Tuesday 30 April 2013

Win a Year in the Winnin Post Club


 Winn Sommor’s new club booklet will be available at the end of May with even more competitions and prizes available this year: exclusive to members. The competitions are wide ranging and varied – something to suit everyone. New members are being accepted now. (A maximum of 250 members accepted every year so that everyone stands a good chance of winning a prize). In addiction to the 30 page A4 booklet, additional quizzes and competitions are also sent out to members in October each year.

To join, send a cheque or postal order, made out to Winn Sommor, for £14 to:
The Winnin Post Club, Ref GVB
 Erica Handling House,
LN4 4NR.

If you require more information or samples of competitions before purchasing, send a SAE to the above address (then if you decide to order, deduct the £1 from the membership cost and send £13).  Mark your return envelope “samples” THIS OFFER IS ONLY OPEN TO GRAPEVINE READERS INCLUDING READERS OF THIS BLOG.
Winn has given me a year's membership of the Winnin Post Club for one of you to win. Now if you've ever read it before, you'll know that I sponsor the limerick competition that she includes every year. So I'd like you to show me your limerick writing skills. So what I'd like you to do is write me a limerick - any limerick at all, as long as it has something to do with comping. It could be about a prize you have won, or one you would like to win, or a lucky charm to persuade the "comping fairy" to visit you, or even a limerick to tell me you've won nothing so far. But it MUST use correct limerick format. Oh, and it must be fit for publication on this blog! I will laugh like a drain at anything crude, filthy, slanderous or blasphemous but I'm afraid I can't consider it for a prize.
Email me your entry with the subject LIMERICK - please make sure you use the correct subject so that it doesn't get mixed up with other correspondence. You don't need to give your address as this stage, I will contact the winner for their details.

1. Competition closes 31st May 2013 at 11.59 pm
2. One entry per person (however if you are a Grape Vine subscriber, you can also enter the subscriber only competition in the May issue)
3. No bulk, automated or third party entries.
4. Judging will be done by an independent panel of expert compers and their decision will be final. Winner will be notified as soon as their decision has been made. Winner will have two weeks to claim their prize - if they fail to respond, a new winner will be chosen.
5. UK entrants only, aged 18 or over
6. The prize is to be supplied by Winn Sommor. If the winner has already joined for this year, they will win their 2014 membership instead.
7. The prize must be accepted as described and no alternative can be supplied. Grape Vine accepts no responsibility for any failure of third parties involved in this competition. (In plain English, that means if Winn gets run over by a bus, there won't be any prize, but we all hope that will never happen!)  

Win a Center Parcs spa break

The May competition at Right Venues is now open - and what a lovely prize it is!  A spa break at either the Sherwood Forest or Longleat Center Parcs. And it's for adults only, so it's a chance to escape from the kids for a night.

To enter, pop over to the Right Venues competition page and answer the simple question. You'll find that all the fields  on the form need to be filled in, but they are happy for you to put n/a in the spaces for company name and website.

And if you win, you WILL take me with you, won't you?

Sunday 28 April 2013

30 Ways to save £1

The £1 coin has just celebrated its 30th birthday and Money Supermarket is celebrating by trying to gather together 1,000 ways to save £1 (or more). To help them reach this goal, they are running a competition for bloggers. They are inviting anybody with a blog to write a post giving up to 30 ways to save £1 and then send them a link, and every blog will go into a draw to win £1,000. But if they get over 1,000 different ways to save £1, they will double the prize to £2,000! So it's in everyone's interest to come up with some unusual ideas.

They are also giving £1 a tip to the first 500 bloggers to enter, but I fear that I may be joining in too late to be in that first 500. There's no harm in trying though!

If you'd like to join in with your money saving tips, you can read the details here. They will be drawing the winner on May 17th so make sure you enter before then. Here are my tips, and since this blog is mainly about comping, I've made sure that some of the tips are specially for compers.

1. clip money-off coupons from magazines and leaflets – and remember to use them! You can save £1 or more in a single shopping trip.

2. if you have bonus point vouchers for a loyalty card, tuck them into the same compartment of your wallet as the appropriate card, then you will remember to use them when you swipe your card. It will probably take 3 or 4 shopping trips for the points to add up to £1, depending on the offers at the time.

3. always check your fridge and cupboards when shopping or planning meals, so that you use up things that are approaching their expiry date and don’t accidentally buy more and end up throwing some away unused. Just one large pot of  yoghurt that doesn’t get wasted will save you over £1.

4. if you save up small change, don’t use one of those coin sorting machines at the supermarket to change them – they charge almost 9%. Instead, use the self service checkout for  your shopping and tip your coins into the coin tray. it sorts it for you and doesn’t charge.  Around £11 worth of  small change  will save you £1.

5. competition addicts, always look around for the cheapest way to enter. Many of the competitions on popular TV shows cost over £1 to enter by phone, but have a free online entry route.  It will only take a few seconds to save more than £1. And lots of people really DO win with free entries.

6. Another tip for compers – if you are entering by post, don’t leave it to the last minute and have to use a first class stamp. Using a second class stamp will save you £1 for every 5 entries you post.

7.  always use a price comparison site to check you are getting the best price, even for small items. I recently bought a newly published book with a cover price of £20. Prices online ranged from the full £20 down to just over £9, so a few minutes searching saved me over £10.

8. check postage rates before placing any online orders. Sometimes an apparently lower price is more than offset by sky-high postage rates. Shopping around could save you around £5.

9. when you are planning your meals, have at least one meal a week that you buy NOTHING for. Then go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what you can make. Something as simple as a tin of tomatoes and a bag of pasts can be the basis  of a delicious meal. You’ll save money AND do some decluttering at the same time. Potential saving – the entire cost of a meal.

10. always ask for a jug of tap water when eating out – drinks prices are often inflated to help keep the food prices down. This will save you between £2 and £5 depending on what they charge for a bottle of water.

11. Use an old-fashioned steamer, the kind that sits on top of a saucepan, for cooking meals. You can put potatoes in the bottom, chicken or fish in the middle tier and veg in the top. This can save 15-20p a meal in fuel, so you could save £1 in a week.

12. save your vegetable peelings to make compost. Not only is it effectively free, saving money at the garden centre, but it is environmentally friendly too. It takes a while to rot down but once it’s ready you will have saved £10-20 depending on how many scraps you’ve saved.

13. Pulses such as peas, beans and lentils are a cheap source of protein, and tasty too. But if you buy them dried and cook them yourself, they cost a lot less. By the time you’ve used a 400g bag, you will have saved about £3.

14. Look at the label of your favourite ready meal and try to make it yourself, copying the ingredients (well, apart from the E numbers and chemical names!). You will probably be able to make the same dish for £1 a head less.

15. Make your own greetings cards, especially extra-special ones. The kind of card you would buy for a special occasion in the shops can cost around £5 and making something similar yourself – only more personal because of the love that’s gone into it – will cost around £1.

16. Take a picnic on car journeys instead of queuing in a noisy, crowded motorway cafĂ© for an overpriced sandwich. You’ll save at least £1 a head and be able to make the lunch stop into a treat instead of a chore.

17. Do you buy books, read them once then give them away? Why not borrow them from the local library instead? You’ll save several pounds on every book you read.

18. Check the contract on your mobile phone is the right one for you. The staff in a shop owned by your service provider should be able to advise, by looking at your usage. You may be able to cut your payments by £5-310 a month.

19. grow your own. Even a few cress seeds on a piece of damp kitchen paper can produce a tasty sprouting salad and you’ll soon save that £1.

20. and talking of kitchen roll, save it for really messy jobs. Use washable dishcloths for everyday spills and flannels for sticky fingers. With kitchen rolls costing up to £1 each, you could save a lot of money over the life of just one pack!

21. If you like to drink sparkling water at home, invest in a soda machine. The gas required to carbonate 2l of water costs about 30p, while a 2l bottle of ready carbonated costs between 70p and £1.40,  so you’ll soon cover the cost of the machine and from then on be saving up to £1.10 on every 2l of water you use.

22. For entering competitions, don’t buy postcards! A pack of 50 costs around £2.95. Lots of cinemas have racks of free ones, as do some restaurants and coffee shops, especially in student areas. Or make your own out of old greetings cards and food packages.

23. I really ought to say “Hang your washing outside instead of using the tumble drier” but if we get another summer like the last, that won’t be possible a lot of the time. But you can save on fabric conditioner AND cut the amount of electricity you use  by investing in one of those pairs of spikey balls to put in the drier. They soften the fabric and remove static, so you won’t need to add liquid softener to the wash or softener sheets to the drier. And they reduce the drying time too, so they save electricity. A pair of spikey balls lasts me 5-6 years and saves me about £50 a year, or £1 a week,  on softeners and electricity.

24. Town centre car parks can be very expensive. If you are visiting one where the price leaps at the end of an hour,  two hours or three hours, decide when you need to leave and set the alarm on your mobile to ring long enough before that for you to get back to the car. In the town I visit most often, making sure I don’t miss the two-hour deadline saves me £1.50 on every trip.

25.  If you pay for your prescriptions and need more than one every 4 weeks, it is cheaper to buy a pre-payment certificate for three months or a year. And if you do change from paying to getting them free during the lifetime of your certificate, you get the time remaining on it refunded in full.

26. But if you pay for them as you go, always ask the pharmacist if it would be cheaper to buy your medication over the counter. Where there is an identical over the counter drug avail able, it is often a lot cheaper.

27.  Don’t always assume that “Bigger packs are better value”.  It’s no longer always true, and the price per unit (item, 100g, ounce or whatever) may turn out to be lower in a smaller pack. You don’t have to be a maths whizz to compare, although you may need your strongest glasses – most supermarkets display unit pricing in tiny print on their shelf edge price tags.

28. Most supermarkets don’t include reduced price items in their multibuy offers. So if something is on BOGOF, it is usually cheaper to buy two nice fresh items with a decent use-by date than it is to buy just one that is right on its expiry date and will need to be used right away.

29. Don’t buy it – win it! Although big prizes like exotic holidays and huge TVs are exciting and glamorous, you’ll soon find as a comper that you get a steady trickle of smaller prizes – that occasionally turns into a flood. And it’s the small prizes that really save you money – that new computer game the children have been pestering you for, a £10 shopping voucher to cut the cost of that week’s shopping, a goody bag of cooking ingredients that you would otherwise have had to buy, little gifts that can be set aside for Christmas and birthday presents. They all help to cut the cost of living.

30. Which leads me on to….. subscribe to Grape Vine to save a fortune on your comping! I  buy promotional packs and  stickered books, drive many miles, pay for town centre parking – so that in many cases, you don’t have to! Where a purchase isn’t needed, you get all the necessary information in Grape Vine, and where a purchase IS needed you are told exactly what to buy so that you don’t come home from the shops with the wrong  thing. I do all the leg work, so you can devote your comping time to winning, and every issue will save you many times its own cost in unnecessary purchases.

Saturday 27 April 2013

This weekend's Tilly and Tam competition

You'll find the links for this  week's Tilly and Tam competition on their site now. And if you entered last week, don't forget to check the page to see if you are a winner, and claim your prize if they show your name.

The tweet you will need to retweet this week is:

Win a pair of Converse from John Barrie

Converse shoes are deservedly popular, and Jon Barrie is giving you a chance to win a pair. To enter, visit their competition page  and follow the links at the top of the page to Like them on Facebook and follow them  on Twitter, then complete and submit the entry form. The competition closes on May 16th.

Win one of 5 Roboform Everywhere licenses

I'm  sure you know by now that I'm a HUGE fan of RoboForm, for its accuracy, time saving and security benefits. Earlier this week, I reviewed the RoboForm Everywhere version and was very impressed. If you still need to be convinced of the benefits, or of how easy it is to use, have a look at this video:

I have FIVE one year licenses for RoboForm Everywhere to give away. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Don't forget to actually DO the things you say you've done - saying you've liked, followed or tweeted and then not doing it doesn't count. Rafflecopter makes it very easy to check!

Note if you log in with Facebook, please check that the email account linked to your Facebook account is still active or I won't be able to contact you if you win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 26 April 2013

Friday's Red Letter Days Competition 26 April

Today Red letter Days have a VERY special prize for you!

They are giving you the chance to win a signed glove by the former four-time world champion  Amir Khan and all you need to do is finish the famous phrase! Easy-peasy - Like & Share when you've entered! Enter here: http://on.fb.me/ZfuVJo
Here's the phrase you will need to complete:
'Float like a _______ sting like a bee'

Win weekend tickets for Brands Hatch

Purple Parking are giving away 5 pairs of seated grandstand tickets to Brands Hatch, valid for the whole weekend  of 17-19 May with exclusive access to the Paddock. Enter at www.purpleparking.com Closing 07 May.

Blog your way to winning a new wooden floor

1926 wood flooring is giving away the chance to win a voucher for wood flooring worth £250 in interior blogger competition  and they've invited Competition Grape Vine readers to join in.  They’re looking for bloggers to publish a post which tells us their interiors disaster story. The winner will receive a £250 voucher and telephone consultation from 1926 and can choose a brand new floor from the wide variety of styles and colours available.

The competition closes at midday on Thursday 31st May 2013 Full terms and conditions can be found on the registration page-

Two ways to win a cycling cape

DigDeepCoaching have 2 competitions running - both to win a Pactimo Ultra-Lite Clear Cycling Rain Cape 

Just enter via Facebook and/or Twitter.

You can find the Facebook competition here:
Like and enter your details

And  the Twitter one here:  
Both end 19th May.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Win a holiday to mexico with lastminute.com

Mexico is a beautiful and very varied country. Whether you are visiting for a fun holiday, sunshine and relaxation, great food, culture or wildlife-spotting, it has something for everybody. So it's good news that lastminute.com is giving us a chance to win a holiday there. And to make the experience as varied as possible, the prize includes two nights in Mexico City and two in Cancun.
So head over to lstmn.com/17J9fpe  where you can enter. The competition closes on May 6th at 12.30pm.
Just to whet your appetite, here are a few photos from my own holiday to the Cancun area



Today's Red Letter Days competition - Thursday.

Today's prize is an £80.00 Kew Grill Restaurant voucher and a signed chef's jacket and book by Antony Worrall Thomspon. 
Another day, another celeb, another prize! Let's have some fun - fancy a game of spot the difference? Check out today's exciting celeb prizes and enter your guesses here: http://on.fb.me/ZfuVJo
Today it's a spot the difference competition  - you'll need to find four differences in this photo and then list them in your entry.

Your Bingo Call could win you £100

Have you ever been to bingo? I have to admit that until a few years ago, the only times I'd played were at seaside amusement halls and compers' club meetings, so when a friend invited me to go along to a proper bingo hall, I was expecting much the same - "Two little ducks - 22" "QUACK! QUACK!" and "Clickety Click - 66" "Unlucky for some - number 13", so I was rather confused by the rapid barking out of unembellished numbers and all the quick-fire technology. It took all the fun out of it for me - I'd really rather be in a dusty church hall with somebody shaking a bag of balls and cheerfully shouting out the familiar phrases.

So here is a competition that will put the fun back into bingo - your chance to think up some bingo calls for the 21st century. And what's more, you can win £100 for doing it!

Which Bingo are offering a £100 prize and five runners up prizes of £10 for your best 21st century bingo calls, you can submit as many suggestions as you like on their competition page.  And you have until the end of June to play along.

If you're stuck for inspiration here's a tip - think of the dingbats puzzles that are popular in several newspapers. You could get lots of ideas from them.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

The latest competition from Chocolate Log Blog

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll probably have realised just how partial I am to my tea, and that I always like it made in a proper teapot. So the new competition at Chocolate Log Blog is VERY tempting -  the prize is a stunning red tea pot with a built in infuser, so you can use loose tea and not end up with leaves in the bottom of your cup. (I suppose that's no good for telling fortunes, but I know my fortune when it comes to tea.... "You will soon be drinking another cup...")

To enter the competition visit the competition page  and use the Rafflecopter widget to get up to 7 entries, plus extra entries for daily tweets. The competition closes on May 22nd.

Wednesday's Red Letter Days competition

Red Letter Days have a new competition every day this week on their Facebook page, with prizes of celebrity memorabilia - here's todays:

SĂ©bastien Foucan is the founder and creator of the high intensity urban sport of freerunning. He's also managed to find time to star in a Bond movie, appear in documentaries, and advise Jonny Wilkinson and K-Swiss on their clothing lines! If you'd like to find out more about this incredible man, you're in luck!

Eyes on the prize? Answer the question below and it could be yours: 
http://on.fb.me/ZfuVJo but hurry, today's winner will be announced at 5pm!

Nominate a Rockin' Dad and win cupcakes and cookies!

Mama Jewels are looking for a Dad who Rocks! And to encourage you to nominate a Dad, they are giving you a chance to win a box of hand made cupcakes and cookies.

Enter through their Facebook page, using the Rafflecopter form to submit your entry. You have until May 11th to submit your entry.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Today's Red Letter Days Prize Draw - 23 April

Today's prize is a signed herb kit from renowned horticulturist and first lady of fine water features - Charlie Dimmock. If you know which programme made her famous, then enter to win here: http://on.fb.me/ZfuVJo

Win Every Weekend with Tilly and Tam

Tilly and Tam are two cute little terriers - you can read about them and download colouring sheets for the children on their website.

Every week they are giving away two prints of their stories, one to a Facebook follower and one to a Twitter follower. You can find links to both entry posts on their competition page and new posts are published each Friday,  with the winner being announced the following Monday.

Monday 22 April 2013

Win every day this week with Red Letter Days

Red Letter Days are running a celebrity prize draw. Entrantss have to answer a question each day to be in the chance of winning signed memorabilia from a different celebrity each day. Running from April 22nd - 26th. Enter via the app on their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/RedLetterDaysUK/app_313444738699898 between 10  am and 5pm each day.
Today (Monday April 22nd) the prize is a signed cocktail glass from Made In Chelsea star Hugo Taylor.  To enter, answer this question:  Finish the name of this cocktail - 'Long ______ Iced Tea'  

Sunday 21 April 2013

A competiton for all you writers!

Prolitzer Prize for Prose writing 2013
Winner: £140, Publication in Prole 12 in December 2013
2 x runner up prizes of £30, possible publication
Jaki McCarrick
Jaki was recently published alongside Jeanette Winterson and Will Self in Best British Short Stories, 2012 (Salt) and has just released her first solo collection, The Scattering (Seren) – both highly recommended.
Time scale
We will receive entries from April 1st to September 30th 2013
Winners will be announced in issue 12 of Prole in December and on our website by December 7th 2013
We are looking for prose, fiction or creative nonfiction of no more than 2500 words that epitomises the editorial values of Prole: to make writing engaging, accessible, entertaining and challenging.
Any theme or subject matter is acceptable – it’s quality that counts.
All work must be the original work of the writer and be unpublished.
£4.00 for first entry, £3.00 for any subsequent entries.
How to enter
Via our website and email – preferred
Visit the prose competition page at our website and make the correct payment using PayPal.
Email your entry, including the text and PayPal transaction number within the body of the email, to: prosecompetition@prolebooks.co.uk
By post
Make a cheque (GBP only, please) payable to Prolebooks for the correct amount and mail entry to:
Brett Evans
15 Maes-y-Dre
LL22 7HW
Any profits made from our competition help to support the work we do at Prole. We are independent; we receive nor seek funding.

Website: www.prolebooks.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Prole/236155444300?v=wall
News blog at: http://prolebooks.blogspot.com/
Twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/Prolebooks
Reader/writer blog: http://readwriteblog.prolebooks.co.uk/

Friday 19 April 2013

Win one of three Digital Music players

Beaumont Health Club are inviting you to enter their competition to win one of  three MP3/MP4 players - here is their invitation to you

Win 1 of 3 ultra portable MP3 players!

We've got THREE MP3 digital music players up for grabs in our latest prize draw!
These handy gizmos are perfect for listening to some tunes while you work out (and they even work as voice recorders and USB drives too) - so click the link and be in it to win it! http://ow.ly/k92ro

The link will take you to their Facebook page where you need to Like the page and fill in the form. But HURRY, this competition closes on April 24th.


Thursday 18 April 2013

Win an item of Attune Womenswear

Attune Womenswear are giving you the chance to win an item of clothing of your choice from their site. All you need to do is follow them on Twitter and retweet this tweet (you can follow and retweet them using the buttons on the tweet below)

I'm going to be on TV!

Look out for a new two-part programme called "Something for Nothing" which is to be aired on Channel 4 at 8pm on May 22nd and 29th. The programme is going to be full of ideas for getting freebies and discounts, and of course one great way to get something for nothing is to win it!

So a few weeks  ago a team from the show came to visit me and spend a day with me. We searched a local supermarket for promotional packs, looked through magazines and newspapers for competitions, sent a few texts and surfed the web. They looked around the house at some of my prizes and photos from prize holidays and interviewed me about my own comping and my tips for others.

The filming took about six hours, but I'm only expecting a few minutes of it to be shown on the programme. However it sounds as if the whole programme is going to be interesting and, given that we're all hard up at the moment, very relevant.

And now, since I don't yet have a photo of me on TV, here's a photo of me WITH one instead - a recent win that arrived a few days ago.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Win £10,000 cash with Quidco

How does winning £10,000 cash sound?

Well, one lucky person is going to do just that, because Quidco are giving it away in their latest competition. And what's more, you can start dreaming about how you would spend it right away, because to complete your entry you need to choose how you would spend £10,000 on a selection of websites. Don't worry, you don't need to commit yourself to how you'd REALLY spend the prize - it's a fun little game to get you daydreaming.

Play along and enter at http://shoptilyoudrop-quidco.com - you have until May 15th to enter.

Win a wall hung electric fire

There's a gr8 prize to be won with Gr8 Fires at the moment!

They are giving away a beautiful wall mounted electric fire.  All you need to do is to Like their Facebook page and then Like the photo of the prize. And to make it easy to find the right page and photo to like, they have provided handy links in a blog article which also gives you lots more information about the prize.

Do remember to follow the links in the article to enter, and don't try to enter as a comment on the article itself, or your entry won't be counted!

The closing date is April 26th.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Win a 40" TV with LED Lights

LED lights have another great competition for you. This time the prize is a 40" Samsung LED TV.

To enter, just head over to the app on their Facebook page, Like the page (you probably already do!) and leave your details. The competition closes on June 15th.

Monday 15 April 2013

Win one of 5 pairs of Cheeky Shoes

Cheeky Shoes are a range of ultra-comfortable shoes in bright, fun colours  - and they are giving five people a chance to win a pair.

To enter, pop over to their competition page and take part in the research they are doing to help choose their next design. Just reply to their post telling them your favourite design from those listed and what colour you would like to see it in. There are three pairs of shoes on offer for this part of the competition, which closes on April 22nd, and a further two pairs in a draw for everyone who signs up to their newsletter by April 23rd.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Oooh, aren't you lucky?

Do you find people say that when you win a prize? And does it annoy you, knowing that you may have entered dozens of competitions, worked hard at a slogan or video, stayed up until the early hours of the morning hoping to catch one of those elusive winning moments? Luck is what you make it, and the more successful a comper you are, the more ways you will have found of making your own luck. The prizes don't just come knocking on the door, YOU have to invite them into your life!

What about the other things people say about your comping? What are the ones that annoy you, embarrass you or maybe flatter you and give you a little lift? I'd love to hear them! Here are a few of my most often-heard ones, with the replies I give (or would like to give) - I'd love to hear YOURS!

Ooh, aren't you lucky?

Yes, I find the harder I work, the luckier I get.

I never win anything.

Yes, but you never enter anything.

How many competitions do you enter?

As many as I have time to.

I can never find any competitions.

Just subscribe to Grape Vine and I'll find them for you!

Tuesday 9 April 2013

A new monthly competition from Right Venues

Right Venues are a venue finding agency who deal with venue sourcing for conferences and events. Their website provides industry news, offers, reviews and a medium through which clients can contact them. In addition to this they work with 4* and 5* hotels to give visitors to their website the opportunity to win a free luxury hotel stay.

There is a new competition every month and you can find it at http://www.rightvenues.com/competition-of-the-month/  - the prize for April is one night stay for two with bed & breakfast at The Berkeley Hotel  in Knightsbridge in a Deluxe King room

Monday 8 April 2013

Save time online with Roboform

If you are a comper, you probably fill in a LOT of online forms. Typing in your information every time can really eat into your precious comping time. And on top of that there are all those passwords to remember! Even if you don't enter competitions, the number of passwords you need to remember these days can get totally bewildering - and it really isn't safe to use the same one for everything, or  once a hacker has got into one account they can get into all of them.

One of the best time savers I have come across is RoboForm. It is a programme that you download that will remember whatever details you tell it to and fill in your forms with a single click. I started comping online in 1999 and downloaded the free trial version almost immediately. And I've been a loyal user of the programme ever since. I wouldn't like to add up all the hours it has saved me - in fact when anybody asks me how I manage to enter as many competitions as I do, my reply is often "It's all thanks to RoboForm!"

But it's not just about saving time, it's also about accuracy. Are you always absolutely correct that you have typed your details into that form correctly? I've occasionally been unable to contact winners of competitions that I've run because their email addresses didn't work - one tiny little typo can destroy your chance of a win. After all, a postman can usually read and understand your address even if there's a speeling mistook in it, whereas a computer will blindly try to do what it's told and then give up when it doesn't work. But if you fill in the form with RoboForm, you won't make any silly little mistakes and your details will go through clearly.

And if you live in fear of having your computer infected by a keystroke logger, that can report back to the hacker who sent it everything you type, like bank account log ins and credit card details - well, they aren't going to be able to report anything if you filled the form in with RoboForm!

After using the free trial version of RoboForm for a little while, I decided about 10 years ago to upgrade to the full, paid-for version. This has lots of advantages, the main ones for a comper being
  • you can set up several different identities - as many as you like - so the whole family can use it
  • you can set up an unlimited number of "passcards" for the sites you visit so that your log ins for all the different ones are remembered
  • if there is a regular competition, for instance one you enter every day with the same code or answer, you can save the form as a passcard and fill everything in with just one click
  • if you are working on a quiz, you can save the answers as a passcard, overwriting the old one every time you find another answer, so you don't need to fill them in fresh every time you come back to work on it or scribble them down on one of those pieces of paper piled up on top of the printer (Don't try looking innocent, I KNOW you have junk piled up on top of the printer. Everybody does)
My paid version of RoboForm was some years old and I kept meaning to upgrade to the newest version, but you know how it is..... as well as finding the time to do it, there's a lot of comfort in the familiar and I've been using the same version for a long time now.

However last week RoboForm offered me a year's subscription to RoboForm Everywhere in exchange for writing a review of it and WOW! I am very impressed! On top of all the great features I've already described, I now have RoboForm on both the web browsers I use and on my iPad. I tend not to use my phone for web browsing but if I did, I could have it there too, and if I need to use somebody else's computer I can transfer all my log ins to a USB stick and use them there too.

I can use a RoboForm home page to take me to my most frequently used sites, I can set it to automatically open and log in to a fixed group of pages (I'll no doubt be setting this up to open Facebook, Twitter, my Blogger page and my Grape Vine email account  - all the first pages I visit each morning) and I can create a list of bookmarks so that pages I've bookmarked on the PC will be there for me on the iPad too.  RoboForm has always saved me a lot of time - now it's going to save me more than ever.

One thing hasn't changed though - as with any technology, it's a good idea not to depend on it without checking for yourself. Just as a satnav can occasionally try to make you drive the wrong way up a one way street, a web form that is slightly inaccurate can make RoboForm put the wrong thing in the wrong space, so always glance through a form before hitting that submit button!

RoboForm Everywhere costs just $19.95 - that's around £13 - a year. If you reckon your time as being worth no more than the National Minimum Wage, that means you would need to save just two hours in a year to make it pay for itself. But I think you'll soon be saving much more than two hours in a WEEK, let alone a year. But the good news is that at the moment you can get your first year for half price. And the best news of all is that later this week I will be launching a competition where FIVE of you can WIN a year's subscription!

Sunday 7 April 2013

I never thought I'd do this.....

.... but I've enabled Word verification for comments. Over the last week or so I've had an exponential surge of spam, much of it getting through Blogger's spam filter. I've deleted over 300 comments today, most of them about toilets. I'm wasting time that I could have spent on content, on removing spam instead, so until Blogger sorts its spam filters out, I'm afraid it has to be word verification. However some time ago I published some tips for making Captchas easier to get right  which may well help you not just here but in lots of other places where you need to complete one.

I hope this doesn't put you off commenting - I love to read your comments, as long as they are not about toilets, s*x cams, business opportunities, or any of the scores of other irrelevant topics that the spammers seem keen to discuss.

Mind you, some of them do make me laugh. One of them persistently tried to post crochet patterns for obscene objects. I'm going to rather miss that one!

This month's zulily cuties competiton

The latest "cuties" competition from zulily is now open. You can read about it here

The theme is "Cuties love Spring" and the prize is a £100 zulily voucher, a pillow pet cow toy and a Juicy Couture wallet.


Choose a great Spring photo of your little one and then:

How to enter:

  1. Upload a Spring-themed Instagram snap of your little cutie in April.
  2. Make sure your profile is public, so that they can see your photo.
  3. You need to follow zulilyUK on Instagram (@zulilyUK) and tag your picture with three things:

  • #zulilyUKAprilCutiesCompetition
  • @zulilyUK
  • and either: #zulilynewbie (if you’re new to zulily) or #zulilian (if you’ve already joined zulily)

The competition closes on Tuesday 30th of April

Another great giveaway from Chocolate Log Blog

The latest competition is now live at Chocolate Log Blog. This time you can win one of two silicone cake moulds to make a cake shaped like a bar of chocolate.

This would be perfect for baking a cake for a chocoholic. If April Fool's day hadn't already gone, I would suggest also using it to bake a savoury scone or bread dough, coloured with gravy browning, but I'm cruel like that!

To enter, hop over to the competition page and use the Rafflecopter form to get up to 7 entries. The closing date is April 30th.

Friday 5 April 2013

A quick apology

I haven't posted for a couple of days, and due to a problem with my Internet connection it may be next week before I can get on line probably. At the moment I'm getting by by tethering my iPad to my phone, but it's a slow connection and my tethering limit is quite low, so I can't achieve very much this way.

It's very frustrating as I have some lovely competitions to share with you, including one I'm going to be running here. And also frustrating is that I'm not able to keep such a close eye on spam comments as usual, so if you see any dodgy looking comments at the bottom of my posts don't worry, they WILL be deleted eventually.

See you all as soon as possible, once Virgin Media get their act together and mend the internet!

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Lots more new competitions for you

Grape Vine subscribers can look forward to receiving their April magazine in a couple of days'  time, but  whether you subscribe or not, here's a collection of new competitions that aren't included in the magazine.

First of all, Modern Living who are giving away a four piece sofa set worth £799. Enter on their Facebook page  or retweet this tweet by April 30th:
Next, Cougar Solar are giving away a 3-in-one Solar Charger. Enter on their Facebook page. Closing 30 Apr.

Frugaller Forum also have a competition closing on April 30th. You'll  find full details here  - it is a simple Twitter competition with a prize of a £50 Amazon voucher.

Jan Daborn Hypnosis are giving away a £30 Boots voucher and two hypnosis  downloads. Enter on their Facebook page. Closing 15 Apr.

Sensory Decisions are giving five winners the home fragrance of their choice. Enter on their Facebook page by April 17th.

For a chance to win a NIkon Coolpix 610 camera, follow Accident Advice Helpline and retweet the following tweet by April 22nd:
Finally Car Body Bids is giving away a £100 Euro Car Parts voucher.  Enter by April 17th, either on their Facebook page or by retweeting this tweet:

Quick! Win a Kindle Fire today!

You'll have to be very quick if you want to enter this competition, as it closes today, April 2nd.

Accident Advice Helpline are giving away a Kindle Fire.  Enter on their Facebook page.

I've got lots more new competitions to tell you about but I'm posting this one separately so that you have more chance to enter, as it closes in a few hours' time.