Tag Archives: review

The Saga of the Blue Agate Pendant (A Review)

As some of you know, I’ve had a very busy year, and I rarely treat myself but thought I’d buy an agate pendant and I really liked the blue ones I saw. I had a shop on Facebook looking, but she hadn’t found one she liked through her suppliers, so I looked on Etsy.

I narrowed my search to UK sellers with blue agate pendants. I found one I liked and the photos looked fairly true to colour too. The shop (ClaireElizabeths, I’m not going to put a link on here) didn’t follow the EU Consumer Rights Regulations for returns and refunds, but I wasn’t expecting to have to use them. How wrong I was….

I bought it — this one here. I also had another person make me a 26″ cord with lobster clasp to go with it, as I wanted a long cord not a chain. (I got that quickly and it’s perfect).

front of pendant
front of pendant

I received it quickly. Thought “Hmmm….” about the outside packaging, which was narrower than the box inside and only a flimsy thin cardboard box. Opened it up, pulled out a jewellery box in an organza bag, with a £1 coin as I said I didn’t want the chain, just the pendant. There was also a business card and a ‘Thank you’ postcard with a handwritten note from the seller.

pendant, packaging and included items
pendant, packaging and included items

I took the pendant out of the box, where it had been rattling around in as there wasn’t any extra padding in there except for the earring pad that must have come in the box. I flipped it over, to see this:

Chipped back of pendant
Chipped back of pendant
size of chip
size of chip

I looked in the box to see if it had been damaged in transit. Nothing. Then I looked at the listing to see if I missed anything out. Nope, no mention of any chip — and no photo of the back of the pendant either. There was the statement: “This is a natural stone that has been polished, please look carefully on the photographs for imperfections such as nicks, chips or scratches.” If there are “nicks, chips or scratches” on an item, any item it is up to the seller to point them out, not for the buyer to scrutinise the piece to find them. The seller must accurately describe what they are selling when selling online, not play ‘hide & seek the damage’ with the potential buyer.

So I emailed and said how disappointed I was that the piece was chipped as it wasn’t mentioned in the listing and that I would like to return it for a full refund including return postage as it ‘wasn’t as described’. 6 hours later, no response.

I posted in a FB group I am in about my disappointment and no one was very impressed that the chip hadn’t been mentioned – it is 5mm x 5mm so not a tiny one. I received a full refund about an hour after that, no message from the seller, and no return postage. She had also cancelled the transaction, so I knew I had a limited time to leave a review.

This is the review I left, with 2 stars: “Item was well packaged and sent quickly, however the pendant had a large chip out of the back that the seller did not state in the listing or show in the photos. So disappointed as I wouldn’t have purchased had it been accurately described. Seller refunded quickly, however, I received no communication from her at all.”

Accurate to that point in time, factual and to the point. The seller did not respond until the following day with 2 messages: “Please do as you wish, I don’t wish to argue with people over a couple of pence.” then almost immediately a message demanding I return the pendant along with everything else “including the £1 and Thank You card” and that if I “remain unhappy you can open a complaint with Etsy”. She also replied to my review, so even if I wanted to (had her response been more professional), I can’t change it. Her reply: “Item was either damaged in postage or on receipt. A full refund was issued immediately and a message sent with refund saying ‘Please except a full refund with best wishes’.”

The agate pendant wasn’t damaged in transit or on receipt, and there was no message with the refund (grammar not withstanding…)

I told her she had to pay return postage for me to send it back under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as any return had to be: “free of charge, at no inconvenience to the consumer, and in a timely manner” for faulty items. I also stated that I would not be raising a complaint with Etsy but would hold onto the pendant as long as Trading Standards instructed me to as they were the body enforcing Consumer Rights Regulations.

back in box
back in box

She eventually sent me £3.30 by paypal, however I had 31p taken off the amount for fees. I should then have kept back 31p out of the £1 but didn’t check before I sent it back in the same packaging she sent it to me, taped up with new labels by 1st Class post.

Her responses were rude and unprofessional. No buyer should ever have to quote any legislation regarding returns for any item. It is part of running a business, knowing the relevant consumer rights laws and following them. I am quite sure that she has not changed her policies to reflect them from her attitude to this return. I will not be buying from this shop, ClaireElizabeths, either on Etsy or her shop on Folksy again and I can’t recommend her customer service to anyone, even if the item arrives in perfect condition, as my agate pendant did not.

The Saga of the Agate Pendant, Part 2, the next blog post!

Cooking with a Toddler…

We’ve been pleasantly surprised that our son has been really easy-going so far this summer holiday – during half-term holidays he’s been cranky, bored and grumpy as he doesn’t like change that much. (Now I’ve probably jinxed myself!)

We bought him his own cookbook and have made several of the recipes from it. It’s an Usborne Book – “30 Easy Things to Cook and Eat”. It’s got lots of drawings and photos of the steps in each recipe and easy to understand directions. My son, who’s 4.5 can easily follow the directions with only minimal help from us. He loves making cookies and rolling out the dough, so we’ve made Cheesy Chick Biscuits and Tiny Pink Cookies. The recipes are small and only make a small amount of dough, so we’ve started doubling them to make a decent amount worth putting the oven on for, but the small recipes make it easy for a toddler to mix and stir.

The Book!
The Book!

We actually made 2 batches of the Tiny Pink Cookies – in green and orange; son didn’t want pink cookies. They were easy to make and disappeared very quickly. The cheesy Chick Biscuits were very similar to cheese straws – the dough is a shortcrust pastry – and again were very tasty.

There could have been a better balance of sweet and savoury recipes – 6 are savoury and the rest are sweet. The soup recipe, a Chunky Leek Soup – is also not going to appeal to many toddlers or children. A different flavour soup – tomato with pasta shapes for example, would have been a better choice.

Fudge Recipe
Fudge Recipe

Overall, it’s a good first cookbook for a toddler who is interested in cooking and reading recipes.

Sew Much To Do…..

Sew Much to Do Handmade Items Corner
Sew Much to Do Handmade Items Corner

I’ve been getting most of my fabric lately from a quilting shop that just opened last Autumn in Ely,“Sew Much to Do” – they are very friendly and are happy to help. I can’t go in there without buying something, though I need more fabric like I need a hole in the head. Yesterday I bought some lovely heavy home decor fabric for shopping/carrier bag holders – there should be enough to make 2 holders from each piece. Any questions are answered cheerfully and as fully as you need, sometimes with other customers adding in their tuppence as well…..

Buttons, notions, oilcloth, all sorts of home decor and quilting fabric, all served along with a smile. I daren’t show my son this fabric or he’ll want me to buy enough to cover a wall!

World Map Fabric
World Map Fabric
World Map Fabric
World Map Fabric

I tried to get as much of what they offer as possible in the photos, and Mel didn’t want to be in the photos – Lesley was too busy! You can order patterns, pick up buttons for as little as 5p, get some bias binding or ribbon, and get whatever amount of fabric you need – if you want some Fat Quarters, they start from £2.50 each or 4 for £9. There is a whole wall of them already to go – I think htye’ve been busy lately, there is usually more in the cubby holes!

Rainbow of Fat Quarters
Rainbow of Fat Quarters
Fat Quarters
Fat Quarters

Each purchase of fabric is wrapped in purple tissue paper and then placed in a brown craft paper bag. Right now for every £5 you spend, you get a tick on a loyalty card, and for every £50 you spend, you get 10% off your next purchase.

Fabric
Fabric
Fabric
Fabric
& More Fabric
& More Fabric

They have also just been featured in the Sewing Directory magazine and website.

Pinks
Pinks
Blues
Blues

While I haven’t taken any workshops (yet) I will, and I’m working on offering some as well in the near future. If you are local and wnat to pop in and see Lesley and her crew they are at 7 High Street Passage, Ely CB7 4NB.

Where do you like to shop and get your supplies for crafting?

Blog Stats for 2012

I got an email yesterday from WordPress with a link to my blog’s statistics for 2012. The blog actually was created in June, so really it’s only a 7 month review.

I’ve had 1400+ views, and visits from 54 countries.
world-map

My most viewed post was the SMD2000 review. The most used search term was ‘janome SMD2000 sewing machine review’ too. You can get one at Sewing Machines Direct. I’ll be writing an updated review soon.
janomesmd2000b

The top referring site was babyledweaning.com. Facebook, Twitter and Etsy were in the top 5 too.

I posted 167 photos, and wrote 33 posts. Next year I’d like to add more recipes, and try to get some tutorials written. What would you like to see on my blog in 2013?

Review – My Sewing Machine – SMD 2000

This is a review I first posted on my old blog and thought it was a good idea to repeat it again!

I’ve noticed I am getting a few Google Searches for my Sewing Machine – a Janome SMD 2000. So I thought I’d give a review.

It has been a very good buy, to start with. It’s easy to thread, and the needle threader is great, no more squinting to get the needle threaded. The bobbin winder is smooth and fast, and again, easy to figure out. I’ve used the Applique mode on a very fine, slippery polyester satin and the machine handled it well, no pulling or catching on the fabric even on a star shape applique.
It’s gone through 6 layers of fleece fabric without flinching and also has sewn tulle as well with the same ease. I have had the thread break once, but that was my fault, as I had sewn over a spot and the top thread had gotten tangled in the bobbin.

The free arm has also been handy as I make toddler-sized clothes (for my son now) so sometimes need the small diameter to get a straight seam around a curve. I haven’t tried the button-holer yet, but will comment on it when I have. When using it the machine stays where you put it and doesn’t slide around even though it isn’t a very heavy machine. It is still easy to lift and move around as I do need to move it to cut out fabric on the table it lives on. It is also quite quiet- I can use it with the door to my sewing room open while my son is napping next door with his door ajar. The foot control is good too, I can sew quite slowly with it without having to resort to using the wheel with my right hand to sew slowly as I have had to do with my previous machine.

The bonus for me was the free gifts – a 5 pack of new scissors, 50 spools of thread, 4 bobbins, tape measure, seam ripper, and 2 packs of needles. The thread is good quality and has a good choice of colours to choose from – the neon yellow one is very bright! I change thread colours all the time – so the 8 bobbins I got have come in handy – all are currently full. This made it easy to get started sewing as I had everything here ready to go once the machine was out of it’s box and plugged in.
The machine itself has been fuss-free and I would recommend it to any sewer who doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles. The 5 year guarantee that Sewing Machines Direct offer was also one reason I bought this machine instead of trying for a slightly cheaper machine off Ebay. If anyone has any questions they’d like me to answer, just comment below and I’ll answer as best I can!

ETA: Now that I have used the button-holer I can say that it works well; you put the button in the back and the machine automatically makes the right size button-hole – if your button is larger than 1″ you need to mark your fabric and make it manually, but even that is easy to do.
I’ve sewn through up to 6 layers of waterproof canvas with a denim needle and the machine was great – it had no problem going through such a thick amount of fabric. I do keep the instructions within easy reach so I can set the machine up quickly for specialist stitches and so I don’t have to rely on my memory and the book is easy to use and understand with lots of diagrams alongside the text.

Review – Naturally Good Food Wholefood Supplier

I am still eating low-carb – or trying to! I have begun to lose a little weight. I decided that in order for me to continue, I needed to keep in some snacks for me, so I looked around for a supplier of almonds – ground or otherwise. Ground almonds in my local Co-op Grocery Store are expensive at 2.09 for 150g. (That works out to about £14/kg)

I found Naturally Good Food and they carry all sorts of organic and wholefood items. I stuck with the ground almonds – a 2.5 KG bag at £20.15 plus £6.50 postage. That works out to £10.60/kg with postage. I did consider getting some dried fruit but decided to wait and see what the almonds were like before ordering more.

A few days after ordering I got an email letting me know that the order was delayed as they weren’t happy with the ground almond delivery they got as it was opened and they weren’t happy selling them. I got an email on August 23 that my order was being delivered the next day between 10AM and. It was actually delivered at about 2:30PM…..

Delivery Box

While I did wait a lot longer than I expected for my ground almonds (about 2 weeks longer), I am happy with the reason why they decided to wait on sending my order to me. It shows that quality is something they care about. I hope my next order will come a lot faster!

2.5KG bag Ground Almonds

I was pleasantly surprised to find a Sample Box (I got Sample A) when I opened the order. Inside were 4 small bags – all organic dried fruit – sultanas, apricots, dates and figs. I immediately offered a fig to my 3 year old who refused it, then said he wanted a date. He finally tried an apricot and wanted to eat the whole little bag – there were about 8-9 in there (they are the tiniest dried apricots I have ever seen!) I tried all 3 and left the sultanas for today. There was also a price list and a voucher for free postage on my next order when I include some dried fruit. I will be – they were all delicious! Prices were reasonable for dried organic fruit as well.

Sultana Sample

I will definitely use Naturally Good Food to order my nuts and dried fruit from.

And…..a recipe using Ground Almonds:

Almond and Seed Cookies:

(Adapted from this recipe by Elana from http://www.elanaspantry.com/pecan-shortbread-cookies/)

These are a buttery, crunchy, not very sweet cookie reminiscent of a shortbread cookie made with ground almonds instead of flour.

Ingredients:

2.5 cups almond flour/ground almonds
2/3 cup mixed seeds – pumpkin, sesame, flax and sunflower
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2.5 tbsp honey
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the almonds, seeds, salt and baking soda together. Mix the butter, honey and vanilla together then pour into the dry bowl and mix well. You can shape immediately into walnut-sized balls and flatten on a cookie sheet or you can make a 1.5″ diameter log wrapped in cling film (plastic wrap) and set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Slice the log into slices and bake at 160’C for 8-10 minutes. If you cook the dough right away, the cookies will crumble more – I tend to do a little of both and save the log in the fridge until I want more cookies. This should make about 2 dozen cookies but it completely depends on how big you make them!

There are about 44g of carbs from the honey in the whole dough. So there isn’t many in each cookie, if you make 24, that’s less than 2g per cookie. There is probably some in the seeds, but I’m not counting those carbs! I’m going to try a savoury cracker next.

Boho Bag Review – Audrey’s Cat on Etsy

When I started on Etsy & Twitter one of the first shops I looked at was Audrey’s Cat. It’s owned by Dawn Witt, a lovely lady who loves vintage fabrics and makes various bags, cushions, jewellery and very cute small stuffed animals out of her finds.

I mentioned to my husband that I liked her bags and then when Christmas was approaching, I emailed him one of her listings as a further nudge. He bought the bag. Smart man. I got this bag, as requested:

Floral Boho Bag

I love it. I get all sorts of compliments on it when I’m out and about. The fabric is lovely, a cottage garden floral (what I’d like my garden to be but isn’t!) It’s big enough for me to throw some books and a water bottle in it when out with my son, but small enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m carrying half the house in a nappy bag. It will sit on my shoulder without sliding off and the strap is the perfect length for me – not too long and not too short. It’s also a nice width and not too narrow. Most bags will slide off my shoulders and I hate that.

Boho Bag

The bag is lined with a black cotton fabric and closes with a loop and button. Because the bag is so unstructured and the opening doesn’t stay open on it’s own, it’s actually fairly hard to get your hand in it without holding the bag open. A zip would make it stiffer and easier to get into and possibly pick-pocketed, IMHO. The small pocket inside is the perfect size for an Oyster card/Rail wallet and is made in the same vintage fabric as the outside so it’s easy to see against the black fabric.

Close-up of Fabric

The bag has been well-made. The stitching is even and hasn’t unravelled at all, even though I have washed it several times; the latest due to a mashed banana I didn’t know was in the bag…. the colour hasn’t faded, and the black fabric hasn’t run, which I worried about before putting it in the wash.

I can’t comment on how quickly my husband got it as I don’t know when he ordered it, but I’m sure that Dawn’s customer service is at least as good as her sewing skills.

I will definitely get another of Dawn’s bags when I need a new one, but as well as this one is lasting, that could be quite a while…… (but my anniversary IS coming up……..)