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THANK YOU to John Lewis + iCandy.

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Mr Eli was so happy to be back in his iCandy Strawberry!

As I have previously documented, I’m a huge fan of iCandy. No-less because they’re a British brand with eye-catching, yet hardwaring products. It’s also very well documented that as a family, we’re HUGE fans of John Lewis. Again, another British brand with an amazing ethos for quality products and a company that prides itself in looking after its customers; and it’s partners (general staff!).

So, you can imagine my horror when one day I couldn’t remove the safety bar on my iCandy Strawberry pram. Eli was wearing his Ponseti Boots so it made it awkward to get him out. Eli had only been riding in the stroller/seat unit for about 5 weeks. So it was still pretty much brand new. I can’t say that this travel system was on the cheap side either; all in all it did cost nearly £900. BUT as I walk everywhere, the iCandy Strawberry was a definite investment – and I absolutely LOVE it.

As a Social Media wizard, my first point of call was to message the iCandy Facebook page. I left a comment on their wall and got a lovely response soon after. The iCandy Facebook assistant advised I contact John Lewis. So I did just that.

Unfortunately, you can’t call a store directly. You go through to the John Lewis central customer service centre, even if you have a direct number for the store you wish to contact. This however, is not a bother. The customer service advisors are so astute and just want to help you out. So jolly (but not annoyingly jolly!) and helpful they all are. This also means that all discussions are kept under a reference number so everything is kept organised and each advisor you speak to already know everything there is to know about the nature of your call.

I was advised that someone from the Stratford store would contact me with regards to having the seat unit fixed.

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Our iCandy Peach loan, soon after it arrived!

Someone called me from the Nursery department at Stratford about an hour later. After a few discussions it was decided that someone from the Stratford store would personally come to my home, on the train, with an iCandy Peach loan. Then they would take my iCandy Strawberry seat unit back to the store, where it would be sent away to be fixed. I cannot drive and now I’m working from home it makes it difficult to take a whole day off – plus it would mean paying for the cost of trains to and from Stratford, twice. I thought this was just incredible.

After the weekend sure enough, a lovely chap called Calvin from the Nursery department turned up, bang on time, with my iCandy Peach loan.

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Our replacement iCandy Strawberry seat unit came back in just over a week!

A week later, Calvin came back with my new iCandy Strawberry seat unit and collected the iCandy Peach loan.

Absolutely above and beyond. Just simply wonderful service from start to finish. I can’t think iCandy and especially, John Lewis enough. I’ve never ever heard of a retailer doing that for anyone. Retailers just aren’t like that these days. John Lewis have completely set the standard in retail customer service and they should be extremely proud of all who work for them! That kind of service is just off the scale. Unheard of. Exceptional.

THANK YOU JOHN LEWIS AND iCANDY! Just superb.

MM.

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Lifehouse Country Spa Resort – long weekend away…

 

So, Lifehouse Spa!

We had booked this little break away after having all the scans and tests a few weeks ago. We’d decided that we would need a relax after such a rollercoaster couple of weeks…

Being 19 weeks pregnant, we jut wanted to go somewhere where we could relax and chill out for a few days. Get away from it all. A spa was perfect. I literally spent 3 days alternating between the swimming pool and jacuzzi (Hydrotherapy Pool). Unfortunately, all of the treatments were too expensive for our budget… in fact, they were just overpriced in general.

I’m well aware that this review is just going to sound like a right moan! It was our first trip to a Spa though, so we would have expected a bit more in some areas. Albeit, we had a wonderful time and would return tomorrow! But with hindsight of course ;o

Pro’s

– Drinks were relatively cheap.

– Comfortable bed.

– Contemporary room with lovely bathroom and great views of the gardens. Usual coffee and tea making facilities.

– Lovely staff – all very polite and always had a smile.

– Easy place to relax.

– Food was great, restaurant quality.

– Great swimming pool and hydrotherapy pool. Can’t review the Steam, Sauna or Salt Inhalations rooms as I can’t use them being pregnant… but DP absolutely loved all three. So they kept him quiet! 😀

– Loved the Orchids Bar area too… must recommend the bread and olives. Best olives I’ve ever eaten! Amazing! Just £2.00 too!

– Very very nice gardens… it was absolutely blowing a gale outside and raining but this did not deter us! We borrowed some Hunter wellies from reception and had a great walk right around the gardens.

 

Con’s

– We weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note or shown around the complex. So didn’t know what facilities we could and couldn’t use.

– Because of the above, we didn’t know we had a safe in the room, until we were messing on with a rather ambiguous looking drawer underneath the TV!

– Again, because we weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note, we didn’t know that you could order Room Service.

– Couldn’t lock the door to the room.

– No bath in the room – albeit, the shower was incredible. I still could have done with a soak before bed!

– Treatments are expensive and need to be booked well in advance. Many people were left disappointment upon arrival when all appointments were booked up.

– Pregnant ladies cannot use Sauna, Steam room or Salt Inhalation rooms as they raise the body temperature too much.

– Packages that exclude food are very expensive. A lunchtime meal (main and starter) will be around £45 for a couple with one wine and one soft drink. An evening meal is per the set menu, £35 for 3 courses or £28.50 for 2 courses.

– Menu’s left a lot to be desired for someone who is both pregnant and doesn’t eat fish or mushrooms! I ended up having the same evening meal on both nights of our stay because the menu didn’t change… and the Duck dish was the only one that didn’t contain fish or mushrooms! There was also a £3 additional supplement on this.

– There were no decaff teabags! I also wasn’t given an alternative… would have definitely thought there would be decaffeinated everything with it being a health spa!

– No soft drinks menu! Just Wine and Cocktail lists… which isn’t great when you can’t drink! Imagine if you’re an alcoholic visiting for a detox!

– Restaurant was basic-looking; for such an ambitious menu, it was a shame that the restaurant was more like a canteen in a Sainsbury’s with cheap chairs and tables. The chairs of which offered zero support for a pregnant lady.

– There were no bottles of water for free, or even for sale! So it was a case of having to get up every 5 minutes to go to the water fountain in the corner of the ‘Wet Area’. Which is quite annoying when you’re pregnant and just want to lay down, but of course, you need to keep hydrated.

– Although this spa is relatively new, (about a year old), we did notice lots of signs of wear and tear. I actually stood on a piece of broken glass in the Hydrotherapy Pool! Turns out, upon further inspection, lots of the mosaic tiles were cracked and broken, but glued back together. Again, when looking up from the jacuzzi, the ceiling paint was peeling…

It was such a shame there were these little niggles – we really did enjoy ourselves though! Honestly! And we would go back… just hopefully when they have a different menu! 🙂

 

MM.

 

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Christmas Party Woes!

It’s that time of year when there are LOTS of invitations to festive drinks and meals. I’ve had TWO important ‘festive drinks’ and a ‘festive meal’ with external companies through work this week… AND I’ve just got back from my office Christmas Party.

I’ve documented my previous struggles with excuses for not drinking in the below blog posts:

TTC: Excuses for not drinking!
TTC: Excuses for not drinking, PART DEUX.

It’s been a struggle again, but because of my recent trips to the hospital I have just been saying that I’m on strict orders not to drink until my “blood test results come back”. I’m pretty certain that people are not convinced – but I have had quite a lot of sympathy! 🙂

So at tonight’s office Christmas party there was the usual free-flowing booze from the onset. I’m usually the one guzzling the freebie’s and dancing the night away… but things are obviously quite different this year! Upon arrival there were ready-made cocktails, with jugs of the same cocktails ready for people who wanted a refill. I obviously couldn’t drink them so politely asked the barmaid for a ‘soft drink’. To my dismay she REFUSED and said that it was the ready made cocktails for the first hour and ‘custom drinks’ could be prepared thereafter. So I said, “I don’t wish to drink a customised drink, I’d just like a lemonade or a tonic water please?”. I actually could not understand!! To my further dismay, she pulled over her manager, who reiterated to me that there were no additional drinks until after 8pm….and that I could have a glass of water if I was “desperate”. Seriously, how rude?!! Nevermind being pregnant – I could be allergic to alcohol, or alcohol may even be against my religion! (Neither of these are true, but they don’t know that!). Has anyone else had trouble with mardy waiting staff?!

Despite being post-8pm I still struggled throughout the evening to obtain non-alcoholic drinks. The music was so loud that most bar staff thought I was asking for Vodka and Lemonade when I was simply asking for ‘JUST LEMONADE PLEASE!’. By 10pm I was absolutely exhausted and frankly, sick of the people behind the bar so left ready for home! Several colleagues did question whether I was pregnant… Most of whom were pretty much beyond drunk and wouldn’t have remembered my answer the next day anyway. But I did shrug all awkward questions off with “Maybe next year”.

Because of the amount of appointments and phone calls I’ve been making during working hours (and the CONSTANT not drinking anxiety!), I feel that the time has come to tell my boss what is really happening. I’m kind of looking forward to finally getting it off my chest – albeit, I know it’s still really early doors. I’d just hate to have people thinking I’m taking advantage…

Wish me luck!

MM.