A Little More... Vitamin-Enriched, Naturally Flavoured Fruit Drinks! Perfect for Little Top-Ups

 

A Little More... Vitamin C
Sophia enjoying A Little More... Vitamin C

It's that time of the year again when all the dreaded bugs and colds begin to re-surface... and with 4 children of my own, I always dread the inevitable spread from one child to the next!

Like many parents, I do my best to ensure they eat a good range of healthy food with a plentiful supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, I do often struggle to remember to get them to take a daily multi-vitamin as backup. Therefore, I was interested in the a new range of vitamin-enriched, naturally fruit flavoured, sugar-free drinks by A Little More which I came across recently.

Although I am fortunate in that my children love our tap water (and in Northern Ireland we are lucky that our tap water tastes good), I am very aware that this is not always the case and know lots of people buy bottled water instead.

I also know many parents who tell me how lucky I am that my kids drink tap water as theirs won't touch it! On a typical day, my children fill their water bottles and bring them to school to have with their lunches but I'll happily admit there are times when I feel a bit bad that whilst many of their friends are sipping on fruit juice, mine aren't. The reason - I worry about them rotting their teeth with all the excess sugar that is often added to so-called fruit drinks.

Continue reading "A Little More... Vitamin-Enriched, Naturally Flavoured Fruit Drinks! Perfect for Little Top-Ups" »


The Engineer (An Ode to Samsung)

A short time ago I wrote about an ongoing problem I've been experiencing with my Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer. Following on from this, I was compelled to write this little poem in a somewhat futile attempt to vent my frustration at the passing of the proverbial buck! Enjoy!

The Engineer (An Ode to Samsung)

He arrived at the house
With His Bag of Tricks,
He umm'ed and He ahh'ed
And He jauntily whistled.

He opened the door
And gasped in surprise,
At the water inside
Puddled as at low tide.

He pulled and He heaved
But He kept up His tune,
Trying to look like He
Knew what He was doin'!

With a wink of His eye,
He announced He was done,
The problem was mended
Because He had attended!

Zooming off in His car,
His work now completed,
The fridge rumbled to life
And continued...
Undefeated.

Water, water everywhere,
The Engineer had not a care.
As He penned His report,
Blaming the Owner,
Samsung smiled...
And The Engineer?
Well, He called with another.

By Sinéad Hoben


Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer Model RSH1DBRS - Nothing But Trouble

Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer Model RSH1DBRS
Looks can be deceiving! Our Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer Model RSH1DBRS certainly looked the part, but performance wise has been a huge disappointment!

Around 6 years ago we decided to buy a new kitchen from B&Q. That was our first mistake, but since B&Q rectified some of the problems we experienced I'm not going to get into it here.

Our second mistake, a much more regrettable one in hindsight, was deciding to purchase a Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer (Model RSH1DBRS) from B&Q without doing any research on the product beforehand. Foolishly, since we had previously purchased two Samsung televisions as well as several mobile phones and never had any problems with any of them, we assumed the fridge freezer would be trouble-free. And anyway, how much trouble can a fridge cause?

It turns out this particular fridge freezer can and does cause a lot of people a lot of trouble. In our case it wasn't even just minor trouble as it has pretty much destroyed some of our kichen panelling and part of our solid oak floor!

So, let me begin at the beginning...

The Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer looked stunning on the shop floor. It had a lovely brushed stainless steel finish and promised all sorts of luxuries such as chilled water and crushed or cubed ice at the push of a button. The temperature for both fridge and freezer could be set digitally depending on the content and time of year. Best of all, it was frostfree so wouldn't need defrosting. As a mother, that was quite a big deal for me!

The Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer (Model RSH1DBRS) sounded like a real whizz of an appliance and consequently we decided we'd go ahead and buy it as fridge freezers are something which supposedly last a long time so we felt it would be worth investing in one a little more expensive than other ones on the shop floor. We also felt that as we were having our kitchen installed by B&Q installers it made sense to buy the appliance from them so they could build around it.

Our kitchen was due in February. Our new fridge freezer arrived in November and was carefully placed in our garage by the B&Q team who left it in its packaging for protection until the rest of the kitchen was ready to be installed. So far, so good.

Before long, the big day arrived and it was time for the kitchen to be installed. It took a few days, but in due time it was ready for its new fridge freezer which was slotted into position and which was our pride and joy. The whole family thought it was wonderful. For me, the fact the freezer was so roomy meant my garage freezer became almost reduntant overnight - although thankfully I held onto it and if you read on you'll find out why...

The children loved pouring themselves icy cold water and my husband and I loved how sleek our new appliance looked. It just set off our kitchen perfectly.

Until...

One morning I walked into the kitchen and was somewhat surprised to find a puddle of water pooled on the right hand side of the refrigerator. Mopping it up, I got on with my day without thinking too much more about it. That is, until the same thing happened the next morning and the following morning and many more mornings after that!

I had a look inside the fridge and saw a little trickle of water running down the back of it. It was gathering under the vegetable drawer and then gradually making its way along the base towards the door and dribbling out onto the floor. Investigating further, I noticed frost inside an area at the back of the fridge which has a screw right inside it. Needless to say I was a little alarmed, but thinking perhaps a little piece of food had blocked something, I thought perhaps I should defrost my supposedly frost-free appliance.

Defrosting was a major inconvenience as I had to remove all the food from the freezer and place it in my spare freezer in the garage although, as mentioned above, thankfully I had kept that freezer. With the day-to-day fresh food in the fridge I just had to hope it wouldn't spoil before the defrost was completed.

24 hours later I switched my Samsung back on and thankfully it appeared fine. I once again cleaned up the water all over the base of the fridge and off the floor and refilled my Samsung American style fridge freezer.

All appeared fine for a couple of weeks and then it started pooling water on the floor again.

This time I was very alarmed. My Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer (RSH1DBRS) was less than two years old and we had spent so much money on it that I couldn't afford to write it off. So, far too late I googled my appliance only to find out to my horror I wasn't the first to experience this problem with this appliance. And the more I read the more worried I became.

However, there was a glimmer of hope. BBC Watchdog had become involved after numerous problems were reported to them. They had negotiated a extension to the warranty which meant the refrigerator was now covered for 5 years for certain problems.

I phoned Samsung. They were very helpful. They agreed my problems were covered and sent an engineer out free of charge. He looked at it and told me he had to move a part, the thermostat I think, from the left side to the right side of the fridge. Apparently it was a design fault and was a known problem so Samsung was making modifications to the appliance. I didn't really care as long as it worked and it did... for a while.

After a year or so the old familiar puddle appeared once more. I phoned Samsung again and this time noticed the person I dealt with wasn't just so friendly, he was even a little abrupt with me, but somewhat reluctantly he told me they'd send an engineer. The same engineer arrived and expressed surprise it was playing up again but he got to work and again the refrigerator worked for a while.

However, it wasn't too long before it all started up again. For around the past year I've been mopping up more puddles. I have tried countless 48 hour defrostings which is no fun with a husband and 4 children needing fresh milk, cheese, ham, chicken, butter etc for lunches and breakfasts. Nothing has worked and as time has passed my kitchen floor and cupboards are being slowly destroyed.

Eventually, and somewhat hesitantly given the grumpy response I had previously experienced, I contacted Samsung via Twitter this time. I was subsequently directed to a web form but the response this time has been unhelpful in the extreme. 

After spending quite some time filling in a rather detailed and extensive form, I detailed my experiences in the further details box as below:

Since the above appliance was purchased, we have had several episodes of water leaking from the refrigerator. These issues were repaired under an agreement to extend the warranty due to known faults with the refrigerator as reported on by BBC Watchdog. However, once again the refrigerator is malfunctioning and for several months now we have had water leaking and pooling on the kitchen floor. Despite switching off the appliance for several 24 hour periods the problem persists.

In addition, since we purchased the refrigerator, the leaking water has caused damage to our oak floor and our new kitchen units at floor level. 

We are of the opinion that the refrigerator was never fit for purpose and as such we have consumer protection with the Sale of Goods Act 1979, The Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Limitations Act 1980.

I have uploaded photos to illustrate the problems and resulting damages.  Please can you advise what to do next as otherwise I feel I will be left with no alternative but to contact Trading Standards, Watchdog and the Ombudsman. 

At this point I feel further repairs are not a satisfactory outcome and would like either a replacement or refund as this has been an ongoing problem. 

Thank you,

Sinead

As you can perhap tell from the above, I had done some research to find out what my legal rights in the UK are and I also felt strongly that given the problems we have encountered that it is pointless getting another engineer out as it had only led to inconvenience and more problems for us in regard to countless defrostings, our water-damaged cupboards and water-damaged floor.

Here are the uploaded photos:

Samsung Fridge Freezer RSH1DBRS
Water damage under my fridge.
Samsung Fridge Freezer RSH1DBRS
Water damage behind my fridge.
Samsung Fridge Freezer RSH1DBRS
Water damage to my kitchen.
Samsung Fridge Freezer RSH1DBRS
Water pooling at base of fridge.

 

Samsung Fridge Freezer RSH1DBRS
Rust streak and water inside fridge.

 

 

 

 

The following is the exchange of messages I received from Samsung. Note how every email is dealt with by a different person and how, to add insult to injury, I am constantly addressed as MR Hoben, this despite the fact I filled in a form ticking I was a MRS!

Response from Samsung Electronics UK

13 Jun 2014 

Hello Mr. Hoben,

Thank you for your email. Your customer reference number is **********

In regard to your recent email in order for us to assist you further please can you provide the following information:

Model Number
Serial Number

I look forward to your response.

Kind Regards,

Nikki
Customer Service Representative
Samsung Electronics UK

From: Sinead Hoben
Sent: Fri 13. Jun 2014 
To: SAMSUNG

Subject: Re: Faulty Side by Side Refrigerator

Hello Nicky,

I did already include both of these on the form I filled in on the website. However, here they are again:

MODEL NO: RSH1DBRS
SERIAL NO: 891442BQA00902R

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warm Regards,

Sinéad Hoben (Mrs)

Response from Samsung Electronics UK
4 Jul 2014

Hello,

Thank you for your email. Your customer reference number is **********.

In regards to your query can you provide the following:
Contact number
Full address
Once the above have been provided I will be able to asses [sic] the query further.

Kind Regards

Amin
Customer Service Representative
Samsung Electronics UK

(Note - I also had already provided this information on the form I had filled out but by now couldn't be bothered pointing this out!)

From: Sinead Hoben
Sent: Fri 4. Jul 2014 
To: SAMSUNG

Subject: Re: Faulty Side by Side Refrigerator

Hello Amin,

My contact number is *********** and my address is **********

Warm Wishes,

Sinéad Hoben


Response from Samsung Electronics UK
8 Jul 2014

​Dear Mr. Hoben,

Thank you for your email. Your customer reference number is **********.

Sorry we were unable to get in contact with you. Please try these following troubleshooting steps,

1. Make sure that there is enough ventilation between the fridge freezer and the wall (05-10cm)
2. Ice might be building up at the back of the fridge, please unplug the fridge to defrost the ice. (RS21, RSH1 follow for a repair process directly without troubleshooting)
3. If it is a plumbed in fridge freezer, make sure that water hose is connected properly to the water supply.
4. Check water pipes at the bottom are connected properly.
5. Make sure there isn’t spillage in the unit.
If these troubleshooting steps don't work then the appliance will need an engineer's visit.

Kind Regards,

Paul **********
Customer Service Representative
Samsung Electronics UK
www.samsung.com/uk

(By now I was just about ready to scream given that I had already tried all of these suggestions as suggested before filling out the online form!)

From: Sinead Hoben
Sent: Tue 8. Jul 2014 
To: SAMSUNG

Subject: Re: Faulty Side by Side Refrigerator

Dear Paul,

I have been in my home all weekend and all day today awaiting your call. Did you even read my initial email in which I detailed the problems we have experienced with this appliance, the actions we have taken or look at any of the attached photos? If so, I find your email very unsatisfactory, even bordering on offensive. I am quite happy to blog about my experience on my website BreastfeedingMums.typepad.com and I will also be happy to use social media to publicise my experience. I will not purchase Samsung appliances again and will dissuade family and friends from doing the same!

Finally, I will be contacting Samsung's Managing Director (Andrew Griffiths), Trading Standards, Watchdog and the Ombudsman with a copy of my complaint and the subsequent responses I have received.

Yours sincerely,

MRS Sinéad Hoben

Response from Samsung Electronics UK

Silence...

Am I surprised? No.

All I can say now is this whole experience has been infuriating to say the least. I am angry that my wonderful Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer was and is basically a wolf in sheep's clothing and that I am not the only one who has had problems. To make things even more worrying it is now making occasional hissing noises and having removed the back cover to have a look I was shocked to see a pool of water sitting in a little tray alongside various rusty looking leads and pipes. I am now worrying it may be a fire hazard or general safety hazard as we all know what happens when you mix electricity and water!

Although in the past I was happy to spend money on Samsung products, given my experiences with this appliance I will never purchase another Samsung product again. I genuinely feel this product should have been recalled as soon as problems with it became apparent. I am also disgusted by the inadequate responses I have received in relation to my latest complaint. As a consumer, I don't think it's too much to ask a supposedly reputable company to replace a product that has been so problematic since shortly after purchase, particularly since they were already aware of the problems when I made my purchase!

Have you had any problems with your Samsung American Style Fridge Freezer? If so, I'd love to hear about it so feel free to comment below.

I'm not giving up and if Samsung won't take my complaint seriously then at least I can warn others to stay away from this particular model of fridge freezer! As I stated in a recent Twitter post, "Looks can be deceptive. Very deceptive..." Always, always take the time to do your homework before making any major purchase or you might just find you have a very long time to regret it! 


Alpaca Children's Socks by Perilla - Making Cold Feet a Thing of the Past!

Perilla- Alpaca-Kids-Boot-SocksUK company Perilla's Alpaca short ribbed socks are "the most comfortable, cosy warm socks in the world" - so says my daughter, Tara, who, believe me, loves her new socks! She's the sort of child who feels the cold much more than the rest of our family and when I asked her if she'd like to try these for me, her grin said it all.

Made from 75% baby alpaca and 25% nylon, these alpaca socks for older children are incredibly soft and with a cushioned sole and hand linked toes, they are very nice to walk on - I know because I tried them out before passing them on to Tara! They keep feet toasty warm outdoors and when wearing them indoors, although they are not slip resistant, I felt like I was walking on air and really couldn't feel any cold floor beneath my feet. 

Some people, me included, find natural wool too prickly for comfort, but with alpaca wool this is not a problem as alpaca wool has a naturally low prickle quality! The wool also has hollow fibres making it more insulating, and therefore warmer, than wool.

I'm size 5 in socks and although the children's socks are available in shoe size UK 12½ - 3½, they actually fit me very well. However, being made for children, they're perhaps a little on the short side for adults. Thankfully, Perilla also cater for both adults and younger children too and have the most gorgeous little alpaca baby booties and alpaca bed socks for mums. In fact, the baby booties and bed socks would make a fantastic and much appreciated gift for any new mum or mum to be.

Continue reading "Alpaca Children's Socks by Perilla - Making Cold Feet a Thing of the Past!" »


Goo.ey Skins for Tablets and Smartphones - Free Your Hands with Suction Power!

 

Goo.ey skin for iPad
Goo.ey Skin for iPad
Like most parents of young children, I rely fairly heavily on the internet and since I work from home, quick and easy online access is a must. From researching material for an article I'm writing, to helping the children source information for homework, our iPad is used a lot. However, I'm forever leaving it down whilst I get on with housework or seeing to my toddler and, as anyone who has a tablet computer knows, you leave it down momentarily, someone in the family swipes it on you! 

 

For instance, if I sit my iPad on the coffee table whist I go to fill the kettle, I'll come back moments later to find one of my children has sneaked off with it. Worse still, I take my eyes off it to take a phone call and someone will walk off with it right in front of my eyes!

However, help is now at hand in the form of Goo.ey, an innovative material that affixes to the back of compatible tablets and smartphones and which allows you to stick your device securely to a suitable surface, be it in the home, office or even car!

Continue reading "Goo.ey Skins for Tablets and Smartphones - Free Your Hands with Suction Power!" »


Tesco to Sell Own Brand £99 Tablet - I Want One!

Woohoo, big news today that Tesco is rumoured to be about to release its own brand 7 inch tablet in the very near future.

Like many parents, with Christmas just around the corner, my family are currently in the market for a cheap tablet ourselves. Although we already have a couple of iPads, we also have four children, aged 13, 10, 8 and almost 2, who are constantly sneaking off with my husband's iPad. I keep mine all to myself so they know better than to ask for it but hubby is really fed up with getting in from work to find he has 3% power left! That's why this year we decided it might be time to buy one or maybe two cheaper tablets for the kids to share. We're not wanting to go too expensive but do want something reliable and so far have considered the Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7, the latter of which we've seen on special offer and which gets great reviews.

I'll be keen to find out what Tesco's tablet looks and feels like (although if it does have a 7 inch screen that will be perfect for smaller hands!) and to see how it operates compared to the iPad which I know is in a league of its own but all the same, it'll be interesting.

The children aren't looking for anything too high spec - as long as they can play Sims and similar games and do a little research for homework purposes they'll be more than happy, but for us as parents the more reputable tablets on the table the better for all of us. Particularly for my poor fed up husband!


Sound Medicine by Anime: Using Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies to Destress and Transform Your Daily Life

In recent and even not so recent years I've often found it difficult to relax. Most likely, the sole reason for this is simply that I lead a busy life, caring for our four children and my husband. It doesn't leave a lot of time for me to focus just on me and that means I often end up feeling stressed. It's not like I want or even need a lot of time to myself, but like most mothers, just a half hour here or there is all I desire!

I've often found that in those occasional half hours that I do manage to grab for myself that deep relaxation recordings help me cope with the daily stress in my life and I suppose I first started reaching for them when I was a student. Studying for what seemd to be never-ending exams in the hope of achieving my dream of becoming an English teacher, it was often difficult to wind down at the end of the day.

As the years have gone by, many things have changed. I achieved my dream but found that full-time motherhood became more important to me and that's why I made the almost overwhelmingly difficult choice to stay at home full-time. Not that I made that choice deliberately I might add. When I went on maternity leave just before my second daughter was born, I fully intended on returning to the workplace. However, it just never happened. I briefly thought about how childcare would work out and couldn't bring myself to leave the children with strangers. My parents and my husband's parents had been more than eager to look after their first grandchild but with a second it was more difficult for them and I didn't even ask as I knew it would be too much.

It wasn't an easy decision to stay at home as I had always loved my work and got a great feeling of excitement from helping young people to learn, but it had physically pained me when I had initially left my first baby behind with one set of grandparents whilst I left to educate other children. Somehow, the decision to become a fulltime mother was made for me without me even realising it - it was only as the weeks at home became years at home that at some point I actually thought to myself how did that happen?

These days, with four children who demand my almost every moment, I often look back on what could have been had I managed to secure a permanent job in teaching as soon as I'd qualified. I probably wouldn't have found it just so easy to walk away, and in fact probably wouldn't have done so, but since my early teaching positions were always temporary I just never went back after the birth of my second daughter.

Looking back into my own past always causes me mixed feelings. I know in my heart I've often made what were difficult but ultimately the best choices I could have made at the time, yet I still wonder incessantly about how I could be more productive in society. My husband tells me what I do is enormously important - as a full-time mother, I'm the one who takes the children on medical appointments, nurses them if they're ill and I do most of the school work, all the school runs and house-keeping. But my mind often refuses to quieten, questioning many of the decisions I have made and continue to make. 

Every day I look at working mothers and wonder how they manage and how I would have managed had that been the path I had ended up taking. I have many regrets but also many moments of clarity and when it all starts to become overwhelming help is never far away in the form of one of the many mp3 relaxation cds I have on my ipod. At the moment I'm enjoying some of my many Glenn Harrold recordings, in particular his solfeggio meditations series of which I have three. The recordings are based on an ancient sound system using certain frequencies which correspond to specific worries, stresses, hopes and dreams and I have found them remarkably effective and rather inspirational. Like many similar hypnotherapy/relaxation recordings, they start off helping you focus on breathing techniques which help you drift into a lovely deeply relaxed state before suggestions which help focus on problems or desires in your life. I usuallly fall into a deep sleep fairly quickly and usually awaken with a loud snore just as the recording ends!

What I really love about these recordings though is the background sounds and music, so much so that I actually bought myself a copy of just the background music which is composed and arranged by spiritual musician and healer Ali Calderwood, the man behind Anima.

Continue reading "Sound Medicine by Anime: Using Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies to Destress and Transform Your Daily Life" »


The Snugg iPad 4 Executive Case Cover and Flip Stand - Stylish and Functional Protection for Your iPad

The Snugg iPad 4 Case has arrived and I've been fortunate enough to test it out.

Now before I go on, I must admit, I've been having a bit of trouble choosing a cover for my iPad 3, the reason being there are so many on the market to choose from. Being very indecisive by nature I simply haven't been able to make up my mind which to go for.

One thing I was sure of though was that I certainly didn't want to purchase an Apple iPad Smart Cover.

Why ever not, you may ask?

Well, having bought the Apple Smart Cover for my husband's iPad 2 I was reluctant to fork out again for a product which we felt was overpriced for what it offers and not very successful at the half job it does - it is forever falling off and doesn't afford any protection whatsoever to the back of the iPad. Therefore, for me there was no indecision here - if I did ever get around to choosing a case for mine, it would be one of those that offer full front and back protection without losing any functionality.

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Eat Well for Less - Saving Money on Food Bills

Since we're currently going through a pretty tough time financially in the UK, more and more people are trying to think of ways to reduce the cost of living. One area where it is often fairly easy to reduce costs is in the weekly food bill.

Now, like many people, years ago when I was a student I had a very limited supply of money and my diet was dire. It's still a family joke that I existed on dried supermarket noodles for four years and actually it's not that far from the truth! Noodle sandwiches, noodles on toast and noodles with beans were a common enough meal in those far away days!

Then, as a young working woman, my diet improved although at one point I confess it even became rather extravagant with my husband and I, then unmarried, eating out two or three times a week... and yes we both put on some weight then!

However, eventually we grew up and got some sense realising that eating out instead of cooking home meals was a ridiculous waste of money and not the healthiest of lifestyles and these days we have home-cooked meals every day and only eat out on special occasions or as a real treat.

I would never suggest going back to the frugal eating of student life, especially when you have a growing family, but there are lessons to be learnt from the budget constraints of those days.

Continue reading "Eat Well for Less - Saving Money on Food Bills" »


Baavet Natural Wool Duvets - Sweet Dreams in a Perfectly Warm Bed Guaranteed!

I've suffered increasingly over the years from hayfever and in recent years have noticed even house dust becoming ever more troublesome. In fact, it's got so bad that I need to use antihistamines year round, not just in the pollen season. Anyway, just before my baby daughter arrived last year, I decided to look into buying her a natural wool cot fleece and, much to my surprise, learnt that wool is hypoallergenic once the lanolin is removed. Natural wool products are also dust mite resistant, promote peaceful sleep, totally sustainable and contain no horrible chemicals. 

Continue reading "Baavet Natural Wool Duvets - Sweet Dreams in a Perfectly Warm Bed Guaranteed!" »