Tuesday 5 August 2008

August issue on the way

The August issue of Grape Vine was posted yesterday and subscribers should have received their copies today. It was so packed with comps, there was no room to include the on-pack shopping list, but as long as your subscription is up to date, do please email me if you would like a copy of it.

I have just returned from a prize break at Swinton Park Hotel in Yorkshire, with a day for two at the cookery school there. The hotel was lovely with superb service and lots of very special little touches. My favourite was the tube of Molton Brown Eye Rescue which was left on our pillows at night in place of the more traditional chocolates, while my husband was delighted to find decanters of gin and whisky provided in the room for us to help ourselves to. (And indeed it would have been rude not to!)

Why not pop over to the Grape Vine website where this month's competition gives you a chance to win both the new DSA theory books, the car version, which contains an entry form for a tiebreaker comp to win a car, and the bike version which contains an entry form for a tiebreaker comp to win £1,000 worth of bike gear.

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Update time again

By now you should all have received your mid-month update. The email version should have reached you on Saturday - postal updates were sent out then too, so depending on whether yuo used a 1st or 2nd class stamp on your envelope, it should have reached you on Monday or Tuesday.

No major prizes to report, I'm afraid, but I do seem to have managed to win something almost every day of the Boots/Coke text comp. Mostly vouchers for bottles of Coke, but with a new daily comp on Coke throughout August one of the vouchers just might lead to something bigger!

With the Olympic Games about to start, keep a look out for comps related to them appearing at very short notice. Likely sources will be the sort of snacks and drinks you might (or promoters THINK you might) consume while watching the games on television.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

This was the view from our 50th floor hotel room in New York

July is here....

.... and your July magazines should be in the post tomorrow (Wednesday) and with luck and a good wind will reach you on Thursday.

Readers have been chastising me for not telling you all about my wins. Well, I wish I had more wins to tell you about! Before I went on holiday, I won two of the £100 Ticketmaster vouchers in the Cornetto comp, and this week I have heard that I have won a "Girl's night in" hamper with perfume, DVDs, champagne, chocolates and a camera. So it looks as if things are picking up.

Monday 23 June 2008

Back from holiday

I'm back from a fantastic holiday courtesy of a text comp on Miller Light beer which the Co-op ran least year. We visited New York, Washington and Boston - the trouble is, there was so much to see and do that we need another holiday now to recover from it!

I'll be catching up on Grape Vine correspondence over the next few days so if you are waiting for a reply, a sample or an entry form exchange pack from me, it will be with you very soon.

Friday 6 June 2008

Off on holiday!

I will be away on my prize trip to the USA until 22nd June, so don't forget there will be no update this month and no replies to letters or emails until I get home. And please try to time any entry form swaps you send to arrive after I get back, otherwise I may not be able to open the front door when I come home!

Tuesday 3 June 2008

It's on the way

The June issue of Grape Vine has been posted and should reach subscribers today (Tuesday) or tomorrow. It is so packed with comps that the Shopping List and Winning Lines have had to be left out!

Don't forget that there will be no update this month, as I will be on holiday, but I've already found a tiebreaker comp that didn't appear in time for the June magazine, so pop along to your nearest branch of Julian Graves and pick up a copy of the Grapevine Summer Special. Grab a pack of any item containing California Raisins at the same time and hang on to your TR - you will need it for the chance to win a holiday to California. The comp closes 30th June.

Sunday 1 June 2008

A pinch and a punch.....

For the first of the month.

And the first of the month means a new comp on the Grape Vine website


This month's prize is a year's membership of Winn Sommor's Winnin Post Club. If you've never heard of her club before, read about it on the comp page - there are loads of prizes in her puzzle booklets, as well as coming news and articles.

As for Grape Vine itself, it is now being printed and all being well, will be in the post tomorrow (Monday) so should reach subscribers on Tuesday.

Monday 19 May 2008

Update day

Grape Vine subscribers who take the email update should have received their update this morning. Those who take it by post should get it tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on the stamp they put on thier SAE.

I hope you will all agree that the update is jam packed with comps this time. As for the June GV, I think I'm going to have to stand on the lid of it to help cram everything in. With almost two weeks before it goes to press, it's already bulging with comps.

Friday 9 May 2008

A few wins

Well, after a long dry spell the wins have begun to trickle in at last. A recipe book from a web comp, another recipe book as a consolation prize in the Spam recipe comp, a single cinema ticket from Diet Coke and an iPod Shuffle from the fiendishly tough puzzle that was in the book "Invisible City" by M G Harris.

Grape Vine readers will have read about the Invisible City comp on page 8 of the April issue. I hope my efforts paid off and other readers were among the winners.

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Lost in the "post"

I hope nobody has been offended by a lack of reply to an email sent to the usual Grape Vine email address - I have just found out that several subscribers' email addresses and my own personal email address have somehow been added to the "blocked senders" list! If you have emailed me in the last few weeks and not had a reply when you expected one, please try again, and hopefully this time your message will reach me.

I spent a long day yesterday searching for new comps to put in the June magazine and the May update. There was a rather unfortunate incident in Morrisons when, while looking for a comp which should soon be appearing on neck collars of Beefeater gin, I dropped a bottle on the floor and ended up with my feet bathed in a litre of gin!

Friday 2 May 2008

In the post

All the May issues of Grape Vine were posted early this morning (Friday 2nd May) so most subscribers should have their copies tomorrow. Remember to check page 4 for comps that need your immediate attention!


Thursday 1 May 2008

You asked for it!

So here is a photo of me. I'm the one in the bright green suit, with my husband on the other end and our two lovely daughters in between.

For those who love statistics!

The April competition on the Grape Vine website has now closed, and if you ever wonder how many entries web comps get and how they are drawn, you might like to see a few facts and figures.

There were around 500 entries, but despite the rules saying "one entry per person", quite a lot of people entered two, three or even TEN times. As a comper myself, I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and assumed they had forgotten that they had already entered, so kept only the first entry from each person and then deleted their other entries. But it pays to keep a note of what you have entered, because a lot of websites would delete ALL the entries from anyone entering more than once.

Next I removed over 40 wrong answers. The question was "How much does it cost subscribers to receive the mid month update by email?" and even some current subscribers didn't know that it is absolutely FREE! I was surprised by the number of wrong answers, as I had included a link to the page with the correct answer on it.

All this pruning left me with 388 correct and valid entries. I numbered them all, then used a random number generator to give me a winning number, and the person whose entry matched the chosen number became the winner. A note for all of you who leave entering web comps until the last minute - the winner had entered on the second day the comp was on line!

This month's competition is now up and running on the website at http://www.compersgrapevine.co.uk/ so do give it a whirl - but remember two vital things with any comp, whatever the entry method

Stick to the rules


Get the answer right

Good luck with all your May comping


Another month.....

.... another issue of Grape Vine. It's at the printers now, so all being well I will collect the magazines from them early tomorrow morning and have them in the post by mid day. That means most of you will receive them in time to spend the Bank Holiday weekend comping - and having seen the weather forecast, that seems like a much better idea than a barbecue or a day at the beach.

The only slight concern is that my husband is going into hospital for an operation tomorrow, so depending on how things go I may have to delay posting the magazines until Tuesday, as I mentioned in the mid-month update. But you can be assured that I will do everything possible to get them out sooner than that.

Friday 25 April 2008

"On Safari"

I was hoping that by now I would be able to tell you I had won something, but sadly the postman seems determined not to deliver any LWES, my phone remains stubbornly silent and my email inbox is filling up with little other than adverts for products that will help me to enlarge things I haven't got.

But despite that I have had a very busy comping week, searching for new comps to put in Grape Vine. I donned the pith helmet and made several safaris to nearby towns, calling in at all the major out of town retail parks along the way. I travel many miles each week in the search for comps, aiming to visit at least one branch of every supermarket chain every week, as well as a selection of retail parks and a couple of High Streets, ringing the changes each week so that between one issue of Grape Vine and the next I have covered just about every shop, superstore and garden centre within a 20 mile radius of home.

Some days I come home laden down with entry forms, in-store magazines and promotional packs, others I am empty handed. This week has been pretty successful both for me and for my "Elves" (a team of helpers from all over the country who help me to find comps which are not distributed well in my area), and I hope readers will find plenty that is new to them in the next issue.

And now I must try to find some time to write my own April tiebreakers - I'm finding that the fewer tiebreaker comps there are around, the harder it is to settle down to write them, so the standard of my entries is dropping due to lack of practise. (And if that should have been 'practice' please don't all shout at once!)


Sunday 20 April 2008

Well, after the excitement of the test post (don't you just love them?) I suppose I really ought to post something REAL.

My name is Jane Willis and I am a comper. Yes, it is an addiction - as you probably already know if you are reading this. I entered (and won) my first comp when I was three years old - I'm not saying exactly when that was, but it was before the days of colour TV. But I didn't become hooked until the mid 1980s.

Now I am so addicted that I publish my own small-press magazine for compers, The Competition Grape Vine. Originally produced by John Lock, I took over from him when he retired. I also write articles for the magazine Prize Draw Winner, and am a member of the London Competitors Club and several online comping groups and forums. So competitions are a HUGE part of my life, although I am also passionate about cooking and papercrafts.

I'm very new to blogging, as you can probably tell by the appearance of the blog so far, but I am keen to learn and hopefully it will soon start to look like a "real" blog! The blog is going to be much more personal than the Grape Vine website, so you will read a bit more about me and my own comping, my struggles to find entry forms, despair when the postman walks past yet again and, hopefully, the prizes I win.

But there will also be general comping chat which I hope will be of interest to all, as well as some messages intended mainly for Grape Vine readers. Of course I won't be posting anything here which subscribers get in their magazines - that wouldn't be fair on subscribers - but you'll find out here when the latest issue of the magazine is in the post, what date the mid-month update is sent out, and whether there are any amendments or last minute hitches, so do keep dropping in.

And please leave me your comments - I look forward to hearing from you.


Just seeing how this thing works!