Saturday 27 July 2013

News of Jane

Hello Everyone;

I'm afraid that the news from Jane is not very good. She is more seriously ill than at first thought, and is likely to be in hospital for several days. She has therefore asked me to warn subscribers to The Competition Grapevine that the magazine is likely to be at best severely delayed, possibly not produced at all, this coming month (i.e. the August edition).

If you know of anyone who is a subscriber but may not have seen this blogpost, would you please inform them of the situation.

I'll keep you posted when there is any significant change....


Friday 26 July 2013

A medical bulletin

This is Mark (Jane's husband) writing. Just wanted to let you know that Jane will not be publishing any blogposts for the time being, since she is in hospital with a severe case of gastritis. We hope that her stay in hospital will be brief, but you know how it is with hospitals....

"Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible", as they say!

Saturday 20 July 2013

Win a Nutella recipe book

The latest competition at Chocolate Log Blog is one for all Nutella fans - and what comper isn't a Nutella fan, thanks to all the great competitions they run?

This time there are TWO copies of "Nutella- the 30 Best Recipes" to be won - and you can see one of the scrumptious looking recipes yourself.

Just pop over to the competition page and use the Rafflecopter form to enter. The competition closes on August 17th.

And if Rafflecopter still confuses you, have a look at the step-by-step guide to using it written by the lovely Di at Superlucky!

Thursday 18 July 2013

Win an exciting Club Penguin Prize for your child

Disney’s Club Penguin is offering five lucky fans the opportunity to take part in an Aim High master class with the moderation team who help to keep Club Penguin safe. Club Penguin is the global no. 1 virtual world where young people can play games, have fun, and interact in a safe environment.  The team at Club Penguin’s European headquarters in Brighton has been inundated by requests from Club Penguin fans who want to meet the mentors and find out more about moderation as a possible career.
Club Penguin’s resident blogger Daffodaily has announced that Club Penguin is offering fans the chance to attend an exclusive master class on 31st July through Disney’s Aim High initiative – designed to inspire kids to try new things and be the best they can be.
The master class will take fans through the skills necessary to be a Club Penguin moderator, demonstrate the work in action and allow fans exclusive access to the weekly team meeting where the team goes through player requests, offering a never-before-seen peek behind the scenes of the Brighton headquarters.
The day will be highly interactive, with lots of demonstrations for the children of how the moderating systems work and why safety when using the internet is so important. This will include exclusive access to the weekly team meeting where the team goes through player requests, offering a never-before-seen peek behind the scenes.
To enter, your child must be aged 6-11 years and you, as a parent or guardian, should be registered with  then go to this document where you will find the entry instructions - you just need to send a simple email - along with full details of what this exciting day involves, as well as the full terms and conditions. 


Wednesday 17 July 2013

Win tickets to see Thriller Live

The Best of Theatre has three pairs of tickets to see Thriller Live to give away.

To enter, head to their competition page where you can read about the show,  then click on the link in the main photo, which will take you to their Facebook page to access the entry form.

You can read the full terms and conditions here but in a nutshell, the competition closes on August 17th and the tickets will be valid for any Tuesday to Sunday performance until September 30th.

Win £1,000 with Scribbler cards

Scribbler draw to win £1,000

For your chance to win, simply enter your details at

Competition closes on 29th July 2013.  The winner will be selected at random on 5th August.

No purchase or payment necessary to enter or win. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning.
  1. To enter, you must provide Scribbler with your details including first name, surname, Email, gender and birthday and by doing this, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.
  2. Entrants must be aged 16 years or over.
  3. The promotion commences July 15th 2013 and closes July 29th 2013 at 23:59(GMT)
  4. The winner will be chosen at random by a representative from Scribbler by August 5th 2013 and will be contacted within 48hrs after announcement by email. Their name may be published on and via our social networks. If the winner does not accept the prize or does not confirm the acceptance within 30 days of Scribbler sending the email, then another winner will be chosen and notified.
  5. Entrants can only enter with their own name and Scribbler reserve the right to request proof of identity.
  6. The prize is non-transferable or refundable.
  7. Entrants who enter their details will automatically be added to the Scribbler mailing list and may be contacted by any medium including mail and commercial electronic messages about future promotions, competitions and newsletters.
  8. The promoter of the competition is Scribbler Holdings Limited, 9 Harmsworth Street, London, SE17 3TJ.
  9. Scribbler complies with the standard procedures laid down in the UK Data Protection Act to ensure that all personal information provided is kept secure.
  10. Scribbler reserves the right to cancel the promotion, amend these terms and conditions and refuse or cancel any entrants. 
  11. 20% discount code received in stores can be used once per customer.

Win a weekend break with Yakult

Brighten up your breakfast with Yakult’s fantastic free prize giveaway!
To mark the launch of the Brighter Breakfast range, Yakult is giving away some very tasty treats! Feast your eyes on the prizes, including a luxury weekend B&B break for two, three indulgent breakfast hampers and 25 exclusive Yakult mugs, at And don’t forget to give the unique Breakfast Selector tool a spin; simply select an ingredient, nutrient and occasion – and watch as the selector dishes up your ideal breakfast! [Note: the competition closes on 20th August 2013 and is free to enter for all UK residents.]


Tuesday 16 July 2013

Win a holiday to Elba with London City Airport

London City Airport in association with Powder Bryne are giving away a family holiday to the idyllic island of Elba, just a short ferry ride from the mainland of Tuscany, Italy. This charming holiday island retains a traditional and chic Italian feel, avoiding the clutches of mass tourism, where Italian families choose to spend their holidays.
The prize includes return flights from London City Airport to Florence with a private transfer to the beautiful exclusive resort on the island of Elba with accommodation for up to 4 people* in a luxurious family room on a half board basis. The family will also benefit from full support from the in-resort Powder Byrne team and complimentary access to Powder Byrne's exclusive children's programmes. To enter the completion and see full terms and conditions on London City Airport’s website here. Competition closes on 31 July 2013 and full terms and conditions found on entry page.

This wonderful prize is for up to 4 people (2 adults and 2 children) and is worth £10,000! It can be taken from 31 August to 07 September this year, or 01 September to 07 September next year.

Win a pair of traners with Yes Squire

Yes Squire are giving away a pair of Diadora Titan trainers.

To enter, all you need to do is follow @YesSquire on Twitter and then tweet the competition tweet, which you will find here, by copying it and pasting it into your tweet box, and sending it unchanged.

The competition closes on July 22nd

Saturday 13 July 2013

More about my TV appearance

In the few weeks since I appeared on the TV Show "Something for nothing", I've been inundated with questions about it, so here are a few answers to the things you all seem to be dying to know!

Why wasn't Grape Vine or the blog mentioned at all?

I really wish I knew! They promised me there would be a plug for it when I agreed to appear on the show, and filmed quite a bit about it, but not only did it all end up on the cutting room floor, they actually mentioned several OTHER comping magazines and sites but not mine!

How long did it take to film?

Ages - there was about six hours of filming, all on one day, although I actually gave up two days for them because the first day they were due to come, they didn't turn up and only let me know a few minutes before they were due to arrive. There were several telephone interviews too,  each of between half an hour and an hour. Next time you watch a programme like that on TV,  just imagine all the time it has taken to make, with 3-4 people working for a full working day on each 10 minute slot (plus all the time editing it in the studio)

Weren't you nervous?

No, not at all - the crew were warm, friendly and chatty, and I was in my own home and my own town, so apart from trying to remember to talk to the interviewer rather than the camera it was really relaxed and easy. I've noticed the same every time I've been on TV: whether they are quiz show hosts or interviewers for magazine programmes, the professionals are very aware that the people they work with aren't used to the cameras, and are very skilled at making you feel relaxed.

How much were you paid?

Not a penny! I've been on TV several times and never been paid a thing (although I've won some nice prizes  on quiz shows - including a fitted kitchen). I think all the budget is spent on the Big Names!

What about those vibrating knickers? How did you win them? Why did you enter for them? Why did you keep them? 

Well, were any of you ever members of the newsgroup uk.rec.competitions? When I first started comping online, in 1999, that's where I did all my comping, and great fun it was too. And as a result of some joking and joshing, I got a *ahem* Certain Reputation. I made a point of seeking out and posting comps of an Adult nature, and of course having posted them, I felt obliged to enter them! The pants in question were won from the Madstock site, which was run by a friend, and entering for them was just a bit of fun. But goodness me, they have been useful over the years! For some years, I used to go around and do talks about comping to groups and clubs like the Townswomens Guild and Womens Institute, and I would take them along to show how unusual the prizes you win can be. The ladies loved passing them round and setting the vibrator off - I was forever replacing the batteries!!! Since then they have also starred in several TV and magazine articles about comping - they are stars in their own right! I'd never dream of parting with them!

Where did you win your clock table from, and where can I get one like it?

That must be my most-envied prize of all time, more so than any of my biggies! Everyone who comes to the house falls in love with it. It's a handy little table and a good clear clock face - and it lives in front of the sofa where guests sit, so I know they are never going to outstay their welcome! I won it from an Advent competition a few years ago, and I'm afraid I have no idea where you can buy one, or even if they are generally available or just made for that particular promotion. I've searched online for them but have only found elegant antique style ones, not simple modern designs like this one.

Friday 12 July 2013

COMPETITION Win tickets to a Steam Rally

It's nearly time for the annual Barton Steam Rally. Last year's event had to be cancelled due to the terrible weather so this year the organisers are hoping that the current dry spell will carry on for a bit longer - the rally is on July 20th and 21st in Barton Under Needwood, in Derbyshire.

Not only will there be steam engines, vintage farm machinery and - my favourite - fairground organs, there will also be a dog display team (complete with a doggy assault course for your own Best Friend to try), a magician, music, dancing, food and drink and crafts and much more.

I have TWO family tickets to give away - one for a blog entry and one for a Twitter entry. But you will need to be quick - the competition closes at midnight on Sunday so that the organisers  can post out the winning tickets on Monday. And that means if you enter, please PLEASE try to check your email or twitter account on Monday morning to see if you are a winner - the sooner you reply to me with your details, the sooner I'll be able to pass the tickets on to the organiser.

For convenience, I've put both entry routes into the same Rafflecopter widget, but I will separate them when I do the draw (Rafflecopter's clever like that!).

One final thing - because last year's rally was cancelled, the organisers have been trying to contact last year's winner from this blog to offer them replacement tickets. I no longer have the winner's contact details, so if it was YOU can you please get in touch with me?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions
UK entries only
No bulk, third party or automated entries
Tickets are not transferrable and may not be sold
Competition closes at 11.59pm on Sunday July 14th
Winners will be contacted on Monday July 15th. Because of time pressure, if they do not respond by 11.59pm on Monday, the prize will be forfeited and a replacement winner drawn

Thursday 11 July 2013

A quick way to find all those Friday Twitter competitions!

There are two great hashtags to search for - #fridayfreebie and #freebiefriday - although remember to check that the results are UK based competitions, as the hashtags are popular all over the world.

I also have a list of people that run competitions most, or all, Fridays.

And if this works, you should be able to see the results of both hashtag searches and my Friday list  running in real time right here! Not only that, you can retweet and reply from here too!  Why not bookmark this post and check back every Friday?

(Note to email subscribers - you may need to click on the subject of the post and visit it on the blog to be able to see the tweets properly)

A quick tip - if you can see something on one of the lists that appears to be somebody's entry, but you can't actually see the competition tweet, try clicking on the time at the top right of the tweet. That will show you the whole conversation so if they have entered by replying  to a promoter's tweet, you have an easy way of finding that tweet.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Your comping questions answered - by a promoter

 I'm delighted to be able to welcome back Sarah Burns from Spark & Fuse, a promotions company that handles many of the competitions we love to enter. Earlier this year, Sarah gave us a promoter's eye view of what it is like to run competitions, and now she is back to answer many of the questions that you were invited to send in for her. Sarah has worked hard to answer as many as possible - some were duplicated, so an answer may cover two or three questions, and a few were outside here area of expertise, or ones that she couldn't answer for legal or technical reasons, but she has answered ALL of the others and it all adds up to a great guide to how competitions are run - and whether you can improve your chances of winning.
Thank you very much Sarah: I'll hand over to you now......

I’ve worked in the promotional marketing industry for 20 years and have considerable expertise, but please be mindful that my responses, opinions and working practises do not represent those of every UK promoter, and that I do not know what goes on behind the scenes of all prize promotions past and present.
At Spark & Fuse all promotions on which we work meet the CAP code – that’s the UK Code of non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotional and Direct Marketing – which is endorsed and administered by the Advertising Standards Authority.

There are no secrets or mysteries to how we operate as an industry and if this blog does any one thing, I hope it encourage you to see that the goal of any reputable promoter is a positive experience for consumers and winners alike.

When you are filling in basic prize draws ie your name and email is it better to do this manually or use the auto fill?

It will make no difference to your chance of winning so go with whatever is your preference.  Be sure to provide any additional details requested, as depending on the terms and conditions, not providing certain information could result in your entry being disqualified. And always make sure the details you provide are actually right. You’d be surprised at how many people write incomplete email addresses, partial postal addresses, a phone number with missing digits. It won’t affect your chances of winning, but if you haven’t given us the correct details, we can’t contact you when you win.

Is there an optimum time to enter a competition, for example should I enter on the closing day or when the competition is announced?

For a competition that is judged properly or a prize draw that is conducted randomly, the time you enter is irrelevant and it won’t make any difference to whether you win or not. So enter whenever you like!

I'd love to know how you pick your winners - I would guess that a hat and lots of bits of paper isn't the way and that a database and a formula method would be more likely but then again, it could be someone scrolling down the list and someone else screaming "STOP"

Someone is probably screaming ‘stop’ right now at a computer and we’ve even heard of one company using darts as a means to select winners (not one of our clients, I might add). Neither are acceptable means of drawing a winner under the CAP code which states that ‘promoters must ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners are selected by a computer process that produces verifiably random results, then the draw or judging should be by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person’. The hat technique would pass this test only if every single entry was printed and placed in it, and the draw was conducted or supervised by an independent person. We actually own a custom-built random generator which has been independently verified, and this is how we conduct the draws for our clients

You can read more about how draws should be carried out on our blog post ‘how to pick a winner’ 

I've often wondered whether it makes a difference to your chances of winning if you tick the box declining contact from contest promoters.

Well it shouldn’t, no. Unfortunately there are loads of cowboy promotions and I expect this isn’t always the case. Certainly for all the work we produce and for reputable promoters, you have the same chance of winning regardless of whether you choose to opt in or out.

When there are several ways of making entries (postal/web/text/phone) what is the process of choosing from which entry method the winning entry is picked?

I have always wondered how winners are chosen when there are multiple ways of entering. Postcard, phone, text and online. Does some poor person have to put all the names on one giant database or is a group picked first, for example text entries , then a winner picked from that group?

We amalgamate all the entries so the draw is conducted fairly and everybody has an equal chance of winning. It would be unfair and against the CAP code to pick from different entry methods alone.

I have an unusual first name and found out was missing out on wrongly typed emails so I started using a different first name in my email address. Does this effect my chances?

No it doesn't, but it may well make it easier for promoters to contact you if you are a winner by reducing the margin of error. The only issue you could experience is whereby promoters are targeting cheats and require winners to provide some sort of ID.

If a holiday or event is cancelled and the paying customers get a refund or compensation, is a customer who won their tickets entitled to a refund too? After all, although they may not have spent money on the tickets, they have still had other expenses, lost their holiday allowance from work and faced the same frustrations and disappointments as the paying customers.

If a prize is suddenly not available for whatsoever reason, a promoter should replace it with something of equal or greater value. For example, if you had recently won a holiday to Egypt, you should be offered another destination or the timeframe in which the prize can be taken should be extended until the political situation had stabilised. If an event is cancelled, the promoter should find you something else – and I would expect a reputable promoter to do this. The CAP code stipulates ‘phrases such as ‘subject to availability’ do not relieve promoters of their obligation to do everything reasonable to avoid disappointing participants.’ On occasion there are some prizes which simply cannot be replaced – for example a meet and greet with a celebrity – but the terms should inform you how a promoter plans to deal with such a scenario should it occur.

The issue of extra expenses is a different matter as often personal expenses are excluded in the terms and conditions. I have clients that would want to ensure a winner is treated fairly and if it was a prize we had set up, we’d most certainly ensure the winner didn’t lose out.

Am I at a disadvantage if I enter a competition via a competition site’s direct link i.e by clicking on e mail address or website from the Compers News site.

I would like to ask Sara whether competition promoters disqualify entries which have come directly from competition websites, such as Loquax, Prizefinder, or

 It would depend entirely on the terms and conditions of a particular promotion. Some promoters only open their prize promotions to customers on their database for example and will cross check winners against this. Promoters are generally keen to dissuade computer generated entries, bulk entries and third party entries. As ever, always check the terms and conditions before entering as it should be clear who can or can’t enter.

Do you think postcard entries are worth entering considering how much a stamp now costs? And do people win with postcard entries

We’ve seen a reduction in the number of promoters using postal methods as a route to entry in favour of digital methods. For some prize draws, it’s actually cheaper to enter via SMS than it is to buy a stamp. However, where there is a postal entry route, people still win if the draw is conducted fairly, it really shouldn’t matter by how your entry is submitted.

If you win a prize is it greedy to carry on entering competitions with the same promoter?

I have a sweet tooth and I am known for bringing sweets, cakes and biscuits regularly into the office to share among my colleagues. Invariably they only have one or two and I eat the rest. Does this make me greedy? I don’t think so. I just like sweet stuff more than they do.

On average, how many entries are submitted. I know this depends on the prize but are there fewer for a caption competition for example. Are there fewer for creative competitions? Do Facebook competitions get thousands or hundreds of entries?

What kind of entry method sparks the largest amount of entries, and what attracts the least?

Volume of entries is dependent on so many variables, that there is no stock answer to this. The prize itself will often determine general interest and barriers to entry are also an influencing factor, as well as where the promotion is seen by consumers and the actual target audience. Any prize promotion that’s listed on a comping website will generally have a greater number of entries than a prize promotion that isn’t – I can a review a prize promotion and know immediately if it has been listed. Creative competitions can generate a lower response than a straight prize draw although this isn’t to say that creative competitions are undersubscribed – they can still generate thousands of entries. I’ve worked on creative competitions which have received tens of thousands of entries.

Entries on social media sites will also be dependent the same factors. And if there are multiple methods of entry available for a promotion, such as SMS, post and online, then online will often generate the most responses as it’s easy and free. Email is also a favourite.

I tend to send emails with my name & address added as an automatic signature, so the actual body of the email has no text in if no other information is required. Is this acceptable please?

It’s acceptable if that’s all that is required to enter the prize draw, yes.

Is it better to write your postcards by hand or use an address label?

That depends. How good’s your handwriting? If it’s shocking perhaps it won’t get to the correct mailing address. Other than that, it doesn’t have any bearing on if you win or not.

Have you ever had anyone put the phone down on you, presuming you are selling something, and if so, do you keep trying to get in touch with the rightful owner of the prize?

Good question! We actually prefer not to call winners in the first instance because there’s a general sense that anyone who calls claiming you’re a prize winner must be some sort of fraudster. Although I do always say to people when they question if it’s real, ‘well you did enter the prize draw, didn’t you!’ Our preference is to write or email a winner in the first instance. There’s usually a time frame within the terms and conditions for a first contact period followed by another to chase up. We certainly take the time to exhaust all methods of contacting a winner within these deadlines before conducting a redraw. A bigger issue is when we only have email winners, they don’t respond despite endless emails and we don’t have any other contact details – we’re then left eventually having to draw another winner. It’s a real shame when this happens.

Do you have any advice on how the separate out less scrupulous promotions from the real deal? Often it’s pretty obvious but there are some, especially on social media, that it’s harder to tell whether they are genuine or just a scam. For example are there any governing bodies or legislation that set out minimum standards that might give a comper a clue?

There are tens of thousands of prize promotions each year mostly conducted by excellent promoters. Scams by their very nature are there to defraud you and can be hard to detect before you’ve been duped. In my view, if a prize promotion doesn’t have any terms and conditions and this includes anything you see on social media sites, I’d avoid it at all costs. It means the company involved has no understanding of how to run a prize promotion properly – they are either unaware of the CAP code, or they don’t think it applies to them or perhaps they simply don’t care. It might not intentionally start life as a scam, but equally if it clearly hasn’t been set up correctly in the first instance, you shouldn’t then be surprised if the winner appears to be someone in their office or if there is no winner at all. Needless to say, if someone contacts you to say you’ve won a prize that you didn’t actually enter, then you can’t be a winner. And neither should you have to pay to claim a prize. If you think a prize promotion is misleading, or dishonest then complain to the Advertising Standards Authority

In addition to the CAP code, promoters do need to comply with other relevant legislation that applies to UK promotional marketing. There’s the Gambling Act 2005 and the Betting, Gaming Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. PhonePayPlus (previously called ICSTIS) is an agency of Ofcom and regulates premium rate phone numbers and services in the UK.

Why do some prizes just arrive at your door without even a compliment slip to tell you where they come from? Surely the promoter wants you to have a feel-good effect towards their products!

I couldn’t agree more. When we send out prizes, they’re dispatched with letters, sometimes even hand written! Winners should be made to feel special.  Sometimes prizes are despatched directly from a PR agency or from the company warehouse, and they don’t always think to add a letter or a comp slip.

I would like to know if I entered a competition more than once by mistake online would I be disqualified or would one entry be taken into account?

This would depend on the wording in the terms and conditions. If it says multiple entries will be disqualified, then yes in theory all your entries would be disqualified. A promoter cannot know if someone has entered more than once by mistake or purposely.

One of the things which really annoys the people who do competitions as a hobby is the length people will go to to cheat - entering competitions for their dog, goldfish etc. to get extra entries. Do you try to identify and eliminate people who are trying to cheat?

We don’t like cheats either, and we include significant details in our terms and conditions in order to try to manage this problem. For some promotions, there are sophisticated systems set up to identify suspicious behaviour.  I can’t really go into detail but let’s just say neither dogs nor goldfish win our prize promotions if we can help it.

I would be particularly interested in your views on voting competitions. Do you think they are fair or not? Should the entries be judged on merit or popularity?

Rarely has a promotional idea caused as much controversy and drama as the voting competition. They can work but need to be exceptionally well thought out and executed. We’ve run a number across education channels which have been successful with entries clearly being judged on merit. Many voting competitions though are a PR disaster and we all know of cases for which the outcome has been far from victorious for the promoter. In my view, they are a risky choice.

My question is:  why does it take so long for some promoters to send out prizes? In a few cases months have passed before you get your prize, and that is often after several gentle reminders. I can't understand why the promoters don't have the prizes ready when they actually publish the competition.

I’m with you on this. It’s really disgraceful when winners are still waiting for their prizes months after a win and the CAP code does cover managing consumer expectations. It’s not always possible to have the prizes in place when a promotion goes live. Promoters often want to make their newest product available as prizes and sometimes there can be unexpected issues with the production or stock. If there is a legitimate delay then the promoter should at least keep you updated, without you having to chase for details.

 How do promoters decide which type of competition to run, ie tiebreaker, instant win, prize draw etc?

It depends on a promoter’s objectives - is the promotion to raise brand awareness, boost sales, launch a new product or create some PR for instance? For easy engagement then a straight prize draw is a no brainer but for some campaigns, promoters want consumers to interact in a more interesting way with their brand, and will create a promotion that stirs the imagination. Many agencies are generating exceptional and compelling competitions with user generated content as a means to enter – the results can then be used for their own marketing. Instant wins will always be a classic technique for increasing sales. Keep an eye out for thrilling prize promotions in the blossoming mobile marketing industry as marketers start to spend more of their budget in this innovative area.

I’d like to know whether it's better to make up a subject or leave it blank, when an email comp doesn't specify what they want on      

I’d recommend writing the name of the prize promotion in the email subject line, just in case the promoter has to filter entries







Win a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe

Fortune Frenzy are giving you a chance to win a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe on August 10th and 11th, with tickets to the Afterhours Comedy event on Saturday, 10th August and then the Amused Moose Laugh Off Final on Sunday, 11th August. And the winner will also get £1,300 to cover travel, accommodation and spending money!

You will get one entry into the draw for every £10 you deposit with them, once you have signed up for an account, as long as you remember to use the code FRINGE when you make your deposit. The competition runs right through July and you can read full details about it here.

Win a Fondant Fancy party cake

I used to love fondant fancies as a child. One of our favourite family outings was a trip to Lymm in Cheshire, where a small tea room stood beside Lymm Pool - an old fashioned place even by the standards of the 1960s - and we were always treated to tea and fondant fancies. My brother and I would always refuse tea to drink at any other time, but in that genteel little room with the plate of fondant fancies, no other drink would have seemed right.

Now Kavey Eats is giving you a chance to win a Fondant Fancy party cake - a beautiful chequerboard of individual fancies. For a chance to win, head over to her competition page where you can get up to three entries, one each for commenting, liking the Facebook page and tweeting about the competition. You have until August 2nd to get your entries in.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Win a SPAMtastic prize!

Spam sandwiches and Spam fritters are old favourites, but did you know there are lots of other ways to use it? You could make Balinese style Spam, as I once did.....

Or for something quick and summery, how about cooking it on the barbecue?

Here's your chance to try barbecued Spam, as Fab Food 4 All is giving away two prizes of a Spam barbecues hamper, packed with goodies including a bucket barbecues and some Spam to create your barbecued goodies with.

Just head over to the competition page and follow the Rafflecopter instructions, commenting, tweeting, or sharing as asked for each step - you can enter as many or as few of the steps as you choose to. You have until August 24th to enter, and you can boost your entries by making daily tweets. But don't forget every entry counts, however may or few you make - people have won my own Rafflecopter competitions with just a single entry!

Friday 5 July 2013

Win a £500 travel money voucher

Do you see that little piggy in the corner of the picture? Well, he needs a name - and MyTravelMoney are giving somebody £500 for helping them to choose it. They've already chosen three names, all you need to do is pick your favourite. And when the competition closes on July 31st, everyone who picked the winning name will go into the draw. For full details of how to enter, head on over to 

Thursday 4 July 2013

zulily's July Cuties Competition

I'm sure lots of you are now regulars in the super competitions that zulily run on Instagram - and the July competition is now open.

You'll find full details, as usual, over on their Tumblr, but here's a summary - in zulily's own words -  of what you need to do.
The July theme for our Instagram competition is “Cuties’ Best Friends”. Whether your cutie’s BFF is a sibling, a friend, a teddy, a cat, or even a cardboard box (it happens), we’d like to see your Instagram snaps.
Our favourite photo wins a £100 zulily voucher, along with Cat in the Hat and Grinch cuddly toys and two Juicy Couture charms.
How to enter:
  1. Upload an Instagram snap of your little cutie with their best friend 
  2. Make sure your profile is public, so that we can see your photo
  3. You need to follow zulilyUK on Instagram (@zulilyUK) and tag your picture with three things:
  • #zulilyUKJulyCutiesCompetition
  • @zulilyUK
  • and either: #zulilynewbie (if you’re new to zulily) or #zulilian (if you’ve already joined zulily)
The competition closes on Wednesday 31st of July. We’ll be shortlisting on Thursday 1st of August and if you win we’ll contact you via Instagram comments. The winner will be announced on our blog no later than Monday 5th of August. The Ts&Cs are here. If you haven’t already joined zulily, do come on over!
Because we love to share the cuteness around, during this competition we may post some of the entries:

Win tickets to a beer festival!

YouAndYourRights have a five sets of tickets to give away for St, George's Hall Beer Festival in Liverpool. To enter simply go to,  and click on the competition section. One entry per person. Over 18's only. Closing 24th July.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Two new competitions for you

YouAndYourRights have a copy of Celebrities on Ice DVD to give away. To enter simply go to, and click on the competition section. One entry per person. Closing 19 July.

Kavey Eats has a £50 Just Eat voucher to be won - the winner can spend the prize at their choice of thousands of takeaways that let you order through the Just Eat site. To enter, head over to Kavey Eats and enter up to three times, once by commenting, once by liking the Facebook page and once by sending out a tweet. This closes on July 26th.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Our prize Danube trip

As you probably know by now, we were sent home early from our holiday on the Danube. The flooding situation meant that the cruise wasn't viable, with many parts of the river completely closed to shipping due to damaged locks and impassable bridges, and  after a few days spent on two different moored boats, making excursions by coach from them, it was decided to send everyone home.

As a prize winner, I technically wasn't entitled to a refund from the tour company or the insurance company, as such refunds are generally calculated based on the amount actually paid, but they discussed the situation with the promoter and came up with an offer of another cruise this year - impossible because Mark has no leave left - or a refund of part of the cost of the trip. This seemed reasonable - after all, we'd still had flights both ways, a week of full board accommodation and several trips, some of which were excellent.

We spent the first two nights in Vienna, one of my favourite cities in the world. On the first day there was a coach trip to Melk Abbey. The floods had affected the roads too, so we had to use the motorway to get there, but on the way back the road alongside the river had reopened and we could clearly see the flood damage and defences. In one place the silt was being removed from a child's playground and it had come almost to the top of the swings!

I'm not going to give you full details of our trip, because Mark has written about it so thoroughly - you can see his posts here, herehere and here.  But I thought you'd want to know what can happen from a comper's point of view when a holiday is curtailed or cancelled.

And of course despite all Mark's lovely photos, I had to share a few here too!

The most important thing for a comper - a postbox!
 Enjoying the beautiful Budapest night skyline 

It's a lonely life on the Puzta. A man and his donkey can grow very fond of each other. 

Happy pickles for Happy Meals? 

Monday 1 July 2013

This month's Right Venues competition

This  month, Right Venues is giving away an overnight stay for two on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis in the newly refurbished Renaissance Hotel in Manchester City Centre. The prize even includes parking - and having had to park in the middle of Manchester a couple of times myself, I know what a massive benefit that is!

To enter, just head over to their competition page and answer a simple question. And don't forget, you can leave the Job Title and Company boxes empty - they are happy to welcome entries from Grape Vine magazine and blog readers, even if  you aren't currently in the market for finding a venue.  After all, you never know when you WILL be!

URGENT - another Facebook scam competition!

At the weekend, word got around about a scam competition offering huge prizes on an Argos Facebook page. The page was NOT Argos's own page, and when the real Argos heard about it they posted a warning to users. The fake page closed, but was that the end of the matter?

No, now a fake Tesco page has popped up. Once again, they are offering some very tempting prizes - 15  55" TVs - as a "little thank you" for liking and sharing the competition.

A little thank you? It sounds like a blooming BIG thank you to me - or it would do, if there were any TVs on offer at all!

But there aren't. It is a fake page and what is known as a like-farming scam. The scammer are offering highly attractive prizes, in the hope of collecting as many likes as possible. They will then sell the page, complete with likes, on the black market to the kind of business that can't legitimately tout for likes all of their own. So if you like a page that is running a competition like this, you may suddenly find your pages feed full of posts about something unpleasant, shocking or even illegal, something you (hopefully) have absolutely no interest in at all.

How can you tell a page is fake? First of all, look at the name. The real name Tesco has already been taken, but the scammers have got round this by adding a full stop at the end - very easy to overlook, especially in the excitement of thinking you have won a TV.

Next, look at the number of likes. The real Tesco would have far more than 886 likes! In fact they have well over a million.

Then look at the page in general. This page really doesn't look right, does it? There are no posts about anything but the competition, they only joined Facebook a few hours ago yet mention "last month's winners", there are no customer complaints or interactions - it's not just a fake, it's a very bad fake!

Never let the lure of a possible big prize make your common sense fly out of the window, or you could find yourself being sucked into a scam that could turn out to be very nasty!

Win a 6 months subscription to Grape Vine

Should there be an apostrophe at the end of months? a 6 months subscription or a 6 months' subscription? At this time of month, I always  find myself wondering!

Anyway, apostrophe or not, our monthly competition is now open for July and you'll find it on the competition page - why not bookmark the page and come back every month to enter? In June there were only 175 entries - entries to all comps, big and small, tend to drop off during the summer months when people are busy with holidays, families and gardens, so make the most of your chances!