A Room Full of #Compers! The London #Competitors’ Club, aka The LCC.

What is the one thing you will NEVER be able to win in a competition?  I will leave you to ponder that for a moment.

For years I’ve been intrigued about comping groups, days where compers get together to discuss there hobby, exchange entry forms, and generally have a bit of fun.  Well back in March I attended my first ever meeting of The LCC, (London Competitors’ Club).

Spotting a tweet out about the day from the very lovely Jane Willis, also an avid comper whom many of you will know from her grapevine blog, I decided to try it out.

A room full of compers at the LCC.

A room full of compers at the LCC.

 

So, did you make a guess?  What is the one thing compers can NEVER win?

Well ‘time’ of course!  Although I have truly wished for more hours in the day over the past few months.  I’ve moved to a new area, embarked on a different career, and am (still)! redecorating.  Comping and blogging have sadly taken a back seat.  But I thought I’d write a post about this experience as coming up on Saturday 28th June 2014 will be another meeting.

I had no idea what to expect at all when I attended the last one, but I was immediately greeted by friendly faces and guided through the day by the more experienced members.  We had a number of fun quizzes, an opportunity to exchange entry forms, a raffle, tea and cake – and of course opportunity to exchange winning experiences.  I went from nervously attending to having lots of fun within the space of 5 minutes, so I am duly converted and keenly looking forward to the next meet up!

For further information please visit The London Competitors’ Club website.

The LCC isn’t closed to those people living in London, it is open to anyone who wishes to attend.  I saw it as an opportunity for a day out in the big smoke and cheekily before the meeting squeezed in a visit to the Ideal Home Exhibition.  (I had of course won tickets)!  I was again a first time attendee, and again would love to return.  Here I am with a couple of bargains I snapped up.

Visiting the Ideal Home Show with FREE tickets!

Visiting the Ideal Home Show with FREE tickets!

 

Well I had better get back to the decorating!  But hope this post has inspired you to search for a comping group in your local area.  Like everything in life, comping is best enjoyed with friends. Be lucky x

Winspiration: Busy moving home so less #Competition #Wins, but no dry spell yet….. fingers crossed!

The last few weeks have been very chaotic as myself and Mr Wills have been moving home.  The place we moved to needs a lot of work, not heavy duty building.  But everything needs a good scrub and (more than a few) licks of paint!  I’m feeling in a ‘nesting’ mood as I have in my life been inclined to be a little nomadic, so I’m very busy trying to source just the right pieces of furniture at the right price.  This is William settling in on the new leather corner sofa, purchased from a private seller on Gumtree for just £250.  Bargain!

William settling in nicely!

William settling in nicely!

 

So my apologies for the lack of posts during this busy time in my life.  Luckily I haven’t hit a dry spell yet, even though I’ve only been comping for one or two hours a week since the move.  I think my hard work and extra hours before is carrying me through!  The biggest value prize since my last winspiration post was 2 tickets to the opera and a signed limited edition print worth £300.  I also had one of those rare, but extremely welcome days, when the wins just keep coming.  It was the week before my radio interview.  Three wins from twitter: A £40 Voucher to spend at Giraffe, a beautiful bracelet from Beaverbrooks – also worth £40, and £50 in vouchers to spend in a local shopping centre…… and then on facebook: A breakfast in bed hamper, (muffins, jams, teas, coffee etc), from Bishops Move worth £30.  So a very good day, wish all comping days were like that!

On Instagram the very next morning I had a fab win of a pair of GHDs worth £145.  My other wins since the last post have been smaller items.  But I’m still very happy this year, I’ve already reached over £2500 in prize value with over 9 months of comping left, woo hoo!

If you read my blog regularly you will know that experiences are prizes that especially appeal to me.  I enjoy doing ‘different’ things, seeing new places, eating lovely food, and often being inspired.  From a simple RT on twitter over the Christmas Advent period I won a Falconry experience for two at Coniston Hotel, in a very beautiful part of the world near Skipton.  The prize was especially appealing as it included lunch to the value of £50.

Falconry Experience & Lunch at Coniston Hotel near Skipton.

Falconry Experience & Lunch at Coniston Hotel near Skipton, North Yorkshire.

 

I had no idea what to expect on the day, (except cold weather which didn’t let me down)!  But I had the most fabulous time.  I learned about the birds from a very experienced guide, and we got to handle an Owl, Harris Hawk…….. and a Golden Eagle.  I think we were very lucky as this isn’t normally part of the day.  There were a mixture of people on the experience, some who were thinking of taking up falconry, to others like myself who really just wanted to get closer to a bird of prey than normally allows.  I have to say I was a bit nervous when the Eagle, (with a wing span of 6ft), swooped down at me.  But afterwards I felt exhilarated.

If you do the experience please remember to wrap up warm.  Standing out on a hillside for a few hours, in the English Countryside, in March, is freezing!  But when the eagle landed it was soon forgotten, and then we headed off to spend our £50 on lunch.  The hotel was superbly furnished with a splendid view in the dining room.  We were led to a reserved table, and have to say the food and service could not be faulted.  It was really a great day.  And yes I did have a starter, main AND dessert!

I hope this post gives you winning inspiration.  Please do share with me your wins on facebook, twitter or even instagram…..  its great to hear your winning ways also!

Valentines Gifts in Unusual Places

With Valentines Day just around the corner, and people searching for the perfect gift for their Valentine this year, SportsDirect.com are hosting a new competition in the form of a blogging challenge.  Well I’m always up for a challenge, and I certainly have one as I’m single.  So I thought rather than looking for gifts for the non-existent man in my life.  I would focus on searching for presents that would be suitable for a lady like myself!

I think Sports Direct is a place most people would assume would be suitable for mens gifts only.  Well I discovered after viewing the website this is very wrong.  There are pages and pages of goods just aimed at women!

The first section I headed for on the Sports Direct website was accessories, and jumping out at me was ‘ ladies bags’.  A girl can definitely never have too many shoes or bags.  I was really pleasantly surprised at the quality of designers, and quantity of styles which were available.  I absolutely love tassels so my first choice, (if there really was someone buying me a gift), would be this fabulous tote bag from Firetrap.

Firetrap Tote Bag

Firetrap Tote Bag

Firetrap is a brand I know and trust.  This is why I am absolutely amazed that this bag is only £15 – that’s less than half the original price.  So you can even pick up a designer bargain for Valentines Day!

My friend and I were looking at holidays recently, (dreaming of escaping this cold weather), so I next headed over to look at sunglasses.  Which I have to say I could have done with this morning, it was so bright and sunny as I walked William I was squinting.  There was again a wide selection that were all very reasonably priced.  I’m a fan of classic looks so these aviator shades by Karrimor stood out and would be my choice at £19.99.  With 100% UV Protection they are sensible as well as stylish.

Karrimor Rica Sunglasses

Karrimor Rica Sunglasses

You might be guessing by now I’m a bit of a label queen so I headed over to the brands section to see what else I could find.  Exciting stuff there are so many big names.  I really like a label called Voodoo Dolls as I’ve found it suits my style, there was so much to choose from it was heaven.  This button-up sherpa hoodie is my top pick because it is so wearable.  Just the thing to keep warm and cosy in this weather, it would look great with jeans and is priced at just £16.

Voodoo Dolls Button-up Sherpa Hoodie

Voodoo Dolls Button-up Sherpa Hoodie

Jewellery is a gift ladies always love to receive on Valentines Day.  Well it was certainly a shock to me that Sports Direct even cater for this, so no excuse now boyfriends and husbands!  I like this Miss Fiori Dive Bracelet Watch as I’m a huge fan of animal print.  The black dial is a bit different, and the diamante bezel means its dressy for evening wear.  Another amazing bargain as you save £38.99 on this watch, its only £11!!

Miss Fiori Dive Bracelet Watch

Miss Fiori Dive Bracelet Watch

Sticking with the animal print theme my final valentines gift, (to myself), is this snuggly onesie by Golddigga at £11.99.  Perfect for a cosy night in on the sofa when I do find the love of my life…….. until then it’ll be me and Mr Wills!

Golddigga Verl Onesie

Golddigga Vel Onesie

I hope this piece gave you some Valentines gift inspiration even if only for yourself, (aren’t they always the best presents)!  But if you do HAVE to buy something for the fella, there is absolutely loads of stuff for him too at Sports Direct.  I had lots of fun writing this post, if you would like to enter the competition too you can here.  Be lucky!

Winspiration: Topshop & #London Experiences; First #Pinterest & #Instagram #Competition #Wins

January has been a busy month for me trying to fit in a number of wins from the festive season.  Last week I had an amazing time at Topshop.  I won a like and share competition on Facebook from a Leeds pub, The Botanist, to attend a personal shopper experience in the new shopping centre there, Trinity Leeds.

I was greeted by fedora wearing Lauren in the chicly styled white leather suite reserved for these appointments.  Champagne in hand I was led to a room which had outfit after outfit specially selected for me, (as I had communicated with Lauren previously my fashion inspirations).  I felt like a celebrity and Lauren was just amazing, she exactly had my style, gave me some useful tips, and picked out key looks for the season to keep me up-to-date in the fashion stakes!  This is why I love my hobby as I don’t think I would have booked in for something like this, but it was really worthwhile and I recommend Lauren without a doubt.

Next I had a completely free night in London, (except for the trainfare to get me there).  Both wins on twitter advent giveaways.  The first being £50 to spend in Gourmet Burger Kitchen, from the N1 centre in Islington.  I love there burgers but sadly as we had to eat later as well, (the hardship), we spent the prize on chips and prosecco.  Must be the northerner in me!  Their sweet potato fries are especially delicious I have to say.

Then for a mad dash on the tube as we headed for Piccadilly Circus.  We walked towards Leicester Square and the venue Cafe de Paris.  I’ve previously enjoyed some fun-filled nights in this establishment, dancing away ’til the early hours.  A well-known nightclub it now opens its doors earlier for cabaret shows throughout the week.  You can watch the show for a very reasonable price, but lucky us had the VIP dining package.  We ate a splendid 3 course meal, shared a bottle of champagne, and had front row seats for the entertaining performance from the London Cabaret Society.  Singers, comedians, burlesque dancers, fire-eaters, magicians and more, if you enjoy something a little risqué this show is definitely for you.  I loved it and what a fabulous night out in London!

Fire Eating at Cafe de Paris, London.

Fire Eating at Cafe de Paris, London.

Next week I have to try to squeeze in taking my car to a local garage for a full valet, it’s the premium service and costs £45 normally so I’m looking forward to having my car just like new!  So with these experiences out-of-the-way I can get on with winning some more to enjoy later in the year.  As you can probably tell eating out, and attending events and experiences, are prizes that especially appeal to me.

If you follow me on Facebook you will know I’ve had my first BIG win of the year.  A Surface Pro 2 from Currys PC World, worth £799.  I’m especially pleased with this win as it is my first ever on Pinterest,  an easy repin to win.  It’s inspired me to keep entering competitions on that platform.  Something about firsts this month as I also had my first ever Instagram win, a Calvin Klein iPad case from Superdrug  – for which I simply had to like their status.  From Virgin Experiences I won a meal for 2 with wine at Brasserie Blanc by leaving a comment on a Facebook post.  Very pleased with my wins so far this year totally over £1200.

Don’t agree with voting competitions as a rule – but this one from Expedia has an exceedingly good prize to win a pair of first class plane tickets! Would be much appreciated if you could give me a vote, (and if you enter please comment below and I’ll return the favour). Thanks in advance; http://goo.gl/mnsqQF

A nice big win is always inspiring, thanks Currys!

A nice big win is always inspiring, thanks Currys!

Please do share with me your wins on facebook, twitter or even instagram…..  its great to hear your winning ways too!

#Bucharest, #Romania: Inspiring #Travel.

It came as a surprise to me to be facing the world’s second-largest building.  As you can imagine it is grand and imposing.  Neo-classically styled it has 12 storeys with 3100 rooms, and it isn’t even finished yet!

I’m not visiting Dubai or the Far East; I’m in Europe.  Built in 1984 the Palace of Parliament is Ceausescu’s most infamous creation.  I’m in awe as I visit Bucharest, the capital of Romania.

romania1

The imposing Ceaușescu built Palace of the Parliament, or People’s Palace in Bucharest.

A stroll around the city provides an endearing mismatch of eras that leaves me wondering what century I’m in.  Modern office buildings sit next to remains of medieval churches, by their side French palaces with baroque facades.  A centre for artisan culture alongside fast living.  It’s no wonder Bucharest earned the nickname, ‘Little Paris’.

I take in the towering ‘Arch Of Triumph’ and the 19th century Roman Athenaeum, this is a city packed with sights.  Some may not appeal to tourists; Stray dogs, beggars, loud traffic, and a tangible element of the underworld.  Put this aside and exercise caution as you would in any city.

With so many sights where to visit next is the question!

With so many sights where to visit next is the question!

From districts haunted by communism to the lively open-air bar scene in the historic centre.  Bucharest is, both architecturally and culturally, an inspiration.

This is my entry into the National Geographic Travel Writing competition.  The brief is to write 200 words on your most inspirational travel experience.  The closing date is January 24th 2014 and there is a fantastic prize up for grabs of an unforgettable trip to Vietnam.  Be lucky!

 

Review: Best Western – Moor Hall Hotel & Spa, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

This is my review of the Best Western Moor Hall Hotel & Spa that featured in The Daily Telegraph back in 2005.  I think I was a little less ‘chilled’ in those days than I am now.  The service wasn’t all that bad.  I just thought it was at the time, given the fact the staff were aware I was a critic!

My review in 'The Daily Telegraph' - it was sponsored by Best Western.

My review in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ – it was sponsored by Best Western.

Maybe Best Western would like to invite me back to see if the service has now improved?!?!