5 things to consider when leaving a Tripadvisor review

I rely heavily on reviews when it comes to booking hotels, restaurants, or even visiting attractions so I think it’s important for me to contribute honestly to review sites as a “thank you”; putting something back in for other travellers. Plus good reviews are just as important as bad – people are often vocal when they have something to criticise or complain about, but credit where credit’s due is important for both the business and the customer.

I had an email from TripAdvisor telling me that I finished 2015 in the top 1% off Birmingham reviewers, with 56,093 readers (go me!) so I must be doing something right!

TripAdvisor top 1%

Here are my top 5 tips for leaving a review.

1) Use correct spelling and grammar. If you can’t articulate yourself well, who’s going to take your opinion seriously? (clue, not me)

2) Only review things that are within control of the establishment. Marking a hotel down because it rained for your whole trip is just dumb. They can’t control the weather!

3) Be reasonable about expectation vs. reality. Going to a restaurant in Spain and then complaining they don’t serve chips shows a lack of culture and brains.

4) Be honest but tactful. Not happy? Explain what the problem was with facts, not just by saying “everything was shit”. If the food was cold or your order was wrong then say so, without getting personally rude about the chef or waiting staff.

5) Be sensible. Visiting castle ruins and complaining there isn’t a lot there is just a waste of your time typing and a visitor’s time reading.

Are you a review writer or reader? Let me know any daft ones you’ve seen!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Feeling discombobulated

Discombobulated is such a great word. I’m a big fan of great words. Succulent is my absolute favourite word. It’s just so juicy and good, it actually makes my mouth water.


Anyway, discombobulation. That actually isn’t a word (according to my spellcheck). But it’s the state I find myself in at the moment. I’m all at sixes and sevens (stupid saying). Nothing feels quite right.

  • Work isn’t quite right. I feel like I’m failing. Or not excelling. And I don’t know what to do about it. I lack enthusiasm and feel a little bit overwhelmed. I can’t keep playing the new girl card because I’ve been here for 9 months now. But I feel like I’ve lost my creativity and vision. Gone backwards somehow. Not in terms of my job but in terms of my approach. It’s hard to explain.
  • My approach to life isn’t quite right. I have lots of good intentions around eating, cutting down on booze, living more virtuously. But none of them are coming to fruition. I’m struggling to break out of the eat, drink and be merry frame of mind.
  • I’m totally overwhelmed by the mammoth amount of stuff that I own. And how to whittle it down so I can live in the space I have without having a floor-drobe. I’ve had the intention of downsizing my personal belongings for so long now that it’s not even funny. Last year I thought I’d turned a corner with clearing out and Marie Kondo’s approach of “if you don’t love it, get rid of it”. I even blogged about it in an epiphany of “this will change my life”. But I still find myself with bags of stuff to ebay just in case it has some value. And things that I won’t part with just in case. It’s maddening!
  • Death. David Bowie’s death has affected me way more than I thought it would. I’m not a David Bowie fan, as such. I mean I like him and respect him and enjoy a lot of his music. But somehow him dying is really playing on my mind. Everything is changing. Constants that have been there since my youth are changing. Cancer is fucking scary. It killed David Bowie and it killed Lemmy. My Dad has inoperable cancer. It’s too much to comprehend.

I know that all these things are just life. And people deal with all sorts of headfucks every single day. Maybe it’s the combined January effect. Maybe it’s Christmas withdrawals. Maybe I’m just feeling a bit screwy.

But discombobulated sounds better. So I’m going with that.

RIP David Bowie

Shocked and saddened to wake up this morning to find out that David Bowie has died.

David Bowie

I grew up listening to his music as my Dad was a fan. 80s songs such as China Girl and Lets Dance were often on rotation in his car on my way home from school.

It will forever be a regret that I never saw him live.

The fact that he had been battling cancer for 18 months yet still managed to record and release a new album is testament to the strength of character he had as a musician.

And yet again, the ugly evil disease proves that it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have in life, cancer will strip it from you.

Less than 48 hours ago we were watching Lemmy’s funeral and feeling sad at the loss of a musical legend.

And now another legend has gone.

Eating away temptation

I’m not the kind of person who has much willpower.

Or, mostly, any willpower. I cave incredibly easily in the face of temptation. It’s not one of my better traits.

I can resist everything except temptation

So, while I stated that I was ready to be eating lighter meals in my previous post, it seems I’m not ready to give up the junk just yet. Purely because it’s there.

Plus it seems so ungrateful to waste it! Some of the tasty treats still lingering around were part of our annual goody bag from my Mother in Law, and you can’t throw away gifts now can you?

Therefore the best course of actions seems to be to dispose of them in other ways. Remove temptation. Eat them. Well, if it’s good enough for Oscar Wilde…

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it

Which is why I ate most of a toblerone on Monday night. A large one. And why I ate a whole bag of Wispa bites last night (not all in one go, if that makes things any better?)

It’s also how I discovered that Original flavour Pringles smothered in Whole Earth crunchy peanut butter is delish.

Somebody stop me!

On the plus side it’s mostly all gone now. Phew!

Unless I start on the husband’s Ferrero Rocher…

Is anyone else struggling to shake off the holiday gluttony?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I think January is a difficult enough time without depriving yourself of something you enjoy (which is generally what resolutions amount to).

New Year's Resolutions

I mean, I’ve just enjoyed 10 days off work eating and drinking and making merry and now it’s January, it’s cold and dark, all the fun bits have gone and there’s nothing to look forward to until Spring. Why would I make that worse by not having a biscuit or a glass of wine? (I’ve had neither today, yet).

I also don’t see the point in setting goals that you know you might fail at, which will then just make you feel crap for being rubbish. Again, why?

Cutting things out can’t lead to anything good. I did dry January once and the first time I had a drink at the end of it I was pissed and asleep on my friend’s sofa within about an hour.

And just the word – resolution – it sounds so harsh and severe!

Having said that, after all the indulgence of the festive period, I am usually pretty ready to start eating more healthily and generally not being as much of a glutton. And I certainly need to lose a few pounds which steadily crept on last year, because I threw caution to the wind from about October onwards!

I do have some “good intentions” which are more around personal experience and comfort than changing myself, but they’re evolutionary processes rather than new starts. Such as cutting down the amount of clothes I own (which I’ve been doing for about, oh I dunno, 5 years now). Wasting less time on mindless stuff on my phone when I could be reading a book (I had some corkers for Christmas). Things that are achievable and can be done bit by bit instead of being a major life change.

And if I do need to do something huge, or cut something out, or do something new, then I’ll do it quietly and in my own way and time, rather than making a big public declaration and then falling on my ass when I fail (notice I say when, not if!)

Today’s achievement – getting out of bed, getting to work on time and surviving the day. That’s harder than eating less than 1500 calories, not having a glass of wine or avoiding the biscuit tin for sure!

Have you made any NewYear’s resolutions?

Thanks, as always, for reading!

Back to reality

Urgh. Depressing as it is the Christmas holidays – the holy grail of time off work that keeps me going when winter creeps in following a summer of fun – is over.

Back to reality

10 whole days of no work and no alarms seem now to have passed in a flash (they haven’t, of course). I feel like I haven’t done justice to all of the food we have in the flat (there’s still soooo much chocolate and I’m sure the tubes of Pringles are multiplying). Worse still, both the husband an I are ill today with a snotty, sore throaty, hot sweaty lurgy. So any plans to make the most of our final day with a boozy roast lunch at the pub were quickly curtailed.

In truth, this is probably for the best. The temptation to eek every last second out of the Christmas holiday is all well and good until it’s time to get up and you realise you have no breakfast in the house, a cumulative Christmas hangover and all of your clothes are too tight.

At least this way I’ve had chance to get slightly prepared.

I’ve lounged about watching mindless TV in pyjamas while simultaneously doing washing and tidying. I went to the supermarket so we have stuff for lunches. Now I’m making a cheese and potato pie – a great idea for using up all the cheese we haven’t eaten, until I realised I had no potatoes so had to go back out. I sound almost domestic!

This is the first day I haven’t had an alcoholic drink in at least 3 weeks (what can I say, I started early) which can only stand me in good stead for tomorrow.

I almost became a New Year cliché in the supermarket filling my basket with ingredients for green smoothies (more on this potential fad another time) and buying vitamin C tablets, but the latter was purely because I’m hacked off with being ill (third cold in two months, I mean come on!)

All that’s left now is to find something good to watch on TV, try not to clock watch and then lie in bed willing sleep not to be evasive – it will be difficult enough to get up early as it is, without being extra tired as well.

Hope everyone’s working week isn’t too arduous!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x


5 things about 2015

Firstly, Happy New Year! Hope you had a good one welcoming it in whatever way you chose.

I meant to post this yesterday but got distracted by procrastinating doing…er…nothing…so although it’s now 2016 and technically I should be looking forward and not backwards, well, tough!

Goodbye 2015

So I woke up yesterday morning wondering how come I was in bed (I got very very drunk on New Years Eve Eve) and whether I was in trouble with the husband for being a pissed up handful (I wasn’t) and between the drunken confusion and not being able to sleep because my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth, I spent a few minutes thinking back about the year and the things that defined it.

So, here they are!

  1. Family. I’m very lucky to be very close to both of my parents. They divorced when I was 21 and I’ve been through bad times with both of them, but we came through the other side. They’re always there for me and, because I’m an only child, they have no-one to compare me to so they think I’m great (kinda kidding here). And, you know, family is so important. My mother-in-law is an amazing woman and I know that when we’re in her company we’ll always have fun. My extended family are fun and close knit and there are times in the past when I haven’t made the most of them. Time is limited and precious and I don’t want to regret not making the most of my folks so in 2015 I consciously spent more time with them, and will continue to do so this year.
  2. My job. I’ll never be defined by my career because I’m strictly of the mindset “work to live” and always have been. But this year I got made redundant (which is cool because I was semi-looking around anyway) and I now work for a company that makes a difference to people’s lives. The ethos is very different to my previous role and I never want to go back to that corporate money making bullshit I was in before; where lies and bad morals are acceptable just to make a buck for the fat cat owners. Plus I get that warm fuzzy feeling hearing first hand from people who’s lives are literally changed. It’s good.
  3. This blog. I started this blog on the day I got made redundant; a knee jerk reaction to change and the thought that I might have a lot of time on my hands! And it’s been great! I wanted to start a blog for a really long time and never got round to it, and I wish I’d done it years ago. I love the writing process, I love the interaction with other people, I love having an outlet that’s mine. Long may it continue.
  4. My hair! Screw the deep and meaningful stuff, my hair has been a pain in the ass for the past year. Totes my own fault for cutting it off, but I needed to do it and scratch an itch and have now learnt my lesson. It’s long all the way from now on! (well, when it finally gets there).
  5. Not seeing friends. Back to the serious stuff. The husband and I totally overcommitted last year, in between holidays, and festivals and weekends away, and other plans. Great as it sounds, we didn’t nurture the core stuff. Friends we haven’t seen enough of. Birthdays missed. Presents not exchanged. Spending 3 weekends in a row in different hotels in different parts of the country because of gigs and weddings and trips. Something to change this year.

So, a retrospective, an introspective, and a goodbye to last year.

How was yours?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x