Friday 31 December 2010

2010 - how was it for you?

So, today is the last day of 2010. Are you waving goodbye to it with a sigh of relief, or a nostalgic look over your shoulder? I'll certainly be sorry to see the end of it and hope that 2011 is as happy for all of you  as 2010 has been for me.

In terms of comping, 2010 has been one of my best years yet, with some fantastic wins, the circulation of Grape Vine starting to pick up towards  pre-recession levels, the wonderful friendship and  support of my team of "elves" who help me to find all the competitions I bring you, and the company - both real and  virtual - of old  friends I have known for years through the London Competitors club and new friends I have made through Twitter and Facebook.

On a more personal note, it has been a year of travelling- as well as all my prize trips,  we have been to America twice for our younger daughter's weddings - the official one and the unofficial one  - as well as visiting her in France where she now lives.

So here is a brief run down of my year.....


Got off to a great start with a letter  from Blockbuster video to say I had won a holiday to Canada and a phone call from the Daily Telegraph to say I had won a 42" TV and a year's subscription to the top Sky package.  I also won a makeover from a top hairdresser; here is the finished result, one I never seem to be able to reproduce myself!

In February I won a weekend in London, thanks to a competition run on Twitter by Best Western.

March was the month of Fiona's "first" wedding, the official one at City Hall, New York. We spent a wonderful few days with them, and  you can see from the photo just how happy they are!

We hardly had time to unpack before heading off to Ireland for a cookery weekend which I won in a competition on  Irish Beef. We cooked several delicious dishes which have become part of our standard repertoire now - even though it was already so extensive that we seldom eat the same meal twice.

In April I had a prize day out - even though I didn't win it! My comping friend Sharon Buchalter won a day's cookery classes at Fishworks in Richmond but she wasn't able to travel down to this area before the voucher expired, so she gave me the voucher and I went along with my other daughter Emma. We had a brilliant day - at least, I think we did. There was rather more wine than fish involved, if I recall correctly!

 I won another weekend break in London in May - this time from the Emma Bridgewater website. The prize included vouchers to spend in the Emma Bridgewater shop and a suite at Durrant's Hotel. In the same week I won tickets for a play at the Old Vic so we  had entertainment provided too! Later in May I went to Champneys at Forest Mere for a day, thanks to a prize of £100 worth of Red Letter Day vouchers.

June was our Big Month - Fiona's "other wedding" with the first birthday of our granddaughter Lara the day before.  We had an early party for Lara  the week before, for all her family in England, then travelled to America, where the celebrations were to be held in a village in the foothills of the Catskill mountains.

Lara's  birthday was combined with the wedding "rehearsal" dinner, an evening  barbecue

And  the next day was the wedding itself, a huge happy occasion where we all danced well into the night.

July was a quieter month for the family, but I had a lovely win from a text competition on Coca-Cola- another 42" TV, this time with a Blu-Ray player, a set of surround sound speakers and a games console. It was a good month for gadgets as I also won a Wii and two Flip camcorders!

In August we went to visit the newlyweds who by now had left America and were settling into their new home in France - but only just in France,  across the border from Geneva. They are so close to the border that we sat on their balcony and watched a firework display on Lake Geneva! August was also the month that my husband took up blogging - you  can read his blog, about vegetable gardening and the food we love to cook and eat,  here

Our big holiday, the prize trip to Canada, was in September  - it included a breathtaking flight over Vancouver harbour in a sea plane and the spectacular ride up to Whistler on the Sea to Sky railway.

Another month, another holiday! In October I took my friend Rosemary with me on a blissful holiday to Turkey, which I had won from the Sunday Times "Where Was I?" competition. Rosemary had been living overseas, so the break gave us time to catch up on several years' worth of chat in idyllic surroundings.

No sooner was I home from Turkey than I set off to Mickleover in Derbyshire, to stay with Pam Crampton and visit the Derby comping day, where I met up with all my Elves.

November was a quieter month, but we still managed to get away for a few days. First of all an overnight stay close to the NEC, to visit the Good  Food Show with tickets I had won. For those who follow Gower Cottage Brownies on Twitter, here is Kate who makes those delicious creations!

Then we headed north to spend a few days with my mother, who lives near Wigan, and took her to Grasmere to visit the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden where a stone has been laid in memory of my father. Although the snow made the Lake District look beautiful, we were worried that we wouldn't be able to find the stone, but luckily it had been sheltered by some trees.

We haven't done any travelling at all in December - instead, everyone came to us for Christmas. And we could enjoy Christmas Dinner cooked in my new oven, thanks to a Twitter competition run by Stoves.

And now I can look forward to the New Year thanks to my wins from the last few weeks - I have a voucher  for a manicure from Cuticura's Facebook page, £100 of La Senza vouchers from their Advent Calendar competition and £100 worth of H&M vouchers from a competition they ran on Twitter  some while ago  - the vouchers got lost in the post and had to be reissued - so I can have a lovely day out of shopping and pampering. A hamper of £100 worth duck and game is being delivered next week, and  I have a voucher for a night in a hotel on the South coast - all from recent wins.

So while I'm looking  back fondly on  2010 I'm hoping that 2011 will be  great too - and I hope that it will be great for each and  every one of you.

Happy New Year!


  1. Wow! 2010 was really unlucky for me competion wise but I did win an audiobook back in November!

  2. I love reading your blogs and it sounds like you've had an amazing year of truly memorable experiences, along with other great competition wins.

    Hope the new year continues in a similar way, and lots more prizes come your way.

  3. Thanks for sharing your calendar for 2010, both fab wins and fab family moments.
    I genuinely wish you more of the same this year

  4. Love the round-up Jane - I'm jealous of all your prize trips abroad, I haven't flown anywhere since September 2009 due to the arrival of a small person in the household! Still, we're off to Barcelona courtesy of Smooth Radio in May so no doubt I'll be back into the swing of winning foreign holidays again before long!
    Best of luck in 2011, I love reading your blog!

  5. I'm pleased I've finally caught up with you and what you've been doing. I miss what you've been winning etc :o(
    But so pleased that you have been having such a good time winning and travelling. What could be better? :o)WTG Jane



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