4 young children in a group hug with smiling faces.

Winning Together

4 young children in a group hug with smiling faces.Is winning something that we can successfully do together?

Inspired by the newly found knowledge that 1 in 5 jackpot wins are by syndicates, I’ve been looking at the concept of winning together. I’ve joined forces with Lotto Social, who have kindly allowed me to share an amazing offer with my readers. Before I go into the details, however, the concept of Lotto Social has inspired me to look at whether “winning together” is something that would translate into the comping world. After all, whether it’s lotteries or competitions, the goal is the same, we all just want to win!

sharing winnings with others

The idea of winning together is not a new one for me. My Nan has been an avid comper for many years, so comping is in my blood.  For as far back as I can remember, she’s bought the same magazines every single week, just for the competitions section. She spends hours completing the various puzzles and posting the little slips away each week, in the hope of bettering the lives of herself and her family.

As a child and even now, in my 30s, whenever I visit my Nan, she will always have a post-it note tucked away with a list of comping questions she needs help with. In reward, she promises to split the prizes with me. I love this idea of grouping together comping efforts and sharing prizes. I feel that it could potentially work well in the wider comping community, providing it’s easily shareable cash prizes on offer. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments, as it’s something I would seriously look at setting up for the Prize Warriors group, if I had enough interest.

How I discovered syndication

Perhaps the most common form of prize sharing is syndication. I’ve always thought the idea of lottery syndication is genius. It’s a simple but effective idea, more players equals more tickets purchased. More tickets purchased equals more chances to win. The jackpot is so ridiculously high for lotteries, that sharing winnings has never been a worry to me!

I first came to syndication in my late teens, whilst working in a factory painting police helmet plates. Each department where I worked ran a small syndicate, with 20-50 members, organised by an overly enthusiastic colleague.Being me, I joined up willingly and actually had a couple of wins too! It never amounted to much once divided into 50 of course, but any winnings were always a very welcome bonus to minimum wage. It was really exciting winning with a group of people, as the atmosphere was great and we’d often go out together and spend the winnings (usually in the pub!) The possibility of winning big together felt nice, it was a buzz and I certainly miss that.

Lotto Social Advetrt with sunny beach scene

How do Lotto Social help you to win together?

Lotto Social are a site that offer the opportunity for its members to join an online National Lottery syndicate. As someone who is always looking to up my chances of winning at everything, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to have a go, especially with their amazing sign up offer.

They have kindly allowed me to share this offer with my readers, just click on this link to take advantage. This gives you 10 lines in your first draw for just £1. They also currently have an additional bonus offer, I’m not sure how long for, but it worked for me. Just click the green pop up bubble on registration and for the same £1 you get:

  • 10 EuroMillions lines
  • 10 UK Millionaire Maker entries
  • 5 FREE Instant win games – win up to £7k! (I actually got 10 free instant wins!)
  • 90 Days No Win, Money Back Guarantee

Following this offer, you can choose to continue your membership for £5 per week, which will give you 10 lines in the draw on both Tuesdays and Fridays, or you can cancel any time you like. Another nice option they have is that they offer winnings as bonus funds. Bonus funds are offered at 4 times the value of the win and can be used to purchase more lottery tickets. I think this is a very attractive offer for small wins of a few pounds.

For me it was a no brainer to at least give the first week a try! For less than the price of a 1st class stamp, that’s a really good amount of chances to win. I’ll update you on how I got on once the draws are made! Please remember that you must be 16+ to become a member.

A screen shot from Lotto Social demonstrating the syndicate
Here’s my first syndicate allocation. Wish me luck!!

Free Instant Win Games

I was also lucky enough to get 10 free turns on some of the instant win games they have available. The instant win games offer further opportunities to win cash, however, unlike some simple win or lose games, these also give you the opportunity to collect points. If you win points instead of cash, these can then be redeemed against other instant win games. My 10 free turns actually turned into 2800 points, which is quite a few free games, all of which give you the chance to win real cash. At the moment I’m popping into my account every day for 5 minutes or so to play through some points. I haven’t won any cash yet, but I do win back a lot of points, so it seems that you will have plenty of opportunity to win for free!

An example of one of the instant win games available on Lotto Social
Here is one of the free games I was awarded with my sign up offer. Following my 8 free spins, I ended up with 2800 additional points to redeem against other games!

Lotto Social OFfer link button

Giving back whilst you win

This was another attractive benefit of Lotto Social for me. I am not by any means a wealthy woman, but I do love to find any way that I can to give to those less fortunate than myself. Lotto Social actually gives back a percentage of their profits to community based charities. November’s proceeds went to youth homelessness and anti-bullying charities, both very worthy causes. What’s more, as a member, you get a chance to help decide where this money is directed each month. This is a great way to help improve the lives of other, whilst trying to improve your own. So, I guess it’s also a form of ‘winning together’.

A picture of people jumping up together on a beach in the sunset
Good luck!

Please note: There are affiliate links on this page, this means that I get a small fee if you purchase a membership via my link. This does not cost you any extra and it allows me to continue to run my blog. Thanks for your understanding.

A picture of 2 boxed Doctor Who figures

Win Doctor Who Wave 4 Figures

Doctor Who Figure Giveaway

This weeks addition to my Christmas competitions series is going to be a great present for kids and adults alike. If they are Doctor Who fans, that is!

I have two very cool boxed figures from the BBC Wave 4 set of figures, Skovox Blitzer and The Foretold (Mummy Creature). These are 3.75 inch articulated figures and the ideal gift for any collector or fan of the franchise.

How do I win them?

I’m going with Rafflecopter again this week, as the Gleam problem doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Simply fill in the form below for your chance to win this pair of prizes.

Don’t forget, I have a whole host of other competitions running throughout November and December. Check out the links below if you haven’t entered those yet:

 

Win a Christmas themed photo shoot for your kids or pets + a 7×5 print – Ends 24th November

Win a Barbie Colour Change Glam Bag – Ends 30th November

Win a Night at the Awards Board Game – Ends 30th November

Win a bundle of My Little Pony Plush Coin Purses – Ends 30th November

 

Also don’t forget to check back regularly until 16th December, as I will be posting a new competition each week until then. You can keep up to date with all of my new competitions and posts by entering your email address in the sign up box at the bottom of this page!

Enter Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is provided by Prizewarriors.com.
Entries must be received by 7 December 2018.
The prize is two Doctor Who Figures.
Open to UK residents over the age of 18 only.
Entry is via the Rafflecopter form and amount of entries awarded will depend on the number of actions performed by user.
The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
Please respond within 14 days of your winner notification email or the prize will be redrawn.
Please allow 14 days from claim for delivery of the prize.

I list my free-to-enter competitions on Competition Database!

Competitions listed on Loquax!

I list my competitions on The Prizefinder!

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky: the UK's biggest list of blog giveaways
Mudpie Fridays

Please note: There are Amazon affiliate links on this page, this means that I get a small fee from Amazon if you purchase via my link. This does not cost you anything and it allows me to continue to run my blog. Thanks for your understanding.

An advent calendar with a Christmas tree image

Advent Competitions

How to make Advent Competitions work for you

December is fast approaching folks, and for us compers, that means that advent competitions are just around the corner! This can be an exciting time for compers as there are way more prizes on offer than in any other month of the year. It can also be very stressful trying to keep up with it all. Whether you love or hate them, entering advent competitions can be fun and lucrative, providing that you make them work for you.

What are Advent Competitions?

In recent years, advent competitions have become a very popular and novel way for businesses to promote their range, whilst spreading a bit of Christmas cheer at the optimum time of the year for retail sales.

Most competitions are set up as an actual advent calendar, with prizes available behind every door. Each day you will have access to the prize behind the coresponding door. The most common entry method is usually name and email address, so they are nice and quick to enter. Most start on December 1st and run for either 12 or 24 days. The prizes can vary greatly in size and value depending on the organisation providing them. You will also find that some companies like to add in special offers behind some of the doors, rather than prizes, so unless it’s somewhere you were already planning to shop, I would avoid these.

My Advent Competition method

A great way that you can make advent comps work for you is to be selective. There are a couple of things that will happen if you try to enter all of the advent comps you find. Number one, you will become stressed and overwhelmed. Number two, you won’t have the time to enter the usual non-advent comps that are still available in abundance. And don’t forget, as many people focus on the advent comps, those regular comps will be receiving way less entries than usual, increasing your chances of winning!

I’m going to hold up my hands now and admit that I am a bit of a comping geek. Well, you would hope so considering I write this blog! But, even in my life outside of comping, I’m a planner. I plan and I research and I organise. This year I have decided to share my geeky method with you lucky people! Some of this might seem obvious, however, simply by being married to an incredibly non-organised person, I understand that won’t be the case for everyone.

Step 1: Research

Probably a bit of a bold term, research, but for want of another, it does the job. So, this year, I have discovered that the advent competitions have been announced even earlier than last year. I’m guessing we’re going to have a ‘Christmas music in shops’ type situation here and eventually they will be announced the same week as Halloween! Still, in this instance I won’t complain as I think it’s great. Both The Prizefinder and Loquax have their advent lists available and as of checking yesterday (19th November) the links on Loquax are already ‘active’. By active, I mean that links to the various advent websites are live, you just can’t enter the competitions yet. Update: As of 1st December Competition Database also have live advent links!

Have a real good look at what’s available outside of the normal comping sites too. I would recommend going to the websites of brands that you love to see if they will be doing one, as it may not be listed elsewhere yet.

Step 2: Selection

Be picky with these comps! As I mentioned above, there are a LOT of them. Bear in mind that a lot of them will run right up to Christmas eve, or day and therefore if you are looking to use the prizes purely for Christmas presents, you’re probably better disregarding them after a certain date (I suggest around 16th December). More than ever, with advents, I only focus on the prizes that I really, really want.

With the advent links available so early, you can save so much time. Most advent comps will start on December 1st, so if you can have already picked the ones you want to enter before then, you’re at a distinct time advantage!

Step 3: Build your collection

What I do from here is to build my own link collection. I have a folder on my toolbar which contains links to the advent comps that I am interested in entering on a daily basis. As they run for different periods of time, I rename the link to reflect the closing date. I don’t care what the prizes are at this point, as I’ve already decided it’s something that I want in the selection stage, so renaming it as just the closing date lets me know when to delete the link and focus my attention on the rest. Below is an example of what I have set up so far for this year.

An example of using toolbar folders to store advent competitions links
As you can see, I’ve been very selective and there are only a few for now, but you get the idea!

Step 4: Enter and Update

This is the order I choose to do my competitions in, you may prefer a different order, but the main point is, have an order! I enter the regular comps closing that day first, then go through the links in my advent folder, followed by any new competitions if I have time. I would suggest keeping the links in each advent folder to a maximum of 15 and then selecting open all. This saves confusion and has a nice methodical feel to it. If you have more than 15 links, I would suggest numbering folders along your toolbar i.e Advents 1, Advents 2. Throughout December, I will follow this routine. It’s also worth noting that some advent competitions are not announced until the day that they open, so it’s certainly worth checking back through the advent competition lists available on the bigger listing sites to update your collection.

Top Tips

  • Don’t forget about the regular competitions. These will have way fewer entries due to the advents, thus making them easier to win.
  • Focus on locally based advent competitions, such as your local shopping centres and indepedent shops, as these will have far fewer entries than the bigger brands!
  • Use form filling software such as Dashlane to complete your entries quicker
  • Read Facebook notifications last! It’s an overwhelming part of social media comping on any day of the year, trying to read through every single tag notification. At advent time, it can be hellish! Don’t let notifications distract and confuse you, enter those in your collection first, read notifications later.
  • Have some sort of Christmas themed photo ready for competitions asking for one, and they will. If it has your kids dressed as Elves etc, that would be a bonus but the broader the appeal, the better as it can be used in different categories.

My Top Picks this year!

So here’s a little updae for you (3rd December). I’m really enjoying the advents this year, how about you? I thought I would to a round up of my top 10 advent competitions this year, let ,e know if you have entered any of them.

  1. AMC – A Walter White Christmas – amazing idea, I love this one, really unique and quirky
  2. Grindstore – Nice to see an alternative brand joining in, they have some interesting prizes
  3. Magic Radio with Sky Cinema – This one is awesome. So much effort gone into it, love the design. Excellent for movie fans
  4. Travel Up – I love the look of this one and it has some amazing prizes, if you know me, you will know I love the travel and day trip based prizes the most!
  5. Family Travel Association – Whilst the pay off vs. effort for this advent/game is meager, you have to love the idea! The puppetry video scenes of classic movies are hilarious.
  6. Radio City’s Signature Living – The prizes are insanely luxurious hotel stay and I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but all 25 days are available now. I’ve already entered for the month!
  7.  My Mail – You do need to register for an account for this one, but the prizes are HUGE. We’re talking holidays and £10k diamond rings!!
  8. Vegan Life Magazine – I realise this is a slightly more niche appeal. However, after years of endless Christmas gift basket competitions that I can’t enter because they don’t cater to me, this is a welcome treat!
  9. Scenic Tours – Another attractive calendar with great travel related prizes and mostly high value.
  10. Keel Toys – Lovely toy based prizes daily, with the opportunity to win a huge hamper of toys on top of that on 19th December.

Dont forget, I still have a couple of my competitions open for this year, with one more to follow this coming Thursday (6/12). See Links below:

Dr Who Figures Giveaway

My Little Pony Plush Coin Purses Giveaway

Disney A Nightmare Before Christmas Wallet

What did you win?

As much as it might seem a little bit neurotic or time-consuming to follow my above suggestion, I really do recommend it, as it will save you a lot of time and stress in the longer term.

I’m interested to know if you use any other methods to enter advent competitions and how it works for you. Also, let me know what you win! As much as I am a bit of a ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, there’s something really fun about advent calendars. I used to love them as a kid and have desperately been trying to win myself a beauty advent calendar for this year! I love the thrill of seeing what’s behind each door. And who wouldn’t want a new surprise every day!?

Good luck everyone, enjoy yourselves and I hope you win big!

Win a Bundle of 3 My Little Pony Plush Coin Purses

My Little Pony Plush Coin Purse Giveaway

A picture of 3 plush My Little Pony Plush toys
You could win this awesome bundle in time for Christmas!!

How to win

As I discussed here, My Little Pony is as popular as ever this Christmas, so I thought that it would be great to give away this set of 3 super cute My Little Pony plush toys. They actually double up as coin purses and bag clips, so they have a nice multi functional appeal to them. The prize consists of 3 very popular characters from the range; Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash and Lemon Drop.

This giveaway is open until Midnight on 30 November 2018 and the prize will be posted well in time for you to receive and give as a Christmas gift, if you are the lucky winner.

I recently wrote a post about the top toys for Christmas 2018 and how you can win them. I also have a number of my own giveaways running throughout November and December, as well as a Featured Christmas Competition.

To enter this giveaway, please click on the following Rafflecopter link.

Win 3 My Little Pony Plush Coin Purses

Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is provided by Prizewarriors.com.
Entries must be received by 30 November 2018.
The prize is 3 plush My Little Pony Coin Purses.
Open to UK residents over the age of 18 only.
Entry is via the Rafflecopter form and amount of entries awarded will depend on the number of actions performed.
The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
Please respond within 14 days of your winner notification email or the prize will be redrawn.
Please allow 14 days from claim for delivery of the prize.

I list my free-to-enter competitions on Competition Database!

Competitions listed on Loquax!

I list my competitions on The Prizefinder!

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky: the UK's biggest list of blog giveaways
Mudpie Fridays

Please note: There are Amazon affiliate links on this page, this means that I get a small fee from Amazon if you purchase via my link. This does not cost you anything and it allows me to continue to run my blog. Thanks for your understanding.

How to Win 2018’s Top Christmas Toys

 

Every year at this time, there are a huge amount of new toys introduced to the market, that every kid ‘desperately needs’. As parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles etc, we often feel under great pressure to fulfil these ‘needs’. I, for one, am going to find it a real struggle to provide the thousands of toys on my son’s list! And, he’s an only child!

Which toys will be most popular for Christmas 2018?

So, with the above in mind, I want to try to help reduce that burden on you to buy EVERYTHING. Recently I’ve paid a lot of attention to articles created by the main toy shops and online retailers listing what they consider to be the top toys for Christmas 2018. Below, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the top eight desired toys/categories of toys this Christmas, as a result of that research. For each toy on the list, I’ve provided as many links as I can find to competitions where you can win them.

Make sure to check back regularly for more opportunities to win the toys that your kids are asking for, because I’ll keep updating this post between now and Christmas.

 

1.LEGO

At my top spot this year is LEGO. It’s surprising to me that a toy that has been around for so long remains as popular as Lego does. I do, however, really love that, at the number one spot, is a toy that encourages dexterity, design and concentration skills. This year, with lots of new sets available just in time for Christmas, including the sought after Harry Potter range, I’ve seen LEGO pop up on every single toy shop list I’ve read. In addition to a wide range of Harry Potter sets, new sets from the LEGO Friends range, Duplo range, Creator range and Ninjago range, all appeared in top 2018 Christmas toy lists.

Here are some links to LEGO competitions that are running throughout November and December. Please note the end dates at the beginning of each link. I will try to keep the list as current as possible, but some of them may close before I get the chance to update it.

  1. E: 04/12 £150 to sped on LEGO
  2. E: 05/12 Harry Potter LEGO bundle
  3. E: 07/12 Fantastic Beasts LEGO set
  4. E: ??? Harry Potter LEGO bundle
  5. E: 03/01 LEGO Winter Train Set

2. Barbie

Another toy that seems to have been around forever and manages to keep its popularity is the Barbie doll. A number of items from the Barbie range appeared on the many top 10, top 50, top (#random number) lists that I’ve read. Sought after dolls and sets this year include; Barbie Baby Doctor, Baby Care Clinic Ambulance and Barbie Dolphin adventure range.

Here are the links to the Barbie related competitions that I’ve found:

Currently all closed: Will update in new ones found…

I appreciate that this is a wide category of toys, but as STEM seems to be a real buzz word for parents and teachers at the moment, I felt it deserved its place on my list. STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, in case you were wondering. They are toys designed to make learning fun for kids and as someone who is currently arranging a science themed birthday party for a 5-year-old, I can confirm that they succeed. On the top toys lists, I came across many different types of toys, catering to a wide age range, that fell under the banner of STEM. Some of the most sought after ranges this year are Learning Resources including Botley the coding robot, the Nickelodeon Experimake range, such as Experimake Sludge and Slime and Gravitax sets from Ravensburger.

Here is a list of the awesome STEM toys that are available to win online right now:

  1. E: 4/12 Detective DOT Megapack (Coding Toy)
  2. E: 9/12 Beaker Creatures Super Lab and Magnifying Chamber in £450 bundle!!
  3. E: 18/12 Geomag Gravity Up and Down Circuit
  4. E: 23/12 2 Single Ready2Robot Packs

4. The Grinch Movie and associated merchandise

As a huge Dr Seuss fan, we are very excited, in our house, that they have decided to revive this absolute classic. We were lucky enough to see the live performance of The Grinch last Christmas at Universal Studios in Florida. It was amazing! And yes, I did shed a tear lol. My son, who is almost 5, has the gorgeous young Grinch toy from Build a Bear factory on his Christmas wish list (aka hidden in my bedroom). I’ve also seen a plethora of related merchandise and clothing available for the Grinch movie. Unfortunately, the actual Blu-ray release is not until February 2019, which is a shame.

A picture of Kellie's son, a 4 year old blonde boy, meeting some characters from the Grinch production they watched in Florida in 2017
My son meeting some of the Whos from the live production of The Grinch last year at Universal Studios, Florida

Here are some links to competitions where you can win Grinch related prizes:

  1. E: 15/12 The Grinch Collection Edition Book bundle
  2. E: ?? Grinch Plush Toy

5. LOL Surprise Toys

LOL Surprise Eggs were huge last year, with parents being forced to pay way over the odds for items that had been bought up in bulk and sold on eBay at ridiculous mark ups. Well, they haven’t really lost much popularity in the mean time and this Christmas will see the launch of their LOL Biggie Pet Figure, LOL Bigger Surprise and LOL Surprise House ranges. These 3 items appear on a lot of the top toy lists, as well as the original range still having notable popularity, given the collectible nature of the toy.

Here are the links for LOL Surprise related competitions that I have found

  1. E: 15/12 LOL Bigger Surprise (2 winners)
  2. E: 1/12 LOL Surprise Doll House
  3. E: 18/12 LOL Bigger Surprise
  4. E: 20/12 LOL Surprise! Doll House

6. NERF Guns and associated toys

Anyone with a child that watches YouTube will appreciate (or not) the popularity of NERF guns. In the US they’ve been popular for decades, but they’ve also become increasingly popular here in recent years. They also seem to interest kids from a very wide age range! Although intended for ages 8 and up, my son has been interested since his 4th birthday and I also know teens that still love NERF. This year, the new and sought after additions to their range are NERF Laser Alpha, NERF Rival Prometheus MXVIII-20K Blaster and of course, the Hauck NERF Battle Racer is still popular, particularly with younger kids.

Here are some links to where you can win NERF toys in time for this Christmas:

  1. E: 15/12 Translucent LED NERF Dog Tennis Ball Blaster

7. My Little Pony

My Little Pony have been around since I was a little girl (I’m showing my age now!) and it was really nice to see that they have brought out a retro range this year that look just like the originals. These toys have had a real resurgence in popularity in recent years and this year is no different. Both the Ultimate Equestria Collection and Mega Collections appear in the top anticipated toy lists for 2018.

Here are some links that I have found to win My Little Pony toys:

  1. E: 7/12 Set of 3 My Little Pony plush toy zip purses (this is my giveaway)
  2. E: Ongoing? My Little Pony Bundle of Figures

8. Board Games

Another very broad category here, I know. It makes me very happy though, that in these days of technology overload, the number of board games on kids’ Christmas lists continue to increase. Ironically, I’m pretty sure that YouTube is the culprit for the rise in popularity, due to the millions of unboxing videos, however as long as they’re still being appreciated, where’s the harm! There are a lot of board games from different manufacturers appearing on this years top toys lists. Here are a handful of the most frequently mentioned titles that I came across during my research; Pie Face Canon, Don’t Step in it, Fortnite Monopoly, What’s in Ned’s Head and Soggy Doggy.

Here are some links where you can win a whole host of different board games. They are actually one of the most abundant giveaway items this year, so if there are any on you kids’ lists then I would recommend starting here:

  1. E: 04/12 Wally The Washer
  2. E: 05/12 Super Ski Jump 
  3. E: 6/12 Jumanji Orginal Board Game
  4. E: 06/12 Wally The Washer
  5. E: 10/12 £110 worth of Drummond Park Games
  6. E: 10/12 Wally the Washer
  7. E: 10/12 Rapidough
  8. E: 12/12 Word Bandit

Where else can I find toy competitions?

And of course, in addition to those links I have mentioned above, I must recommend the following pages’ toy categories. These sites have been very good to me in the past when sourcing presents, so I wish you the best of luck with winning some for yourselves. I would love to read your comments about what you are/were trying to win this year and whether or not you succeeded.

Competitions Database Children and Toys Competitions

Loquax Toys and Games Competitions

The Prizefinder Kids and Toys Competitions

Please note: There are Amazon affiliate links on this page, this means that I get a small fee from Amazon if you purchase via my link. This does not cost you anything and it allows me to continue to run my blog. Thanks for your understanding.

Featured Christmas Competition

Win a magical Christmas themed photo shoot for your children or pets

I have teamed up with Shadow Studio to offer you an awesome Christmas themed giveaway. Check out the gleam form below for your opportunity to win. The prize includes a free 30 minute photo shoot at Shadow Studio and a choice of 7 x 5 print from your shoot.

All about Shadow Studio

Shadow Studio is a professional photo studio near to Gloucester Quays, in the heart of Gloucestershire. They have two resident photographers, one of whom, Mark, has been a good friend of mine for over 20 years. They specialise in family, child, baby and pet portraits.

Mark is an excellent photographer who started as a hobbyist many years ago. I’ve followed his progress from the very beginning through to his current successful studio. He has taken photographs of my son, Zeke on numerous occasions and I’m always thrilled with the results. As a father himself, Mark is excellent with children. He makes friends with them and really puts them at ease for a shoot. Zeke doesn’t leave his side when we go out for the day, which gives me a nice break. Also, if you’re planning on having a photo of your pet, you should know that in our friend circle, Mark has always been known as Dr Doolittle!

A very cute Labrador puppy with a red bow around his neck.
An example of the adorable pet photography that Shadow Studio offers.

Shadow Studio aim to cater to all tastes and budgets, offering a wide range of photograph styles and set options. They also hire out the studio for photographer camera club events, model photo shoots, projects with their makeup artists, student projects and some commercial photography. You can contact them via their Facebook or Instagram page for further details and prices.

A picture of a photographers equipment such as lighting and reflectors
Shadow Photo Studio, Gloucester

Enter for your chance to win a themed photo shoot and print in time for Christmas

Shadow Studio have generously given me a prize package to offer to a lucky reader. The prize consists of a 30 minute photo shoot for either your child(ren) or pet(s) with a choice of magical Christmas themed backgrounds. You will also receive a 7×5 print of your choice from the photo shoot, to take home as a treasured memory of your day. It would make an excellent Christmas gift for relatives or even a nice holiday card image.

Simply enter via the gleam form below. Please note: Although this is a promotional piece, I am not accepting any payment or benefits in return, therefore it does not qualify as an ad post.

One picture shows a fireplace, christmas bunting and a sack of gifts. The other picture shows a white themed photo set with gnomes and a christmas tree
An example of the types of Christmas themed backgrounds on offer for our lucky prize winner.

Win a magical Christmas themed photo shoot for kids or pets

Check out my other giveaways here!

Hand giving thumbs up sign

My Top 5 Favourite Competition Listing Sites

Finding Competitions

Competition listing sites and forums take a lot of the hard work out of finding the prizes you want. There are a fair few of these available now and each comper will have their preferences, based on what they feel matches their needs. Below I have listed my top 5 favourite sites. These are the sites that I use every day, listed in order of preference.

#1: Competition Database

My absolute favourite comping site is competition Database. I just feel that this site is the best thought out in terms of what a comper might want. It is straightforward, organised, methodical and allows you to manipulate the prize list in a number of useful ways. The site is updated with a huge amount of competitions on a daily basis, by both the site owners and registered users.

Features that I love:

  • If you register for a free account, you can keep a track of every competition that you have entered through the site.
  • Your name is searchable in the site winner announcements, based on your tracked list.
  • The prize list can be filtered to show multiple categories, whilst leaving out any that don’t interest you.
  • You can filter the prize list to only show prizes of a certain minimum value or search the entire list by sorting into prize value groups i.e ‘Very High Value (£500+)’. I haven’t found this feature anywhere else!
  • If there is a prize provider that you would never want to win from (i.e any company selling meat or dairy products for me, as I’m a vegan) you can choose to hide all future competitions from that provider. Again, this is a feature that I haven’t seen elsewhere and I love it!

 

Screeshot from Competition Database website

#2 The Prize Finder

Another site that I love is The Prize Finder. This site offers free registration and is updated daily with a large amount of competitions and prize draws. At the time of posting there were 2579 active competitions. This site also provides the use of a handy little tracker tool so that you can mark comps either entered, ignored or saved for later. When entering as many competitions per day as I do, this function is more necessary, than a bonus.

Features that I love:

  • You can search the entire list across all categories for competitions that close that day. This helps you to prioritize those with limited time left to enter.
  • You can sort by prize category to only show certain prize types, for example, I will always search by the category ‘Holidays’ first.
  • You can filter the categories to show only a particular entry method, for example, all Twitter competitions
  • They have a ‘Monthly Winner’s Stories‘ competition, where they award a £50 gift voucher per month to the member they feel submitted the best story about what they won using The Prize Finder.

Prizefinder homepage screenshot

#3 Loquax

Loquax is a forum style site that lists competitions, casino offers and has a discussion forum where registered users can chat about them. They were the first competition listing site in the UK and are still going strong 21 years later! This site is maintained by user submission and has a good amount of new listings added daily. Despite being a forum layout, they do have very nice filtering and entry marking features.

I recently spoke to Jason at Loquax and he told me that they are in the process of giving Loquax a bit of a facelift to make it more mobile friendly. He also pointed me to their blog www.loquax.co.uk/blog/, which has a lot of interesting articles about competitions related news. I will certainly be keeping up with this one myself, now that I know about it.

Features that I love:

  • You have the option to sort the competitions by those closing within the next day
  • They have their own giveaways every month, which has great quirky prizes, such as bread slippers!
  • The posted links are not masked by Loquax and therefore your browser will recognise if you have already visited them via another site (these links should be purple, dependent on browser). This is a really helpful feature and prevents confusion and duplicate entry.
  • You can click to thank the person that uploaded the link. This is not essential, but I think it’s always nice to show your gratitude. Also if the users that are uploading links feel appreciated, they are more likely to continue doing so.
  • You can click ahead and enter all competitions closing on any given date within about 30 days

Screeshot from the Loquax website

Top 3

Before moving on, I should put a caveat that I consider the below two websites to be secondary sources. They are the next best websites for if I manage to complete all of the listings available on the top 3, which really are the best in existence, in my humble opinion. At the weekend, there tend to be fewer listings all round, so you might find yourself moving onto options 4 or 5, but on the last day of the month, when 90% of competitions meet their end dates, there is very little chance that I will be going beyond the top 3! 

#4: Latest Deals Competitions

Latest Deals is a vouchers, deals and freebies listing site, but I have found the competitions section to be increasingly impressive on this site. There are a decent amount of new uploads per day and I find that some of the competitions listed here, don’t necessarily appear on the other sites mentioned above. The layout is a little different, but I quite enjoy it. It is simplistic and yet has some good filter features.

Features that I love:

  • You can search by any or all entry methods and any or all amounts of entries allowed at the same time, for example ‘all Gleam competitions that can be entered on a daily basis’. I don’t recall seeing this feature elsewhere and am pretty sure it’s exclusive to them at this time. Really useful!
  • A lot of the magazine competitions, such as ‘Take a Break’ are listed with the answers to every page. I can understand why some people might not agree with this, but for someone who doesn’t buy magazines, I appreciate the effort and always thank the users listing this information.
  • Each competition shows you how many users have entered via that link. Whilst the accuracy is negligible, given the competition is likely listed across numerous sites, it gives an idea of whether a prize will be popular or not.
  • There is a point system in place for those users that share competitions or deals on the site. These points can be collected over time and exchanged for vouchers.

 

Screeshot from the Latest Deals Competition page from their website

#5: Competitions Time

Competitions Time is a comparatively small listings site, however, it does still have valuable content and some nice features. Again, it has a slightly different layout and approach to listing, but still uses the general prize type and competition type categories. You are able to search for all new competitions, but the ability to search by those closing soon is missing.

Features that I love:

  • Each post has an entry page preview and this can be helpful in reminding you whether you have already visited the page. Sometimes there are numerous websites offering the same prize, so the prize title alone is not always enough to recognise it.
  • Competitions are rated in terms of ease to enter and effort required. You also have the opportunity to contribute to this rating on each post viewed.
  • It provides you with a list of the details required from you to enter each competition, which saves you time if they are asking for information that you do not want to give away.

 

Screenshot from competition time website

Which are your favourites?

I hope that you will find this list useful and enjoy finding yourself lots of prizes to lust after. Let me know in the comments which competition listing sites are your favourites and why. There are certainly many more sites available than the ones I have mentioned, these are just my favourites based on my personal comping requirements and preferences. I would also highly recommend looking at SuperLucky, which is a far more established competitions blog than my own. It has invaluable information that Di Coke has gathered over 20 plus years of comping success.

Giveaways November 2018

My November Giveaways

I’m running a number of giveaways throughout November and December. Christmas is an expensive time and I often enter competitions in order to help complete my gift shopping list. I will therefore focus on items that can be given as gifts when chosing the prizes to give away.

Please bear in mind that this is a new blog and I have limited means. These prizes have all been sourced by me, they are not collaborations with companies or larger blogs, so they won’t be as impressive as some prizes that more established bloggers can provide.

I am hoping to list 1 new competition each week until the cut off date of 16th December, to ensure prizes can be received in time for Christmas. This gives you plenty of chances to win. You can also take advantage of the fact that, as I am a very new blogger, my entries will likely be really low. Remember what I said about Improving your chances of winning?

Week 1 – Win a Barbie Colour Change Glam Bag

Barbie and ME Colour Change Glam Bag
This cute and functional Barbie & Me Colour Change Glam Bag, could be yours in time for Christmas. Enter below:

Win a Barbie Colour Change Glam Bag

For more chances to win Barbie related toys, take a peak at my post How to win 2018’s Top Christmas Toys, which talks about the most popular toys this Christmas. Barbie comes in at number 2, followed by the ever popular LEGO!

Week 2 – Win “A Night at the Awards” Board Game

A Night at the Awards Board Game
This quirky and engaging role play style board game could be yours in time for all those dull Christmas parties

A night at the awards board game back of box

A Night at The Awards Board Game

Please see my other live competitions: Win 3 Plush My Little Pony Coin Purses and Win a Christmas themed photo shoot for your kids/pets

 

I list my free-to-enter competitions on Competition Database!

Competitions listed on Loquax!

I list my competitions on The Prizefinder!

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky: the UK's biggest list of blog giveaways
Mudpie Fridays

 

Please note: There are Amazon affiliate links on this page, this means that I get a small fee from Amazon if you purchase via my link. This does not cost you anything and it allows me to continue to run my blog. Thanks for your understanding.

Winning what you want! How to maximise your chances

Have a Game Plan

Winning at competitions! This might seem like an odd thing to plan out, but it doesn’t have to be anything formal. You can simply have in mind what your intentions are before starting out. If you are comping short-term, it may be to help provide for or pay for a life event, such as a wedding or a baby. You might lust after a high-priced item or holiday that you couldn’t afford otherwise. Or you may just want a stock of products to use as gifts, to save you a little money.

The reason I say “know your intentions”, is simply so that you can use your time wisely. If you are new to comping or always stick to one type, social media comps, for example, then you may be overwhelmed by the total amount of online competitions actually available. Each day I set myself the insane task of entering all of the competitions across all of the listing sites that I use. I have never done it. Never!

Desk with planning tools in use

What are my comping goals?

I am a comper by addiction, hands up. Having said that, I do have a very clear goal when entering competitions. Travel. I love to travel. I love holidays, mini breaks and day trips so much and barely go a month without ticking at least one of those boxes. Below is a brief explanation as to why winning these types of prizes is so important to me – feel free to skip, it’s just an insight into why I comp the way I do.

Back in 2008, one year after I met my husband and a couple of months before we got married, he was diagnosed with cancer. It was a tough time, but he came through it healthy, thank goodness. In 2009, I needed life saving surgery myself, due to a bizarre exploding cyst. Surgery came just in the nick of time, thanks to the advice of a good friend who demanded I go to hospital, instead of on a night out. Needless to say, my husband and I entered 2010 with a much greater appreciation for life.

In 2013, with one testicle and one ovary between us, we managed to create our wonderful son. My pregnancy and labour were both very unpleasant experiences that I won’t go into here. The worst part of all, being that my son was born not breathing and quite blue, which was absolutely terrifying. At the time, we obviously though we’d lost him, which was the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced. Thankfully he’s now a beautiful (almost) five year old boy, full of life and very healthy. Thank you NHS, we love you!!

Anyway my point is, as a result of the above events, a part of me did actually die. The previously career driven and luxury apartment desiring Kellie, doesn’t really exist now. ‘Things’ mean very little to me. Experiences and particularly experiences with my family, are everything! Unfortunately, my disability doesn’t allow me to earn the type of income needed to travel much at all, let alone fulfil my monstrous desire for it. So for me, comping is all about winning holidays, day trips and even cash that I can use to book us more of the above.

A family in the outdoors on an adventure together

What’s my game plan?

Of course, you don’t need to have anywhere near as dramatic an explanation for your comping goals. It does help, of course! Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of competitions available online. A colossal amount, in fact. To improve my chances of winning them, I do the following:

Every day I enter competitions using five main competition listing sites, which I talk about here. Firstly I sift through each site using the closing soon filter, to ensure that I don’t miss out on anything closing that day. I try to prioritize prizes that mention holidays, particularly family ones, or days out.

The next step is to view new listings, utilising the categories filter that most competition listing sites offer. I filter by holidays, then short breaks, then day trips, then by cash. Last year some of my cash wins actually helped me to pull off a trip to Walt Disney World for my son’s 4th birthday!

Kellie's family in front of the Disney World castle

Lastly, I go through the same sites yet again, but this time looking at new competitions in all remaining categories. This might seem like an obvious thing to say, but please don’t waste your time entering competitions that you are not interested in. In my first few months of comping, I got carried away and entered every giveaway that I found. This just ended in me winning a bunch of things that I had no desire or use for. Also, these might have been prizes that somebody else would have loved, so I ended up feeling guilty. I did manage to gift them though!

The reason I won so many things in certain categories (but not the ones I had hoped for) is that some categories tend to have fewer entries, therefore increasing your chances of winning. If these categories interest you, then you’re at an advantage. unfortunately flowery crochet sets and horse blankets are not really for me.

Maximise your chances of winning – check list

  • Know what you want to win, or at the very least, what you really don’t want to win
  • Prioritize your time so that you focus on your most desired prizes first
  • Think local – enter competitions that are only open to residents in your area, local magazines and shopping centres often run these
  • Use the filters on competition listing pages to find your favourite prizes more easily
  • Don’t waste your time entering competitions when you don’t want the prize!
  • Cut down on time entering competitions by using a form filler – I use Dashlane
  • Avoid entering competitions on certain sites that provide very remote chances of winning
  • Search your spam email folder and do social media searches on your name to check for missed winner announcements
  • Try to choose lower entry competitions. Social media competitions and gleam or rafflecopter style entry systems all show the amount of entries received, this works best on the closing date.
  • If you are willing to enter the competitions that require effort, such as writing a caption, taking a photo or asking your kids to draw a picture, these usually have far lower entry than standard prize draws!

"Keep Out" sign on a baron highway

Competition Sites to avoid

Competition sites to avoid

Everybody wants to know which competition sites are the best to use, but not many people ask which competition sites to avoid. There are many “competition sites” which exist simply to gather your private information for marketing purposes. You can usually spot these because they ask for more information than a normal online competition. At most, I am happy to share my name, address, email address and possibly date of birth. Competitions that ask for much more than that start to raise my suspicions.

Some of these sites, although their main purpose is to gather information, do still have a genuine prize to win, although it’s often not exactly as it seems and there are generally hoops to jump through in order to claim it. There are also some that are simply scams and don’t have a prize available at all. Once you have been comping for a while and have had a good look at the type of sites I am referring to, you will become confident in spotting them for yourself.

Please bear in mind that this post is my opinion only. Whilst some of my advice will be from direct personal experience, a lot will be an educated guesses based on these experiences. If you feel that any of the sites below shouldn’t be on the list, then I would love to hear success stories that prove me wrong. Let’s face it, another credible source of prizes can only be a good thing! But if you want to save yourself a lot of time and improve your chances of winning prizes, I would advise you to avoid the following:

Sites that exist purely to gather information from you:

  • Instant Win 4 Now (instantwin4now.co.uk)
  • My Offers (myoffers.co.uk)
  • Surf 4 Prizes (surf4prizes.com)
  • UK Free Win (ukfreewin.com)
  • UK Prize (ukprize.co.uk)
  • Active You (activeyou.co.uk)
  • Winnersville (winnersville.co.uk)
  • My Offers (myoffers.co.uk)
  • Catalink.com (catalink.co.uk)
  • Free Stuff (freestuff.eu/prizes)
  • Alphalam (alpha-lam.com)
  • Offerx (offerx.co.uk)
  • Prize Reactor (prizereactor.co.uk)
  • Vaniki (vaniki.co.uk)
  • Want2Win (somuchwins.com)
  • Dynamic Rewards (dynamic-rewards.org)

Gate with please do not enter on it. Suggesting competition sites to avoid

Sites that require you to pay to enter competitions

Not everyone will share my opinion, but I see comping as a free activity. I refuse to pay to enter a competition, whether it be directly, like with the sites below or via purchasing a product. If I purchase a product that I would have bought anyway and there happens to be a competition on the pack, I will always give it a go, but I would never buy an item just to enter the competition – that’s what they want you to do!!

  • ITV (itv.com/win) Paid Entry – although they have the occasional free comp with smaller prizes
  • BOTB (botb.com) Paid Entry
  • Simply Prizes (simplyprizes.com) Paid subscription required (Although a 14 day trial is sometimes available for free)
  • Compers News – Paid subscription required
  • WeWin4U (wewin4u.co.uk)  – Paid subscription automatic entry site

Bauer Media Site Competitions – Are they worth it?

You will probably come to realise, as I have, that a fairly significant percentage of the online competitions available are provided by Bauer Media. They are an enormous media company that own hundreds of magazines, newspapers, radio stations and tv channels. This means that they often have excellent prizes on offer, however, the chance to win them is relatively low.

Bauer media competitions usually run across numerous different websites (which all share the same prize). They can also run for long periods of time, often over a month.  This usually applies to the magazine sites, many of which also allow daily entries. These can often be identified by the web address precursor ‘winit’ or ‘winsomething’. Bauer Radio station and TV channel competitions generally have shorter entry periods and much bigger prizes than their magazine counterparts.

All of this, of course, means that the amount of entrants for each prize will be colossal. Having said that, I’m not going to advise against Bauer media competitions. Personally, I do enter them. I’ve also won a large prize in the past from one of its radio stations, proving that, although unlikely, a win is certainly possible.

I work on the basis that somebody has to win! But do bear in mind my advice about prioritising your time. My method is to only enter a competition on a Bauer media site if it’s offering something that I REALLY want. If time is minimal for you, you might be best to skip them, or at least leave them until very last.

A picture of lots of clocks