Monday, 25 July 2016

How EasyJet terrified my child *updated*

Please see bottom of the post for an update.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you will know that as a family we love traveling. We have flown all all over the world with our children and Eva took her first flight at 6 months old. She adores flying and normally relishes in the experience. However, what happened on our flight last week has tarnished her enjoyment. She was left absolutely distraught which was distressing for all of us.

We booked our flights to Turkey with EasyJet a few months ago for myself, hubby, Eva who is 3.5, Ophelia who is 8 months old and my dad. We hadn't given sitting together a second thought as EasyJet say they seat families together. It's the first time we have booked with EasyJet as a family.
The following is copied from EasyJet's website: It’s important that we know if you have children in your booking in order to make sure they get allocated an appropriate seat and are seated with you. When you make your booking for your family, please make sure you clearly identify any children in the booking. Just add the number of children and infants in your party in the relevant section and include their ages when prompted. 
We had provided all the information that was required from us when booking and then received email confirmation to say that everything was booked and that our seats were auto allocated. To me that reads that they have allocated us seats together (I was clearly wrong).




It was only when we decided to check in online that we noticed that our seats were all separate. None of us were sat anywhere near each other. Not even on the same rows. Again we thought this must be some sort of mistake as surely a 3 year old wouldn't be placed in a row on her own, separated from family members. We decided to phone EasyJet to double check. 

The first phone call was with a gentleman who was very blunt, very rude, very obnoxious and very unhelpful. He told us that those were our seats and that if we wanted to sit together we should have paid. He said he couldn't do anything about it and that it would have to be dealt with once we got to the airport. He also decided to point out to us that it is illegal for a 3 year old to sit alone on a flight and therefore if they can't place her next to us, we wouldn't be able to fly. This was obviously not what we wanted to hear and it started to cause us a lot of stress and worry.
I then decided to call twice more to see if someone else would be a bit more helpful and sympathetic but once again I was met with the same nonchalant response from them. I was getting very stressed about this situation. I also tweeted EasyJet a few times and I had no response. 

The day came for us to go on our holiday. Eva was beside herself with excitement. We headed over to Bristol airport and waited in the bag drop queue. At that point my husband approached the EasyJet customer service desk to try and resolve our problem there. Once again he was brushed off and told they would sort it out for us at the bag drop.

I was still hopeful that this would be resolved (how silly was I for being so positive?). The woman at the bag drop told us she also couldn't resolve the problem and that it would have to be dealt with at the gate. She said that she couldn't see anyway that they could sit us together but they would try. Once again it seemed like the problem was being brushed off and left for someone else to deal with it.

We arrived at the gate and were then told that the cabin crew would have to try and seat us together. I said I did not want to get on a plane and have my daughter sat in a row on her own whilst they tried to find seats for us but we were told this was the only option.

We entered the plane and the cabin crew knew nothing about the fact that we weren't sat together. It was the first they had heard of it. We were told to take our seats and then they would sort something out. I sat down in mine. My dad then went to his row. As you can imagine Eva did not want to sit on her own next to two strangers and therefore stood in the aisle with her dad. Even though she is only 3, she is not stupid. She could understand everything that was being said and started to get very distressed. She stood there crying.

After about 15 minutes the cabin crew made an announcement and said that they had a child who was separated from a parent and can anybody swap seats. As you can imagine that was met with total utter silence (other than Eva still crying). They then had to inform the pilot as we were late taking off. A following announcement came over and said that we would be unable to take off until somebody moved. Again nobody moved. My poor daughter heard all of this and was distraught. This then made me very upset. It was truly a horrifying experience. 

Someone eventually swapped seats with me which meant that a seat was free next to my dad. Hubby and Eva sat in those seats and myself and my dad went to the other two seats that were allocated to us (in separate rows). Eva was still hysterically crying as she now realised that she wouldn't be sat with her mum and sister. I went to take my seat in-between two older people. They had booked a window seat and an aisle seat even though they were travelling together, which I think is ridiculous and shouldn't be allowed. I went to get in and was told that they did not want to sit by a baby. They were not happy to have as sat by them (more fool them as little did they know that she was a frequent flyer and therefore was actually the best behaved child on the plane). I was totally humiliated. The cabin crew didn't stick up for me at all and allowed these people to speak to me like that after already experiencing half an hour of hell. 

I took the other available seat which was in-between two men. This wouldn't be a problem ordinarily but I breastfeed Ophelia so I found that very uncomfortable. Eva was still crying and still very shaken up and terrified. She actually wet herself through fear and distress. She has been potty trained for a long time, so this is totally out of character for her. After we took off a lovely lady saw that I was breastfeeding and asked her daughter to swap seats with me (I was sat by her dad). I was so relieved as at least I could breastfeed next to a woman, rather than being sandwiched between two men.

As a family we have never experienced anything like this whilst flying. It was awful. We were humiliated. Eva was beside herself with fear and was beyond consolable and it has totally ruined her enjoyment of flying. I've never been so angry at the way we have been treated. EasyJet's customer service is without a doubt the worst we have ever experienced from an airline. They passed our problem onto whoever was next in the chain and they have ignored our cries for help.

I am so worried as we have to do this all over again when we fly home on Saturday. We are all separated. I am not happy for my little girl to be put through that again but EasyJet don't care. We are currently still on holiday so we have tried contacting them via twitter. The only response we've had is a link directing us to their flying with children page. This doesn't help us at all!

I appreciate that sometimes you can't seat families together. We understood that but our argument was the fact that they had allocated a 3 year old a seat on her own away from any parent. 

After the way we were treated I will avoid flying with them again. Their lack of empathy and disregard for help was appalling. We still haven't even had an apology. I'm writing this to warn people so that your experience will not be ruined like ours. It seems to me that it is all a money making scheme by EasyJet to get you to pay for your seats which is not necessary if it is illegal for children to be seated alone. Paying for seats shouldn't even come into the equation when you are flying with young children. 

Have you ever had an experience like this?

Update:
We are still away on holiday. I have finally been contacted by Easyjet who have apologised for the customer service we have received. Eva is now sat by us on the way home. Even though there was availability on the plane she was still separated from us. Anyway, that problem has been solved and she is sat next to us.

I also would like to clear a few things with my readers as I have received lots of abuse from people via email and social media. This post is my own personal opinion. I write a blog and share my experiences on my blog. I would have written about flying with EasyJet if it had been a positive experience too. This is by no means a complaint letter (I will be sending one separately). This was written to share my experience with my readers and to warn others of the terrible customer service we received. 
I read and appreciate comments that have been left but I think lots of people have taken this  whole post out of context. I have in no means written it for any financial gain. I will emphasise again, it was written to highlight the appalling customer service that we received from EasyJet before, during and after the flight. 
I would also like to highlight that I had tried to resolve this issue on numerous occasions before boarding the plane.
If our experience home is a good one I will also be writing about that. I will be writing about my holiday, my apartment and everything in between like I always do. I have not written this for 5 minutes of fame, I am sharing my personal experience. 

With regards to EasyJet and complaining as i've already said, my complaint letter will be written when I return home. The customer service needs addressing (before the flight) and after. I have spoken with them about their flawed booking system and they have agreed with the points I have raised. I have written proof of things that have been said to me by EasyJet which will be going in my letter. 

Where I have discussed what happened on board. Again that is my personal experience. For the people attacking me over the breastfeeding comment, I will emphasise again, I was sharing how I personally felt. I am in no means demanding that I have to sit where I want because I breastfeed. I was simply saying that with everything that had happened on the plane before hand, everybody was staring at me and I felt self conscious. I was sat in between 2 men and everybody was staring and talking about me and my family. I wanted to cry. This will not be going in my complaint letter. Once again I will say it was my personal feelings. People that read my blog regularly will be able to relate to what I was saying as they will understand that I was simply sharing how I felt like I always do.

I am not a cheapskate and a chav as I have been called. I had at no point refused to pay for a seat. If you re read the post it was the first time we have ever flown with them as a family and it said upon booking our seats were allocated. 

I also want to thank people for the lovely comments that have been left here and across my social media and by emails. There are plenty of people that were in the same situation I was who will now be checking their seat allocations also. 
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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Nimble Babies Milk Buster Review

A few weeks ago we were sent a bottle of Nimble Babies Milk Buster to review, which is a cleaning spray for bottles. It targets smelly milk residues and odours and claims to get rid of the cloudiness that often appears on bottles.


Ophelia is primarily breastfed but she occasionally has a bottle of milk. Eva also often has milk in a beaker before bedtime and we find those a pain to keep clean. 

The product is made from the safest cleaning ingredients derived from coconut, sugar and amino acids. Its pH is balanced to be similar to water and it also contains plant-derived products to remove water hardness. It's been clinically tested to be as mild as water. 

It's very simple to use. You add a little warm water to the bottle and then spray twice inside. You can also use the spray directly onto a teat. You can then either use a brush to clean around the inside of the bottle of just shake it. 
If the milk has been left in the bottle longer than a day you may need to spray a couple more times.

We've been using the product for a few weeks and we are very impressed. It really does make the bottles and beakers a lot cleaner. It's very good at getting rid of smelly odours. I've also been using it to clean the monstrosity that is my husband's protein shake bottle. If you've ever used one of those then you know how smelly and grubby they become. It's a miracle worker on that.

We love how simple it is to use. Cleaning bottles can normally be frustrating when you are trying to reach the bottom and remove leftover milk from the sides. The fact that it's a spray allows the product to reach all areas of the bottle that can normally only be reached with a brush. 

We've been so impressed with the product that we've actually bought it away on holiday with us. The temperature where we are has been at least 35 degrees everyday so as you can imagine the bottles and beakers smell very quickly. 

It costs £5.99 for 200ml or £2.99 for a travel size which is 60ml. Its lasted us a while but we don't use bottles daily. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It's a product that you didn't know you needed until you've used it.


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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Ophelia's Weaning Journey At 7 Months Old

It's been a while since I updated you on how Ophelia's weaning journey is progressing. You may have read my post on her first tastes when we initially started. She is now nearly 8 months old and is very much into her food.

She started with puree food but progressed quickly onto finger foods. She seemed to want whatever we were having. I guess that comes with having a big sister to look up to and always wanting what she has. We decided to try to offer her a mash dish and a finger food at every meal which seemed to make her very happy.

Here's what she had last week:

Monday  

Coconut greek yoghurt
Toast fingers

Dairylea sandwich 
Apple slices

Spaghetti bolognese
Garlic bread

Tuesday 

Porridge
Toast fingers

Ham sandwich
Banana

Beef Casserole 
Watermelon Slices

Wednesday
Scrambled Egg
Toast fingers

Selection of finger foods such as carrots, cucumber 
Greek Yogurt

Lasagne 
Garlic bread

Thursday


Coconut greek yogurt
Toast fingers

Dairylea sandwich

Cottage Pie
Watermelon slices

Friday
Porridge
Toast fingers

Ham sandwich
Banana

Cottage Pie

Saturday
Toast fingers

Selection of finger foods such as carrots, cucumber 

Spaghetti Bolognese

Sunday
Scrambled egg

Cottage Pie
Banana

Lasagne 
Garlic Bread

A lot of what she eats is quite repetitive but that's because I batch cook and I know she likes it. Her favourite food has to be toast fingers. She would eat them at every meal if she could. She seems to like strong flavoured food which is exactly what Eva liked too when she was weaning.

We've been using the Babymoov lunch set for her meals which we love. The section plate is so handy as I can separate the different food items. We've been using it since we started weaning and it gets used 3 times a day. It honestly still looks brand new. No matter how many times it's had bolognese on it and has been threw the dishwasher, it still comes out looking clean. This is a far cry from some of the other dishes I used with Eva. 


It's definitely durable. Ophelia loves to bash things about at mealtime and her plate, bowl and cup take most of the brunt of it. I'm amazed that they don't even have a chip in them. 

How did you find weaning? What meals and finger foods did your little one's enjoy? I'm always on the hunt for new ideas so please share any.




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Monday, 11 July 2016

Monsoon Holiday Wishlist For The Girls

One shop I adore getting the girls' clothes from is Monsoon. I don't shop there often but I always go there for special occasions and holidays. The clothes are very well made and last well. 

We have our summer holiday next week so I am currently making some wishlists. I love trying to match the girls too as that always looks lovely. 



I love the pattern and colours in this dress. It's perfect for summer nights and I'm sure Eva would love it.

This is the perfect matching outfit for Ophelia to wear when her sister wears number 1.

The print is what immediately drew me to this one. I think it's fab. This dress could be layered up to then be worn during winter. You could pair it with a long sleeve top and tights to make it last through the seasons.

I was so pleased to see they had an exact replica of the dress in Ophelia's size. It's ever so slightly different but is ideal for matching.

How beautiful are the colours in this dress? It'll be lovely and cool for Eva to wear during the hot nights. She's never worn a maxi dress so i'd love to see her in this one.

I think i'm going to have to snap this up quickly as it's in the sale. It may not be available soon. I think the colours match perfectly with dress number 5. 

Eva loves dresses. The sparklier the better. She would adore this one.

I couldn't find an exact match for dress number 7 but couldn't resist adding this one to the wishlist. My favourite animal is an elephant and Ophelia's room is plastered in them.

What's your favourite out of my wishlist? Have you seen any other nice summer clothes anywhere?


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An Adventure With Miss Bun Bun From The Enchanted Forest

A few weeks ago a special bunny arrived at our house for Eva. She had come from a place called the Enchanted Forest (The Enchanted Company) Her name was Miss Bun Bun and she said she liked to go on lots of adventures. Eva was thrilled. Inside her belly was a handy blanket which was perfect for picnics or to have a rest on long walks. She also had space for Eva to keep her most prized possessions. 



Miss Bun Bun has been on a few adventures with us so far and she will be coming on her biggest adventure yet when we travel on an aeroplane next week. 




Here is her first adventure using all of Eva's own words and imagination.

Finding Miss Bun Bun her friends from the Enchanted Forest

"Miss Bun Bun is my bunny from the enchanted forest. She needs to find her house so she can find her friends. We have to take her to find her friends and bring them back before she cries. Let's go to the lake and see if they are there."

With that the family headed out to the lake. There was mummy, daddy, Eva, her sister Ophelia and her dog Alfie, who was very good at sniffing out other animals.

"Come on we must go faster. We have to be quick. Let's race. Ready, steady, go." They all raced for a short distance. "I am the fastest with Miss Bun Bun. We are the winners."

Mummy and Daddy couldn't remember the way to the lake. "I know the way. You just follow the path. I will find some birds and ask if they know where Miss Bun Bun's friends live."





After a while they arrived at the lake which was surrounded by trees and bushes. She was sure this was where she would find the enchanted forest. They walked around to try and find some animals. 

"Come on Alfie, we need to find the rabbits. Help me find them. Let's look under the tree's."



They searched high and low but they still couldn't find any of Miss Bun Bun's friends. Daddy had packed some bread so Eva decided to ask the ducks if they had seen the animals that live in the enchanted forest.

"Come here ducks and speak to Miss Bun Bun." All of the ducks came out of the lake as soon as they saw that Eva and Miss Bun Bun needed help. They quacked and quacked. This made baby Ophelia giggle a lot. "The ducks said that Miss Bun Bun's friends don't live here, what are we going to do?"




They carried on walking but they didn't find the enchanted forest or any of Miss Bun Bun's friends. They decided to head back home.





They arrived back at their house. "We didn't find any of Miss Bun Bun's friends and now she's sad". Mummy suggested that perhaps Miss Bun Bun could live in Eva's bedroom. Eva smiled and shouted "I have a forest in my room, you will love it there!!"



She took her friend upstairs to show her, her new home. "See, I have lots of animals you can be friends with here. I will look after you."



Miss Bun Bun is now happily settled into her new home. She regularly goes on adventures with Eva and they are always looking for her friends.

You can buy a Miss Bun Bun for your home here, backpack. I am also told that her very best friend is the cute Zed the fox and you can buy him here, backpack. I think I will have to buy Eva the fox to continue feeling her imagination and playtime.

*We were sent Miss Bun Bun as a gift and all views and stories are our own*


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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Who is that girl I see? - Losing myself to PND



This week I had somewhat of a breakdown. Whilst driving and listening to the usual sounds of the 'Now that's what I call Disney' album, one song made me sit up and listen. I can't tell you how many times i've heard it before but on that particular day, it really struck a chord. Perhaps it's because that day I was letting my PND win. I was having a bad day. I was sad, things weren't going well at home. It had been one bad thing after another. After fighting my anxiety off and deciding to try and attempt to turn the day around, I got the girls in the car and we headed out. Little did I know that Mulan and Christina Aguilera were about to send me to rock bottom but also show me too climb back out.

Reflection from Mulan began. I've heard it so many times before but on that day these particular words really resonated with me.

 'Everyday, it's as if I play a part,
 Now I see, 
If I wear a mask, 
I can fool the world,
 But I cannot fool my heart,

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection 
Someone I don't know?
Must I pretend that I'm
Someone else for all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside,

There's a heart that must be
Free to fly
That burns with a need to know
The reason why,

Why must we all conceal
What we think, how we feel?
Must there be a secret me
I'm forced to hide?
I won't pretend that I'm
Someone else for all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I pulled the car over and gazed at my reflection in the mirror and as the song suggests, I didn't recognise myself. It was such a pivotal moment in my life. I've known for a long time that I have changed. I question myself, my self worth, my actions, my thoughts on a daily basis but it was at this moment in time when all I could hear was this song that it dawned on me. I had lost myself to post natal depression. Who was this girl I see? I didn't recognise her at all. I cried some of the hardest tears I have ever cried. 

As I write this I am crying. This song sums up every thought I have had for the past 16 months. I have had to hide so many of my true feelings. I've had to pretend to be strong, confident and happy. I haven't been able to show what has been ripping little pieces of my personality apart. 

I can honestly say that every day I look at myself in the mirror and I ask why? Why me? Why would something strip me of everything I am, everything I am known for? Why have I allowed this darkness to overcome me? Why have I lost control of my life? Why have I changed? Why don't I recognise myself anymore?

I was always the life and soul. I was always a positive person that wore a smile with pride. I was always outgoing and confident. I laughed, I smiled, I loved. I was passionate and strong and always living life to the max. I was adventurous, fearless and unwilling to admit defeat. This person disappeared around March of 2015. I didn't know that my happiness would be short-lived and my personality stolen from beneath my eyes.

I quickly became withdrawn. I was lonely, sad and vulnerable. I became anxious, angry and irritable. I talked but nobody listened. I shouted but clearly not loud enough. Every time my voice wasn't heard, I felt a little piece of me break away. I began to lose interest in things and most importantly I lost interest in myself and admitted defeat.

I have good days but even on those days you will still find me looking at myself in the mirror and analysing who I have become. 

When I stared into the mirror of my car and listened to those lyrics, I felt a weight shift from my shoulders. I finally understood. That reflection wasn't me. The girl sat there in the plain black t-shirt with baggy trousers was not me. That girl crying was not me. I had completely lost myself to my PND but I was unwilling for it to take me forever.

I am not physically and mentally strong enough to gain my true reflection back straight away but I have made a huge step in realising I am not who I once was and that the old me is still there. I will wear a true smile on my face again. I will start laughing again. I will find my passions again. I will take pride in my appearance, I will read books, I will exercise and I will cook. This is who I was 15 months ago. I will be true to myself and I will not give up. One small step at a time and one day, hopefully soon, I will be able to look in that mirror and smile knowingly. Thank you Disney and Christina. 



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Air Tots Review at Go Air Trampoline Park Cardiff

If there's one thing Eva loves doing its bouncing. She bounces everywhere but hey aren't all toddlers the same? She bounces on the bed, the sofa, the trampoline in her back garden, basically anywhere that she can. She also never seems to run out of energy either. 

We were lucky enough to be asked to go along and review the Go Air Tots session at Go Air Trampoline Park in Cardiff. The session costs £5 per child for an hour and the best bit is that the accompanying adult is free. The sessions run during term time on weekdays between 10am-12pm and 2pm-3pm. Weekends the session is 9am-10am. During school holidays the sessions are 10am-11am. I think it's fantastic that they still run a tots session during school holidays as most companies stop their toddler and baby classes during half term which is very annoying for us parents looking for things to do.



Once we arrived we were given wristbands (except Ophelia, you have to be able to walk) and were then given our special socks. These cost £2 but are then yours to keep. I think this was one of the highlights for Eva as she insisted on wearing them with her sandals for the rest of the day. We were then taken to a viewing room to watch a safety video.

We stayed for 2 hours. The first hour 10am-11am is a free bouncing session where you can do whatever you like. Between 11am-12pm there is a semi structured session with the use of hoops, balls etc. During this session the tots are to work towards bronze, silver and certificates.

We were there with my lovely blogging friend Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says and her children.

Eva was extremely confident as soon as she got on the trampolines. She was very happy jumping around and playing with all the accessories that were available. I think the hula hoop was her favourite (and mine lol).





The first thing I noticed about the trampoline park was that the tots area was sectioned off from the rest of the facility. This is so reassuring for us parents as it means no big kids can jump in the same area. 

The area is also directly in-front of the cafe which was ideal for me. It meant that whenever Ophelia needed me, I could also watch Eva at the same time and know she was safe.

During the semi-structured session the kids were taught some moves by Stephanie who was a professional gymnast. She was wonderful with the children and helped them perform things such as star jumps and tuck jumps but also allowing the kids to have free reign when they wanted it.

Overall, Eva had the most wonderful time. This is definitely something I am happy for her to do and we will be visiting a lot. In fact she hasn't stopped talking about it since we went. As a mum I think it is great value for money. It's a very safe place for all the family. The cafe is clean and reasonably priced and the toilet facilities were also good. The staff are all very friendly and approachable. I may even have a go at an adult class as I enjoyed it too. 


Have you been?


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