Wednesday 27 October 2010

Some very last-minute comps!

Today I spotted a couple of new  competitions but you're going to have to be really quick if you (or your children) want to enter them!

Clintons are giving out a scratchcard with any purchase until 31 Oct. They claim  that every one's a winner - but of course most are just small discounts on specific items. However there  are also an unspecified number of £200 New Look Shopping Sprees, 250 Days Out vouchers and  600 Virgin  Experience days. No more  info is given about the Days Out and Virgin prizes.  You can read more about the prizes on Clinton Cards  website.  Each scratchcard also has two 2-for-1  ticket vouchers for attractions such as  Legoland and Sea Life  Centres.

Thomson and First Choice travel  agents have  a large  (A3 sized) entry form for  a children's art competition with a chance to win a pair of Kickers "Lego" boots. Be quick with this one  - it closes on 30 Oct.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Have I missed any wins?

Sometimes it seems as if you enter competition  after  competition  online and don't win anything. But how  can you be certain that you haven't won? An email might bounce, be removed by your spam filter or just somehow not get sent at all, so  you could have won something you don't even know about.

From  time to time it is worth using a search engine to check whether you have  been listed as a winner on any websites. If you are listed,and it is a prize you knew nothing about, a quick  email to the site using their "Contact" page will often  produce a positive result.

I find  for this sort of search, Google is the best search engine to use as you can fine-tune your searches. So go to Google  and type in the following,  using your name and initial instead of  mine but otherwise exactly as below, with all the punctuation and capitals just the way I have done it

"winner OR winners" "(j OR jane) willis"

then run your search. I've just run it exactly as above and although it didn't show me any prizes  I didn't know about, it has just told me where the  unexplained picnic hamper  that turned up a couple of weeks ago came from!

However this can give you results from  a long time ago - I can see wins of mine listed from as long ago as 2000 - so you can bring  your search more up to date by looking at the left hand column,  and choosing a time scale. "Past year" is  a useful one to look at.

If you see a lot of foreign results - perhaps you have a namesake who is a keen athlete in the USA - you can use this left hand  column to select only results from UK pages, although for some reason some of the UK sites vanish when you do this!

When you are happy with your search, try doing it again with any usernames you regularly use on websites in  place of your own  name, and if you are on Twitter, search for your Twitter name both with and without the @.

Always follow the link from the Google page before starting to celebrate - some of the results you see may be lists of entries or of "near misses" - I have just searched on my Twitter name and found that I was on  a shortlist of five people to win an iPad, but wasn't picked as the overall winner.

Good luck- and please let me know if you find any prizes you didn't know about!

Sunday 24 October 2010

A week's worth of wins

This time last week I was busy trying to cram my wins from the Derby "Raising for Rainbows" comping day into the back of my car. As well as a massive hamper of baby and toddler goodies, a hand painted  silk tie and a Build a Bear workshop voucher, I had a gift bag crammed with cards and  gift wrap, a bottle of wine and my goody bag and Christmas pudding from the day. And on top of that, a quick bit of bartering had secured for me the gorgeous pink Trunki that a friend had won.

For me, the rest of the week has been a constant flow of small wins - some new wins, some deliveries of ones I already knew about. Altogether the week yielded:

  • two t-shirts
  • a pack of facial wipes
  • a £10 Tesco gift card
  • £10 of Love to Shop vouchers
  • a notebook (the good old fashioned pencil and paper kind, not the computer kind)
  • a bottle of milk
  • a bag of sweets
  • a copy of Whitaker's Alananck
  • a beer glass
  • a miniature torch
  • a cuddly panda
  • a bottle of beer
  • a paperback book
  • a £50 Pumpkin Patch voucher
  • a face cream
  • a travel game
  • a shaver
  • a bottle of nail varnish
  • a lip gloss
  • a pack of chocolate orange segments
OK, there's nothing life changing there but when little things arrive so fast they soon mount up. And maybe next week there'll be a biggie......

Tuesday 19 October 2010

The Derby comping day on 18th October

On Monday morning the first thing I thought when I woke up was "Away down  south in Dixie".

Anybody who attended Sunday's comping day in Derby will know just what I am talking about.....

If you've never been to a comping day before, you may wonder what exactly goes on at one, so here is my own account of the day. I am hoping to have a guest post about the same day from an organiser's point of view soon.

After a MASSIVE amount of work behind the scenes, including months of pursuing businesses to donate  prizes, the doors opened at 9.30 am. Everyone was given a goodie  bag as  they arrived.  The bags  were crammed with gifts,samples, toiletries and leaflets from prize sponsors  and comping services. Stamped postcards were collected for a postcard  draw, where the winners would receive a huge bundle of the cards  ready for their own entry, and donations of books, CDs and DVDs to help raise funds for the Breath Easy charity were collected.

After collecting tea and coffee, the compers  - about 140 of us - found ourselves seats in the main hall. There was a special table set aside for those who had  arrived alone and knew nobody - and by the end of the day, they all had new friends. Others had arrived together or met up with old friends.  I  sat with my "Elves" - a team of great friends who help me to  find the competitions I bring to you in Grape Vine every month.

It was the first time we have all met up together and made the day extra special for us all.

Raffle tickets were on  sale, and to tempt us to spend, spend, spend, the fantastic  array of prizes was displayed  along one side of the room. The tickets were being  sold in aid of the Rainbows Children's Hospice and a speaker from the hospice told us about their work,  a very moving talk that made us dig even deeper into our pockets.

As well as the massive raffle, there were numerous quizzes to be entered as a group by the whole table, encouraging us to work together and get to know each other. From photos of celebrities to film music, song titles to general knowledge, there was something for everybody. Part of one of them involved naming as many songs as possible with something in the title connected with America, which explains my very first sentence today.....

Lunch was served at the tables, and in the afternoon there was an "Ask the experts" session, with yours truly on the panel. I was, unsurprisingly, answering questions about Facebook and Twitter.

The day finished with the biggest raffle prizes being handed out,  followed by the announcement of the total raised for Rainbows - a wonderful £3,800. Well done to all the organisers upraising such a brilliant amount.

As people were leaving, some  were having a real struggle to cram all their  raffle prizes into their cars! And the superb goody bags  and free Christmas puddings made sure nobody left empty handed.

If you have never been to a comping day before,do look out for future  days. I am happy to announce them on here and in Grape Vine if the organisers contact me. Comping days are a great way to meet other compers and very often a chance to win some  lovely prizes while making a donation  to a worthy charity.  

Friday 15 October 2010

Two great new comps for you

Much as I love running my own competitions, I can't afford to give away the wonderful prizes that bigger businesses can offer. Here is news from two companies that have contacted me about their latest promotions.

Del Monte have a new game that  can be played at

You play the game as the man from Del Monte's apprentice, and you travel the world trying to collect the best juice. Its a time based game and so the aim is to collect as much juice as you can within the allotted time. A new country is unlocked every 1 or 2 weeks, with 8 countries in total. Fruit falls from the trees (fruit varies by country) and you, as the apprentice, have to catch the fruit in your panama hat (but only the good fruit), the more fruit you collect the fuller your glass of juice becomes. Bad fruit will deplete your juice levels and there are power fruits which slow down the timer so you can collect more fruit. Logs roll across the floor which you have to jump and sporadically cheeky kids will come in and drink some of your juice.

At the end of the game players will be asked to register their details to be entered into both the country prize draw, and the main prize draw. There are a few prizes for each country (a year's supply of Del Monte, panama hats) and then one main prize (an entertainment package including; a Black Nintendo Wii, a Nintendo Will Console Bundle including: Wii Sports + Wii Sports Resort (with Wii MotionPlus) + Wii Fit Plus (with Wii Balance Board), a Black Nintendo DSi Console, a 32gb WIFI iPad, and a 16gb iPod Nano).

The competition closes on 31 January.

Comparedownload have 3 iPod Nanos to be won.

Full details of the competition can be found  on their website  You need to "Like" their Facebook page and then suggest it to your friends. The three people with the most mutual friends to the page at the end of the competition will win, and to double check this, entrants are asked to email them a  list of all their friends who have signed up. To make sure your list is as long as possible, they suggest you do this as close as possible to the final deadline of 15 December. You will find full instructions about how to send your list at the bottom of their competition page.

Thursday 14 October 2010

Win a weekend in the Lake District

Win a Luxury Weekend Break in the Lake District with John Frieda

To celebrate the new Root Awakening Collection from John Frieda, facebook fans can enter a competition for the chance to win a luxury weekend break for two in the Lake District by telling them which of their friends have good hair. Plus they are giving away 100 sets of Root Awakening Shampoo and Conditioner to the first 100 people who enter the competition.

To enter head to:

Open to UK residents aged 18+, ends 15th October 2010.

Win a comping pack!


At last I have reached 2,000 followers on Twitter  - and if you want  to know why that is important to me, read  this

So I thought I would celebrate with a competition. I have put together a bundle of comping  goodies worth around £50, containing

  • An Adidas gift set
  • Plenty Kitchen roll
  • Galaxy chocolate
  • Asda Shades loo roll * NOTE* I have just realised that the TR for this has to be dated in the same week as your entry, and as the box is so heavy it will  have to be sent by Parcelforce it might reach the winner too late to enter. So I have replaced this item with a box of Mornflake Chcolatey Squares which has a comp on it to win a theatrebreak in London.
  • Trident gum
  • Super Max 3 razors
  • Zip firelighters
  • The DVLA Bike book
  • Mission Deli Wraps
As the response to the competition is so good, I have added
  • a Glade Christmas Candle
  • a pack of Sharpie pens
  • two bars of Kinder Bueno chocolate
All the above have competitions on them. The bundle will also contain
  • a 3 months subscription to Grape Vine (or an extension to your existing subscription if you already subscribe)
  • as  many new entry forms as I can find
  • some colourful envelopes to make your entries stand out
  • two books of  12 first class stamps
To enter, you must do ALL of the following
  1. Follow me on Twitter, if you are not already doing so. The Twitter button on the page isn't working at the moment (I'm trying to fix it)  but you can follow me here  or search for @compergrapevine If you have never used Twitter, I have a  guide to getting started on my website
  2. Tweet the following message EXACTLY: I have entered to win a #compingpack from @compergrapevine at
  3. Comment on this post, putting just your Twitter username in the box, so that I can find you to let you know if you win. Please note that comments are moderated and as I am going to be  away at the Raising for Rainbows comping day this weekend your comment may take up to 48 hours to appear.
You may only enter once but please spread the word among friends, forums, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you can think of - if I get a really good response I will add even more goodies to the box.
The competition closes at 11.59 pm on Wednesday 20th October.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Totally Terrific Turkey

Over the years I have entered the Sunday Times Where Was I? competition almost every week. I used to rush out to the post to make sure my card  arrived by Wednesday, then moved on to entering by email (hands up all those who can  still remember the email address off  by heart? Just me? Oh dear, maybe I'm sadder than I thought I was) and  eventually moved on to entering on the web site.  Although the Times website is  now subscriber-only, the page with the Where Was I? competition on it is still free to access.

The holidays always look as if they are the best of their kind, and for years I have dreamed  of winning one of them. Early this  year the prize was a trip to the Bordubet Hotel in Turkey, given  in conjunction with the travel company Exclusive Escapes. I was  trying to win a holiday to go on  with a friend who has been living overseas for some years and was about to return to the UK, so that we could have a break together to catch up on each other's news, and this looked perfect. So I was absolutely delighted to receive a phone call one Friday afternoon telling me that I had won and my name would be in that Sunday's paper!

We took the holiday last week, a perfect time of year  as the summer sun can get far too hot for me - in August it got up to 45 degrees Centigrade. Last week it was a much pleasanter 28 degrees during the daytime, although the evenings and early mornings were a little chilly.

The hotel info said it was "isolated" - what an understatement! It's a good thing neither of us ran out of  sun cream because the nearest shop was about 25 km away, mostly along an un-made-up road. Popping out to  the corner shop was NOT an option. This meant there was practically no passing traffic, adding to the calm, peace and tranquility of this beautiful relaxing  hotel.

This was the view from our  balcony: ducks, swans, fish and turtles basked lazily in the river outside our room and one duck had a clutch of eggs in the reeds just below the balcony. 

We soon slipped into the glorious laziness of the place, where the  most strenuous activity of the day was deciding whether to relax by the pool or take a boat trip (or even  WALK!!!) to the hotel's beach club, about 2.5  km away on a private peninsula.

Or  simply to wander around the beautiful grounds.

The  food was delicious, and the staff - both hotel staff and Exclusive Escapes reps- were excellent.

The only time we left the hotel  was for  an  outing to an essential oils factory and a Turkish carpet collective,which was followed by a wonderful lunch in a harbour side restaurant and a boat trip back along the coast. A brilliant day out which was all  part of the prize.

Thank you to the Sunday Times and Exclusive Escapes for a wonderful prize  and for introducing me to Bordubet - I'll be back!

The One Show, Wednesday October 13th

I've just heard that the slot I recorded for the One Show about comping is to be shown tonight on BBC1 at 7.00 pm.

Update: if you missed the show you  can see it here until 20 Oct.