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30.4.11

Do you review?

I'm not talking about the "blogger" reviews where these lovely companies send us free items to then test and review about. [if anyone wants to send me something to review, please feel free ;-)]
What I'm talking about is the reviews on items you have purchased, holidays you've been on etc.

With our recent experince with the hotel in Lanzarote I have felt a bit funny about trusting reviews. Normally I would look at reviews and make my own mind up, ie, assess if someone is just being picky and making a fuss over nothing or if these are real issues people are bringing to others attention. In the case of the first Lanzarote hotel, well, we didn't have a choice to follow reviews as we booked the holiday last minute. Had we of read the reviews we may have booked elsewhere:
"Be aware get a safe.
6 break ins in 2 weeks. When we arrived Thomas Cook informed us it had all been sorted, do not belief this they will tell you anything, get a safe and put any thing of value in it at all times. They get in through the bedroom windows.
"
"My partner and I took our two children (4 & 1 yrs old) for a week, after reading the reviews before we left I was worried!
I can see what alot of other people on here are saying about its a 3* so expect a 3* and thats a fair enough comment. However, it should'nt matter what star you are in the place should still be clean!
We checked in and everybody was very friendly making a great impression, I thought everything will be fine. Then we got to our room! There were someone elses hair and pubes everywhere and the place looked like it had not been cleaned at all!
We informed reception and they sent a cleaner who 'cleaned' the room again,it did not really help matters as they just moved the hair around the room and were using dirty water to mop the floor. In the end we brought some cleaning agents and did the room ourselves!!! The cleaners came in again after this when we were out and undid all our hard work again covering the floors with the other guests hair. We then asked them not to clean the room just to put fresh towels in and change bed sheets, it was then we were informed that they do not change bedsheets for duration of stay just towels they only make the bed!! Beds themselves were fine, your not going to have one bed that suits all so not sure how people can complain about horrible beds and hard pillows??
All other guests we spoke to had similar problem, this really let the place down. Swimming pool is frezzing none of us went in its so funny to see lots of people lounging round a pool with no one in it, one child went in and was purple when she came out! So we spent our time on the beach which is far nicer I think.
The hotel is not ideal for families with young children and as most children have snacks such as fruit, crisps and ice creams etc whilst on holiday this was not the case at the resort. Snacks only consisted of hot meals with ice cream served ocassionally which is not good to give kids in hot weather as they dont want it!
Apart from that it was a ok place, food was nice always plenty of variety at meal times and you could get your drinks whenever you wanted one. Dont go expecting a wide range of different wines and beer there is only one type of beer which is ok and one type of red/white wine which tastes like vinegar. Waiters are all lovely happy to help and work so hard!
It is a three star so dont expect the ritz but you do have the right to expect a clean room! I wont be returning personally as I like cleanliness something which we did'nt experience!
At the same time, there are reviews saying that this hotel is amazing, "best holiday ever" being a phrase used quite a lot. Whilst we were at the hotel we spoke to three other couples who were disappointed with the hotel, but weren't going to complain [which I didn't understand!] and I'm sure these are the people who will come home, accept the holiday is over and not share their experience with anyone other than some friends and family.
We came back and instantly my husband left his negative review...what we haven't done though...is leave our postitive review on the second hotel
The problem when we checked reviews with the hotel was that people had left negative reviews, and not enough positive ones. Which seems silly when this hotel was amazing. 

If it wasn't for one review in particular, left by an honest person, we would've been on a flight home rather than enjoying a week in the sun. This person listed 10 points, all previously addressed by other reviewers, and gave their opinion on these matters. [I wanted to quote the review but can't find it now :-(]
This persons review made me want to come home and leave honest reviews for both hotels....I MUST do this!.....and encourage you all to do the same. You could save someones holiday.

On Monday, my Fujifilm Finepix J32 decided to fail on me. Everytime I switch it on it tells me there is a zoom error. To be honest it has done this occassionally since the first time I've used it but a simple push of the on/off switch would have camera back to normal. 
Except, as I said, Monday it decided enough was enough. After a clean, a reset, a little tap the problem remained. So, following my husbands instructions, I googled this and found that it seems to be a common problem with this model and some other Fujifilm cameras. 
My husband bought me the camera Christmas 2009 so for it to fail so soon was really disappointing. And to be honest I imagine he didn't check reviews which may have resulted in a different camera back then.
The resolution seems to be to send it off for repair so the lens can be replaced. I don't have insurance on the camera so this seemed expensive for someone I'm not convinced would result in me having a camera which would last for years and years. 
After a quick search on the Argos website I noticed a variety of cameras for around £50. I already have a Canon 1000d so I just wanted a point and shoot/compact to throw in my bag [not literally] so a huge budget wasn't necessary and a simple camera would be sufficient enough. 

I was delighted to find a camera that looked good and sounded perfect, I checked the reviews and searched the internet for other reviews. All seemed really good.
As Argos are always really good with returns I decided to risk it.
£69.99 was handed over to the cashier and a box placed in my hand. 
I came home, charged it and used it straight away that afternoon. I am amazed. For just short of £70 I have a camera which rivals my DSLR! 
I have promised that after a week of use I will be heading back to the Argos website and leaving a review for the camera. Listing what I like and what I don't like.

With the new baby on the way too, we have a couple of items we didn't have before and once the baby is here I will be leaving reviews for said items to let other mums know how I got on. 

To know that my review helped someone decide on whether or not to make a purchase makes me feel good about myself. If someone chooses to ignore my review and take the risk then so be it, but at least I know I