Live like a Princess, Di!

For me, the most magical part of comping is when you win a luxurious treat that you could never justify splashing out on – unless you’re a celebrity of course! My prize treats in the last few years have included designer clothes, VIP tickets to the Brazilian Grand Prix, an £800 Selfridges hamper, wine tasting trips, a Parisian shopping day and lots more. I’ve always been incredibly ambitious with my comping and really believe that with lots of positive thought and effort, it’s possible to win anything – who knows, one day I could even be living in the infamous ‘Daily Mail Dream Cottage’! 

My latest prize from GEM106 (my local radio station) was one of these lovely ‘treats’ – they called it their ‘Live like a Princess’ promotion. I regularly check my favourite station websites like TalkSport, XFM, Absolute and GEM just incase they’re running any comps where you need to register your details in advance and wait for a callback. If you register early before they start advertising the competition online then you have a good chance of being picked to go on air for the first show. For the GEM competition, each day two contestants competed to answer the most quickfire questions in a minute and at the end of the week the person with the most points won the prize. I was called and asked to go on air on Wednesday morning, with a score of 13 to beat. I managed to get 14 and listened with fingers crossed till Friday afternoon… The final competitor scored just 4!

The prize was fabulous: tickets to the ballet at The Royal Opera House, a night’s stay in a suite at the Ritz and £100. In addition I won a makeover and £100 to spend at the Mac shop, and two day passes for the lovely Eden Hall Spa.

I went to the Nottingham Mac store for my makeover on the morning of my 37th birthday, as usual looking like a tired mother with squinty eyes and a shiny nose. I explained I needed make-up that wouldn’t take me long to do and looked natural. I think they did a splendid job, though even with all the products I haven’t managed to recreate it quite as successfully myself since…

So, onto the most exciting part of my prize… our visit to London! Last Saturday morning we left Ryland with his Nana and jumped on a train into the city. Tea at the Ritz wasn’t part of the prize (and to be honest we didn’t really fancy it) so instead we put our £100 towards an amazing lunch at The Ledbury, one of London’s top restaurants (sadly, it’s probably more famous for being trashed in last week’s riots). We sat outside on the terrace and enjoyed a 10 course tasting menu that lasted over 4 hours. Beautifully cooked and presented, it was an incredible experience – if you like cheese as much as I do, you can’t fail to be impressed by this fabulous cheese trolley (I’m amazed the waiter let me pose for this photo actually!)

Leaving the Ledbury, we made our way to The Ritz, which  was everything I expected it to be – beautiful interior, charming staff, impeccable service and ridiculously strict dress code (you have to wear a tie for afternoon tea, or even just a drink at the bar!)

We checked in to a beautiful Junior Suite – I’ve never seen a hotel room like it, it was gigantic…

I must admit we were somewhat disappointed at the lack of a kettle (how very British of us!), and at £10 decided not to bother with the Toblerone in the mini-bar… After climbing into the Ottoman at the end of the bed (well… wouldnt you?) we slipped into our Ritz bathrobes and slippers and relaxed before heading out to see ‘Swan Lake’ at the Royal Opera House.

I’ve never been to the Royal Opera House, or to the ballet, before so it was a rather exciting experience. We had tickets in the Upper Auditorium, and the view was incredible.

I foolishly presumed that having watched ‘Black Swan’ the previous week, I knew how it would end, so I was disappointed when the ending was a real damp squib. Standing to leave, I realised nobody had taken their coats… well, how was I to know they have TWO intervals in these things? We sat back down and needless to say, the real ending was much better (thankfully it was a happy ending rather than the Black Swan’ style finale!). I don’t know much about ballet, but the spinning round was breathtaking and the costumes were beautiful – it felt wonderfully old-fashioned to be watching it and I just wish there had been a bit more room to relax in the seats (maybe next time I’ll win a Royal Box!)

The next morning we had an excellent breakfast of haddock in champagne sauce in the Ritz restaurant before heading to the North Face shop to spend £175 vouchers (a prize in a recent Facebook comp) on posh wellington boots for our summer festivals, then headed home.

On Saturday I enjoyed the final part of this amazing prize – a ‘Heavenly Body’ Spa Day at Eden Hall Spa. I’ve been to Eden Hall several times before on various prize trips, and every time they’ve done a bit of refurbishment and made it even more lovely. On this visit it was warm enough to wander round the new garden in our robes and we even had a go at some archery. Carmy was far better at it than me!

The spa day was great as I don’t get much time away from Ryland to relax – I’m also addicted to my iPhone so it was nice to shut it away in a locker and enjoy an hour long massage without worrying about what was in my Inbox!

Thankyou so much Gem for such an unusual and generous prize. I really did live like a Princess, even if it was just for a few days! 

4 Responses

  1. Jennifer B says:

    Great post, looks like a wonderful prize Di, I really envy you! Thanks for the link Anon, good luck everyone!

  2. SuperluckyDi says:

    Thankyou for the link – fingers crossed!

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a fabulous prize! I love how you look after your make-up session, just like a princess! If you want to win the Daily Mail Dream Cottage, this site lists all the passwords by the way 😉

  4. melissa says:

    Wonderful write up Di. You are so right, experiences like these are what comping is all about and what makes it such a fabulous hobbie. x

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