Ikea Update!

I am thrilled to have recieved this response last night from Ikea

Dear Alice,

Your email & blog were forwarded to me by my PR colleague. Budgets are tight for many people in the current economic climate, especially for young families, so I totally appreciate that your discovery of the price increase on the DUKTIG children’s kitchen upset you and that, combined with the (incorrect) reasons you were given by one of our contact centre agents, this led to you “ranting” about IKEA on your blog.

At IKEA we always aim to offer the lowest price within all of our product areas all year round as we are really passionate about offering our customers honest every day low prices. We’re always working to lower our prices to ensure our products are affordable and offer value for money and the number of products with “New Lower Price” in our catalogue is testimony to this. Occasionally a competitor will undercut our prices with temporary special offers and where our sales team are aware of this they will reduce our prices accordingly even if this means selling a product without any profit.

Contrary to the incorrect information your were regrettably given, the reason for the price change was as follows: At the end of October we noticed that a national competitor temporarily brought a children’s kitchen in their range which they promoted in their Christmas brochure as a special half-price offer. Although it was clear that their children’s kitchen was of inferior quality we decided to lower the price of ours too to compete with their offer. It is standard commercial practice that once a competitor “price attack” is over to revert back to the original price. Normally such price reductions are communicated as special offers with an end date but on this occasion as we didn’t know how long the competitor in question would stock this product it was open ended until their stock ran out. As soon as it was clear that they were no longer selling this product the price of our DUKTIG kitchen went back to its original price.

In hindsight I totally see that it was “clumsy” for this to happen in the week before Christmas and this has been addressed with our sales team. As a result of your feedback they have, with immediate effect, reinstated the temporary lower price until mid January. In addition, by way of apology to you, I would like to send you an IKEA gift card to the value of £30 (please send me your address so I can arrange for this to be done). Thank you for your feedback and for giving us the opportunity to respond. In closing I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a good start to 2012.

With kind regards,”

I have to congratulate Ikea for not only listening but also putting their words into action and not just give lip service. After recieving this email I went onto their website and can confirm that the price on the kitchen has been reduced back to its previous price!!!

Merry Christmas to Elliott, Merry Christmas to all those familys wanting to purchase this kitchen and Merry Christmas to Ikea who, in the end, came through …… I’ll be nice about them now LOL!

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Being Scrooged By Ikea!

It is less than a week until Christmas morning when children across the country will be waking up waiting to see if they have been “good enough” to earn the presents on their Christmas lists. The pressure on parents is huge and this year has been the first year that Elliott has been able to say what he wants “faher cwimas” to bring him and he has 2 requests, Hungry Hippos and a Kitchen.

As with everyone right now we are short of funds and we were directed by a friend to Ikea where they were selling the perfect kitchen for Elliott. As he is tall most children’s kitchens are far too low for him and this one not only had 3 heights but it came in within our extremely tight budget at a bargain price of £60!

We showed Elliott the kitchen and he said that was the one he wanted so, Grandad, Great-Granny, Nanny and Mummy all scraped together the money we needed to buy it for him, along with a set of saucepans – or so we thought,. Having been paid last night Steve went over to Ikea to collect the kitchen only to discover that ONE WEEK before Christmas, when most stores are slashing prices Ikea have chosen to INCREASE the price of this CHILDRENS TOY to nearly £90!!!!!

I called Ikea this morning and spoke to someone in “customer relations” who informed me in a very sulky manner that yes the price had been increased by Ikea by 50% and that this was because they had “changed manufacturer and because the item has been so popular” – so this has nothing to do with the fact that Ikea are a) capitalising on the pre-Christmas rush and b) they are planning on slashing the price by – lets say 30% – come boxing day BACK to the original price and saying that it is now in the sale and what an amazing bargain.

Elliott has seen the Ikea kitchen, he desperately wants the Ikea kitchen, he has printed a picture of it and stuck it to his letter to Father Christmas to say thats what he wants and come Christmas morning he will not be getting the Ikea kitchen because “Father Christmas” can’t afford it – So Merry Christmas Elliott from Ikea, you are 3 years old and the magic of the day will be ruined because of a big corporation.

I am quite frankly disgusted that they feel that this is a reasonable thing to do and that it’s not only family’s but CHILDREN that are going to pay for it. We aren’t going to be able to get Elliott another kitchen in time for Christmas now as it is too late and I suspect by the fact that the customer relations assistant was so highly aware of this problem when I called that we aren’t the only family who are facing the same problem, buy the child the present they want and not pay a bill or disappoint them on Christmas day.

On behalf of all those family’s I urge you to please share this blog post, with your blog readers, and to share it on your Facebook and your Twitters and show Ikea up to be this years Christmas Scrooges!

Getting Ready For Christmas – Christmas Stocking Review

With just over a week to go before Christmas we are starting to panic slightly in our house because we have sorted out gifts for most of our nearest and dearest  but the boys list are not even nearly done!

When Elliott was born my mum made him a big fabric stocking and put his name and birth year on it and she also knitted him a lovely sock sized stocking to put on the end of his bed for Father Christmas to fill on Christmas eve – I LOVE the tradition of waking up to a stocking full of presents on Christmas morning, its one of my favorite Christmas memorys.

This year as much as my mum would love to do the same for Sam she is working a lot and just doesn’t have the time so rather than have Sam go without I thought I would have a look around for some personalised stockings for the boys, I wanted them to match and have their names on if I was going to buy them – Elliotts stocking is not being retired the new stockings would be for this year and then hopefully mum will have time next year to make one for Sam and the new ones can be purely decorative hanging on the fireplace.

We are really broke at the moment, who isn’t, and although I wanted something nice we couldn’t afford a small fortune so I had a look on Ebay. The trouble with Ebay can sometime be that you buy something, it arrives and the quality is rubbish or you buy something one day fo £10 and find it in the pound shop the next. Having been raised by my mum who is amazing at anything that involves some form of needle and thread I was very aware of what I wanted and I found it! From Ebay seller FMS1234

I then found that to match the stockings the seller also made a lovely wall hanging that co-ordinated  beautifully.

Well Steve and I thought about it and although it meant going over our budget we decided to go for it and order 2 of the medium stockings for £9.99 and the wall hanging for £13.99 and after having arrived today I am so pleased that we did.

They are stunning! The stockings are fully lined, beautifully chosen fabrics and so much attention to detail that photographs just don’t do them justice. To say they offer value for money is a understatment and I think even my mum will be very impressed. The fabrics on the items differ slightly from the “stock” image but this is declared in the listing and doesn’t actually mater as the replacements are just as well-chosen. The only thing I would personally change is the bows on the top of the presents to a different fabric but that’s if I am really looking for something to change. I asked the maker, Fiona, to change the phrasing on the wall hanging slightly from “Dear Santa” to “Dear Father Christmas” – it’s only a minor thing but Santa to me is American and I prefer Father Christmas and Elliott knows him as Father Christmas. I have to say that I think these stockings and wall hanging are going to be a cherished memory for my children to get out every year and hang up in preparation for Christmas.

If you wish to order I would get in quick as we are fast approaching the big day now and Fiona is only a one man band so she can only do so much to avoid your disappointment of not receiving them in time.

I hope she keeps it up because next year when we have more money I really want to order two large stockings, one for myself and one for Steve so that we have a proper family set.

Due to the lack of time between now and Christmas I am going to publish this review without a picture of our completed order – however I will add one tonight when Steve arrives home with a camera that works.

We did not receive anything for writing this review it was done because the product is fabulous and I wanted to share it with my blog readers!

Quinny Casters 2011 – The cat is out of the bag and running around the kitchen”

As anyone following the Quinny Casters program may be aware yesterday all the Casters for this years program finally received the email that we had all been eager to receive – final confirmation as to which pushchair we would be testing this year, the new Quinny Moodd or the Quinny Yezz!

These are two polar opposit pushchairs, one a big every day birth to toddler and the other an occasional nippy little thing, which is wicked light and perfect for an older child – particularly one that likes to spend as much time out of the pushchair as in it.

This time last year the Yezz would have been an exciting pushchair for our family, with Elliott at 2 years old it would have been ideal,  a perfect buggy for days out, throwing in the back of the boot and for the underground! I have to admit I am really intrigued by it as there isn’t anything on the market, that I have seen, that is similar to it – from the fold to the fabric – I really think this summer they are going to be flying off the shelves.

Now of course we have Sam and our requirements have changed and as much as there will come a point when we will occasionally pop him into a lightweight stroller he still very much needs the protection and features of a big stroller and the Moodd is packed with them. Also on a personal front I’m not sure how I would feel about putting my dinky (he is only just starting to grow out of his 3-6 month clothing) 7 month old in a stroller considering our lifestyle and bus use, especially as he has been thrown out of his buggy onto the bus floor once already.

So as much as I would love to give the Yezz a go my practical brain was saying that we really needed a Moodd for Sam – but it wasnt up to me and like all 20 fellow Quinny Casters we had to wait for that all important email yesterday.

When it arrived I was strangely nervous, why I’m not sure but it was like being a kid at Christmas waiting to see what was in that BIG present and upon opening it was revealed that we have been chosen to test THE MOODD!

Here it is in a lovely blue, which is the colour we have requested to test; I have 2 boys I may as well be loud and proud of it LOL! This will be Sams first pushchair that has never been sat in by another child and to be honest I am so chuffed because as well as my Loola has done for us in the past 3 years it really is now looking ready for retirement and I don’t think it will manage another 3.

So what do I like about it and what do I not……you will have to wait for my next update. Yezz Casters will be receiving their pushchairs, probably, next week but the Moodd wont be arriving with us until the middle end of January so I have lots of time to look and think on it and write a pre-Moodd post before it finally gets here.

On a different note – I have realised that if I get up at the crack of dawn I can fit in blogging before the kids get up, who knew!!!!!!

Cheeky Wipes – Review

As a mum you expect to fall in love with your new baby but what you don’t expect is to fall in love with baby products and I have to say that I am in love with Cheeky Wipes!

I have been using them now for a few weeks so that they have been used on their own, with disposable nappys, with reusable nappys, in the house, out of the house, and they have been washed more than once – well you can’t say that I am not thorough LOL

The cheeky wipe system can look complicated but it really isn’t, In addition to the wipes themselves you have 2 boxes – clean and dirty, 2 bags – clean and dirty, 2 little bottles of essential oils – shockingly clean and dirty and a net bag. All colour coded!

To set them up you put the net bag in the green dirty box along with water and a few drops of the “dirty” anti-bacterial essential oil. In the blue clean box you put water up to the fill line, a few drops of “clean” essential oil and then soak your wipes in the water – job done! The oils that you add to your wipe box are 100% natural apposed to the chemicals in disposible wipes – this is especially great if you have a baby with sensitive skin.

So why do I love Cheeky Wipes? Well for a start the essential oils make them smell amazing, that alone makes me want to use them, and secondly once you have cleaned up an explosive poo with a Cheeky Wipe you wont want to go back t disposibles. I kid you not a messy nappy that would take 3 large wet wipes to clean would take just one small cheeky wipe. They have a great grip to pick up the dirt but while not being coarse against a baby’s skin. Most of the time when I change both of the boys now I only have to use one wet wipe and once we are done they are squeaky clean, as if they have just come out of the bath.

So how practical are they? Well at home you just replace your wet wipe packet with your wet wipe box and pop your dirty box next to the nappy bin, so really no much of a change in that respect. Out and about you have 2 bags, you guessed it, clean and dirty. The dirty bag has zipped into it a removable net bag, which is the same type as the one in your dirty box. I found that for once a re-usable nappy change product saved me room in my changing bag because rather than having a large, heavy, wet wipe packet I could take a handful of cheeky wipes in the fresh bag and be confident they would cover me while we were out. I know some people who use re-usable wipes tend to carry dry wipes and a spray bottle of water with them whilst out  but with this system you really don’t need to and both the clean and dirty bags held all the liquid inside themselves and so we have had no leaks in the changing bag at all. When we got home we could decide whether to just tip the dirty bag contents into the dirty box or to simply unzip the inner bag and pop that straight into the machine.

Now the washing – the bit you are dreading about reusable wipes! – let’s be honest no-body wants to have their hands in poo and so staring down at a bunch of dirty stained re-usable wipes that you have to “deal” with isn’t a fabulous prospect HOWEVER cheeky wipes have thought of this. When it comes to washing simply take your whole dirty box to the machine, unhook the bag from the box and lift it straight in as it is, no touching involved! Couldnt be easier and all ou need to do is change the water in your dirty box ready for you next batch. When you open your machine back up you should find lots of lovely clean wet wipes! So the truth about stains. Well we did have some but I honestly suspect that cheeky wipes will be no different to a re-usable nappy and that any stained wipes just pop into sunlight for a little while and it should bleach those stains right out and put you pack to white again. I havent done this only due to the fact that when I tried we had so little sunlight that it would have raken a week!

Drying is easy – you don’t have to dry them just pop them back into your wipe box as before! So you can use them, wash them and at the end of your washing cycle have a whole bunch of fresh wipes to use so extremely practical on that front.

Whist using the wipes I could hear my mother’s voice ringing in my head saying “what’s the point of buying them I could make those” (she says this about a lot of things) so I thought, lets put it to the test! I got a piece of thin terry towelling fabric and sent it over to my mother and had her cut it into squares and overlock the edges for me and used these wipes alongside my cheeky wipes. Well the results are in – my home-made wipes were misshapen and very scruffy looking and more importantly Elliott and Sam HATE them. After a wash they really didn’t fare so well and they were too harsh and scratchy against their skin. Elliott actually went as far as to say “no!  no yucky wipes, nice wipes”  It actually took me a couple of days of disposable wet wipes to get him back to letting me go near him with a cheeky wipe, to which he had no further complaints.

The husband test! Steve is embracing re-usable nappy products, he can see the cost savings and that they work so he was happy to try cheeky wipes but then a couple of days in I caught him going back to the disposable wipes. I couldn’t really understand him and asked why he didn’t like them, his reply was that they were too wet. At this point I resisted the urge to slap my hand against my head and instead opted for calmly picking a wipe up out of the bottom of the box wipe box (hense why it was too wet) and squeezing out the excess water that he didn’t like – he hadn’t thought of that! This however did raise a good point. I have often heard mums compare wet wipes and where some will like one brand because they are lovely and moist others wont like them because they are too wet, with re-usable wipes you can squeeze out the water to have them fit your preference every time.

So where do I feel as though improvements can be made? The first thing is already being worked on by the company already and that is the boxes. I like the look of them but after being told that they were being re-designed it did get me wondering why – I am guessing that the lid breaking off the dirty box within 24 hours was the answer to that question. As I say this is being sorted already but if you have read any negative reviews relating to the boxes don’t be put off by the system. The other improvement is a personal preference and that would be for some kind of colour coding on the wipes so that you can use a different set of wipes for hands and faces to those you use for bottoms but having just looked at the cheeky wipe website it looks as though they have thought of this too with talk of coloured wipes in version 3 to be released shortly – As such they currently have offers on version 2 so this would be the time to grab yourselves a bargain!

Cheeky wipes come in towelling and bamboo options – I think we have a single bamboo wipe in the mix of the terry wipes that we were given to test and in use I havent made any noticeable differences but with only a single wipe I can’t honestly say it has stood out using it. The bamboo wipes are more expensive

For re-usable nappy users you are not required to purchase the full cheeky wipes kit, as you already will have a nappy bucket etc. There are mini kits available which offer flexible options as to what you actually need and don’t need from your wipes kit. If you are using cloth cheeky wipes actually make the job easier as you don’t have to make one trip to the nappy bucket and another to the bin you can just put everything together in the one place ready for the wash.

Cheeky wipes are easily available directly from their website www.cheekywipes.com and I have also seen them in the flesh being sold in store by our local Mothercare.

I have to say that considering all things and that cheeky wipes are already making the changes to the product that I feel will improve it I have to give them 10 out of 10 for all areas from practicality to money-saving because let’s be honest we all get through wet wipes like they are coming out of a tap and to be able to end that expense without a huge outlay will make a big difference over time.