Monthly Memo

thememopadI want to start by saying that none of the reviews of books or films that I do in these posts will have spoilers. They are spoiler free. I probably should have mentioned that last time round.

My Month:

Towards the start of the month I managed to get out of the house and go to dinner with my Mum. It was only the restaurant across the road and she pushed me in my wheelchair, but it was quite a big deal for me, I hadn’t been out of the flat in nearly two months. That’s no odd thing for me, I go months at a time without going outdoors, but now that we have moved to a ground floor flat and I’m not stuck up a flight of stairs, it’s great to know that I can get out for something small like that every couple months. Unfortunately, Dad was ill on the day so it ended up being just me and mum (which was still lovely) hopefully we can manage all three of us at some point. I’ve also had my haircut (which I am definitely paying for, I’m still ill from the exertion), we have clippers and my mum just buzzes through my hair as quickly as she can! I have also (FINALLY) finisenchanted forest1hed the front page of my adult colouring book that I started two months ago. It’s the Enchanted Forest book and I’m using Stabilo pens. Does anyone else think calling them Adult Colouring books makes you think of something more xxx rated?

Books: 3

The Martian by Andy Weir *****

So this book has a lot of hype attached. I had multiple people telling me how amazing it was before I read it and it was pretty good. I liked it, but I don’t think it was as amazing as all that. Maybe because I was expecting it to be amazing so it was always going to have a battle meeting expectations. It just about gets a four out of five for me. If you like SciFi then I definitely recommend it.

The Dragon Stone + Return of the Dragon Riders ( Dragon Riders Saga books 1 and 2) by Kristian Alva *****

Book 1 just about scrapped a two star in my opinion but book 2 was a bit unlucky to not get three. I enjoyed reading these books but the writing isn’t the best. Dialogue was pretty dodgy at times and it isn’t exactly an original story. But it has magic, and dragons, and elves and orcs. It was enjoyable to read, I got the trilogy for 99p in the kindle store so can’t really complain.

Films: 2

The Martian *****

I watched this after I had read the book which maybe was the wrong way around to do it. I didn’t want the film to spoil the book but they left out quite a bit. I agree and understand most of the changes (the one near the end though, just why?). But for me the film just wasn’t paced right or something, I felt like it missed a lot of the tension that it should have had. Although I did think that Matt Damon did a good job of adding some of the emotion we don’t get to see in the book.

Ant Man *****

I normally enjoy Marvel films quite a bit but for some reason this just didn’t feel like a Marvel film to me. It was an enjoyable action film to watch but I didn’t like it as much as any of the other ones they have made so far. I didn’t find it as funny, almost as if it was trying a bit too hard. Still a good film just not great.

 My Songs of the Month:

I have a mammoth of a playlist on spotify that I add a few songs to every month (then listen to them on repeat) the playlist is well over 15 hours now but I thought I’d share what new songs I’ve added lately.

Blue Blood by Laurel

Poison by Rita Ora

Spinner by Revolverheld

I Can Do Anything by 3OH!3

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Hogwarts Crest SAL

SAL update time for my current cross stitch project. We share every three weeks and link to each others blogs (the links are at the bottom of this post).

I’ve been a bit panicky about finishing this cross stitch lately. For a while there I didn’t think I would manage it. I’m aiming to be finished by the middle of November so that I can package it up and ship it off to get it where it needs to go for Christmas but this last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking that maybe I should shelve it until after Christmas as if it wasn’t going to be finished in time then at least I could do some other christmassy crafts. But I had a bit of a break through last week and after spending a whole day (with rest breaks) stitching I think I might actually finish this next month!

Here’s where I was last time we shared compared to where I am nowsalsal4

I’ve managed the HOGWARTS lettering and the whole of the outline of the banner. I now only have two shades of yellow to fill out the whole of the banner. Which, admittedly, is a lot of stitches but I’m getting there. I did make another mistake though, I had made a mistake in the bottom banner and it’s two stitches narrower than it should be (One on each side as I thought I would keep it even!) but I forgot about it and when I started to stitch the top banner I counted from the bottom banner. I only realised quite a while in so I didn’t fix it, just made a minor adjustment. I don’t think you can tell though so that’s good.

I will need to order some more of one of the yellows I think. I am really hoping that by the next update I will have finished this and be ready to wrap and send it out. I will have a rather large hole in my life as by then I will have been doing this for 6 months!

Avis / Claire / Gun / Carole / KateJule / Elizabeth / Wendy / Lucyanne / Cathy / Jacqui

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Jessica Crafts and the Terrible Customer Service

I’ve had one hell of a month with delivery issues. Two of the worst customer service experiences that I have ever had to deal with (well okay one I had to deal with and one I left to my Dad to deal with)! I’ll just tell you about the one I had to deal with as its rather long.

So, Redbubble.

You may have heard of them, if not good, I suggest you steer well clear unless you want to take a gamble. (You feeling lucky punk?) Now, I’ve ordered things from RedBubble before and the products themselves are pretty good, but I’ve never had to deal with them as a company before and let me tell you up front, I will not ever be ordering from them again.

It’s a shame because the artists who upload their work to Redbubble are amazingly talented, but there are other companies who do a similar job and I will be using any of those before Redbubble (shops like Zazzle or SpreadShirt).

ireland hoodie1So, what happened?

I ordered a new hoodie towards the end of september, I had, after much thought, decided on an Irish Rugby hoodie as the Rugby World Cup was coming up so what better time to get one.

Well, apparently any other time.

I ordered it, picking size, colour where I wanted the design (front or back) and clicked order. I got the confirmation email telling me that my order and payment had been recieved and my item was currently in production. And then….nothing.

Now, their website says the following:

the majority of our orders will print and ship within 48 hours, an order may occasionally take up to 3 business days to produce.

and from previous experience this has been the case. So after waiting 2 weeks for my order to arrive (it also says on their website that standard shipping takes 6 days). I went to check my order online only to find out that it was still ‘in manufacturing’.

That doesn’t look good I think, so I look around their website a bit and find a way to contact them about my order. I get an automated email back saying thanks for getting in touch someone will reply to you between 6 and 24 hours. Great I think.

So I wait.

And wait a bit more.

3 days later (which I know isn’t THAT long for a reply from a company but if you tell me your going to do something you do it) I get a reply saying oh sorry, the hoodie you wanted isn’t in stock and we don’t know when it will be back in stock.

Now, call me crazy here, but if something in an online shop isn’t in stock then I would expect to be told at some point in the check out process, ideally before I’ve payed for an item. I understand mistakes can be made and maybe they hadn’t quite updated their stock (still annoying but okay I can accept that) but surely at some point in the next two weeks they should have been able to tell me this? Not wait until I got in touch with them to find out why my order hadn’t arrived in time?

At that point, I’m sure you can tell, I was rather pee’d off. But it got better. Because they gave me the option of picking another colour hoodie to have the design printed on instead so I say fine but I don’t want to have to wait another two weeks to find out this ones out of stock, I wanted it by the start of the world cup after all. They got back and said sorry about that would you like me to change your order then? At which point I asked, seeing as my hoodie was now three weeks late and the world cup started in a couple days, if they would add fast shipping onto my order for free seeing as it was their fault. Reasonable I thought.

Apparently not. They outright refused to add fast shipping to an order that was already over three weeks late. At this point I would expect most places to be trying to bend over backwards to make up for their error. Not them.

So I sit there fuming for a while, and decide that I am not up to writing a half way polite email right now, it will have to wait a couple days.

The day I was going to write to cancel my order and inform them I won’t be shopping there again, I get an automated email saying my order had been shipped. As in the original one that they failed to tell me was out of stock was now back in stock and again they had failed to tell me this. So I think fine, obviously too late to cancel, I want the hoodie, that’s the end of it. I’ll just buy from somewhere else next time.

So, it’s over right? Wrong.

I get an email the next day from redbubble asking me to reply to the previous email. Do I want the hoodie in a different colour or not?

I guess at this point I should have stopped assuming that any part of redbubble knows how to communicate with any other part and it shouldn’t have been a shock that they had no idea that my order that they were asking me about had already been shipped. But it was.

rugby

Eventually, I got my hoodie. Definitely not in time for the start of the Rugby World Cup (I had ordered it nearly a month in advance). But at least it wasn’t over yet.

I won’t be shopping there again, (I’m sorry if you only use redbubble to sell your designs, but may i suggest looking at selling them other places too?) and will be recommending to my friends that they don’t either.

Sorry for the long rant, and if you read that far, hello!

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Christmas Wreath

christmas wreathChristmas is just around the corner (okay well around a couple of corners) so it’s time to start getting out all the christmas crafts and cards and presents ready to wrap. This year I’m going to try my hand at another christmas wreath. My only previous one was a very simple one where I got tinsel that looked like leaves and holly and wrapped it around a wreath and put some LED lights inside. It looked very pretty, but it wasn’t very crafty!wreath2

I’ve bought my wreath base (35cm half wreath) and I will be using up some of my stash of Chunky Stylecraft in white to wrap it. I’m slip stitching it up the back to keep it all in place. I’ve had a small test run out in the pic as you can see and it’s the look I was going for so far so good! I’m hoping to crochet some holly leaves and berries as well as mini ‘Merry Christmas’ bunting to hang through the middle. Other than that I’m sure I will have loads of ideas to try out along the way. And I’ll be posting about them here as well as showing you how the finished wreath looks at the end of it all.

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National poetry day

So I missed national poetry day. It was yesterday. But I didn’t even hear about it till after midnight so not much I can do about that. 

But I wanted to share with you my two favourite poems. Now, I could name a whole list of amazing poems (in fact I’m going to: If, Invictus, and The Highwayman are all poems I would also recommend) but these two are the ones I always end up back with. I think they speak to the two sides of my personality. Creativity and imagination compared with the more academic logical side. 

Ode

BY ARTHUR O’SHAUGHNESSY

We are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers

And sitting by desolate streams;

World losers and world forsakers,

On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world for ever, it seems.

 

With wonderful deathless ditties

We build up the world’s great cities.

And out of a fabulous story

We fashion an empire’s glory:

One man with a dream, at pleasure,

Shall go forth and conquer a crown;

And three with a new song’s measure

Can trample an empire down.

 

We, in the ages lying

In the buried past of the earth,

Built Nineveh with our sighing,

And Babel itself with our mirth;

And o’erthrew them with prophesying

To the old of the new world’s worth;

For each age is a dream that is dying,

Or one that is coming to birth.

—————————-

And the second poem:
The Old Astronomer (To His Pupil) by Sarah Williams

Reach me down my Tycho Brahé, – I would know him when we meet,

When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;

He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how

We are working to completion, working on from then to now.
Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,

Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,

And remember men will scorn it, ‘tis original and true,

And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.
But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,

You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,

What for us are all distractions of men’s fellowship and wiles;

What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles.
You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,

But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate.

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight;

You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night.

I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known.

You “have none but me,” you murmur, and I “leave you quite alone”?
Well then, kiss me, – since my mother left her blessing on my brow,

There has been a something wanting in my nature until now;

I can dimly comprehend it, – that I might have been more kind,

Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind.
I “have never failed in kindness”? No, we lived too high for strife,–

Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life;

But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you still

To the service of our science: you will further it? you will!
There are certain calculations I should like to make with you,

To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true;

And remember, “Patience, Patience,” is the watchword of a sage,

Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age.
I have sown, like Tycho Brahé, that a greater man may reap;

But if none should do my reaping, ’twill disturb me in my sleep

So be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name;

See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame.
I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak;

Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak:

It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars,–

God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.

—————————–

I would love to hear what you think? And what are some of your favourites? 

Hogwarts Crest SAL update

Time for another cross stitch update. I reckon I’m about half way through now. And quickly running out of time to finish it. I’ve put nearly every other craft on hold (although with Christmas coming this won’t last long!). Here’s where I was last time:sal3

This time I’ve very nearly finished all the crest off. Just a handful of stitches on the badger and then the four knots for eyes still need to be done. But I’ve managed to do the bottom banner and the backstitching for the words and around the crest itself. I’ve never done back stitching before and had a bit of trouble with it as I kept accidentally pulling it out as there is no way to secure the thread behind like I do with cross stitches. I got there in the end though.sal

Will be moving on to do the top banner with ‘HOGWARTS’ on next, unfortunately I think it has as many stitched in it as the whole crest so far! I’m thinking I might run out of yellow before the end but that is easily bought. It’s taken me three and a half months to get this far and I reckon I only have about one and  a half to finish it if I want to give it as a present as planned. Bit panicked here. Fingers crossed.

The others taking part in the SAL are linked below and you should check out what they have been up to on their blogs.

Avis / Claire / Gun / Carole / KateJule / Elizabeth / Wendy / Lucyanne / Cathy / Jacqui

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