Saturday, 15 April 2017

New Blog...

...Howdy, people. I may dip in here from time to time. My new blog is called Our Normandy Life thank you for all your support over the years. I would be delighted if you jumped on over. Farewell for now.

Natasha xx

Monday, 13 February 2017

End Of An Era

Well hello, hello.  I know, sit down - I am actually writing a blog post from my semi-retirement. Isn't it ironic - don't you think - that I have less time to write now all 3 of my kids are at school. Go figure.

Anyhow, what's new with me well since September 2016 I got myself a personal trainer so I did.  I had joined PureGym (did you know they don't actually pay their staff?! They work for free on the basis you will get some personal trainer work?!!) - you know the really cheapo one for £20 per month and had been going to classes from April 2016. I did spinning, fat burn, weights and circuit training. I felt good - working up a sweat and all that jazz but lost sod all weight. People bang on about muscle weighing heavier and all that - no it doesn't! A stone is stone, a pound is as pound whether it's fat or muscle.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Update - Review of Reptoparty

For those who are following this sorry saga - here is my review of Reptoparty - that was written on the back of two of my friends parties that were cancelled on the day of their child's birthday party.

Dan Barnes failed to comment on this blog post although he is quite active, naturally, on his own facebook page. He seems to be rather indignant that parents can possibly take to the internet to vent their rage, frustration and disappointment. How very dare they! 

He has admitted cancelling parties, he has admitted he has metal issues surrounding anxiety and depression. This is not in any doubt.  Even going so far as to say it was so bad he couldn't get out of the house. He fails to say he was able to go on many a holiday including a long haul to Egypt no less! He claims this is all an unjust witch hunt to put him out of business and look he even does Scout bookings so surely he must be okay?

He fails to mention on his facebook page that he hasn't actually refunded many he cancelled as he spent the money. You would't have any financial issues if you take money for bookings, don't show up and refund them would you? He fails to give people the reasons he gave for not showing up - his dad dying being one of the many creative reasons.

By the way, the definition of a 'scam' is the following:-

an illegal plan for making moneyespecially one that involves trickingpeople:

It is an offence is it not to take someone's money with no intention of providing a service, spending that money and not refunding it. Tick. The key here is 'tricking people' - tricking people into thinking something is 100% genuine i.e pictures of parties, tricking people into paying the full amount via friends and family on paypal so you can't reclaim that money, all negative comments removed, blocking people to prevent this and disabling the review function on a facebook page, making out that it is everyone else who has the problem. Do we need to continue. This man has more tricks up his sleeve than the late Paul Daniels

He did refund quite a few members who were in the 'scam' group for the sole purpose of shutting it down. But he failed to refund many he held particular grudges against. I'm not sure why he still can't refund £200 to Acorn care home. Can you see this still on the facebook page? No, of course, you can't as it's been deleted.  This was for brain damaged adults. He had done a few parties for the care home before. This wasn't in the summer when he claims it all went wrong for him. This was months before. He just got bitten by social media and had to come up with some lame reason as to why he does what he does.

Yarp no mention of that. And no mention that only a week or so ago he cancelled on the day and the membership of the scam group reached a record high with many asking to join. No mention of that.

 You can see how many comments are deleted by clicking on them the number reduces dramatically from what it originally says. Facebook - a mere check on the number of people this man has to block should be enough reason to close the page down alone.

Well I would say this - if a restaurant is bad do you leave a good review on tripadvisor? No you don't. Whilst he has been prolific at trying to hoover up anything negative on social media (getting a refund/scam fb group taken down etc) there is no getting away from the facts that this man books parties, shows up to some and doesn't for others.  Parents document this for no other reason than to 1) warn other parents this could happen and 2) to simply get their money back. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just refund the people you owe money too.

I should add that the reason that Mr Barnes maintains that if you cancelled because of what you found out on the internet then you are not allowed a refund.  He states it's because of some jumped up rules regarding payment and the 'offer' blah blah. You are not entitled to a refund. There was no contract, there are no rules just what he imposes on people. There is no refund as the money has been spent.

The crux of the matter is people book solely based on a facebook page, pay via friends and family (a trick) paypal and then it's a lottery as to whether or not you get your money back.  Not only is the logic to this just absurd - ultimately any professional does not spend the monies taken for bookings months in advance.  This proves my own view that this was all about generating a huge turnover of cash and the cash has dried up based on his own actions. No one else's. It is fair and reasonable to have second thoughts when you find out someone has a party the same time as yours miles apart. It is fair and reasonable not to take a chance on a man who has been doing this under 3 separate 'business names' for over 3 years. For example, one mother chose to cancel as her husband died recently and didn't want to take a chance on him not showing. That's fair and reasonable wouldn't you say. He did, however, refund this lady - eventually.  Pay back people's hard earned money.

These people have done nothing wrong. They are not the bad guys. They are not witches on a hunt. 

If people cannot do their own research and do a simple 'google' of his name/party then that is their look out. I have no interest in warning people individually. If he chooses to use Scot groups for PR to entice bookings then that's down to those groups. It is somewhat disappointing that people are quite okay to book a man who openly has issues. 

It is okay for other people's children to be let down so long as it's not your own. I try and teach my children to have a moral compass so what are we teaching our children? It's okay to use people that do this to others as long as our party is good? And the parents are the witch hunters?

Enjoy your parties and if he does show up then you can be thankful to all the parents that have shamed him into honouring bookings. If it wasn't for those parents then you most certainly would have been on the 'witch hunt' side. Good luck to you all!

Until next time when I will round up the year and the end of an era

As you have come to expect from a nearly award winning blogger (2014!)of Britmums, Top 500 Tots 100 blogger - this review is an honest and true account of Reptoparty. Thank you for reading and taking the readership of this blog closer to 2 million views!!

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 at a London generic address but operates from the Kent Area (previously East Grinsted area). This was done recently in November. 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. Oh and he's also used my benefit of the doubt the business grew too fast. No it didn't. You always intended to do this - make a lot of money by booking lots of parties on the same day. How else are you able to cancel everyone on the day - very orgnaised that.

Here's another blogger ( was able to cancel before her party was cancelled on the day. She found out (even after his sob story) that he had booked her child's party on the same day and time as another parent. Needless to say she had not confidence that he would turn up. And she still hasn't had a refund. Read about her story here.

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!