News & Updates, Shopping

Online shopping delivery anger

A Tesco home delivery van

NB I started writing this on Wednesday 19th March but didn’t post it at the time.

As the deadline draws ever near why is it that time seems to shrink? It seems that these days whenever I blink three days rushes past!

This week I’ve managed to sort through all of MissK’s clothes and bundle them into bags for each size. Kids grow so fast in the first couple of years that you’re getting new clothes every couple of months. Luckily it also means that they don’t get time to wear out. And so MissK’s first clothes are now sitting in a draw ready for Bump with a few extras so that she has her very own instead of all hand-me-downs.

Meanwhile I’ve been getting more and more tired – exhausted is probably the better word. Sleep is almost impossible and I’m feeling just generally bleugh. Thankfully one thing I don’t have to do is the main supermarket shop – Sainsbury’s is due to deliver this afternoon.

When I first arrived in the UK I used Sainsbury’s for my online shop. I like their stores and generally like their own brand goods, but after a while the online offering proved to be too frustrating. Too often things would disappear from the online cart, or it would want me to reenter my password while I was actively using the site. In frustration I eventually turned to Tesco.

Since leaving Sainsbury’s I’ve regularly received vouchers – invariably trying to get me to either sign up for another nectar card or offering me money off my first online shop. Both are useless!

Then last week I logged on to check a price for something and they’re suddenly offering nearly 3 months of free delivery plus promising that the site has improved. (Hello, an email or a letter with that information would have been a good idea!) That’s a fairly good deal so this last week I’ve been doing my online shopping back with Sainsburys.

So far the website is behaving itself. However a lot of the products I liked to buy are nolonger available which is a bummer. After two home deliveries, here’s a comparison of the positive and not so positive points of both.

Sainsbury’s
– I like their home brand stuff
– Orange bags are pretty, much nicer for recycling as garbage bags than white ones
– They offer to take away old plastic bags
– Delivery guys carry all the individual bags up the stairs – OH&S nightmare!
– They seem to have a lot of delivery slots available when I need them
– One hour delivery slots are easier to fit into my life
– Website makes it easy to see what special offers you’ve qualified for
– Substitution would have cost me considerably more (from 1.67 up to 3.00), lucky I asked

Tesco’s
– able to have deliveries made without bags
– shopping delivered (with or without bags) in plastic crates and straight into my kitchen
– fridge/freezer items separated out with different coloured bags so that they’re easy to spot
– substituted items charged at same amount or less – I never pay more
– price promise works online, am sent an email with voucher code if appropriate
– price promise in store can be applied online
– send me vouchers regularly that are relevant
– website tells me what offers I’ve qualified for
– all of my loyalty card offers/vouchers are available

So, even though Sainsbury’s does have some good points, as soon as the free delivery thingy is over I’m heading straight back to Tesco’s. They have a much slicker operation and to be honest it’s the little things that make a huge difference. I can live with a 2 hour delivery window and pop by an actual store for the items that we prefer to have from Sainsbury’s rather than from Tesco.

Update – Monday 24th March
Just had another Sainsbury’s delivery. This time I’ve ordered some meats for the next few days, a fair bit of milk for MissK and a box of 24 cans of beer amongst the usual vegetables and other things.

The delivery guy showed up about 2 minutes early and then dumped all of the bags in the hallway outside of the front door. When it became clear that he was expecting that to be that I asked if he could give me a hand with them. I’m 39 weeks today by the way – blind Freddy can tell that I’m very very pregnant.

Well, he gave me the kind of look that made me wonder whether I’d actually said the words I thought I’d said, I mean maybe I’d meant to say “can you give me a hand with these” and instead out came “shall we go and kill your grandmother now?”. I then mentioned that I’m very pregnant and could he at least bring the heavy stuff into the hall.

So, he proceeded to drag the items just inside the front door before making off. No pleasantries, nothing.

So, now I have to weigh up – do I stick with Sainsbury’s for another 6 weeks until their free delivery window is over or do I pay for delivery and at least get things brought inside and a smile with my groceries?

The more I think about it, the angrier I feel. How dare he? It’s not like I was asking out of laziness. It’s not like I’m faking my condition – it ain’t exactly easy to bend down and lift up heavy bags and boxes when you have a fully grown baby inside you.

Craft, sewing

New Sheets

D-Day for Bump’s arrival is getting ever closer. We’ve confirmed with the consultants that I shall be induced a few days before the due date. This is due to my age. Even though all of the growth scans look perfect and Bump is wriggling around like a mad thing statistics support the routine inducement of women over 40 years at or just before term. It seems that going over the chances of something going drastically wrong rises sharply. From my perspective, we get to meet Bump earlier and hopefully she’ll be a few grams lighter and thus easier.

Anyway, this week appears to be nesting week. We’ve started with setting up the crib. In the end we went for a simple swinging crib. When ordering the crib I naturally looked to order some sheets for it as well. Seems the going rate is £15 for two fitted sheets. Meanwhile the going rate for a doona (duvet) cover and pillowcase cover for Katja is about £30. It’s utter madness and there’s no way I’m spending more on sheets for the girls than I do on sheets for myself.

Aldi was selling sheets last weekend, so I popped in and grabbed a single set for £8. (I also spent £2 on elastic) Yesterday I got to work on them. I laid the doona cover on the floor and Katja’s existing one over the top, matching up one of the corners. I then cut out the size leaving about 1 inch on the side and two inches along the top as seam allowances.

Next I sewed up the side seam, just a simple straight seam and overedged with zigzag. I folded over the end and sewed that with a straight stitch and then sewed it together leaving a gap of about 40cm in the middle to allow for the doona to be placed inside. At this point I could have added a couple of buttonholes and then buttons but so far I haven’t bothered (yes I know, I’m lazy). Toddler doona cover done.

The pillow case was easier. I lined the edge up with the open end of the pillowcase – this meant that I could take advantage of the folded over bit in the original. I then cut to size, sewed up with straight stitches and overedged. Fits her mini pillow perfectly.

Next I moved on to the crib sheets. Using the left overs from the single doona cover I cut out two pieces the same size as the crib mattress according to the instructions on Cintia’s blog MyPoppet. It was incredibly simple and took less than an hour to make up both sheets.

So all in all, £10 spent and £35 saved – and even better I’ve got much much prettier sheets than any I’ve seen at those silly prices. I call this a win, in fact I’m dead chuffed with myself for this project.

Finished Projects, Katja, Knitting, My Week in Pictures

Week 2014.01 – Farm Animals and a Finished Object

Something I’ve been meaning to do for so long – visit the Gorgie City Farm. It’s only a 10 minute walk down the road from us so there’s really no excuse. Finally last week we did so.

Most of the animals were hiding away, especially the ducks and bunnies. That was a shame. We also didn’t get to see the horse. However Katja was rather impressed with the Moo and the Ba-aa-aa as well as the pigs, chickens and goats. And she adored the dog! The tractor was also a big hit. We’ll definitely head back once the weather starts to warm up again.

Also on display is my first finished object for the year. The pattern is Starboard by Alicia Plummer. The yarn is Adriafil Knitcol in colour 046. I really love the colour and I’m quite pleased with how I got the pockets to kinda match, but I’m not so happy with the result in general. The neckband is too tight and the whole thing is a bit on the small side, and given that I was knitting the 2 year old size and have a skinny kid plus that the pattern should be slouchy, I’m disappointed. Hopefully it’ll block out a bit but worst case scenario is that it is put away for Bump.

Speaking of Bump, we’re now at 28 weeks, so into the third trimester with only 12 weeks to go. The back/hip pain is getting really quite bad now and it’s really nasty when I try to move in bed. C has been a great help picking up the wee one while he’s been off work but it’s now back to normality and doing the heavy (she’s almost 11kg now) lifting myself, not to mention the constant bending over to pick up whatever she’s thrown on the floor. Pregnancy the second time around is proving a little more uncomfortable than the first time!

 

Stuff

Introducing…

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We are so very excited to be able to introduce you to Bump version 2.

Yes, we finally got to see our second Bump and are pleased to say that this little one is quite a wriggler. It kept stretching out and rolling over and was clearly wide awake during the scan. Such an amazing thing to see. We haven’t found out what flavour yet – that’s not until the next scan. This one is to do a few medical tests and to figure out the official due date which is 31st March 2014.

News & Updates

The Scourge of Migraines

Migraine is a relatively common affliction, one that affects more than 10% of people worldwide according to WHO, although studies in Europe show that it affects 6–15% of adult men and from 14–35% of adult women over the course of a year. Diagnosis is patchy for many as well, so it is difficult to say just how widespread it really is. What I do know for sure is that I suffer from them, so when I read Kirstie’s post over on the Beaut.ie blog this morning I thought I would share my own experiences with dealing with these monsters.

I’ve had migraines since I was about 11, although they were generally regarded as just bad headaches for many years. They began with puberty and untreated they would last up to 4 days at a time. My mother also suffered and in time my youngest sister would start to suffer with them as well. For me, they start with a smaller tension style headache and turn into a full blown migraine – with unilateral pain accompanied by intense tension in my neck and shoulder and often my stomach would stop. A strange sensation that, your stomach is normally moving about constantly as it digests and stops acid from pooling so when it stops it feels rather uncomfortable!

After diagnosis I would take caffergot – an ergotomine and caffeine mix. Ergotomine is a mould that grows on wheat and is a hallucinogen, thought to be responsible for the visions that ended in the Slalom Witch Trials! No hallucinations for me though, just stopping the migraine which was fabulous. Interestingly I did find out over the years that the version without caffeine was useless and even taking the non-caffeine pills with a cup of coffee didn’t work, shows how important those extras in pills can sometimes be.

When I was about 20 I finally was sent to a neurologist who worked through various triggers with me, and with his help I was able to better understand my migraines and start working towards minimising their occurrence – really the best that can be hoped for. Some we were able to get rid of, such as some foods – MSG is a particular culprit although I can have a little every now and then. We also identified lavender as a particularly bad trigger for me, so I do avoid that. Unfortunately some of my triggers are harder to get rid of – weather patterns and sudden weather changes which I would only really stop by moving (see, I really did move to Ireland for the weather!) and hormones. No getting rid of those! We found that I had the joy of hormone related migraines every two weeks, at both ends of my cycle. The only way to minimise it is to be on the pill, but eventually my body breaks through and that becomes less useful.

When I moved to Ireland I found that my beloved Ergotomine was nolonger available. It had been deprecated (to use a geeky programming term) in favour of the new Triptans. I was duly moved onto Zomig.

Now for the part that I can really relate to with Kirstie’s post. Because doctors were afraid to give too many repeat scripts, or perhaps because they knew a cash cow when they saw one this was my monthly bill to manage migraines (remember I get them twice a month guaranteed plus maybe 1 or 2 other attacks):

– Doctor’s visit €50
– 10 x Zomig €100

Over 12 months that works out to €1800. After a few months I found out about the drug payment scheme in Ireland, so I effectively got 2 of those Zomigs for free, saving me €240 a year. The doctors never did anything exciting by the way – just write me another script and maybe take my blood pressure from time to time. Easy money for them! Luckily I was in a position to be able to afford this – if I were less well off it would have been a real problem.

Eventually I discovered that I could get Immigran without a script over the order in Northern Ireland. The only catch was I was limited to one box in each pharmacy, so I would need to go up and spend an entire day traipsing around Belfast. I could generally get myself up to 2 months supply this way.

– Train ticket €40
– 20 x immigran tablets €64

Over 12 months that’s down to €960. What a difference! That’s 2 pair of designer shoes difference in a year!

Finally after I started seeing Christian and regularly going to Germany I discovered that there I could buy them online, have them delivered to the house and get 6 months supply in one hit. Cost over 12 months was down to less than €500. With that much savings I could start to look at alternative ways to lessen the number of migraines, such as regular massage.

Some of you may be worried about this, but I’ve had migraine for a long time. I’ve tried preventatives and found that they weren’t suitable for me. I’m also first to a doctor if there’s a change of pattern or anything unusual (twice I’ve been blinded by migraine – straight to the doc!). There’s no point in overdosing – the pain goes away within 2 hours or it’s not a migraine. An interesting side-effect of having the bulk drugs from Germany is that I’m less stressed about whether or not I have drugs to cope with a migraine, and this has reduced the number that I have!

Of course pregnancy put a major damper in all of this. As soon as I became pregnant I knew I had to stop them, or so I kept being told. Paracetemol does nothing at all, and the hormone surges meant migraines every second day in first trimester. After a while I prescribed immigran by the doctors here as the benefit of me taking them was deemed to outweigh the potential (and unknown) risks. According to the drugs board here, the risk in first and second trimester are very small – it’s the third trimester they’re more worried about. Thankfully frequency has dropped considerably down to one a week in second trimester.

So that’s my experiences with migraines, and also with the drugs/prescription system in Ireland, the UK and Germany.