Sunday, 30 October 2011

Hawaii Five-0 winner and feedback

Thank you for all your entries to the Hawaii Five-0 competition. The winner was entry #71 from Phil Holland. You can see the "Rafflecopter" announcement of the winner on the original post

I loved reading all your entries, and they reminded me of all sorts of programmes I had forgotten about. I can see I'm going to be thumbing through the TV guides to see what's on the channels that specialise in "Golden Oldies".

My personal favourites were Monty Python's Flying Circus in the early 1970s and Butterflies in the late 70s/early 80s. There, I bet you were all expecting me to anme a cookery show like Delia or the Galloping Gourmet weren't you?

Now a bit of feedback about the Rafflecopter system. When there is a Rafflecopter entry system - that's the big box on the page with the "I did this" buttons next to the tasks, you MUST use it. The draw is done using the information submitted through this box, and if you just comment on the blog or on Twitter or Facebook without also sending your details through the "I did this" button, you aren't included in the draw.

Also if you say that you have commented, followed or tweeted but don't actually DO it - Rafflecopter knows! The person runing the comp sees a list of everyone who has entered and what they have actually done, so I'm afraid those of you who tried to save time by just clicking the "I did this" button and not actually doing the task weren't included in the draw either. Neither were those who had simply seen somebody else's entry tweet on Twitter and  copied it or Rt'd it - they didn't come to the blog and tell Rafflecopter that had entered, so they weren't in the draw.

Rafflecopter is very easy to use, if you simply click on each step in turn and follow the instructions there, and as it makes it so much easier for people running blog competitions  to do them safely and securely, being able to communicate with entrants and winners without them having to risk exposing personal details like email addresses publicly on the web, we're going to be seeing a lot more of them.

I'll be running more comps using it in the future, to help compers get to grips with it. And do please feel free to ask me any questions you have about the system, whether you are a comper who wants to enter a competition run this way or a blogger who would like to run one. I'll do my very best to answer!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Getting hold of those elusive till receipts.

Have you ever seen a competition entry form - or even just heard of the form but not got hold of it - and thought , "I would love to enter that but I can't get hold of the till receipt I need."? Maybe you are house bound, or live somewhere the shop running the competition has no branches? Or simply haven't time to visit a range of different shops?

Well, now there is a solution to your problem. Jenni Bower-Tebbs, a Grape Vine reader who has been running a popular entry form supply service for many years, is starting up a qualifier buying service.

The way it works is that you send her a stamped, addressed envelope plus enough unused, loose postage stamps to cover the price of the product plus a little extra to cover her  petrol costs when she goes shopping.  She will buy you the product and use your SAE send you the till receipt and an entry form - two entry forms if she has enough, so you have one for your records. She then keeps the product itself as her payment for the service.

To start with and see what the response is, she is offering to get the products for the Morrisons/Heinz "Win your grocery shopping for life" competition.

The prize is £10,000 in Morrisons vouchers and a whopping £65,000 in cash, and the task is simply to fill in your details on the entry form and enclose a Morrisons till receipt for any Heinz, HP or Lea & Perrins product.

Jenni will supply the till receipt for the price of 3 x 1st class stamps, plus of course your SAE. She will take requests for other Morrisons receipts and if the service proves popular, will extend to other supermarkets and stores.

As Jenni has no computer or email account, I can't give you an email address to contact her, and I didn't want to post her home address publicly on the blog. I know all you compers are lovely people, but sadly blogs can be read by some very UNlovely people too! So if you would like to take up the offer, please email me at with the subject TR SERVICE and I will tell you where to send your SAE and stamps.

If you are a Grape Vine reader, there is no need to email me, you will find Jenni's address in the "IN - TO - WIN" advert on the back page of every copy of Grape Vine.

IN - TO - WIN is Jenni's entry form service - she can supply single or monthly packs of entry forms. A  single pack costs £5, 3 months £12, 6 months £20 and 12 months £35, with cheques payable to Mrs J Bower-Tebbs. Again, email me for her address if you would like to give it a try!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Win....... EVERYTHING!

I Want One of Those, affectionately known by many as IWOOT, is a website that sells an amazing array of unusual and quirky gifts and accessories, ranging from a talking meerkat to a wine chilling fridge. Toys, gifts, games consoles, experience days - they have a gift for every taste and every budget.

In fact they have so many gifts to choose from it can be hard to make up your mind. So how about simply having one of everything? Yes, every item they sell, that's over 2,350 products. To buy them would cost you more than £85,000 but they are giving you the chance to WIN one of everything they sell. That's all one prize, a whole lorry load of goodies including enough experience days to keep you busy every weekend for a year, games consoles, an iPad, fancy dress costumes and even some Christmas Pudding bin bags!

All you need to do to enter is text AWESOME to 84383. No name and address, no email address, just the one word. It really couldn't be much easier! Each text costs £1 plus your normal message rate, but if you enter twice you can make a third entry completely free!

For full details of the competition, including a l-o-n-g list of prizes and, for non-texters, a postal entry route, visit

The competition closes on December 10th - so keep your mobile switched on that week, because if they can't contact the winner by 1pm on the 14th, they will have to draw a new winner. You'd really kick yourself if you missed out on a prize like that!

And please, if one of you wins, can I have your Christmas Pudding bin bags? I'm sure you will have plenty other goodies left to enjoy!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Another lovely competition from Tesco Books blog

Tesco books have done it again - there is a lovely new "comment to win" competition on their blog. The prize is a hamper of craft goodies and a sgined copy of Kirstie Allsopp's new book Craft, which accompanies her TV series. There are signed copies of the book for two runners up, too.

To enter this competition, pop over to the Tesco Book blog and leave your favourite craft tip - it can be your own original one or one you have learned from somebody else.

The competition closes on November 4th.

NOTE The competition is being run on the Tesco books blog, not here, so please don't leave your comments here - much as I'd love to read your crafty tips, they won't be entered into the compeition!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Win a wonderful treat for a little girl!

Dolls' prams have a timeless appeal for little girls. And it isn't just the dolls who get wheeled around in them - teddy bears  and even pets get the treatment too. I used to love pushing my cat around the garden in my doll's  pram, and the cat seemed to enjoy it too. At least, he kept coming back for more!

Silver Cross have a beatuful range of dolls' prams, styled to match their well-known Heritage Collection of full sized prams. And now they are offering you the chance to win one. This beautiful pram, the Chatsworth, could be yours simply for answering a question on their Facebook page.

The pram is worth £300 - wouldn't that make a wonderful Christmas  present? And the competition closes at 3pm on November 11th.

I'd like to say "Good  luck" - but I'd like even more to win this for my own granddaughter!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Money Magpie

Created by author and finance expert Jasmine Birtles, is a magazine-style website offering money-saving tips and notifying readers of the very latest offers on everything from meals out to beauty products. The site receives an average of well over 3,800 visits per day.

They have invited Grape vine readers to have a look around the site:

Here at, we love competitions. We have a page dedicated purely to comping which is updated regularly, and our free weekly newsletter – which has 35,000 subscribers and counting – always features competitions, as does our popular Bargain Alert. We also like to use our Facebook and Twitter pages to alert our readers of the latest competitions and the best comping sites and magazines.

We would be delighted if you could alert your readers to these great features of our website. The links are as follows:

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Your chance to be in a TV quiz show!

Splash media would like to invite compers and  quizzers to apply to be on their new TV quiz show. They say "Far from your average tea-time quiz, we are looking for true intellectual heavyweights and general knowledge know-it-alls to take part in the show". Here are the details of how to apply.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Win a prize just by getting out of bed!

How easy does that sound? You don't even need to brush your hair!

The Best Bed Linen in the World and award winning hairdresser Karine Jackson are looking for The Best Bed Hair in the World.

The prizes are lovely:
WINNER – Overnight stay at The Grove and a Luxury Down Surround Pillow
FIRST RUNNER-UP – Haircut with Karine Jackson (Covent Garden) and Luxury Down Surround Pillow
SECOND RUNNER-UPLuxury Down Surround Pillow and luxury pillow cases
THIRD RUNNER-UP - Hair products from Karine Jackson and luxury pillow cases

To enter, email a photograph of your "Bed hair" to  with your name, contact details and where you heard about the competition. It would be great if you could tell them you read about it on the Grape Vine blog!

You can read all about the competition, which closes on November 30th, along with the full terms and conditions,  here  - where there is also a link to their Facebook page where entries will be received as they come in.

And to get you thinking about your own entry, here is the picture I will be using for my own entry.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Another trip to Turkey

Note: This post is my entry for the Travelizer competition for a chance to win an £800 break to a European city. Full details of the competition, and how you can enter yourself, can be found at - the competition closes on November 4th

Long term readers of  this blog may recall that last year I was lucky enough to win a prize in  the Sunday Times's weekly "Where Was I?" competition. The holiday prize that week was a trip to the beautiful hotel Bordubet, and you can read about the prize trip here . I finished that post with the phrase "I'll be back" and, true to my word, I returned there  in September this year.

Last year I went with my friend Rosemary, but I knew my husband would  love the hotel, so this  year he and I went together. And we enjoyed it so much  that we have already booked to go again next year!

Bordubet (the name comes from the German, not Turkish, for "bird bed" and almost every building has a beautiful bird house on the wall) is a beautiful hotel in a very isolated position on the Bozburun Peninsula of  Turkey. There are no shops and bars nearby, no nightlife, no entertainment, just relaxing, beautiful gardens  and a small "beach club" accessed by boat or a path winding along the hillside.

Even when the hotel is full, there are only 72 guests, and with 40 staff to look after you, the standard  of service is extremely high but never obtrusive. We enjoyed lazy days and relaxing evenings, enjoying the almost-empty pool or taking the boat out to the beach club to swim in the sea. Delicious buffet style meals were served each evening among the sounds of crickets, frogs and the occasional duck-fight. The river winds through the grounds  beside the restaurant, and fish swim up to the tables to beg for food.

As well as  glorious lush gardens  in the main part of the hotel, the kitchen garden is also open to visitors, who are free to roam around and even pick fruit and veg and take them to the kitchen to be cooked for them.  Most of you know that my husband is a keen vegetable grower and loves to blog about food and gardening, so as you can imagine he was in his element! This bed of pumpkins was next to the hotel's tennis  and basketball courts, so we nicknamed it the "squash court"

We  came home feeling healthier and more relaxed than we had done for a very long time, and look forward to repeating the experience next year.

I must end with one more photograph - being the editor of Grape Vine,  I couldn't leave the hotel without a photo of.... a grape vine!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Win a Hawaii Five-O DVD box set

Hawaii Five-O was a very popular TV series in the 1970s and I have  a box set of series one to give away. And an added  bonus for compers - the set contains a competition for a holiday to Hawaii!

To enter, follow the instructions in the widget below, making sure you do exactly what the widget tells you to in each step. Competition  closes Friday 28th October.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Pizza my way

This is my entry for the Love the Garden "Taste of Tomatoes" competition. If you would like to enter yourself, check this link for full details - you could win a £200 meal at a restaurant of your choice.  The competition closes on October 19th.

Pizza is a favourite in many families, but sometimes making it from scratch can seem like a  bit of a faff - as well as making a yeast dough, you have to make the tomato sauce to top it with, or buy a ready-prepared sauce which leaves you feeling you might as well have bought the whole thing. But if you have some really good tomatoes, there is no need to make a sauce at all - you may be surprised to learn that fresh tomatoes make a really delicious topping without any pre-cooking.

You do need to plan a little way ahead for this - I usually prepare the tomatoes at the same time as I start making the dough. You need to choose a variety that has very few seeds, as they can make the topping watery. Ferline is  a perfect one to use - I started with around 450g to make a pizza that serves 4.

Chop them up, not too finely - I cut them into chunks of about 7-8 mm - then mix them with about half a teaspoon each of salt and sugar, one teaspoon each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a little black pepper. Cover and leave them to stand for a couple of hours. That's all you need to do to them!

Now prepare your chosen base. I am lucky enough to have a bread machine that I won in a Twitter competition, which has a special setting for pizza dough, so I use the recipe from the handbook. You could use your choice of home made base, or a bought base, or a savoury scone dough or even some ready-made puff pastry to ring the changes, but make sure you adjust the cooking time and temperature to suit your base.

While the tomatoes are standing, prepare any other toppings you are going to use. Today I fried some sliced  chestnut mushrooms and tore a ball of mozzarella cheese into small pices, and took the strenuous step of taking the dried oregano out of the cupboard (I always think that dried tastes betterthan fresh on a pizza!). And I cut some shavings of parmesan to top the pizza  with when it came out of the oven. Also grease a baking sheet, or a special pizza baking tray if you have one. Yes, yes, I won mine...  I expect you are thinking "of course...." by now.

When the dough is ready, roll it out to fit your tray then brush it with oil and let it prove for a short time while you heat the oven - 200 degrees C if you are using a bread dough. Once the oven is hot, assemble your toppings  on it and brush the edge of the dough with a little more oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden at the edges, then remove from the oven and scatter over the parmesan flakes.

Finally, serve with a green salad and a glass of wine (dare I suggest "a nice Chianti"?)

Naturally,  we had a bottle of wine that I had won......

Friday, 7 October 2011

How to copy and paste.

Last month, the Grape Vine update went out in a new format, and I was very surprised that among the overwhelmingly positive feedback I had, a few of you said  "But it takes too much paper and ink to print out." Print it out? You really REALLY don't need  to do that! Many of the competitions listed in the update are to be entered by email or online, and if you click on the links in the email you receive, they will take you straight to the website or open up an email for you, ready to send your entry. If you print it out and then try to copy the links by hand, you could make mistakes, and a website link with a typo in it simply won't work.

But I realise that sometimes you want to sit down in an armchair, away from the computer, and do the postal or text entry competitions, or have a printed list of packs and entry forms to look out for while shopping - so why not save yourself LOTS of paper and ink, and only print what you need?

To do this, all you need to do is to copy and paste the relevant parts of the update into whatever programme you like to use - maybe Word, or possibly an email to yourself  - and then save it to print out when you are ready to do so.

And  when I  suggested that, several people then said "But how do I do that?". There wasn't space in the November Grape Vine for me to tell you how to do it, it was so packed with competitions, so here are the instructions.

First of all, open the document you want to copy FROM and the one you want to copy TO. Then use your mouse to position the cursor just before the first word you want to copy. Hold down the left button on the mouse, move to the end  of the last word you want to copy, and let go. Now you will see that section of text is highlighted.

Next you have a choice of things to do:

1.  Click the right mouse button. A menu will appear at the side of the highlighted  text. Select "Copy" from it. Now go over to  where you want to paste the text and  click the right mouse button again.  This  time select "Paste" and your chosen text will appear in your new document, where you can  save it, email it or print it out.

2. Look at the top of your screen. Whatever programme you are using, one of the headings there - usually "Edit" -  will contain the word  "Copy". Selecting this will copy your highlighted text. Move to your new  document, and, from the menu at the top (in Word, this is the Edit menu near the left) select "Paste" and your text will appear.

3. Hit the "Ctrl" key (on the bottom left of your keyboard)  at the same time as the letter C to copy the text, then move to your new document and hit  the Ctrl key again but this time at the same time as the letter V.  This too will paste your text.

You can combine any of the copying methods with any of the pasting methods, so you could copy by right-clicking and paste by using Ctrl-V if you like - whatever suits the programme you  are using and seem to be most convenient to you.

Once you have the hang of it, you will find that it isn't just helpful for copying bits of the update - you can
  • copy information that you want to save from web pages
  • copy text from one email to another, if you want to pass it on to a friend without forwarding the whole message
  • copy web addresses into your address bar on those annoying times when they won't click
  • copy the whole of this blog post into a document to save for when you want to refer back to it!
  • and many, many more uses.
I know that many of you will  think I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs (actually, as far as I know my grandmother never once had the urge to suck an egg, and I wouldn't know how to do it anyway!) but for every one of you who is experienced and confident with computers, there  are at least a dozen who struggle rather nervously through everything to do with them, and I'll always do my best to use plain English to help compers in that position!

Many thanks to my husband Mark for the photos; my camera just isn't man enough for the job. And  if you want to see more of his brilliant photography, mostly on gardening and food themes, with lovely pictures of our granddaughter too,  why not take a look at his blog?