Sunday, 11 September 2016

What A Snake! ReptoParty - Daniel Barnes - Cancelled on Day of Party!


So we're very clear this review relates to the above named - Daniel Barnes who trades as ReptoParty who's business is registered in Redhill. Here is a link to his facebook page so we are clear this is the company I am referring to as have many on the internet.

I am writing this review on behalf of two friends of mine who were let down by this man on the day/night before of their children's party. However, upon simply googling the name into a search engine, we discovered there have been many parents that have been let down. Their anger and frustrations have been hoovered up via social media. I suspect this is a full time job in itself.

Upon, further investigation it transpires that letting down children on the day of the party is common place and whilst we do accept he turns up for parties - there are many that he doesn't - leaving children understandably upset and extremely disappointed.  Not to mention the parents left with a huge amount of stress to sort out.

So, to cut a long story short, my friend pays the full amount (alarm bells ringing yet - not a deposit but the full amount) of approximately £112.50 for a reptile party for her son's 7th birthday. Now the reason she paid the full amount is because he said she would be unable to receive the special offer if she didn't. Beware of the special offers. Maybe it's a special because there isn't a party!

It all seems reasonable - there's a well liked facebook page, pictures etc although funnily enough you can't 'review' on his facebook page. Any good business would want that function would they not? She had also not seen the many negative google reviews attached to his business (since deleted). Again, why would you not want your business listed on google?

Nor did she spot the disgruntled mums on mumsnet in July and August which you can read here and here. There are also reviews on The Sun's website - ALL negative. Some claiming that they didn't receive a refund and another here on Yell. And here's an example of people sharing on facebook. Please take the time to read all these comments. Edit - since writing this blog post he has become prolific at cancellations with a whole range of fantasy excuses and these people aren't getting a refund. If this has happened to you then please report to watchdog, police, trading standards. Here is a link to a West Wickham mums group where the sheer extent of it is quite staggering.  One mother has taken to warning every facebook group he joins and has even designed the picture below. You only have to google his name and/or reptoparty into facebook to see the extent of this.  Edit - he has since made a public apology blaming stress/anxiety. He says he sometimes trebled booked parties - well that would be an understatement. I hope that he will now unblock all the people he blocked and refund them their money. He has removed all negative comments on his facebook page.

Ultimately people paid for a service and they did not get that service. He has admitted this. They are now seeking a refund which many have not received.  If you have had a party booked, cancelled on the day and not received a refund then there is now a support group on facebook. It's intention is to get your money back and report to various organisations along with the police. Click here to join. You will need to prove that you have been let down and not refunded.


I digress - a month or so prior to her son's party, she learns from another friend in the same area, that he cancelled the night before (wow that was an improvement on 6 am on the morning). The friend said he had a plausible explanation - he has an impressive array of excuses although I think he's going to have to come up with some new ones for 2017. Anyhow, he was very sorry and offered a refund. Still sounds okay.

My friend assumes it's a one off and messages via facebook to double check all is okay for her son's birthday. Yes, still okay for the Saturday. On the morning of the party she gets a message to say his partner has gone into early labour - a brief look on social media revels this isn't the case at all. In addition, he was merrily tweeting that night about football and the like.  A whole load of if's and maybe's follow - not totally cancelling but putting the seed of doubt and best you look around for someone else in the mind.  Clever in itself - not a 100% cancel just a do you really want to risk it and putting the ball in the customers court and making them cancel rather than the other way around. Then his 'sister' has taken over the facebook page as now he's at the hospital - seriously this story could give Walter Mitty a run for his money.

The effort involved to fob people wouldn't he be better off just doing the party? Luckily, my friend arranges for another company - the same company the other friend had to use - who sigh and say "oh yes this chap we've had loads that have been cancelled by him." I won't put their name in the same blog post as wouldn't want them to be associated with this one.

They can do the afternoon. She then phones all the guests to come at 3pm rather than 11 am. Due to her insistence to get her money back it is refunded but not before she is blocked on twitter, facebook and of course no phone call.  Hardly the actions of an innocent man?

Now why do this?  Well, I have several theories which are, of course, just my opinions but feel free to add some. Perhaps the business grew too fast and couldn't cope with demand? Perhaps he wakes up in the morning and thinks nah can't be arsed to go further a field.

If people are prepared to give you £112 months before the so called party and you don't refund - well what would you call that? Or if you can't get away with not refunding the 'special offer' (which is too cheap if you think of travelling expenses etc it's not worth his while) and you book 20 parties on one day you have no intention of turning up to - that's a lot of money to sit on. Repeat this over and over and you've got some serious cash flow going on.

As he does turn up to parties and people are naturally, very happy with him you can do this for quite a long time. Do you want to take the risk that you're the no show for your child's party. It is my view, based on the whole host of internet comments, that these cancellations are pre meditated. There are simply just too many of them.

A lot of effort and planning goes into a child's party - the decorations, the invites, the cake, the food, chasing rsvp's. Do you really need the extra hassle of the entertainer not turning up?! But more importantly what reasonable person would want to let down 30 plus children waiting eagerly for reptiles to come a visiting? Only one man can answer that one.

The Birthday Boy's rather wonderful cake that his mother made and who managed to make sure the party went ahead. 

Until next time - which will be quick after my mini break from blogging

This review is an honest and true account - as my readers have come to expect of all products and services reviewed on this blog - of what has happened to 2 friends of mine and is backed up with evidence readily available following the enclosed links and searching on google

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Euro Undecided?


I should be watching the England v Wales game currently live on BBC1, however, I am switching off from the outside world (and hopefully I won't hear the latest scores at school pick up) and will watch it later with all the family.  Ordinarily the Euros is a tournament that lifts a nation and gives us a general sense of merriment for a few weeks (even when the inevitable happens - England getting knocked out). But sadly this year has just been one big shit fest what with the referendum splitting the nation and the violence seen at the tournament. Edit - only a few hours after writing this post Labour MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered after leaving her surgery. The man was heard to be shouting 'Britain First'.  An awful tragedy.  RIP Jo Cox.

Who decided to call the European Referendum during these tournaments for starters?  Are you a Brexiteer or a Remain or even worse an Undecided? I don't get the undecided - how can you be undecided? How can you not make a decision?  Is it because, as a nation we are so used (and like) to being told what to do, that given a 'choice' we are simply incapable? Or maybe we shouldn't have to - we elect MPs so they can do that on our behalf. This referendum should never have been called. Some say we don't know who to believe, we haven't had all the facts, how can we make a decision? Well, a decision you have to make and not just for you but for your children and their children.



The phrase I hear a lot banded about by the Leavers is "we can make our own decisions" - this has to be the most idiotic statement of the lot.  What fantasy land do people live in when they actually think that the British Parliament is in any way democratic?  The House of Lords are full of unelected individuals that make our laws. Let us just reflect on our 'own decisions' that the EU had nothing to do with. Fill in any gaps - these are not biased in anyway to a certain party (although most are Tory policies #justsayin). So here goes on 'our decisions':-

Privitasition of the Royal Mail, Closing perfectly fully functioning hospitals (this had nothing to do with immigration we chose to do this). Closing of public libraries - and as The Telegraph wrote here it's a fine way to keep the poor powerless. Closing Surestart centres, Student fees going from £3,000 to £9,000. Fortnightly Bin Collections. Zero hours contracts. Poor Workers rights. Cuts to Disability benefits. Cuts to Child benefit - removed for mid earners. Bedroom Tax. Privatisation of Schools! Yes Schools - soon to be the DVLA and anything else that isn't nailed down.  Privatisation of vast sections of the NHS. Teaching Crisis. SATS. Prison Crisis. Fracking. Bombing the shit our of Iraq for no other reason but to remove a dictator which was replaced by something far worse. How's that working out for us?

Dipping into the 1980s - we sold off affordable housing and couldn't be arsed to build anymore so now we have people living in B&Bs at an astronomical cost to the tax payer, we sold off BT, closed our natural resources - the coal industry. What ever happened to home grown industries!! The rail network (incidentally the Germans re-invest the profits in our railways to pump back into their national railways - smart), Water and Electricity.

So if we leave the EU we can make more of our own decisions. Well I can't fucking wait to see what's in store for us. Yay to making more shit decisions.

People say the EU are making all our decisions. Name me one decision that the EU has made on your own life where you get up in the morning and think "those fuckers in Brussels have really done it this time".  Exactly.

And if immigration, migration or refugees get your goat.  Firstly, the refugees fleeing Syria aren't European so if they are determined (helped by some Brits recently) to get a boat and dodge the English Chanel to get here - leaving the EU ain't going to stop them.  More immigrants are from non EU countries again leaving the EU has no impact on that.  We do have control of our borders - we have so many opt out clauses in the EU it's a wonder they haven't asked us to leave before now. We have our own currency for christ's sake! Do you really think the French are going to help us out in any way shape or form if we leave? No.

Again, how has immigration impacted on you? Can't get a doctors appointment, a school place, the job that you never even applied for? The services are under pressure because of the political choice of austerity not immigration.

Freedom of movement - so what if you child wants to study in the EU and work there. They'll have a better chance of affordable housing at any rate. You'd deny them that? Yes, people can come here to work from other EU countries but Jesus this country is EXPENSIVE many return having worked for peanuts and realising that it's not quite the promised land.  Are you going to do the poorly paid job in a farmers field? No, us Brits have always used migrants for the shit jobs as it's beneath us.  And as for Turkey - really you really believe they'd get in? Have a word.

In or Out this has done nothing but divide the country and will continue to do so for years to come. Ultimately this country will get what it deserves.

Finally, if you really still can't decide then can I remind anyone who voted for Nick Clegg how than panned out and if that doesn't do it think of the utter nightmare this would be...


Be back soon with updates on workouts and what not!







Thursday, 2 June 2016

Howdy

So, it's been a while. Life is busy and I like to live it rather than document it hence the absences on here. Although, if truth be told it's more about sitting down at 8.30pm after sorting the herberts out and not being in the mood to write. I do have a blog post in the pipeline on booking holidays in France.  I did one last year on driving in France but this year I shall do an idiots guide to self catering with useful links etc.

Well, I've lost just over a stone since January.  I was going to Glow which was good in a way - you get weighed, you sit with a lot of old people (again amusing), chat about the latest food to eat (clean eating - avocados, nuts, coconut oil - oh my coconut oil is all the rage - wait 10 years and it'll be out of fashion) and then the workout. Now, there have been a few weeks where I've stayed the same and then lost a 1lb and I thought I'm not paying this if I am not losing consistently.  They don't have a magic wand. The workouts were a bit lame it has to be said and £ for £ it wasn't good value. One lady told me (like many they come for the social aspect rather than the actual weight loss) that she had been coming for 5 years and had put on 2lb that week. But I was reliably informed that had she not been weighing in for half a decade, she would be far bigger than she is now. Or maybe she would have been quids in.

And there in lies the problem with slimming clubs (which as this had exercise and just a clean eating guide rather than a strict guide I thought was better) is that you get into the mindset that you can't slim without them and invaribly you actually create bad habits i.e pigging out after the day of weigh in.  No one should be going to a slimming club for 5 years - either consistently or on and off.  Slim people do not go to slimming clubs only overweight people do. Those overweight people tend to continue to lose some, maybe a lot but then put on weight. But the slim people just stay slim without going to these clubs. They have the best mental approach and self control!

So, I've changed tactics a bit.  This club was great to get me back in the zone and get my fitness up to a level.  I am now a member of puregym - it's like the travelodge of the gym world. It's no frills i.e no swimming pool, cafe, sauna etc but it is great value with no contract and you can geniunely cancel at anytime.  It costs £19.99 a month. This is cheaper than my one class and a weigh in.  Last week I have been to a kettlebell, pump and spin workout and I'm still alive. It's half term this week so I haven't been but next week I've booked in for another 3 classess.

I think I did get lucky though as I was able to book on line relatively easily as it just opened. However, I have recently found out that the times of the classes come up at 12.00 am - yes that sounds like a good idea said no gym user ever. Wonder why they didn't promote that on their PR onslaught? I have seen tweets whereby all classes are gone by 12.05 am! Well, I'll be darned if I'm going to set an alarm and wake myself up so I'll just chance my arm and go on a waiting list or just turn up. Watch this space to see if my membership gets cancelled asap.  So far so good though.

By the way, I seem to earn more money from this blog when I'm not writing than when I do write? Go figure.

Be back soon...

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Fitness Goals = Richard Ashcroft's cheekbones



Now, if you don't know who Richard Ashcroft is you need to leave immediately!  Only kidding, he only wrote arguably the best album of the 1990s.

Better than Oasis..can I even say.... The Stone Roses? Open to an intense debut by hardcore Indie fans.  Anyhow, that album, Urban Hymns was immense.  It came out in 1997 - the year of my travelling around Europe and also the soundtrack to an ill fated 'make or break' holiday with my ex. The clue is in that last sentence.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Parentdom - The Rise Of The Parent Martyr


Yes. You heard right. I don't know if this phrase has been coined yet but if it hasn't I'm bagging it thank you very much.  I've just done a quick google and the only thing I can see is it being the 'authority of a parent'. Well forget that for me its the constant parent type articles in the form of martyrdom.

Sadly, I don't see it becoming unfashionable anytime soon. Writers, bloggers, newspapers are getting a lot of mileage on the struggles of parenthood and it always reverts back to that wailing "but what about me?!" parent. For example, you'll see some regurgitated crap along the lines of  before I had kids my hair and clothes looked nice but now they don't and I look shit. I'm fairly confident that I would look shit with or without kids as I'm partial to a diary cream slice. In fact, minus children I could probably fill up my little singleton basket with all manner of fattening food. If I didn't have kids I wouldn't cook from scratch (another phrase - its just getting food and cooking it - not hard) and this would mean one thing and one thing only baby - TAKE AWAYS!! I digress. Back to the parent martyrs.

Or, now I have kids (erm the ones you wanted presumably?) I can't sit on my laptop, Iphone without being interrupted cue groan and some illustrated picture of you and your first world problem. Oh how the masses chuckle at these depictions of parenthood. Oh yes that's so true let's share on facebook.

Oh look! Look at this mess - sigh now I have kids my house isn't perfect. Yes, like it would be pre kids? Or, I don't go out now as I have kids and they sap and drain all my energy. Oh I can't read a book on holiday because I have kids. Shut the %&@!! it's sooooo BORING! People who don't have kids must read this drivel and think - crikey we made a good choice there it sounds a right old hassle.

No it's not really but there is a whole industry based on making parenthood some sort of martydom. Like we all struggle on, look at us giving up everything for the sake of our children but we're not really happy at all. I don't even find these things amusing anymore. I just think get off your lazy arse and put some effort in. Why can't you switch channels from cbeebies to the news? Why can't you sling your kids out into the garden and tell them to come off the devices? Because you can't be arsed and its much easier to write and moan about it than to actually just get on with it like thousands of parents before us did.

The other day on twitter a PR company were looking for parents to feature in a documentary - they wanted people to get in touch on "how they did it". Say what? Parenting. How you do parenting. Are you serious? How do you think? How do you think millions before us had children and raised them?

Another article was bemoaning the fact of the differences between the 70s and now. But there was a slight variation normally these articles are about how kids had more freedom in a safer society. Very true. However, this parent had managed to bring it back on herself (there's a shock) to say that parents had it easier as they could kick the kids out in the garden etc. The article was entitled "Are parents getting a raw deal?" Basically she spent the whole article telling us that her children were in charge and therefore she was getting a raw deal having to entertain these feckers. Here's a thought - unplug the devices, kick them out in the garden, don't let them have everything and say (as I often do) "I'm not here to entertain you". Parent Martyrs make a rod for their own back and then write about how hard it all is.

I'm pretty sure our ancestors weren't documenting the hassle of having to get to the workhouse again with those frigging kids. Oh before I had kids I could come here on my own!

Yes there is an element of truth - the sight of lego all over the floor can make a grown woman think dark thoughts. However, it is brief.  Less than 5 seconds that's not even time to draw or write about it. I, and I'm sure lots of my friends will agree, that as you're sweeping it together you appreciate that your kids are being messy, creative and you'll be missing the sight of  this same lego strewn across the floor 10 years from now.  Yes, that's right when those bloggers/writers will be depicting themselves weeping and wailing at the same children they couldn't wait to shove up to bed 10 years earlier so they can drink some prosecco. Oh yes, this is the drink of parentdom. We must drink prosecco.

Anyhow, on the weight loss front -1lb this week so back on track. I did a kettlebell work out on Monday and cycled 10 miles today!  Onwards and downwards - now off to pick up lego and count my blessings that there will still be lots of this stuff in my house for years to come. Because it will be a sad, sad day when there is none left to pick up and then I'll be drinking that awful prosecco!

Until next time..