Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another un-resolution

A recurring theme this year seems to be that although I swore off New Year resolutions, I keep coming up with "approaches" or "decisions". In other words, thinly disguised resolutions.

One of those for 2009 was that I can't continue to moan about "never winning anything" when I never actually enter competitions. I can't even think, offhand, of anything I've ever won in my life. Oh, except a lottery place at my daughter's pre-school, which then ensured that her two brothers got a place down the line. Even then, if I had known how competitive the whole process was, my subconscious panic-monger would've kicked in and jinxed the whole thing.

So, in an effort to start winning things in 2009, I have bought a ridiculously expensive raffle ticket to win a car - which I didn't. I have also entered two competitions to write short things, but there are so many really talented writers everywhere that I don't have a snowball's chance (see, there I go again.) However, it was slightly empowering to put pen to paper then press the "Send" button, if you see what I mean. I am also entering this year's HGTV (Home & Garden TV) competition, where they give away a humungous and beautiful vacation house. Despite the fact that the winner usually has to sell it due to the horrendous capital gains tax that is immediately imposed, I've been entering for the last three years, and last year I just knew it would be me being pleasantly surprised on the TV. However, I am still in my decidely un-vacation house. This year, the Green Home will be revealed on April 19, and they have thrown in the chance to win a 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid too. (That's a big honking car to non-US residents.)

The latest competition, I have already entered but there's an ulterior motive to my entry. See, Marks & Spencer have launched international delivery, and are holding a survey to ask us ex-pats what we most miss about the UK (in terms of perishable and non-perishable goods). Now we all regularly salivate on each other's blogs about what we miss (sausages, good crisps, pease pudding in my case) so there's plenty of material out there, and plenty of room on this survey to tell M&S exactly what we want.

I know that they contacted several expat bloggers about this, and I decided to spread the word because there's a chance to win one of two 250 quid gift cards. What's not to like? (Bear in mind that I'll be winning one of them - my stars are aligned.) You also get the chance to ask, in a restrained non-begging way, for items you'd like to be made available for their international delivery.

Another thing I was going to share, before the M&S man contacted me, was that I ordered my mum a beautiful bouquet from them for Mothers Day (on Sunday in the UK), and they took the VAT off. Yes! It occured to me that I could have my whole summer wardrobe shipped to my mother's until I realised that it's probably my US address that's getting the VAT removed. (Sometimes I can be a bit slow.)

Anyway, I'm giving you the chance to win some spondoolix and tell M&S what we need over here. (A store or two would be optimal but some how I think they've abandoned that idea.)


  1. That 'stars aligned' thing. Can you buy that online too? I plan on buying a lotter ticket this weekend and it would certainly help...

  2. Having been to Paris M&S on my honeymoon, I can vouch for the international attractiveness of M&S. But in Blighty, we're just blase..

  3. I'm afraid I'm keeping all the aligned stars for myself PM.

    Well I haven't seen the new Per Una range Dotterel. If you say so.

  4. Not only can you get free shipping from M&S for the next few days, but if you spend enough on lingerie they'll give you another 5 quid off your order, and take the VAT off . . . I saved about 25% off the original price of my order. Of course US Customs will probably impose import duty :-(

  5. Good luck!!! You are doing competitions and I've started couponing - between us maybe we'll save 2 quid this year, LOL

  6. Isn't it funny how people miss M&S once they leave the UK?
    Will think of you next time I'm browsing around the underwear dept!

  7. Having done my M&S survey, I'm now standing back and waiting NOT to win the £250.

    I don't think Ive ever won anything in my life.


  8. I did enjoy M&S food when in England for the 87/88 winter

    My mind is busy imagining 250 quids worth of crisps, sausages and pease pudding....

    only mine would be without the pud and with a half or 3 of a damned good dry cider. Just can't get a decent dry cider in NZ (Yes, I'm a kiwi, love dry cider)

    hey - fingers crossed for you to win

    Huggles to you from Mickle in Wellington

  9. Would love to win - sadly not an expat anymore.

    I missed Prawn Cocktail flavoured crisps - so much so that on my first home visit after leaving I walked into Sainsbury's in Clapham (of all places) and exclaimed in a loud voice 'Prawn Cocktail Crisps!' at the sight of the rows and rows of Walker's delights.

    Got the odd funny look...

  10. M&S are actually a bit desperate these days. Christmas sales were disappointing, the share price is in the gutter, there's talk of them having to sell off parts of the business. You seem to miss the food the most, which is probably best as they are very confused about what type of clothing consumer they are after. Their advertising suggests the young, hip working woman. Their sales, however, are still mostly to middle-aged women who want sensible shoes and clothing. And they've managed to alienate a small but growing clientele: women who have had mastectomies. My friend Fire Byrd tells me they used to make the best bras for women who had had mastectomies, but stopped doing so. Despite her pleas to Sir Stuart Rose, they have no plans to cater to this very special group. Still, I hope you win your £250. I'm an ex-pat the other way so don't hold the same affection for this British institution. But I understand its hold on British ex-pats, much the same way as I miss some American stores.

  11. The funny thing is that I didn't bother with it that much when I was in England. Too expensive to do the weekly shopping and not into the clothes. I knew someone who used to do her food shopping elsewhere then put it into M&S bags while she walked around the shopping centre. (Yes, a snob.)
    It might just be the merchansising as I also love wandering around Boots and Tesco. The stores here are quite lax with the merchandising. (How can you tell I spent a couple of years in a retail company?)

  12. Now I come to think of it I've never won anything in my life either! Lx

  13. Good luck! Maybe I should start entering some competitions. Those prizes sound quite inviting.

  14. You do realize that I am going to win this!!!!! Mind you I am not holding my breath as I can't win an arguement!!

    Gill in Canada

  15. oooh, I just found you! I'm an ex-ex-pat...a kiwi living in the USA that spent a good part of my 20's in the UK! I am an M&S slut...yes I am, I love their knickers...and I beg my friends and old employers to truck down to the high street and get me packs of undies for my tiny bummed daughters(because here in the States not many people can believe we potty train so early so they only make 'panties' in size 2-3...whereas M&S starts at 18months!)

    I miss the M&S chocolate mousse cups and lemon mousse cups, they were only 1 point on WW and I loved them!

    I hope you don't mind me lurking, I am after all just a kiwi who loves London but lives in Menneapolis.

    I also miss M&S wool tights for winter.

  16. oops...Minneapolis...sounded like I had a weird accent...okay, I have a weird accent...but not that wierd.


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