Dear Customers..

‘Have Courage and Be Kind’ Cinderella 2015

I have this real love/hate thing with customers. Given that I’ve worked in customer service, in one form or another, for the last 5 years, and haven’t chewed my own arm off yet, there must be something about it that does it for me, but as anyone who’s worked in a customer facing role knows, its not always a stroll in the park..

So consider this an open letter. We’re all customers and consumers, and whether you’ve experienced the other end of the conversation or not, these are all things that we can bear in mind.

I can almost guarantee that the first person you speak to is not to blame for your problem

The person at the front desk, the shopfloor staff or the person who answers the phone; unless its a teeny tiny company that only employs two people, the chances of that person being responsible for whatever it is that you’re not happy about is probably one in a million, so don’t start roasting them personally.

And just because we can’t do whatever you want us to do, it doesn’t make us inadequate, stupid, or bad at our job

We cannot negotiate fixed prices, go against store policies or make magic happen. We’re not being stubborn, and we’re not incapable of unique thought, the chances are we can’t do what you want us to do for a reason.

And if we’re short staffed, we’re definitely the last person responsible

We’re the person who didn’t call in sick, and we’re the person having to pick up the slack for the people who did.

Please remember that we are humans and more than just a uniform

Don’t think that your custom pays our wages and therefore you can treat us however you like. Please refrain from snapping orders (or fingers, which I’ve had before..), or speaking about us as though we’re not there. When working on a checkout once, a woman told her husband that I ‘wasn’t hired based on intelligence’. Oh, and she did that while stood at the checkout with me.

Also, if you see someone in a uniform, maybe stop and check if its a uniform for the store you’re in before you shout at them for help – a guy once yelled at me to help him on a self-checkout machine at Asda, and I have never worked at Asda..

Take a second to think about the day we might be having

I always try to think about how a customer might be feeling. If you’ve had a bad day, I don’t expect you to be a total ray of sunshine and I’ll try not to judge you for being a little bit rude, but I would hope customers return the favour.

In my current job, I sometimes deal with accounts where the customer or a member of their family has recently passed away, and it is never easy. I can’t just move onto the next customer without a care in the world when I’ve just been speaking to a grieving widow.

The reason we have limited opening hours is because we have our own lives and families

Please don’t bitch when we’re rushing you because you walked in the door 2 minutes before we were due to close. Chances are we stop getting paid from the minute the clock strikes shut, and we’re probably dying to get home after a 9 hour day.

Insulting us or being rude to us doesn’t help any situation

It does not encourage us to do our best work, and the number of times I’ve been personally attacked by a customer only to hide in a cupboard for 10 minutes, or even burst into tears then and there on the shopfloor is more than what is ok.

A little bit of patience and kindness goes a long way

A ‘thank you’ or ‘take your time’ means the world when we’re running around trying to help you and 3 other people.

We love being able to help

Our job is helping you, and with the best will in the world we can’t always do that. We don’t get any sort of pleasure out of not being able to help you, but when we can its such a good feeling, so please appreciate that.

When you’re lovely, you make our day and you make us love our job

Generally, people will always talk about a bad experience, but they will rarely share a good one. Its the same for me with customer experiences; I have a wealth of bad customer stories, but if you asked me to tell you about my best customer service experience, I think I’d struggle. That said, I genuinely do LOVE lovely customers, and if I spoke to the lovely ones all day I would 100% love my job.

Even if you may not be remembered for it, be the good customer.

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My Blogging Break

This has probably on the whole gone unnoticed, but there has been a lack of any new posts for the last week due to my decision to take a little blogging break. Well, I’m back!

A week may not seem like much of a break for some, but the fact is since October 2015 up until last week, I published at least 5 new blog posts a week. In fact, since October 2015, I have posted 525 blog posts, which averages out to 25 posts a month. Posts have been written come rain or shine, hell I even tend to post daily when I’m on holiday! And while I’m super proud of this achievement, the fact is I’ve never taken a break in all that time.

You may have remembered back at the end of April I ummed and ahhed about taking a break – hell, I even shared my pro/con list! – but even then I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The decision was finally made, however, following a week of pretty poor blog stats, and while I try not to take a bad week to heart too much, it was my worst week for blog views for quite some time, and this time I did take it personally. That, combined with being so busy doing overtime at work to save money, and feeling a little bit down about life in general, I figured now more than ever was the right time to do it.

I’m not gonna lie, I did not find it easy.

To me, it felt like failure. I tried to focus on the benefits of the break, but after two days when I didn’t find things getting any easier, or any more creative juices flowing, I started to worry that it would be more than a week of this torture.

I tried to sit down and write, but I couldn’t find words. I had a few ideas, but while normally I spill the contents of my brain without much thought to the matter, my fingers just weren’t moving over the keys, and I was just staring at a blank screen. Writing and blogging has been such a big part of my life, I was now starting to feel like something was missing. Being a blogger is part of my identity and I was feeling lost without it. I tried to think of ‘easy’ posts; lists, product reviews, the stuff that I can normally bash out fairly quickly, but even then I couldn’t do it. It all felt forced.

Some things, however, did me some good. I spent a day scrolling through my blog to add to my document of scheduled tweets, re-discovering some old favourites in the process. I stopped obsessively checking my blog stats, and that probably did me a world of good. I went to the gym, I ate healthy, and I binge-watched TV.

On Saturday afternoon, I finally managed to put fingers to keys and managed to write two posts. It was time to be back, and if I’m a honest I’m actually a little nervous, but I’m hoping getting back into things will be smooth sailing! There are going to be quite a few changes in my life over the coming weeks and months, but this little corner of the internet of mine will always bring me so much happiness, and I hope you’ll continue to share it with me!

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Car Insurance Renewal Myths Busted

I think we can all agree that there is nothing exciting or interesting about car insurance, right? Its a legal requirement, and considered by most to be a hassle or a chore, and what’s worse is that a number of people feel like they have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to it, which can really cause problems further down the line.

So while this might not be the most exciting topic to be blogging about, I thought I’d share some advice and information from my experience of working in the car insurance industry. I’m not sharing any industry secrets or naming/shaming any particular companies, I’m just hoping to clear up some of the myths or beliefs, and hopefully help a few people out! Here goes..

I’ve had another claim free year, why has my insurance gone up?

Its a common belief that every year you go without making a claim earns you a drop in your renewal price, and while this may often be the case, there are a number of factors that could mean you see an increase. This year especially, there have been a number of changes in industry factors that have been totally out of the companies control, namely the increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and changes in legislation on personal injury compensation, both of which have hit car insurance hard.

On top of this, insurance rates are calculated based on a whole tonne of information and statistics, so while you might have another year of driving with no accidents, things like your car being another year older, or if there’s been an increase in the number of accidents or claims in your postal region, are all things that are factored in during the underwriting process.

What about my no claims discount?

No claims discount (NCD) can of course reduce the cost of your insurance substantially, and within your first few years of earning NCD, you should be seeing a general reduction in your insurance quotes, but the further up the years you get, the discount percentage increases by smaller increments, until you eventually hit your insurance companies maximum, which in most cases is 9+ years. At this point, while you may feel like your insurance should be dropping every year – which is may do! – you’re already benefiting from the highest discount you can get, so you may find a bit of a plateau.

My insurance company will give me a discount if I tell them I’m going to cancel

Sure, a lot of insurance companies will be able to offer you a discount if you express unhappiness at your renewal price, but I urge you to think about the amount of discount they give. If they can knock £100 off the price the moment you question the price, why is it they can do that without second thought? You may find you’re only offered £10-15 off, and while this may seem a little stingy, what it actually suggests is that you were sent out a pretty accurate price in the first place, rather than an over-inflated price designed to make you feel like a winner when they half the cost.

I shouldn’t have to shop around to get the best price

One of the biggest reasons that people see their insurance prices go up and up and up is because they allow their insurance company to renew the policy time and time again without comparing the market. Most insurance companies do have a preferred customer, be that based on age or any other factors, and while you may think that you’re being a lovely loyal customer staying year after year, it is possible that you can get a much better deal elsewhere. This has actually become such an epidemic that the insurance regulator has mandated that insurance companies must now put a statement on their renewal quotes encouraging their customers to shop around, so don’t be insulted if you notice this!

On the back of this, insurance companies can vary massively in how they assess your details, so one company can quote you £300 while another quotes you £600 for exactly the same cover!

Do I really need to review my insurance every year?

YES. I urge you to check through all of your documents every year, as well as being sure to update your insurance company to any changes throughout the year. Even small changes, such as a different job, becoming a homeowner, going from living at home to living with a partner or getting married; these are all factored into the calculation of your insurance premium, and its so easy to forget about informing your insurance of these changes, but they can make a difference!

What should I do if I’m uncertain about anything on my policy?

If you ever have any questions about your car insurance, the first thing you should do is speak to YOUR insurance company. While friends and family may be keen to give you advice, if they’re insured with a different company, there could be a big difference in what their insurance covers to what yours does, so bear this in mind when seeking a second opinion.

I’m sorry to bombard you with quite a lot of information, but I really hope that I’ve been able to help a few people out with this post! If you have found this helpful, please let me know as I’d love to know if you’d be interested in seeing more posts like this!

This post is primarily based on facts, but any of opinions stated in this post are my own personal views and do not reflect the views or opinions of any insurance companies.
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Mid-Year Beauty Blog Sale!

Hey gang! I’m in serious need of a declutter, especially when it comes to my makeup collection, so I decided to do my first ever blog sale, yay!

All of these items are either unused, just swatched or hardly touched, they’re just items I find I’m not reaching for anymore (or ever have!), and I’m just looking for them to go to good homes where they will be appreciated.

Postage will be Royal Mail second class, £2 for one item or £3.50 for 2 or more. To buy, please comment with which items you’d like and your email address, or email lottie@lottiemartin.com. Payment is via Paypal only.

Love and Light hand cream – £2 – No Drought dry shampoo – £5

ALL SOLD

Makeup Revolution palettes (Left is Iconic 3, right is Essential Mattes 2) – £2 each – Freedom Makeup Future Brights palette – £1.50

ALL SOLD

Makeup Revolution Matte Effect foundation in Ivory, I Heart Makeup No Shine Please primer, Makeup Revolution Ultra Face Base foundation in FB02 – £1.50 each

ALL SOLD

Left to right and swatches bottom to top – Mac x Ellie Goulding in Without Your Love, Mac Wash and Dry in Steam Heat, Mac Frost in Costa Chic, Mac Toledo in Barbecue

£10 each, or two for £18

Winky Lux lipstick in Corallo – £8

I bought this ‘Mac’ lipstick off eBay. It turned out to be a fake but its still a really nice shade (top swatch) – £6

Left to right/Bottom to top – Barry M lipstick – £2, Rimmel Kate Moss – £1, Barry M lip stain – £3 (this will be a brand new, still in packaging version, I accidentally bought the same shade twice!)

Mac x Ellie Goulding bronzer/blush duo – £9, Sephora Collection blush – £6

HD Pro banana finishing powder – £3, NYX baked blush – £4, Freedom Makeup blush – £1

I Heart Makeup Bronze and Glow/Light and Glow palettes – £3 each

Sleek Makeup colour correcting palette – £4, NYX concealer in fair – £3, Makeup Revolution The One concealer stick – £1

Sale will be based on a first come, first served basis. Payment is required within 48 hours to secure item or it will be offered to the next person.

Happy shopping!

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What Wonder Woman Wears

First up, I just want to prefix this post with a little disclaimer: I am a strictly Marvel > DC kinda gal, so I apologise up front if I say anything that isn’t accurate to the greater DC world, but Wonder Woman is the first DC movie I’ve watched in probably about 5 years or so! Also, there’s no spoilers here!

So I went to see Wonder Woman at the weekend; despite being a Marvel fan through and through, I actually thought the trailer looked pretty good, and while I’d rather chew off my leg than watch anything Batman or Superman related, I was pretty open to some kick ass girl power.

Seeing it over a week after its release date, of course I saw an initial response throughout social media, and to be honest, a lot of these tweets and posts were of very little interest to me as they discussed the plot and rated (or slated!) the film overall. What did keep catching my eye, however, were the people discussing the outfit that teenage boys reading comic books have dreamt about since 1942.

‘How anti-feminist’, ‘Why is she fighting in such a skimpy outfit’, ‘This is a step back for strong female characters’. SHUT. UP.

I’m gonna spell something out for all the people missing the point on feminism: women can wear whatever the hell they like. Does it matter what she’s wearing, if she’s inspiring a whole new generation of girls to become superheros?

I, in fact, loved that the Amazons wore what they wore. It displayed their fierceness, it showed how their bodies were strong and toned, not just skinny, and these are ideals that are so much more important for both children and women.

Would it make any difference if she was in a turtleneck and mom jeans? You’d probably find people complaining that she was too covered up and wasn’t allowed to express herself.

She saved lives. She stood up for herself. She made a difference. She had a heart and a conscience and a brain. Her outfit makes absolutely no difference in her achieving any of these results.

On another level, let’s talk about how this is the first major superhero movie to be directed by a woman. Patty Jenkins smashed it. Also, can we talk about how Gal Gadot was PREGNANT during part of the filming for this movie? I mean, if that isn’t totally incredible then what is?

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Glass Slipper Camp – Merida

I love how much you guys are loving the Glass Slipper Camp series! Its so satisfying knowing that something I put a lot of work into and had a lot of fun creating is really being appreciated, so thank you all!

This month we’re gonna be shooting for our own hands in honour of our favourite fiery redhead princess, that’s right, its Merida month and we’re focusing on strong arms!

You can do these exercises with weights, or they all work really well with a resistance band! I recommend starting with 3 sets of 10-15 reps, but see how you get on and do whatever you feel comfortable with!

Pull the Bow

Load up your bow, aim and pull that arrow back! Keep your chest up and tuck your hips forward to keep the core engaged.

Bicep Curls

Work those upper arms and build strength in those bear-ceps!

Quiver Pulls

Get ready to reload! Be sure to support your weight-bearing arm with the other.

Shoulder Press

Show how much stronger you are than those pesky clan first-borns, and be sure to touch the sky as you push up!

Tricep Kickbacks

Feet together, knees bent and butt out! Push those weights back and be sure to control them on the way back.

Now you’ve toned up your arms, will you be changing your fate?

PLUS this month comes with another discount code! Using ‘FATE30’ to save 30% on all orders at The Happiest Fitness Co  – valid until June 30th!

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A Week In Work Outfits

After over 4 years of working in a uniform, when I started my current job back in November I was faced for the first time by the prospect of daily outfit decisions, which was pretty exciting for me.

Well 6 months down the line, I’ve definitely got into the swing of office apparel, and because we keep it fairly casual at work, I’ve really loved putting together outfits that are smart-casual and cute, and really reflect my personal style, so this week I thought I’d share my looks from every day this week!

Monday

This skirt is an all-time favourite of mine. Its a few years old now, originally from Missguided, but I just adore the little cloud print. I teamed it with this multi-layer Daisy Street bodysuit and my favourite light cardigan, along with some lace up heels.

Tuesday 

Your girl took the plunge and wore her Mickey shirt to work!! This blouse from H&M got me so excited but I was a little nervous to wear it in the office, but I’m so happy that I did because I love it! With the shirt being the main event, I just paired it with dark blue jeans and the comfiest plain black flats (psst! £4 from Primark!)

Wednesday


I really love these trousers – would you believe their from F&F at Tesco? They’re so comfy and the print isn’t too in your face, plus you NEVER have to iron them and they always look perfect! I’m also loving this blouse which I bought recently from the H&M sale, its really light which makes it perfect for the upcoming summer weather and the colour means it goes with everything.

Thursday



This outfit made me so happy! I love that my office dress code allows smart shorts – not that most people even realise that my Black Milk galaxy shorties are actually shorts! I also wear my ‘unicorns are real’ t-shirt to work more often than I care to admit, but when you’re also wearing a blazer it still counts as smart, right? The blazer is AX Paris!

Friday


 Can you tell I was posing in the rain on Friday? I got fed up of grey skies so figured my car would make a brighter backdrop! I’m not usually one for frilly or fancy sleeves, but I really love this blouse from Blue Vanilla, even if I do look a little bit like an Abba reject.. I also love any excuse to wear my chelsea boots to gain a bit of extra height!

So that’s a week in the life of my wardrobe! Depending on my mood I can go a lot more casual than I have done this week, and if I do work weekends then that’s always super casual!

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