Thursday, 16 May 2019

Creating the DREAM bedroom for my little boy.




When I was younger I used to fill art pads with drawings and designs of houses. 

I'd plan out the layouts, the decor, the finishing touches. 

I used to love the IKEA catalogue and would spend several thousands of imaginary pounds on furniture for a house that one day I would create.

 I wish I'd had the opportunity to progress with that dream, maybe take up a career in it. However that wasn't an option for me and so I shall have to make do with decorating my own home. 

As I posted in my wins from March I was lucky enough to win a £150 Homebase voucher so it seemed the perfect opportunity, combined with some other wins I'd been saving to tackle J's bedroom. 

J is 6. I asked him what type of bedroom he wanted and he gave me a very specific brief:
  • To sleep in the sky
  • A ladder bed with a den underneath
  • A LEGO bedroom
  • Somewhere to sit and read 
Firstly we had to tackle what was already in J's bedroom - a very large cumbersome car shaped bed, some wonky furniture that had been abused and a very dark blue focal wall that had some of Stickerscape Space theme stickers on. We dismantled the bed and disposed of the wonky furniture. Carefully peeled away the stickers - which I must say came off really easily despite being on the wall for several years. Then we had a blank canvas.


Due to the different things J wanted from his bedroom we decided to split the room into areas so we had two focal walls and then the remaining walls we kept neutral. We opted for Wilko's paint. The neutral colour we picked was called Grey Whisper and then the focal wall colours we chose Turquoise and Elf. I must say I was a little bit nervous when we first opened the tin of Elf.


For the furniture we used the Homebase voucher and bought two of their cube storage systems with some storage boxes in blue and green to complement the wall colours. The units are perfect for toy storage, books and displaying LEGO. The smaller 3 cube bench is being used as a seating area. 


The mid-sleeper bed was the main focus of my hunt and I ummed and aahed over so many different beds wanting to get the perfect one. I didn't want anything too high in case J fell out and I wanted something sturdy and that I knew would be resilient to J's stimming (he bounces himself to sleep and also bounces in his sleep). We looked at brand new and second hand and then I spotted that the Childrens Bed Shop had an eBay store and were selling brand new beds that had been returned with torn boxes at clearance prices. The only issue being they were collect only from Durham. A £10 winning bid and £15 in diesel for Ant's work van and we had the perfect bed for J. We kept his original mattress and underneath have put an LED strip light kit which J thinks is brilliant. He loves his Steens Memphis mid sleeper and the great thing is when he has had enough of being in a mid sleeper it converts back to a single too. 


Whilst on eBay I also found some amazing MDF creations for his bedroom. Some cloud shelves - perfect for the sky theme wall which I painted with the Grey Whisper paint. Some LEGO shelves which I painted with Wilko Lemon Zest paint and some LEGO Blackboards. 



Once the walls were painted, the bed and storage furniture built it was time to add the finishing touches.

The balloon lights are from IKEA. We placed them alongside his cloud shelves. On those shelves we added his LEGO alarm clocks (competition win), Grimms Rainbow and also a little Cloud light. 

The bedding, fleece blanket and cushion were a competition win. 

Whilst in IKEA we also bought some pop up baskets to store J's soft toys in and a small ladder shelve system to display his minifigures. 

The wall art was from ukposters and some competition wins. 



J is really happy with his bedroom and so am I. 

Danielle 


Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Things That I won in April

Happy 1st of May everybody.

As many of you will know, I'm a comper which means I enter competitions in my spare time to win treats and nice things for my family. April has seen a two week half term, a Bank Holiday and me and my partner redecorating my sons bedroom (more on that to follow in a separate post) so spare time has been limited this past month and so I've had my worst month in terms of number and value for quite a while.

I've still had some lovely wins though...

My first win was £17.50 from Boom25 mainly made up from bonus. This is the first time I've won from them as I tend to go via cashback apps for online purchases usually.

On Instagram I won a bundle of facemasks, footmasks and bath bombs from @Cherryzuk.

I also won a selection of puzzle books from Take a Break on twitter. There were a few competitions inside them which I've made sure to enter too as it's lovely to win a prize on the back of another prize.

Another twitter win is a selection of the Zoella fruity range from Superdrug. I can't wait to receive this as the range looks amazing!

I've won some biscuits from Fox's Biscuits on Facebook.

Whilst most of the World Book Day competitions were effort related I entered a couple of others including one with Go Girl magazine which was a gleam competition. I was lucky enough to win a copy of Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of the Dark for J.

Another book win from a kids mag this time was Ultimate Superstars.

I took part in an online egg hunt competition with Jean Patrique cookwear and won a gorgeous knife set worth £40. They are super sharp and really good quality.

I left buying Easter eggs till the last minute and our local shops had all sold out of the ones that J would like, luckily I won two eggs from a local shopping centre.

A delicious Isle of Arran Cheese hamper arrived from a twitter win that I found by searching for competitions that were ending that day.

I also won a Mary Kay highlighter on twitter where you had to tweet them a picture of an egg they had hidden on their website.

My final win of the month was for J where I received a phone call from Pop tv to tell me he'd won a selection of Superzings.

So there you have it. 12 small wins. All appreciated but hopefully the list next month will be a bit longer.

Have a fantastic May.

Danielle

Monday, 1 April 2019

My March Wins - Pancakes and World Book Day

I didn't post an update of wins for February as I just wasn't well enough and the energy I did have was spent on creative competition entries because March had some of my favourite comping events - Pancake Day and World Book Day. Whilst there weren't many pancake comps this year I'm happy with my efforts. I do still have a list of wins for February though which I may upload at some point but for the time being here is how my March fared. 

My first win of the month was a WTC from Pop Fun a children's channel and was for a Mighty Beanz Play Set. 

J also received a set of Fireman Sam puzzles from a Children's Magazine. 

Then it was Pancake Day and there weren't many competitions about but I entered the few I did find. It's common when there is another popular day nearby for there to be less comps, which in this case was World Book Day. I received some good feedback for my LEGO pancakes though.


The 7th March is my late Mother in Laws birthday. Her ashes are scattered in Studley Deer Park in Ripon which borders Fountains Abbey. I spotted a comp that was for a National Trust Pass to visit and entered on Facebook. It was supposed to have ended and been announced earlier in March but on the 7th I received a message letting me know I had won. It was like a sign my MIL was saying we needed to go visit.


For World Book Day I made J a frog costume and he was the frog from the Oi! books. It was made from leggings and a long sleeve top which I dyed green with Dylon and then I made a head, feet and hands with cardboard and masking tape which I painted green. Then an old cardboard box became a log for the purpose of this photo. I had a tweet from the illustrator saying he loved the costume which made my day! Then I had the following wins: 

  • 2 Leather bound mini journals from Scaramanga
  • Book bundle from Buzzybooks on Facebook
  • £10 Amazon voucher (we used it to buy a David Walliams Worlds Worst Children book) 
  • Weekend box full of craft projects 
  • James and the Giant Peach notebooks 
  • £10 Waterstones Voucher (used to buy the Pinch of Nom cookbook)
  • A bunny teddy from Park Holidays UK
  • A Letterland Phonics Set - which J LOVES!!! 
  • Stories for Boys Who Dare To Be Different book 
  • Superkitty book 
  • £20 Usborne books bundle 
  • Scholastic Book bundle 
  • Very Hungry Caterpillar badge 
  • Sanctuary treat - Sanctuary trio of travel products and a £5 Amazon voucher. 






I won some Clairol root touch up on Instagram.

Then J received another set of Fireman Sam puzzles, exactly the same as the earlier set but from a different magazine! A lot of the magazines offer similar prizes at times and as they are entry form with a few months before end date duplicates do happen..... 

Another Instagram win was some Anti-colic bottles which are being put away for my friend who is expecting. 

I won a £20 Debenhams voucher on twitter from Hyper Recruitment.


J then received another set of jigsaws from a kids magazine - this time Mickey Mouse themed. 

We had another set of duplicate prizes received a week apart from kids mags of  Minions Aquabeads sets. Our duplicate kids prizes get put aside for when J gets invited to birthday parties but we also take a bundle with us to his hospital appointments too as it's nice to put a smile on poorly children's faces. 

Then J received another jigsaw prize (he loves jigsaws!) from a kids mag and these ones were Incredibles 2 themed, 

Another reason I love March is it's Science Week which massively appeals to me. I always joke that March is geek month as you have a day dedicated to books, a day dedicated to Math and a week dedicated to Science too! I found a low-ish entry competition on Facebook and added a picture of J doing some science experiments at home last year and they picked us as a winner of Galt Frightful First Experiments.


I had given up all hope of a Pancake Day win but received a message from Good To Know to let me know I had been chosen as one of their winners. I could choose between a Unicorn pan or a Pug pan to make shaped pancakes so I've opted for the Pug one and look forward to practicing my pancake art before next year! 

I've won a fruit spinner from Fruitbowl on Facebook but they say some winners will receive an extra surprise so we will see if I'm lucky when it arrives.

I then received a text to say I'd won on the Glade weekly competition of 6 months premium Spotify which I am super pleased about as my Amazon Unlimited Music trial has recently run out and J loves asking Alexa to play him music. 

I won 2 Cineworld tickets in an Instagram competition. Which I will be saving till my grandparents are back from Oz so that me and Ant can have a date night. 

I received a tweet from Dead Horse Media to say I had won a copy of the new Spiderman Homecoming film on DVD. We took J to see this at the cinema and he loved it and so it's a great win for him. 

Our last (7th!) kids mag win of the month is a set of Stink Bomz toys for J from Beano. Apparently they don't stink too horrible. Not like the nacho cheese smelling thing he won last month that made me gip. 

My last win of the month was actually won by my friend but she tagged me in it and so we both won. £150 Homebase voucher! Which is brilliantly timed as I really want to redecorate and I need a new fence panel after the wind destroyed one of mine. 

So all in all a great month for J especially with lots of books, puzzles and things to do in the school holidays. 

Have a great April and be lucky x 

Danielle 










Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Jacobisms- Things The Boy Says

I’ve recently posted a few of Jacobs little snippets on social media and a few friends and family had a chuckle so I thought I’d share some of them here.

Me: Did you have a good day at school?
J: It was mediocre
Me: What does mediocre mean? (He’s six!)
J then holds one finger up on each hand: This is good, this is bad. Mediocre isn’t good or bad it’s just kind of in the middle, mediocre.

J’s school rang to say he was ill and needed collecting and bringing home. On the way home my partner rang me on speakerphone.
J: Mama I need some alcohol
Me: Do you mean calpol?
J: Oh yes.

J: Mama can we get chicken for delivery? (Takeaway from sandwich shop)
Me: Not today I’ve got no money I can’t afford it and we’ve got things in for dinner.
J goes off looking for money and comes back with loose change.
J: How much have I got is it enough for chicken?
Me: 97p and that’s not enough. We need paper money.
J sits for a while thinking.
J: Can’t you just print some off. Google paper money find a picture and print it and we will spend that.

A few days later also on the thought of money:
J: Mama we could get some penny moulds on eBay and melt metal and make our own coin money.




Friday, 1 February 2019

What I Won In January 2019

It's oh so quiet, ssshhhh, ssshhh. 

I've found January rather quiet. It's been a mixture of lack of comps I've wanted to enter, lack of motivation to enter, miserable weather, miserable moods and lack of wins, illness and sleep deprivation. I know from social media that a lot of my fellow compers have felt the same way. 

In the same vein some of the comps that are around, but not suitable for my family to enter, have been amazing, such as the Heart Faces For Florida. I've loved seeing fellow compers get creative and win once in a lifetime holidays. Heart have been really generous with the holiday prizes this month and for a comper it's inspiring to see such great efforts be rewarded. 

I've done things a little bit different this month and created a video of prizes as they arrive. Sort of like an unboxing video, but without me in it because I'm still not comfortable with that. Some of them are wins from December and some are things I've won this month. I will still list what I've won as well as the video as not everything has arrived yet. 

What I've Won:
1) Allel Skin Genial Eye Cream - Won from Instagram in a simple like and comment competition

2) Amazon Echo Dot - This was a rather generous promotion run by Aster Sales on Social Media. You had to download a Christmas Tree template and colour it in then add it to social media with a specified hash tag. There were 30 prizes of an Echo Dot and you could have unlimited entries. I coloured a tree and then J coloured a tree and I uploaded both pictures and received a notification to let me know we had won one once the competition was over.

3) Festival Face Glitter Make Up - Another Instagram win which was a like/comment/tag and had multiple winners. It will come in handy for creative seasonal competitions I think.

4) Magic Spell App - Won from the Dyslexia Association on Facebook. They were really low entry and you just had to comment. I've downloaded it on the iPad for J as he struggles a bit with b d p q and n u  so I thought it may help him a little bit.

5) Super Wings Vroom and Zoom bundle - a win from Super Wings on twitter this was from one of their advent competitions.

6) Fingerless Gloves and a Teddy Bear Soap - an Instagram competition to tag and comment. These are actually coming in super useful at the moment! I can wear them and have warm hands and still type or use my phone!

7) Swizzels Sweets Hamper - Instagram win from Swizzels. Another advent win and just a simple comment and tag. It didn't specify what the prize would be but it turned out to be a little wicker hamper filled with their new Choos range and then a few old favourites like Refreshers and Parma Violets.

8) Turtle Swim Pack - won for J from Turtle Pack on Instagram. It's a fab idea. The turtle shell is a swim float and has 3 layers that you can add or remove as your child gets more confident in the water. J has loved wearing the Turtle Shell and Swim Cap around the house (and in the shower!) and can't wait to try it out at swimming. We also got a bag, book and turtle teddy toy.

9) Gravitrax Starter Set - Nigel Clarke is a TV presenter/blogger and runs lots of competitions on his blog and Facebook. He was asking for people to comment what they would like to see on his blog and there was a large bundle of goodies up for grabs. I wasn't lucky enough to win the bundle (my friend Robyn did) but he liked my answer so much that he awarded a runners up spot prize of a Gravitrax Starter Set which is great!

10) Crate Creature - this is our first and only Kids Mag win this month - boohoo! Won from an entry form in a children's magazine.

11) A Crème Egg from the Spot The Crème Egg competition Cadbury's are currently running.

12) A Neos Smart Camera - won from Neos Smart Home on Blue Monday. This is my favourite win of the month. I've got it set up on my window sill in the dining room so that it is overlooking my front door. I can use the app to look and see who is outside of my house and it records sounds/movement it detects on my phone which is pretty cool. As someone who suffers massively with anxiety and doesn't like to open the door to strangers as well as being kept awake at night through a fear of being broken into it's added a little bit of a sense of security and I'm really impressed.

13) Gruffalo bundle - this is a fab little bundle won from Arla Milk. A few comping friends had mentioned this comp and not seeing winners on one of the social media groups I'm on and it was whilst I was commenting on their post that I decided to enter. I didn't receive notification of the win it just arrived in the post. Consisting of a Gruffalo backpack, Gruffalo's Child finger puppets, colouring pencils, personalised notebook and an activity book it's a lovely prize!

14) March of The Penguins DVD - came with no compliments slip or anything so I have no clue where it is from.

15) £20 Amazon Voucher - Won from Cartoon Network after filling in a survey for them.



January wins in total: 15
January wins RRP: £595



January Prize Deliveries:





Have a fantastic February everyone, be lucky. 

Danielle 


Tuesday, 1 January 2019

It's the end of the year as we know it.....

It's the end of the year as we know it..... and I'm feeling great.

Here is a recap of my comping year in 2018.

I won 407 prizes with an accumulative RRP of approx. £17000. I don't have an exact figure at the moment as I'm awaiting several bundle prizes that I'm unsure of the exact contents/value for.

Of those 407 wins the most productive platform for me was Instagram where I had 126 wins - this is even with me taking a couple of months off! Here is a pie chart to show how my wins breakdown across platforms. The 'Other' category refers to apps as I was lucky enough to win on a few apps such as Snapchat and MediaRewards this year and didn't feel those wins would fit in any other category.


My best month wins wise was August which saw me win 45 prizes followed by December with 44 but generally I was winning over 30 prizes a month apart from April, September and October where I was having issues with J and schools. It works out at an average of 1.12 prizes per day.



Value wise my average prize value is £41.77 per prize but this is massively skewed as there are small wins such as my lowest value win of a Chocolate bar valued at £1 to a highest value win of a pair of designer watches worth £1600 followed by the amazing Enid Blyton book win worth over £600!


I did partake in several effort competitions this year although I could have done more but we did well with what I entered. My favourites being Pancake day which saw us with 8 wins and Halloween with 5.

I tried my best with the Heart Family Challenges which frustrated the hell out of me as I had great feedback from everyone except Heart themselves!


At the start of the year as a family we create a Wishlist and out of 25 items we managed to tick off 17 which I'm really pleased with especially as they were things I've wanted to win for years like a PS4!

We have another Wishlist prepared for 2019 to get working on!

My favourite win of 2018 has to be the tickets to Cbeebies Summer Social as J got to meet Andy Day who is one of his idols. It was amazing to see his face light up when he realised it was the real Andy and he could touch him and talk to him about dinosaurs. 


It's because of prizes like that that I comp as it gives me the chance to give my family the treats and experiences they wouldn't normally get. It's allowed me to provide J's old school with a large quantity of books to restock their library. It's allowed me to feel like Santa and take a large sack of puzzles, toys and DVD's with us to our appointment on Christmas Eve for the children who aren't able to spend Christmas at home and it's allowed me to keep my nan stocked up on enough lotions and potions to see her till she's 305.

December and how I did....

December was manic! 

I had all intents of being super duper organised and had cleared lots of MSE and Competition Database in preparation. I'd set folders up. I was really looking forward to December and Advents. 

It didn't work.. this has probably been my most disorganised and chaotic December of comping since I started a decade ago. Instead I spent time making igloos and Christmas grotto's in my spare bedroom, crafting cardboard snowmen, visiting what feels like 1700 different Santa's with Jacob and watching him in his first ever nativity at school and it was lovely.


My stats on Competition Database say I entered on average 16 competitions per day on there and my advent folder held about 40 that I would check each day although did skip a lot of comps that I wasn't interested in and then I used the MSE Advent Over £100 thread and Instagram for my comps this December. Previous years would see me trying to enter hundreds upon hundreds every day but I had neither the time, energy nor inclination this year. However being picky served me well..... 

My first win of the month was won via a friend who ran a Facebook Competition and was for an Aldi Parsnip soft toy, it's rather strange looking but J loves it! 

Anybody who does advent competitions has probably got it ticked off that they won with In The Night Garden. I've previously won a cd, fridge magnets and a calendar and this years offering was a 'book' which is a term I use loosely as I think it was 8 pages and more like a leaflet. 

My first proper advent win of the year was some Konditor and Cook Mince Pies for the hubby which I won on Facebook. 

Viners were running their advent competitions on Facebook and I made sure to enter as I love their items. I have pans and cutlery that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago that I love (I asked for them specifically they weren't given as a duff present) and I was really pleased to win a set of their Silver Serving plates. There are 6 plates in total and they are worth £96. I've given a pair to my gran but kept four for myself. 

My first Instagram win of the month was a selection of facemasks and some charcoal toothpaste which I'm slightly scared of so haven't tried yet but have heard great things. 

Miffy run regular competitions on their social media and I won some audiobooks for J from one of their Facebook posts. 

I was lucky to win early on with the brushworksuk advent because by the end of the comp they were asking for 10+ tags. I won a Kabuki make up brush. 

I was really pleased to win Sherlock Gnomes DVD with Muddy Puddles on Facebook. There is nothing better than a family film day on the sofa snuggled under blankets. 

Our first children's mag win of the month was from Animals and You and is a Smooshins Surprise Playset where you make your own Smooshins which are like squidgy doll type things - I'm really selling this aren't I? Anyhow they are quite popular with kids although parents probably just think uh! 

I received an eyeshadow rainbow pallet from Glittertubes - so many pretty colours! 

J received a sweep puppet through the post from a children's mag. Like last month it said about his masterpiece being published but it turns out it's actually from an Eagle Eye competition and the certificates are just generic. 

The moo collective gave away loads of cookie cutters on Instagram and we won one. 

We as a family love Lego so I was really pleased to win with Lego Watches on Instagram. We won a Jurassic World Lego watch and a Lego Santa bauble which is super cute! 


Our next kids mag win was a Unicorn Feisty Pet from an entry form competition. They are strange little things. We got the unicorn who looks all cute then seriously peed off haha. 

Amongst Lego other loves of mine include Harry Potter and Itty Bitty's so I was really pleased to have a win which combines the two and receive a Dumbledore Itty Bitty. Who is currently living on my fireplace with my other Harry Potter Itty Bitty's that my hubby bought me :) 

Last year I won an advent prize with Discoveration's for a family pass to Thackeray Medical Museum and this year I won the same prize with the same company again. I wonder if they run it next year I can score a hattrick?

I received a parcel in J's name which contained a Power Rangers Lion Morph, there was no letter to say where it was from but after searching I found it was from an entry form we sent to Kraze magazine! 

My next prize gave me a bit of a chuckle. After a lot of nagging the hubby just wouldn't go get the Christmas Tree down from the loft for me, and knowing full well I can't/won't go up he thought he had gotten away with it. Till I won a new Christmas tree from the Fireplace World Advent which came in 48 hours and was put up whilst he was at work.... I wonder if I can work similar magic with other things I need his help with? 

Another Christmas item I won on Instagram was this lovely cushion as modelled by SnuggleBuddy Bear. 


A couple of small wins of fake tan, a star wars keyring, posh hand cream and fancy notelets from Instagram competitions. 

I won a fab selection of different chocolate bars, and small gift items from Chez Maxima's 12 days of Christmas blog competition. I put a lot of the chocolate bars in a Chocolate hamper I made my grandad for Christmas. 

We have been talking about redoing J's bedroom for a while and he really wants a bed with a slide and a den underneath and a tent over the top. I'd seen a space themed dream tent in Smyths which I liked the look of as it goes with the Space theme he has on one of his walls I spotted a low entry competition for one on Instagram and was made up to receive a message a few days later saying we had won! Although we haven't got the new bed yet I've put the tent on his current bed and he loves it. 

I won two local hamper competitions in December. One was a Christmas Eve hamper which had a minion toy, loads of sweets, pens, pencils and other art stuff inside and the other was a hamper from a local posh food place that had yummy biscuits, relish, cheese, gin etc inside. I do love a good hamper! Especially when they come in boxes/baskets that can be re-used.


Lands End were running an hourly comp over all their platforms to win an item of their children's clothing and they pick a winner per hour per platform. I noticed twitter was quite low entry and was lucky enough to win a fab top for J. 

After purchasing some bottles of Oasis at the Co-Op after a post on the Lucky Learners Facebook group I was pleased to win 2 pairs of Cinema tickets for our local cinema. There are some fab films due out that I can't wait to go see! 

Speaking of films I had wanted to go see Christopher Robin at the cinema but it wasn't Ant's kind of film so I'm really pleased to have won a copy on twitter from 110% Gaming as it means me and J can watch it when he's not in. 

My next 10 wins were all from Instagram - 
3 Paddy Wax Christmas candles 
A Latest In Beauty Subscription Box
A Playmais Farm House from DKL Toys
A Teddy from STN Airport (you have to add a screenshot of their post to your stories and they always send you a heart emoji in reply and I was losing the will to live the amount of hearts they sent before I won lol) 
A Christmas Stamp
A bundle of children's books
A Teddy Mountain UK Candy Dog Kit 
Love Honey bundle from CoppafeelMCR
An advent prize from WeBuyAnyCar 
£50 Love2Shop voucher


My last few wins of the month (and year) were a lovely bathroom set from We Soak on twitter, a £25 cinema voucher for a local cinema and a digital copy of the new Crash Bandicoot game for the PS4. 

A total of 44 wins and a very successful end to the year! 

I'm not sure of the exact value as some prizes haven't arrived yet as they were won late on so I'm not sure of the exact value. I've also not managed to add a pie chart but will hopefully come back to add that later. 

I hope December has been fabulous for you and you all have a brilliant 2019! 

Danielle

You can see my recap for the whole of 2018 here.






Creating the DREAM bedroom for my little boy.

When I was younger I used to fill art pads with drawings and designs of houses.  I'd plan out the layouts, the decor, the ...