Monday, 29 October 2012

Pixie's 4th Birthday Party

My beautiful baby girl is turning 4 tomorrow - eek!  Although my three will always be my babies, I have to face up to the fact that I have a pre-teen, a stroppy 6 year old and very self assured, soon to be 4 year old!

I realised in the summer that I wasn't having any more children as I waved goodbye to the boat of fertility and I totally appreciate that whilst they drive me NUTS the majority of the time, that time indeed does go so quickly and before I know it, they'll be off on a gap year or flying the nest.

Pixie's actually birthday is the 30th and as this always falls in half term, we decided to hold her party on the Sunday beforehand.  When I asked her what sort of party she wanted, she quick as a flash replied "a Halloween party mummy".  I fear that this is going to be something that we repeat again and again.

What makes me laugh so much is how our household has embraced Halloween, growing up, my parents were dead (ha!) set against it and we were never allowed to "trick or treat".  In fact, I used to think it was called "trickle treat" and would watch enviously as the neighbours went out garnering hoardes of sweeties.  Since having the Pixie though, we have totally gone all out - I am talking pumpkin patches in the garden, spiders and bats in the house and more lights than selfridges Christmas windows but it doesn't take much for me to embrace a celebration - my kids are the same!!!

Back to the party.......................

The boys were playing/coaching in a rugby festival in Chiswick so it was down to me to sort the hall out.  I'd gone to poundland earlier in the week after reading good things that other bloggers were saying, and whilst the food deals were AWESOME, the halloween goodies were rubbish.  The majority didn't work (those that needed or had batteries) and I wasted a lot of money there.  Don't bother is my advice!

Halloween cakes all made my HAW

We had hired the local scout hall and it was a freezing cold shell when we arrived, I set to work transforming and hung cobwebs in corners (along with real ones!) sticking wall murals up, and taking a fair bit of time on the party table.  I used cobweb table clothes, and then scattered a vast array of bugs and other creepy crawlies on the table.  We had "witches brew" juice and a cauldron of popcorn.   I had  light up spiders and fake candle lanterns, it looked ace!

We played lots of traditional party games, and SOMEONE had the right hump as she didn't win "pass the parcel".  Can you guess who?
Guess who didn't win pass the parcel

We invited 20 children and everyone dressed up, my party girl was a "Vampire Bat princess" and she really had such a lovely time with all her friends.  We had a spooky dance off, and ended with a game of musical chairs.  All your traditional party games with a Halloween twist.  This is the first party where we haven't had an entertainer and whilst it was hard work, it was incredibly good fun.

It was a lovely birthday party and I hope she remembers it in years to come!

Halloween birthday Cake!

Bat with Lolly
Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Friday, 26 October 2012

Weight Watchers #wwbck2best Week 4

So today is my 4th weigh in and after a shocking loss last week  in which I was fully expecting to put weight ON, it seems that a comment from Michelle is standing true.  She said that despite having a truly shocking week, I may find that the weight will go on the following week.

Well guess what?  She was right!!

Sadly, and despite tracking/drinking water and being generally "good", I have put 2lbs on!!  So in my quest to lose 24lbs before Christmas Eve, this means that I have gone from a 9lbs loss to just 7lbs.  

I'm not going to dwell, I know that in the battle to lose weight you have good and back weeks, and I am certainly NOT going to give up.  This week is going to be tricky, it is Pixie's 4th birthday, half term and we have lots of entertaining planned.  However, I am determined that I am going to lose again this week.

HOw did you get on?

Please link up below so we can all go and support each other!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Thursday, 25 October 2012


Beansey came out of school yesterday and ever so casually dropped into conversation "oh mum, I won a headmistress award today for excellent work and outstanding behaviour".  Now I have never even heard of these before, I certainly don't know anyone who has ever had one and we have been at the school for 5 years.   His class teacher at the moment is AMAZING, one of the best teachers we have had and she is really bringing out the best in him.  She calls him "the dude" which of course he loves and as well as being strict, she is very fair with it.

Yesterday, she told Beansey he had to go to the heads office to "talk about his behaviour" and he told me he was sooooooooooo scared as the other day, he broke up a fight, but one of the boys kicked him and so he hit them back.  It was a bit more than "larking about" and he really thought he was going to get into trouble.

When he arrived in the Heads office, she closed the door, sat him down and said:

"Every once in a while, it is brought to my attention that someone in this school is being exceptional.  It has been brought to my attention that not only are you excelling (he thought she said excellent) at your work, but that you are leading by example and behaving in a way ALL children of this school should be behaving and so, I am awarding you with a certificate of excellence"

He was oh so casual about it but at the same time, you could see he was so SO proud of himself.  I asked a friend who has been in the school a lot longer than me, she said that in 10 years she had only ever known of one other person winning one!  What an amazing achievement!

me and my 3 babies who I am SO proud of

I just want you to know darling, that Daddy and I are also incredibly proud of all you are achieving - keep up the good work!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Babyliss Big Hair - Tutorial for long, Curly Hair

Last week I gave you a tutorial on school run make up in less than 5 minutes and this week I am looking at how you can get salon perfect hair in about 15 minutes.  I don't do this every day as I have naturally curly hair which is uber easy to style (wash and go) but on days that I want a more polished appearance, then my babyliss big hair is my weapon of choice.

I must be insane.  I have put together another tutorial, first you see me with no make up and then you see me with VERY bad hair.  But, I am totally confident in my own skin and just want to demonstrate that you can go from unkept to polished (sort of).

Any questions, as always please do leave them below!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Monday, 22 October 2012

Pass on the Lurve

My real life, best blogging buddy has started of a fabulous linky over on her blog.  You have to write a post about someone in the social media world who means something to you, I know lots of you have met real life friends this way, and it is a lovely way to find out more about someone.

Tamsyn blogged about me and it was such a lovely, touching post (i'll slip you the tenner later!) that I have now decided that I am going to also "pass the lurve" on.  There are so many bloggers that I could do this for and i can't honestly single anyone out for fear of upsetting someone, so I am going to spread it about a bit..... (first time for everything!)

Firstly, Nickie from Tyepcast gets a name check for being so utterly lovely and amazingly selfless, she has been invaluable with advice and I count her as a real, life friend.  She is opinionated but sensitive,  loyal and lovely and really and truly writes from the heart.   I can't believe I haven't got a photo us us together!!!

 Kellie from Big Fashionista and I have been friends for about a year now, and we have giggled our way through a few events whilst quaffing champagne and having a good old natter.  I find her totally inspiring and funny as a writer and am ever so pleased she has FINALLY started writing her book.  I know the outline and it is bloody hilarious!  She has also been so supportive of late, letting me guest post and just checking that I am ok.
Big Fashionista...Champagne at 11am, because thats how we roll!!!
 Another blogging buddy who means a lot to me is tanya from Mummy Barrow who I first tweeted with.  She has a WICKED sense of humour and I knew she was wasted on 140 letters, so, I convinced her to start blogging.  She is now a very well respected blogger, opinionated and so SO thoughtful.  We have been roomies and had the most amount of fun.  I can't wait for another sleepover, sometime soon! (I promise to remember my knickers this time!!)

I first met Sabina from deep in mummy matters about 2 years ago.  We went on a press trip to Germany together and hit it off straight away.  It is always lovely to catch up with her and I really hope I get to see more of her in the future.  Our friendship is one of ease, we just chill out and catch up and I know if we lived closer, we would see tons more of each other.

Lastly, but no means least, I am going to name check Wendy from Inside the Wendy House.  We met under incredibly stressful circumstances and there was a moment in time, when I HATED her and I am sure she felt the same about me.  We then had a chat and realised that in fact, we were being pitted against one another and from that moment forward, our friendship was cemented.  It is such a shame she lives so far away as I'd love to see more of her, and it is through her that I met the Louise from Bloggomy as they go WAAAAAAYYYY back.  Louise came to stay in our London flat after the MADS and we sat up until 5am, drinking wine and putting the world to rights.  It was such a memorable night and we laughed and cried and totally clicked.

So, these are some bloggers that I consider as my real life friends.  All you need to do now is go ahead and do the same!!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Friday, 19 October 2012

Weight Watchers Weekly Weigh in - Week 3

I have a confession to make.

This week I have gone AWOL.  I haven't tracked, I haven't followed and I have pigged out.

I've been working really long, hard hours, suffering from insomnia and just feeling a bit "meh".

However, by the laws of dieting gods, and despite eating chocolate, cake and carbs, I have managed to still lose 2lbs.  I actually feel a bit of a fraud typing that because this week I gave up, I couldn't be bothered.  I self sabotaged.

What I am coming to realise is that dieting for me is not about watching what I am eating, but it is a psychological battle, a case of mind over matter and realising that when I am stressed/sad/tired that chocolate or naughties aren't the answer.  When I gave up smoking years ago, I did it the Alan Carr way and realised that cigarettes can't fill an emotional void, because how can "a cigarette because I am so stressed be the same as a cigarette to relax".  Two opposites, same result.  It just doesn't work like that and I am now slowly coming to that realisation about food.

I'm not one to dwell on the past, today is the start of a new week and whilst I am ECSTATIC that I have continued to lose weight (9lbs in total, 15 lbs to go in my quest to lose 24lbs by Christmas Eve).

This week, more than ever, I need goals.  I set these out below:

1) I will track ANYTHING that passes my lips using the weight watchers app
2) I will drink minimum of 6 glasses of water a day
3) I will limit carbs (this really works for me and affects more than just my waistline, stopping me bloating and feeling sluggish).

I'd love to know how you all get on,  please do link up so I can leave you messages of support as I am really spurred on by all the positive feedback I am getting and need it more than anything to keep me motivated!

Have a good week girls!!

Peace and Love

Super Amazing Mum xoxo

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Goose Bedding Review - the best of the best

If we spend a third of our lives sleeping, then it stands to reason that we must surely have the best possible conditions in which to slumber.   Sleep is essential to our overall wellbeing, we need it to re-charge our brains and bodies, and anyone who has suffered from insomnia or the joys of a new born baby will tell you that lack of sleep is akin to mental torture.

Lack of sleep really does affect our brains ability to function and so it makes sense that we create the most harmonious environment in which to re-charge.

My bedroom is my haven - it is on the top floor away from the children and there isn't a toy in sight.  It is a real grown up boudoir with a delightful en suite and a big, old, comfy bed.  I have a beautiful, vintage eiderdown and only have crisp white bedlinen.  The one thing that I have always coveted though was a down filled duvet, so when I was offered the opportunity to review a goose down duvet from Goose Bedding I was absolutely thrilled.

The story behind Goose bedding is one built on family values and tradition.  The company has been recently re launched by Stefan Bohm who is the Grandson of the original founder.  All goose duvets are made in England and come in a range of sizes with two main fillings - pure new white goose down and new white duck down.  Both are luxurious, light and incredibly warm.   The science behind the duvets is that the down traps the air and makes it warm, in turn, this maintains hear but also allows for the necessary airflow and moisture absorption you don't get with a synthetically filled duvet.

I was sent a king sized goose down duvet and a cot bed sized one for Pixie to test out.  They arrived in their own pillowslips and the first thing you notice is the smell.  Now, if you have had a natural duvet before, you'll know that this is TOTALLY NORMAL so the first thing you must do, is air the duvets, ideally on a line outside for a few hours.

well it would be rude NOT to play Indians amongst the teepee like duvet airing on the line...

Once the duvets have aired, you will notice that they will have really *plumped* up (for want of a better word) and are ready to use.   The minute you put the duvet on the bed, you can really see a difference.  Each individual cell has the same amount of down and this is really aesthetically pleasing on the eye.  I couldn't wait to get into bed and see if the duvet made a difference to my sleep.

I have now slept under the Goose bedding duvet for around two weeks.  It has made a significant difference to the quality of my sleep as the temperature remains consistent through the night.  Getting under the duvet makes me think I am slipping under a warm and fluffy cloud .  It feels utterly decadent to be getting into bed, and whilst the duvet itself is light, it is so warm and snuggly and I could very easily hibernate for a few months.  I think we take for granted the fact that during the night when our body temperature increases or drops according to the temperature outside, that we inevitably end up kicking the covers off or wrapping them around us to keep warm.  With Goose bedding, this is NOT the case as the individually sewn together compartments of the duvet means that you don't end up with an uneven spread of down, resulting in a better quality of sleep.

All goose bedding duvets are made from natural fibres and the weave and yarn density is so high that no down particles can leak out of the cotton casing - the added bonus of this is that mites and dust can't penetrate the fabric.  This is BRILLIANT if you are an allergy sufferer.  They are also 100% down which explains why it was so much better than my last down duvet (40%).

I am so impressed with the quality, craftsmanship and bespoke nature of Goose Bedding that I now want to get the boys single duvets.   Each duvet has a lifespan of approximately 20 years and for a guaranteed better nights sleep, they are worth every penny!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Disclaimer - I was sent a king size and cot size duvet for the purposes of this review.  Prices start at just £78 for a childs duvet.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

School Run Make up in less than 5 minutes

I am a make up addict.  Superficial maybe but a massive confidence booster when I am feeling less than 100%.  Too many late nights and undisturbed sleep means I have bags under the bags and a tired looking complexion.

I see so many school mums who have stopped caring about what they look like.  Have a look around tomorrow, you'll see mums with no make up, looking tired, haggered and fed up.  They have stopped caring as they quite rightly put their families first.

However, it doesn't have to be this way, just because we are looking after everyone else, it doesn't mean we have to stop looking after ourselves.  I strongly believe that if you look after yourself, it makes you the best possible mum you can be as you are presenting yourself to the World at your very best.

Another reason mums say they have stopped wearing make up is down to time.  Again, I disagree, in just 5 minutes you can look polished and presentable, even if you have been up all night!

I've put together my first ever vlog/video tutorial using Benefit products.  If you haven't discovered benefit yet, I implore you to go and have a chat with the lovely, friendly girls at your nearest Benefit counter.  Back in 2010, Benefit featured in my top 5 beauty products and I am pleased to see I am still using the same things!  That's endorsement for you coming from me I promise!

Not only are the products lovely to use, if you buy a kit (like I am demonstrating) they come with easy to use instructions for getting the perfect finish!

If you want me to demonstrate how to do something - maybe smoky eyes, or how to get the perfect pout, please do let me know!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Disclaimer: I am a total make up junkie as regular readers know.  So, when Benefit offered to send me a kit in order for me to demonstrate how to perfect school run make up, I was thrilled.  All opinions and wrinkles are mine and mine alone (but if anyone wants me to demonstrate botox, say the word!)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Boys and Rugby

Yesterday we were at Camberley for a rugby festival.  It was the third weekend in a row that we had been away, and whilst Beansy has moved up to contact, BoBo has just started his festival career.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday, it was a beautiful day and the Under 7's won the whole festival (3rd in a row and unheard of!) with some great tackling and tries from BoBo whilst Beansey is playing proper contact (heart stopping moments) and loving it!

Have a good week people!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Cute Baby Picture Alert!!

Tots 100 and Boots are holding a competition to find the cutest baby picture and if you are the lucky winner, you could bag yourself £500 worth of boots vouchers!   Never one to not enter into the spirit of things, here is my entry:

This is my daughter Pixie, aged about 18 months and at the time, I was despairing that she would EVER get rid of her dummy!  I'd never given the boys a dummy, they were both content without, but Pixie was a little minx from the word go and loved her "Do-Do" from the start.   By the time she got to about 8 months, she would be waking in the night, looking for her dummy and I really got tough when she was a year old and restricted it to bedtime only.  However, with 3 children under the age of 5, that was never going to work as my eye was constantly off the ball and I would turn around and she would have found one!

By the time she was coming up to a year and a half, I just knew it was time to go.  She was getting even more addicted and even saying that "Dodo my best friend".  I'd turn around and find her with 2 in her mouth, one in each hand and one next to her on the sofa!  

Enough was Enough.  

We made a huge deal about the "dummy fairy" coming to get all of her dummies, which I didn't have any hope of working, but lo and behold, one night we put them all into a bag, wrote a letter to the "dummy fairy" and she went to bed that night with her dolly and without a dummy.  The next morning, there was a note from the fairies with some chocolate eggs and she totally and utterly took it in her stride.

She occasionally still asks for a dummy, and if she finds one on the street abandoned she wants to bring it home for the fairies to collect, but looking back at this picture reminds me of the once cute and gorgeous baby I had.  That baby is now 3 and at pre-school!

This picture was snapped with my iphone using instagram.

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

This blog post has been written as an entry into the Tots 100 competition in association with Boots Mother and Baby and if I was lucky enough to win, I would buy a new pushchair as mine is nearly 9 years old!!!!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Weight Watchers - Week 2

Although this is my third post regaling tales of my journey to lose 24lbs in time for Christmas, today is actually my second weigh in.

Along with 20 other bloggers, I am taking part in the #wwback2best challenge and this week has been a mixed one.  Buoyed on by my 4lb loss last week I totally and utterly sabotaged myself last weekend.  I took Pixie to a party and ate gorgeous homemade lemon cupcakes, a HUGE wedge of chocolate cake and more carbs than you can shake a stick at.  I was over my point allowance and weekly *overdraft* before the weekend had even finished, and I knew it was going to take a LOT to get back on track.

With me, weight loss is a mental battle as well as a physical one.  It was almost as if I was rewarding myself for doing so well and I know this is something I need to work on.  I have never noticed this before, but because I am tracking everything I eat, I can see that I am more inclined to be an emotional eater.  

So, with Monday being a new day, I decided to bank a few of the points I had used to overindulge.  This is where the weight watchers mobile app comes into play.  I was able to search for Zero point recipes and I spent the next 4 days, snacking on fruit (zero points) and filling up on vegetables.

Admittedly, this was boring, I had no treats but it obviously worked as I am pleased to announce that this week I have lost a further 3lbs!!!!!!!  This means that I am now 7lbs (or half a stone!) down in 2 weeks of following the weight watchers plan.

My goal is 24lbs to lose before Christmas Eve.  This means I have only 17lbs to go and I feel very optimistic that if I continue to follow the plan, then this is achievable.

I'd love to know how you all get on,  please do link up so I can leave you messages of support as I am really spurred on by all the positive feedback I am getting!

Have a good week girls!!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Family Fun with Mattel Games!

I adore the Autumn.  The sporting season for football and rugby kicks off which means that the boys are playing in matches and festivals pretty much every weekend morning.  

  We spend a lot of time outdoors but weekend afternoons always means a few things in the colder months:

1) HAW cooking up a feast in the kitchen for either Saturday supper or Sunday Lunch
2) Home to watch a film, snuggled up on the sofa eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate
3) Family games galore!

We were lucky to be invited to test out a few new mattel games.  First up was Mattel Junior Scrabble which was my favourite game as a child.  The junior version is suitable for children aged 5+ and is a double sided game.  The first side is "words and pictures" which is aimed at children aged 5-8 years old, but after a few minutes of this, it was quite clear that BoBo aged 6 would be able to handle the other side which is more you traditional "classic" version of the original game, with a bag of letters and blue counters to keep score.   We played as a three, and it was lovely to see the boys interacting as they played against each other and tried to beat me! 

We really enjoyed this and have played several times.  It is definitely a family favourite and really helps them with their spelling and pre planning thinking.  I think that when the Pixie is a bit older, we will be able to give the * easier* side a go as she is very keen to sit up and see what is going on!  The boys give this 8/10.

Next up was Chameleon Crunch which is aimed at pre schoolers aged 4+.  This was a game that Pixie (aged nearly 4) really, really loved!!!!  It is a silly game but really fun!  You each have to feed a blue chameleon a variety of bugs from butterflies to grasshoppers and whoever has the most bugs in his mouth when he stops moving is the winner!  Despite this being aimed at pre-schoolers,  the boys LOVED playing this as well, I think the fact that the Chameleon spits the bugs out at various intervals  has something to do with it!!  What I liked most about this though, is that I could leave the kids to play it unsupervised!  They all give this a massive 10/10.  Be WARNED - you need to buy batteries though!!

Finally, we reviewed Uno Roboto and I have to say here, none of us had ever played this before.  It is a very simple game of strategy, the first player to get rid of their cards, is the winner!  The Robot though, brings this to life.  At the start of the game, you record each players name, of course this soon turned into the "main event" as names such as "Farty thunderpants" and "skinny knickers" were recorded.  You then choose a house rule which really personalises the game each time.  This is a fast paced and really amusing game.  Our house rules included:

1) Run up and down the stairs 3x
2) Pretend to be a monkey
3) Jump up and down 10 times

It was a brilliant, interactive game that I have already bought for my nephews 10th Birthday present.  I am so glad we discovered Uno as the whole family gives it a massive 10/10.  Once we had figured out the rules, there really was no stopping us!

Do you have a favourite family board game??  If so, what is it?

I can't wait for more snuggly winter afternoons!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Disclaimer: “I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I have been paid expenses and supplied with a product sample for this review but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

This is a Netmum's sponsored review.To find out more click the button:

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Super Amazing Mum Loves........

It's been a while since I last posted, but this week I have to tell you all about the most amazing product I found whilst  we were in France on holiday this year.

For those of you that haven't been into a French pharmacie, I implore you to please do this once in your life if you love your beauty products.   I first fell in love with a French pharmacie back in the early 90s when I was working for a TV station that had its European HQ in Paris.   

It is a totally different experience to the UK, the pharmacies have tons and tons of skincare which for a long time you couldn't get in the UK.  You can now see some of the bigger brands in the UK and they really are worth investigating.  IF you see brands such as Caudalie, Nuxe Paris and La Roche Posay it really is worth trying them out.  What the French don't know about skincare, is NOT worth knowing!

One of the first things I do on holiday in France, is to dash to the nearest hypermarket and stock up on a jumbo sized bottle of Evian Facial Spray it is the perfect antidote to hot, sticky, faces and the whole family loves being squirted with the water to cool down and refresh.  You can buy it in the UK but it never seems the same spraying in wet old England as it does on a hot beaches of Ile De Re!

It is instantly absorbed and if you keep it in the fridge, it is a real treat anytime.

Anyway, as much as I LOVE Evian facial spray, I stumbled up La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water spray whilst browsing and thought I would give it a try.  It didn't disappoint and I found that after a few sprays a day, for a few days, my skin was so plumped up and youthful looking!  I don't know how it is different to the Evian, but it is.  My skin was refreshed and hydrated and I am still using this 2-3 times a day.  It is definitely something that I will always have in my bag, even on cold, rainy days in the UK!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Saturday, 6 October 2012

APPLE - Great products, Dreadful Service. What does Tim Cook CEO Apple UK think?

Serious Complaint about Apple UK

I am so, SO frustrated right now.

Back in late August, I made the decision to switch from PC to MAC.  We have two Imacs for the business, I have an iphone and ipad and so it really made sense to upgrade.  We are apple-aholics and I wanted to integrate a laptop into the overall technology strategy that we have in both the business and home environment.

I called Apple direct, where, after a long chat with a sales consultant, I decided to go for a refurbished 15" macbook pro that had a higher specification as this suited the nature of my business as a photographer.   I also took out Apple Care and paid the balance in full.

The macbook arrived and I was really pleased to see it came with a "transfer assistant" which would painlessly transfer the data on my PC to the macbook pro.  This was scheduled to take 32 hours but got stuck with 32 minutes to go.  I tried this 3x before calling Apple.  They advised me to do this via an external hard drive, and advised me to buy a Seagate Go Flex for PC and MAC to help with the transition.  This cost me an additional £140.  I then spent another day waiting to set this up, and again the process did not work.

Finally, in frustration, I called Apple who advised to try a cable to cable transfer.  The cable cost £2 and again, this took a full day to make the transfer.  Finally, after a LOT of to-ing and fro-ing across a period of a week, I had all my files on the macbook Pro.  Happy days!  Or so I thought.

Everything seemed to be working until I put my SD Extreme card into the port.  This crashed the macbook pro as well as erasing ALL data on the SD card.  The data was my children training with the England Rugby team and this once in a lifetime opportunity is now lost forever.  My children are devastated.  I put this down to "one of those things" and carried on using the macbook pro.  Cost of SD Card £40, Value of images lost: Priceless

The following week, my business partner gave me some files to edit (we are photographers) and when I put the USB stick into the MAC, it went into "Kernel panic mode" erased all data and shut down.  I called Apple (again,spent hours on the phone) and we then tried interesting a brand new USB stick.  Again, the computer went into panic mode.

We then re installed the system and tried yet another brand new (different make) USB stick and again the computer went into panic mode.

Apple then accepted that the the re conditioned macbook pro I had been sold had a hardware issue concerning the port entries and agreed to replace this with a like for like replacement.

The following week, myself and my business partner waited in (me on the Wednesday, her on the Friday) for delivery.  We had NO calls, no delivery and NO cards in the door.  Yet, "apparently" delivery had been tried.  Eventually, the driver left the replacement macbook pro with a neighbour which I collected yesterday.  Days taken of work to wait in for delivery: two,  Monetary value £500.

I then went to set the new (replacement) Macbook pro up, and was just about to start transferring data from the original macbook pro to the new one, when I noticed that the specification was NOT the same.  It was a downgrade.  I called Apple who again admitted this was a mistake and that I would be sent a newer replacement with an upgraded specification.  They admitted that they were at fault for a second time and that the time and effort was inexcusable.

I was assigned as a PRIORITY1 and then the courier farce began.  My business partner and I both waited in at our respective homes, on different days for delivery.  We had NO cards in the door and NO delivery, despite the courier company saying this was the case.  This happened 3 (!) times before they left the replacement with a neighbour of my business partner.

I wrote an official letter of complaint at this stage - if any of you have done this you will know that you are guaranteed a reply within 24 hours.  Did I get one?  What do you think? NOTHING.

At the same time, they were also keen to collect the faulty macbook pros - the first courier came with NO id and I refused to hand over the macbooks as advised by Apple.  In the end, they organised a one hour courier for collection.  They now have NO record of this despite authorising it themselves.  

The third macbook pro (again, refurbished) arrived, a newer model with a similar specification.  I then spent another 3 days transfering data from my old laptop to the new macbook pro.  Everything was working beautifully until (yep, you guessed it) I inserted a USB stick.  Again, the macbook shut down into panic mode.  

By this stage, I am beyond furious.  I email the CEO of Apple UK as well as the head of PR.  

Guess what, I then get a phone call from the Executive Department who want to talk to me about the "issues".  They admit they are in the wrong, they admit mistakes have been made and they admit that there are problems.   They offer me a solution.

This was it:

"We will offer you a full refund and you can then go into an Apple Store to purchase a new one.  We will give you a £200 discount".  So at my own expense, I have to travel (hour away) to my nearest apple store and spend yet MORE money on a new one? (Cost approx £1,500 less £200 discount so I'll have to still pay out more!)

So, you admit your company are at fault, you admit I have been sent two faulty products, you admit and accept that I have spent in excess of 80 hours trying to resolve this situation and you say you are very "sorry".  WEll I am sorry Apple, that doesn't cut the mustard with me.

I am absolutely disgusted at the level of incompetence show by Apple.  Firstly, a refurbished MAC isn't checked properly and yet still sent out with faulty ports and secondly, whoever is meant to check the spec is like for like is also at fault, then a third macbook pro is also faulty.  Not to mention the incompetence of the delivery service.  You admit ALL of this, but still only offer me £200 in compensation.

The total cost to me (so far)

SD Card: £40
3 USB Sticks: £60
Seagate Goflex as recommended by Apple: £140
2 days off work waiting in for courier: £500
More than 40 hours spent on the phone to apple trying to sort this out: £2,500
Cost of losing photographs: - PRICELESS.

The inconvenience and incompetence shown is incorrigible.  I find it incomprehensible that a company such as Apple is providing this level of service and I want to highlight that despite having an amazing platform and product, that the service offered to us consumers is diabolical.  I was even offered FREE help from a senior technician, but of course, I pay for applecare so how is this free?  Ridiculous.

In the recent case between Samsung, Tim Cook, CEO made a special note of Apple's ethos being less about money and moe about values and he said:

"Today, values have won and I hope the whole world listens."

Exactly what I hope this blog post will do.

So, please leave your comments of support below, please tweet using the #applegate and stand up for the ordinary consumer - to be fobbed off like this is beyond all reasoning.  

Thank you for reading this.

Kind Regards

S.A.M xoxo

Friday, 5 October 2012

Weight Watchers - Week 1

Last Friday, I took a positive step towards losing weight that I have gained form having the children and an under-active thyroid.  I started Weight Watchers.  I really want to lose 24lbs by the 24th December, and I am BEYOND HAPPY to say that this week, I have lost 4lbs!!!!!!!!!!!


So, how did I do that and how did I find it?

I have a daily ProPoint allowance and a rather swanky app on my phone that allows me to track everything I am eating and drinking.    Obviously my phone is always with me and so I am able to track what and when I am consuming which means there is no room for error.

I have to be honest, I am still not 100% sure I am using the app properly, I feel as if I am just scratching the surface so I have set myself the following mini goals for this week:

1) Become more competent at using the app
2) Cook from the weight watchers cook book
3) Aim for a 2lb weight loss
4) Drink more water

I think having mini  goals are good.  Have you set yourself any?

This is a blog hop.  I would LOVE it if you joined in and supported all the others on their journey.  We are tweeting as well using #back2best and have a facebook group which is great.  If you want to join in, please leave a link to your post on the blog and show some love on all the other blogs taking part.  

Good Luck!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo