Wednesday, 11 October 2017

My New Vinyl Collection, HMV and The Sound of Vinyl

A few weeks ago I decided to invest in a small portable record player in order to start collecting some new vinyl. I purchased my first records for it from the hmv online store. Although buying music in this format can be costly, I find it hard to put a price on music because it is just one of those vital things that I would find it impossible to live without. Available online at the moment, which I made a purchase from was a 2 for £25 offer on selected popular vinyl and the two albums that I decided to invest in were The Killers album Hot Fuss and Hatful of Hollow by the Smiths. All orders over £10 include free delivery so that was also very pleasing. Initially, I had trawled through Ebay hoping to pick up some records but found that old vinyl was costing more than the brand new and packaged vinyl from hmv.

In order to keep my new vinyl and record sleeves as pristine as possible, I left the outer plastic coating on and just carefully cut down the outer edge instead of removing it completely. My Killers album came with a Sound of Vinyl insert, which also allowed me to download a free digital album.

As a comper, I was also appreciative of the email that I was sent a few days after registering with The Sound of Vinyl which informed me that if I scanned the Facebook messenger code for exclusive Sound of Vinyl content, there was an opportunity to win free vinyl every week. I found it easier to enter by visiting The Sound of Vinyl Facebook page, and by clicking the messenger  'Get Started' button on the top right hand side of the page where you are then given the option for them to sign you up. Further details on the Facebook page here if you would like to enter for yourselves:

For me, buying these records was the rediscovery of the album, we live in the age of technology where we can access any track we would like to listen to at a click of a button. Listening to a whole album seemed to be something that had passed me by in more recent years so when I dropped my needle on to this vinyl for the first time I realised how much I already treasured these pieces of work. You hear certain tracks on the collections that you had for a while forgotten which fuels your love of the music. For me deciding to start a record collection was something I do not regret and will continue to enjoy and maybe in the future it is something that you will also consider too.

Minecraft Giveaway to Celebrate the Opening of My New Facebook Page!

Today in celebration of the grand opening of my new Facebook page, I am offering a new giveaway. As Christmas draws close us compers are always looking for more kids prizes in order to lighten the load of the festive season and in light of this am offering a prize intended for the children, a Minecraft gift pack. The prize will contain a villager action figure, a pair of Minecraft inspired sunglasses and three Minecraft keyrings. To enter please visit my page on Facebook:

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Grace's First Birthday Celebrations

It was my baby Grace's first birthday last Saturday and I just thought I would share some of her first birthday photographs. Here she is pictured below just before we opened her presents.

This is a photo unwrapping some presents with her sisters, Eve and Charlotte.

Busy enjoying her birthday tea.

Grace loves ducks. "Duck" and "quack" was her two very first words. For her birthday we got a friend's eleven year old daughter who really loves baking to make her a duck birthday cake. 

Grace loved it and thought it was super cute! 

The family all had a lovely day to remember!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Product Testing Sites

(11/09/2017) Although I am a competition addict, I am also using this blog to demonstrate how I save money on a small family budget. Today I have decided to register on two different product testing sites that were recommended on Money Saving Expert in order to receive some free products in return for my review of the item. The two sites I have registered with are Clicks Research and Bzzagent. In writing this blog I will be able to illustrate to my readers how many trials I will be offered and the sort of products that are on offer to test. Also I feel it would be awesome to be able to build up this blog with some product reviews so that companies can appreciate that I am adept at being able to test and critique all kinds of consumer goods.

I registered with Clicks Research this morning and I must say you might like to set some time aside if registering with this one, after you have entered your initial details there are A LOT of profiling questions to answer. I have just about managed to get through them all now. It is important to keep going back to these profile questions in order to keep them up to date so you receive more trials. Also keep your eye out for those all important emails they send when new products are ready for testing. For each market research survey you take part in you earn clicks points (usually around 25 - 200 click points per survey) and when you reach 2,500 you can exchange them for £25. If your survey doesn't meet the requirements of their clients you get entered into the monthly draw instead.

BzzAgent claims to be "the leading word of mouth company!" In return for free products you must start "natural, genuine conversations" with "real life" friends and online connections using social media platforms and/or your own blog. I must admit the concept looks quite fun. Once you have registered there are some campaign qualifier surveys which are nice and quick to answer so you should be able to make your way through these quite speedily. I am prepared to update this post with results of future trials so you will be able to see for yourself whether these companies are worth joining yourself so please keep your eyes on this post!

(12/09/2017) Today, I managed to find a banner advertisement for Pinecone research which allowed me to register and take a preliminary survey regarding my personal details. In order to sign up for Pinecone Research you have to be invited or find a banner on a website so it is more difficult to be accepted as a panel member for this market research company. I was a member of Pinecone Research many years ago and I remember that they used to send you lunch vouchers that you could use in the supermarkets in return for completing their surveys. Nowadays, it is a bit more up to date and you get paid around £3 for a 15-20 minute survey, which is very good. With this company you often get to test products that are not even out on the market yet so it is all very top-secret, so in this instance I will not be able to share any information on any products that Pinecone require me to evaluate. However, will let you know if I am accepted on the panel and give you an idea of the amount of surveys that I receive. 

(16/09/2016) I received a welcome email from Pinecone Research on the 14th September and received my very first survey with them on the 16th so everything happened quickly with this survey company. 300 points already banked for a survey which took around 20-25 minutes to complete and that is the equivalent of £3.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

How many do you enter?

It is now the last day in August, as any comper knows there are so many giveaways ending today. I have logged into Loquax to see that their are fifteen pages of competitions that are ending today. Usually, I always enter from the closing soon section but it can be bewildering that there are so many to get through. I have previously read articles in a newspaper with a mum claiming to enter 400 competitions a day!?! Really 400 !?! Is that even possible? I really love my hobby but I do have a life outside of it. There is always washing to do, a baby to feed, change and bath, hoovering, cooking, cleaning, bottles of formula milk to be made up, all that sort of boring everyday but necessary stuff. I would love to hear from other compers on this topic. How many competitions do you enter a day? Do you enter the closing soon competitions, or from the new competitions section? Maybe you enter your competitions from particular prize categories, either way, would be nice to hear from you all. A good comping day for me would probably be 50 entries (more, obviously, if there is a lot of quick twitter RT and follow giveaways!). I enter between 1000-1500 a month.

Today, I didn't feel like it, entered about 15 and decided to enter another creative photo competition that features in Compers News. I was a winner in the August edition as you can see from my previous post and not sure whether I will be able to win again but the terms and conditions do state that there are no limitations to the amount of prizes you can win and that you can enter once for each image. I was going to share my efforts here with you today but still haven't quite finished so will share with you here tomorrow. Here is the image I am attempting to re-create.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Should I subscribe to a competition newsletter?

My hobby as a comper came about as a result of a leaflet that was pushed through my door eleven years ago that was promoting the competition listings magazine, Competitors Companion, now known as Compers News. I then signed up and must say that I really enjoyed receiving a physical magazine through the post that provided competition listings with a section that itemised purchase necessary prizes. Also included was guidance and advice on competition entry, kid's magazine giveaways and articles from members reporting their wins. Reading about the successes of the comping community, has always been something I take pleasure in, it gives me hope that those big wins may be just around the corner. It is also quite refreshing to put the laptop down for an hour or two whilst I read the newsletter and write out my postcards.

My subscription to my Competitiors Companion was cancelled when I needed to save money and it was only five months ago that I again subscribed to Compers News in order to find other postcard entry competitions. I was concerned that it would be a waste of money, considering that there are so many major competition websites available online, however, I was not disappointed with my subscription. Since becoming a Compers News member I have won a prize listed for an ipad mini and £500 worth of PJ Masks toys. Furthermore, I was also the lucky £200 winner in Compers News 2017 exclusive competition called Prizes...Then & Now, which requires entrants to re-imagine the weird and wonderful images from the compers news archive in their very own photos.

Here is my re-imagination of image ten:

Overall, therefore, I am really pleased with my subscription so far. The only downside to this is finding, the time to enter competitions in both from the magazine online, get on with blogging and bring up a baby. With that said, I'm off to change a nappy!

Monday, 28 August 2017

£10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway and Bear Grylls Adventure Series Review. recently gave away a whopping 250 books from Bear Grylls new adventure series - 125 of The Blizzard Challenge and 125 copies of The Desert Challenge to Mumsnet users in return for their child's feedback on the book. Everyone would posted detailed feedback was entered in for a draw for £100 Love2shop voucher, this was enough incentive for me to write a comprehensive review detailing my daughters reaction to the book.

I won The Desert Challenge and would love to share with you the review that my eleven year old daughter Evie and myself wrote on mumsnet.

winningaway Thu 08-Jun-17 21:09:49
Thanks for sending us the book. My daughter and I have read through the book over the last couple of evenings together. From the very beginning the story dives straight into the action with the main female character Sophie playing five-a-side football. Both my daughter and I felt it was refreshing to have a girl as the main protagonist rather than a boy. The book also promotes physical activity from the start with football games and obstacle courses.

The language used is simple and easy to understand, I felt it might be aimed for an audience a little bit younger than my daughter Evie, who has just turned eleven. I think she would have appreciated something a little more complex.

The conflict is introduced in the second chapter. When a crane fly enters Sophie's tent, her phobia of insects reveals itself. The protagonist is gifted a "magic compass" by a boy who seems to be aware of how embarrassed Sophie feels over her fear of creepy crawlies. I am sure many children can identify with an anxiety surrounding bugs so hopefully this book could help them to start understanding and dealing with their own fears.

The reader is introduced to Bear Grylls at the end of the third chapter after Sophie is transported to the desert by the compass. During their time in the desert Sophie questions Bear on many different topics. Evie and I felt that this was good because not only did it reflect real childlike behaviour, it reassured us that Sophie was safe with Bear who has knowledge of their surroundings and also taught us (the reader) desert facts.

We felt that Bear really put his own stamp on this book when he kills a scorpion to eat. I feel that young Bear Grylls fans would enjoy reading these parts. In the end the conflict is resolved, and Sophie overcomes her fears after Bear's teachings in the desert and she is ricocheted straight back into her obstacle race at the campsite. Evie liked the sentiment at the end of the story which sees Sophie pass on her compass to Omar who also displays unease at the sight of an insect.

Overall therefore, we felt the characters were likeable, the plot was well structured and Bear's teachings helped the young reader to learn facts about how to survive in the desert and about the desert itself. The only criticism I have is that I felt it maybe it should have been aimed at an older audience with more complex sentences, the reason for this being that I feel Bear Grylls young fans maybe slightly older than the age range that this book is intended.

Evie and I particularly liked the questions at the end that helped us to recap over the things we had learnt and I thought that this would be particularly helpful if your child was reading the book alone but wanted to talk over the story with a parent at the end. Evie said in future it would be nice to see a non-fiction collection from Bear Grylls with lots of photographs, facts, quizzes, puzzles and physical activities. Thanks for sending this free book and hope this review has been useful.

Unfortunately, I was not the winner of a Love2shop voucher, however, I did really enjoy reviewing this book with my daughter Evie and this has spurred me on to get involved in writing more product reviews with my children. You can find out what other Mumsnetters thought of the books here:
The Desert Challenge is available from Amazon at £3.99 here

To celebrate my first published post, I have a £10 Amazon Gift Card up for grabs. Please enter using the rafflecopter link below.

Terms and Conditions
  • UK only. 
  • Giveaway starts 30/08/2017 at 12.00 am and ends on 16/09/2017 at 12.00am.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • If the winner does not respond within 7 days to the winning email, a new winner will be chosen.

My New Vinyl Collection, HMV and The Sound of Vinyl

A few weeks ago I decided to invest in a small portable record player in order to start collecting some new vinyl. I purchased my first r...