bins. I even knocked on a few neighbours’ doors before I came to my senses and thought ‘What are you doing? You have paid for premium delivery, not to be out after dark scouring bins and randomly knocking on doors!’
Contacted Top Shop on 13th requesting a call, no call came so I called them. I now have to wait for 48 hours for them to contact Yodel. I have no parcel, a £75 hole in my account, and no confidence at all that Top Shop will ever resolve this. Learn from my mistakes and AVOID this store!!

Lo and behold, within 12 hours of the review being published, the parcel arrives!  (Along with a 10% discount code.) Will modify my review when my delivery charge is refunded, but until then it’s a celebratory cup of tea raised to that old adage,  ‘The pen is mightier than the sword!’ 

Birthday Season!

Saturday 9 February 2019

The Birthday Duo – many years ago!

Oh dear, it’s been a truly, terrible week and I’ve spent much of it feeling like the worst parent on the planet. My head has been overloaded with deadlines and difficult decisions at work, and overloaded at home with demands for my time, the mum taxi and my wallet. My body is exhausted with day-in day-out drudgery. If only my big mouth could have been too weary to make an appearance this week. But alas no, feeling the stress, it has been guilty of firing out stupid, and at time awful, comments at the people I work with and live with. With horrendously bad timing, this has hit Birthday Week for two of my children and so, in move to drag myself away from the whirlpool of gloom that is threatening to submerge me, I have decided to concentrate on them, worry about everything else later. So here is a paragraph about each of my Birthday duo.

I’ll start with ‘Small Boy’ my youngest, but tallest child who continued to march through the teenage years this week. Described by one teacher, at a recent Parent’s Evening, as ‘remarkable’, he really is a remarkable bundle of creativity.  He tootles away for hours on the piano my mum gave us, re-creating and then rearranging his favourite rock and pop tunes, he’s just teaching himself the guitar and already does a brilliant rendition of Phoebe‘s ‘Smelly Cat’  (from Friends) and his writing is so amazing, I once accused him of copying his English homework from a published novel!  He’s witty, he’s clever, he’s unbelievably good company. More importantly he is also incredibly kind and thoughtful, gets spiders out of rooms, takes his Nana on day’s out, always gives money to people begging on the streets and once called the RSPCA to rescue an injured bird in the garden. He also does an amazing job of coping, as the lone man,  in our home of females. We may all shout  ‘Shut the door!‘ whenever music from the piano or his latest vinyl starts to fill the house, but the truth is ‘Small Boy’ rocks our world!

My eldest child also celebrated her Birthday this week. She is an unstoppable force who just takes our breath away. When my girl sets her sights on a goal, her drive, determination and discipline kick in and she grafts her way to glory!  But, while we all marvel at her achievements, we all love her because she is just beautiful on the inside and out. Day to day, she quietly tries to make my life easier by doing jobs around the house, but in a crisis, such as the time Small Boy cut his eye open and I passed out, or the time I forgot to collect him from the school Panto, she just takes over and completely comes into her own. When the chips are down, there’s simply no-one alive I’d rather have by my side. We may all groan as she launches into her latest scientific fact at mealtimes, gets potassium into a game of I-spy, or insists on sharing a pack of Smarties into equally coloured as well as equally sized portions, but the truth is she is our oxygen, our carbon, our hydrogen, our nitrogen, she is the essential element in our lives and we would not survive without her.

Well…. that was good therapy as it goes!  I feel much better and thinking about how wonderful and unique all three of my children are,  I conclude that whilst there are many better in this world, I am possibly not the worst parent on the planet after all.  Hopefully by Monday I might even be up for ‘Smashing’ this single parent life again…

February Finances

Saturday 2 February 2019

You could call February my momentous month. Two of my children have February birthdays, it’s the month I bought my current home and, many moons ago, my first ever car. Alternatively, as birthday plans collide with car and home insurance renewals, you could just call it a month of financial catastrophe… and this year I also have to throw a Prom dress into the mix!

Saturday is earmarked for our first foray into the wonderful world of Prom dress shopping, with an appointment booked at a local boutique. However my Saturday morning run is interrupted by a frantic call from the shop. Our slot has been booked at a time when another girl, from the same school, is on the premises… and apparently this is a ‘Disaster!’

No no no!” a woman gasps in horror down the phone, “The girls can’t have anyone else seeing their dress before the ‘Big Day!'”

I long to shout ‘Are you for real?’ down the line but instead I keep my opinions to myself and calmly book us in for the following weekend, because it will keep the peace in our household. Keep the peace because, though I may join the ‘No prom in my day!’ brigade in finding the whole thing a complete palaver, I accept that ‘The Prom’ is now an important date in the school leaver’s diary? Not really! It will keep the peace because of parity – the golden rule of family life. This is my second prom-ing daughter. Last year this shop was on our Prom-circuit and that means we go again this year… end of discussion.

The upshot however is that Saturday afternoon is now free and my other two children, the February birthday duo, spot their opportunity and swoop in. Their birthday gifts this year are phone upgrades and so we find ourselves off on a family trip to take on the might of the mobile moguls and root ourselves out a good deal. It doesn’t start well, I disgrace myself in the first shop by confusing storage with data and having to ask what an ‘XR’ is and all three kids are rolling their eyes and making furious ‘keep quiet mum!‘ gestures in my direction. However, by shop 3,  as we start to talk money- numbers, I come into my own. My arthimetic is quicker than the computer and that throws the salesman off his stride. When I also produce bits of paper with comparative deals on, he is putty in my hands and we are soon offered extra discounts and extra data to beat the very best deals we’d researched in advance …I think even the kids are impressed! They are certainly very happy with their new phones, even if neither of them comes close to being an XR!  

Back home I feel I’ve well and truly earned my Saturday glass of wine. Just the small matter of home insurance, car insurance and a Prom dress to squeeze out of my monthly salary now… oh bring it on!!!

February 2019

Friday 1 February 2019

When Dry January comes to an end!

Wow made it through January and as this cartoon pops upon my social media, whilst marvelling at the will power of those stoics who have made it through a dry month, I am compelled to wonder, 
‘If that’s what the end of Dry-January looks like, what on earth am I supposed to be doing to mark the end of No-Manuary?!!’

Should it be flirty-February? Our Book Club read for this month is the tantalisingly titled ‘The Lover‘ and I wonder if it’s an omen. Fitting a few first dates into the weekly chaos would be a challenge,  but it could be fun to try! On the other hand,  do I enjoy another luxurious month of balancing fabulous family time with time for me and doing the things I really enjoy?January was hectic but very happy. Perhaps I’ve found my perfect formula and there’s no need to change it? I guess time will tell…