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

How do you define a professional #comper? Is there such a thing as a professional #competition enterer?

In a previous post I asked, can you make a living from entering competitions?  At the end of that post I made the bold statement;  There is no such thing as a professional comper!  I know many will disagree with this so here is my justification, (and do remember folks everyone can have their own opinion, it doesn’t mean someone is right and someone else is wrong).

Depending on which dictionary you use there are a number of different definitions as to what ‘professional’ means, but this short statement sums it up for me;

“Engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur”

Most people I know who are highly successful in winning put the hours in that would be equivalent to a part, or even full time position.  But they still don’t earn enough to pay the mortgage or rent every month of the year.  They may earn in value thousands and thousands of pounds.  But that can’t always be converted into the actual cash that is needed in your account to pay for the mortgage and bills.  Another guaranteed income stream is generally funding that, with ‘comping’ as a nice bonus.  Competitions can provide a way for a family on a modest income to have a few luxuries in life.  As per the definition above, if you can not rely solely on comping to be your main paid occupation then to me this means you are not a professional comper.  (And is why I dislike the term so much)!

I've been on the radio talking about competitions, but I don't class myself as professional - comping doesn't pay my bills!

I’ve been on the radio talking about competitions, but I don’t class myself as professional – comping doesn’t pay my bills!

 

However, I do believe (and know) there are people out there that make a living from association with competitions.  There are magazine subscriptions, online services, even blogs(!) out there.  Some generate money for the people behind them, those who put the hard work and hours in to make an income.  But to me if someone publishs’ a magazine for a living then wouldn’t they be a professional publisher?  They may be a highly skilled comper as well, but it is the activity of publishing that is there ‘main paid occupation’.  Food for thought!

The idea behind this post came about because I recently saw a national company include in their competition t&c’s, no professional compers allowed to enter!  Its a term that has always frustrated me a little, so I wanted to examine it.  My conclusion from both postings, (can you make a living from entering competitions, and this post), is that there is no such thing as a professional comper.  Personally I’m just well practised, or good at my hobby – I should be after almost 15 years!  What are your thoughts?  Do you like the term professional?  If not, what do you prefer?

Is it worth giving up work to enter #Competitions? Can you make a living from entering #Giveaways?

As a successful comper for almost 15 years, I’ve often been asked why I don’t give up work and concentrate on entering competitions.  But can you make a living from comping?  Can you earn enough from giveaways and promotions to not go to work?

The short answer to this is NO!

I’m sure there may be people out there who would argue this point, as always in life people have different opinions.  But these are my reasons as to why you should not set upon comping as a career, but enjoy it as a (potentially lucrative) hobby.

  • THERE IS NO GUARANTEE YOU WILL WIN – Firstly and most importantly this is what you must realise.  Yes there are ways to improve your chances, (which I share on this blog so do subscribe)!  But you can have very long dry spells even when you enter 100s of competitions daily.  The mortgage or rent still needs to be paid during these times.
  • MINIMAL CASH GIVEAWAYS – Actual real hard cash competitions are few and far between.  It is unfortunately the currency in which you need to pay your mortgage or rent.
  • RESALE VALUE – If you are a very lucky and/or hardworking comper it is likely you will win some high value prizes.  A widescreeen TV, an iPad, maybe even the compers dream of a car.  If you were to sell these items yes it would generate income, but unfortunately not the full rrp.  It is likely if you did win a fabulous prize you’d probably want to keep it for yourself anyway, (I know I do)!
  • HOLIDAYS – Many holidays (and some experiences) are non-transferable and can only be taken by the winner so resale is not allowed, and no income can be generated.  Thats fine you say, you like holidays anyway.  But imagine you’ve just had a call to say you’ve won 2 weeks in Hawaii.  You have to go straight away though, and you haven’t made enough from comping this month to pay the mortgage or rent.  If you go you will miss two weeks work of entering as well.  Its not a situation I would like to be in.
  • AN ADDICTION – Any seasoned comper will tell you entering competitions, if you are so inclined to the hobby, is highly addictive and takes over your life!  We gladly spend hours filling in our details, taking wacky photographs, and coming up with tongue-tastic tiebreakers simply because we enjoy it.  If we could make a living and give up our jobs we definitely would as we’re all a bit bonkers!

Arguably entering competitions is more about saving money than making it.  It would take time and effort to sell on and make profit from the numerous small prizes.  But winning such goods as tea-towels or toiletries saves you from buying them.  I know I’m not alone in gifting some wins which saves on birthdays and at Christmas time.  Even winning a holiday saves on that budget.

Can you make a living from entering competitions?

Can you make a living from entering competitions?

Most people I know who are highly successful in winning put the hours in that would be equivalent to a part, or even full time position.  But they still don’t earn enough to pay the mortgage or rent every month of the year.  They have another guaranteed income stream for that.  Competitions can provide a way for a family on a modest income to have a few luxuries in life, but in my personal opinion there is no such thing as a professional comper.

I hope this has given you a useful insight if you are new to entering competitions and had questions to ask.  For those seasoned compers amongst you it would be great to hear your thoughts?  I have another post planned to discuss the term ‘professional comper’, something I personally find a little irritating!

Creative #Competitions I’m entering this month! Feb 2014

You will know if you read my previous Creative Competitions post that my plan this year is to spend some time on creative, or quality competitions.  The kind that take more time to enter, but generally have less entries.  Unfortunately I didn’t win any of the competitions I featured in last months post, but I was very happy to win my first Pinterest competition.  A fabulous laptop worth £799 from Currys PC World.  I’ve had a great start to the comping year, (over £1400 of prizes so far), and as always when you win you just want to enter more, more, more!!  So here are the effort promotions I’m getting involved in this month:

Without a doubt February is definitely the month of love, with Valentines promotions all over the web.  As I’m single its actually been a bit frustrating for me, I don’t feel I should enter the ‘how did you meet your partner’ competitions.  So this twitter giveaway from Thistle Cardiff really caught my eye, they suggest Valentines Day should be about sharing the love in general……  be that for a pet, country or food!  The prize is for a stay in the hotel with dinner, breakfast, and access to the spa.  You simply need to upload a photograph to twitter of something, or someone, that you love using the hashtag #lovethistle.  On the blog it states the closing date as 5pm on Saturday 15th Feb, but on the t&c’s page it states by 5pm on Friday 14th Feb.  I actually think the prize is for the Friday night so I’d suggest uploading as soon as possible!  As you know I love my doggie so I did a montage of love for Mr Wills.

LoveWilly

William – Greek rescue dog extraordinaire

Staying with the theme of uploading photos to twitter here is a competition from One4All giftcards.  The prize is to win a £50 card, and to enter you need to upload a #Couplie to either facebook or twitter.  (You guessed correctly, a couplie is like a selfie but with 2 people in the shot)!  Again I like this competition as it doesn’t have to be you and a partner.  Entries close at 10am on Valentines Day.  I uploaded a picture of me and my best friend via twitter.

I enjoy entering photo competitions on social media.  Its fun looking back at old photos, and making new ones.  But also you get less people bother to enter, thereby increasing your chances of winning.  Some RT giveaways I’ve seen have over 1000 entries, but with a photo requirement that can drop to just 50, or even 5 for a local competition!

Pinterest seems to be the place to be for competitions at the moment, and I can hardly keep up.  (It does require some time to get boards together when you are looking for certain images to create looks).  Boden are running a fabulous promotion to win £1000 account credit which closes on the 17th February.  It won’t be a low entry competition as its open to the UK and US.  But I’m giving it a go!  My entry is here.

Another £1000 giveaway on Pinterest, (or you can submit a blog post), this time from Links of London.  Closing at 5pm on Thursday 13th February my entry is here.

Links of London - £1000 giveaway!

Links of London – £1000 giveaway!

Never owned anything from Links so keeping fingers and toes crossed.  Would be great to tick off the comping wishlist, and diamonds are a girls best friend!

Cooking competitions I don’t normally venture into, but for this giveaway from Cottage Delights you simply need to state what products will feature on your Valentines menu, and how you will be using them.

I finish as I did last month with an animal themed competition.  Pets at Home are currently looking for stars for their next advert.  As if the incentive to see your beloved pet on TV wasn’t enough, you can also win free food for their lifetime.  Entries can be submitted through their facebook app.  The competition closes on the 3rd March.  I shall upload my entry of William to my facebook page & twitter feed so keep a look out!

https://www.facebook.com/petsathomeUK?v=app_486254294756872&rest=1

Would be great to see your entries to these competitions so feel free to share with me on facebook or twitter, and of course do let me know of any wins.  Happy Comping!

#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!

 

Creative #Competitions I’m entering this month! Jan 2014

I found at the end of last year I turned into a very lazy comper, sticking mainly to facebook and twitter competitions which took just a moment to enter.  Not that I will be stopping that as I’ve had some great wins, but I wanted to go back to doing more involved and fun competitions too.  The kind that really got me hooked on this fabulous hobby almost 15 years ago.

Pinterest is something I’ve been aware of but never used to its full potential, so I’ve been having practice over Christmas, and now I’m looking for competitions on there with low entries.  This year I’m especially interested in any prizes of furniture, home decor, household goods, etc. as I wish to completely revamp my property.   Thats why this competition to win a £9000 new bedroom from Furniture Village really caught my eye!

http://www.furniturevillage.co.uk/magazine/Competitions/New-Year-New-Bedroom.aspx

You can have multiple entries but you need to submit each individually with a new board.

I came up with my first bedroom idea centred around the theme of Hollywood glamour, you can view my entry here.  I submitted this on the 9th Jan and then I was a little disheartened as on the Furniture Village facebook page their resident blogger released a post entitled Hollywood glamour on the 10th!  I had a feeling this might prevent me from winning as the judges might think I hadn’t had my own idea so I came up with 2 further entries.  My second entry, submitted on the 16th Jan, was all about the perfect bedroom for peace and quiet and can be viewed here.  Finally on the 18th Jan I submitted my seaside bedroom theme found here.  It was time consuming entering this competition, I estimate around an hour to complete each board as I was really looking for the right pieces, but the prize is of such a high value I felt it was worth the effort.  Fingers crossed!

The closing date for the competition is 20th January 2014 so be quick to get your entries in.  Feel free to share with me your boards too.

Another Pinterest competition here with Next to win 3 x £100 Gift Cards.

http://www.pinterest.com/nextofficial/new-year-new-you/?utm_source=Twitter+&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_term=Monday1300&utm_content=130102014&utm_campaign=socpinterest

Here is my entry: http://www.pinterest.com/MeSueYouWho/new-year-new-you/

And now for some photo competitions……….

I’m not sure photo competitions are altogether ‘creative’ but I’ve found just that little bit of extra effort involved can reduce the number of entries.  Although this one from Topshop just because of who they are will undoubtedly be very popular.  But as I love my not so little William I thought I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity for him to have his image on a pair of socks, (and the pets owner also gets a £250 gift card)!

http://insideout.topshop.com/2014/01/is-your-pet-the-next-topshop-sock-star

To enter, simply tweet or Instagram a picture of your pet @Topshop with the hashtag #TopPets by 26th January at midnight.  This is the image I entered of William, I’m guessing it might not be ‘kooky’ enough for Topshop but he wasn’t in dressing up mood whilst I was wanting to enter!

WillyBillyBaby

I spotted another pet photo competition with Pets At Home so thought I’d make double use of the photo while I was at it.  You do need to be a VIP club member, the winning prize is a £25 gift voucher, and it closes on January 31st.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/pets-at-home/facebook-vip-pet-of-the-month-competition/10153286884000372

And my final competition for this post I haven’t actually entered yet, I’m pondering how I’ll persuade a friend to join me in dressing up as a man as its really a fabulous prize………  but it requires a ‘bromance’ photo!  Send in your pics before the 13th February for the chance to win a VIP experience to the England v Ireland Legends match on 21st February at The Stoop.

http://www.englandirelandlegends.com/#!competition/c1ede

Would be great to see your entries to these competitions so feel free to share with me on facebook or twitter, and of course do let me know of any wins.  Happy Comping!

Feeling Positive for the year ahead…….

Having been reading over your comments on my 2013 wins post I am feeling in a positive mood.  Its been great to read about all your comping successes, it’s really inspiring.  Thank you so much for your comments, please do keep in touch on facebook and twitter and let me know about your wins in the future.  I’ll share them and we can inspire each other!

I think to be a successful comper you need to have a positive outlook in life and believe you can win, (alongside some serious dedication)!  Thats why I’m also going to be sharing some positive thoughts and images.  This is a very poignant statement for me this year.

Positive Thoughts

Positive Thoughts

 

As always I wish you a very successful and positive year ahead.

Do you have any positive words and/or statements you use to inspire you?