European Union Schemes that provide Free Travel Opportunities.

This post is an introduction to the fact that the EU provides schemes that allow free travel opportunities.  People have often commented that I like my travel, and why not when there is a wonderful world to explore!  But travel can be expensive and luckily for me I have been able to visit Malta, Sicily, and Romania, all courtesy of the European Unions’ funding opportunities that allow us to experience different cultures.

A chance look at a posting on Gumtree first introduced me to these schemes, and like many my first thought was this seems too good to be true.  I had been looking at volunteering experiences for some time and actually couldn’t afford to volunteer!  Many travel companies offer volunteering holidays but the costs can easily mount up, so to be able to travel completely for free AND receive an allowance really got me interested.  This is me in Malta in March 2011, I spent a month there volunteering in a cat sanctuary on an EVS scheme.

Malta Free Travel

As I said this post is an introduction to get you used to the idea as it is really quite shocking to get your head around, (in a good way).  If you are aged 18-30 you should be especially excited as you can enjoy upto 12 months overseas travel through EVS, (European Voluntary Service).  This may be an EU scheme but it doesn’t mean travel is restricted, there are a plethora of opportunities, a personal friend of mine spent 6 months in the Amazon rainforest.

For individuals of all ages there is the Grundtvig scheme which provides an opportunity for non-vocational adult education, normally in the form of workshops lasting one week.  In July 2013 I attended a photography workshop in Romania through Grundtvig, I met fabulous people, ate lovely food, and experienced a culture that without the EU to be honest I don’t think I ever would.  I’m grateful to have had such an amazing opportunity and this is one of the main reasons behind my blog, to be able to share with people this information.  Here I am in Romania with the other workshop participants, its taken at the opening of our photography exhibition which the week worked towards.

Romania 2013

The schemes can be quite complicated, or appear so at first.  But you will generally be supported by a sending and/or hosting organisation so there is really nothing to worry about.  There are other opportunities than just EVS and Grundtvig but I am going to examine everything in further detail for you in individual blog posts.  If you can’t wait and want to start your investigations you will find EVS is part of the Youth In Action programme and Grundtvig part of the Life Long Learning Programme.  However, just to confuse things a little more from 1st January 2014 the old schemes change slightly and merge together to become Erasmus+, the European Union’s budget for 2014-2020 confirmed the budget for this at just under €14.7 billion over seven years.  They are committed to allowing freedom of learning and opportunities for all to experience different cultures, I still have to pinch myself sometimes, isn’t this amazing?!

I would love to know, have any How2bBornLuckiers already engaged in EU schemes?

Competition: Win a Ted Baker ‘Timeless Romantic’ iPhone 5 Case worth £29: Ends Midnight 14/01/2014

As promised a lovely little giveaway for you.  The Competition prize is a Ted Baker ‘Timeless Romantic’ iPhone 5 case worth £29.  You can enter by clicking HERE!

Win a Ted Baker iPhone 5 Case - Competition

PLEASE NOTE! Just a little word of warning, I will be checking that the winner has completed all the tasks as specified! If the tasks have not been completed, I’m afraid your entry will be void. I have set you a small number of tasks to complete in order to accumulate entries into the draw, an additional entry is available every day when you ‘tweet’ about the competition.

This competition is unsponsored and will close at Midnight on Tuesday 14th January 2014.  The winner will be announced within 48 hours of this date.  Be quick!  Less than one week to get your entries in.

Unfortunately with the free version of rafflecopter you can’t enter the giveaway from your mobile as the ‘free’ technology doesn’t allow it.  So email yourself a little reminder to visit again from your laptop or pc to enter the competition there.

Good luck!

New Years Resolutions 2014 & Wins from 2013

My New Years Resolutions are very simple this year:

1.  To get this blog up and running properly, (after 2 years in the thought process)!

2.  To dedicate more time to comping & enter more creative competitions.

3.  To keep a spreadsheet of all my wins.

4.  To be happy & lucky.

To achieve all of these things I am going to need to focus and it starts now……..

focus

When I started the blog last year I asked you, in this post:

https://how2bbornlucky.com/2013/05/23/210513-210514-prize-log-entry-1/

To guess how many prizes I would win in a year.  I had estimates ranging from 18 to 365, but in general most people felt I would win 52 times – or once per week.  I was very bad and didn’t keep up the log, (or blog), as promised, (hence New Years Resolutions)!  So yesterday I went through old emails, facebook messages and twitter mentions.

I found I had won 28 prizes totally a value of £3180.  

This isn’t a great amount compared to some of my previous years but I am pleasantly surprised.  Remembering I only started the blog in May and had comped very little in the early part of the year, I also spent 2 months overseas during this time, so 28 wins is really for 6 months moderate comping.  I’m very happy, (but will still seek to improve this year)!  It also shows my readers have great guess work as around 52 wins for the year would have probably been right.

As I mentioned in my original post I don’t enter anything and everything.  I do go for the prizes I want.  Often I go in for easy to enter competitions on facebook and twitter but I will look for ones with very low entries.  Infact 2 of the facebook competitions I won this year I knew I was going to win……. as I was the only entrant!  But definately this year I would like to focus more on creative comping, again looking for those low entry competitions thereby increasing your chances to win.

My two biggest wins last year were the trip to London with £500 spending money from Nestle Bueno, and a Caldesi cookery weekend in the Cotswolds worth £1000.  I found I was busy coming up to Christmas so didn’t do much except twitter competitions but had a great run winning Ringside seats at a Boxing Match, Lunch & a Falconry experience, £40 Wagamama Vouchers, £50 GBK Vouchers, a Topshop Personal Shopping Experience and much more!

I have yet to have my first win of the year but I do have my spreadsheet all ready to record it when it does happen and of course I shall be sharing my wins.  It is really great to keep a record of your wins so you can look back and cheer yourself up in those lean times.  Wishing you all a very happy and lucky 2014.

I’d love to hear how many wins you had in 2013?

Guess who’s back, back again…….

Hello & belated Happy New Year!

I’m back & ready to rock this blog with fabulous new competitions planned for the coming weeks.

So I didn’t keep up to date with the winning log as you can see, I’m currently doing a quick tally of wins from last year, (combined with giving myself a kick up the bottom area), and I’ll be back to advise you of those wins and my New Year Resolutions very soon.

Are you a winner?

The competition to win 3 x pairs of false eyelashes closed yesterday and the winner has been selected using random.org

Congratulations to Jacqui Slanders you are the lucky winner!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/828c3f1/

Thank you to everyone that entered, followed, tweeted, liked, shared and commented.

Sue x

Where am I?

Hi all,

Just a quick note to say – YES! I have gone rather quiet.

The reason being I had some advice that it would be better to change my blogging platform so I have been taking some time to investigate this at this early stage of the blog, before things get too hard to rectify.

Thank you to all of you that have been entering the competition, it closes today and the winner will be drawn and announced tomorrow.

Thank you very much.

Sue

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?!?!

Competition: Win 3 x Pairs of False Eyelashes rrp£14

No wins for me today, so I thought it would be rather nice for me to launch the blog with a competition for you guys!  (I also wanted to see if I could get my head around rafflecopter).  The Competition prize is 3 x Pairs of False Eyelashes rrp£14 for one lucky winner.  To enter the competition please click on the link below. (It is also possible to enter from the app on Facebook, however, all entries will go into the same ‘pot’ so don’t worry which way you choose).

PLEASE NOTE! Just a little word of warning, I will be checking that the winner has completed all the tasks as specified! If the tasks have not been completed, I’m afraid your entry will be void. I have set you a small number of tasks to complete in order to accumulate entries into the draw, an additional entry is available every day when you ‘tweet’ about the competition.

This link will take you straight to where you need to be;  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lovely lashes worth £14 - enter now!

Lovely lashes worth £14 – enter now!

This competition is unsponsored and will close at Midnight on Sunday 2nd June.  The winner will be announced within 48 hours following this date.  Be quick!  Just one week to get your entries in.

Rafflecopter is a widgit that allows you to run a competition and a truly ‘random’ winner be drawn.  I like it when I see people using rafflecopter as it takes away the human element of selection, (it is also against Facebook t&c’s to run a like and share competition).

I am using the free version of Rafflecopter (come on, I’ve just started the blog)! and sad to say that means you can’t enter the giveaway from your mobile as the ‘free’ technology doesn’t allow it.  So email yourself a little reminder now, go on then, NOW!  Have you made yourself a reminder?  And then you will remember to visit again from your laptop or pc to enter the competition there.

Good luck!

21/05/13 – 21/05/14 Prize Log: Entry 2

For anyone new to entering competitions, and new to the blog, this typifies comping.  Just like buses you win nothing for weeks or months, then a string come along in a short period of time.  (I remember one particular lean spell in 2008, I felt like I had won nothing worthwhile for almost a year, then in less than a week I had 3 lovely ‘Congratulation Calls’ with trips booked in to the USA, France, and Austria)!

So you will probably have guessed by now I’ve had another win!  I must reprimand myself as this DM came in on twitter yesterday.  Just imagine if it had been to collect tickets for a prize this weekend, I might have missed out.  If you are a comper, do check your emails everyday.  Also, every and now and again check your spam.  I did in 2010…… and found a WEM for a trip to Australia!  The winning DM;

1

The competition was on Twitter and it was a simple RT & follow.  A small prize which I only entered as this is a shopping village very local to me.  In general, I do enter less free prize draws now and try to focus on skill competitions.  But, it’s so quick and easy to RT & follow!  This was the competition tweet and you can see I also favourited it;

2

I was planning on shopping over Bank Holiday weekend so I look forward to finding some bargains, and then taking a break with a relaxing drink, before getting on the hunt for more bargains!  Thank you very much to Costa Coffee, and Lakeside Village, Doncaster for picking me as a lucky winner.

3

If you want to start entering competitions on twitter, but don’t know where to find them, you can always follow my personal account @MeSueYouWho, which is here; www.twitter.com/mesueyouwho

21/05/13 – 21/05/14 Prize Log: Entry 1

Well, would you believe it………  I’ve only gone and received a WEM today.  For those of you that are non-compers this is a Winning Email, (note to self; post on competition terms would be useful).

A trip to London with £500 spending money, I don’t mind if I do!  It was totally out of the blue and put a very big smile on my face.  I have felt that these past few months I have been neglecting my comping hobby, and I couldn’t even remember entering the competition to be honest!  When I received the email, I thought straight away what great news to share on the blog.  And then I thought…..  wouldn’t it be interesting to see how many competitions I actually win in a year?  When I first started comping I used to keep a log of all entries and wins, I was very efficient.  But over the years I’ve changed computers and juggled jobs, and sadly got out of the habit.

Now I resolve to notify you of all my wins, I think it will be rather fun to see how many ‘entries’ I get up to.  I have started the year from when I made my first post which was actually 2 days ago.  The WEM for your perusal;

294956_250216905121403_1030422743_n

I did a google search to find the competition I had entered.  I was most surprised to find, (given the quality of the prize), that I was infact a runner-up!

http://buenofashion.com/

Win a trip to a fashion capital, New York, Paris, Milan or London @ Kinder Bueno

Win a trip to a fashion capital, New York, Paris, Milan or London @ Kinder Bueno

You and a friend could soon be seeing more of the world in style – 
when you enter our competition to visit one of three amazing fashion capitals.

Grand Prize:
3 x 3 night trips to New York, Milan or Paris for two people including return standard economy flights and accommodation in a 4* hotel to be won.

Of course, fashion’s ‘big four’ are rightfully led by London. And we wouldn’t dream of running a competition without offering the chance to grab a little of our capital’s diverse style.

Which is why 10 runners up will each win a London shopping weekend for 2, with £500 spending money.
Includes return standard economy train tickets to London for the winner and their guest, overnight accommodation in a 4* hotel. 

And the next 100 entries drawn win a £50 Love2Shop voucher.

The competition was a simple prize draw, I only had to complete my name and contact details and the closing date was 30.04.13.

Now!  Can I just have a little ‘get out clause’ on my Prize Log.  When I first started comping I did, (I hold my hand up guys), enter ANYTHING and EVERYTHING going.  But after finding myself receiving items such as a bicycle repair kit, (when I do not even have a bike), and also time factors.  I made the decision to just go for prizes I really wanted.  I do win less, but I win MORE of what I want to win.

Everyone has their own opinions on this, its sometimes nice to give away unwanted prizes as gifts, or even sell them on.  I used to give away lots of tickets when I worked full time as I couldn’t always leave early, or take time off for concerts at short notice.  It did make me popular amongst my friends and it was lovely to hear their stories.  The Comping Fairy brings joy wherever she sprinkles her fairy dust!

Here’s to a successful blogging and comping year, why not leave a comment with your best guess as to how many wins I will be at on 21/05/14.

Blogging Crazy

I couldn’t sleep last night, I think I am going blogging crazy!  I haven’t even got the pages in the right order and I am in blog overload.  I have looked at so many amazing blogs out there, I already have an inferiority complex.  Will mine shape up, should I be more niche, what sort of blogger am I or aiming to be?!?  I just want to share some ‘lucky’ hints and tips but will anyone want to hear them?  Its all a whirling and blurring in my mind.  So I resolve at this early stage the blog is for me, I will write about what I want to write about.  And well find and dandy if someone likes it then Yeah, Woop Woop, parTEE time!  But if they don’t then oh well, I don’t mind.

How2bBornLucky.com is me, Sue Mellor.  Its my lifestyle and I’m happy living it, and writing it.  If you don’t like reading it hop over to one of the other 200 million blogs out there, (as at April 2013).  It seems it’s not just me then, the world is Blogging Crazy!

Virgin Territory

So I’m entering a new strange place……. I am told it is called the Blogosphere.  I feel excited yet apprehensive, uncertain of what lies ahead.  Will people like my writing, will I think of things to blog about, will I be a success and invited to lots of parties, will I figure out how to link my Facebook account so all you lovely readers can ‘like’ my page?!?

Only time will reveal the answers to these questions.  But for now I will pour some more wine, and search on google for the answer to the latter.