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My name is Saima and I live in London, England. Welcome to my blog where I have been writing since November 2000. Please make yourself at home.

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October 3rd, 2010

…is it my dignity you’re looking for?”

Well you certainly won’t find it in the new Walkers crisps ad.

Posted at 3:51 pm | 5 comments | Category: General

September 14th, 2010
A Review of Cakes by Shelly in Eaton Bray, Luton

I don’t like complaining but when I receive such terrible customer service I feel it my duty to warn others so they don’t make the same mistake.

For my sister’s 19th birhday party she wanted a special cake so she ordered a topsy turvy one from Cakes by Shelly in Eaton Bray (near Luton, Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard). We picked up the birthday cake on Saturday, kept it at room temperature in our store room and then took it to the venue on Sunday. When we cut the cake at around 5pm on Sunday it was terrible, so dry that it was inedible. The chocolate sponge wasn’t even brown, it had flecks of white like it had been sat out for days. The vanilla sponge was just as dry. Noone ate it, all the pieces we cut were left in their plates, what a terrible waste of £60. We called the cake company and left a phone message on Monday at 4.30pm but noone called us back until Tuesday. When they did call back it was a chap called Daniel, the lady that made the cake, Michelle did not talk to us as she was “busy”. Here are some photos which unfortunately don’t show how awful this cake was. It was dry as a bone and hence why the cake wasn’t finished.

Cakes by Shelly

Cakes by Shelly

They did not accept liability but instead gave us these excuses:

  • We didn’t call within 24 hours – we called within 24 hours of cutting the cake. We didn’t know there was a problem before that, we’re not psychic! Their website said the cake should be good for three days, we cut it within one day and complained within two.
  • They claimed they made the cake on Saturday – in my opinion the cake was so dry it tasted and felt like it had been left out for days or been baked too much.
  • There was a problem with their phone so they couldn’t pick up our call before that – that’s not our issue.
  • They then changed their story and said they don’t pick up calls after 4 because most bakeries/cake shops close before that. (There’s no mention of times to contact on their website.)
  • They didn’t get to see the cake soon enough to assess the quality – we offered to take it around but they said it was too late now. If they had picked up the phone on Monday we could have taken it straight around.
  • They offered us a 50% discount on the next order as a “goodwill gesture” but that’s not good enough. Why would we order such a sub-standard product again and even then only get half off?
  • When I said I would blog about this ordeal and that word of mouth is powerful they retorted with “reputation is powerful too”. Why do they think these two things are mutually exclusive? Your reputation isn’t just based on the number of awards you’ve won.

Not only are we disappointed with the product but their customer service is shocking, they just make excuses for their mistakes and were adamant in blaming us. They didn’t even give us a chance to show them the cake. Wouldn’t it have been better to admit your mistakes than lose a customer and many potential ones who read this blog post? I’m an amateur baker and I could have made a cake miles better than this one! What a waste of £60 and a disappointment to my sister on her birthday. We certainly won’t be ordering from them again and recommend you don’t either.

Posted at 8:12 pm | 8 comments | Category: Food | Tags: , , , , ,

September 13th, 2010
YS Chronicles: Pop

Me: I should be a DJ.
Younger sister: You’d be rubbish, you have no idea what young people are listening to these days!
Me: Yes I do!
YS: Ok, who sings that “I wanna be a billionaire so freakin bad” song?

Posted at 2:22 pm | Leave a comment | Category: Music, YS Chronicles | Tags: ,

August 26th, 2010
Cooking for Scientists

The chemist deep inside me must have these oil & vinger and salt & pepper lab flasks for the kitchen.

Posted at 10:49 pm | 1 comment | Category: Food, Style | Tags: ,

August 22nd, 2010
A Day in Greenwich

Greenwich park is a great place where not only do you get fantastic views over London but you can also stand in both the East and West at the same time!



More photos on Flickr >>

Posted at 5:11 pm | 1 comment | Category: Photos, Travel | Tags: ,

August 16th, 2010
Witch hunt: My adventures in Swimming and Science

Today my two loves came together: music and swimming. My love of music is no secret; I reckon about 70% of my tweets are about music and I often write about it on my blog too. The love for swimming however, you may not know about. So let me tell you. I LOVE swimming.

I recently joined a gym, begrudgingly shelling out over £66 a month so I can use their pool and partake in exercise I actually enjoy for a change. It’s been great fun and I’ve really enjoyed being back in the water; slowly building my lap endurance back up. There was only one thing that could make me work harder. MUSIC! And so I bought an iSwim. It cost me £8.99 from eBay and is not the most sophisticated solution on the market but the alternative from Speedo is around £70 so I thought if nothing I’d give this a go since I already have a perfectly functioning iPod Shuffle.

Today was the first day I used it. IT IS A BLOODY REVELATION. Honestly, having some awesome tunes streaming into your ears while you’re submerged in water is one of the best feelings ever. I was happily swimming along, almost oblivious to the curious stares I was getting from my fellow swimmers. At least I thought they were curious. I didn’t think twice about the man and woman who literally jumped straight out of the pool, heading for the hydrospa.

I was resting after some laps, humming along to Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black when the janitor came up to me, pointed at my earphones and said, “Not good for you”. I had seen this chap talking to another swimmer only moments ago so I should have guessed what he meant but I was thoroughly confused. I asked him what he meant but he kept repeating that they’re not good for me and by now I had gathered that this was as far as his grasp of the English language was going to take us. For a second, I thought he was telling me that listening to music in the holy month of Ramadan was going to send me straight to hell but I quickly dismissed that, surely he wouldn’t be so presumptuous. It felt like forever but I’m sure it was only seconds when I realised he thought the earphones and water combo was somehow hazardous so I explained to him this was specially designed for the water. He seemed happy with this and sauntered back to the chap he was previously talking to. The pair of them disappeared behind an opaque glass screen but I could still see their feet and the fact that they were still talking lead me to believe that this issue was not resolved.

Much to my annoyance I had to get out of the water and clear this issue up with this guy directly. “Is there a problem?” I asked. This guy told me he didn’t “know (me) from Adam” and that he was afraid I was going to electrocute them all. “All I see is an iPod on your arm and I got worried,” he explained. I was polite as possible and explained again that this was specially designed for swimming and even if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t get electrocuted by an iPod, the electrical charge is simply not strong enough (“Trust me, I’m a scientist!”). What’s more, I’d completely ruin my iPod! “Well I didn’t know that did I? That it’s a special thing for swimming,” he replied, quite defensively. “You should have asked me,” I told him, more annoyed that he’d reported me to the janitor than anything else.

I carried on swimming after that but felt very self concious, like I had a toaster strapped to my arm or something. This felt like a bloody witch hunt. “Let’s throw her in the water; if she electrocutes everyone she’s innocent, if she doesn’t, she’s a witch!” That guy never came back into the pool and I didn’t know whether this was because he was done swimming or that he didn’t believe me. Either way, I felt quite awful about the whole thing. More so that I might have to stop using it. Just as I started to get more relaxed and into the flow of swimming, two staff members came into the pool area and pulled me over. Someone had called them to complain and I had to defend myself once again. They were very lovely about the whole thing and more curious as to where I got it from and how cool it was than worrying about their patrons’ safety. I felt a bit better about the whole thing and again tried to get back into the groove.

Did I mention I was using an iPod Shuffle with the iSwim? Drawback: You can’t skip songs because you’re using the iSwim waterproof headphones and not the special Shuffle ones that have the controls on them. This meant for a good part of my session I had to listen to fifteen minutes of Anil Dash‘s Business Blogging podcast from Fast Company! As much as Anil has a lovely voice I wanted music dammit! I didn’t realise I had put my entire iTunes directory on the iPod rather than a select few playlists. You live and you learn!

When I had finished my session, I kept thinking about how wonderful it was to have music whilst swimming and hoped the encounter today didn’t spell the end of it. To sort it out, I went to see the duty manager who happened to be one of the ladies who had come to see me earlier. Apparently, it was a lady who had reported me, more concerned with my safety than her own. I suspect it was the one who had vacated the pool when she saw me earlier. It would be easy to write off the guy I had spoken to earlier as a douchebag who didn’t understand science and didn’t have the social skills to come and voice his concerns to me directly. But the fact that someone else was also concerned means I probably shouldn’t be so harsh on him. Long story short, the duty manager said I am free to continue to use it. I just hope no one else is frightened by it. I wonder if I can swim wearing a sandwich board that says “I will not electrocute you!” on it? Probably not, a sandwich board might actually be a health and safety hazard.

Posted at 8:40 pm | 2 comments | Category: Gadgetry, Music, People Are Annoying, Science

August 16th, 2010
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010

Posted at 11:27 am | Leave a comment | Category: Art, Comedy, Photos, Travel

July 26th, 2010
When I grow up…

…I want a garden shed like this.

Posted at 4:06 pm | 2 comments | Category: General, Style | Tags: , , , ,

July 19th, 2010
New Blog: Think Halal

Loving the new incarnation of Adnan’s Think Halal blog.

“think halal is deliberately devoid of description and context. It’s a cross between ffffound! and notcot and it’s sole intention is to provoke.”

Posted at 11:31 am | 2 comments | Category: Art, Reviews, WWW | Tags: , , ,

July 19th, 2010
A Day at Camden Market, London





View the full set at Flickr.

Posted at 10:31 am | Leave a comment | Category: Photos, Travel | Tags: ,

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