Respect for the Social Media Study Buddy Mum 'in the room'!


Well, I don't know about you but it has been one very interesting week here in the Jazzy household.

It was the week that saw the end of a year. A school year, that is.

By some minor heaven sent miracle we seem to have been transported, at extra-super-warp speed, from my 'Secondary Impressions' to his first 'End of  Term', straight-through-with-no-stops to completion of his First Year in secondary school. How on earth did this happen?

Well, it did and here we are - relatively unscathed.

We even survived this week's end-of-year Summer exams that saw me in my role as study buddy mum - which is a bit like feeding an actor his lines. With all the associated drama.

So now it's all over and he's at Scouts. While I'm in need of therapy.

Blog therapy will have to suffice!

The wine therapy took place last night.

Yesterday was a particularly interesting day which I whirled through, tweeting as I went, attempting to complete a seemingly never ending list of 'mummy-jobs'. You see I was due to attend the Irish Social Media Awards, or #sockies13 to all you super trending twitterati out there, in the Clyde Court Hotel last night. I had to complete all jobs first so that I could attempt to glam myself up a bit for this big night.


I wasn't just going as me, you see, I was attending in my capacity as Social Media Manager (sounds good, eh?!) for our iPhones4Autism.ie campaign. We were one of the finalists. Yeah, I got us nominated as a finalist in one category! Not bad considering that the 'us' I refer to is me, my temperamental and dilapidated laptop and our founder, my friend,  Lisa Domican. 

Could be rather intimidating attending such a big event alone so I was lucky I didn't have to. I was in the fabulous company of Jen from Irish Autism Action (nominated in a whopping 4 categories!) and the ever- supportive Looking for Blue Sky.


It was an interesting evening. How best to describe it?

Well, there I was (my companions aside) a 51 year old stay-at-home-Desperate Housewife -Mum, cast adrift in a sea of mainly 20 or 30- something year old, trending, lollipop licking, social media gurus. And there were teams of them. And teams behind the teams, that were behind the teams.

My crappy lappy and I were in very salubrious company it seemed. Best behave then, no more giggling and nudging.

You know it's a young event when the fun interludes consist of Space-hopper duels, lollipops and retro-sweets.

But hey, I was 'in the room' - which is apparently a very good place to be. In fact I think I deserve some respect. After all, I was hip and happening (that's 'trending', retro-style) when macaroon bars were first launched in those halcyon pre-retro times I'll have you know!

It was a fun evening which was excellently presented by the effervescent Rick O'Shea from RTE2fm.

I didn't win, but if I had it would have looked something like this!


                      Thanks to Focus Ireland who 'loaned' me their award for this photo!

Congratulations to all the winners. Social Media plays a very big part in organisations today and presents huge job opportunities. It is clear from last night just how much companies invest in this very effective advertising medium.

If any of them are looking for a trending, chatty and ... um ... 'seasoned'  Desperate Housewife to join their team, one who can multi-task to beat the band and work on a shoe-string budget to boot, you know where I am!


xx













'Ring' of Truth for Rumours of an Irish Summer?


I  remain positively resolute that 2013 will be the year that we'll have a real summer here in Ireland.

You know, one where the rain stops incessantly pelting down on us and the sun shines most days with regular predictability. I doubt it can ever be like Spain and Lanzarote, where you wake up in the morning with the sun streaming through your windows. Every day. With fairly regular predictability. We can be hopeful though, right?

I begin every summer with that summery positivity flowing through my veins, my very being.

I've been doing this for years but I've only just realised for quite how many years.

Did I ever tell you about the summer when my boy was a snuggly and highly active 3 year old? I was working then, job sharing and I thought to myself  'wouldn't it be lovely to spend the summer with my boy?'  So in my infinite wisdom I took unpaid leave and did just that. How wonderful I thought, two whole months of splashing in the paddling pool, playing in the park and on the beach, picnics and sunny fun and frolics. The stuff that childhood memories are made of.

I think it was the second week of such summery bliss that I caved. It wasn't just the cabin fever from being stuck indoors that did it. It was more the hailstones that hurled themselves down the chimney, melting at my feet that day, mid-July in 2003, that spurned me into action. Yes, hailstones in mid-July, I noted it in my diary.

I refused to be held captive in my own home by a few drops of rain, however constant and freezing they might be. We have raincoats and we have wellies,  I declared, we shall don them and get out there every single day. And so it was that splashing in muddy puddles replaced the paddling pool and we had rainy as opposed to sunny fun and frolics.

An experience I swore I'd never repeat. And true to my word I never did take the summer off again.

I went one better - The following year I took a career break! A permanent one, as it turned out.

Over the years I continued with my Irish summer survival methods, we made the most of it when the sun shone and did Xbox play other fun stuff when it didn't.

All the while feeling hopeful that next week would be better. Next week the sun will shine - every day with regular predictability.

And so it is I find myself in 2013, after a week of avoiding downpours and hopping between the May hailstones, positively hopeful that this year we will have a proper Summer.

I remembered a recent and very positive report from the New Zealander Ken Ring weather guru, who was very hopeful indeed. 'He uses the moon, sun and tidal activities to make his forecasts months in advance' per this news story.  And this year he forecasts that we're in for a scorcher after years of washouts. Reminiscent of the heatwave summer of 1995, apparently.

'Three months of warmer weather with the best times to be the first half of July and the latter of August.

He also listed April 16 to April 25, May 12 to May 19 and June 17 to 25 as optimum times for booking a week in the Irish sun.'

I can't remember that April week but I sure as hell hope that the June week is a better prediction than the May one - the week of rain, hailstones and hot beefy bovril! Although in fairness in this account he predicts the cold spell to last right through May.

Still, it was a beautiful day today, May 25th, which was preceded by a stunning Super Moon over Dublin last night...



There's only one week left in May, which will commence with a very rainy Monday.

And then the three months of warmer weather might begin?

Here's hoping for some proper summer fun and frolics!

Bring it on.....


xx



Snugg iPad 3 Case Cover and Flip Stand: A REVIEW


I was delighted when recently asked to review a product from TheSnugg.com's amazing range of top quality, stylish cases.

My 13 year old son was especially delighted when the product chosen was the Snugg iPad 3 Case Cover and Flip Stand, in Electric Blue PU Leather no less, and was very excited when it arrived in the post:




While I was waiting for the case to arrive I had a nice browse through their website and did a bit of research. It seems that the Snugg brand was born in 2010 with their very first iPad case. One of their directors couldn't find a suitable case for his brand new iPad you see, so they had a brainstorming discussion, over a few drinks apparantly - the only way to brainstorm I believe - and they decided to make their very own iPad case. Already I was impressed!

TheSnugg.com's aim is to bring quality products, whether its their products or others, to market. They believe that all the products they stock on their site to be great products in function and in quality. They now stock a wide range of all kinds of different Snugg products (and other people's) and are expanding all the time.

They have what's known as The Snugg Promise which promises a 'Snugg fit' among other things and confirms that 'all cases have been custom made for each of the devices they cover.'

They even promise a Lifetime Guarantee on all of their cases. Don't forget to register your product though!

So, what did my very discerning Teen Boy think of his new iPad 3 case then?

It certainly was a very snug fit as you can see......




'I think the material is very good and I like how the case is designed,' Teen Boy tells me. 

I particularly like that when you close the cover it 'locks' the iPad. That's really smart as there's no need to press any buttons.


I really like the elasticated hand strap at the back too. I like how it's designed, it's very compact.






I also like their clever design for the stand.

I like that I can access all buttons with ease and charge the battery at the same time.


I also really like the pen-holder, it's a very clever way to store your pen so you don't lose it.


I asked him was there anything he didn't like about it: There's nothing wrong with this case' he said, 'but I have a suggestion'.

'Really, what would that be then?' I asked.

Well, it should come with a pen too. Like extra, if you wanted one.'


'So, like a purchasable, optional accessory? With TheSnugg.com logo on it perhaps?


'Exactly' replied my very entrepreneurial Teen Boy! *

Now, there's an idea for their marketing team. We'd be most happy to try them out for them if they ever go with the idea!

My boy is very lucky that I'm only now discovering that they also do a cover for the Amazon Kindle else that may have been the product chosen for this review! I'm so impressed with the iPad cover that I want one of these too!

TheSnugg.com do lots of different cases to help keep your devices in pristine condition. They are the biggest sellers in the USA and are also Amazon best sellers in the USA, UK, Germany and Japan!
.
You can check out their UK website here and their USA website here.


Enjoy!


xx



* Since publishing this post TheSnugg.com advised me that they have a 2 in 1 stylus pen available! It didn't show up on my search on the site for some reason. Check it out here.

Good Customer Service Stories: Battle of the Bags and more...


Times are tough, austere even, and retail spend is down.

When people do spend, especially when they invest in good quality goods, they expect good quality customer service to match. The days of putting up with shoddy workmanship, or prematurely malfunctioning products and simply consigning them to the scrap heap, buying shiny new replacements without skipping a heart beat, are long gone.

Having been raised in an era of appreciating what you have I've never believed in just putting up with faulty goods. Although of late I have dilly dallied a tad on a couple of problematic items. I didn't have receipts you see.

Not that that really matters when it comes to faulty goods, per the National Consumers Association of Ireland. They're entitled to request proof of purchase but it doesn't have to be a shop receipt. I think it was the thought of having to psyche myself up for possible confrontation with regards to what constitutes faulty goods that had me sitting back on my very comfortable laurels.

So, eventually I decided to haul myself off said comfortable 'seat', and start by returning the Ramshackle Rucksack, which was purchased last December as part of a very good Rock N River deal, back to whence it came. 

Sure whats the worse they could say to me - take a hike?

Given that the straps came off the bag on a 50 yard walk from car to school hall it's lucky it never actually took an actual hike! A point I was all too ready to drill home.

Turns out there was no need. There was a stitching fault on these rucksacks you see, resulting in a product recall. Something I wouldn't have known had I not called in, receiving a properly stitched replacement for my troubles.

This buoyed up my confidence no end so next up was the curious case of the Snaggy School Bag.

Last August I invested €40 in a good quality Portland 4 Tec school bag for my Teen Boy's commencement in secondary school. A bag with many pockets, strong straps and a padded back to protect the back of my pride and joy, that would surely last him a few years?

It barely lasted two months before the zipper on the main pocket got all snaggy and the teeth all twisty. Although we fixed the zipper many times it got increasingly more snaggy and twisty, eventually culminating in the zip falling off entirely, rendering the bag completely useless. And all within a mere seven months! Really not acceptable. Especially so when informed that JanSport bags have a thirty year guarantee. Thirty years! You can't beat that.

Unsure of warranty and being unable to find the receipt I was reluctant to bring it back at first. Perhaps there's a fault with these bags too, I thought to myself as I cheekily strode into the shop, trailing Snaggy School Bag behind me. Now, this one I was really winging so I was all sweetness and light! I wouldn't have taken no for an answer and would have, nicely, pushed for a contact email for the manufacturer if necessary. Surprisingly there was no fuss, no protracted arguments just my contact details entered into a book noting me for a replacement bag of equal value, when the new stock came in! A JanSport bag, no less!

I'm on a roll here, I thought. Now to finally bite the bullet and get my totally-out-of-warranty no-chance-of-replacement, non-working camera sorted out. It was barely out of warranty when I first brought it back only to be told it needed a new battery. I didn't buy a new battery. I brooded over it for a few months instead, really not happy with the outcome. So in I went again, nicely asking for them to check it out one more time. The real problem was identified and resolved to my total satisfaction, making me, yet again, a very satisfied customer.

The final good customer service story involves my recent trip to our local library. The staff there always very kindly remind this addled Dizzy Jazzy when I attempt to borrow a book that I've already read! This time I attempted to borrow one I'd read only six weeks ago! Oops. And sparked off a conversation about my favoured genre - psychological thrillers- which resulted with the very kind library assistant writing out some Scandinavian suggestions for me. This was not only good customer service but good public service too!

Times are tough and not all prices are falling. We shouldn't just put up with goods and services that we're not happy with. A good business will keep their customers happy, thereby encouraging them to come back for more when they can afford to do so.

Those companies deserve some appreciation too, so - kudos to the following:

The Scout Shop Ireland (Bray),

Michael Doherty School Supplies (Bray) ,

Fujifilm Photo Shop (Shankill)

Dun laoghaire Rathdown libraries.


Well done, you've made this customer very happy. I'll be back....


xx






Desperately Seeking Everything and Invoking Sod's Law


If you've been reading my blog a while you'll know that I'm a Dizzy Jazzy, who distractedly loses things like musical tickets and keys, private documents etc with alarming regularity.

I 'always forget to bring things' on trips too, as Teen Boy points out, also with alarming regularity. I'll never forget this embarrassing day last summer when I ran out of diesel, miles from home and had no money!

But as I always say 'if I didn't have to remember everyone else's stuff then I'd have less to forget.'  I would also warn people - you know who you are - if you see me working, like ironing or cooking, never give me important stuff.  Ever. You see I'm never just ironing or cooking. I'm usually doing both whilst also planning what I have to do next in my head. I will not remember what I've done with what you've given me. 

This week I have managed to mislay a few items and I have no-one to blame but myself.

I mislaid my house keys yet again and a potato grow-bag, of all things, that was from a pack of two. The former is a normal occurrence, I have my Mia Tui bags to keep me organised when out and about but as yet my home, like my brain, has yet to be Mia Tui-ed. The keys turned up a day later as they usually do as did the grow-bag, which had seemingly vanished into thin air mere moments after being opened.

But the one thing that hasn't turned up yet, after 5 days of searching, are my reading glasses! Honestly, I had them one minute and  then pooft, between the dining table downstairs and the bathroom upstairs, they disappeared - into the magic black hole where all my lost things are secreted away on me I reckon. I'm convinced this place exists somewhere in my house. No doubt it contains sets of keys, odd socks, odd earrings, maybe some money, show tickets etc and things I've even forgotten that I've lost!

One day I'll find this secret place.

But first I have to find my glasses.

I've desperately sought them here, I've desperately sought them there, I've desperately sought them

Every.

Bloody.

Where.

They are simply not to be found - anywhere!

I've searched under, behind and within all sofas and chairs and in all drawers, boxes and discarded bags.

I've looked in all pockets of all garments, hand-bags and car seats.

I've examined all presses and cabinets.

I've rummaged through the Green and Purple wheelie bins and the kitchen and bathroom bins.

And also, in complete desperation, I checked the fridge, the microwave, the oven and the hot press!

There is nowhere left for me to search.

Well, except the un-findable place where they are, obviously.

The infamous black hole? Or perhaps we have our very own naughty magpie? Of the feline variety?



                                                                    Moi? Never...

I even prayed to Saints Anthony and Jude, promising all sorts that I have no chance of following through on. But even they didn't listen to me. I'm a complete lost cause and hopeless case, it would seem.

I then decided to invoke Sod's Law by buying a replacement pair, but that hasn't worked as of yet. It seems that Sod's Law comes at a price and will not be bought by a pair of cheap, over-the-counter pharmacy glasses.

I bet that the great and powerful Sod himself is up there, crossing his arms, tut-tutting at me and saying in a tantalising, annoying voice: 'You should have gone (back) to Specsavers'!

So, I am at a complete loss and don't know where to find them. I'm hoping if I leave them alone, they'll come home, wagging ...to find me!

In the meantime though, have you any suggestions?

What's the weirdest place that you found something you've misplaced?


xx




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