When Daily Deals Go Bad


Daily Deals are huge right now all around the world. Groupon, Living Social, KGB Deals, Wahanda, Keynoir, and Wowcher are a handful of the ones out there. They offer great deals on things from dinner and drinks to movie tickets.  I’ve purchased a lot from different sites and always had good experiences until last week.  I know you are always taking a risk when you do this because you wonder why the places are offering such great deals but when you see a manicure/pedicure for £19 you can’t pass it up.  It doesn’t happen often so I purchased it.

BAD IDEA. First of all, the “salon” was in zone 3 which is like going to Brooklyn from the Upper East Side.  Not a trip you want to make just for a manicure/pedicure but definitely a trip for dinner, drinks, and exploring. I didn’t realize that until after I purchased it so I manned up and ventured out to zone 3.

It was a beautiful day in London, flip flop weather actually so I was in a great mood.  I walked into the “salon” and they escorted me to the back room to be pampered.  She asked me to pick a color and this was the selection:

It might look like a lot but they were pretty much empty and the colors were pretty ugly.  They didn’t have a simple red.  Really?!?!  I got over that and started reaching for colors to look closer at and the manicure person kept taking them from me and telling me if they were for me or weren’t for me.  I have never seen her in my life so I don’t think she knows what I want or what I like. After telling her every color she picked out for me was ugly I finally decided on uglier colors (knowing I was going to change it when I got home).  Colors decided let’s move on.

I sit in a chair in the middle of the room wondering where the massage chair with the foot bath was.  Unfortunately there wasn’t a massage chair.  An assistant comes into the room and brings this for me to put my feet into.

It did give my feet a massage but a plastic bag?!  I’ve never seen that before!  It was wrapped too tight around the bin so I couldn’t get comfortable and notice my old polish is still on there.  Usually you take it off before you soak your feet.  Hmm….

Sorry if this is gross but my toe nails are TINY.  Very Small.  I can’t change it so I deal with it.  I have been getting pedicures for years and years and the pedicurist usually laughs and then paints my nails.  This lady told me she might not be able to paint them…umm lies all lies.  Maybe she was just lazy but then she finally did paint them. The polish was all over my skin but I wasn’t going to be the nasty American because I knew it couldn’t get any better.

Moving onto the manicure.  I sat in a normal manicure chair so I was feeling more confident about this part of the service.  I told her I like my nails short and square so she nodded and got to work.  She didn’t file them with a nail file.  She only used a nail buffer……and she made them round.  Blah! She painted my nails (getting paint all over my skin) and then asked me to sit in the hallway to let them dry.  No dryers with a fan or UV light.  Really?!?!

I could tell more stories but I think this post has gotten a little out of control.  I was debating whether or not to give the name of the salon and decided against it.  It was busy in there so they clearly have loyal customers but I know it wasn’t a place for me.  If you are really curious I will tell you through email.

 I have learned my lesson with daily deals.   I will not stop purchasing them but I will do some research before I buy one.  I will look up reviews, cost of normal priced services and location.

Do you have any horror stories with a daily deal?

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AC La Linea

In case you are catching up on our trip:

Gibraltar

Climbing the Rock

Marbella, Spain

We stayed at AC La Linea.  It’s a chain of hotels throughout Spain, Portugal and Italy.  The hotel itself was very nice, well priced and had a free mini bar.

Sorry about the messy photos.  I couldn’t get a photo before Jon plopped down his belongings EVERYWHERE.

Here was the view from our balcony which was also a plus.

I hope you enjoyed my commentary.

While there were plenty of good things about this hotel there were a couple of bad things.

1. The front desk weren’t much help.  We didn’t know where to eat dinner so we asked for some recommendations.  The women had to think and then gave us 3 places.  We tried one the first night and it was not good. We also about tours, day trips and things to during our stay and all the lady gave us was a map of La Linea.  She couldn’t give us any more information which was frustrating.

2. There wasn’t any conditioner in the bathroom.  I know most European (or outside of the US) hotels don’t provide conditioner but I’m still going to complain because I don’t understand why they don’t provide it.

3. Free wi-fi in the lobby but not in the room.  Just put it in the room too.

There were more pros than cons so I would recommend staying at an AC hotel if you are in Spain, Portugal or Italy.

5 Hours In Marbella, Spain

Day 1 of vacation

Day 2 of vacation

Day 3 was spent in Marbella, Spain.  It was a 1.5 hour bus ride up the coast.

I knew it was a beach town and it wasn’t going to be hot enough to lay out but we figured we might as well explore since we were close enough.  While doing research we saw a lot about the Bonsai Museum so we checked it out.  We were the only visitors and we didn’t have any guidebook or descriptions of the plants so it was pretty funny.  It was 2 rooms filled with different Bonsai trees that were up to 500 years old.  If you’re in the area don’t waste your time.

There you go.  You can now say you visited the museum.

After the museum visit we went down to the beach and the old town.

There were street artists in the old town and their work was very beautiful.  One in general stuck out.  Watch him do his thing in the video.

What do you think of his work?

Marbella was a great day trip but next time we will definitely bring our bathing suits so we can lay on the beach.

Climbing The Rock

You can read about our first day in Gibraltar here.

The best way to see all of the Rock of Gibraltar is to take the cable car up to the top and then explore it on foot.  At the base of the rock there are a ton of “tour guides/taxi drivers” trying to persuade you to take their tour for £70 but we did it all for £17.50 and was able to go at our own pace.

We took the cable car up the rock.

The view from the top was breath-taking.  You could see Gibraltar, La Linea, Algeciras and a bit of Morocco.

When we got off the cable car we were warned about the monkeys but we also read  this ahead of time:

Barbary Macaques (Apes)

Tourists should be aware that the Barbary macaques are wild animals and do bite. It is advisable not to feed the Barbary macaque, despite encouragement from irresponsible taxi drivers. It is illegal (hefty fines are in force) and bad for their health. Never try to pick up a baby Barbary macaque – its mother will not be happy, and neither will you. If you are bitten by a Barbary macaque, you will require hospital treatment, whilst the Barbary macaques are rabies-free they can infect you with hepatitis, they are most aggressive on the top of the rock, as the most successful animals claim the uppermost reaches of the rock, their less successful fellows being shoved down the rock and the social pecking order.

(source)

Clearly these Americans didn’t read the same article.

Other things to do on the rock are:

St. Michael’s Cave

Climbing stairs and walking miles:

Great Siege Tunnels:

The Moorish Castle:

Eventually you make it down the rock and are so tired you just sit in the square and devour chips with cheese, cheesy garlic bread and beer. Yummmm!

A great second day in Gibraltar! 

Paris On Purpose – Hitting All The Tourist Spots

First Post: Eiffel Tower at night

Second Post: Palace of Versailles

Third Post: Being a Tourist

This is the route we took on Saturday to make sure Jen saw all of the spots before she left Paris.  We started at the Sacre Coeur where there were performers, singers and picnics everywhere.  Oh and the church is just beautiful and you can see all of Paris from it so it’s just so beautiful.

The view would have been better on a less hazy day but you get the idea from this photo.

Because I love my Flip here are videos of the performers that everyone was watching.

Then we walked  around the church and stumbled upon this cute little square filled with artists painting and selling their work.

Lindsey bought a beautiful piece of art from an artist named Bahman Borojeni (that is not him in the photo above). I’m regretting that I didn’t buy one!

We followed the winding street down a little more and stopped to see Moulin Rouge.

 

We hopped on the bus and went to the Latin Quarter to have some yummy falafel.

Paris was so much fun and it got me even more excited to have Jamie, Lindsey & Jen in London the following weekend!

Exploring London

Wendy is a fellow expat living in Notting Hill and when I first moved here I emailed her about 53892058920352 questions and she was so helpful with every single one.  She really knew London and I trusted her recommendations.

It’s quite fitting that she has just started her own company called…….

London In A Day

It’s a private tour guide company that will show you London in 6 hours or less without getting lost, using  map or getting stressed.

Check out her blog as well as her company!

New Zealand Day In London

Yesterday I left the flat to run errands and was surprised to see a mob of drunk people in costumes.

Just realized there aren’t any people in costumes in this photo but just wait for the other photos. I’m not lying.

I asked one of the people dressed up as a cow what was going on and he screamed “IT’S NEW ZEALAND DAY!!!!” I googled it and this is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840, in a marquee erected in the grounds of James Busby’s house (now known as the Treaty house) at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The Treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guaranteed Māori rights to their land and gave Māori the rights of British subjects. There are differences between the Māori and English language versions of the Treaty, and virtually since 1840 this has led to debate over exactly what was agreed to at Waitangi. Māori have generally seen the Treaty as a sacred pact, while for many years Pākehā (the Māori word for New Zealanders of predominantly European ancestry) ignored it. By the early twentieth century, however, some Pākehā were beginning to see the Treaty as their nation’s founding document and a symbol of British humanitarianism. Unlike Māori, Pākehā have generally not seen the Treaty as a document with binding power over the country and its inhabitants. In 1877 Chief Justice James Prendergast declared it to be a ‘legal nullity’, and it still has limited standing in New Zealand law.[1]

 

New Zealand Day

In 1971 the Labour shadow minister of Māori AffairsMatiu Rata, introduced a private member’s bill to make Waitangi Day a national holiday, to be called New Zealand Day. This was not passed into law. After the 1972 election of the third Labour government under Norman Kirk, it was announced that from 1974 Waitangi Day would be a national holiday known as New Zealand Day. The New Zealand Day Act 1973 was passed in 1973.

For Norman Kirk, the change was simply an acceptance that New Zealand was ready to move towards a broader concept of nationhood. Diplomatic posts had for some years marked the day, and it seemed timely in view of the country’s increasing role on the international stage that the national day be known as New Zealand Day. At the 1974 celebrations, the Flag of New Zealand was flown for the first time at the top of the flagstaff at Waitangi, rather than the Union Flag, and a replica of the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand was also flown.

The election of the third National government in 1975 led to the day being renamed Waitangi Day because the new Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, did not like the name “New Zealand Day” and many Māori felt the new name debased the Treaty of Waitangi.[2] Another Waitangi Day Act was passed in 1976 to change the name of the day back to Waitangi Day.

Sorry too much reading I know.  I’m a visual person myself so here are more photos.  You can drink on the streets in London so there were drunk people everywhere with open bottles.  The police were there to keep them off the streets but couldn’t really do anything else.

This just proves that you never know what you will encounter when you walk outside your door in London.

 

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