The Single Resolution

So we’re just over a week into the New Year and I wondered how many of us have already broken our resolutions? Yes, my hand is up. Understandable of course, it’s never easy but good on you if you’re smashing it. Resolutions I’ve found are often influenced by our relationship status and during a dinner conversation over the festive period, I was surprised to hear of a refreshingly different kind of resolution.

“My resolution this year is to stay single” proclaimed a friend of mine. At 35 years old he’s drifted from one questionable relationship to the next, many of which have compromised his personal and career goals year after year. I had to applaud him (not literally). I rarely hear relationship resolutions from singletons that don’t end in finding the love of their lives. However, sometimes we forget to make the most of aactuallly being single and remembering that being single does not make you a leper. I’m a big believer in being happy by yourself before being happy with someone else, being in a relationship isn’t always the answer to life’s problems. What happens when you pressure yourself or rush into the wrong relationship? You find the wrong person, simple as that.

Being single isn’t something to be ashamed of or to hide away from. No matter what age you are and what the opinions of your friends and family are, there’s no shame in living your life, not the one people expect you to live. Sure relationships can at times be incredible, but so can career development, friendship and travel and all the other things that sometimes aren’t possible when you’re in a relationship – particularly when you’re with the wrong person.

When I was younger I was in a relationship with someone who I’d wanted to break up with for about two years of our three year relationship, but I just couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I made being single out to be a much scarier prospect than it actually was. Eventually, she broke up with me – it was the best thing that ever happened to me. For around a week I was inconsolable, but once I was past that initial shock, everything changed for the better. I genuinely believe that had she not ended our relationship I would still be working in a call centre, would never have travelled and generally would be a shell of the person I am. Ever since that relationship I’ve always sworn to never underestimate the benefits of being single. I firmly believe to this day that if you use your single time in the right way, it could very well be the making of you.

So this post is just a little reminder – never ever beat yourself up for being single. Relationships can be great, magical, whatever you want to call it…but life shouldn’t depend on it.

Happy New Year,

PTB

 

PTB Meets Chloe Madeley

When it comes to dating and relationships they say we learn a lot from our parents, but what happens when your parents just so happen to be TV’s most famous husband and wife duo? Now a household name in her own right and with a growing fitness empire in tow, I caught up with Chloe Madeley to get her take on confidence issues, online dating and finding the one.

Hi Chloe, would you say being in the public eye has affected your outlook to dating and relationships at all? Were you ever concerned about someone wanting to date you for your fame as opposed to who you are as a person? I don’t think men have ever been interested in dating me because of my inherited fame. However, I do think young men in particular enjoy a sexual conquest story and being Richard and Judy’s Daughter probably made me a prime candidate for such stories. You can tell right off the bat who wants what from you though, so it was never a problem and it never upset me – boys will be boys.

What are your thoughts on online dating: curse or convenience? I personally would feel uncomfortable entering into that world and I’m very lucky that so far I haven’t had to. However my current boyfriend chased me over Twitter, so perhaps we fall into that category after all?

You’ve firmly established yourself as one of the UK’s leading fitness gurus, how important do you feel it is for a partner to support their spouse’s ambitions and lifestyle choices? I learned very early on that you can never control another person, nor should you try to. Everybody is different – different thoughts, feelings, actions and goals determine who we are as individuals – if you can’t accept that fact, then you’re not ready for a healthy relationship. My boyfriend plays rugby, which can be very hard to watch at times. He DJs house, which is a type of music that I absolutely hate. He’s obsessed with his phone, which drives me mad, but here’s the thing, all of the above make him happy and I genuinely love him, so that is the most important thing of all. He doesn’t like it when I do photoshoots that lead to other men seeing me in my underwear, but it’s part of my job and I love the shoots I get to do, so he supports me 100%.

What are the key qualities you look for in a partner? A sense of humour, a kind heart and a high libido. I’m a 29 year old woman and I don’t want to waste my time with someone who can’t laugh with me, doesn’t give a shit about me, or doesn’t want to have sex with me. As far as I’m concerned, these three qualities are non-negotiables.

Any deal-breakers? I have definitely fallen out of love with partners with an ugly right-wing point of view. I can’t abide lazy, judgemental, ill-informed or misplaced opinions.

Teen crush? Justin Timberlake. I actually got drunk last night and went on a Britney / Justin rant for my very confused and very uninterested boyfriend.

Perfect date? Good food, good wine, a cosy setting (anywhere with a booth is a winner) and good conversation.

Any dating mishaps? I have been known to get a little too drunk on a first date…

What advice would you give to young women struggling with confidence issues when it comes to dating? What is standing in the way of your confidence? You don’t like your hair? Your clothes? Your makeup? Your body? Change it. You think you’re not funny or interesting? Ask your friends and family what they love about you. Why do they want to keep you in their life? Listen to their answers and remember them. Are you nervous about a first date? Of course you are. It’s awkward. Somebody is about to judge whether or not they like you. Everybody hates first dates for these exact reasons. But remember, not everyone will like you and you’re not going to like everyone, and that’s perfectly OK.

Do you think people put too much pressure on themselves to find the one causing them to meet ‘the wrong one’? Yes, and I’ve been guilty of this. Then I remember that two out of three marriages end in divorce and if I can avoid being 50 years old with three kids and getting a divorce by taking my sweet time, so be it.

Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older? God yes. The way I act and feel in a relationship has changed dramatically as I’ve gotten older, and that’s because my perception of love has changed. I’m a lot less selfish now, a lot more forgiving, much more at ease with the peaks and troughs of love…you calm down a lot as you get older.

What’s next for Chloe Madeley? My nutrition app launches in January and I have a clothing line and book on the horizon!

PTB

(Photo: Nigel Crane/Hungrydog Media)

 

Here’s To Louis…

I don’t often write about things that happen in the press, but I was beyond moved by Louis Tomlinson’s performance on X Factor last weekend, so much so that I just couldn’t ignore it. For anyone unaware, Louis’ Mum, Johannah, passed away just a few days prior to his performance after a year long battle with Leukaemia. I’m not a huge fan of either X Factor or One Direction (except Night Changes that’s a tune!) but nothing could stop me looking on at Louis with anything but admiration and respect.

Around this time two years ago I lost my Dad unexpectedly. I found grief to be a very curious thing, it rips you to shreds inside, it challenges you in every way imaginable but in the end, you realise you’re stronger than you ever thought possible. When my Dad passed away I found myself in situations the stuff of nightmares are made of – the immediate aftermath, the days that followed, even now there are days when it hits me like a tonne of breaks.

Which leads me to Louis. For that young man to stand up in front of millions of people and perform, mere days after his Mother’s death, well it just shows how much he loved her, because God knows it wasn’t for anyone else. I know One Direction tend to get a lot of stick from anyone who isn’t a fan but whether you like them or not, I hope everyone will give this guy the respect he deserves. Believe you me, it’s difficult to even get out of bed when you’re grieving, never mind perform. My deepest sympathies to the entire Tomlinson clan.

#RipJohannah

Winning Back The Single Women

Something’s not quite right and I can’t quite decide who’s to blame. When you chat to anyone about dating – guy or girl – they seem to instantly hone in on the negative aspects as opposed to the good. Perhaps the bad experiences are just a tad more memorable or maybe the good experiences are just fewer and far between? Not to sound all Family Fortunes on you all, but over the last few weeks I’ve spoken with exactly 100 women across several different dating platforms and I’ve noticed one rather alarming trend – more and more women are getting seriously fed up of dating.

I couldn’t help but recognise how women are becoming increasingly sceptical about what you tell them. Admittedly, I’m probably quite annoying asking question after question about their love lives, but so many women simply don’t believe what you’re telling them and I think it’s important to ask ourselves why…

When I said I was a dating blogger, I was called a liar. I sent them a link, they said “hmmmmm”. I said I wasn’t online looking for a relationship, they called me a ‘cheater’. They even suggested that I wasn’t using my real picture, but I’ll take that one as a compliment. As frustrating as all that was however, I couldn’t quite blame them. I was surprised to find that the more honest I tried to be, the more my every word was deemed either ‘a line’ or a lie, HOWEVER, do us guys only have ourselves to blame? Perhaps platforms like Tinder have given men way too much freedom to do and say whatever they please? Maybe the temptation to be someone we’re not is a little too appealing to turn down and maybe most women have simply just, had enough?

I spoke with one lady who told me of the countless times men had commented “if only I wasn’t married” or “if only I didn’t have a girlfriend” and yes fair play to them they’re being honest that they have a partner, but more often than not that sentence continues into “if I didn’t have a girlfriend…I’d do this to you…” so it’s not really OK after all is it?

This may sound a tad strange but consider the ‘friend zone’ early on in your conversations online. It’s the best way of showing you’re not just after one thing, but you also don’t know each other well enough yet that the friendship to can’t turn into something more. If women are cynical, nine times out of ten it’s some other guy’s fault, but just be a friend (at least initially) and you can’t go far wrong.

Listen to what she has to say. Speaking to a cynic can be a bit off-putting, in fact it’s tempting to end the conversation almost immediately. However, if you can get past that early negativity and listen to what they have to say, you tend to find that behind even the harshest of cynics is someone who just wants a little bit of a love story – allow the idiots of the past to make you look good.

Don’t push things. Being pushy doesn’t work in any relationship situation never mind trying to win over the toughest of cynics. I suppose this comes hand in hand with being a friend and a good listener. Seriously though, don’t overstep the mark by being a friend, listening and then a week later invite her for a late-night Netflix session!

Be funny. You don’t need to be Glasgow’s answer to Chandler Bing, but have a sense of humour about things, make them laugh. As odd as it may sound, being a cynic won’t win over a cynic, in fact you’ll both just end up rather miserable together. Learn to laugh at your past experiences and life will most certainly become that little bit easier.

All in all, let’s remember that dating is supposed to be fun. Whether you’re a guy or a girl try and take everyone at face value, otherwise dating is going to be a long hard slog that we could all do without – life’s too short as it is.

PTB

Five Dating Mistakes (I Made)

As a recovering serial dater I’ve had my fair share of stories to tell, mistakes to make and lessons to learn. Naturally, much of the above has been of great inspiration to my writing (even if it does mean revisiting some of my most embarrassing moments). I’ve always found dating to be fascinating. I understand why some people see it as quite a daunting experience, but I really wish they wouldn’t. Dating did wonders for my confidence as a teenager and if anything, really helped shape my sense of humour when it comes to relationships in a really positive way. So without further ado let me share with you all the top five mistakes made by a much more youthful PTB…

1. Don’t get so drunk at your friend’s flat-warming party that you ask her goth roommate out on a date. I of course have nothing against goths, I’m a former emo kid after all, but certain extremes of goth culture aren’t to my personal taste when it comes to girls. So why I asked out my friend’s roommate I’ll never know – she looked like Marilyn Manson had been shopping at Halfords. Nice girl though. This was the same night I stole a beer keg from a local pub and rolled it all the way back to the party, the police even gave me directions, but that’s another story.

2. Don’t turn up to meet a girl dressed in the same outfit as her. You’ll be surprised to hear this one follows on from the previous point. I was held to that date by my friend, which was definitely fair enough. I knew she was a nice enough girl and I just reminded myself not to judge anyone, particularly as I’d gotten my ears pierced sat in the window of a Claire’s Accessories a week before. However, we met up to discover that we had both come dressed in the same outfit. She’d tried to ‘goth down’ and I’d tried to ’emo up’! We were both wearing identical black hoodies, black skinny jeans and similarly scuffed white Converse trainers. Together, we looked like a dare. What made the night worse was her preference that we went to the cinema where it was so busy we had to sit in separate rows! There’s nothing more romantic than distance is there? Nice girl, strange night, funny to look back on.

3. Don’t laugh at their accent. It was hard, really hard. I once went on a date with a girl from Finland and the only time she seemed to speak proper English was when she was mocking Scotland. It didn’t bother me in the slightest, I love all that banter as much as anyone, however it was when she kept pronouncing ‘coke’ as ‘cock’ that really took the biscuit. She insisted we go to KFC where she promptly ordered a Zinger Tower Meal with a large cock. Then as she drank her large cock, she told me all about how she doesn’t normally like cock because they use cock to clean the car park at the hotel she works at back home. Even after everything she’d said about Scotland she was fuming when I tried to correct her pronunciation. If you can’t laugh in that situation, you’re not human.

4. Don’t get their name wrong. Going back to my past life as an Insurance Underwriter here (shivers). I’d been working on a one-off project with a woman named Kelly which basically involved us being locked in a room all day trying not to kill each other. There was just a serious personality clash and we were the last two people who should’ve been working together. This woman was grating on me all the way up to my date that night. I called my date Kelly six or seven times and to this day can’t remember her actual name because I still think ‘Kelly’ when I picture her face. I hate Kelly.

5. Don’t ditch her for The Backstreet Boys. So I was on a date in a quiet hotel bar and my seat is facing the door and as she’s talking in walks the bloody Backstreet Boys! Turns out they were playing a concert in the city and this was their hotel. Don’t get me wrong they’re not exactly my favourite band (although I did once serenade a girl with ‘I want it that way’ when I was 13) but they’re kind of legends aren’t they? To cut a long story short, she wandered off to the toilet and I wandered off to meet the Backstreet Boys and returned to my seat an hour later. No excuses, I totally messed up on this one – totally worth it though.

So what did I learn? Don’t drink too much, don’t correct Finnish girls and don’t fanboy over grown men when you’re on a date with a gorgeous girl. We live and learn.

Happy Dating!

PTB

The Importance Of Flaws

“You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve and I have always buried them deep beneath the ground” – it’s one of my favourite songs and seeing as it’s in the title of the song, I was inspired to think about ‘flaws’ in a little more depth. How we treat flaws goes back to that whole idea of nine good meals and one bad one – which do you remember? It’s amazing how much we overlook the good in our prospective partners because we’re so focused on their strange laugh or their crooked nose, but it’s not always about how we see other people, the real importance of flaws is to recognise them in yourself.

So do you recognise them? If you did, would it change how you treat others? One of the best things I ever did was to begin accepting my flaws, because when I did, I actually lost some of my other flaws. Self-awareness changed everything for me and as it turned out accepting isn’t about excusing them. Acceptance encouraged me to start changing the bad things and helped me understand when or why other people were angry or frustrated with me.

My flaws? I was always very selfish. I spent four years in a relationship where I gave absolutely everything and got nothing in return and when that ended I said never again, but sometimes it’s easy to take that too far. One thing you should never do is punish the new people in your life for what the old people did. Bad tempered, those who know me will be surprised by this, but I used to have an extremely short fuse. Don’t get me wrong I would never physically hurt anyone, I never let myself cross any dangerous lines, but I put more holes in walls and broke more phones and remote controls than I care to admit. That reminds me, never punch a brick wall – you will lose every time. This was all a good few years ago now and after realising just how embarrassing I was being I managed to deal with my emotions in much healthier ways (a little anger-management and a good sense of humour go a long way). Over-thinking, I’m perhaps the world’s greatest. I think about too many things in life and from every possible angle and perspective – it literally keeps me awake at night. This level of over-thinking can lead to a ridiculous amount of indecision which take it from me is beyond detrimental to a relationship.

I’m a big believer in loving yourself, as you are, but for me my flaws were affecting others too much not to do something about it. A strange laugh was probably a bad example, because what one person finds strange, another person might love you for. Physical flaws in general however are a completely different kettle of fish. Who even decides what is a flaw and what isn’t? It’s all just stereotypes and traditions and society crap that have ultimately led most of us to strive for what we perceive to be ‘normal’. With physical appearance, I do believe in the importance of physical attraction but everyone has a different idea of what they find attractive (thankfully). For example did you know that a prominent chin indicates a strong sex drive and a prominent brow bone indicates a need for sexual dominance? Some people might be thinking those are unattractive facial features and others might be thinking ‘I need to get you in my bedroom!’

At the end of the day flaws are what make us human, it’s up to you what you do with them. Love yourself for you, but don’t be scared to strive to be the best possible version of you – just stay away from those walls!

“All of your flaws and all of my flaws,
When they have been exhumed
We’ll see that we need them to be who we are
Without them we’d be doomed” – Bastille

PTB

PTB Meets Teen Mom Star Farrah Abraham

Have you ever met someone in the public eye only to feel completely deflated at how rude, arrogant and generally irritating they were? Well to my surprise, Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham proved quite the opposite. With Teen Mom UK hitting our screens last week I felt it was the perfect time to catch up with the show’s biggest star from across the pond. From past press coverage I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I’m always wary of being sucked into the personas created by the careful editing of shows like Celebrity Big Brother. What I found with Farrah was in fact a pleasant surprise – a young women with her head firmly screwed on and a strong desire to help young women learn from her life experiences. Here’s what MTV’s most colourful character had to say:

Hi Farrah, as a society we often feel pressured to settle down and find the one, how important is it to love yourself before you can love someone else? It’s the most important thing in this world, easy to say when momma’s happy everyone’s happy and I also feel when you feel love for yourself then you can really show everyone else love around you. I feel at my best when I have my self love where it needs to be and after having children that can be hard, but  remember what you love and you will always find it again through the ups and downs of life.

What are your thoughts on online dating: curse or convenience? I would say Curse and Convenience. I have dabbled and some years your good and other years not ok. As you become a public figure more so, you leave yourself vulnerable to online super fans and Teen Mom fans and that can lead to an untrue match- be careful.MTV Movie Awards red carpet farrah abraham movie awards 2016 mtv movie awards 2016

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to an expecting young mother? Learn as you go because all of life’s variables are different and pay attention to what your child needs and life is easy.

1 in 4 women are said to experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime, what advice would you give to anyone suffering at the hands of an abusive partner? Time to leave, as you saw in my story I come from an abusive family and I chose to move on and I still to this day make sure i’m changing the cycle in this way. Volatile relationships are not good for anyone, especially our children and it’s been proven time and time again.

Marie Claire magazine recently reported about the worrying increase of sexual assaults on University campuses, why do you think this problem has become so prominent in recent years? Should women fear campus life? Between hormones, parties, classes, stress…campuses no doubt increase the chances of a sexual assault taking place. I personally hurried and graduated early, I didn’t feel comfortable at college campuses and it’s truthfully not for everyone, but safety should definitely be heightened on campuses so everyone can feel safe getting their education, since that’s why we’re all there in the first place.

Who are your role models? God

How important is self-sufficiency to a woman? Self-sufficiency is everything in my world. I have a frozen yogurt store, furniture store, children’s boutique, an international brand and so much more I oversee, I owe it all to my sense of self-sufficiency. Mastering self sufficiency leads to making all of your passions come true.

What are the key qualities you look for in a partner? Honesty, trustworthy, integrity, funny.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? My daughter.

Any regrets? No regrets thanks to my intensive therapy and understanding why everything has it’s purpose.

Teen Mom UK continues Wednesdays @ 8pm – Sky 126 Virgin 134

Main image courtesy of FilmMagic.

 

Dating: Have We Been Doing It Wrong All Along?

The concept of dating stretches back to a time I know absolutely nothing about. In fact I often wonder what the very first date was like (can you imagine a time when we didn’t have our phones to check every five minutes?) but as times change and as people change, perhaps our dating habits need to change as well?

In the two years I’ve been writing about dating, the majority of feedback I’ve heard about individual dating experiences is vastly negative. As the world of dating becomes increasingly digital, with it has come a raft of creepies, cons and invites for ‘Netflix and…’ – I can’t even say it.

In fact the interference of technology altogether, seems to have slowly diminished the human aspect of dating that was once more prevalent in years gone by. The more bad Tinder experiences we have and the more people who hound us to reply to their last message all of three minutes after it was sent, the more we become that little bit more cynical towards the next person. I’ve lost count of how many profiles that say: “no hook-ups, must drive, must have own place, must be employed, must be over 5’8. How bad have things gotten that the first thing we read about a person is a list of demands provoked by bad experience? It all just seems a bit bitter to me – dating should be fun! So what is the solution?

When I was on my travels last year I met people from just about every country you could possibly imagine, the most intriguing being my wonderful South-American friends. The more I got to know people, the more we began to discuss life, relationships and interestingly, how we went about meeting people back home. In the UK I suppose the most generic way I could describe a date is to meet someone for a drink or dinner, chat and spend an average of around two to three hours in each other’s company. In South America however, things couldn’t be more different.

In Brazil, a guy may invite his date to more of a gathering as opposed to some one on one time. It’s not uncommon to meet in a bar and find the guy surrounded by friends, their partners and other individuals accompanied by first dates of their own. During the small gathering you might not even chat to your date for all that long, instead you gain just enough insight into each other’s personality within a group setting to allow you to decide whether or not you want to see each other again. This isn’t the norm for every date of course but it was extremely common.

On the whole, everything is very brief but relaxed which people seem to have a strong preference for in that part of the world. When I explained to my friends how in the UK you may spend anything up to three hours alone with a first date, I was greeted with both strange looks and what verged on hysterical laughter. “What if you don’t like them? You’re stuck there!”

Maybe we’re just a little too polite on this side of the world, but I suppose on some level they may just be right.

When we go on dates we’re often guilty of putting the whole occasion on a pedestal, perhaps it’s just the hopeless romantics in us or maybe it’s just convention to an extent? Go abroad however and a date is often considered no more than a simple, social encounter with someone you may or may not be interested in. In fact it’s so simple it’s almost considered irrelevant until you’ve established if there’s a connection.

It seems almost heartless to think a date should have to earn relevance, but on the other hand has dating perhaps become so fickle that this idea now makes sense? I think one of the reasons people’s cynicism is because even one or two bad dates can feel like so much wasted time, wasted money, wasted outfits, the list goes on. But if dates were more casual and I suppose shorter, you may feel like you have a little less to lose. As result, you might just remain more positive and open-minded to future ‘meets’.

This approach may not be suited to everyone and as I’ve written before I’ve had some really memorable dates, but having heard the feedback, read the bitter Tinder profiles and listened to a fair few tales of heartbreak, it might just be the way forward. I’ve long been a supporter of Speed Dating because I feel it’s the closest thing to this philosophy. Having once hosted such events I’ve realised I’m not particularly a fan of overly organised social interactions (try telling 25 women only 4 men have shown up) but the actual concept itself is definitely on the right track.

So if you are genuinely seeking love, why not consider changing your own outlook? There’s nothing wrong with still getting excited about the dating traditions we’ve all grown up with, but if what you’ve been doing just isn’t working, what do you have to lose by mixing things up a little?

If it works in South America and places like New York where this kind of dating has also taken off, then who says it can’t work for us Brits? I don’t think getting a date to bring all of his friends and family along is necessarily the answer, but the philosophy of approaching dating with more of a laissez-faire attitude, could potentially offer a more positive outcome.

Happy Dating!!

PTB

My First Kiss Went A Little Like This…

So I was walking through town the other day when I spotted the girl I shared my first ever kiss with. It was really strange as I literally hadn’t clapped eyes on this girl for what must have been about seventeen years. At the time I was 12 years old and was only in my first week of high school. She was a couple of years older and was in third year which thankfully scored me some much needed credibility with my new classmates – new school and all that.

We’d started dating because my friend was dating her friend and being a couple as well seemed a little ‘cooler’ than being a third and fourth wheel (and they say romance is dead). It was one of those relationships where you don’t actually talk much, dates were to the sports centre and every time you did speak it was a nervous call to the ‘house phone’. One Valentines Day I’d bought her a nice ring from a local Jewellers, it cost £9.99 which at the time was an awful lot of money to me – so I thank my Mum for paying for it. Looking back, a ring was probably a bit of a misguided choice but I really was a young old romantic at the time. I was so excited to give her the ring and thankfully she loved it, although it was a little difficult to hide my disappointment when it transpired she’d bought me nothing. A few days later she turned up at my door with a belated gift. She’d bought me a ring of my own, it was a gold medallion style ring that came in a little plastic pouch and was inscribed with what my French teacher later translated to mean ‘United States of Mexico’. A week later that gold ring turned silver in the bath.

So on to the first kiss…we’d been on a badminton ‘date’  – cute I know. About halfway through she said to me “let’s go and see
what’s up there” which confused me greatly as all we were looking at was the back of an empty sports hall. I followed on regardless when out of nowhere she grabbed me and went for it. I was a bit startled to say the least, I stood completely still the entire time, racket in one hand and shuttle cock in the other. Afterwards, barely one word was said. When I got home I became friends lisa kudrow matthew perry phoebe buffay chandler bingincreasingly mortified about how utterly motionless I had been, why didn’t I at least put the racket down? I overthought the entire situation and even asked her best friend to pass on my apologies for what I had decided was a truly awful first kiss. As it turned out I should’ve kept my mouth shut, she took my apology as a slight on her own kissing abilities and repaid me by having a kissing session in a loft with one of my best friends. We tried to make it work but broke up a few weeks later when I met a new love interest secretly wear the gold/silver ring only for her to run straight up to my ‘girlfriend’ and shout “look what I’m wearing” right in her face. And they say relationships are complicated when you’re an adult.

Reminiscing got me talking to a few readers about their own first kiss and whether it was their first kiss ever or their first kiss with a new partner it seems I wasn’t the only one who made a bad first impression.

“I had arranged to meet this boy in the park, I was nervous as anything and there was an unusually big build up. Anyway, we finally got around to it and only a few seconds in one of his friends kicked a football that smacked him right in the side the face. He bit my lip and made me bleed and cry. Welcome to kissing!” – Amy, 31, London.

“I was on a first date which had went terribly, this however didn’t put him off going in for a kiss! I was actually trying to say goodbye and as I went to turn around he flew in for a kiss at about a hundred miles an hour. I tried to dodge it and he ended up head-butting my ear. A terrible end to an even more terrible date.” Also Amy, 26, Brighton.

“This was on my one and only blind date. We’d barely said two words to each other all night and although I didn’t necessarily dislike her we just weren’t right for each other in any way shape or form. If I’m honest I really wasn’t attracted to her at all and I don’t like to be mean but she had really bad breathe. As we were saying goodbye she closed her eyes, pursed her lips and leaned forward waiting for me, it was like a scene from a movie but not in a good way. After an awkward pause I felt like I had no choice but to reciprocate. Worst kiss of my life to this day.” Ollie, 38, Manchester.

awkward kissing emma stone andrew garfield“My first ever kiss was after school at the back of the P.E hall. My Mum was picking me up as usual but I’d kept her waiting because I was nervously waiting for a girl in my class to come and meet me. As we started kissing my phone started vibrating, it was a heavy duty Nokia 3210 with an even heavier duty vibration setting. It felt like it went on forever, starting and stopping as she got to voicemail then calling back over and over again. Eventually I tried to switch my phone off whilst we were still kissing but all I managed to do was answer it. All we both could hear was my Mum shouting “Sean, Sean! Where are you Sean! You think I’ve nothing better to do than sit here waiting for you!” The funny thing was we both awkwardly just carried on as though nothing was happening. I never imagined that my Mum would be so prominent in my first kiss. Sean, 31, Cork.

“We were kissing in the street and someone rode a push bike right into him. As he fell over I was still doing a kissing motion to thin air.” Angela, 47, Glasgow.

Have a great week everyone!

PTB

5 Tips To Make Your Man Settle Down

From the very early days of my blog one of the most common questions I get asked by female readers, is how do I get my boyfriend to finally settle down? There’s never a straightforward answer to this question because even though men have very similar traits, every man is different. There are a million different reasons why a man won’t commit; fear, regret, fear of regret or even just pure laziness. The reasons at times are surprisingly simple. I must stress, however, you shouldn’t have to trick your man into settling down, if it’s necessary to go this far you might just be with the wrong person? However, what I can do is give you a few subtle tips to at the very least…plant a seed.

1. Remind him what he’s got. You know that way when you come out of a relationship and you pretty sexy girl hot girl sexy girlsubconsciously feel the need to post dozens of Facebook photos of yourself in particularly sociable situations looking absolutely fabulous? For some reason we always seem to feel the need to prove to our exes that we are much better off without them and that life has never been better. If you apply this thinking when you’re still together, then it might just remind your man how lucky he is to have you. Men are terrible for falling into a rut, we often act like we don’t really care, but then threaten to break up with us and we’re clinging to your ankles like a child in a supermarket. You shouldn’t have anything to prove to your partner, but leaving a few subtle photographic reminders on social media of what a catch you are could go a long way.

2. Take him for a big night out. One of the biggest obstacles to commitment is ‘fear of missing out’. We always want what we don’t have, so when guys are presented with the possibility of missing out on a few wild nights out or a weekend away they suddenly panic – even if they weren’t much of a party boy in the first place. BUT the older we get, the less stamina we have as well. At 18, I could go out three nights in a row and play football first thing the next morning. At 30, I can barely keep my eyes open past midnight and take four days to recover. Take your man for a wild night out as a subtle reminder that he’s not the teenager he once was.

3. Get the best possible Sky package. I wish I was kidding, but if he’s never out the pub because it’s the only place to watch the football, then bring the football back home.

men the 40 year old virgin movie reaction laughing4. Let him have the boys over from time to time. Sometimes a relationship is about giving your partner what they want even if you don’t quite like it (this of course works both ways). If you let him have his friends round from time to time then he won’t be too desperate to escape home life as much – even if you just confine them to one room. Allowing this to happen will prompt your man to feel like he’s got the best of both worlds – great friends and an even better girlfriend.

5. Ask him! The simplest and yet most forgotten method of getting someone to settle down. I’m not saying propose, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to just have a really honest conversation. Ask him what he wants from life and when he wants it, if anything it might just set you both on a clearer path. Sometimes us men are a little bit lazy, coasting through life and not really thinking to initiate these conversations, but if the idea is put to us…well it might just be a little more well received than you thought.

PTB

 

How Blogging Can Lead To A Full Time Career

One of the common question I’m asked by readers centres around “is blogging worthwile?” Blogging sometimes feels like a bit of thankless task, just ask the hundreds of thousands of talented writers out there – believe me when I say Journalists are getting a run for their money!

My answer to that question, however, is always the same. Yes, a thousand times over.

I initially started blogging because I wanted to find paid writing work and frankly I’ve been really fortunate. Since starting my blog I’ve done TV and Radio work, had a newspaper column and written for some of the biggest magazines in the world. However, what Blogging also gave me was a business. Not my intention by any means but I can’t tell you how much I’ve grown both personally and professionally since this happened. Being a writer these days is a bit like being a jobbing Actor – most work is freelance and disappointingly most work is temporary.

When I started my Blog I used WordPress to write and Twitter to market myself. As much as WordPress gave me a platform to write, Twitter changed everything. Over two years of trial and error I learned all the tricks of the trade and eventually realised that I could help growing businesses with my new found knowledge.

That’s when Lucky 52 came around. Myself and fellow Blogger Naomi Lewis set up a social media agency that would endeavour to help small businesses grow and pride ourselves on giving value for money in an industry where the big guns often take advantage of any knowledge gaps displayed by their prospective customers.

What has surprised me the most is that helping my clients achieve success and being a part of their business journey has become just as rewarding as writing has been. Either way I’m glad I can now combine the two to FINALLY be happy in my career.

With this in mind if anyone out there in any industry in any part of the world needs a hand on the social media front I’m always happy to help, just email me any time paul@lucky52.co.uk

…and to anyone who tells you blogging isn’t worthwhile tell them they’re on my list!

Have an amazing week everyone!

PTB

Dress Well, Feel Good, Date Better

Confidence is essential when it comes to successful dating. No, life isn’t all about looks, but it is about feeling good about yourself. When Fashion trendsetters Noose & Monkey asked if I would help them spread the word on how to accessories the biggest staple of every man’s wardrobe, I of course welcomed them with open arms. Check out what they had to say below:

nm3“For fashion newcomers and less confident dressers, menswear can sometimes be a muted affair, often falling in to which suit or shirt you should wear. Most style articles generally recommend smart suits that don’t break the mould. However, if you’ve chosen a less daring look, you can still add interest to your outfit through some carefully chosen accessories. While most think of accessories as something reserved for a full suit, your shirt itself can be made far more interesting with some very subtle additions. Here’s our guide to some of the hottest men’s accessories the girls will surely love.

The Tie
The first thing that comes to mind when accessorising a shirt is a tie. Whilst more and more people seem to be ditching the tie, this classic accessory is absolutely timeless and should always be at the forefront of every man’s collection. The tie should be worn for formal events to break up the block colour of your shirt. For a bold look, choose a tie that’s far brighter than your shirt or suit jacket and match to other accessories or your shoes. Unless you’re wearing a short suit, make sure your tie is worn so that the tip hits your beltline. Opt for a slim tie to match more modern cuts of suit and shirt. A tie can either spark interest by being flamboyant or it can be an ‘anchor’ for your whole outfit. Speaking broadly, you should match your tie with the primary colour of your shirt.

Collar Bars
Collar bars and collar pins are a true gentleman’s choice for accessorising a shirt. The collar bar is a nm2simple add-on that won’t attract too much attention, but will catch any seasoned eye for fashion, scoring you instant style points. Worn by the Dandies in the 18th century, collar bars make you feel elegant without detracting from your look and help make your tie knot appear more refined.
They’re a mark of a true gentleman – but ensure you buy a shorter collar bar so it pulls your collar closely together to show off your tie knot. Keep it simple with a barbell-shaped silver bar.

Tie Bar
A tie bar/tie clip adds some style to your tie with just a subtle touch. It clasps your tie to your shirt and keeps everything suave – but wearing it right is very important. Silver and gold tie bars are the most common colour variants; whatever colour you choose, you should aim to match it to your watch and belt buckle. Like a tie, your tie bar should be narrow. It should be worn mid-length, near where a pocket square should sit. Don’t place it too high or too low as the effect is lost. Never wear a tie bar with a waistcoat, as it defeats its purpose of pinning the tie to the shirt.

Cufflinks
Cufflinks are a gentleman’s best friend, sadly falling out of favour in an age of work shirts and casual
dressers. Designed as tools for fastening the cuffs of your shirt, they are an alternative to buttons and add a touch of style to any shirt. There are lots of styles of cufflink which have different fastening methods, from a bullet back styles to chain links. Cufflinks are a formal option, so opt for buttoned shirts at work. Depending on your position, cufflinks can be a good symbol of authority but you need to be careful not to be overbearing. Cufflinks worn to social events are versatile, coming in a huge range of designs. You should try and match them with your tie, watch or other accessories to help accentuate your shirt. “

Thank you Noose & Monkey, think I’ve got some shopping to do! Over to you guys.

PTB

4 Reasons For Bedroom Insecurities In Men

There’s a common misconception surrounding men that the majority of us are permanently aroused,
sex-crazed hyenas when it comes to the opposite sex. The truth however, is something really quite different. You know those lads? The ones that will whip out their manhood at any given time or place? Well this isn’t really ‘men’, hard to believe I know. Female body and confidence issues have been well represented in recent years, and quite rightly so, but similar issues in men are much more prevalent than you might care to believe – particularly when it comes to the bedroom.

Anxiety in general is perhaps the biggest problem and yet still the most hidden. Anxiety problems are more common than ever before, but the majority of me still view this as weakness and as a result very few will open up about the condition. One place almost certain to test your resolve is of course the bedroom. As much as men suffer from more general anxiety on a day to day basis, bedroom anxiety takes things to a whole new level – something which should ultimately dispel the myth of the sex-crazed hyena. The truth is, guys do worry about these things. There are times in life when we all go through a bit of a drought when it comes to sex and the longer that goes on, the more anxious, nervous and sometimes terrified we become. Sometimes these problems multiply as we get older, overthinking sets in and no longer do we just…go with the flow.

Body Dysmorphia – Again, a subject we mostly hear associated with women but the struggle for the everyday man is very real. Notice the fitness boom of the last few years? For every buff ‘King of the gym’ there’s another fifty average Joes out there who only believe they don’t look good enough, due to the manner in which our perception of perfection has drastically changed. I could list literally dozens of women I know who prefer hairy men with a bit of meat on them and not the sculpted, shaven complexions of the Ronaldo minions, yet the majority of us still won’t be satisfied until we’ve won Heat magazine’s ‘Torso of the Week’. The bedroom is perhaps where we feel the most under pressure, and until we realise just how much the definition of perfection is open to interpretation, we’ll continue to scrutinise our every nook and cranny until we’ve just about destroyed every shred of self-confidence.

Sexual Performance – I’m not entirely sure women realise just how much guys worry about this, possibly because we tend to be quite nonchalant about most things in life. As much as we don’t want to, we do think about your previous partners quite a lot. They might have all been completely useless in bed, but in our heads we imagine a queue of angelic stallions with a God given talent for sexual performance, the David Copperfields of sex if you like. The more you like someone the more difficult it becomes. You go on a few dates, the butterflies start and then that first sexual encounter comes along and sometimes it’s make or break, even that early on in the relationship – guys think about this stuff. From another angle, men may be expected to try things that we’re not necessarily comfortable with but because of that male persona we attempt to live up to, we probably don’t say no as much as we need to. You’d be surprised how often guys break barriers they’re not comfortable with.

Expectation – As much as women hold their own these days, most guys still feel like they are expected to ‘take charge’ and being in charge comes with certain expectations. There are a lot of men out there who don’t possess the sexual prowess to whisk a girl off to the bedroom and completely dominate the situation and no that’s not a criticism by any means, it’s merely an indicator of the many different personality types that exist. But regardless of how many types there are and regardless of how much we accept our personality type, we still place that expectation on ourselves – because we’re the guy.

Perhaps us men are the orchestraters of our own downfall in these areas, but I guess we just need to raise awareness that men (however much we deny it) suffer similar problems to women. My own advice? Why spend hours in the gym with other men, when you could be in bed with a woman? Seems like a no-brainer to me.