Monday, 25 September 2017

Why do I keep things 'for special occasions'?

I have a habit that I'm sure was passed down by my mother and has hung around me ever since. I keep things 'for best' or for 'special occasions'.  Why?

I need to break this habit. I tried to once before but it didn't quite work. I still managed to buy clothes that weren't suitable for anything other than going out for a posh meal, whilst living in the same pair of jeans and 3 tops.  I honestly thought I would wear more of my wardrobe but I failed.  I'm going to do it now though.  I am...honest.

The trouble is that things I really love and think make me look extra nice, I still keep for 'best' or a 'special occasion'.  However, I am having almost no 'best' days right now so they are happily hanging around in my wardrobe, aging, but still looking fantastic, because I never wear them.  I have dresses and shoes that are probably 15 years old that are immaculate.  Argh!  This is utterly pointless. I stand in front of the wardrobe every morning wondering what to wear and ending up with the same 5 outfit combinations because I bypass all the 'nice' stuff.  What's wrong with me?  


Just nipping out to Sainsburys...
So, I've bought some more very nice dresses that I can dress up or down. I can (and do) wear them to work but I can also put on some sparkly earrings and heels and wear them out.  Well, I say I 'wear them out' but that is another small issue.  Stay in them around the house is probably more accurate.  Not that I strip off when I walk through the door you understand, just that I often take work clothes off and put on old jeans and tops or jogging bottoms.  Poor hubby never sees the nice stuff, just the tatty me.  

It's the notion of 'out' that is something that rarely happens.  This is for a few reasons.  Firstly, hubby and I only tend to go out occasionally as we need babysitters.  The 'occasionally' has devolved into annually - for our wedding anniversary - if I'm honest. In fact, this year, we just went out to lunch for it with the children so we didn't even dress up a bit.  Oh well.

Secondly, neither of us are great fans of eating out.  We used to like it and do it a lot, but then children came along and we've simply got out of the habit.  We sound like a misery old couple at times...[looking at a restaurant menu] "£28 for a fillet steak? I could buy two lovely ones and all the trimmings in Waitrose for that!".  You see my issue.

Thirdly, and probably most significant, is that we spend more on the children than we do on us. I know, who doesn't right?   But there's usually something they need or have grown out of, so they take priority and then I just feel we can't justify £60 on a meal for two.  We have been a bit more savvy of late and tend to wander off to Pizza Express when they have a deal on (but even that's rare).  We have been out, out 3 times this year though.  Steady on!

I'm sure most of this attitude stems from when I was a child.  It must be a generation thing that my parents had things 'for best' in the house.  This included the dining room table - which was never used unless we had people to dinner as we all sat around the Formica one in the kitchen - crockery, cutlery, clothes, shoes, jewellery and even linen.  I seem to have inherited this madness trait.  I could understand if I lived a whirlwind lifestyle of dinner dates, appearing at premieres and generally being in the celebrity eye but I don't.  I go to my part-time job, collect the girls from school and take them swimming or to Brownies. Not much need for a long, black, silk dress with a pashmina then.  It is clearly noticeable that I tend to be in the same clothes because when I put on a different top, or wear a dress, both my girls notice and comment.  Gosh, how boring must my clothes be?

The other odd thing I do is hold on to clothes I am (a) never likely to wear again as they are more suited to a film premier than the premier inn and (b) clothes that are gorgeous but far too small for me!   Because I'm really likely to get down to a size 8 again in my dreams.  Somehow I keep looking at them and saying "I may slim down" or "I may want to wear that again one day". I'm not sure how often 80s fashion comes back but if it does, I'm set for life!

I will still keep a few things for best as you can't garden in a jewel encrusted ball gown and nipping to Sainsburys in an 80s jump suit my elicit a few odd looks, but I'm going to do my darndest to actually wear the clothes in my wardrobe.  

This post was brought to you by me, sitting in my same old jeans and a different top (mainly because I've put my usual one away as summer is over). 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Zombie SWAT Training/Survival

It was the teen's 18th birthday last year and as well as the 'nice' presents that we bought for her, I just had to get her something to remember.  She's not the sort of girl who would enjoy a spa day so I decided to get her an experience like no other - battling zombies in London!  I bought the experience through Red Letter Days.  

Last weekend she went and undertook the mission. I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone who is going to do this so all I'll say is that she said it was brilliant, scary and very intense at times.  It even scared her dad in a couple of places!

The experience takes around 3 1/2 hours to do and 'training' is given on the 'weapons' used.  She said none of the actors broke character even once. From beginning to end you were immersed in the experience.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Destroy someones Amazon rating with their approval

I'm furious.  I have been selling on Amazon for some time now and have never had a problem, up until last month.

A buyer purchased an academic book from me.  I posted it with my usual Certificate of Posting on a Friday.  It was posted 2nd class.  On the Monday morning, effectively given just 1 day to get to the buyer (with no post on a Sunday), the buyer left me bad feedback!  He rated me at '1' saying the book never arrived.

Of course, I assumed therefore that he was clearly an idiot and that Amazon would remove the rating.  I assumed incorrectly - on one count at least!  

I put in a complaint to Amazon to have the rating removed, stating clearly that there was not adequate time allowed for the book to have arrived.  Amazon sent me back a bog standard reply saying the feedback did not breach any of their rules (did not use profanity, did not identify my address).  I was incredulous so sent a further reply, copying the Certificate of Posting I had obtained to prove when I posted it (late afternoon on the Friday).  They came back to me again with the same email.  

So, Amazon allow buyers to put up rating 1 feedback any time they like.  There is no sensible time period that must elapse before such rating is applied.

I contacted the buyer stating that I had a Certificate of Posting and if the item did not turn up, he would receive a refund.  I never heard from him.  My only recourse?  Leave a 'note' on his feedback to explain what happened.  I've asked him to retract the feedback - no claim for item so I assume he has it now, the f**ktard! - but no response to that either.

My rating has now dropped from 100% to 92%.  That's a big drop and has a big impact on an individual as a seller.  I know this myself. Given someone who has 98%+, I'd even pay a bit extra to buy from them than anyone with a lower rating.

Thanks Amazon for effectively stopping me selling now!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Cobham Geocaching Again

We headed out with some more friends today to scoop up a few of the geocaches we didn't get to last time we were in Cobham, and introduce our friends to some of the fun ones we had already found (see the blog piece here).

Deep Cover was the first of the day.  Teen and R (followed closely by pretty much all the children!) shot up the tree when the container was spotted. We had done this one so stood back and watched.  A great start for R's first geocaching adventure.  

We then walked down to Far Out Man.  Despite J and R heading out on the tree, no cache was found.  This is our 2nd fail here.  Goodness know where it is.  We are definitely not going to be able to leave this one without finding it now. It's becoming our nemesis!

It's a Floater was next.  Took a few minutes to locate the cache but we knew what to do as we have one of these near to us. Fortunately we had an empty bottle with us.  Hubby went for the fill and poured some water in. It was pretty yucky.  I had the idea to use an empty crisp packet for the bottom and he refilled the container so the cache was shortly in hand.  Yay!

Walkies was an immediate spot by J.  We were still gazing around.  Down she went with hubby and it became a battle of the sticks to see which one of them could grab it first. Talk about no cooperation *grin*.  J won and soon the cache was down with us.  Such fun.

Yew'll be Stumped was a great find by the youngest cacher today.  We had all looked and moved on when she made the spot.  Great cachers eyes and fab container.

We had a lovely walk back to the car via Opposites Attract, which we thought would be another great one for our friends to try. I'm sure it was even muddier under the bridge today.

All in all, another lovely walk around finding some more interesting caches.