Lumen For Beginners

So this is one review that may not be of direct benefit to my usual readers, but I do guarantee that it will be of benefit to someone you know. The first thing you need to know about Lumen is that FINALLY someone is catering for the over 50’s and in a way that doesn’t make people feel, how do I put this – old!

Personal Thoughts. In 2018, 50 is not old, it’s as simple as that. It’s no secret that people are living longer and the ongoing fitness and well-being boom of the past few years has ensured that this trend will only continue. People look younger, they feel younger and as a result, are more open than ever to new experiences – irrespective of age. There was a time when turning 50 coupled with being single or divorced would mean the death knell for your love life, but no longer is that the case. Whilst most dating apps are available to the over 50’s they aren’t always the most effective for this age group and as a result, they’ve been left very much to their own devices on some of the more outdated sites. This is where Lumen co-founders Antoine Argouges and Charly Lester are really onto something – modern dating for an increasingly modern demographic. It’s time to make the over 50’s feel special again and rightly so, if anything, I’m surprised no one did it sooner.

So How Does It Work? Firstly register using either your phone number or Facebook profile (as with other apps this information is used purely for log-in purposes and is not shared). Next you’ll be asked to take a selfie – this isn’t shared with other users and is for security purposes only. This age group is unfortunately the most commonly targeted for scamming and cat-fishing and so every single Lumen user is photo-verified. Rather than swiping individuals left and right, you can see everyone who fits your parameters using the discovery section. The app strives to encourage higher quality conversations and so limits users to contacting three new people per day, this is to promote being picky in your choices – it also makes someone contacting you even more of a compliment.

Location. Lumen launched in the UK in September and is growing rapidly. Available worldwide but expect to have more luck in the UK in these early stages.

Casual Vs Long-Term. Lumen recognises that everyone has different life circumstance and so generally is quite flexible. In terms of audience, however, it’s more Bumble than Tinder.

Security. As you’ll see from the photo verification process security is paramount to Lumen. The usual block and report functions are also present and for an extra layer of security, the company uses anti-scammer software.

Cost. Free for the most part with some paid options (as is standard with the majority of apps these days). If you’d like to extend your conversation limits you have the option of upgrading to Lumen Premium priced at £7.99 per week or £24.99 per month. Interestingly there are no paywalls, i.e you can always reply to messages and users will never be hidden from you (as can be the case with some other paid for apps).

Co-Founder Charly Lester’s Top Tips For Getting The Most From Lumen

1.  Make the most of your three messages. Every day they will reset so make the effort to message three new people per day and reply to any you receive yourself. Lumen is all about the lost art of conversation, so read their profile and tailor that important first message as best you can.

2. Use all 6 photo options. Lumen allows up to six photos on your profile and statistics show that profiles with more pictures are significantly more successful. As always just make sure they are recent so as not to cause any unwanted surprises when you meet someone (it works both ways).

3. Check back regularly. This ensures that you’re replying to your messages promptly, but more importantly that you’re not missing out on the thousands of new members joining every single day.

One final thought from me…

Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry are all over 50, I’m not saying they’re on it, but it gives you an idea of what 50 can look like these days. Now what are you waiting for? Get your Mum off Tinder!

Happy Dating!

10 Things You’ll Know If You Met Your Partner Online

1. You have an alternative story about how you met – The stigma of online dating has well and truly gone but for some reason we can’t quite admit yet that we found love online. Perhaps we had such low expectations of online dating that it takes us completely by surprise, either way, you tend to find people sticking more to the ‘friend of a friend’ line.

2. You both agreed to delete your dating profiles – Or maybe you MADE them delete it! So you’ve now been a couple for a few weeks and things are going great, but you can’t help but wonder if they’ve deleted their dating profile yet. Don’t panic if they haven’t – it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been using it.

3. You wonder if they’ve dated someone you know – Just about EVERY single person uses some form of dating app these days and so chances are you’ve probably encountered someone your partner knows. Fingers crossed you didn’t say anything inappropriate to the best friend!

4. You wonder just how many dates they went on – Were you their first choice? Probably not. It’s easy to worry about how many dates your partner had before you – particularly when you reached double figures!

5. Online dating ‘is’ all it’s cracked up to be – Yeah you get a little bit embarrassed and yeah your friends mock you but if truth be told online dating gave you everything you ever wanted and so it’s hard not to feel a little grateful – even if you don’t like to admit it.

6. You forget to change their name on your phone – You’ve been dating for a year and yet their name in your phone is still ‘Sarah E-Harmony.’ Surely they’ve earned a surname by now?

7. You lied about being online as a ‘one-off’ – When you started dating you told your partner that you don’t usually do this, a friend signed you up, you were drunk or it was just a one-off. Now be truthful, you have six dating accounts that you’ve been flitting in and out of for years, you’ve had photoshoots arranged specifically for a good profile picture and you’ve deleted and reinstalled your profile countless times in the hope that failed matches will change their mind.

8. You’ve found out all the little white lies – We all tell a few white lies when we meet someone new and most of them you can’t hide forever. No you didn’t used to be in a band, no you’re not over six feet tall, no you didn’t meet One Direction you were pushed of out the way by their bouncers and no you did not invent Pokemon Go.

9. You hope a friend meets their partner online just so you’re not the only one – Your partner is great and you’re deliriously happy but the fact you met online still casts the slightest of unwanted shadow, if only your BFF would also meet someone online everything would be just fine.

10. You wonder if you picked the right one – There’s so much choice online that you start to wonder if you’ve made the right decision. Did you settle too quickly? Was there someone better just a few profiles along? Chances are you should have a little more faith in your decision-making.

5 Tips For Creating The Perfect Dating Profile

Sometimes in life it’s the little things that count and when it comes to online dating it is most definitely the little things that count. By paying attention to detail and making just that little bit of effort, well, it could be the difference between finding love and staying single. With this in mind here are our top tips to creating a dating profile with a difference.

1. Be picky with your profile picture – your profile picture is the first thing other users will see and your biggest opportunity to grab someone’s attention. It doesn’t need to be of you dressed to the nines but it should be clear, of just you (no group selfies) and offer a nice, friendly representation of what you look like. Brownie points if your profile picture offers a little bit of insight into your personality as well.

2. Show who you really are – never be someone you’re not, you’re perfect just as you are. When it comes to listing your likes, dislikes, hobbies, personality traits and everything in between, only ever be yourself. Total honesty is essential to finding a successful relationship. Remember to make the most of your photo options as well, seeing is believing and if a site or app allows eight photos to be uploaded then make the most of it. This is your chance to showcase just how wonderful you are.

3. Be a perfectionist – following on from point number 2 remember you’re looking for love not a roommate. With this in mind become the ultimate perfectionist when it comes to creating your dating profile. A nice balance of good quality pictures and a descriptive bio will work wonders for you. Also, watch out for poor grammar, according to 39% of users of comparison dating website whichdate.co.uk this was the single biggest gripe of online daters.

4. Give negativity a miss – people often fall into trap of turning their profile into one big list of what they don’t want. “No bald people, no one under 5ft 8…” but online dating is about positivity, optimism and endless possibilities and your profile should ultimately reflect this. Negativity will serve only to put people off before you’ve even exchanged that first hello.

5. Get a second opinion – sometimes what we think is interesting or funny isn’t quite as interesting or funny as we thought it was. Before you go live grab a second opinion from a friend or loved one, regardless of what they say, however, still be you.

Dating Advice For Single Parents

So first off I have to be upfront and say I am not a parent, but I was asked for advice by someone who is struggling and so I feel it’s only right to give my take on it.

In all honesty it’s a sad state of affairs when single parents are treated like they’ve done something wrong, particularly when being welcomed into the life of someone’s child is in fact a great privilege. Divorce rates are higher than ever and the tradition of only having children within the walls of a marriage is well, no longer a tradition, but who says you need a piece of paper to welcome a child anyway? My point is, I think single parents get a little bit of a raw deal when it comes to the dating scene and with that in here are just a few little tips that might make life a bit easier – if you’re not doing them already that is.

Total Honesty – Of course I know you would never deny the existence of your beloved children but don’t be scared to put it out there that you’re a parent. It’s better to be upfront about it on your dating profile rather than have to spring it on someone further down the line and risk having a very awkward conversation. It’s unfortunate that some people will be put off but definitely best to best to weed these ones out early doors.

Be Thorough With Your Matches – As I write this I’m sympathising more and more because even if you adhere to this the challenge doesn’t always stop there. I know it sounds cynical but the harsh reality is that some people lie, some people are only after one thing and some people will lie to get it. You can’t risk introducing your child to someone who was only after one thing, do your utmost to make sure you’re both on the same wavelength. In other words this is where you need to be an excellent judge of character, try and be subtle though so as not to put off the good ones. Easier said than done I know, the challenge continues!

Delay The Introduction – So lets say you meet what appears to be a stand up girl or guy, it would be very easy to rush that introduction to your child out of excitement for your blossoming relationship. The truth is later is always better. You don’t need to be a psychologist to work out that the introduction of a new partner could be confusing for a child, take your time and build up to it. Every circumstance and every child is different of course, but the child always has to be the priority in this situation as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Keep The Other Parent Informed – This one can be tricky and again every circumstance is different of course so don’t take this too literally. There’s an obvious argument that you should be able to date whoever you wish without the approval of anyone else and this is true to an extent, however, the other person does have a right to know who is spending time with their child. Fingers crossed for everyone’s sake that this particularly situation remains as civil and uncomplicated as possible.

Be Positive – Yes I sound like a fridge magnet, but never ever let anyone dampen the joys of parenthood for you. Some people will be negative you can’t get away from that, but just remember no matter what happens in your love life, YOU, are already the lucky one.

Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

Blame It On The Boogie?

Well what a week that was for Strictly and I’m not even that much of a fan. From the off I just want to say that I actually think Seann and Katya have been a bit hard done by. What they did was completely inexcusable but the backlash they’ve received? C’mon folks they haven’t murdered anyone.

The whole story does however bring added scrutiny to the famous ‘strictly curse’ – I mean lets make no bones about it, it is most definitely a thing! Strictly it seems is the ultimate test of trust for even the strongest relationships. ‘Nothing’ happens more often than ‘something’ happens but when it does the media goes crazy for it. So fourteen years on from the show’s inception, lets take a look at just who has foxtrotted their way out of a relationship and rumba’d their way into the arms of another (sorry I had to).

Seann Walsh and Katya Jones – Okay so let’s get these two out of the way first of all. Caught red-handed kissing on a night out with rumours circulating of many more clinches not caught on camera. A lot has been said about Seann’s girlfriend Rebecca Humphries who released a public statement which I felt was a smidgen on the melodramatic side, although granted there is a possibility that more has happened behind closed doors than we may be aware of. My advice, a swift kick to the balls is far more effective Rebecca. It is Katya’s husband Neil Jones, however, who really gets my sympathy. Not only has the incident happened, but he has to now watch on as they continue dancing together right in front of his very eyes and lets not forget with millions of people watching at home. Much was made of his icy stare as he stood behind the pair on last week’s show but erm, can you blame him? I think he’s dealt with the situation pretty well to be fair.

Louise Redknapp – I actually really admire Louise. Louise split from husband Jamie shortly after the show eneded and from the outside it looks to me like Louise was stuck in a rut for a very long time, Strictly, gave her a new lease of life. I have no doubt that this was a horrible situation for all involved and I hate to see a family break up but I have no doubt that Louise needed this. To her credit she gave up her career at a relatively young age to look after her family, and with the kids that bit older now she’s right to want to have something for herself again. I sincerely hope the decision was the right one for both Louise and Jamie, and if it wasn’t, then I’m sure they’ll both find their back to each other once again.

Ben Cohen – My heart broke a little for Ben’s wife Abby, this whole situation seemed to knock her for six and who can blame her. Married for eleven years and with a beautiful family, it all came to an end when Ben fell for dance partner Kristina Rhianoff. The only minor consolation is that Ben and Kristina are still together and have just welcomed a child, so at least it wasn’t all for nothing. I hope Abby has also been able to move on and find a similar kind of happiness.

Flavia Cacace, Matt DiAngelo and Jimi Mistry – Well Flavia is certainly a woman who knows what she wants. Flavia left boyfriend and fellow professional Vincent Simone for dance partner Matt and then left Matt for new dance partner Jimi Mistry, the couple are still together and married in December 2013. Brutal in some ways but everyone deserves to find their happily ever after.

Rachel Riley – I feel particularly sorry for Rachel’s ex-husband Jamie Gilbert, because to be frank Rachel is the dream woman of many a man. I imagine there’s a sense of ‘what if’ with this situation, what if she’d said no to the show? What if she’d been paired with someone else? What if she’d been voted off sooner? Sorry Jamie, I’m probably not helping. Four years later Rachel and Pasha Kovalev are still together, so at least it was love.

As you can see, surviving Strictly is the ultimate test for a relationship, BUT, as head judge Shirley Ballas recently commented “if the relationship is strong enough, it WILL survive.” As for Seann, Katya and poor old Neil, the next few weeks could be very interesting.

 

10 Things You Should Know About Dating In Glasgow

So, you live in the wonderfully cultured city of Glasgow, you’re single and you want to get out there and date? Well, before you start, there’s just a few little things you should know…

1. Things don’t always go to plan

Dating in Glasgow always has a little bit of an ‘anything can happen’ feel to it. I once planned what I though would be a nice, fun and relaxed ten-pin bowling date. It was all those thing, but it ended with us dancing to some buskers on Sauchiehall Street at 2am on a school night! Oh, to be young again.

2. ‘One drink’ will almost always turn into a pub crawl

Some Glaswegians will tell you there’s no such thing as one drink and, more often than not, that turns out to be true. Glasgow’s night life is better than ever before, and with the stylish merchant city and rejuvenated Finnieston area, your choices are endless.

3. Glasgow is FULL of characters

I say this without judgement, of course, but this can be a good and a bad thing. I’ve rarely met anyone in Glasgow that doesn’t have a story to tell about that one guy or girl on that one date that they’ve never forgotten. Sometimes that person is so bizarre that they provide a story you can tell for years to come and sometimes, we marry them. What kind of person am I talking about? I don’t know, maybe the girl who turned up for our first date with my face printed on her T-shirt? She was a hoot.

4. You will always bump into someone you know

If you’re from Glasgow and you’re getting back out onto the dating scene, you will see someone you know. Nervous about bumping into a colleague, friend, family, or even an ex? Go to Edinburgh.

5. People will be watching

Yes, that’s right but not in a creepy way; this is a city of people-watchers. And there’s nothing people-watchers love more than watching people on a first date. If this puts you off, avoid restaurants at all costs. How to deal with it? Turn the tables of course, people-watch the people-watches – it can make for a surprisingly entertaining date.

6. Glasgow likes burgers

If you do insist on going to a restaurant on your date, be prepared to end up at one of the many (many) burger joints that have appeared in the city in recent years. In fact, at one point all four corners of a busy city centre junction were populated by gourmet burger restaurants. Chew on that!

7. I hope you can sing

By that I don’t mean you have to be able to hold a tune, you just need to be willing and able to make a bit of a fool of yourself. Glaswegians love to belt out a tune and you’ll find karaoke sessions happening in some of the most surprising places, just about every night of the week.

8. Never date on old firm day

As you’ll probably know by now, Glasgow’s sport scene is dominated by two particular football teams. Yes, this comes with a lot of banter and good times for many people but, if football isn’t your thing, save yourself the trouble and arrange your date for another night. Unless it was a draw, of course.

9. It isn’t always about alcohol

Honestly, it’s not. As good as the nightlife is, Glasgow now offers a range of fun, activity-based date ideas, which is something I always highly recommend. I even revisited my youth and went on a date to an adult roller disco. It was the best throwback of my life, even if I did leave with some very impressive bruises.

10. Glasgow is full of singles

This is perhaps the most important thing you’ll want to know about dating in Glasgow. No matter what age you are, and no matter how many loved up couples you think you know, you will meet someone! Online dating is booming among Glaswegians, dating events are popping up all over the place, and even just the natural Glasgow art of politely striking up conversations with strangers makes it hard to go wrong. This city was made for socialising.

*originally written for E-harmony

Bumble For Beginners

Personal Thoughts. I’m a bit fascinated by Bumble and the back story that comes with it. Bumble to date is the closest challenger to Tinder’s dating crown, so you might not be surprised to learn that Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe is in fact a disgruntled (with good reason) co-founder of Tinder. Wolfe left Tinder in acrimonious circumstances in 2015 and since then has set out to take the dating world by storm in her own right, and as it happens, she isn’t doing too badly at all. Bumble is near enough identical to Tinder but where it differs is the way in which it puts women back in control. Once matched, the woman must make the first move, something which as a man I’m not at all adverse to, but maybe I’m just lazy. What has really impressed me is Wolfe’s commitment to promoting the right kind of feminism. “I’m so tired of this notion that women only need to support women, why can’t we all support each other?” she says. “I’ve run into women who can be highly problematic, detrimental and mean, just like I’ve seen in men.” She adds: “We as women, (with) this modern feminism, I’m worried we’re alienating the good guys. It’s not really living up to true feminism, which is really equality for everyone, right?” An outlook on feminism which has proven to be a breathe of fresh air for many.

So how does it work? Much like Tinder, connect Bumble through your Facebook profile which will in turn populate a number of your profile pictures, set your location and age range and simply start swiping. Apart from the female control element there is one major difference between Bumble and Tinder – no swipe limits. For anyone familiar with Tinder you’ll know that after a certain number of swipes you will not be able to swipe for another twelve hours – Bumble has no such limits.

The no limits feature is interesting, at first I thought it was a fantastic idea and was a remedy to what has been considered a major negative of Tinder, however, over time my thoughts have drastically changed. When you have no limits you find yourself swiping endlessly to the point where your decision-making starts to go out the window and your thought process goes down the drain. with Tinder, you know your swipes are going to run out and so you carefully consider each and every swipe.

Another popular feature, however, is your three chances per day to swipe back if you decide you’ve wrongly swiped left – we all make mistakes after all!

Location. Bumble is growing everywhere, North and South of the border, so much like Tinder you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a few matches irrespective of your location.

Casual vs Long-Term. Again it varies, this may be a controversial opinion but I find the users on Bumble to lean more towards long-term relationships, they just seem to be that little bit more ‘proper’ for want of a better word – sorry Tinder girls. Although to completely contradict myself, you will find a lot of the same people on both apps.

Security. As with most apps you have the option to unmatch, block and/or report.

Cost. Free for the most part, with some paid options. If you’d like the opportunity to extend matches beyond 24 hours on an unlimited basis and rematch with expired matches, these features can be yours for £20.99 for one month or £7.50 for six months – completely unnecessary in my honest opinion.

There is also an option to ‘super swipe’ for £1.99, much the same as Tinder’s ‘super like’ although Tinder’s option is free to use once every 24 hours.

How to delete? Simply go to settings and scroll to the very bottom where you will be given an option to delete. You will also be presented with the option to pause your account which will make your profile invisible to other users.

Bumble Alternatives – It’s head to head with Tinder for this one. The two apps as you’ve heard are near identical with a few minor differences.

My Top Bumble Tips

1. Guys, be patient when waiting for the ladies to make the first move. If you match someone you are particularly interested in, keep an eye out on the expiry time, if they don’t message you within 24 hours and you miss your small extension window then you have no way of getting in touch again.

2. If you like someone try and move it offline as soon as you feel the time is right, Bumble should just be an introductory tool, it shouldn’t be the basis of your relationship – a common trap to fall into with any dating app!

3. Stay away from the paid options. The sheer volume of potential matches and unlimited swipes makes the paid options completely unnecessary.

Happy Dating!

The Dating Terms You Unfortunately Need To Know

Modern dating can be complicated at the best of times but when new terms are introduced on an almost weekly basis, dating can become nothing short of mind-boggling. Personally these terms do my head in haha and I’d love to know who actually comes up with them but to avoid looking like Joey Tribiani with his ‘V’ encyclopedia it’s important that you know them. Enjoy…or don’t. EDUCATE, that’s the word!

Benching – So mean it’s unreal. Benching is dating your second choice until your first choice becomes available. Prepare to be ditched at the drop of a hate.

Breadcrumbing – When someone is ‘breadcrumbing’ they give you just enough to keep your attention. A message here, a like there, a random text now and again but NEVER anything more. Someone who may just like a bit of attention from time to time. More often than not it’s completely pointless to pursue a ‘breadcrumber.’

Catch and Release – This is the practise of hooking up (catching) and then never speaking to them again (releasing).

Cuffing Season – In the summer most of us like to party but in this Winter months (particularly over the Christmas and New Year period) we all seem to suddenly want a boyfriend or girlfriend. Cuffing season is essentially Winter.

Cushioning – This is all about softening the blow, but not necessarily in a nice way. Cushioning usually takes place when a relationship isn’t going so well and behind your partner’s back you start to develop a back-up. Someone you may hook up with immediately after your relationship ends.

DTR – This stands for ‘define the relationship.’ Refers to that very awkward but often rewarding conversation when you finally ask ‘so what are we?’

FBO – This stands for Facebook Official which to many is the ultimate confirmation that you are now in fact a proper couple. Congrats!

Fuckboy – The most hated of modern day men. Fuck boys are basically selfish users who will get everything they possibly can out of you without ever giving anything back. No commitment, no effort, no nothing. When will you hear from them? When they want something of course.

Ghosting – Never a nice situation! When a relationship ends without any explanation whatsoever and all attempts to contact you now ex proves futile, you have been ghosted.

Haunting – When someone who has already completely and utterly ghosted you but then reappears out of nowhere and acts all interested again. More often than not a complete time-waster who will do it again and again if allowed to.

Shipped – When a relationship is ‘shipped’ it means you have officially received the seal of approval of all of your loved ones. A slightly more mature version of FBO.

Slow Fade – When you’ve started a budding relationship of some sort and then realise you’re not interested, some people will gradually disappear from your life rather than just being upfront about it. Two texts one day, one the next, zero the next, you get the idea.

The Ick – Made famous by those lovely guys and gals on ITV’s Love Island. Have you ever liked someone but then after a few days they start to absolutely repulse you?

The Lemming – A lemming of course is someone who follows the crowd. From a dating perspective? Picture this, your best friend is in a relationship but ends it and so you end your relationship too because you don’t want to be the only one in a relationship. A tad pathetic.

Thirst Trap – This is when you may be craving a little bit of attention and so post a deliberately provocative picture on social media knowing full well that someone, somewhere will most likely feed your ego just the right amount.

Thirsty – This is when someone may be just a little over-keen. If you’ve made it pretty clear you’re not interested in someone but they still persist, they are most definitely what you would call ‘thirsty.’

Tuning – A bit like breadcrumbing but way more thought out. A tuner is someone who shows plenty of interest in you but never wants to take things to the next level. A tuner gives enough to keep you interested without ever really committing. Can be a little bit methodical, a tad sneaky and utterly frustrating.

Zombieing – Just another term for haunting.

Phew. I’m glad that’s over.

Happy Dating!

 

Tinder For Beginners

Personal Thoughts. Where do I start with Tinder? The fact that it took the industry’s most successful app two years to make a penny demonstrates just what a tough industry this is. Nonetheless, Tinder was the game changer for the world of dating and is consistently the benchmark to which other dating apps aspire to reach.

For me Tinder is the ultimate convenience. What I would look for in a dating product is something that solves problems originating from other platforms. For my own lifestyle Tinder would destroy the need to use more traditional dating sites such as Match, Plenty Of Fish and E-Harmony. As someone on the go all the time I need something quick, fast and to the point, and contrary to popular belief I don’t agree that such features means a compromise on quality. Whilst conducting past research on online dating it was consistently fed back to me that there was an element of ‘over-politeness’ on the more traditional sites. For example you may message someone on Plenty of Fish and they reply just to be nice, as opposed to replying because they have a genuine interest in you. For people intent on finding love this is time-wasting that they really don’t need, what Tinder does is confirm at least an initial attraction on which you can build on, what more can you ask for?

Of course Tinder isn’t without flaws of its own. The app has been known to crash on occasion but I guess that’s common of most apps. The biggest problem I have, however, is my suspicion of fake profiles which I can only assume have been inserted by Tinder themselves (it’s not uncommon of dating apps to do this when they first start out). Living in Glasgow I was surprised to see users who studied at ‘Telford College’, and not just one, more and more started appearing and I’m pretty sure Glasgow isn’t heavily occupied by Telford College alumni. I understand why apps might do this but I do find it quite misleading and dishonest, although Tinder is most definitely not alone in this practice.

So how does it work? Download the app and sign up using your Facebook profile. This will pull through your age, location and a few profile pictures (these can be changed if you want to use something different), it also means you’ll be able to see if you have friends in common with other users. Once you’re decided on which photos you wish to use, write out a short bio, choose an age range between 18 and 80 and choose the distance within which you wish to search. Once that’s all done (shouldn’t take more than two minutes) you’re good to start swiping. To indicate that you are interested in a user swipe right and if not interested you swipe left, if you swipe right for someone and they return the compliment then that is what’s called a ‘match’ and you are now free to message them.

Location. Tinder will prove popular just about anywhere in the UK, so no matter where you are you’ll never be short of potential matches, irrespective of sexual preferences.

Casual vs Long-Term. There’s no getting away from the fact that many people use Tinder for hook-ups, each to their own of course, but if you are looking for something long-term then just make sure and establish expectations early on in the conversation – it’ll save a lot of time.

Also try not to judge anyone too harshly for looking for a casual relationship (so long as they go about it in the right way of course). Tinder is very popular amongst millennials, many of whom are very career focused and simply don’t have the time for a serious relationship. Likewise, don’t judge anyone looking for ‘the one’ – everyone deserves to find it.

Security. Always do your utmost to stay safe on any dating app, trust your gut and never meet anyone you have even the slightest concerns about. If someone is sending you inappropriate messages you have the option to unmatch them and in extreme cases report them to Tinder.

Cost. Tinder is free to sign up to but now offers an option called Tinder Gold. Being a gold user allows you to immediately see who has swiped right for you without having to browse through the app’s many users. There’s no doubting this to be a very useful feature but at £11.67 for 12 months is it worth it? I’m not convinced. In my honest opinion Tinder gives you more than enough to work with without having to resort to its paid features.

How to delete? Simply go to settings and scroll to the very bottom where you will be given an option to delete. You will also be presented with the option to pause your account which will make your profile invisible to other users.

Tinder Alternatives – The one true contender to the swipe format at the moment is Bumble. To read my review on bumble click here.

My Top Tinder Tips

1. Don’t hide away in your profile pics with group shots, grainy images and obscure angles. The stigma of using online dating is very much a thing of the past and has been for a long time now – there’s nothing to be embarrassed about!

2. Don’t be negative in your bio. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen bios that have nothing but a list of ‘Nos’. I realise we’ve all had bad experiences in the past that we wish to avoid but it’s extremely off-putting to potential matches.

3. Don’t have any major expectations. No app is the answer to all of your problems, enjoy online dating and keep an open mind but don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

4. If it isn’t working for you switch it off. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to dating apps. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for then give it a break, try a different app or another form of dating. If you leave it too long, you start to question why it’s not working which can be detrimental to your confidence and even your mental health.

5. If you are going on a Tinder date, please always use common sense for your own safety. Be sure of who you are meeting, add them on Facebook, Instagram etc and always meet in a public place.

Happy Dating!

Top 10 Date Night Movies

So I’m a bit of a movie buff and as much as I love a good night out, sometimes you can’t beat a good movie night in. No, I don’t mean Netflix and chill, I’m talking about some seriously good viewing that’ll get you crying with laughter, jumping into one another’s arms or even reaching for the tissues – no not like that. Here (in reverse order) are my top 10 films for the perfect night in.

10. Cruel Intentions – the film of a generation – my generation – the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends and ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ generation. A gripping and at times raunchy film about some seriously messed up rich kids, it has a little something for everyone. The trailer is seriously 90’s and doesn’t quite do the film justice but here it is regardless.

9. Casino Royale – No not exactly a hidden gem but Daniel Craig’s first outing as 007 was the film that finally got me into Bond. A slick action thriller, it’s also the first Bond film a few of my female friends were willing to give a chance – nothing to do with those little blue trunks of course.

8. Wicker Park A minimalist love story with a creepy stalker and a stunning final scene played out to Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ that will make you want to fall in love all over again. Stars the massively underrated Josh Hartnett – where did he go? I seriously can’t handle the cheesiness of these old trailers but again here you go…

7. Urban Legend – I couldn’t not include a good horror film from my teen years. The last time I watched a horror film with a girl I couldn’t sleep for a week, anyone who has actually seen ‘Sinister’ will know exactly what I’m talking about. Urban Legend on the other hand is your classic ‘whodunnit’ slasher film that will have the pair of you chuckling away as you watch through your fingers. Watch out for a young Jared Leto and a peroxide blonde Joshua Jackson.

6. Dear John – granted a little bit of a chick flick, but a chick flick that had me in tears (seriously). A cracking story with the perfect combination of the meet, the romance and the heartbreak.

5. Lucky Number Slevin – another Josh Hartnett classic, who knew I was such a fan? One of the cleverest storylines you’ll ever see including gangsters, hitmen and quite the endearing little love story thrown in for good measure. Be warned, Lucy Liu will become your new secret crush.

4. High Fidelity – I’ve spoken before about how music is really important to me in a relationship and this was one film that really opened my eyes to life outside of the top 40. Exploring the trials and tribulations of adult relationships, High Fidelity is both an incredible novel and film.

3. I Love You Man – Paul Rudd at his finest. Laughter is the way to win me over and if humour is what appeals to your date then I promise you can’t go far wrong with I Love You Man. The ultimate bromance movie but still perfect for date night. “Slappa da bass”

2. Jeff Who Lives At Home – one of the most underrated films you will ever see. Starring Jason Segal, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon, this is a movie about one of life’s greatest clichés ‘everything happens for a reason’ but my God will you end up believing it. If you don’t feel like you and your date are meant to be by the end of this movie, then you probably aren’t.

1. Armageddon – I really didn’t want to go with the obvious, but how can you possibly ignore the greatest tear-jerker of all time. I find myself in floods of tears during at least five different parts of the film (particularly when he leaves the rocket on the pavement for his son, oh and the animal crackers bit and…). Classic action and romance all rolled up into one, it just never gets old.

What are your favourites?

Is Speed Dating The Future Of The Industry?

Over the past 12 months the online dating industry seems to have plateaued a fair bit. The buzz of 2016/17 has died out, several dating bloggers have called it quits and more and more apps have shut up shop. There is however one bright spark in the industry at the moment and that’s the increasing resurgence of speed dating which hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst industry bigwigs. With this in mind I decided to go and spend an evening with the UK’s top speed dating company, SpeedDater.

The thing I’ve always loved about speed dating is the way in which it offers viable solutions to some of the most common complaints of today’s singletons. A lack of human interaction for example. The whole point in dating is to interact, to find a spark, to get nervous, to get excited, to let your body language run wild and more often than not all of these little things are missing when it comes to online dating. Well, that’s where speed dating stands head and shoulders above its online rivals, it provides all of this and more, it’s a back to basics human experience that you just don’t get with online dating and frankly, it just feels more real.

Dating isn’t always worth the effort say many people. Picture the scene, you build up to a date for days, maybe even weeks, you wait for payday, you get a haircut, you buy an outfit, you finally meet your date and the first impression kills it. Was it worth it? You need to take chances when it comes to love but naturally this scenario can become quite tiring, so why not try speed dating? 10-20 dates in one night all lasting just 4 minutes, meaning any bad first impressions simply won’t matter because before you know it you’re on your next date. People have long claimed there’s a convenience to online dating and perhaps that’s true, but if online dating is convenient then speed dating must be an absolute God send in the context of meeting people.

So how did my evening pan out?

I arrived to what was a really cool setting, The Drygate Brewery in Glasgow. This place is awesome and is a big favourite amongst locals so it’s really nice to see that they’re on board with speed dating. Our host for the evening was a really pleasant young guy, very helpful and he took the time to explain how everything works, most importantly he really did his bit to put the more nervous daters at ease.

Everyone was allocated a number, took their seats and off they went – yes it really was as simple as that! It was a nice surprise to see just how nice everyone was, both sexes for that matter. I chatted away with the guys beforehand and every single one of them was extremely respectful towards the women which is always nice to see, and the ladies, they were all perfectly lovely. It just goes to show how wrong some of the assumptions people make about nights like this can be. I assure you one million percent, this was NOT a room full of the ‘desperate stalker types’ that some people expect.

The atmosphere in the room was buzzing with excitement, everyone seemed to be having a thoroughly good time and rightly so, there was even some friendly banter about the guys moving too slowly and eating into other people’s date time, but it was all in good humour. The night ended with both the guys and girls hanging back for a friendly drink and it was clear to see that there were a fair few sparks in the room.

What next? Simply log in to your SpeedDater account and register your ‘ticks’ for the evening and then wait and see who you’ve matched with (this bit is particularly exciting for obvious reasons).

Would I recommend it? Well I think you know the answer to that by now. Absolutely! My advice to any single person is TRY IT, at least once.

So yes perhaps speed dating is the future of the dating industry, it was here before the online revolution started and it looks like it might just be around after it as well. SpeedDater run events all over the UK, to find an event near you click here.

12 Places To Go On A Date In Glasgow

There are so many things to plan when it comes to dating, but one of the most important is, of course, location. Go somewhere boring and it could kill the mood, go somewhere too wild and it might stop you getting to know one another. But don’t worry; with these 12 suggestions, you’re guaranteed a great date night in Glasgow.

1. Finnieston

Just a short taxi ride but within walking distance from Glasgow City Centre, the Finnieston area is the new hub for hipsters, but its unquestionably magnificent all the same. Whether you’re a meat eater; committed vegan; gin lover; whisky connoisseur; or fan of a tropical Pina Colada, Finnieston truly has something for everyone. It can be a little expensive, but the area is really the best place to go if you’re looking to impress. My top recommendation? Rioja; great cocktails and even better tapas.

2. Flip Out

I’ve always been a big fan of activity-based dates and you won’t find much better than Flip Out. These kinds of dates are fantastic, particularly if you’re nervous. Sometimes going to a bar or restaurant puts too much pressure on the conversation, but somewhere like Flip Out breaks the ice instantly. Humour is often the key to a successful date and after a few minutes on a trampoline, this is exactly what you’ll get. Highly recommended!

Flip Out, 89A Southcroft Road, Rutherglen, Glasgow G73 1UG, +44 (0)141 406 1600, flipout.co.uk

3. RollerStop

You can’t get much more nostalgic than a roller disco. Cheesy tunes, 80s skates, and plenty of bruises – Rollerstop was undoubtedly one of my favourite dates ever. One or two people might think a roller disco isn’t quite ‘cool’ enough for a date but, I promise, once you get going it’s near impossible to wipe the smile off your face.

RollerStop, 139 Middlesex Street, Glasgow G41 1EE, +44 (0)141 429 7298, rollerstop.co.uk

4. Sub Crawl

Sub Crawl is one of the world’s most famous pub crawls. If you’re not familiar with Glasgow’s underground system (aptly nicknamed a clockwork orange), it’s essentially a circle of stops. The famous sub crawl encourages a drink at every stop. You may not want to stop everywhere on the route – especially if you want the date to end on good terms – but generally it’s a guaranteed good time.

5. A play, a pie and a pint

What more could you want? The stunning Oran Mor – a converted church – is home to some of Scotland’s best-known playwrights. In Glasgow, we love a pie and we love a pint. Throw some theatre into the mix and you have the makings for one very good date.

Oran Mor, Top of Byres Road, Glasgow G12 8QX, +44 (0)141 357 6200, oran-mor.co.uk

6. TRNSMT Festival

The city centre replacement for T in the Park, 2017’s inaugural TRNSMT festival was a roaring success and it’s back on Friday 29th June. Granted it’s a once a year kind-of-thing but with headliners including Liam Gallagher, Stereophonics, and The Killers, this is one date idea that could end up being the highlight of your year.

TRNSMT Festival, trmsmtfest.com

7. Soar

Formerly known as Xscape, Soar could’ve been made for first dates. Ten-pin bowling, laser quest, bumper cars, crazy golf, rock climbing, and even snow-boarding – there are endless things to do at Soar. And, of course, there are plenty of great restaurants to settle down in after the madness.

Soar, Kings Inch Road, Braehead, Renfrew PA4 8XQ, soar.intu.co.uk

8. The Stand

If there’s one thing Glasgow has it’s a sense of humour, and there’s no better place to celebrate that fact than at The Stand. Located in the West End, close to Glasgow University, The Stand is open seven nights a week and hosts everyone from local talents to some of the UK’s best-known comedic acts. Strictly’s Susan Calman is also a regular. If you do go, prepare to the butt of a few jokes – comedians love a first date!

The Stand, +44 (0)141 212 3389, thestand.co.uk

9. The GFT

The cinema is perhaps not ideal for a first date, but there’s something a little bit magical about the Glasgow Film Theatre. If you’re feeling romantic, take your date to watch an old black and white movie. There’s something about it that’ll make you feel like you’re starring in your own rom-com.

Glasgow Film Theatre, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow G3 6RB, +44 (0)141 332 6535, glasgowfilm.org

10. The Corinthian

With a selection of different rooms, bars and a very impressive underground casino on offer, you can’t really go wrong at The Corinthian. If you’re looking to impress, head to the piano bar, which offers a menu of themed drinks sound-tracked by romantic songs. Get dressed up and prepare to loosen the purse strings a little (it’s well worth the extravagance!)

The Corinthian, 191 Ingram Street, Merchant City, Glasgow G1 1DA, +44 (0)141 552 1101, thecorinthianclub.co.uk

11. Royal Exchange Square

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love fairy lights, and Royal Exchange Square is the home of fairy lights. When the square is lit up, it’s truly one of the most romantic places in all of Glasgow, especially on a cold night. Royal Exchange Square is also the home of the Gallery of Modern Art and some very fine dining at Rogano, a favourite of Paolo Nutini.

12. Tennents Factory Tour

Why go to a pub when you can go a brewery? Nothing says Glasgow like a tour of the Tennents factory, even if you don’t drink Tennents, or drink at all! If you’re looking for something original to do on a date then this is a great choice. Be ready to get a little tipsy along the way.

Tennents Factory Tour, Duke Street, Glasgow G4 0UL, +44 (0)141 202 7145, tennents.com

*Originally written for E-Harmony

Happn For Beginners

Personal Thoughts. Happn launched in the UK in early 2015 and proved particularly popular following a widescale social media campaign to promote the app. However, I have to be really honest from the get-go, I am NOT a fan of this app. This may be a tad harsh but I think Happn sounds like every stalker’s dream and no matter how good it may be for those with the most innocent of intentions, I can’t help but feel like the security concerns more than outweigh the positives. What I don’t like is the lack of control users have, it’s not like Tinder and Bumble where you can choose who you want to interact with, with Happn other users can see where you are or where you’ve crossed paths whether you want them to or not. For example, as I write this on a cold wintery evening I can see that there is a young woman who has just crossed paths within 500 metres of me, possibly walking home alone. I just can’t shake this feeling that in the wrong hands this app could present some serious safety concerns to people.

The founders of course have the very best of intentions. They want you to be able to find out who the guy or girl that gave you the eye on the train was, and yes, there’s something slightly special about that, but does it outweigh the safety concerns? I’ll let you make your own mind up on that.

So how does it work? Happn is similar to Tinder and Bumble in that it creates your profile by linking up to your Facebook profile, after that it’s just a case of selecting the gender you’re interested in and the age range.

The next bit is where I get concerned. The app uses GPS tracking to show you a list of people within 500 metres of your present location. It tells you if you’ve crossed paths with them, gives you a map of roughly where you crossed paths as well as all the usual personal info. Alarm bells ringing for anyone else?

Location. Happn originated in France before moving to the UK, so naturally it’s pretty big in France. In the UK you’ll find a sufficient number of users in all the major cities. The quieter the area, the less users you’ll find. Due to the short radius on offer as opposed to the hundred miles of Bumble, it’s a bit of a common sense approach with Happn.

Casual vs Long-Term. Although not the intention of the founders, Happn has proven most popular for hook-ups.

Security. Don’t get me started.

Cost. Free for the most part, coins can be purchased to access additional (but unnecessary) features. Coins range from £1.49 for 10 to £23.49 for 300

How to delete? Great question. The option given is ‘deactivate your account’ which will make your profile invisible and log you out. When you log back in should you choose to, your old details should still be there.

Happn Alternatives – just about any other app. It’s a very unique idea but is it better than using Tinder or Bumble and changing your settings to the minimum distance? I don’t think so.

My Top Happn Tips

1. Just be careful. There are some odd people out there and although the app won’t tell someone the ‘exact’ spot your in, it could certainly send danger into your path.

2. Swap numbers ASAP. It’ll save the need to purchase coins for future interactions.

Date Night In Dublin

A city of culture, discovery and a fair few pints of Guiness is Dublin, but if you’re planning on a visit to the emerald isle don’t just go where the review sites tell you to go, go where the locals go. Do as the locals do, drink what they drink and sing what they sing, do that and you’ll enjoy the most traditional and romantic of Irish experiences – that’s what makes the perfect date in Dublin. So where oh where should you go?

1. Howth – How do you say that? Just a twenty minute train ride from Dublin City Centre Howth is your classic sleepy little fishing village with mass appeal to couples of all ages. What really sets it apart however is the walk up Howth Hill where you can view a stunning panoramic view of Dublin City. Howth has been the setting for many a proposal and in recent years local residents have included everyone from U2 drummer Larry Mullen and recent Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan.

2. The Shrine of St.Valentine – Yes, did you know the remains of St.Valentine were moved from Rome to Dublin in 1835 in what the Pope called “a gift to the Irish people.”What could be more romantic than paying homage to the very person who started it all off?

3. Vintage Cocktail Club – okay even the most untravelled of us have heard of Temple Bar, but are you familiar with its very secretive Vintage Cocktail Club? Hint: look for the black door.

4. Hughes Pub – Easily found on Chancery Street, Hughes Pub is the number one location to both enjoy and sing along to, traditional Irish music. Be warned the snugness of this charming little pub ensures just about everyone is encouraged to have a song so make sure those vocal chords are warmed up nicely with a pint of you know what!

5. Secret Food Tours – For all the foodies out there Dublin hosts some truly mouth-watering food tours. Prepare to enjoy some of the finest foods, eateries and market places that Dublin has to offer as your very knowledgable guide takes you to a number of locations loved by the locals. Meet up at the famous Trinity college and get ready for an experience to remember.

The Ultimate Date Night Playlist

Knowing my love of music I’ve been getting this request from readers for months now and I’m finally giving in to give you all a bit of cheese – well sort of. Music for me is a huge part of any relationship, for every relationship I’ve been in there’s been at least one song that went along with it and if there wasn’t, well that relationship didn’t to last very long. The music that means the most to me has always been the music that represents a particular time in my life and naturally that has at times crossed over into my relationships. There are of course a few pitfalls when it comes to dating and music (anyone who’s ever been doing the deed with music playing in the background and ended up doing it in time to the beat knows exactly what I’m talking about) but all in all, music is more important than you probably ever realised. The song that was playing during your first kiss whilst having a glass of wine on your couch, years later that song might just be the first song at your wedding – so don’t be scared to put a bit of effort into your playlist on date night. So here are my top 10 background tracks for the perfect night in and no they ain’t all love songs, just the perfect combination of tracks that will keep the mood just right.

10. Ryan Adams – Blank Space

I struggle with Taylor Swift. She infuriates me beyond belief – although some might argue that constantly p*ssing people off is the mark of a good artist these days. However, in spite of my dislike for ‘Swifty’ I did fall in love with her 1989 album when Ryan Adams came along and covered the entire thing in his own unique style. I have to give Taylor some credit in that these are her songs at the end of the day, but for me, Ryan Adams turns every song into a masterpiece and this version of ‘Blank Space’ is pure mellow perfection.

9. Russian Red – Cigarettes

A few years back I walked across the whole of Spain (just for fun) and one day walking through a remote part of the countryside, I came across a rather annoying American girl who was playing music through a makeshift speaker made from a paper cup. I was just about ready to walk on when she played ‘Cigarettes’ by Russian Red. It completely stopped me in my tracks and I instantly fell in love with it, so impressed by her taste in music it even changed my opinion of her! A short, but stunning little song.

8. Milky Chance – Stolen Dance

Slightly more upbeat, but not so much that it changes the mellow date night mood. I challenge you not to be hooked once the song kicks in after a few seconds. Again, perfect background noise, but from a more serious music perspective watch the video and admire the effortless talents of lead singer Clemens Rehbein.

7. The War On Drugs – Suffering

No I don’t always know what lead singer Adam Granduciel is singing, but the fact they’re still one of my new favourite bands proves just how good they are. If this one is a little too slow for you, check out ‘Red Eyes’ and let both your feet tap away in perfect sync.

6. Grace Grundy – I Took A Pill In Ibiza

Forget Mike Posner, forget Avicii (he ain’t cool) this song is all about Grace Grundy. Don’t get me wrong the original is good but Grace Grundy’s emotion-filled cover takes this track to new heights.

P.S Don’t take a pill in Ibiza kids.

5. DNCE – What’s Love Got To Do With It

So a surprising one maybe but Joe Jonas is onto something with this one. It’s not emotional, it’s not sexy (sorry Joe) but what this cover of Tina Turner’s classic will do, is give you and your date a bit of a chuckle. It is a great cover actually, but there’s more than enough cheese to go around with this one. Listen, laugh and enjoy.

4. Old Man Canyon – Phantoms And Friends

I’m a big Suits fan and anyone else out there who loves Harvey and the gang will know exactly what I mean when I say I find myself ‘Shazaaming’ the hell out of every episode. The music throughout the show has been incredible and this is just one of many hidden gems I’ve discovered along the way.

3. Verite – Somebody Else

I’m a huge fan of the 1975 but when I first heard ‘Somebody Else’ I was a tad underwhelmed, that was until I heard Verite’s version. Prepare for some serious goosebumps, this is this kind of song that could very well become the soundtrack to your relationship. Incredible, I can’t say much more than that.

2. HONNE & Izzy Bizu – Someone That Loves You

HONNE were my band of 2016 and I still don’t think they’re getting the recognition they deserve. I first saw them on Soccer AM of all places and they’ve even become the new favourite band of a music snob pal of mine. Just missing out on the top spot, this collaboration with Izzy Bizu is pure perfection. Heads up – they also do a mean cover of my number 1.

1. Jamie xx feat. Romy – Loud Places

In the past I’ve tried to rebel against the XX as I’ve found some of the art school, music snob fanbase to be quite tiring, but then I realised a lot of these people are friends of mine and decided that maybe I should be a little more forgiving. Anyway who am I kidding, the band and Jamie in particular absolutely reeks of genius and originality. ‘Loud Places’ was first played to me by a friend (shout-out to Riona Gray) and I got lost in it from the very first listen. Once I’d read and understood the lyrics my mind was officially blown and the song went to another level for me. ‘Loud Places’ is one of those songs where you could lie beside your partner, not speak a word and just get completely entranced by it. A beautiful work of art.

Break-ups: Fight It Or Accept It?

I’ve long been fascinated by the subject of ‘the break-up’, probably because I was such a rubbish boyfriend when I was younger that every girl would break up with me (it’s okay to laugh). But yes, my article from some time ago Dumped? The Fast track guide to getting over it is to this day one of my all-time favourite posts. Why? Because it’s advice that I wish I’d taken – but who ever takes their own advice! What interests me most, however, is our reactions to a break-up and with that in mind one particular question, do we fight for the relationship or do we accept the break-up?

Almost every girl who has ever broken up with me has asked me the same question – why are you so okay with it? But the truth is I wasn’t okay with it. I’ve always been too easy-going for my own good. I very much go with the flow, what will be will be and all that and more often than not that transpires (negatively) into my relationships. The problem I have is that people mistaking this outlook this for not caring. You see, I believe that to break up with someone is such a horrible thing to have to do that they wouldn’t do it unless they absolutely wanted to and so more often than not I have chosen to accept and respect the break-up. So when all I hear is “PAUL, why won’t you fight for me?!” I have to wonder what the hell I’m doing wrong, haha. I don’t like the idea that anyone, man or woman, would say it’s over” as a game or some sort of test, but when they’re encouraging you to try and change their mind in spite of what they’ve said, you do wonder what on earth is going on.

I really do understand where people are coming from when they say “fight for me” but is it wrong to be of the opinion that you shouldn’t really have to? It’s apparent you don’t make them happy and as soon as you have to fight for someone it’s almost like you’re in their debt, the relationship becomes tilted and it’s very difficult to get back to that happy medium. It’s like one person all of a sudden calls the shots but in the unhealthiest of ways. There’s nothing worse than feeling like the lesser half of a relationship. So what’s the alternative?

Well over time I decided that it was best just to accept it, not because I didn’t care but because I honestly thought I was doing them a favour. I didn’t always have such calm reactions though. When my first love broke up with me at  18 I reacted horribly. I verbally abused her (on MSN) for days and to her credit she felt so bad for ending it that she kind of just took it. Very immature and a huge learning curve for me and of course a reaction I never wanted to have again. A few years later, I was with this girl for around eighteen months and she’d gotten a job at a certain Japanese chain restaurant. One night she threw a party and her head chef came along. I vividly remember him sitting miserably all night on the stairway, moaning about how much he wanted a girlfriend. MY girlfriend then decided to take it upon herself to set him up with someone. It wasn’t working at all and eventually she set him up with…herself! It sounds horrible but I’m honestly laughing as I write this. When it all happened I was devastated but learning from past experiences I stayed calm, I left them to it and I sulked privately for a couple of weeks. Funnily enough he dumped her rather quickly and she came running back to me, but I took no pleasure in that – okay I did a little bit. I decided however that it wasn’t a good idea to get back together, I had chosen to accept her decision and although I hadn’t fully moved on there was no absolutely way I was going to re-open that story when I’d worked so hard to respect her decision.

When it comes to relationships and break-ups in particular, we all seem to lose our marbles a little bit. All common sense, dignity and self-respect go out the window and for at least that first couple of weeks we live our lives like we can’t go on without them. But let me ask you this, have you ever desperately hated a job you were in but as soon as you leave you all of a sudden convince yourself that it was the best job ever and that you’re making a huge mistake in leaving? Well relationships can be like that too, we desperately want what we no longer have. Personally I’m a big believer in ‘paths’ and if a relationship comes to an end then I like to believe that it’s just the next natural step on our path. There isn’t a single ex-girlfriend I wish I was still with, no matter how much I loved them, why? Because I’m confident that we’re all on the right path, even the ones I really miss as people I know they’re really happy and if they’re happy, I couldn’t be happier for them – irrespective of how we ended.

So for me I think I’ll stick to accepting a break-up, I mean hopefully there won’t be too many more but for me, it’s what works. When you calmly accept it, it’s like you’re soul and your character remain that little bit more in-tact. That sounds mega deep for me but I really do believe that. Importantly, acceptance allows you to give your partner or ex-partner space and one thing I do know from experience is that the last thing you should ever do is pester someone who has asked for space, you will only drive them further and further away at a time when you want them to miss you. So as difficult as it may be, stay calm people.

For the love of God though, stay away from Chefs.

8 Dating Concepts You Probably Didn’t Know About

Over the past year I’ve researched the many forms of dating. From online, to speed dating and even the odd blind date, everyone seems to have mixed opinions about what works best. But what are some of the more alternative ways people meet prospective partners? This week I’ve been looking at some of the more unusual ways people find love with a mix of interesting, funny and downright ridiculous results.

Shhh Dating – This is an organisation who have introduced an event whereby you are quite literally not allowed to speak – silent speed dating if you will! I really love the idea of trying different things and I admire people who try and shake things up a little bit but for me personally there is absolutely no way I could keep a straight face for five minutes of ‘eye-gazing’! shhhdating.com

Meddlers of Honour – As featured in Grazia, this event is all out dating war. Imagine trying to impress someone whilst trained ‘meddlers do everything in their power to sabotage and even steal your date. Insecure about your receding hairline? Expect it to be publicised to everyone in earshot. Anything goes in this event with the end of goal of retaining your date until the end. You certainly need a thick skin for this, but to me it sounds like bags of fun! meddlersofhonour.com

Adult Baby Dating – I can’t help but shiver as I write this but yes, ABDLMatch, a website for adult babies really does exist. To be more specific these ‘adult babies’ are basically adults who dress and act like babies in each other’s company. “We love helping adult babies connect with Mommies and Daddies and vice versa”(shiver, shiver, shiver) Each to their own and all that but I couldn’t bring myself to investigate this any further than reading the initial description. Sorry but you aint getting a link to this folks.

Lock and Key Parties – This is basically a party consisting of anything up to fifty participants. The girls have padlocks attached to their wrists and the guys are given keys to start working their way around the room. With enough people I think this could be really fun, just don’t lose your key! Sign up here.

Dating In The Dark – Some of you may remember the TV show on UK Living a few years back, I LOVED this show! Well now the Original Dating Company have introduced this event to their roster. Imagine forty people sat in complete darkness dating, I did wonder how they move from table to table in such darkness but the confusion perhaps makes it even more hilarious. This is an event I would love to see introduced to the Glasgow Dating scene, even if you don’t meet someone I think the comedy value would be tremendous! originaldating.com

Zombie Passions – “A 100% free online dating and social networking site for zombies, zombie lovers and people who have been working in a dead end job too long.” Need I say more? zombiepassions.com/

Gluten Free Singles – I guess this one is all about convenience for when the time comes to do a weekly shop – although I still maintain most people don’t actually know what gluten is. Basing your dating preferences on having allergies in common seems crazy but I suppose for some people it makes perfect sense. glutenfreesingles.com/

CanDoBetter.com – This one really is bizarre and I’m not quite sure what the purpose is nor do I understand why you would let your partner use it. Basically, you and your partner upload a picture of you both allowing members of the website to vote on which one of you can do better! Whoever wins gains full access to the site. Strange stuff but people are going for it. candobetter.com

 

5 Ways To Save A Failing Relationship

I’m no expert, that’s for sure. I have however seen it all a million times before. On paper the perfect couple, you look good together, you live together, you’ve known each other for a long time, there’s a healthy mutual respect and attraction, but ultimately the spark has very much gone. Ideally if your relationship is failing you want to act sooner rather than later, but of course only save a relationship if it’s truly worth saving. With just a little bit of effort, however, your relationship could be salvaged easier than you thought possible.

1. Remember why you got together in the first place – This is easily the best time in a relationship, that indescribable buzz when you first meet, you like them and they like you back. It’s a special feeling almost impossible to recreate, but what you can do is reminisce (in a happy way of course). Revisit those old places where you shared your first date, your first kiss and relive stories of how and more importantly, why, you fell in love.

2. Never underestimate the power of ‘date night’ – Couples are often guilty of simply not making enough time for one another. Whether it’s work, friends or family, ‘life’ all too often gets in the way – which as many of us know can be detrimental to even the closest of relationships. Try and make the effort to have even just one date night a month, a night for just the two of you and no one else. Also, be picky with your location choices, don’t just go to the same old pub you venture to every Sunday afternoon. Mix it up and even try doing something completely different month by month.

3. Talk – You’d be surprised at how many couples are guilty of horrendous communication – no matter how long they’ve known each other. It’s bizarre just how bad most of us are at having a simple honest conversation with one another – perhaps we’re terrified of what we might hear? Generally though it’s so important that as a couple you’re both on the same wavelength. Kids, career, marriage…you need to know where one another’s head is at, otherwise you might just be engaging in one big time-wasting exercise. However, never fear ‘the talk’, it might turn out to be the weight off your shoulders you so desperately needed.

4. Invest in yourself – In an ideal world your partner will love you no matter what, but that’s no excuse for being lazy or letting yourself go. Life isn’t all about being the fittest or the best looking but you should at least try to make the most of yourself. The aim is that you feel good and if you can accomplish that as individuals then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll also feel happier together as well.

5. Never take your partner for granted – Often the one overwhelming feeling that sparks and even reaffirms a break-up. Sometimes the longer a relationship lasts the more we take each other for granted. My advice, take just one moment to really think about how grateful you are for everything they do for you and if you’re feeling really brave, tell them!

So there you have it, 5 key points that could save you from returning to ‘singledom’. Relationships are never straightforward, they require time, effort and compromise something I often found out the hard way. No two relationships are exactly the same so adapt my advice in a way that suits you and you won’t go far wrong. Good luck!

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 only be wasting your life and that you would more than likely 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 for me, however looking back I think that was just a youthful naivety. As you get older, you start to understand people’s circumstances better 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 surprisingly 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 always seemed to know exactly what was going on around her. In the end my sense of humour won her over, laughter was the key to everything with that child and in the end I cared for her more than I ever 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 and seeing the world 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 having this incredible little family who had both welcomed and accepted me and not only that, they wanted me to be a part of that family forever – I think. That’s very difficult for anyone 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 to do. The break-up was both the scariest and hardest part of dating a single parent. I didn’t necessarily 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 and I definitely 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 naive, 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 Owning Your 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

6 Things You Should Never Do On A First Date

Get ahead of yourself – Being single is sometimes easier said than done, however, a date is just a date. Of course get excited, but don’t pin your life’s hopes and dreams on this one date – who needs that kind of pressure? If you go into a date already calling that person your boyfriend or girlfriend even just in your head, then you’re more than likely setting yourself up for failure. First and foremost, treat a date as just a fun night out and make the most of the opportunity to get to know someone – everything else is a welcome bonus. If it doesn’t work out, on to the next.

Talk about your ex – Let’s get it out of the way now, the golden rule of any first date. No one wants to know how heartbroken you were or how they were just using you to get close to your best friend. This is your chance to put it out of your mind, take it!

Get wasted – Nerves are the ultimate date killer and what do we do to get over nerves? We hit the bottle of course! Have a couple of drinks to take the edge off but know your limits. The last thing you need is your date getting dressed up only to be covered in your lunch after another Jaeger bomb. All jokes aside, it’s a crazy world out there, guys – make sure you’re in a position to check your date got home safely, and not the other way around.

Overdress – Remember it’s date night, not prom night. A lot of us are guilty of putting dates on a pedestal and as a result we often overdo it. Guys, I’d recommend leaving the shirt and tie at home. And girls, save the ball gowns for your Christmas night out. Wear something nice but comfortable – there’s nothing worse than wearing something that you need to check every five minutes to make sure it’s still in place.

Play with your phone – No playing with it under the table doesn’t make it invisible, your boss can see it and your date will too. Candy Crush, Facebook and Whatsapp can wait until you get home – or at least until they go to the toilet!

Go social media crazy – I once worked with a guy who changed his relationship status to ‘seeing someone’ five minutes after getting a phone number in a club. Later on in the night, he got a second phone number and changed his status to ‘it’s complicated’. Either way, avoid any major social media commitments until way further down the line. There’s a difference between keen and desperate – don’t be the latter.

and 4 Things you SHOULD do…

Give them a chance – It’s not uncommon to go on a date and rule out any prospective romance within three seconds of them opening their mouth. If this does happen, don’t be too quick off the mark to judge. Chat, have a laugh, get to know them and still enjoy the evening for what it is – a wee night out! Please don’t watch the clock and leave at the first opportunity. Alternatively, avoid destroying the poor soul’s confidence altogether by being pickier.

Change it up – Never recreate the same date twice, always try and be original – new places, different surroundings etc. I once went on two separate dates in the space of a week but it just so happened I got the same taxi driver both times, he said to date number two: “It was nice to meet you the other night”. Oops, I get the train now.

Research – Unsure about who you’re meeting? A brief Facebook stalk never hurt anyone. A quick glance at someone’s profile will confirm whether or not you’re meeting one of the creeps you’ve been trying to avoid. Hidden faces and only five friends (all of which are Russian girls) should set alarm bells ringing.

Find out what you need to know – Dating a series of ‘wrong uns’ can be both expensive and time consuming. If you have a list of deal breakers in your head, ask the right questions to find out if your date is up to scratch. Better to find this stuff out now than three months down the line.

 

Whitney Wolfe And The Right Kind Of Feminism

Whitney Wolfe is my new hero. She’s the 29 year old Founder and CEO of dating app Bumble with a back to basics approach to Feminism that has me shouting her name from the rooftops. I’ve had my run-ins over the last few years with a select few feminists, pretty much every time I’ve dared offer a male perspective on any subject relevant to women. This always surprised me as there are no two ways about it, I am a massive supporter of feminism – at least what I call ‘true feminism’ anyway.

The full feminism debate is a minefield which as a male writer I’d be a fool to venture into – at least not today anyway. The one and only issue I’ve ever had with feminists, is those who misrepresent its true meaning. The ones who give women a bad name, the ones who twist the very definition of feminism to encourage negativity towards men at every possible turn. We’ve all encountered these individuals at some point in our lives and personally I have no time for it anymore. To me supporting feminism in its truest form is simply common sense, gender equality should no longer be an issue and it really saddens me that these barriers still exist in such a way. Why as a society in 2017 we haven’t come further, is truly beyond me.

So God bless Whitney Wolfe. When I read her story, her beliefs, her outlook and her ambitions, I just thought ‘thank you’, finally someone I can really get on board with. Through Bumble, Wolfe has challenged the status-quo of men having to make the first move and has promptly put women back in control when it comes to dating. As a man, I wholeheartedly welcome this – and no not just because I’m a tad lazy at times.

On a separate note, Wolfe has spoken passionately about the mistreatment of women in the tech world noting that the problem doesn’t start in the workplace and that it in fact starts much earlier in our schools and classrooms.

“It’s not that a company necessarily forbids women from joining. The company is looking for the opportunity for the skilled employee and the one that shows up for this job is a man. There’s not a lot of women applying. The problem doesn’t really start in the office, it starts in the classroom,” she says.

So with such low numbers of female decision-makers in the tech world, how refreshing it is to see a woman spearheading the biggest threat to Tinder’s long-standing dating crown (who are also her former employers I might add).

Bumble’s workforce you may or may not be surprised to hear is 80% female. Many have argued that this statistic sounds alarmingly sexist, however, given the nature and intentions of Bumble I actually find this to be quite refreshing. The fact of the matter is, sometimes us men talk a lot of bullsh*t, particularly in business and particularly in dating, so is it really a bad thing to let our female peers take the lead for once? I have every faith in these women and Bumble from what I’ve seen, is a thoroughly impressive app.

What I really admire most about Whitney Wolfe is her commitment to empowering women and without stamping all over the male population in the process.

“I’m so tired of this notion that women only need to support women, why can’t we all support each other?” she says. “I’ve run into women who can be highly problematic, detrimental and mean, just like I’ve seen in men.” She adds: “We as women, (with) this modern feminism, I’m worried we’re alienating the good guys. It’s not really living up to true feminism, which is really equality for everyone, right?”

As a man, this is all I’ve ever wanted to hear from a feminist. It makes perfect sense – supporting and empowering women without berating men. I’m the first to admit it, a lot of men quite frankly are d*cks. A lot of men from the past, present and future have and will continue to cause a lot of problems for a lot of good people, but to hear someone like Wolfe speak with such understanding, clarity and realism, well, it’s music to my ears.

To The Perfect Couple

Well, my little Sister got married. There’s something special about my Sister that I can’t quite put my finger on, but whatever it is it fills me with both pride and envy. Claire Bell and Alexander McDonald were married on Saturday 23rd September 2017. In all my years both being in relationships and writing about them, I’ve never known one to be as perfect as theirs.

Before I start praising my wonderful Sister (something she’s not going to let me live down), I need to talk about my new Brother-in-law, Alexander. There’s a really lovely story about how Claire and Alexander first met, but given that she’s a nurse and he’s a policeman, I like to pretend they met on uniformdating.com. When I met Alexander for the first time, however, I was genuinely devastated. I knew realistically that I could never have the scary older brother talk with someone five inches taller than me (he’s a big lad). But the truth is, I’ve never needed to have that chat. So thank you Alexander for being the man that you are, for Claire, you are everything that our family could ever have hoped for.

Claire and I had a very normal upbringing. She would make me play shops with her and I would practise choke slams, leg drops, rock bottoms, people’s elbows and stone cold stunners on her and as we got older, that competitive edge really started to kick in. At one point my bedroom was decked out with certificates, football trophies and running medals and what Claire did, was sneak into my bedroom with a red felt pen and leave a tiny red mark on every single one of my achievements. It was just her little way of saying, ‘one day Brother this will all be mine’.

And in fairness to her, she was right. One year as kids we went on holiday and I discovered an innocent little hobby – trampolining. Claire came home that year and went on to become some kind of child prodigy at trampolining, winning just about everything there was to win. If Netflix had been around at the time they would’ve made a documentary about her. But it’s true, Claire excelled at just about every sport she tried and to this day ends all of my birthday cards not just by writing her name, but with a nice big squiggly autograph.

Today, Claire has an amazing life, but anyone who knows her knows that she’s earned it a thousand times over. She’s been through more than most over the last few years and at times has been treating hospitals like hotels, but the one thing that’s really struck a chord with me is that I don’t think I’ve ever once heard her complain. From one competitive sibling to another I have no hesitation in saying Claire, you should be seriously proud of yourself.

So Claire Bell, from the very bottom of my heart, you are a hero of mine. Thank you for being my Sister and for making me an Uncle and know that no matter what famous people I get to meet in my work, yours is the only autograph I’ll ever need.

To the happy couple x

4 Simple Ways To Keep Your Relationship Fresh

Keeping a long-term relationship fresh isn’t always easy, but there are a few little things you can do to reignite the spark. If you think you and your partner are in need of some TLC, it’s worth taking note of the following tips:

Tackle any problems between the sheets

Problems between the sheets are a guaranteed passion killer, so if you’re experiencing any issues like this, it’s time to take action. One of the most common sexual problems among men is erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact, it’s thought that around half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 have ED to some extent, and it can affect much younger men too.

The important thing is to not simply hide the condition and hope it goes away by itself. If your partner doesn’t know you’re experiencing ED, they might feel rejected and hurt because of the lack of physical intimacy. Also, bear in mind that ED can have serious underlying causes, from high blood pressure and diabetes to depression. So, it’s important to book an appointment with a doctor if you think you have this condition. The good news is, there are a range of effective treatments available, including targeted medicines such as Viagra. To discover more about your treatment options, you can speak to a health professional or visit trusted websites such as Online Doctor LloydsPharmacy.

Surprise your partner

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you’ve been with someone for a long time. Candlelit dinners and romantic strolls might have given way to microwave meals and evenings spent in front of the TV. A simple way to rekindle the flame with your other half is to break the monotony with some thoughtful and unexpected surprises. Why not treat your partner to an impromptu present, surprise them with a big bunch of flowers, cook their favourite meal or book a mini-break? This will show them how much you care and help to keep the excitement in your relationship very much alive.

Try new hobbies together

Sick of doing the same things day in, day out? Give a new hobby a go. Whether it’s cooking lessons, a dance class, arts and crafts, a new sport or something else, trying a new pastime with your other half will give you plenty to talk about and it’s an effective way to ensure you get to spend more quality time with one another. Just make sure you pick a hobby you’re both happy with.

Show your appreciation

Feeling comfortable around your partner’s great, but no matter how relaxed you are with them, it’s important to remember to show your appreciation. Simple things, like thanking them when they do something nice for you or reminding them that you love them before you leave the house can reinforce the connection you have and ensure your partner doesn’t feel like they’re being taken for granted.

There’s no magic solution when it comes to enjoying a long and successful relationship, but if you follow advice like this, then you’ll at least have a fighting chance.

The Biggest Mistakes Made By Online Daters

It’s no secret that the stigma once associated with online dating has well and truly disappeared. Once labelled desperate now just the norm, there are but a few singletons out there who haven’t tried some form of online dating. My own experiences of online dating have been few and far between, but having immersed myself in this industry, I’ve found that I’ve learnt far more as an outsider looking in. This summer I’ve spent a fair bit of time studying the biggest names in the industry and without further ado, here are my observations as to what not to do when online dating.

Choose the wrong site – no sponsored posts today folks so I’m not going to mention names of who I’d recommend (although if you’d like some do get in touch) but yes so many people criticise online dating when so often it’s been a case of ‘right time, wrong place’. Online dating is all a bit of a numbers game, you have to look at the key factors of meeting someone and think about which site will maximise your chances of finding the one – or someone. Let me give you an example, I had a look at one particular site after it won two awards at a ceremony I was attending. Two awards, I thought that’s pretty impressive. So I signed up only to discover it was like a ghost town – well at least where I lived. In spite of all the accolades and fancy branding, there didn’t appear to be a single user who lived within 100 miles of me. So lesson 1, play the numbers game, if no one in your area uses a particular app or site then what’s the point? Remember, that’s not to say compromise on quality, but location is a much bigger factor than people realise.

Put all your eggs in one basket – I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve encountered who feel like they’re at the end of their tether with dating and that they need to find the one LIKE RIGHT NOW. This can be a huge problem when online dating and can often lead to you throwing yourself into something with the first available ‘acceptable’ person. Don’t settle for acceptable, take your time and wait for remarkable. Remember, online dating is not a last resort and wont be the immediate answer to all of your problems. Don’t shut yourself off to finding love in other places.

Be too needy – ‘Desperate’ sounds like a harsh term to use but we’ve all spotted those profiles that absolutely wreak of desperation – please don’t be that person! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to find love, of course there isn’t, but if you try too hard then you might be waiting a lot longer than you’d hoped. When constructing your profile try and not give too much away, there’s plenty of time to tell someone your life story on the many dates you’ll be going on together.

Be negative – This has to be the number one thing that pissed me off during my research. I realise everyone has had tough experience but that doesn’t have to be the first thing you tell people about; “no one under 5ft 6, no single parents, no workaholics, no gingers, no no no………..” I saw it time and time again and yeah it’s fine to be picky, but I wouldn’t dare have contacted any of these people – it was draining to read. Plus, it also makes you think, well what makes you so special?

Be someone you’re not – it’s very easy to be someone you’re not online and it’s even easier to start believing your own bullsh*t. My ex lied to me about everything from her parent’s names to her birthplace to her job to the number siblings she had, all things that she was going to get found out for. Don’t put yourself in that position in the first place, it’s a sure fire way of ending the relationship you spent so long looking for in the first place.

Get stuck in a rut – A lot of negative feedback on online dating actually comes from its most avid users. I only ever recommend using online dating as a short-term solution, the harsh reality is that you will be rejected at some point (no matter who you are) and if you’re online for a sustained period of time then the rejection may add up which in turn could do severe damage to your confidence. Don’t be online every second of every day, get on with your life and check it now and again. There’s a trap with online dating where over time you start to expect negative results and all of the above points will eventually all roll into one. You have to be better than that –  make sure you get away from the keyboard and out into the fresh air from time to time!

So these are my top ‘dont’s’ but there are of course plenty of ‘do’s’. DO have fun, boost your confidence, get back out there, meet people, have coffee, dance, watch movies, walk in the park, eat good food, laugh the night away. Most importantly, get online to get offline.

What mistakes have you encountered?

PTB

5 Things I Look For In A Partner

If there’s one question I get asked all the time it’s “what’s your type”? And the truth is I don’t have a bloody clue anymore. In the past I would’ve said Kourtney Kardashian (I always thought she was a cuter version of Kim) but if you lined up all of my exes you’d notice very quickly that they couldn’t be any more different from one another.  It’s quite funny reminiscing back to my teens, us guys, we always had a dream girl. My first dream girl was my Sister’s babysitter, I was about 8 years old and she must’ve been 14 or 15. I called her up to my bedroom and handed her a post-it note that simply said “I love you.” She’d given me an eskimo kiss (when you innocently touch noses) days before and that was me, I was hers forever. I’m laughing as I write this as I don’t think either my Mum or my Sister know this story, oh well. After that the standard celebrity crushes began; Britney Spears, Sarah-Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Aniston, Megan Fox, Cheryl whatever her name is now, Hayley Williams, Katy Perry and Rita Ora all came and went. Recently I even found myself having a bit of a crush on Miley Cyrus – now that she seems to be washing again of course. But you’ll notice that list is all very looks orientated and I’d like to think that’s not what I’m about anymore. So now here I am, PTB at 30, what do I look for in a girl?

1. Looks. Yes, I’m going to completely contradict myself with the first one, but hear me out. Looks aren’t all that matter of course, give me an interesting plain Jane over a stunning bore any day. What does matter to me however, is that initial attraction. I’m not here to say what’s attractive and what isn’t, it’s all personal opinion of course, but the honest truth is I don’t want to be physical with someone that I don’t find physically attractive. There’s no judgement either, but for me physical attraction is what distinguishes the difference between a love interest and a friend, it’s that initial quality that makes you do that double take we’ve all done at some point in our lives. However, physical attraction will never ever seal the deal with me, call it part one if you will.

2. Intelligence. I’m not looking for the next Amy Farrah Fowler but it’s nice to be on a similar wave-length when it comes to intelligence. I never thought intelligence was important to me until I dated someone with very little (sorry but it was painful). I don’t exactly rhyme off the literary works of Ernest Hemingway but this girl understood so little that it prevented me from just being myself. First off she couldn’t understand how people who speak the same language can have different accents, then I had to explain the whole night and day at the same time situation in different parts of the world, she was confident London was a country and also couldn’t figure out what PTB stands for. Nice girl so you try not to judge, but it got very tiring very quickly.

3. Sesnse of humour. This is everything to me! I’d like to think I was born laughing, I genuinely believe your sides hurting from laughing is one of the most blissful experiences you can ever have in life. I’m just not a fan of people who take themselves too seriously, no one wants to date a comedian, but just to know that you’re with someone you can be a big kid with from time to time is a nice feeling. So yeah, poor or no sense of humour is a massive deal-breaker for me.

4. A kind heart. You hope any individual you come across in life is reasonably kind-hearted, but it’s even more important when it comes to choosing a partner. Have you ever dated a proper proper bitch? I went out with a bitch and a half. I was on a date and this girl pretended to be putting a tenner in a homeless person’s cup but then at the last second put in 10p. Maybe I put too much pressure on her to have a good sense of humour but this was a big fat no no for me and we never saw each other again.

5. Good taste in music. So this is more of a personal one and I know it’s hardly a relationship essential but it’s something that means a lot to me. I think it stems from my first love introducing me to ‘good music’ after years of listening to whatever was in the top 10. Suddenly I went from DJ Sammy to Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Jeff Buckley, Fleetwood Mac and so on and ever since then music has always been a great source of connection with past flames. I love nothing more than lying in bed sharing earphones and introducing each other to music we love, desperately hoping they like what you’re playing them. I was also a big fan of having ‘our song’ with girlfriends, right back to my first girlfriend at 12 years old (hi Angela). What song was it? ‘I want it that way’ by The Backstreet Boys of course. Tell me whyyy!!!!

I’d say four out of the five are pretty generic things that you’d expect to see on any list, but it’s always nice to hear a bit of the logic behind it from a guy’s perspective. Oh and she has to eat a lot as well! I like a foodie. I’m pleased to confirm that my tastes are a little more well-rounded than they used to be, but I guess it’s all part and parcel of getting older. So tell me, what do you look for?

Thanks for reading,

PTB

8 Peculiar Ways Guys Deal With Break-Ups

Break-ups aren’t nice by any means, but they have always fascinated me. It’s incredible how being on the wrong end of a break-up can eradicate every shred of common sense or self-worth we proudly once possessed. Much like everyone else, I too have been on the wrong end of break-ups and albeit a good few years back, some of my reactions still make me laugh to this day. With that in mind here are just a few examples (including my own) of how guys can react to being dumped.

We get questionable piercings – I was 19 years old, she was French and love of my life number 3 by this point (so naive). We’d dated for around 10 months, she’d been in the year below me at school and had made a name for herself in all the wrong ways by sleeping with a guy on a bouncy castle in her back garden – true story. When I heard this I judged her in all the wrong ways, but then two years later we ended up dating. The relationship was actually pretty good until she started working at a popular Japanese restaurant chain, she struck up a friendship with her boss to the point where she’d started trying to set him up with different women. Eventually she set him up with herself. That first two weeks after we broke up all I could think about was winning her back. I decided I had to be even cooler than I of course already was *jokes* and so I got two questionable ‘snakebite’ lip piercings. When she saw them her response was anything but ‘wow’ in fact she saw it more like self-harm than anything impressive. My poor Mum was horrified and I walked around the house for three months covering my mouth with a scarf to hide it from my Dad before eventually giving up on them. Back to her though, to cut a long story short boss man broke up with her after a month of dating and she promptly tried to patch things up with myself. After around a week though I was well and truly over it, making it even more embarrassing that I’d stuck metal in my face to impress her. I’ve discovered that if you have to stick metal in your face for love, then it’s probably not love.

We recreate John Cusack’s famous scene from ‘Say Anything’ – a friend of mine actually went one better. He hired a busker to duet with him and perform Plain White T’s hit ‘Hey There Delilah’ outside of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment. I seem to remember I encouraged this at the time, but no, he has never lived it down and no, it didn’t work.

 john cusack say anything GIF

We turn up in a foreign country to surprise them – I say foreign, I mean Ireland. My Irish first love broke up with me when she went home for the summer, what did I do? I booked a flight over there to try and win her back, I got lost in a small town just outside of Dublin and eventually never found my way to her countryside home. I left without her knowing anything about it. I was 18, had no credit on my phone and remain embarrassed about the incident to this very day.

We give up food – I’ve spoken before about my craziest and longest relationship ‘the compulsive liar’, but never before has this ‘foodie’ lost his appetite quite like this. I quite literally just couldn’t bring myself to eat, it only lasted a few days but it was just unheard of for me to go off food. As it turns out, that break-up turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. It sparked my love of travel, getting my own place, a better job and eventually it inspired this very blog – the right kind of reactions you might say. But don’t ever ever give up food for love folks!

Papa John’s football nfl pizza diet GIF

We sleep with everything that moves – we all have our one night slip-ups but choosing a one-night stand kind of lifestyle isn’t by any means the best route to take after a break-up. The thing about one night stands is that it doesn’t really solve anything. It may take your mind off the break-up, but only ever temporarily. The second they leave, your mind wanders straight back to everything you were trying to forget. We all need a bit of fun from time to time but some dalliances will only make you feel a million times worse, be wary of hurting yourself and others.

We get nasty – sometimes the heartbreak can turn guys into monsters, at least verbally anyway. I remember sitting with a female friend on ‘MSN messenger’ (back in the day) whilst she was talking to a guy she’d broken up with. The conversation went along the lines of…”babe I miss you, please take me back,”…”no, I’m sorry it’s over”…”fine, whore.” He was actually a really nice guy too, but it just proves how our emotions can get the better of us in these situations. I’ve lost count of how many times love can oh so quickly sound like hatred.

We cut contact – us guys love a bit of attention even when it’s not warranted. We’ll always deny this but we thrive on a bit of a ‘pity party’. I remember when I was in my teens I used to love it when I had a fall-out with a girl because it meant I could play the silent, heartbroken emo kid at the back of the bus, gazing out of the window feeling sorry for myself thinking I was in some depressing music video. Fun times.

We turn up the power ballads – so this is a story I may regret sharing and I realise it’s starting to sound like I get broken up with a lot but regrettably I’ve had more girlfriends than I’d like to admit. When I was in first year at high school, I had a girlfriend who was in third year (this got me a lot of brownie points with the ‘cool’ kids). We dated for around 7 months or so when for Valentine’s Day she bought me the most hideous medallion ring complete with eagle engraving and words that loosely translated to ‘United States of Mexico’. She actually expected me to wear this monstrosity and politely, I did. The relationship turned sour not long after when a girl in my own year complimented the ring and in return I gave it to her (harsh but it really was that hideous). What I hadn’t expected was for that girl to then parade it in front of my girlfriend’s face. Not nice to give it away I know, but bare in mind I was only 12 years old. My girlfriend of course broke up with me and being the old romantic that I was at the time, I was completely devastated. That night I went home, plugged in my ‘ghettoblaster’ opened the window and played Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ as loud as it would go for all of my neighbours to hear. My Mum and Dad were beyond mortified – as am I at this very moment.

 rose titanic jack dawson titanic gif my heart will go on GIF

My advice in dealing with most break-up situations is always to focus on bettering yourself. I think it takes a lot to break-up with someone, it’s not something people do lightly and it’s important that you respect your partner’s decision. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up. I’ve rarely been through a break-up where an opportunity to get back together didn’t arise further down the line. The key is to give them space and a reason to miss you, make them wonder why you’re dealing with the situation so well. If they ask for space and you don’t give them it, I guarantee you’ll push them further away than ever before.

Piercings, performances, insults, pity parties and hunger strikes don’t work. Simple, common sense, adult behaviour will see you through – I learned this the hard way.

PTB

 

Why I Still Love Dating

So according to the statisticians at Buzzsumo.com the most popular dating article online at the moment is ‘Why modern dating makes me want to punch myself in the throat’ which you can read here.

‘Wow’ I thought, yet another bash at the dating world. I honestly don’t know when everyone became so miserable about dating and why being single seems to be considered such a traumatic experience these days and frankly it’s starting to get a bit old. Although I’ve had many happy memories from dating, believe me, I do understand why struggling to meet someone can be difficult. In the past I’ve felt as low as low can go when it comes to dating, but it seems to me that too many people take the easy route of blaming ‘modern dating traditions’ for their single status, with little or no effort to change it. I cannot stress this point enough – Tinder is not the only way to meet someone.

How many people do you know that consistently berate dating apps and websites and yet continue to spend more time swiping strangers than talking to the people they actually know? Well I to used to be one of those people.

Author of the aforementioned article, Melissa Moeller, states “I’m pretty much living in the thickest part of the modern hookup culture – perfecting the art of getting the right guy to buy you a drink at a bar, crafting the perfect response to a text to make you seem just interested enough, taking the proper five seconds to adequately judge a person and determine whether or not to swipe left or right on Tinder. That’s the world I live in now and I have to confess: I hate it with every fiber of my being.” Personally I enjoy the madness and over-thinking of crafting the perfect text (it reminds me of being a teen again), but the rest I agree with, I’m well and truly on your side Melissa Moeller! Except there’s one little thing you said that’s niggling away at me. “That’s the world I live in” – I disagree.

As much as I love the influx of technology and how I can have my food shopping delivered at the push of a button or find out who crossed paths with me that day (although I still find this a tiny bit weird Happn) it doesn’t mean I let technology dictate every aspect of my life. As a society we’re constantly looking for ways to make everything simpler, faster and easier and that’s what dating apps do. However, if you don’t like it Melissa, the traditional ways of old haven’t actually gone anywhere – they just don’t have the same marketing budgets.

I was recently paid to review an award-winning dating site. I signed up, I did a search, I promptly sent them their money back. Why? Because despite the site’s popularity and despite the fact I live in a major UK city, there must’ve been about four people on the site who lived within 100 miles of me. So Melissa it seems you’re not the only one sick of ‘modern dating’. So where is everyone? They’re all gathered in that little place we forgot about – ‘offline’.

Online dating has earned its place in the world and I applaud it, a nuisance to many but the source of success for countless others. However, no matter how many people you find online, there will always be more people offline and this is where my problem with Melissa’s statements lie – no one has to accept these so called modern dating traditions if they don’t want to.

So why do I still love dating? Because my attitude has changed. I’ll say it one more time – Tinder is not the only way to meet someone. I’m a big believer in not necessarily looking for someone, but putting yourself in situations where you might meet someone. For example, a friend of mine went to a night class in the city – Italian cooking for beginners. He went to that class to learn and to have fun but as a singleton what he actually did was inadvertently put himself in a situation where he might just meet someone. If you do something where your sole purpose is to meet someone and then you don’t have success, that’s when you start to beat yourself up and hate the world of dating. He left that final class with a homemade Carbonara and a future fiancé.

If you enjoy online dating, brilliant, crack on with it! But what was it Melissa said about modern dating? “I hate it with every fiber of my being.” If this is you, put the phone down, give the seedy bars a miss and stop repeating what clearly isn’t working for you. You’ll never know until you try.

and please, oh please…don’t punch yourself in the throat.

PTB

Can Your First Love Really Be ‘The One’?

It was Freshers week 2004 at Glasgow University. I was a fresh faced 17 year old straight out of high school,  enjoying a freedom that previously had been alien to me. I never really enjoyed school, I achieved good grades and then wanted to leave as soon as possible. I never drank, rarely went to parties and led a fairly dull existence if I’m quite honest. University was where that all changed. In my eyes it was the first step into adulthood and to an extent, the real world (although years later I would come to learn student life is not ‘the real world’).

Freshers week was where I finally let go. The buzz around campus was truly addictive and I was lapping up every second of it. Only a few days in and I was getting female attention that had alluded me for most of my teens. On one particular night I was standing outside of the guy’s toilets waiting for a friend when a girl milky-skinned with celtic dark features approached me. She said nothing, just pointed at my hair. A few awkward seconds had passed when my breathe was taken away by the most incredible Irish accent – “I love your hair.” I was instantly smitten, to say I had fallen hard and fast was an understatement. A year older than me her name was Jennifer, we spoke for a few minutes, exchanged numbers and arranged to meet the next day. The following night we watched a then unknown band by the name of Biffy Clyro take the student union by storm. Later that night we ended up at a small gathering thrown by a young lad called Dan from Manchester – to this day the only person I’ve ever met with a poster of Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin. We had been lying on the floor (as students do) and had been quietly chatting away for a good couple of hours when we realised that there was actually someone else sleeping on the floor just a few feet away from us. Curled up in the corner we asked each other “who is this guy?” we’d never seen him before and hadn’t even noticed him entering what was a very small room. We weren’t bothering him but Dan awoke rather angrily and told us to leave him be. Little did Dan know that this guy (whoever he was) would wake up moments later in a drunken state and urinate all over Dan’s floor and much to our amusement, his vast CD collection. Hilarious as it was this was our cue to leave. It had been a memorable introduction to student life and Jennifer, it seemed, was about to become my first love.

We dated for a year. It was incredible at first, so young and naive, not a care in the world just happy to be in love. When I think back to that time I always laugh about how horrifically we used to dress and what our poor mothers must have been thought. I used to walk around in flared, black chords and band t-shirts, I long shoulder length hair and two lip piercings. Jennifer had a penchant for multi-coloured leggings, chunky cardigans and generally anything that was six sizes too big for her. As the months passed by the relationship soured a little, Jennifer became consumed by homesickness which sadly became the focal point of our relationship. She was counting down the days until she could go home for the summer whilst I dreaded them, in the end I think I was just there to help her get through the remaining months of first year. I put up with a lot during those months, I don’t know if I felt sorry for her or if I was just madly in love – perhaps a bit of both.

When the summer came she beamed, whilst I was heartbroken. When she left I had zero concerns for our relationship, in spite of the hardships of the previous months I still had complete and utter faith that we were happily in love but youthful naivety had struck once again. A few weeks had passed when I was awoken in the middle of the night by Jennifer calling. She was having a panic attack, “I just love you so much, I never want to be without you” she cried. I hadn’t been particularly worried up to this point but it was certainly some welcome reassurance and after calming her down I fell back to sleep. When I woke up the very next morning I had a text message, “I’m sorry but I don’t think we should be together.” I had to read the message four or five times for it to sink in, what had the phone call during the night been all about then? I replied to her message still rather confused, but sure enough it was over and by text message! For the very first time in my life, I was completely and utterly heartbroken.

In the coming months I struggled desperately to get over her, I was still absolutely certain that when she returned after the summer I would win her back. When she did return however I met a ‘new’ Jennifer, I honestly didn’t know who this girl was anymore. Gone was the sweetness of the girl who had curiously pointed at my hair that night and in her place was a party animal  who seemed to be dating a different guy every week. I never held it against her, after all that’s just what we do in our teens but the heartbreak was still devastating. We lost touch soon after, I left university and she moved back to Ireland.

I hadn’t spoken to Jennifer for about 9 years when in the summer of 2013 she messaged me out of the blue and asked to meet up. I had mixed emotions to say the least, would it be too awkward? I hadn’t spent years thinking she was the one that got away but we all hold a special place for our first love no matter what, don’t we? I hesitantly agreed to meet up but was actually quite pleasantly surprised by the outcome. When I saw her, I felt nothing. When we spoke, nothing. It was a bit like chatting to a distant relative, she was pretty but I wasn’t attracted to her anymore and found her a tad dull in comparison to the girl I once knew. It wasn’t that I had gone on to better things and she was a mess, she’s actually really successful and still a quite lovely person, but it did make me think back to those heartbroken days. At times I had been truly inconsolable, but it just goes to show that sometimes things do happen for a reason and that’s something I suppose you could say about most broken relationships. No matter how bad things seem, they definitely do get better.

So what was the purpose of my first love? I don’t think she was ever supposed to be ‘the one’. When I thought long and hard about this the purpose of that relationship actually seemed really simple – it was to learn. They say that everyone always remembers their first love and this is true, but for me it’s more like remembering a mentor or guardian than a lost love. That relationship taught me so much and to Jennifer, well I just hope she realises how grateful I am to her. She taught me so much about women, introduced me to music that existed outside of the top 40 and of course got me out of my shell by making me wear ridiculous clothes. I don’t miss her, I don’t think about her and I don’t love her, but I’ll be forever glad that she was my first love.

PTB