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.)