Thursday, 15 January 2015

Furniture Village - no returns *unless* you buy it online

I am beyond disgusted today.  The outlaws (you know, much more fun than inlaws) bought a new dining table set from Furniture Village.  The table looked a bit big but they thought it would fit their space well.  When it arrived, it simply was too big for them so they enquired about returning the table although they would like to keep the chairs.  Seems logical - the table itself is on sale at the moment and you can buy it individually (Emily table here).  Furniture Village in Staines said no.  They had the terms and conditions. Once you buy something and it arrives in your house, it is 'second hand goods' and thus they cannot return it.  They are therefore £799 out of pocket with a table sitting in their lounge that they can do nothing with.

I looked on Furniture Village's website.  It says, in clear print, "Free returns to 40 stores throughout England".  I phoned up Furniture Village.  "Ah" says the young man I spoke to "that is only if it was bought online".  So, if I buy it online I can return it?  "Yes" he says.  I can get a full refund?  "Yes" he says.  I take the phone number and managers name at Staines and ring the store.  The manager is with a customer so I speak to a lady there.  She has spoken to my father-in-law about this and already told them they cannot return the item as it would be seen as second hand now and used. I say it is not used but she says they don't know that.  "But" I say "if they had bought it online, they could and get a full refund, correct?" She agrees and says distance selling laws are different.  I am confused.

I buy it in store, it is delivered. It's too big. I cannot return it as it is 'second hand goods'.

I buy it online, it is delivered. It's too big. I can return it and get a full refund.

For both of these scenarios, Furniture Village have no idea if it is 'used' as the lady said or not, yet one allows a full refund.

The manager is supposed to be calling me.  I doubt he will as I explained to the lady that I am now passing this to the media - handy really as my husband works in TV and has lots of journo contacts who would love this story.

What irks me even more about this whole thing is that my outlaws are in their 80s and are not in the habit of buying online. In fact, they don't do it. They like to go out and shop and pick things up.  Therefore this seems 'generationally biased' and ageist towards them as they are not used to doing everything on their PC.

Let's see what the journos and Watchdog think of this shall we?

16th January 2015: I am absolutely delighted to tell you that Furniture Village have been in touch with the outlaws and are collecting the table and giving them a full refund!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Hogs Back Geocaching

We needed some fresh air so headed off to the Hogs Back today to do some more of a figure-of-8 that we did some of last year (or was it the year before?  Time flies).  Hubby packed up lunch and I  packed up the girls.  We skipped a few around here as we've already done them so we were off to hoover up one end of this loop.
Parked up, wellies on (essential kit) and headed off to the footpath to start the adventure.  We left the first of the trail we would be doing to get on our way back and started off at Hogs Back Reservoir #17 which was hard work.  There were lots of suspects around and my GPS was bouncing about like crazy so it could be anywhere in a 13m line!  We ended up splitting up and searching an area each. It was teen's sharp eyes that spotted something odd and there it was. I  guess from previous cachers' logs, it may 'breach rules' a tad but we put it back there just the same.  A tricky little find.  Lots of runners out here today.
#15 was another pain for my phone. What is wrong with my GPS? Hubby's did the trick and we soon had the cache in hand.  Quite a few folk passed us but we carried on regardless trying our best not to look too weird rummaging in the undergrowth.
As we got to the farm through mud that was almost sucking our wellies off, we came across a family about to head up that way. I warned them that without wellies they may have problems as one chap carrying a baby had on a lovely pair of new white trainers!  They ignored us and headed that way.  Good luck!
#13 was beyond easy. This cache (regardless of what anyone said last time) was definitely not in this spot when we were here before as then 4 adults, 1 teen and 2 children all searched this very thing and came up empty handed.  So glad we can tick it off the list this time.  Grrrr...  My bloody sodding pathetic bloody phone died at this point. Really?  So cross. The phone used to be great until an Android upgrade about 6 months ago which has pretty much rendered it useless beyond an hour.  Glad hubby's old Samsung is fine so we're using that now.  Sandwiches being shared out as the family come walking back past us.  See, told you it was muddy *grin*
#11 we didn't find.  To be honest, we had walked past it a bit and although hubby and teen went for  a cursory look, they gave up pretty quickly as we didn't want to be on the road side with the little ones.
#10 was a quick find for the little cachers and they were delighted.  #9 I can imagine being a nightmare in summer when the leaves are on the trees but an easy spot this time of year.  The prickles were nasty and the tree got my hat!  
#8 was another quick spot for the little cachers.  Our final one was #7 which we'd managed to walk past so teen and I headed back to search but despite  good look around and checking the clue, nothing was there that we could see and, let's be honest, there weren't that many places it could be!  Guess the cold was getting to us.
The last one we did, as J scrambled up the bank, we remembered we'd done it before. Oh well, nice to watch her slipping and sliding down again one more time.  Now for the long walk back UP the hill.  My legs were aching at the top.
We had a less than cursory glance for #18 as the girls had spotted the car and just wanted to get back to it now so I didn't bother to log anything here.  Glad to rest my aching feet!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Nixies Mermaid(s)

I'm doing this review not because someone sent me one of these dolls to test, but because S was bought one for her birthday and loved it.  In fact, we got one for N for her birthday too as the first one was so much fun!
The first mermaid that arrived was Amelia.  A friend bought it from Amazon but you couldn't decide which one you got as you received one of the 3 that there are. No problem as we didn't have one so it didn't matter which one came.  This also meant that the toy itself was a bit cheaper (around £8 with delivery).  S was excited to try it out (it had been on her wish list you see) and I had read good things about them in reviews so was also keen to see how good it was.
Nixies Amelia
Nixies Amelia
She arrived with the battery compartment part-opened. I suppose this is to remind you to put a battery in.  One AAA battery later and both girls were eager to get into the bath.  Noting that there is a little propeller in her tail, I tied up S's very long hair to ensure we didn't have any tangling problems.  Switched her on and away she went. Screeches and giggles started coming from the bath as she swam around them, went in figure of 8's, and over their legs too.  You can position her body at the waist to make her go in circles and, in a lovely deep bath, swim in loops under water.  If she bumps the side, she often changes direction too. She looks terrific and is very good value, even if she's actually small (about 5").  I was very impressed.
N's birthday came and she wanted to choose her own Nixies.  Amazon offer this service but dolls are more expensive when you select the one you want (£15 in this case). She ordered her Bella and it arrived next day (love Amazon Prime!).
Nixies Bella
Nixies Bella
Battery in and bath filled. Two mermaids swimming around.  As they bump into each other they change directions. They really do seem quite lifelike to watch.
Having tried other mermaid toys before and been beyond disappointed, it has been a real treat to have something that does what it says on the label. If you want a mermaid toy, you'd do well to pick up one of these and wait for the laughter in the bath.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Obsessed with (a) Star

I have a confession. I am ever so slightly obsessed with Julian McDonald's Star clothing range, particularly his dresses.  Whilst his clothes are not always cheap (around £70 for a dress),  I am getting quite a collection. However, I don't shop in Debenhams for them (sorry Debenhams if you're reading this but you are too expensive - even in the sale!)
Star rules my wardrobe
Star rules my wardrobe
I am an avid eBayer.  Yes, that's my secret. My Star wardrobe (and it's becoming the prominent designer inside) is made up of my collection of eBay found dresses.  I have a smug smile as I write this as some of them were still new with all tags on and I picked them up for a song (well, between 99p and £10 more like).  99p for a dress. Nuts huh?  A couple haven't quite been me but at that price, I can sell them on and most likely get my money back.  I've discovered that cowl necks or wrap-over dresses are most definitely something I should avoid.
I think when you find a designer/style that fits you and feels good on, you do kind of stick to it.  These dresses are all wonderfully stretchy but not too figure hugging so they look lovely on.  Hopefully they'll fit when I've lost a bit of weight too (that's another post!)  You may see that I have picked on a certain style that suits me.  The dresses can be worn for the school run, work meetings or just around the house. That's what I love about them.  You can dress them up or down.   Ideal for someone like me.
I also love the excitement of those little packages arriving through the post.  It's like Christmas all year round!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Hamming it up by the Thames

We haven't been out geocaching for a while so as hubby was off today, we had a look around for some local(ish) caches and headed out to Old Windsor to pick a few up and have a walk by the Thames.
Nice and easy to park up in a residential road, wellies on and away we went. It was very chilly so I was glad we all had our hats and gloves. I say all but by that I mean all but the teen of course.  She was frozen although I'm pleased that at least she had put on a sensible coat today.
Low flying planes
Low flying planes
Our first cache was Manor of the Ham and was a nice easy spot. Hubby retrieved that for us as it was on the corner of a road. Signed Team Scorpio for us all.  Off we strolled down beside the church and around the corner onto a public footpath, admiring some houses as we passed. It was then I noticed that we were walking away from the cache. Had we made a wrong turn? We doubled back and tried to turn at a different spot but this just led us to the gates of a nursing home. Oops!  Doubling back on our double back (following still?) we then followed the original footpath to the end.  Hooray!  The Thames.  Right on top of the next cache.  Saxon Moorings was a reasonably quick spot and the youngest cacher made the retrieve. Signed and carefully replaced, we started our walk down the towpath.  
The next cache was Thames Path - St Peter's Church. Despite spotting a likely suspect as we walked past the houseboat there (the girls loved the decorations they had up), the GPS said another 30m.  We walked past and then when I looked again, we were past it.  Darn GPS.  I think my phone doesn't like the cold.  Back we went and the 2nd youngest made the retrieve.  Cache lid was breaking and contents were sodden. Fortunately the log book was in a plastic bag so spared the worst of it.  
We came to a little bridge over the entrance to one of the houses boat port (what do you call that really?) where another chap with his children were feeding the ducks.  We walked on down to the lock and the girls fed the ducks here themselves.  Glad there is no flooding for the folk living along the river this year.  Dread to think what it was like here in 2013.
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The next cache for us was Thames Path - Ham it Up! and that was another easy spot.  Decided to walk down to the final one along the river of Bridge to Ham Island.  Another very easy spot and we opted then to walk back along the road which was much quicker as my phone was already shouting it was almost out of battery.  We were hoping to do one more but my phone died and I'd forgotten my Power Monkey.  Oh well.  It was a nice walk.
I suggested to hubby that maybe we need to get a GPS now as the battery life on our phones is getting worse it seems.  Anyone recommend a good one - not too expensive?  We need to input the caches we want to it though so I'd prefer not a bog-standard GPS.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Can children have too many presents? Yes!

'Tis the season to put even more pictures of what you are doing up on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (among others).  We see stacks of presents and numerous photos of Christmas dinner. Really?
I guess it's the same people who photograph every part of their mundane lives that insist on telling us they are drinking a Christmas cup of coffee with a mince pie, having a Christmas sherry, eating a Christmas dinner (no, really?) and having a Christmas fart (too many sprouts). Thanks for that. Where would my life be without your updates?  In actual fact, I didn't bother looking at Facebook until today and only checked my Twitter because someone had posted something on one of my accounts that was actually interesting. 
I've been shocked by some peoples' Christmas present stack. I mean, really? Did Toys R Us have anything left by the time you finished?  Did you children actually enjoy opening 100+ presents?  Did they actually really, really want any of them?  I have been guilty of this in the past as when J was little, she did get totally over-spoiled at Christmas.  She had a positive sack of stocking presents along with a ton under the tree. This was complemented by another how sack from my eldest sister (who also spoiled her) and then she had another sack and ton under the tree from my ex-husband. Spot the guilt-trip here?  Exactly!  Anyway, it all stopped after one Christmas and I'll tell you why. She got bored of opening presents.  Yes, bored.  Not just a bit fed up trying to get into the wrapping but she actually said "how many more have I got to open?"  She said she didn't want to open any more.  She suggested I open them while she watched TV.  What?!  That's when it hit me. We simply had bought her too much. Almost everything she'd mentioned in passing the year before had appeared under the tree.  She had nothing special. No one present meant anything to her.  Some were never played with at all.  What the heck had we done?  The following year I listened carefully to things she talked about.  I bought one special present and lots of fun bits including colouring books, felt pens, craft stuff.  I changed the huge stocking for a tiny one that you could fit about 8 tubes of Smarties into and filled it with proper stocking bits.  I asked my sister to buy one big present for her, or at least a couple of decent ones rather than a sack of things she wasn't bothered about. She had a fabulous Christmas. She loved opening every gift and was excited about them all.  Phew.  
Now my children have around 8-10 presents for Christmas plus their little stockings (Santa fills those). It's perfect. We open them one at a time and everyone watches everyone else.  It's fun.  I spend the same on each of my girls and hubby and I usually exchange smellies (we're always out of perfume/aftershave by this time of year as the last Christmas one plus holiday ones have run out).
So, you won't be seeing any pictures of my Christmas dinner as I'm sure you know what a Sunday roast looks like.  Yes, that's another thing. Why do people get so stressed about Christmas dinner? They manage a roast dinner many times a year but at Christmas it becomes a trauma for some. I've never understood that.  I've also never understood people fussing about turkey. Hey, if it's that great, why don't you eat it at any other time? Yeah, because it tastes horrible, no-one likes the legs and it takes 5 times the cooking of a chicken.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Santa Special Train

We took the girls along today to Mizen's Miniature Railway in Woking to ride on the Santa Special trains.  They were very excited and we had booked our slot early to make sure we got as close to Christmas as possible (it was the last set of runs yesterday, 21st).  We arrived and exchanged our receipt for train tickets and drink/mince pie vouchers then set off to queue up.  It was really nice watching the other people on the trains.
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Our time came and we got into a very sweet set of carriages. We each had a little cushion to sit on with one person facing forward (the children) and one backwards (the adults) in each bit.  Off we went.
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The girls were delighted to see teddy bears and snowmen all around the track. N didn't like the smoke from our steam train and kept trying to wave it away (we sat right behind the driver).  Finally we arrived at the tunnel...sorry, Santa's meet the man himself.  He spoke to every child and they got a bag of presents.  Off we went again back around to the station.  Lovely.
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The girls opened their presents while hubby wandered off to get me a cup of tea and the mince pies plus a few bits for the girls. It was very mild so we sat on one of the benches overlooking the station and watched other people getting on and off the trains.  Quite  a few friends from school were spotted!
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After a bit more train spotting, we headed off home.  Another great experience with the super folk from Mizens.
That's all folks!
That's all folks!
Happy Christmas everyone!