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 (http://www.mum-friendly.co.uk/)who 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!







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..

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Things That Piss Me Off


How's that for a title? She's back. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. Two weeks off at Easter and no fitness class or weigh in - weighed in yesterday and I'd put a one pound on. Thanking you - although in real terms, in an ideal world, I would have rocked the weight loss and dropped another 5lb but this is the real world and this is me.  I'll take that as normally I can easily put on at least 3lbs when the kids are off which then takes me a few weeks to shift.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Wednesday Weigh In


Well howdy folks.  Let's get straight into it - 1.5lbs off this week. That's 13lbs lost since the start of February. I am so tantalising close to my first stone.  Now, last week I maintain and the previous week its was only .5lb.  I did go off track so there were no surprises and I could have done better last week. But I have never put on since I started which I'm very happy with.  I don't care its not falling off - like my sister said "you've got to live". Very true.

I really noticed the weight loss today whilst riding my bike to the fitness/weigh in class. When I first ventured out at the beginning of the year - I had to stop 3 x to get up a very long steep incline of a road. Today, I got to the top of the road without stopping. Now, my lungs were burning and I was panting somewhat but I didn't stop = progress. That said I now loath my chunky Halfords bike and desperate to get another bike but the choice and information on bikes is overwhelming.

Given that 2016 has been pretty shit in lots of ways. I'm also happy that I didn't derail myself off course. My dad is now home and recovering so that's great. He lives to see a few more years yet. However, its now been my husbands turn to be ill (he recently celebrated his 52nd birthday if you can call it that!) - high blood pressure.

Although, I'm not meant to tell people but this doesn't count right?! In fact, I think I've told most people I've come into contact with. So, if you are one of them - don't mention it! His blood pressure was 177/155 I kid you not.  Now, I've googled lots about it and its pretty darn high - hypertension level 3.  I think he's always had it but a particularly exhausting start to the year, lots of other stuff going on, has in no way helped.  His head felt like it was in a vice constantly coupled with dizzy spells and nausea. He had a BP monitor for a day and the hospital said whilst high it wasn't an emergency.

They call high blood pressure the silent killer but there hasn't been anything silent about this! Untreated it can cause strokes (I have firm instructions to whisk him off to dignitas if he becomes wheelchair bound) and heart attacks.  Thankfully, it is coming down and he said to the doctor "I can't leave here without medication otherwise my wife will kill me!" so a low dose of tablets should hopefully sort him out. That is assuming its not some underlying condition.  Oh the joys of everyone getting older!

I am writing this on Thursday and I am pleased to report he is much better. I think a rest was just what he needed.  It does make you take stock though - I need to keep healthy (my husband is 10 years older than me) and fit to make sure the kids have one parent around.  All being well, there's a good few years left in the hubster yet but I never take that for granted. No one knows when their time is up. I also (I'm a cheery optimistic type can't you tell or I maybe I'm just a realist - none of us are getting out alive) think this is the year we stop putting off writing our wills. People assume that if you're married that every thing is dandy but it doesn't work like that. If one person dies without a will things can get messy, ugly and complicated. People often come out of the woodwork when in life they couldn't give a monkeys about the deceased. Any whiff of some money all of a sudden they're back in contact.  So, that's on my to do list marked urgent.

In other news, the kids break up early for the Easter Holidays. Yeeharrr - although the weather looks decidedly crap for the bank holidays.  Nevertheless, we shall kick back, relax and switch off those pesky alarm clocks. Although, it was a short half term they all appear to be knackered.

Right, off to get them but will be back during the holidays for more chit chat a la 1970s style.

Ta ta for now




Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Granny Ring?!



Never heard of it? Neither had I until this week, when in a matter of fact manner, one of the dad's at my son's cycling club told me I had a granny ring!  Say what?!  He was merely pointing out that my bike was what the serious cyclists (you know the ones that know the technical names for a bike, makes, cleats etc and can do 20 miles in an hour) call someone who can essentially peddle up a huge hill because of their granny ring.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Update!

I appreciate that I have gone AWOL but I can explain. First, let me begin by saying after my 6lb first week weight loss my second week was 3lb weight loss. I thought it might be more but 9lb in two weeks is pretty good going. I will weigh in tomorrow evening as I missed this morning's weigh in as its half term.

So that's all been pretty good. What wasn't so good was last weeks turn of events. So, my dad hadn't been feeling well - had a dippy tummy but the docs had put it down to IBS.  He then went off his food and was getting weaker and weaker.  He went back to the doctors about two Friday's ago and whilst his bloods showed 'inflammation' they sent him home.  Anyhow, he had an appointment booked for the Tuesday to check his colon. We were all beginning to suspect colon cancer as this is what his mum died of.  However, when he arrived very weak at this appointment he was admitted to hospital and good job too.  Turns out he had a perforated bowel in multiple places and had sepsis. They operated to save his life (and I quote -"he had no time" - the doctor) at 12 am early Wednesday morning.  They had to remove his entire colon and transferred him to intensive care. Now the operation was the least of all the worries as septic shock is life threatening so his whole body was desperately trying to fight the infection. He was pumped with 10 litres of fluid as he couldn't regulate his blood pressure, had antibiotics, heart mediation and a whole host of machines that liked to beep regularly in particular "heart rate too high". Its very calm in intensive care - lots of light (you ain't going to sleep if you were in a normal condition any time soon!) and activity. So, I wasn't going to run and around screaming "the heart rate, the heart rate!"

I have to say that first night after the op was grim. My dad looked grey.  So much so when I stepped into intensive care unit I had to do a double take as I didn't recognise the man in the corner.  The doctor said and I quote "many people do not survive this operation". Looking at my dad, I have to say I wasn't feeling in anyway optimistic. The next day he moved his lips a little and eyebrows and that was it. He was still sedated. On one evening, when he was having his sedation changed he said "if I don't make it...(I though where is that family treasure god damm it!) you can sue them" - he was in a confused and sleepless state.  By the weekend, he was off the main ventilator and could say a few words - bizarrely we all found this more upsetting as he looked so weak than when he was in a critical condition.  No one has felt like doing anything - I haven't wanted to exercise and didn't turn to food although a few bits of chocolate crept in on Saturday.

So today, is Wednesday and he's out of intensive care and in high dependency. He had a blood transfusion as he was anaemic and tests are being carried out to see what has caused the multiple ulcers on his bowel.  He has a chest infection which is being treated which is not uncommon from this time of op. He's also had a brain scan - again normal practice. The doctors and nurses have been fantastic - he's swore at one which is so unlike him.  He still thinks he's in  A&E and says he's going to walk home as he's just waiting around. No food or drink. He thinks his care has been awful!! His care has been brilliant and they've saved his life. The food and drink are all via the drip and he can't have too much water as it may go into his lungs.  For the first time in over a week, we all feel a little better that he is on the mend and tomorrow I might even go to clubbercise.

Wish me luck for the weigh in!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

I Need A Magic Wand!


Is what I said last week when I stepped on the scales at my local Glow Fit club. I mentioned during my last post that I was going to join this weigh in and exercise club franchise.  I liked the sound of it because 1) you pay for a workout and 2) you get weighed as well. Perfect. What wasn't so perfect was the number on the scales. I was quite shocked as they were a tad different to my trusted bathroom scales.  I actually laughed when she handed it back to me! I turned to my class mate (we know each other via my kids old school and had decided to try it out together) and wailed "have you got a magic wand?!"

Fast forward a week later and I'm slimmer of the week. Get me. Got a certificate and everything. Although I held back on a speech like the lady did last week. Nothing like a short sharp shock to kick start my lard arse into action.  Kick Xmas excesses way back into 2015 and beyond. Yup, I followed their healthy eating suggestions (more of which later) and subsequently lost a whopping 6lbs.

Now, admittedly when we turned up to this club we were a bit "Jesus we're the youngest here" which was quite apt given that it was in a methodist church hall. Bearing in mind I'm 42 and my glow fit pal is 45 this was no mean feat. They were a friendly bunch, albeit rather old, and showed us the toilets and introduced themselves. One proceeded to tell us how, with other diets she'd lost 2 stone, 1 stone etc and put it all back on however with this club she had lost 2 stone. Great I thought. But she continued. No don't continue stop right there with your success story I don't want to hear....she continued. "Well I stopped it over Xmas and what with friends and family coming around I put on 7lbs and then after that I put on a 1lb and last week it was 2lb". Please STOP!! The initial teaser was of a success story but quickly descended into a horror story. That's the one thing I hate about women all together in a room trying to lose weight - they tell you about all the things they shouldn't have eaten followed by all the child talk of "being good" or "being bad". I quickly shut out from the noise. Stay focused Tash. Ignore. Stay focused.

Before I go on, I should explain this isn't like Slimming World or Weight Watchers where you're allowed crap as long as you don't go over your allowance of crap. They just recommend basic shit really. Eat wholemeal bread instead of white, switch to brown rice instead of white, avoid white carbs after 6pm i.e potatoes, pasta and rice. Watch your portion size and the composition of your plate and percentage of food intake of each meal. Snack on nuts or fruit. Have greek yoghurt, feta and halloumi cheese (which I love) and  drink lots of water. It doesn't say, funnily enough, eat some biscuits, cakes or chocolates. Eat well (or as some call it clean) for 80% of the time and if you are out etc that would be your 20%. It makes the point that if you do that your weight loss will be slower. Well I ate clean for 100% of the time. I didn't have any 'treats' and whilst I have felt a bit hungry I haven't had raging headaches or felt tired. I feel good.

I have had branflakes and yoghurt for breakfast, wholemeal pitta with chicken and salad leaves followed by berries (like raspberry, blackberry and blueberries) with greek yoghurt for lunch and our family meal of an evening i.e shepherds pie but with sweet potatoes instead, same for fish pie and tomorrow roast chicken with parsnip and sweet potato.

Now, turning to the exercise class. It's not a challenging workout it has to be said. Although you can up the tempo for yourself I've sweated more. Having said this it was probably perfect for us to get back into exercise. There is actually a sweet old woman who sits on a chair at the back doing the exercise! We're going to try out a different one tomorrow to see how that one is. There are lots of classes to chose from at any rate and my friend said the clubbercise was great fun.

As I felt I might need to work a tad harder, I actually cycled to the class this morning 3 miles there and 3 miles back. Given that I have a club ride with my son of 15 miles on Sunday I thought I better dust down the bike.

There's a little talk at the beginning - last week it was on making your veg look appealing i.e making courgette's look like spaghetti. I say just chop up some courgettes you don't need to start faffing just to make it more appealing. People say oh but it gets boring but then so is being overweight. Chose your boring as the quote above suggests on being overweight.  I don't normally indulge in all that trite inspirational bullshit but I quite liked this one.

Today's chat was on heart disease and how its a bigger killer than cancer.  After I received my slimmer of the week certificate - the same lady joked "do you eat anything last week?" Another congratulated me on my weight loss.

Until next weeks entertainment!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Saturday Chit Chat


Well I haven't done one of these for a while. As ever, I have been meaning to write all week - but like the week and January it has flown by.  We seem to be hurtling into 2016 - it only seem a few weeks ago my eldest started secondary and yet he's completed 5 months of Year 7 already.

So how are the jeans fitting everyone? Mine are still on the tight need a shoe horn side. Although I have nearly lost all my Xmas gain - a whopping 7lb.  I've also nearly completed the 8 week PIYO dvd which I have spoken about in previous posts.  I will most certainly do it again as I've liked making the time to do it and have seen an improvement in my flexibility and general well being. My favourite session is "sweat" - its a combination of lots challenging moves but in particular - planks, push ups, lunges and warrior poses. 

To cover up my Xmas excess I treated myself (any excuse) to a gorgeous cape from Cocoon Luxury Wear. I didn't get it for free like some other bloggers - namely fashion bloggers - who got their hands on a free one but little old me got one in the sale. Sadly, its a tad too cold to wear it at the moment but it shall be making an outing once it gets a bit warmer.  



So continuing on with getting fitter and healthier in 2016 - I have decided to try out Glow Fit.  Its basically an exercise class with a weigh in. I really like the sound of it and have sent my local group and email to ask a few questions. As I understand it, you pay £24 a month, no joining fee and can attend as many fitness classes as you like. So there is a kettlebell class, aerobics and High Intensity workout which I can fit in during the week. But the best part of all, asides from the exercise, you can get weighed to keep track of your progress. There is no food plan to follow - only the normal sensible suggestions.  I think it could be right up my street.  I did even contemplate joining Slimming World but I know you just pay the money and leave - who stays for the meetings? Also a friend goes who said the consultant is overweight.  I remember that same consultant from many years ago who was overweight then.  I really think that says it all don't you?  It clearly doesn't work in the long term.

Anyhow, that's my brief update and will be back soon to let you know how I get on! 



Saturday, 9 January 2016

Top 5 Reasons NOT To Get An X-box One


Sorry to everyone in my world - bloggers,gamers, friends and everyone in between who merrily purchased an X-Box One this Christmas. In fact, I don't think I know anyone who doesn't have an Xbox or similar device in their household. But not to be deterred, I shall begin my assault on this modern day box of "fun" because that is what I do best!

Before I really get my console going. The background to my loathing of the Xbox (please replace with any other console name) has been well documented in this post. In short my son became addicted and started to become a bit of an arse. The Xbox was unplugged, put in the loft and has remained there since February last year.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

HELLO!



From the other side! As Adele would sing. And yes I did purchase it although my husband once said "how many sad songs can a fat girl sing?" which isn't very nice but he's not a fan. I like Adele (more her than her music) and so does my daughter - she loves playing it on her new CD/Ipod docking station that we got her for Christmas. I like the more up beat track on the new album - water under the bridge. I've gone off onto a massive tangent as the other side I wanted to refer to was, of course, 2016.

How was it for you? Christmas and what not. We had a very enjoyable family break. Long, lazy lie-ins. We got up about 10.15 most days. My daughter was a tad earlier but still a respectable 9.15 am. I loved the lazy days and even the mess. Although I was still very busy leading up to Xmas - as most mums are - all the school plays, the gifts for the teachers, the wrapping oh lordy the wrapping! The final presents and trying to find the presents you hid. Every year I hide something in a safe place and without fail every year they never re-appear.  I did feel totally relaxed on the 27th when we visited my parents. I decided to plonk myself down only to get up for feeding and drinking times. We even managed a trip to the Science Museum which the kids loved. Although Buddy was getting tired after about 3 hours and my daughter was getting slightly bored at that point. There is so much to see - I could have happily stayed a few more hours. There's so much interaction and who'd have thought I'm a bit of an astronaut geek. I loved their cosmonauts exhibition. The only downside to the museum was that it was so hot in there.








Now as a bit of a London day out with the kids semi-pro - I always insist on light coats i.e light raincoats and layers no matter how cold it is out there. The trains, tubes, buses etc get very hot and there's nothing worse than the kids moaning about it.  But even with my semi-pro rules with raincoats off and only tops it was still too hot.  I came home with an awful migraine and took myself to bed for a few hours. Or maybe it was just the excitement of it all! Anyhow, I seemed to be much better after my dinner and washing up had been done for me.

Now turning to the important matter of weight.  I have to say I have been mighty impressed with myself up to recently on my dedication to my PIYO workouts. As you can see from above,  But now since the kids have gone back to school - I'm 4 workouts behind. I even took my youngest two to breakfast club this morning so that I could gain an extra hour. Instead, I did a mass clean and ended up not having time!

But asides from that I am now on week 6 of the 8 week programme and I really love it.  I had to miss 2 workouts from being sick and 2 through no time.  Having said this, I still put on 7lbs over Christmas.

All the goodies are more or less gone, I'm back in the zone and here's to cracking it in 2016!

See you shortly