Thursday 19 December 2013

Why I'm going to be quiet for a while....

Meet the latest addition to the family - Luna

Luna was born on December 18th, three weeks early and weighing a healthy 2.7kg. So I'm about to fly over to France, where my daughter and son in law live,  to poke my nose in and be a bossy mother in law help out while they settle in to life as a family. I don't yet know how long I'll be gone.

Luna is going to be living in France, born to one English parent and one Panamanian. So for now....

Au Revoir
And I'll see you all again in 2014.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Win a goody bag by voting for your favourite TV ad!

Dowlis are giving away a goody bag of £65 worth of branded merchandise. To enter, all you need to do is pick your favourite Christmas TV ad from the selection on their site - and you can watch them all again if you need help in deciding.

Just visit the competition page and use the Rafflecopter form to tell them your favourite - after you've done that you can boost your entry numbers in the usual Rafflecopterish ways.

But hurry, the competition closes at mid-day on December 20th.

Win a bundle of Oxo kitchen accessories.

Lavender and Lovage is giving away a bundle of Oxo Good grips kitchen accessories - a mandolin slicer, a digital thermometer and a set of measuring spoons.

There look excellent, really practical and hard wearing. I have quite a few Oxo products in my kitchen, some of which have been in regular use for many years, and I wouldn't change them for any other kind.

For a chance to win these products,  visit the competition page and complete the Rafflecopter form. The competition closes on February 9th, but if you want to improve your odds you can have daily entries for some of the tasks, so why not head over there NOW and get your first entries in!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Win a signed tyre and a set of tyres for your bike

Dunlop and Bike Social are giving you the chance to win the actual rear tyre as used by John McGuinness during laps 1 and 2 of his Senior TT win at the Isle of Man 2013, signed by the man himself.  What’s more, the winner will also have a brand new set of Dunlop tyres for their bike!

Five runners-up will also win a new set of Dunlop tyres for their bike.

To be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is create and verify a free Bike Social profile between 12.01am Tuesday 17th December 2013 and 9pm on Tuesday 21st January 2014.
To read more about the competition and find out how to create your profile (and how to enter if you already have one) visit the Bennetts website.

Win a stunning cuff bracelet

Nude Jewellery are running a competition to win a Brown Rayskin Cuff Bracelet worth RRP £349.00

Enter at

The competition closes on January 6th

Win a gorgeous pair of earrings

Pink Tickle is running a competition to win a pair of Radiance with Swavorski Crystal Marquise Drop earrings.

Enter at  but hurry! The competition closes at mid-day on December 19th.

Win a £100 gift card with Light Bulbs Direct

Here's an interesting competition which will appeal to my crafting friends as well as my comping ones.

Light Bulbs Direct are looking for ideas for ways to use old and dud light bulbs to create Christmas decorations such as garlands and wreaths, and they'd like YOU to share your ideas.

You'll need a blog to enter - create your decoration and then blog about it and submit the details to them  and you could be in with a chance of winning a first prize of a £100 gift card, with second and third prizes of £50 and £25 cards.

You can read the full instructions here - do please read them carefully before starting work on your creation. The closing date is 12.00am on December 26th.

And since I haven't got a decoration made out of light bulbs to share with you, here's another home made decoration.

Win £500 of menswear with Brook Taverner!

Brook Taverner - Win £500 Worth of Menswear!
Brook Taverner is offering you chance to win a fabulous prize, simply by answering the question below.
Question: How much are returns at Brook Taverner?
Answer:  B. Free - so you can try on at home and send back what you do not like
Restrictions: Competition open for UK residents only, one entry per person.
Closing date: 31 December, 2013
About Brook Taverner
Since 1912, Brook Taverner has been a leading name in classic men's tailoring. Their beautifully tailored suits, jackets, mens trousers and overcoats are produced using premium cloths from sources around the world. They offer FREE returns, FREE hemming and FREE alterations with every purchase.

Friday 13 December 2013

Win a hamper with Blue Kitchen Bakes

Blue Kitchen Bakes is giving away a gorgeous Serenata  "Let it Snow" hamper worth £69.99

To enter, visit the competition page and complete the Rafflecopter form to get up to 11 entries - even more if you tweet daily.

The closing date is December 27th

Win a luxury weekend away in Bristol with Alderman Apartments

Win a weekend in Bristol and live in the lap of luxury, with Alderman Apartments!
Bristol's best serviced apartment accomodations are offering you and one lucky partner the chance to live it up in Bristol for the weekend.
You can choose one of three amazing prizes, including:
An incredible meal at the Harbourside's sustainable Bordeaux Quay Restaurant
Relax with an Indulge Spa Day for 2 at the Lido Bristol plus a one hour spa treatment of your choice.
Explore Brunel's incredible SS Great Britian, including a 2 year-long unlimited return tickets
How to Enter
To enter all you have to do is like their Facebook page and choose your prefered experience!
The closing date is January 10th.

Win a set of treatments from the Harley Medical Group

The Harley Medical Group Wonder Wishlist Facebook Competition
Win one of two  treatment sets from a range of tailored options. There's a lot to choose from - and each winner gets one course of treatments for themselves and one for a loved one.
The competition closes on December 23rd.

Thursday 12 December 2013

Win a prize with your festive #dramaface

Freesat are giving you a chance to win one of two prizes of all the essentials for a cosy night in including:
·       Freesat HD with Freetime boxes (including installation)
·       Cosy onesies
·       Hampers of delicious festive foods and drink!
Find out all the details at 
The competition closes on December 20th.

Win a pair of Hotter shoes

Life, Ninja Killer Cat and Everything Else is giving away a pair of Hotter shoes. To enter, visit the competition page and complete the Rafflecopter form. The competition closes on December 30th.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Two ways to win with Ministry of Comps

Ministry of Comps is looking to reach 500 followers on Twitter,  and when they do, two lucky followers get an mp3 baseball cap and 16 VIP paintball tickets and ten will get 16 tickets. To enter, follow them on Twitter and retweet one of their competitions tweets.  I'm not going to embed a tweet here for you today because if you go to their Twitter page to do it, you may be lucky enough to visit on one of the days when they are giving bonus prizes of tickets or caps. Not only that, but they retweet lots of other competitions, so if you are looking out for competitions to enter on Twitter, it's well worth following them and visiting their page.

On top of that, if you visit their website you can also enter a weekly competition with a prize of up to 32 paintballing passes. The competition closes every Thursday.

Win a Leica digital camera with Enterprise UK Rent A Car

To celebrate the launch of Enterprise UK Rent A Car's online magazine Open Road, they are giving away an amazing Leica camera prize bundle, including a Leica X2 digital camera. To be in with a chance of winning, just like their page and enter your details.
Closing December 13th

December's Right Venues competition

The prize for December is a one night stay for two, with B&B at Rocco Forte Balmoral Hotel (Sunday to Thursday) combined with a champagne private tour on board the Royal Yacht Britannia.
 Enter on the competition page, writing "none" in the Company Name and Job Title fields if necessary. They are very happy to accept your entry even if you don't represent a company.

Closing 31st December

December's Ask Her Friends competition

As you probably already know, as well as their one-off competitions, Ask Her Friends has a regular monthly competition where a group of bloggers pick their favourite products from the site, and entrants have to choose their favourite collection.

This month there is a Christmas gift theme, and as well as being able to enter the competition you will get some great ideas for gifts and stocking fillers - if anyone wants to treat me to a Grumpy Cat cushion, for instance, you know where to find it!

The prize, as usual, is £50 to spend on the site, and you can enter in lots of different ways using the Rafflecopter form on the post.

The competition closes on December 20th.

Win a £100 Amazon voucher or one of 20 £20 vouchers with Its Appt

Simply download the Its Appt app for FREE on Android or iOS register, and then fill out their form on their Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning.
To be in with a chance of winning simply follow these 3 easy steps
Step 1
Download the Its Appt app for FREE on Android (  or iOS ( and register your details.
Step 2
Visit their Facebook page ( ) and fill out your details on their competition page to confirm that you've downloaded the app.
Step 3
Sit back and relax!
Its Appt is a new FREE app this holiday season that helps you buy the right gift for your friends and family. Use the find friends feature to connect with others and find out what gifts they’d like for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries or any occasion. You can flag and mark items as purchased, & let your friends and family know when you’ve received their gifts.
RULES: Free to enter and open to residents of the UK only, aged 16 and over. Closing at mid-day on January 2nd.

Win a Best of British baking course

Baking is fashionable. Very fashionable. So how would you like to spend a day at Braxted Park in Chelmsford, where you will learn to make these delicious British classics:
  • Lemon Drizzle Cake
  • Bakewell Tart
  • Chelsea Buns
  • Toffee Apple Cakes
  • Fruit Scones
To enter, all you need to do is visit the Braxted Park Cookery School's Facebook page, Like it and share this photo.

One name will be drawn at random from those who has both "shared" the post and "liked" The Cookery School at Braxted Park Facebook page. The closing date of the competition is 16th December 2013 at midnight and the winner will be drawn on 17th December and notified before 20th December 2013. The Best of British Baking course will be held on 4th February 2014 at The Cookery School at Braxted Park, Essex.

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Tuesday 10 December 2013

Tweet to win a Tom Tom XL

Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK is currently hosting a Twitter competition that offers the chance to win a TomTom XL. Just Follow & RT. Competition ends this Thursday (12/12/2013)

Here is the tweet - if you are logged in to Twitter you can follow them and retweet from here:

Monday 9 December 2013

Two new competitions from Kloo

Kloo Language Games and Read With Kloo each have a new competition on their Facebook pages. Both competitions close in the early hours of the morning on December 15th.

To enter the giveaways all you have to do is Like the  page and then click the giveaway tab and answer a really simple question about yourself and enter your email address.
The first one is on the KLOO Language Games page and the link to the giveaway is -  The prize is a set of 'Learn To Speak Spanish' KLOO game cards. Within seconds you can be making grammatically correct Spanish sentences using the colour coded KLOO cards and as you play the games you will be learning new Spanish vocab.
The second one is on the Read With KLOO page and the link to the giveaway is -  . The prize is our KLOO 'Catch the Bug' Reading game for children aged 3 +. It is a game that allows children to form their own (English) sentences using the colour coded KLOO cards and when they read the words correctly they will win KLOO animal cards that form a puzzle picture that allows them to 'Catch the Reading Bug'.

Win a pack of Moo business cards

Moo business cards are great - they are easy to design and order and handy to carry around. Don't think you have to have a business to need business cards - if you have a blog they are great too. In fact my husband uses Moo cards to spread the word about his blog. I could imagine popping one into each of the cello display bags I use for the hand made cards I donate to charity. I'm sure you could think of many other uses (and as a comper, it always pays to have some cards handy for those "drop your card in the bowl to win a meal" affairs so many restaurants have).

 Tales of pigling bland has three sets of 50 to give away. You can  enter by commenting on their blog post  and/or by tweeting the message they suggest.  You may have one commenting entry in total and one tweeting entry every day.

The competition closes on January 15th.

Sunday 8 December 2013

What to do when a prize doesn't arrive - and how to prove you won.

About eighteen months ago, I blogged about what to do when  a prize doesn't arrive. It's very disappointing when you are eagerly awaiting something and it fails to turn up.

Most of what I wrote before still applies, so I'm not going to write it all out again - just follow the link and read my advice.

However the way of contacting the Institute of Promotional Marketing has changed - they now have a simple form to fill in on their site. You can use this form if you find a badly run competition, too, even if you aren't a winner. And you no longer need to worry about whether to also contact the Advertising Standards Authority - the IPM will do so on your behalf.

Of course, it always helps if you can prove that you are a winner! That means making sure you keep all correspondence about your win. And the most important thing is to make sure you always keep proof that you have won. (Not just in the fear that something may go wrong - you might want to thank the promoter, share the news with your friends or brighten up a losing streak by looking back over past wins)
  • If you get a letter KEEP IT. If there is no return address on the letter, check to see if there is one on the envelope - often printed on the back flap.
  • If you get an email, SAVE IT somewhere it won't be deleted. I move all my winning emails into a special folder I keep just for that purpose, and I never delete them until I have received my prize, made sure all is well with it and thanked the promoter.
  • If you get a text message STORE IT somewhere it can't be deleted, either on your phone or by emailing it to yourself.
  • If you get a phone call TAKE THE CALLER'S NAME AND NUMBER, Simply dialling 1471 after the call doesn't always help  - the call may be from a withheld number or may be the switchboard of a large organisation where they won't know who called you.
  • If you get an online notification, for instance a message on Facebook or Twitter, or a pop-up on a website to say you have won an instant prize, TAKE A SCREEN GRAB. You'll need to find out how to do this on the device you are using. On a PC hit the PrtScr key, which saves it into your computer's memory, then paste it into a document where you can save it. I generally save it into a Word document, setting the page to Landscape and dragging the image out to fill the page. I choose Word because it's so easy to email to people but you could use an image editing programme - anywhere you can store it safely. On an iPad, hold the sleep/wake button down while briefly pressing the Home button. This takes a photo which it will save into your photo stream - I generally then email it to myself so I can store it with my winning emails.
There will inevitably be times when you can't get hold of any contact details at all. In that case try to find the original details of the competition where there may well be some contact details. Don't forget that if you were a Grape Vine subscriber at September 1st, I still have details (where they are still valid) of every competition I covered in the magazine, and save them until 12 months after the closing date.

A couple of tips that might help you get your prize:
  • Don't be aggressive. Being polite pays, even if the person you are in discussions with doesn't do the same! Most of the time there will have been a genuine glitch in the system or loss in the post, so don't immediately assume you were never going to get the prize.
  • Don't be impatient. It can take 4-6 weeks from notification to a prize arriving. The prizes are not usually sitting waiting to be sent out; there are lots of links in the chain and people have to notify others, who have to pass a message on to others, and so on. This is especially the case with most competitions on blogs. The blogger herself (and it seems to be far more often a "her" than a "him") will never see the prize - she has to pass your details on to a PT, who is dealing with a promotions agency, who is dealing with the business providing the prize. It can take AGES, and unfortunately if anyone in the chain lets the blogger down,  they don't have the leverage that a big business would have in order to persuade the promoter to give you your prize.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Win a 6 piece knife set

There's a new competition at Belleau Kitchen - as well as a gloriously sinful recipe for chocolate mincemeat sticky buns!

The prize is a set of colourful kitchen knives in a clear acrylic block

To enter, visit the blog post and enter using the Rafflecopter widget.

You have until December 10th  (well, Rafflecopter being what it is, the early hours of the 11th) to enter.

Friday 6 December 2013

Win cracking choclolate with Kavey Eats

The latest cracker of a competition from Kavey Eats is for this gorgeous Rather Large Christmas Cracker from Hotel Chocolat.

To enter, simply head over to the competition page  and follow the instructions -  and some of you will be pleased to know that there is no Rafflecopter involved!

The competition closes on December 13th.

Another great competition from Ask Her Friends

Ask Her friends are really spoiling us at the moment - they have just launched yet another competition, this time for a Beara Beara backpack.

Head over to the competition page and enter using the Rafflecopter widget. The closing date is December 13th at 5pm.

What’s more, you can get 10% off any purchase of Beara Beara at AskHerFriends with the code BEARA10, up to 20 December 2013.

A quick way to unilke Facebook pages.

You can like 5,000 pages on Facebook - that's a LOT of pages!

However if you are a comper, you may well have found that the current plethora of Advent competitions has brought you close to your limit. Even if you like far fewer than that, it's almost impossible to keep up with every post on every page unless you have a regular pruning session.

However it's very difficult to find and unlike pages quickly. You can go to your profile page, scroll down to the Likes on the left click on the word Likes and then when they open across the screen, select "Other Likes" from the drop down menu under "More" and then go through them one by one, unliking those that no longer appeal to you by hovering over the top right hand corner of each and selecting "unlike". But if you like thousands of pages, that will take a l-o-n-g time.

Most people prefer to use the app but it can be a little temperamental, so if it isn't working for you there is another very quick and easy way that Facebook doesn't tell us about.

Go to any page on Facebook (that's a business page, not a personal timeline) and look up at the top right hand corner. You will see a blue "create page" button.

Now if you've never wanted to create a page, you've probably never thought of clicking on it - but just try it now. Go on, head over to the Grapevine page and give it a try! (Don't worry, it'll open in a new window so you won't lose your place)

Now on the top right of the screen you will see two buttons, "Pages I like" and "Pages I admin". Click on "Pages I like" and your likes list appears, with your most recent likes at the top. It's very easy to scroll down the list and hover over each "liked" button changing it to "unlike" - but don't get trigger happy and unlike ones where the competition is still running!

When I tried it, I couldn't get it to scroll down as far as my oldest likes, so I presume there is some kind of limit on how many is shows, but nevertheless it's a useful tool and anything that saves time at this hectic time of year has to be welcome!

Thursday 5 December 2013

Win dinner for four at Thistle Marble Arch.

Win a three course dinner for four at Thistle Marble Arch. To enter, visit this link - Find the present on the interactive map, hover over it to reveal a message, follow @ThistleHotels and tweet them the message to enter.
Closing date is 10/12/2013

Twelve Days of Christmas competitons at Breakthrough

The lovely blog Breakthrough is having a Twelve Days of Christmas event. You'll find the blog here  - a new competition is being added every day until December 12th, and they all close on the 13th, so there's still time to go back and enter those you've missed seeing.

The competitions and prizes so far are:

December 1st - a £50 Experience Days voucher

December 2nd - Raw Chocolate baking ingredients

December 3rd - Automatic Writing

December 4th - two fiction books

December 5th - some Feel Good games

Don't forget to check the home page every day to see what the latest competition is!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Quick! Enter now to win a Kindle Fire HD

How are you getting on with the Advent competitions? I've already had a few small wins and one lovely prize of a Kindle Fire, so I'm very happy!

If you'd like to win a Kindle Fire of your own, UK Enterprise is running a competition on Twitter. You simply need to follow them and reply to their tweet, telling them what your dream winter escape would be. But hurry, the competition closes on December 5th.

Coleus Chimes: Competition: Christmas Giveaway £15.00 Amazon Voucher

Coleus Chimes: Competition: Christmas Giveaway £15.00 Amazon Voucher

Win a 5* holiday to Malta with Visit Malta's Advent Calendar

Win a 5* Holiday & Daily prizes worth £20,000!
Want to get your hands on the best advent calendar of the year?
Between the 1st – 24th December Visit Malta are giving you the chance to win a different prize each day including 18 holidays & mini-breaks, £300 worth of Crew Clothing Vouchers, 20 pairs of Crocs boots, 5 Trunkis, 5 Digital Cameras + MORE!
Click the link to like the Visit Malta Facebook page & click on today’s advent calendar box, enter your details & be sure to come back every day for more chances to win

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Win a silver necklace

The latest lovely competition from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover offers a prize of a very pretty silver necklace. To enter, visit the competition page and complete the Rafflecopter form. The competition closes on December 31st.

You can check the current list of all the great competitions being run by The Diary of a Jewellery Lover here. Make sure you haven't missed any!

Monday 2 December 2013

Win winter teas with Blue Kitchen Bakes

The latest competition at Blue Kitchen Bakes is for a set of three winter teas from Teapigs. The winner will get a set of three teas - chai tea, chocolate flake tea and spiced winter red tea.

To enter, head over to the competition page and enter through the Rafflecopter widget.

The competition closes on December 14th.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Another Advent - this time from Chez Maximka

Have you been trying to keep up with the Advent and 12 Days of Christmas competitions today? It's been a frenzy hasn't it? I don't think I've ever seen so many appear on the first of the month!

So it's great to find one that gives you a little time to enter. Enter the lovely Galina at Chez Maximka who is giving you a whole 12 days in which to enter, with more of the prize being revealed each day.  Pop over to December 1st's blog post to see how to enter  then check back each day to read more and get extra entries.  You have until December 13th (ie midnight on the 12th) to enter.

The Grape Vine November Winners List

Here are the former Grape Vine readers who have reported wins worth £500 or more during November. Their names will go into the draw with all the others from the year, after the final closing date of December 31st.

Well done to all the winners!

Ursula McDermott      holiday to Lucerne – Travel Switzerland
Jan Beal                      Trip to Frankfurt by train for Skyscraper Festival inc Sheraton Club Lounge accommodation - Facebook - £1,000 approx
Jan Beal                      Mystery prize from Metro - iPad4, Samsung Galaxy Camera, £300 Love to Shop vouchers and a LFW Rodial goody bag etc - £1500  Facebook

Louise Rothwell           Ice Hotel holiday – The Times

A prize a day for 12 days

This year there seem to be more Advent competitions around than ever - and there are also lots of "Twelve Days of Christmas" competitions, starting on various dates in December. One super one is from Kelly Martin Speaks, where there are gorgeous goodies on offer every day from December 1st to 12th, with each one running for a couple of weeks so that the final competition closes on Christmas Day.

To enter, visit the blog and click on the "12 Days of Christmas" tab at the top, where you will be able to see which competitions are already open and which you can still look forward to.

Entry is by using the "Gleam" app - I think those of you who find Rafflecopter a bit daunting will find Gleam much easier, especially when it comes to the tweeting bit, which I know from running competitions myself, about 1 in 4 people get wrong when using Rafflecopter. Gleam does it all for you so you don't have to go tracking down URLs and pasting them in!

And since it's almost Christmas, here's a picture of one of my hand made Christmas cards.