Would You Date A Single Parent?

This seems to be a common stumbling block with many relationships, often before they’ve even begun. But is dating a single parent as big a deal as it once was? It’s become apparent to me in recent times that single parents are getting younger, it’s not necessarily divorced middle aged people, it’s people who fall well within the 18-30 bracket. When I was a teenager, having children at a young age was looked down upon or at least something you were strongly warned against. It was made clear, particularly at school, that you’d be wasting your life and that you would never amount to anything. Scare tactics perhaps, but in my experience those warnings couldn’t be further from the truth. So would I date a single parent? Well yes, I did.

I remember a time when a girl having a child would’ve been a definite deal-breaker between my friends and I, however looking back I think that was just a youthful naievity. As you get older, you start to understand circumstances more and you begin to think “who am I to dismiss someone for that reason?” I’ve always understood people’s concerns: do I need to play Dad? Will I get on with the actual Dad? Will they still want more kids further down the line? There were endless questions and yet, the relationship itself seemed surprsingly simple.

My biggest concern was my relationship with the child, it was a new experience for me and I knew how important it was to the Mother that we got on. I never wanted to be the child’s Dad, she was lucky enough to already have a great one and I certainly wasn’t there to step on anyone’s toes. I decided to go down the friend route. She was two, but ridiculously smart for one so young, she seemed to know exactly what was going on. In the end my sense of humour won her over, laughter was the key to everything with that child. In the end I cared for her more than I thought possible.

As for her Dad, I think this tends to be the biggest concern for guys in particular. It’s not easy to have your partner’s ex still so prominent in their life, but in fairness to this guy, he couldn’t have made things any easier for me. I knew there wouldn’t be a problem unless he made one, but thankfully he was just a genuinely nice, normal guy. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t best buds or anything but there was a nice, calm, mutual respect between us.

As the months wore on I realised my relationship with the Mother wasn’t working out. Sometimes we were like the best of friends and other times I was worried we might kill each other (much like most relationships these days I guess). Looking back, our problems were mostly my fault. She was ready to settle down and rightly so, but me, I still had a hell of lot of travelling to do. Selfish I know, but it had been my dream to travel from a really young age and I got the feeling she wouldn’t accept me taking off and why should she? The more time that passed, the more I felt ridden with guilt. My guilt stemmed from this incredible little family who had both welcomed and accepted me and not only that, they wanted me to be a part of their family, forever – I think. That’s difficult to walk away from.

It was probably my most difficult break-up. I had to end it with two people – neither was easy. I remember the Mum dropping me off at the local train station, the child was in the back seat sound asleep. I just knew in my heart of hearts it was the end. I reached behind me and squeezed her foot. It was some form of goodbye, a bit of a pathetic one, but in the moment I didn’t know what else I could do. The break-up was both the scariest and hardest part of dating a single parent. I didn’t want out, I just needed out – for everyone’s sake.

But all in all, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from dating a single parent. Maybe it isn’t ideal, maybe it’s your worst nightmare, maybe it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you? You just never know what lies ahead, I had some really great times. The best advice I can give to any parent is to wait a while before introducing your new partner to your child, although I’d be surprised if there were many parents out there who didn’t already adhere to this rule. Be sure it doesn’t bother you as the outsider before you commit to anything, the further the relationship goes the harder it will get for everyone involved. I was naïve, the child didn’t bother me for one second but my life goals just didn’t fit in with the whole setup and I should’ve realised this way sooner than I did. If you are keen to meet someone, however, never rule out a single parent – three isn’t always a crowd.

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 Most Memorable Dates And What They Mean To Me

I’ve read a lot of articles in recent times about how dating has become pointless, about how we’ve gotten lost in a world of technology and how most guys are only after one thing. Sure, the world has lost a little bit of the romance, but I’m definitely not convinced it’s time to give up hope just yet.

In my late teens and early twenties I dated a fair bit and as much as some of them were completely forgettable, some of them I’ll never forget. I honestly believe that dating is a vital part of growing up. Dating is a wonderful opportunity to build your social skills, to find out who you are and what you want and for myself in particular, it was a massive confidence boost (I used to be a tad shy).

There are two dates for me that stand out beyond any others. The first one was when I was nineteen, I’d not long broken up with my first love and was pretty down in the dumps to say the least. But still, I was making the effort to go out with friends and on one particular night I was approached by a girl who by all accounts was completely out of my league. We chatted and she asked for my number, I left that night pinching myself and did so just about every single day until our date a week later. I hadn’t put much thought into the date, we’d agreed to meet for a drink at the student union and played it by ear from there. That’s when things got a little bit crazy. I hadn’t realised that it was ‘games night’ at the union which basically consisted of two comedians hosting an event where a number of games would be held with the sole purpose of making a complete fool out of anyone who took part.

Bearing in mind I was a very skinny, self-conscious teenager at this point and trying my utmost to look cool and impress this girl, the first game involved a group of guys who were sent into the crowd to find as many items of red clothing as they could. I happened to be wearing a red t-shirt and red converse trainers. Within seconds I was sitting beside this girl with no top on and no shoes, desperately trying to cover up my meagre frame with my skinny teen arms. After the game had finished, there was no sign of my t-shirt or shoes and so I had to tentatively make my way up on stage to ask the hosts if they could help me find my clothes. Much to the amusement of the crowd they did so via microphone to everyone in the room. I promise you, this is one way of facing your worst insecurities head on! My humiliation, however, wasn’t quite over. I was picked at random to do the next task. The game was to see who could eat the most dry crackers without water within two minutes. I just went for it, I didn’t think I had much to lose at this point. As I stuffed five or six crackers into my mouth however, I found myself in fits of laughter which in turn made me spew the crackers out of every corner of my mouth in a fountain-like manner. I could see my date in the crowd with her head in her hands. I was convinced I’d blown it.

To my complete surprise, I got a second date. As it turned out, making a girl laugh is one of the best things you can do and ever since that date, a good sense of humour is something I’ve always looked for in a girl. But that night taught me so much more. I realised that you should never put yourself down and that you should never believe that someone is out of your league. So long as you treat everyone with respect, be yourself and remember that there’s a reason why they wanted to go out with you in the first place, then you won’t go far wrong – even if you do have to walk home in your socks.

My second memorable date was about eighteen months later. The reason it was so memorable was because it was when I had finally learned to be comfortable in my own skin. I was a lot more confident by this point and I didn’t get as nervous about dates anymore, not in a cocky way, it was just that I’d started to appreciate a date as simply an opportunity to meet new people and have fun. Although don’t get me wrong, a few nerves can still be good in these situations. This time my date was with a French girl, she was quite quirky in all the right ways and I was determined to do something a bit different than just sitting in the pub for the thousandth time. We’d spoken previously of how much we loved that feeling of going on holiday, getting ready and heading to the airport. So however crazy it may sound, I decided to take her to the airport albeit with no intention of actually going anywhere. I picked up a couple of bottles of wine and we spent the night watching planes take off and land, chatting to holidaymakers and generally just running about like a pair of kids. We ended up dating for a few weeks before it fizzled about, but that date I’ll never forget.

I think it’s amazing how certain dates can live so long in the memory irrespective of how significant or insignificant the relationship was. Dating is a part of life that we need to start embracing again, maybe it’s time we put the phones down and just go out and meet people again. It’s not that I’m against online dating, it’s just that I had so much more fun without it. These dates mean more than just a date to me, it’s life experiences that contributed to who I am today. So when people say to me “dating is pointless”, I know they didn’t have half the fun I did. Dating is a blast – if you do it right.

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 giphy (1)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, (Buy Viagra?), but in our heads we imagine a queue of angelic stallions with a God given talent for sexual giphy (2)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.

 

The Perfect Proposal: Win A £250 Rox Voucher

This may come as a surprise to many of my readers, but I was once engaged. A surprise because I’m a little bit of a commitment phobe in my old age, but less of a surprise to those who know what an old romantic I once was. Too young, too foolish, too excited, too in love – it was the engagement that should never have happened. It was however, kinda perfect.

However much of a commitment phobe I am now, proposing is something I strongly believe in doing
right – and hopefully only once! I was 22, and we’d only been together three months. Yes, that’s right, three measly months, I hadn’t even met her parents yet. It was however one of those intense relationships where from the very first date we’d been completely inseparable and sometimes when a relationship becomes that intense so quickly, getting engaged doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea.

It was a bit of an ‘us against the world’ type of situation. We knew people would think we were crazy but we never once batted an eyelid – so naïve. So how did it come about? We were walking through town one day hand in hand when we walked past a jewellery store. We used to play that game where you look at a section of rings and mentally choose one, then see if you picked the same one, well much to our amazement we did. “It’s a sign she said,” I wasn’t entirely convinced but in we went regardless – ‘just for fun’. We came out an hour later, her smile a few inches wider and my bank account a thousand pounds lighter.

We’d agreed that we would keep the ring, but when I proposed would remain a surprise. Me being me I knew I wouldn’t wait long. About a month later I booked us into a swanky apartment in Edinburgh. We spent the day strolling around the city. I had planned to propose that evening, but I carried the ring in my pocket all day long just in case the perfect moment arose but no such luck – onwards with the original plan. I told her we’d be hitting the town that night and to get dressed up to the nines. I knew she’d take forever, giving me plenty of time to prepare our temporary living room for the big moment

The bedroom in this apartment exited into a straight corridor leading towards the living room door, on the door I left a post-it note which read “So will you?” As she came through still holding the note she was greeted by a roomful of candles, ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias (kill me now) playing softly in the background, and me standing in the middle of the room tentatively clutching the ring. Yes, I did get down on one knee and yes she agreed to marry me. We sat down to what was now a very cold dinner that I’d prepared but quickly abandoned it in favour of a local restaurant. We ended the evening with one of Edinburgh’s classic tourist attractions, a midnight graveyard tour. Strange I know, but it was so us.

I always find it incredible how much we refuse to listen to those around us when we get as carried away as I did – young love and all that. In hindsight getting engaged so young and after such a short period of time was a huge mistake, it didn’t last long and we’ve not been in touch for a number of years now. The one thing I don’t regret, however, is the way in which I proposed.  I’m sure there are much more extravagant ways to propose to someone, but it was perfect for us, like seriously perfect. At the end of the day you and your partner are the only two people it needs to be perfect for, no one else matters when it comes to a moment like this. I put so much thought into every tiny detail of that evening, from the post-it note to the lighting to the timing of the song, I was on it. For that reason I still look back fondly on that moment, it’s something I’ll never forget.

If all goes well, you only want to propose once in your life. Therefore it’s imperative that you make a memory of it, if not for you, then for this incredible person standing in front of you that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Tailor your proposal for you, not for what will impress people on Facebook.

Planning to propose??? Here’s the exciting part!!!

I’ve teamed up with the lovely folks at luxury Jewellers Rox as part of their #ROXperfectproposal
campaign to give away a voucher worth £250, the perfect contribution towards that sparkler you’ve been dreaming of! Oh and if you’re having trouble choosing a ring, this guide to buying an engagement ring might help.

To be in with a chance of winning, just log in through the link below using your Facebook account or your name and email address, entries close at midnight on Wednesday 5th October.

Click Here To Enter

ALSO! If you REALLY want to win, you can gain further entries by tweeting about the giveaway using #ROXperfectproposal and following ROX on Twitter and Facebook.

Good Luck!!!

The Importance of Impotence

As if I didn’t already admire Cricket legend Ian Botham enough as it is, the serial charity fundraiser has won me over yet again by publicly speaking of his fear of impotency. I’ve long spoken of my commitment to encouraging men to open up about issues which are perceived as being not very ‘manly’ and so imagine my delight when respected public figures do just that, ultimately, we want more men to follow suit.

Impotency is defined as the inability of a man to not only achieve an erection, but to achieve an orgasm as well. On the funny side, I guess us men have to laugh when we hear of such things being described as 14012043_1072941072754883_156394427_nan ‘achievement’ – high fives all around! But at the same time, why is impotency considered a bit of a joke subject? Myself and my female friends have very few boundaries when it comes to discussing the issues between men and women and from what I understand, it’s not uncommon for a woman (of any age) to struggle to get ‘wet’ (the medical terminology sounded worse). But I can’t imagine anyone ever berating or ridiculing a woman in this particular circumstance – although I’m sure there is the occasional oddball who does. I have to ask though, do guys perhaps get a bit of a raw deal when it comes to this subject?

I’ve always said if it happened to me I would probably laugh about it, it’s just the way I am. However, in researching the issue I discovered exactly why impotency needs to be taken more seriously. Impotency in all it’s glory (or disappointment) can be a warning sign for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurological problems, hormonal insufficiencies and not to mention the obvious confidence and anxiety issues which may occur as a result. So would I still laugh if it happened to me? Yes, that’s just my sense of humour BUT, my sensitivity and awareness is tenfold.

Sir Ian this week revealed that he has recently underwent four sessions of the latest impotency treatment – Vigore Linear Shockwave Therapy. Regarded as non-invasive and pain-free, the treatment uses low intensity shock-waves in different areas of the groin and penis to increase blood supply and help encourage an erection.

Botham told the Sun on Sunday “It’s prevention rather than cure, I didn’t need the treatment, but I ian-botham
didn’t want to be worrying about it in ten years time.” In an attempt to encourage more men to open up, Sir Ian reiterated that there was nothing to be ashamed of and said “What’s more embarrassing? This, or going to a chemist and popping some pills and saying to your partner, I’ll be with you in twenty minutes I’m just waiting for this to work.”

And I guess he’s right, particularly as we get older. There’s so much pressure to make relationships work these days and what happens in the bedroom is a massive part of that and be warned, you don’t need to be 50+ to lose your sex drive. It can affect anyone at any time.

I guess my point is, no matter how embarrassing you think the issue is: acknowledge, talk and fix. Whether you are the tallest tree in the forest or the floppiest bush in the back garden, never be afraid to open up.

The more we talk, the less embarrassing it becomes.

PTB

PTB Meets Tanni Grey-Thompson

I’m always excited to speak to people of interest. Not necessarily celebrities, but anyone with a story to tell irrespective of background or occupation. It was however a real privilege to be able to speak with Paralympic legend Tanni Grey-Thompson. Winner of eleven Olympic Gold Medals, Tanni finally retired in 2007 and in 2010 was inducted into the House of Lords. Recently I met up with Tanni to discuss juggling Olympic success and family life, as well as taking a brief look at some of the confidence issues facing the young women of today.

Hi Tanni, you obviously come from a sporting profession that required a serious amount of commitment and dedication, was it ever difficult to get the right balance between training and your personal life? It can be very difficult – when you are in full training you don’t have a lot of social time or really want to go out that much.  Training for us was 6 days a week, 50 weeks a year, so even things like Christmas and birthdays was a struggle. If you spend a lot of time abroad then it’s hard for the partner at home. It can be hard to meet different people too, I was lucky to meet Ian.

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A lot of people dread the thought of working with their partner, but you were coached by yours. Did achieving such great success together ultimately make you stronger as a couple? We were very clear when we were working together as athlete/coach how we spoke to each other – it was a bit odd for other people around, but I couldn’t have husband/wife conversations with him in a coaching environment.  As he was technically my boss (he was Squad Director for a couple of years) it would have been inappropriate for that to cross the line for the other athletes on the squad as much as for us.  I think we did quite a good job of it in the end.

A lot of young people struggle with confidence issues and either convince themselves they won’t meet someone or end up stuck in abusive relationships with completely the wrong person. What advice would you give to teenagers for example, who are finding their feet in life? There is a lot of pressure on young people i.e that you can only be happy if you are in a relationship – abusive relationships don’t just suddenly start, they can build up over time and people can wake up one day and realise that’s what they are in.  I would say to someone who feels they are in that situation (or when they realise that they are) that they need to find help to get out.  Often there is a lot of psychological abuse that goes on like telling a person that they are worthless and no one else will ever love them. It takes a lot of strength to stand up to that.

There has been endless publicity about the negative impact of certain magazines being the cause of confidence issues in young women and yet not much seems to have changed, is there anything more we can do to tackle issues like these? Some of the magazines put huge pressure (especially on girls) to be a certain size (size zero is so impossibly small – the size of a 12 year old girl pre-puberty) or how their hair and make up should be.  I think what has been good is that a lot of more famous people have spoken out about photoshopping – everyone wants to be shown to their best side, but how they make some women look is completely ridiculous.  I think we have to look at developing girls confidence more so that when they look at those pictures, they realise that happiness is not about what bag you are carrying.

How did having a child affect the dynamic of your relationship? I had never really had a lot to do with children before we had our daughter.  It was a bit of a challenge as it was all so new and also I was competing so I had to get back into training – we were lucky in that we were able to take her to competitions and events.  I think suddenly it changes from just being about the two of you for so long to then having this extra person, which is a huge responsibility. We never did that ‘date night’ thing – partly because we didn’t really ‘date’ before the birth of my daughter or go out all that much. The hardest part was not realising just how tired I was going to be – all the time.

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Was it important for you to achieve certain professional goals before you considered starting a family? Yes, as a female athlete it is challenging because you have to plan some time off – not always easy in a Paralympic cycle – we went for having a baby in 2002. I recovered from Sydney, had a bit of a think about whether we wanted a family and then started trying.  We also had a cut off date that if I didn’t fall pregnant for her to be born in early 2002 we were going to wait until after Athens. You have to plan competitions etc differently and then at major games you have to think about what would happen to your child i.e. they can’t be in the village – you just have to be incredibly well organised.

Was it difficult to return to competitive sport after the birth of your daughter or did it give you extra motivation? Different motivation – you can’t waste time, and it makes you stop being quite so selfish. There were people who thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I had lots of help and support throughout.

It may be a scary thought at this early stage but what advice will you give your daughter when she finally starts dating? My Mum always told me to have enough money for a cab home and if I didn’t like them, just leave! I think I would say the same to her, but also always have your phone charged so you can get a cab home! It’s hard to give advice. I guess the best advice I could give would be to find someone that you can have a laugh with. There’s always going to be tough times, but Ian is also my best friend which makes all the difference.

What’s the most romantic thing Ian has ever done for you? Ian bought me a carbon fibre front wheel – not sure that other people would see the romance in that but for me it was perfect.

Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older? Wow – not sure how to answer that one. I think if you are with someone for a long time then the relationship changes.  I compromise more on certain things and less on others. I think it’s more that your priorities change as you get older.

 

Meet The Dating Entrepreneur Who's Got Your Back

Having been involved with the Dating world for over two years now, I’ve come to learn that the industry is both fun and exciting but also extremely challenging. When I started writing about dating and relationships it was due to its relevance to just about every single person on the planet, but it seemed everyone else had the same idea too. With growing popularity, came a raft of poor apps and dodgy websites all promising the same thing. At times it seemed impossible to know which sites you could actually trust, not just with your love life but with your bank details as well! With this in mind you’ll understand my excitement when I introduce you all to Queek’d, the UK’s first comparison website specifically for the Dating world. Queek’d it’s fair to say, have been making waves amongst industry experts in recent weeks, partly due to their commitment to promoting safer dating and partly because, well, it just works! I caught up with founder Elisa McLean to find out more.

Hi Elisa, so tell us a little more about Queek’d…

Well Queek’d stands for “Quick and easy kind of dating,” and our main focus is to help UK singles find long-term relationships. I guess we’re unique in that Queek’d is a portal, as opposed to a dating site itself. Call it the GoCompare of Dating if you like.

What was the inspiration for starting your business?

The idea for Queek’d came about when I found myself single and was keen to get myself back out there. IQueekd pr 2 was familiar with online dating, but I wasn’t sure which sites specifically focused on long-term relationships and I found myself in need of some advice. I started searching Google for anything whatsoever that would help me compare the various dating platforms, but to no avail; that’s when I had my lightbulb moment and Queek’d was born.

The Dating industry is notoriously difficult to crack, what’s been your biggest challenge to date?

The biggest challenge has always been the technical development, but over the last few months things have actually gone rather smoothly. From the very start I wanted to dive in at the deep end with no tech knowledge, but I’ve now spread my plans over 2 years which is far more realistic for my ambitions. Finding dating sites and apps that advocate long-term relationships has also been a challenge as so many have begun to focus solely on casual encounters. However, we’re on the case and have worked exceptionally hard to whittle down our list to very credible sites. Overall, I’m passionate about helping singles date effectively and connect long term. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s become my life’s purpose. So although there have been difficult moments, the journey has been more than fulfilling.

As times change the popularity of online dating has grown stronger and stronger, but do you think we run the risk of losing some of the romance along the way?

I think we may find ourselves less romantic as a society further down the line, particularly if people continue to be oblivious to the effects of technology and dating. People are suffering from ‘cognitive burn out’ and think ‘bigger is better’ when online, which doesn’t seem like the best terminology for dating and romance.

72d79a6e4a3db565220750c761e44f96I do joke with friends that one day men and women will connect through virtual reality the way Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock did in the film Demolition Man. I think it’s really important to raise awareness of the benefits of being online, which is one of the reasons I offer transformational dating advice through Queek’d. Technology in general is making everyone a little more introverted in all areas of life, but we can’t lose romance – romance is what dating is built on. If those who are serious about finding someone use online dating in the right way, everything will be fine.

Which Dating sites do you personally feel offers the most to its users?

The big players do a great job in offering useful and innovative features and have big databases which of course means more potential matches. eHarmony in particular are really passionate about creating long lasting marriages and I’m a huge fan of their ethos. Match, have an app which is really user-friendly which is always a plus, and of the newbies I like Bumble. Bumble offers both a dating and friendship service, which I think is pretty cool.

Do you think more traditional dating sites can still enjoy the same impact as before when up against the popularity of apps such as Tinder?

Definitely. I feel there’s huge growth potential for traditional sites within the industry. Tinder is great if you’re not looking for anything serious or you want to act out your desires online, but if you’re looking to settle down, the traditional sites offer so much more. We don’t aspire to have casual relationships, one day we all plan to settle down with that special someone and I feel it’s difficult to use the likes of Tinder to find a lasting relationship, the majority of people simply aren’t on there for that.

Tinder makes casual hook-ups really accessible but that’s not what traditional dating is all about. Any company that puts its users first and really focuses on creating happy couples, will be massively successful in my opinion. Online dating is an emotional industry and plays a massive part in real life interactions – singles are crying out for sites that really care.

Are there any ‘hidden gem’ sites that you would recommend to Queek’d users?

We’ve recently welcomed on board a new dating app called LINKD which is fantastic and DatePlay have an interesting concept too. I’ve recently heard of an app called JigTalk that hides profile pictures, revealing one jigsaw piece at a time when a match exchanges messages and I love that originality. There are quite a few new dating companies that I’m in talks with about featuring on Queek’d, but I won’t reveal the details just yet. However I am always on the lookout for sites and apps with a genuine ethos and innovative features who go above and beyond to keep users safe whilst online dating.

You’ve been praised by a number of industry experts for your commitment to promoting fun, long-lasting relationships and ‘safer’ dating, how important are these values to the Queek’d brand?

This is something that we feel really strongly about. People need help in these areas and many sites have strayed away from these values and so people really seem to find our efforts quite refreshing. We advocate long-term relationships and feature sites that fall in line with our ethos, we feel quite strongly that singles need a platform that separates serious from casual dating and aim to be the first port of call for singles who are genuinely trying to find something special. Although we’re now recognised for being the GoCompare of the dating world, we also share transformational dating advice through our website and social media pages. Ultimately this ensures singles get the absolute most from their online dating experience.

What are the top 3 mistakes you find people make when using online dating?

Besides all of the generic stuff, the biggest mistake has got to be people not being clear about what they want from their online journey. So many people hop online out of boredom or to get attention, flicking from one profile picture to the next and not really achieving anything – even I’ve been guilty of this in the past. The second is signing up to the wrong dating site. I suppose with over a thousand dating sites in the UK it can be a bit of a minefield, but so often I see people on casual sites looking for a long-term relationship and vice versa. It’s so important to join the right dating site as it saves time and will give better quality matches – our quiz is great for this. Lastly I’d say people pretending to be something they’re not. I see lots of profiles with women dressed way too sexy, pouting men or the inevitable dick pics which is so not cool. This isn’t the real them, it’s who they think they have to be to look attractive. I think people need to focus more on being themselves when online dating. Oh can I have a fourth? People lying on their profiles, this is a big no-no too. Always start a relationship with honesty is my motto.

You briefly mentioned Dateplay which is the brainchild of former Apprentice star Vana Koutsomitos. Dateplay last week overfunded on their Crowdfunding campaign raising in excess of £150,000, what impact do you think this will have on the industry? Do you think it will attract more entrepreneurs like yourself to the Dating world?

I think DatePlay is a great concept and overfunding on Crowdfunding is amazing news for them. I’m sure they’ll hit their target, there’s definitely room for gamification in dating. Making their platform thatAAEAAQAAAAAAAASwAAAAJDYxNGU2MzhmLTI5MmEtNDlkZS1hYjIxLWI5NTU1NDQ2NGMyMA little bit different will be a big hit and I’m sure we’ll see a few more existing companies following suit. We do need to be mindful of any damaging effects that gamification and tech in general will have on dating and future connections, but I suppose the key is awareness and balance. I don’t think we’ve seen the half of it yet. Although the industry is saturated, more innovation is needed, so examples like this will definitely bring about more entrepreneurs and investors.  It is hard work though, so how many will see it through is another question.

You can follow Queek’d on Twitter: @Queekd, and of course take the quiz at Queekd.com.

Happy Dating

PTB

Done With Summer Loving? Get Ready For Winter Dating With House of Fraser

It’s been a bit of a stop-start summer this year (nothing new there) and as we cling to hopes of a sunny August, I’ve teamed up with House of Fraser to plan ahead to your Autumn/Winter Dating wardrobe – just because we’re nice like that. So lie back in your shorts, drink your lemonade and enjoy our Top 5 early-bird tips sure to light up even the coldest of Winter nights.

You can’t beat a bit of tailoring. Baggy won’t be big in A/W 2016, and casual will no longer be the look of the fashion-forward fellow. Instead, you need to be thinking tailoring, and by that we mean structure, in the form of dress trousers and blazers. Don’t want to be trussed up all winter long? Try contrasting with baggy knitwear, but keep the trousers (ankle grazers especially) and accessories sharp.

Monochrome plus a splash of colour. With every winter wardrobe, blacks, whites and greys feature heavily in the A/W 2016 collection. If you’re a man who likes to include colour in his wardrobe, it’s all about khakis, teals and reds, chosen in splashes of knitwear and accessories.

Tartan and plaid are the patterns of choice. If you’ve always been a fan of tartan for winter, you’ll be bang on the money in A/W 2016. Tartan is expanding from the classic shirt and scarf, and moving into suit trousers and fitted blazers. Tartan suit for the Christmas party, anyone? There’s going to be a couple of monochrome plaid coats on the market, if you want to rock the print from the top down.

Never give up on stripes. Horizontal stripes have never not been big, and this year they’ll be bigger and bolder than ever. Usually popular in monochrome, horizontal stripes will also include teals and reds, especially in loose knitted jumpers and patterned tees.

If in doubt, pick a pattern. If you’re not a fan of stripes and tartan doesn’t float your boat, we anticipate a lot of other patterns to choose from. There’s polka dots, busy florals (trust us) and multi-coloured designs for you to try something a bit different.

Will you give it a go? Check it out for yourself http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/Tops+T-Shirts/S207,default,sc.html&fix&spcl