The Power of Sampling: Why Freebies Are a Win-Win for Consumers and Brands*

In an era where the market is inundated with endless choices, free samples or “freebies” have become a golden bridge between brands and consumers. This strategy, far from being a mere act of corporate generosity, serves as a powerful tool for marketing, consumer research, and loyalty building. Let’s dive into the multifaceted benefits of free samples and why they’re more than just a complimentary giveaway.

A Taste Before the Purchase

The most direct advantage of free samples is that they allow consumers to try before they buy. This is especially beneficial in industries like cosmetics, food, and beverages, where personal preference and quality are paramount. Sampling mitigates the risk of dissatisfaction post-purchase, thereby reducing the reluctance to try new products. It’s a risk-free method for consumers to explore new flavors, scents, or textures without the commitment of a full purchase, leading to a more informed and confident buying decision.

Enhancing Brand Exposure and Loyalty

From a brand’s perspective, free samples are an effective way to introduce products to potential customers. This hands-on experience can create a memorable interaction that’s likely to leave a lasting impression, significantly enhancing brand recall. Moreover, when consumers discover a product they love through a sample, they’re more likely to purchase it in the future and become loyal customers. This loyalty not only increases the lifetime value of a customer but can also transform them into brand advocates who share their positive experiences with family and friends, thereby amplifying the brand’s reach organically.

Feedback and Product Improvement

Free samples also serve as a valuable source of feedback for companies. By analyzing consumer responses to their samples, brands can gauge the market’s reaction to new products or variants before a full-scale launch. This feedback can highlight aspects that need improvement, whether it’s the taste, packaging, or marketing message, thus allowing brands to make necessary adjustments. Essentially, it transforms consumers into a focus group, providing insights that can significantly influence product development and marketing strategies.

Creating a Sense of Urgency and Engagement

Offering freebies can create a sense of urgency and increase consumer engagement. Limited-time offers or limited-quantity giveaways prompt consumers to act quickly, which can lead to increased traffic in stores or online platforms. This heightened engagement not only boosts immediate interaction but can also enhance the overall consumer experience with the brand, fostering a positive association and increasing the likelihood of future purchases.


In conclusion, the strategy of offering free samples is a testament to the adage, “a little goes a long way.” For consumers, it’s an opportunity to explore, enjoy, and make more informed purchasing decisions without the risk. For brands, it’s a multi-faceted tool that enhances exposure, loyalty, and market understanding, ultimately contributing to a stronger and more successful product offering. In the dynamic landscape of consumer preferences and competition, freebies stand out as a practical and beneficial approach to forging lasting connections between brands and their consumers.

Posted in life, money


The next steps*

Planner c/o Mâl Paper

To say there’s a lot going on right now would be a bit of an understatement; between working full time, planning a wedding and preparing to start the process of starting a family (more on that in a bit) it’s taken the timely arrival of this daily goal setter planner from Mâl Paper to help keep me on track.

This gorgeous planner is just what I need to keep my life on track. It’s designed to help you be more mindful and set goals to get you through even the most stressful days. It features sections for monthly, weekly and daily planning and is littered with inspirational quotes, plenty of space for writing down ideas and it made from the most beautiful quality paper. This has really helped me keep on track when it comes to to-do lists to help me reach my goals, as well as making sure I take time to focus on what has gone well each day and ensures I take time out for me.

The planner costs £21.95 and you can get 15% off your order at the moment with the code BRSPECIAL15

And how is all that planning going? Well…

Wedding wise, we’re making good progress. We have a venue, photographer, bridesmaids, bridesmaid dresses, hair and makeup, wedding rings and a few other bits and pieces under our belts. I’ve got some dress shopping appointments in the next two weeks and with 387 days to go, I’m feeling quite on top of things.
We’re in the process of finalising the guest list and sorting out the invites too- that’s our next big job, and whilst it might seem that we are way ahead at the moment, things are going to get crazy over the next few months and I just know time is going to fly.

And on to that whole starting a family thing…

Due to some very unfortunate circumstances, which I won’t go in to, Bob ended up being referred to a genetics specialist to get some tests done. The outcome from that is that he has tested positive for the BRAC2 genetic mutation that leads to an increased risk of certain cancers.
From his point of view, he’s ok. He’ll be screened from a much younger age and will get all sorts of fancy monitoring to ensure anything nasty is caught early.
His/our bigger concern at this point in time is what this means for our future children.
After meeting with a genetics consultant we’ve been offered something called PGD, a type of IVF that will eliminate the risk of passing the mutation on to our future child. After lengthy discussions we decided that this was the route we wanted to go down. Knowing that there is a 50% percent chance of passing this on- with a hugely increased risk for our future children of developing certain types of cancers (the statistics if we had a girl who had this mutation were scary) meant that we personally can’t justify not giving this a go. Obviously this is a very personal decision and not everyone will feel the same, but as we have been offered this opportunity we have decided to take it. And soon.

Right now the only barrier to us starting this treatment is my weight. It turns out that as well as there being a maximum BMI for any IVF/PGD referrals, there is also a minimum, which currently I am just about 2kg under. Knowing I am the only barrier between us and starting this journey (and we are both so ready for this) has been a real kick in the stomach for me as I’ve been dragging my feet and letting my eating disorder get in the way of making those final steps in weight restoration.
It’s also given me a massive kick up the backside and with any luck we’ll be getting that referral and starting this process in the very near future.

It’s exciting but scary times for the both of us right now. Being a Mum means the world to me, and being in a position now where that dream is slowly becoming a reality is a real “pinch me” moment. At one point I was being told I’d never get better, never live a normal life, and yet here I am- more happy and more content and healthier than I ever thought possible. It’s not going to be an easy road, for either of us but it’s one we’re excited to start down.
We’ve talked about it a lot and would like to share our journey, to some extent on the blog if people would be interested (well, even if you aren’t as it would be good for us to document the venture anyway).

So, for now you’ll find me with my head in my planner, setting myself goals and reminding myself why I’m doing this on the days when I’m feeling too full of food, bloated and defeated. I’m doing this for me, for Bob (who I credit for fully for showing me what it means to live and be loved), and for all of the friends and family who never gave up on me.

Until next time! And get buying those planners!

What next?

The photos in this post were taken so long ago, I don’t even remember when; probably sometime between my birthday and when we went on holiday, but I can’t be sure.
So much has changed since then, it’s crazy. I feel like I’ve reached yet another turning point, and whilst it isn’t all plain sailing, I’m loving it.

Life has been so chaotic since we got back from America. First there was the jet-lag (which was far worse than I could ever have predicted). Then we had busy weekends with family and friends, celebrating our engagement and attending a truly fabulous wedding.
We’ve had a couple of more relaxed weekends recently, and I had a week off work which I used to re-charge, and I’m starting to learn it’s ok to rest as much as it is ok to be frantically busy all of the time. It’s ok to feel like you have no time to do anything, to fall behind on the housework and then be so exhausted all you can do is vegetate. I’ve learnt to accept that things can’t be perfect all of the time, and most importantly I am learning to deal with the anxiety that provokes.

Home life is fantastic, our little rented house feels like a proper home at last, and Pablo, Bob and I make a great little unit.
Pablo continues to keep us on our toes, his most recent escapade being falling out of our bedroom window. Thankfully he suffered little more than a busted too which required a minor op, but he is the poster child for why pet insurance is crucial!

Somehow we’ve been engaged for 10 weeks! I’m still in a slight state of disbelief- I never thought I’d find the person I truly can’t imagine my life without, but here I am, ring on my finger and totally clueless as to where to start!
We’ve been asked loads when the wedding will be- a couple of years yet! We’re looking at Autumn 2021 to give us time to save and plan. I might sound stupid here, but I had no idea just how expensive weddings were! I knew they were costly but it seems everything is mega money and we really don’t want to get in to debt for our big day.
We have a couple of venue ideas in mind, but that’s about it as far as plans go. Of course I’ve looked online at dresses and shoes and all of the super girly bits- egged on by one very excited mother of the bride! Bob and I have put together a rough guest list and over the coming weeks hopefully we’ll get a bit more of a solid plan in to place so we know just how much of our hard earned cash we need to stash away.

I’ll gladly welcome any and all wedding planning tips, I truly find the whole thing baffling!

Mental Health & Recovery:
It wouldn’t be a sit down and ramble about life post without touching on my mental health and recovery.
In short, things are great. I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I have every been happier, things have steadily been getting better since meeting Bob two and a half years ago, but recently things seem to have fallen in to place a little bit more.

Anorexia wise I am probably the most “normal” I have ever been since first becoming unwell at the age of 15. It’s been a 17 year uphill battle but finally I have hope that I can beat this for good.
Recently I’ve been enjoying the things that many people will take for granted- eating lunch and snacks with colleagues rather than going to sit out in the rain, or going without because I couldn’t stand others seeing me eat. I have enjoyed fancy meals at lovely restaurants, and surprised Bob by suggesting meals or snacks that have previously been off the cards. When we first met there were about three dinners we rotated between…now we do have our regular favourites, but we have variety and normality in the cooking process; using oil, letting someone cook for me and serve up for me. Flexibility and freedom.
There is still a way to go, kinks to iron out, challenges to embrace and that ever present last little bit of weight restoration (for long-term health and potential baby carrying). I still get stressed by food at times, cry over things that may seem trivial, but I am well and truly winning, helped along the way by some fantastic books around intuitive eating (please say if you’d like more on this as I could write a post).

In terms of general mental health things are looking good too. I had a bad week last week where my mood took a random dip and anxiety ruled, but I’ve bounced back and recovered. I’m working on reducing medications, find I can do more and more that previously would have been impossible- two lots of drinks with colleagues/friends in a week? No problem! Speaking my mind in a difficult situation? Why not!

I don’t know what prompted this post, but it’s been therapeutic to write it. I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump lately but I’m starting to break free of it and hopefully can make this a place I am proud to call my own again.

High fives and a chocolate finger to anyone who made it this far! Until next time…

Holiday Post 5: San Francisco

We ended our holiday with a three night stay in San Francisco. It was late when we got there on the Sunday so we didn’t get to see much of it (we took a detour via the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Factory!) but we did get to drive in over the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy the sun going down after getting stuck in some traffic and getting very hangry!

After rolling in to town we dropped off our rental car as we didn’t see a benefit to keeping it in a busy city where parking is notoriously difficult/expensive. We picked up an Uber to take us to our Airbnb- we went with this option rather than a hotel because we were able to get something MUCH nicer for our money with what little budget we had left and it was a winning choice. Hotels in San Francisco are expensive, and somewhat dingy if you’re on a budget. On the flipside, our Airbnb which was a converted basement in someone’s house, was immaculate and our hosts were perfect- friendly and on hand to help if we wanted it, but happy to leave us to our own devices. As a first experience of Airbnb it was perfect.

We were located somewhere downtown with little around in terms of dining options so we took a 10pm stroll to a nearby grocery store for a makeshift dinner. It was quite daunting at first as it was our first real city experience outside of Vegas but very interesting (and hilly!)

Our first morning in San Francisco saw us getting another Uber and heading down towards Fisherman’s Wharf, via IHOP which Bob was desperate to try (it was good!).
We don’t actually feel like we got the best experience of SF as it was freakishly hot whilst we were there- up to 37 degrees. This is not ideal temperatures for exploring a busy city and we definitely didn’t see as much as we would have liked as it was unbearable to be out for too long, but we’re already planning our next road trip which will see us back in San Francisco before driving up to Seattle.

One place we absolutely loved was Musée Mécanique- a vintage penny arcade located on Pier 45 on Fisherman’s Wharf. We spent a very happy couple of hours here playing on the old school machines and posing in the photo booths- 100% recommend a pit stop here if you’re in town!
We also took a tour of SS Jeremiah O’Brien, a WWII Liberty Ship as Bob and I are both war history buffs. This was an awesome experience and well worth the entry fee we paid. It was however far too hot to spend long on board.

We didn’t visit Alcatraz this time as we didn’t book in advance, which is a must and it was fully booked. We saw it from afar though and it’s on the list for next time.

View of Alcatraz Prison from the SS Jeremiah O’Brien.

After some lunch grabbed from a 7-11 (love those places) we headed to another famous pier- Pier 39, known best for it’s sea lions. Again it really was to hot to fully enjoy this, but it has a buzzing atmosphere and super cool vibe.

A few hours wandering this part of town and we were beaten by the weather. We headed back to our apartment to have a siesta and cold shower before going out to a fairly local shopping mall for an easy dinner (Panda Express, yum!) and a bit of retail therapy.

Day two dawned slightly cooler and we decided to get an Uber to Golden Gate Park. We picked up some breakfast in a supermarket which we ate on the beach before setting about our mission to cover as much of the massive park as we could on foot (next time we’ll hire bikes!)

We made a pretty good dent in the park as well, but there are so many zones to explore you really need a couple of days to get the most out of it.

As an aside, this was on the Tuesday and not one person had mentioned that at noon on a Tuesday they test the emergency alarms, so when they went off there was genuine terror and visions of us about to be engulfed by a tsunami, especially as our Uber driver had kindly told us this freak weather scared him as it made the chances of one much higher! Consider yourself warned!

After about four hours of walking we got yet another Uber and went back down to the beach for one of my favourite parts of the entire holiday.
Before we went I had posted on Facebook that I’d be in San Francisco and this actually presented itself as the perfect opportunity to meet up with one of my most longstanding online friends.
It’s so wonderful to be able to turn an online friend in to a real life one, and our afternoon with Meghan was perfect. We drank cocktails at the Beach Chalet then took a walk on the beach to dip our toes in the Pacific.

It was the most idyllic ending to the holiday of a lifetime and I hope that when we go back to the states we can meet up again.

That evening we headed to another shopping mall, ate more Panda Express (we were so taken by this chain, and we were priced out of local restaurants by this stage in our trip!). We also finally visited a Trader Joes and loaded up on snacks to take home- England needs Trader Joes asap!

Shopping and dining done we headed back to our Airbnb for an early night ready for our epic day of travelling the next morning.
The flights home were smooth sailing, although we didn’t get an minute of sleep so we were slightly delirious by the time we landed in a cold and rainy Heathrow, and we had four days of truly horrendous jet lag. But we had the absolute best time and came home to a very happy to see us Pablo, a house full of engagement cards and balloons, and of course, a wedding to plan!

As I mentioned earlier in the post, we’re keen to re-visit San Francisco in more normal weather conditions. We were a bit overwhelmed when it came to choosing where to visit and what to see, so although it won’t be for a couple of years now we’d love some recommendations.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little holiday re-cap series! Hopefully there will be more travel posts, both UK and overseas in the future, we’ve certainly got the exploring bug!

Holiday Post 4: Mammoth Lakes*

After the happiest moment of my life to date; getting engaged in Yosemite National Park it was time to get back in to our rental car and head to our next destination; Mammoth Lakes.
The pass we needed to get from Yosemite to Mammoth Lakes was still closed due to snow (so hard to imagine on a day where temperatures were in the mid-twenties), we only found this out at the last minute so after a bit of advice from a friendly park ranger we set about on a bit of a detour.

We set out with plenty of fuel in the tank, but it soon became clear we’d need to fill up. No worries we think, there’s a gas station before we hit the Sonoma Pass…except when we get to the town where the gas station was meant to be located, there was nothing. Just an empty shell of a gas station and the burnt out remains of an area completely destroyed by last years forest fires.
Still, not panicked we reasoned there would be another on the way and we technically still had enough fuel in the tank. We hit the pass, climbed and climbed and climbed (10,500 feet elevation at it’s peak) and watch the fuel dial plummet.

By the time we had made our descent the tank was empty and sat-nav showed 40 miles to the next gas station. We hoped our car had a good reserve tank as we had no phone signal and there was barely anyone on the road- and a serious lack of houses/general civilisation. That gas station was closed, and at that point we went from celebrating our engagement to sheer panic. Luckily our car had a seemingly bottomless reserve and we made the next 30 miles to an open gas station- an hour further from our destination and back in Nevada. That sense of relief was insane. It was 10pm by this time, we grabbed coffee, figured we’d find something to eat when we got to Mammoth Lakes and got back to it.

At midnight we rocked up to our hotel, obviously check-in was closed but the owner had left the key out for us, alongside a triple underlined warning about bears…we had a very cautious trip back to the car for our belongings!
We pretty much crashed straight in to bed after that drama, fuelled on some car snacks we had salvaged and a strange sense of delirium.

The view from our hotel entrance.

We woke up the next day full of renewed engagement excitement and finally got to tell our family and friends. We had a spot of breakfast at the hotel before heading off, keen to make the best of our one full day at Mammoth Lakes, starting with a hike around Convict Lake.

There are no words to explain how stunning Mammoth Lakes was. Surrounded by snow capped mountains even in June, during the colder months this is a popular ski resort, and during the summer a place of outstanding natural beauty and opportunities to be at one with nature.
It’s somewhere I am desperate to go back to, for at least a full week just to see and experience more of it, you can even get a flight there, with a quick airport transfer to your destination.

Hungry again after our walk we headed to local supermarket Vons for some fuel. I’m still in awe of American Supermarkets- I actually got some of the best sushi of my life in Vons, freshly prepared in front of me.

We spent the afternoon driving around and checking out more of Mammoth Lakes but we barely made a dent. Our plans of a second hike were scuppered when, as the only ones on the trail, we saw evidence of recent bear activity- we’d had enough drama!

Determined to break our run of fast food/chain restaurants we decided to splash out on a special dinner at a local restaurant called The Mogul. Here we had some of the best food of our holiday and I’m sad I didn’t think to take a photo but if you do happen to find yourselves in Mammoth Lakes I highly recommend the Ahi Tuna!
We then headed back to the hotel to celebrate with champagne in plastic cups that we’d purchased in Vons (the hotel bar closed really early) and settled down for another early start, and a reluctant departure from such an amazing place.
Our holiday was rapidly approaching it’s end but we had one final destination to reach.