Don’t always believe what you read

My review on reviews. Specifically relating to review services such as Trustpilot, based on a recent experience.

Now then. You might not know this, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it. We’re selling our flat and hoping to move. Except we haven’t had a single viewing or viewing request via Purplebricks.

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Our flat has been listed on their website, and Zoopla, and with a premium rightmove listing (for an extra fee) for over a month, and we haven’t had a single sniff. Which is not what I expected based on the rave reviews.

So I submitted my own review of our experience and no sooner had I submitted it to the site than I received an email from Trustpilot.

purplebricks.com has reported your review because they don’t believe you’ve had a genuine buying or service experience. Reported reviews are temporarily moved offline.

Well then. In order for my real review to actually be seen by people who might be considering the service I had to:

  1. Find your order confirmation, invoice, delivery report or proof of service with purplebricks.com. The documents should show: the name of the business, your name, the date, and a reference number. See more here.

  2. Send your documents by replying to this email. We accept forwarded emails from purplebricks.com, screenshots of user registration/profile or similar, and pdf attachments.

When we receive your documentation, we’ll review it and get back to you.

I did that and am waiting to hear back, but how many people submit reviews and then can’t or don’t get around to sending over their proof. If Purplebricks do this to every negative review, they are really skewing their numbers.

So, don’t believe everything you read, because there is every chance it’s just one side.

Little Book Review: Blue by Danielle Steel

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So. I’ve never read a Danielle Steel book before. I know! How is that even possible! She has written so so many.

This book, Blue, was given to me in my stocking and I’ve just finished it. I thought I’d write up a little review of how I found it.

I got through it very quickly, it was definitely a story that I got into, and cared about the two main characters, Blue and Ginny. It wasn’t what I would class as chic lit, these two characters find each other and overcome challenges from their past.

Was there anything I didn’t like about it? Yes. I felt like the history of each of the characters was repeated again and again and again. It made me feel like the storyteller is assuming I am a bit dim and have forgotten this.

Would I read another of Danielle Steel’s novels? Yes. There is no question that overall I enjoyed this. It was quite an easy read, so I will probably pick up another of her books later in the year.

In terms of books, I am trying to up my reading this year and have recently bought:

  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

So there will be little reviews of each of those coming as and when I work my way through them.

If you have any recommendations for me, please let me know. I’ll always game to try a new author, or genre.

A little bit of winter magic

Earlier this month we headed up to outer London in search of some winter magic. I have wanted to visit the Warner Brothers Studio Tour for ages and ages. Having set my heart on visit which it’s decked out for Christmas I finally remembered to book tickets back in August.

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I had read of some reviews that it can be busier in the afternoon, so booked a morning tour. The wait was still fairly long, around 40 minutes. Deceptively, it was split into waiting outside, waiting inside and then waiting in some sort of strange viewing/holding room.

The great hall set up was amazing, with the tables laden with food and the Christmas trees decorated for each school house.

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The great hall was all decked out for Christmas, with little witch toppers to the trees which flew around the tree tops.
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No explanation needed right?!

 

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Gryffindor common room
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Pretty amazing to think they actually made a real moving swivelling staircase for the films.
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Potions.
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The Burrow set. You could make the washing up move!

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I posted the photo above on my Instagram account and got mixed reactions because ‘we didn’t enjoy butter beer’. I wanted to like it. I tried, ok? It wasn’t for me. It doesn’t mean you won’t like it.

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The masks were amazing! It was incredible to see items like these up close.
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Oh Dobby!

 

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There is a corridor full of work from conceptual artists. I thoroughly recommend pausing here to take a good look.
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EEeee!

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I loved it all. Can you tell? I am a pretty big HP fan, I can’t help it, I grew up with it, read and re read all the books, loved the films. Not necessarily cool for a 29 year old but you gotta do you.

Not long until Christmas now! Are you ready? 

Little Book Review: One Moment, One Morning

I must have been given this book at Christmas at least two years ago, and it has been sitting on my bookshelf waiting for it’s moment. And a last week that moment finally arrived.

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One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner is a sad and moving story which follows three women over the course of a week. I really don’t want to spoil it for you, but thoroughly recommend it is added to your reading list. It’s a wonderful reflection of life and the struggles people face.

Now what to read next? I’m always looking for new recommendations, so if you have any please pop them in a comment for me!

Jamie Lawson At the Dome

One of the two gig tickets I bought for us for my gift to Jack for year one of marriage (paper) was to see Jamie Lawson at Brighton Dome.

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I really enjoyed our evening. I don’t know that Jack would necessarily choose it as a gig of choice, as we described the audience as a mix of Radio 2 listeners, us included.

I’ll admit it, I’d really only heard his single ‘Wasn’t expecting that’ before I booked the tickets, but I really enjoyed his other material, especially some of the new songs that are potentially coming out on his next album.

Have you been to see anyone recently? Got any recommendations for my ‘to listen to’ list?

A little review: The Girl on the Train

So on Sunday we took our very first trip to the Duke of York picturehouse, which in case you are interested currently (according to wikipedia) “lays claim to being the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain.”

I’ll just skip quickly past the awkward moments when several different people thought I worked there and asked me to check the tickets as I waited for Jack to buy a coffee, and get right to the film.

Yes, I did read the book. Devoured it. I was totally gripped!

Spoiler: I also enjoyed the film.

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You can watch the trailer here.

I don’t want to ruin the plot, because I do think you should go and watch it for yourself. I’ve heard others say they didn’t like the flow, or that it was set in the USA and on the USA point I still agree, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if it was in the same setting as it was in my mind, i.e. the UK.

There were bits when the entire sold-out audience were noticeably on edge. There were collective gasps and shudders, which I think is testament to it being a good watch.

Shortest least informative review over. Go and watch it. If you want.

Have you seen it? If so, what did you think?

29

Last week I turned 29! It’s an odd mix of being aware I’m still super early on in life and also a growing sense of ‘don’t leave things late’.

This year my birthday fell on a Tuesday, so I had day at work with my new team and they were lovely. They club in and gave me an awesome Vitamin E set from The Body Shop, which I have been using daily since. We also went for a team lunch at The Prince George, which was YUM as always!

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Jack’s birthday is the same week, so on Friday night we took ourselves to 64 Degrees for a birthday dinner. It didn’t quite meet my expectations of a restaurant ranked #10 of 815 restaurants in Brighton. I was pretty disappointed not to be sat at the bar, where you watch the chefs work, but was told they set people there who request it on their booking! Had I known that I probably would’ve mentioned it when I booked back in July… Tip for you all there. I also suffered from assuming I would be next to a kitchen and was in fact next to an open door, on one of the first chilly evenings of September.

Food wise, I would go again, but I would probably go on a week night, to avoid birthday parties and hen dos.

On Saturday, we had some drinks with our friends at the Northern lights and then went dancing at Casablanca, where the band was awesome (Black Velvet) and we danced til 2:30am, I think… I wouldn’t have described myself as coherent at that stage.

I’ll probably avoid drinking that much for a little while. 6am on Sunday I thought I was dying.

A little review: The Set

We just celebrated our first wedding anniversary and booked a table at The Set, which is based within The Artist Residence. It fell on a Monday night, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of busy-ness, and I have to say it had great atmosphere.

We were seated away from the kitchen, though some other couples were at the bar-like tables overlooking the chefs at work. Usually I’d be interested in that too, but it was pretty darn hot on Monday evening!

The way the menus work at The Set is, as you might have guessed, a selection of set menus detailing four courses in each. Being veggie I didn’t read my option in detail but simply went with the veg option of Menu 2. You can, I believe switch out the odd course if you are a fish eater.

The eating kicked off with an amuse-bouche, meat option: chicken nugget with homemade ketchup and a deconstructed caesar salad; veggie option was (if I recall) a sweetcorn croquet with homemade ketchup and a green tomato and sweetcorn salad. They gave us a hint of what was to come, and there is no photo because they disappeared almost immediately.

Next was a starter of peas, radishes and some sort of delicious garlic sauce, which we both agreed was an amazing dish and happily demolished.

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Starter: Pea, radish, hummus, apricot

 

Then we were brought what I am going to refer to as our first main courses. Jack had…

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Mackerel, summer squash, pig cheek

For my main I had…

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Carrot, egg yolk, cornichon, mustard

Now, I did enjoy my first main,  but the yolk part I didn’t love. I am solidly a cooked yolk person.

Then for our second mains Jack had…

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Lamb, BBQ, sweetcorn, green tomato

And I had…

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Courgette, Caesar, preserved lemon, parmesan

Now I am not even that much of a courgette fan, but I loved this dish, it tasted amazing and the balance of flavours really worked! Good work guys!

Puddings for our chosen set menus were not my normal chocolate fest and certainly looked unusual, with mine featuring cucumber. But they too were delicious.

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Peach, elderflower, honey, whey

 

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Cereal milk, spelt granola, milk ice cream

And then, as it was our anniversary the kitchen sent out a third dessert for us to try. Wow. I am so glad we got to taste this. It’s my idea of food heaven!

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Raspberry, milk chocolate, sorrel, cocoa nib

 

All in all it was an amazing meal and The Set had a wonderfully relaxed feel about it for a place serving up such scrumptious dishes. I’m sad that we haven’t visited sooner, as it’s only about a 5 minute walk from us and has been open for over a year now. “When can we go again?” is my next question!

Have you been to The Set, or have any recommendations for me?

Me Before You: Review

So I read the book and wanted to see the film and my lovely sister took me on Saturday. I didn’t have massive expectations as the ads I’d seen for the film looked a lot more chic-flicky than I would’ve liked.

Spoiler Alert

It’s odd seeing a film that deals with the subject of assisted suicide being marketed as an alternative rom-com. The film itself as you may already know is based on the novel by Jojo Moyes, and is told from the point of view of Louisa Clark, who is in need of a job to help support her family, and replies to a job ad seeking someone to help care for a disabled young man.

I was gripped by the book, but as a romantic tale, it read a little odd, similarly in the film, there isn’t really a clear underlying connection between the two lead characters, it seems to simply help the plot along. I have also more recently been reading about some public reaction regarding the idea that a disabled life isn’t worth living. To my recollection this subject is discussed in more detail in the book, that Will has considered his options regarding his health, but in the film is is very brushed over. It seems to be a be a bit of a foregone conclusion that he will be going ahead with his plans for assisted suicide.

When I read the book I didn’t consider what Jojo Moyes’ personal experiences or research into disability might have been – I think that is perhaps the case with many able-bodied readers. I can now see why many are frustrated that such a tale has become popular. Though I personally feel that it’s a good platform for discussion about assisted suicide, using an able bodied actor was perhaps not the best option, and I certainly don’t hold the view the a disabled life isn’t worth living.

In terms of the film, I did cry, I was moved. But I don’t think that was because it was necessarily a good film. I personally was moved because the idea that someone would wish to end their life, in spite of all the good that surrounded the lead character is very upsetting.

Have you seen the film, or read the book? If so, what did you think?

May Favourites

Oh hi June! I’m still trying to wrap my head around how quickly time flies by as I get older! Where has the year gone! So, my current daily plans mean I actually have time to write up my favourites from last month on time! Silver linings and all that. If you’re wondering what I am wittering on about see my last post.

This might become a bit of a repurchase list to be honest, because some of these items are nearly finished.

Bryt Skincare Calm Serum

This was an impluse, panic purchase. The serum I last mentioned from the Balance Me range was sold out! I’m pretty glad it was; this serum was equally good for calming my breakouts. I highly recommend you give it a go.

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Cracked Heel Foot Cream

The transition for cosy, comfy socks and sneaker combo to flipflops and sandals can be pretty tough on my heels, or make them pretty tough. Sorry if that’s an overshare. This stuff keeps them looking socially acceptable.

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Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips

Yes, it does say nipple on the tube. Apparently the formula was developed for breast-feeding mums, but has also been re-purposed for lips. It’s bloomin’ brilliant, and it lasts for ages. There is none of the ‘finger-dipping’ dirt that you get in tubs/pots of balm.

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Secret Garden Colouring Book

I can’t be limiting my favourites and I’m not sorry! This colouring book has been such a distraction of the past week; I’m certain I should feel more stressed than I do – but this thing is helping my brain relax.

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If you haven’t seen it, have a read of my spring beauty favourites. I hope you’ve all had a good May and that June has begun well for you!