Brand Bails out Blogger!

I don’t want to dwell too much on the company that let me down but I’d rather spend my time ‘Bigging Up’ the company that came to my rescue.

Where it all went wrong

However, to better understand the situation you will need a bit of background.  On a Friday night, I run a small Twitter quiz.  A company offered me 3 prizes for the winners.  The competition went well with a lot of exposure to the brand.  I contacted the company to inform them of the winners but then it went deadly quiet for a few weeks.  I emailed numerous times, tweeted and even tried to phone but there was no phone number on the website.  I had a very bad feeling about it all.

The winners, were incredibly understanding and said ‘Chrissie, don’t worry about it, it’s fine’.  But sorry, in my book, if I promise you something, I will deliver even if I have to pay for it myself.  In the end, a light bulb went off and I thought.  Why don’t a contact someone who offers a similar service and see if they would be willing to help me out of a pickle.  So, I contacted a company that I’ve worked with on a couple of occasions (see picture), explained my plight and was fully expecting them to politely decline as it was in no way their problem.

Knight in Shining Armour

But when I opened up my email first thing in the morning, I was pleasantly surprised; there was a response from Mark from Hello Canvas offering to help out.  Within 30 minutes the winners each had gift certificates for a photo on canvas with the size 16 x 24 inch/40 x 60 cm.  As another blogger said ‘this speaks volumes for the company’s ethos’ and I can’t agree more.

I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to Mark and the team at Hello Canvas for bailing me out of a tight spot and if you think they’re as fab as I do please feel free to tweet them @hellocanvas telling them how wonderful they are.

As for the other company, after a very harsh email from myself and a bit of pressure from a few of my twitter friends I did get a response and they did in the end uphold their end of the bargain.  Apparently, they had an intern, who was responsible for this but has now been fired. They were very embarrassed by the whole situation, but in the end I still feel it’s the company’s responsibility.  Sadly, I will not be able to recommend them in future.



Kid’s Ipad App Review: Word Wall HD

When I was at school we learned the alphabet by singing the alphabet song but this  a major ‘no-no’ now, as it is all done by phonics. Even though I’m a former teacher the whole phonemes, word families and CVC words is all a bit of a mystery to me, as I taught slightly older children and they tended to be able to read when they got to me. However, now that I have a four year old I really need to get my head around all of this.

About the App
I was sent Word Wall HD (.69p) by Punflay which was designed to develop early reading skills. To start there are two sections that introduce children to the letters and their sounds individually and then the children are introduced to word families (am, an, ig, un) and are asked to drag and drop any letter to create a word, which is then supported by the pronunciation and picture of the object.

After they have explored the writing sections there are then 4 activities to consolidate their learning; see and find, hide a word, bubble words and jigsaw. The matching game is pretty straight forward; children have to match the picture to the word.

My four year old really likes the Seek and Find where you have to swipe your finger over the screen until you find the hidden object. Once they find the object it reads the word to them supported with a picture to reinforce the meaning.

The Bubble Words, where you have to look at the picture and drag and drop the letters to spell the word that matches the picture, was too advanced my daughter as she is at the really early stages of reading.

The Jigsaw does pretty much what it says on the tin.

What we thought

Overall, I thought the app was okay and helped me, to some degree, better understand word families. My only worry is the American accents, as we’re based in the UK and the way they teach phonics is ‘unique’. I’m Canadian so I have no problem with this but I know parents who have removed some Ipad apps as they felt it was confusing for their children. However, many others have stated that they grew up on Sesame Street here in the UK and it’s not a problem.

Come to think of it there are huge differences between accents in the North and South in the UK. Would this put you off buying an app for your kids?

For more of our app reviews click here.

Disclosure: I received a free promo code for this app.

Win a gorgeous piece of kids art!

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve run a competition, so I thought it was about time.  I was contacted by Carla Daly, an internationally known children’s artist. On her site you will find beautifully illustrated height charts, door signs, personalised nursery art and kid’s wall art at affordable prices, I didn’t see anything over £25.  I challenge you to find something that you don’t like.

I found it very difficult to choose an item to review as there were so many that I liked.  In the end, I went for a children’s wall map.  The artwork is truly gorgeous, capturing the essence of childhood and would be perfect for any child’s room.  The characters are uniquely adorable.  Plus, it came with all the fixings so we were able to hang it within 5 minutes of receiving it.  In fact my daughter snuck up and hung it herself!  However, she did hang it upside down!

Carla is offering one of my lucky readers a chance to win one of her pieces.  Simply enter below using Rafflecopter.  You can either use just ‘one’ or all the options for more chances to win.  This is the first time I’ve used Rafflecopter so please do let me know how you get on.