A while ago I really wanted a nice new pair of sturdy shoes. Th reason being I have had a pair of really good shoes for nearly ten years. These shoes have started to wear, but they are still useable. I just decided I should save up and look around for a replacement.
I know a few people who have Red Wings, they have told me they are ridiculously comfortable and have never had any problems. They work with all their outfits and they look amazing. So acting on personal advice I looked online for their shoes. The prices, while expensive seemed like a good investment- if they last you the time people have assured me they will. Hear’s to ten years of RedWings.
The pair I saw online were a petrol shade of blue. The design is 6-INCH MOC TOE WOMEN’S BOOTS 3353. I sat and thought about it for a while and struggled to find places where they had them in stock for me to try on. When I am spending that much money on shoes I need it to be right.
When I went to London to visit my brother we went to the Red Wings shop.It was nice inside. All the shoes neatly on display with storage boxes stacked at the end of the room waiting for peoples new shoes to be taken home.
I wandered around and I saw the shoes I was looking at online. The lady asked if we were ok and needed anything. I mentioned looking at this particular pair online and that I was considering buying them, but that I wanted to try them on.
She brought me over the size I would need and asked if I had owned Red Wings before. After explaining I hadn’t and that my brother and some friends owned them she told me how sturdy they are and long lasting. She also mentioned the women’s shoes are made from the leather of a cow because the female leather is a lot softer. Then she explained the insoles had a soft cushion.
I laced them up which was easy, my Dyspraxic fingers were ok with the laces. They felt really comfortable as I wandered around the shop. My toes didn’t touch the ends I felt really comfy. Taking them off I decided to buy them. They were the last pair in the shop and Red Wings were not making anymore of them. That was the universe telling me to buy them.
The shoes are placed in individual bags and then placed into their big box. The lady had to get more bags sent from the mens shop. Someone came round and we placed them in the bag. My brother carried the box as we wandered off to get some tea.
The shoes were amazing and I really enjoyed the customer service. She was not pushy, she chatted to us about the brand and made it feel like a great experience. This is what I want when I go shopping. Especially when I am spending that much on shoes.
I am also in no way being endorsed by Red Wings for this blog.
As promised I will write about a few of the nice things I did when I visited London a few weeks ago to spend time with my Brother.
A few of you may already know that I absolutely love tea. When I visited my brother he took me to one of my favourite places to buy tea.
We went to Bird and Blend in Angel. The shop is down a small bustling street with little cafes and shops. The shop has a step up into it and is not too big inside. When we went in a lady approached us and asked if we would like to try a sample of some tea.
Then we had a look along the shelves which ran down the right hand side of the shop. There were big silver tins of tea all labeled up, underneath there were packets of tea in different sizes ready to be picked up. There were a few cups and bottles for iced tea. I wanted a cup but I wasn’t allowed one. I have far too many already.
There’s even more tea behind the counter and I could feel myself getting very excited. I’ve never been to a Bird and Blend shop before. The lady behind the counter asked if I wanted to see any of the teas. I asked to see one of my preferred bedtime teas, Dozy Girl. It smelt lovely. Then I went through all of my personal choices when buying from them. The lady seemed happy that I had heard of them before and that I was excited to be able to visit them for the first time. They don’t have many shops up North, they are mostly Southern based.
There were some small pins on the counter so my brother helped me decide which one I wanted. I chose the T-Rex pin badge. How could I visit their fabulous shop without buying anything? You’ll be pleased to note I bought Rhubarb and Custard teabags.
The teabags from Bird and Blend are compostable so I know they are good for the environment. The pins I bought are made of metal and wood. So this is another win.
When we were deciding on a pin I was getting excited because I was really enjoying being in the shop and they were playing one of the best songs from Beauty and the Beast Gaston. Sadly though Bird and Blend do not use antlers in all of their decorating…in fact I couldn’t see any anywhere.
We bought the pin and tea then we were eon our way. The people in the shop were lovely and I had a great time.
When I got home my pin badge had popped off whilst on my coat. I decided to email them to see if I could request a replacement. The reply was quick and very helpful. Someone called Ian sent me out a replacement pin and sent me one of their favourites as well.
Bird and Blend are a fabulous company who are making some lovely blends and doing it with our planet it mind. Please take a look on their website and give them a try.
Also go to their shops and say hello, they were very friendly and they defiantly know their brews. Thank you for a lovely visit.
I wrote this blog myself after a fabulous visit! I am in no way associated with the TeaRific company.
It has been a long time since I have visited my brother in London, the last time was before the Pandemic.
We decided when would be the best time for me to visit then I booked tickets to go on the train. First we had to phone for assisted travel as I am Visually Impaired and need help navigating my surroundings. I have Scoliosis and need help carrying my bags. Once we had booked the assisted travel I had to book tickets. This required phoning a separate number. We got the trains booked and I requested tickets be sent to my house. The assisted travel booking came through by email.
Going to London using assisted travel or coming back from London has always been stressful for various reasons.
For those of you who don’t know, assisted travel is a service offered to train users who are Disabled or who need assistance with their travel. You phone up, or use the Passenger Assistance app and you tell them what you need assistance with, when you are travelling and what your Disability is.
The Friday came for me to go to London and my mum took me to the station and we let someone know I was there. The lady was very helpful and told us to take a seat. We waited and a man came over to help me onto the train. He took my bag and helped onto the train. My mum got on too. He guided me to my seat, put my bag up overhead and explained where everything was and that there were people getting on at Doncaster who would be sitting next to me.
My mum and the member of station crew got off. A lady came up to me from the Grand Central train crew and introduced herself. Finally the train set off and we were on our way.
Arriving in London I messaged the family group chat so my brother could see that I was there. Even though he was watching my train come in.
Everyone got off the train and I stayed sat down. I looked around and I couldn’t see anyone who was coming to help me. I was getting stressed. I messaged my brother.
Just to make clear, when you are waiting for assisted travel they tell you that you should never be waiting more than 5 minutes for someone to come and help you. The other thing to note is that the assisted travel arrangements are with the station crew, unless something happens along the journey and then the train crew help.
A few moments later I heard some voices and the cleaner came bustling down the aisle emptying bins and tidying up. She noticed me and asked if I was waiting for assistance. I said yes and she said she’d be back. Messaging the group chat again I wrote what was happening. The lady came back and said she had told the driver.
This is the best bit. The driver contacted the station staff who had forgotten about me. Well done Kings Cross.
A man came on to get me and he didn’t introduce himself he just said ‘is this your bag?’ We went to get off and when we were on the platform he didn’t offer me his arm so I could be guided safely. He was carrying one small bag with clothes and another tote bag. But he should have guided me. He should have introduced himself with ‘Hello my name is…’
A little further down the platform the train crew caught up and said they would help me get to the barriers. I took their arm and we wandered down the platform. I explained I was meeting my brother and what outfit he had on.
We met up with him near the barriers and headed down to the tube.
I will post separate blogs about my weekend.
The Monday morning came and we got the bus back to kings Cross and arrived half an hour before my train. The station wasn’t too busy and we made our way to the Assistance point. The lady radioed through to let them know I was there. She radioed again. She radioed again. By this point I was again getting stressed. Finally after a while the LNER lady just said she’d do it herself.
She was very nice and explained we were in no rush and we will just wander onto the platform. She saw the train was in and we got on. Again she directed me to my seat. I said goodbye to my brother and sat down. He messaged in the group chat that I was on the train.
We mentioned what happened on the way down and how I was left. She apologised and said she would ring Leeds and let them I was on the train.
When I arrived at Leeds I stood up once everyone else was off and a man in a blue Northern Rail jacket approached me and took my bag and helped me off the train. We got to the Bradford train and I explained what happened at London and he shook his head. But I pointed out I have always had great service at Leeds and Bradford Interchange (and Forster Square). I sat down and had my bags next to me. The conductor asked where I was going to and I said Bradford. He said he was changing there so if no one got on to help he would assist me off the train.
Once we stopped at Bradford a man got on and grabbed my bag and helped me off the train. I sat down outside the barriers and waited for my Mum.
Every other station was brilliant, I have always had great help at Bradford and Leeds, their staff are lovely.
At Kings Cross I was left on the train, there was no assistance to meet me to help me board the train to come home. So someone else had to do it.
Staff who do the job of assisted travel should have Disability training. This is why it is not OK that someone else filled the gap. The lady who helped was lovely and seemed concerned about my previous experience and genuinely wanted to help.
This kind of scenario happens far too often and this is why I do not like travelling independently. I am Visually Impaired and use a long cane to navigate my surroundings. I cannot just get on a train and go where I want. The assisted travel service which I and many others rely on had let me down on parts of my journey.
When you are Disabled you are reliant on others to help you. These services are in place to enable us to get around and be independent. However they let us down more often than you think.
Then there are the people who do a great job in these stations who hear these stories. They are also being let down because they are doing an amazing job, but then others are letting them down by not doing their jobs properly.
As I mentioned before the staff at my usual stations are brilliant and are always on hand to explain and assist me with my journeys. The lady at Kings Cross who got me onto the train was very helpful. The cleaner who notified someone I was still waiting was helpful.
But none of that should have happened. It should have been smooth, the assistance should have been there. As Disabled people we are tired of raising the concerns and seeing others go through it time and time again. But because we are Disabled and a very marginalised community the outrage is minimal.
Imagine you can’t see very well and you have constant back pain due to a curved spine. How would you feel being left on a train when you had booked assisted travel before hand? The thought that if someone wasn’t there at the other end meeting you and had no one to also help you raise your concerns and ensure someone was helping you on your journey ?
It is not acceptable. If you have experienced this before please leave your comments below.