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most effective for this age group and as a result, they’ve been left very much to their own devices on some of the more outdated sites.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!

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Stung on Bumble? No spark on Tinder? It’s time to get Happii!!

So this week I bought my first ‘non-iphone’ in around ten years. It’s quite astonishing how much apprehension stems from the decision of ‘which mobile’ and I must admit the prospect of switching to an android system instilled quite an unnecessary level of fear in this disgruntled former apple customer. So which phone did I go for? No, I didn’t plump for the ever popular Samsung Galaxy series, instead I went for the One Plus 5T model. Now if you’re like me and you’re not much of a tech junkie then you probably haven’t heard of this phone, however, upon a little YouTube research I learned that this phone is in fact nicknamed ‘the flagship killer,’ in other words the phone that does everything an iPhone and Samsung does but just doesn’t have the established name yet (or the price tag thankfully). Naturally this dive into the unknown got me thinking about the future ‘flagship killers’ of the dating industry, the apps that will, in time, render Tinder and Bumble a thing of the past. So without further ado (and mobile phone stories) let me introduce you to ‘Happii.’

Now I’m often shown apps where it feels like the founder has created a dating app just for the sake of being able to say ‘I own a dating app,’ but in Happii Founder and CEO, Darren Newman, here’s a guy that has really done his research. Happii has been described as having a highly immersive, interactive and expressive user experience and is destined to be the app of choice for the post-Tinder generation.

“I’ve online dated across various platforms, as have friends and colleagues, and it’s always the same experience – identikit profile pages that all look the same, there’s zero individuality and they don’t really offer-up anything of value about those you’re matched with, so you end up wasting a lot of time, energy and money communicating and meeting the wrong people. It all becomes a bit hard work says Newman.”

Targeted at busy professionals who are perhaps looking for something that little bit more meaningful, something deeper that isn’t just about instant gratification. Happii addresses all of the concerns listed by Newman, the app will be introducing comprehensive (but not overwhelming) profile pages that really allow users to get to know one another, and I guess that’s something that could really benefit the majority of online daters. Features include a digital world map where users pin their best travel experiences, users can play their favourite music and movie trailers, showcase the books they like to read, post status updates about the things they love or hate right now or the things that make them think or laugh. Users can also upload profile videos if they wish which will give others a true sense of who the person is and that helps further validate the user’s identity.

Online dating as I’ve said many times before can be difficult at the best of times and one of the most frustrating aspects is the sheer number of time-wasters floating around. The Happii way of doing profiles alleviates this issue and may even save you from playing ‘20 questions’ with those who have nothing but a blank bio and a bottle of vodka or sedated tiger for a profile picture. So for me, that’s a massive plus and I know countless others who will feel the same.

The app also matches users based on their non-negotiable preferences of sex, age, ethnicity, location, education, career, children, smoking and drinking. Now I admit ‘non-negotiable’ can sound a little strict in a world of dating where we often need to be open-minded, however, 72% of users of online dating comparison site whichdate.co.uk recently confirmed that one of their biggest gripes when it comes to online dating is people either being dishonest about what they want or who they are, so the numbers are there, non-negotiable detail appears to be exactly what we want. Lastly, there is a 100 character minimum first message, a refreshing change from the standard “hey, how are you?” which so many of you have told me you’re fed up of. With Happii comes that nice little bit of effort and a genuine interest in getting to know your matches.

So when can we get in on the action? The app goes live later this year. It will be free to sign-up but costs £12.50 per month to access full site features. People can pre-register on their website now by entering a few details. The first 5,000 people that do will receive in what I believe is a dating industry first, FREE LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP! Can’t ask for more than that can you? For more information just click here.

With an ambitious and innovative founder like Newman leading the way, keep your eyes peeled for this one. I’m expecting big things.

I’d even bet my phone on it.

Nice To ‘Meetchu’

The dating industry is one of the toughest playing fields any entrepreneur can choose to enter, therefore it’s pivotal that any new players bring something original to the market. Over the past few years I’ve watched countless dating apps step forward with much fanfare only to fall by the wayside mere months into their existence. Tinder set the bar a few years ago now and ever since then people have been trying haplessly to create ‘the next Tinder’. In doing that however apps have been complicated beyond necessity, ultimately boring people in the process. ‘Meetchu’ could well be the game-changer.

The market doesn’t need complicated apps and drawn out gamification, we need simplicity and enhancements on past success stories and that’s the formula Meetchu have presented us with. Video content is key in many aspects of both working and social life, even a number of recruitment firms are now carrying out interviews by video chat because it gives them a much clearer indication of who the candidate is, so why not do something similar with the world of dating?

Well, that’s exactly what Meetchu have done. You could argue that who you date is far more important than who you recruit, after all, who we potentially spend our lives with is a pretty big decision and so it makes complete sense that we are given all the tools necessary to really get to know potential suitors.

Meetchu have introduced video profiles. No snapchat filters, no funny angles, no pictures from ten years ago, just an accurate, truthful representation of your match. Could this even be the end of catfishing? Only time will tell, but there are certainly some serious security benefits when it comes to Meetchu – something which has been a concern of daters for far too long now.

The key features include not only video profiles, but secure voice and video calling integrated within the app without having to give out your phone number (again thumbs up on the security front). Meetchu also allows you to send messages, photos and videos (as all good dating apps should) but not only that you can actually delete a message you’ve already sent. This of course means that if you’ve ballsed up your opening line (as I have done many times in the past) you can delete it from both of your phones.

So all of the features are fantastic, but from a personal point of view I feel this video profile feature is what could really put this app on a level with the ‘Tinders’ and ‘Bumbles’ of the world, and perhaps even take the dating industry in general to a whole new level. Pure innovation.

“Walking, talking and reassuringly real” it’s fair to say Meetchu have quite literally thought of everything. For more info head to meetchu.com.

Download the app using my code to receive a one month’s free premium membership!

https://meetchu.com/promo/KPRK

Enjoy!

Yoti: Bringing Security To The Dating World

In an increasingly digital world, the issue of security is becoming more and more prominent. When we think of digital security the world of online banking is probably what springs to mind, and take it from me as someone who has had their entire wage lifted the day after he was paid, this is a very real problem for many. However, it has become apparent that the problem is of equal importance when it comes to the dating industry.

Why? Because in the world of dating what starts as a digital issue can very quickly become a physical issue in all the wrong ways, and it’s imperative that we stop this from happening. Over time the dating industry has become dominated by dating sites and apps as the more traditional methods of matchmaking and speed dating fall by the wayside. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing, but it has unfortunately left us susceptible to catfishes and scammers from all walks of life.

The harsh reality of dating is that some people are lonely and with loneliness comes vulnerability and far too many people out there won’t think twice about taking advantage of this. One such woman, known only as ‘Nancy’, has come forward to the national press in recent times to share her story in the hope of raising awareness to the dangers we face online. Nancy, in her 50s, had recently come out of a bad marriage when she decided to dip her toe in the water and sign up for Match.com. She fell for a man living in Turkey and in her own words was completely swept off her feet. However, within just 14 months Nancy had taken out several loans and lost both her house and her business as a result of falling for a fraudster.

“I just connected with what seemed to be a very attractive-looking person who was really keen to talk to me. There’s a term for it – ‘love-bombed’ – where you’re just bombarded with affection and compliments. When you’re with someone who tells you how awful you are every day for ten years, then someone pays you some compliments…of course you’re going to be swept away.”

Nancy’s case, however, is anything but a one-off. Countless others have been scammed for thousands of pounds and many more the victim of catfishing – something that is becoming part and parcel of the online dating world. So what is the solution? How can we protect ourselves? How can we keep ourselves secure in an increasingly digital world and in all aspects of our digital presence?

Step forward Yoti. In my honest opinion, Yoti are on the verge of revolutionising online security for a number of industries but particularly dating. They’ve identified a problem and offer a failsafe solution which in truth is a complete no-brainer for anyone with these concerns.

The world has moved on digitally, but one area in which we haven’t progressed, is how we identify ourselves. Our system of carrying around passports, driver’s licences and in some cases even birth certificates is not only inconvenient, but makes the lives of online fraudsters a hell of a lot easier. Yoti has set out to help society work together and finally make proving your identity safe and secure for all, something which the dating industry is crying out for – just ask Nancy.

You can create your Yoti in under 5 minutes by adding your selfie and ID documents using your phone – Yoti will then transform your details into a digital identity with bank level security keeping it perfectly safe – it’s as simple as that. You can then use Yoti to easily swap verified details with another person – just choose the details you’d like to swap, such as your name and photo, and receive the same

information back from the other person. Swapping Yotis is free and is the simplest way to know exactly who you’re meeting online.

On a wider scale our government should have been exploring the same idea years ago, but I guess sometimes society needs an organization with the right system and the right intentions to come forward and take the lead, and Yoti should be commended for that.

Take it from me (and Nancy) online security should never be taken lightly, don’t let yourself get caught out. Yoti is available NOW from both the Apple Store and Google Play.

Promoting Safer Sex With SextraSafe

There’s something really difficult about the subject of STDs that I can’t quite put my finger on. There’s such a horrible stigma attached to the subject and yet it’s something the majority of us have been affected by at one time or another.

The stigma has always seemed ridiculously unfair to me as many STDs are caught quite innocently and can stem very much from someone else’s carelessness as opposed to our own. Picture the scene, you start dating someone, you take it slow and you wait a reasonable amount of time before getting physical only to find them sat on the edge of your bed in floods of tears whilst confessing to a chlamydia infection. It just happens, and some STDs are caught easier than you can possibly imagine.

I recently caught up with a former Coronation Street actress friend of mine (who has politely asked to remain anonymous), in her own words “I live with a b*tch named herpes.” The herpes virus is one of the easiest caught and one of the few STDs with the worst long-term implications.

She went on to explain: “I caught it from a guy who was a typical 3 month relationship, he didn’t tell me he had herpes and I guess it just wasn’t something I thought to ask about, I mean why would you? You can’t start every relationship asking about what diseases they have! Eventually you accept that you’ve caught something, but then every time you meet someone the whole cycle starts all over again. It’s such a horrible feeling to build a rapport with someone and then the moment things look like they’re getting physical you know there’s a horrible conversation to be had. What people don’t realise however is that it’s not just about sex, the harsh reality of my life now is that someone could catch it just from kissing me, am I supposed to have that conversation every time someone wants to kiss me? It puts me in such a horrible position and frankly makes me feel a bit yucky even though I’ve never done anything wrong, it’s just not nice.”

And I agree. What a horribly frustrating situation for all involved and again I can’t help but reflect on how innocently these viruses can be contracted. So is there a solution? Is there an easier, more convenient way of doing things or having those awkward conversations?

Well step forward, SextraSafe. SextraSafe refers its members to STD test centers for a standard STD panel of tests, often available for free. They verify their ID, profile photo and test results and for a small fee (a portion of which is donated to safe sex charities) they provide their members with verified and anonymous profiles which they can choose to share.

Business Development Manager Alex Williams goes on to explain: “with over 25 million daily matches on Tinder alone, online dating has never been more active. Unsurprisingly the Centers for Disease Control has been reporting cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis at its highest numbers ever. At SextraSafe we support safe sex through encouraging sexually active people to test for STDs and provide a platform to share verified test results anonymously.”

According to Planned Parenthood: “getting tested for STDs regularly is also part of safer sex, even if you always use condoms and feel totally fine. Most people with STDs don’t have symptoms or know they’re infected, and they can easily pass the infection to their partners. So testing is the only way to know for sure whether or not someone has an STD.”

This is exactly what happened to my Actress friend and when presented with the concept of SextraSafe she had this to say: “I’ll be honest, before this happened it’s not something I would’ve considered as I didn’t think it would be necessary, but personally I’ve learned a very tough lesson and it’s one I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through, so do yourself a favour and make use of something which ultimately allows all of us to stay safer and healthier – it’s a no brainer!”

How could anyone disagree? Dating is a minefield to say the least and most of it is completely out of our control, but what SextraSafe does is proves that this one little thing can be within our control and given the long-term implications of certain viruses, perhaps it’s the very thing that we need to have control over? I was delighted to stumble upon the launch of Sextrasafe as it’s something I can really throw my weight behind – never ever delay staying safe.

You can find out more information at SextraSafe.com or tweet them @SextraSafe.

Happy Dating!

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

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

 

My Reality Dates Experience With Match.com

So after all the hype I guess I should fill you in on my speed dating adventures with the folks at Match. As you may remember this was speed dating with a difference, instead of the usual face to face conversation, dates involved the construction of several items of furniture – and yes to my surprise I did return home with a pretty nifty bed side cabinet!

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the event given that I despise flat pack furniture and the mere sight of an Allen key, but ultimately, the night was a whole lot of fun. I always think the people are what makes these nights and this event was no different. The Match team were absolutely spot on and my fellow participants who ranged from Entrepreneurs, Marie Claire Writers and even a Nuclear Engineer, were so interesting that I ended up having a night out on the town with them – and yes whilst still carrying the furniture through London!

The event itself took place in Camden Town’s Gilmagesh, the restaurant’s artistic features were out of this world and the food was equally incredible, even if I did choke on a sausage (no jokes please). The most important thing, however, was of course the quality of the dates and I’ve no doubt every single person left having had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Initially I got super competitive and my only goal was to build better furniture than everyone else, but once I reminded myself that I wasn’t on an episode of Changing Rooms, I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my perfectly lovely date.

I still find it fascinating in these situations how we subconsciously judge people based on looks alone, not in a malicious way of course, but it’s incredible how much people can prove you wrong or contradict your first impression and it’s something I rather welcome. My past experiences of hosting speed dating involved a lot of complaints about the quality of men on offer, however on this occasion there were certainly no complaints from the ladies. I was so intrigued by the Nuclear Engineer and hearing about his work that I had to remind myself that I was there to meet women (and that I was straight). My point being I could’ve chatted away to him all night, it’s a rare thing for someone to feel so comfortable with strangers in these situations. I’ve literally had people turn up to events shaking like a leaf, it’s really not that uncommon, so huge credit to the organisers and my fellow participants for making everyone feel so welcome.

On that note I think Match deserve a huge amount of credit for being brave enough to try something a little outside the box. In recent months I’ve realised that people have grown steadily weary of traditional dating; too much swiping, wasted money, wasted outfits, wasted time – singletons have been crying out for something new. Match’s event was an absolute breathe of fresh air and I can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to the table in the future – so long as it doesn’t involve me choking on a sausage.

As for speed dating, it amazes me that more people haven’t tried it! Imagine going on a date and you don’t like the person after 5 minutes and yet still need to spend a good couple of hours with them, well go speed dating and when those 5 minutes are up you get to meet someone else. Surely it’s a no-brainer??? If your usual dating habits aren’t working for you then don’t be scared to follow Match’s example and shake things up a bit, you might even meet a handsome, well-paid, chatty, funny Nuclear Engineer! Still straight, I promise.

For more info about Match’s Reality Dates series get in touch here.

Going Speed Dating? Don’t Forget Your Screwdriver!

After reading my stories for the past three years you’ll all know by now how much I love the world of dating, right? Well for every memorable mishap and love story that’s happened to me many of you (understandably) still grumble that dating has become tedious, boring, predictable and ultimately a waste of time. Well as it happens those lovely folks at Match are here to rescue you.

In the past you’ll have heard me talking about ‘online dating vs offline dating’ and how I’m a big advocate of rediscovering the lost art of conversation whether online or offline. Well Match are once again making all the right waves with the introduction of their brand new speed dating night. Now I myself used to host a speed dating event which take it from me culminated in a fair few stories of it’s own, but throw in some flat pack furniture and what do you have? Well you have Match’s very own, very original brand of speed dating of course!

Tomorrow evening Match is launching a speed-dating event with a difference. Following on from their own research which found that a third of all couples feel most stressed when doing DIY, singles will be paired up and challenged to construct their very own piece of flat pack furniture – an activity thought of as the ultimate test of a relationship (Amy Poehler even joked that Ikea is Swedish for ‘argument’).

The event takes place at Gilgamesh in Camden on the 12th April from 6.30pm – 9pm and at the same time and place on the 19th – which is when I myself will be there! Singletons will receive a free drink and toolkit before meeting a fellow dater and being given a piece of furniture to assemble. Pairs will be given 30 minutes to complete the task before teaming up with a new date with a different item to construct. I know what you’re thinking – what the hell do I wear to build!?

This might sound like hell on earth to some people, but in all seriousness a Taxi Driver (pearls of wisdom that they are) once told me that the problem with dating these days is that people spend too much time sat face to face in a pub running out of things to say. What they really need to be doing, he continued, is introducing an activity into the date (behave) to break up the conversation, and I agree wholeheartedly.! So why not make that activity flat pack furniture?

Statistics say that romance is most likely to bloom when a male tries to show off his DIY skills but ultimately the female ends up being the real brains behind the project – I’m not sure what statistics but they’re out there somewhere.

Fancy signing up? Just click here. Ikea will never be the same again!

Happy Dating!

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

My First Kiss Went A Little Like This

So I was walking through town the other day and I spotted the girl I shared my first ever kiss with. It was really strange as I literally hadn’t clapped eyes on her for what must have been about 17 years. At the time I was twelve, had just started first year and she was in third year – something which scored a few cool point with my new classmates.

It was one of those early relationships where you don’t talk much, dates were to the sports centre and every kiss was planned at least three days in advance. We’d been on a so called ‘date’ to play badminton – romantic I know. About halfway through she said to me “let’s go and see what’s up there” which confused my innocent young self as all she was referring to was the back of an empty sports hall. I followed on regardless then as we reached the wall she turned around, grabbed me and just went for it. I was a bit startled to say the least, I stood completely still the entire time, in fact I still had my racket in one hand and the shuttle cock in the other. Afterwards, barely one word was spoken. When I got home I became increasingly mortified about how utterly motionless I was, why didn’t I at least put the racket down?

Reminiscing about my youth got me talking to a few other people about their own first kiss experiences. Whether it was their first kiss ever or their first kiss with a new partner, it seems I wasn’t the only one who made a bad first impression.

“Don’t judge me but I was actually only about six or seven at the time. It was summer and I was obsessed with Grease the musical. I was always running around singing and pretending to be Sandy, then one day the boy who lived next door to me said you be Sandy and I’ll pretend to be Danny. This basically culminated in the two of us climbing onto a car bonnet and kissing, no tongues though haha.” Michelle, 21, London.

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

“This boy just started licking my lips from side to side, I don’t know what else I can say?” Alice, 25, Glasgow.

“I was on a first date which had went terribly, this however didn’t put him off going in for a kiss! I was actually trying to say goodbye and as I went to turn around he flew in for a kiss at about a hundred miles an hour, I trying to dodge it and he ended up head butting my ear. A terrible end to an even more terrible date.” Wendy, 35, Glasgow.

“I went on a blind date once, we’d barely said two words to each other all night, I didn’t dislike her or anything it was just obvious weren’t right for each other in any way. If I’m honest I really wasn’t attracted to her at all and I know this sounds awful but she had really bad breathe. As we were saying goodbye she closed her eyes, pursed her lips and just leant forward waiting for me. After a few awkward seconds I felt like I had no choice but to reciprocate, the whole thing was like a comedy sketch. Worst kiss of my life to this day.” Tony, 31, Glasgow.

“My first ever kiss was after school at the back of the P.E hall. My mum was picking me up as usual but I’d kept her waiting because I was very anxiously waiting for a girl in my class to come and meet me. As we started kissing my phone started vibrating, it was a heavy duty Nokia 3210 with an even heavier duty vibration setting. It felt like it went on forever, starting and stopping as she got to voicemail then calling back over and over again. Eventually I tried to switch my phone off whilst we were still kissing but all I managed to do was answer it. All we both could hear was my Mum shouting “Sean, Sean! Where are you Sean! You think I’ve nothing better to do than sit here waiting for you!” We both awkwardly carried on as if nothing was happening. Who knew my Mum would play such an active role in my first kiss.” Sean, 26, London.

and my personal favourite…

“We were kissing in the street and someone rode a push bike right into him.” Lainey, 23, Brighton.

Be Careful Who You Sleep With

We’ve all had dalliances we’ve regretted and usually for very different reasons. Last week I had the pleasure of catching up with an old friend, Alice, who was back in town visiting from her new Barcelona home (jealous much). Naturally we got reminiscing about some of our old shenanigans from back when we were just a pair of emo kids living off KFC buckets, super noodles and Green Day.

At the time I was living in a ridiculously expensive flat that I couldn’t afford, I had no job, no money and even less furniture. I’d moved into the flat with a friend who had equally little money but a large inheritance with which he had agreed to fund us both for a couple of months until we found jobs. That agreement turned sour all too quickly when he blew all the money on turning his bedroom into an Ikea showroom to impress his new girlfriend (the things we do for love). Gradually the situation worsened and I came home one day to find he had moved out, I was heartbroken, no I wasn’t really it was quite the relief actually. I decided in the following days that before I moved out I would throw one last party.

I didn’t throw parties that often but when I did, I made sure it lived long in the memory. I turned the living room into a dance floor and later a wrestling ring, my friends and I took turns at both crowd-surfing and then later throwing each other across the room (oh to be 18 again). The next morning I woke up in my bedroom to find my plain white wall had been turned into a surprsingly detailed comic strip with nothing but a permanent marker. Alice waltzed in surprisingly fresh-faced telling me of two confessions she had to make. Firstly, my wall. Secondly, “Paul, I slept with your friend Ben”. If there was one person I would have reccomended she don’t sleep with, it was Ben. She hadn’t known, but Ben was engaged. They were both mortified, as it turns out bumping into one another in the bathroom had quickly turned into bumping uglies.

Over the coming weeks Ben and his fiance broke off their engagement after he reluctantly confessed. Then one night myself and Alice found ourselves at another party where I spotted a familiar face, it was a young guy who had been looking over at me quite sheepishly. I went over to him, patted him on the back and said “I’m sorry about Ben” before unintentionally leaving him alone with Alice. The young guy asked Alice, “so how do you know Ben?” Alice very casually replied “oh, I slept with him at Paul’s party, how do you know him?” After a long pause he replied, “he was engaged to my sister but he slept with someone else.”

To my surprise they both laughed it off (eventually), it helped that Alice wasn’t malicious in any way and hadn’t known of Ben’s impending wedding. That wasn’t the only story we reminisced about last week, but it was certainly the most memorable. Lessons learnt all around I guess.

PTB

 

The Single Resolution

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year,

PTB

 

PTB Meets Chloe Madeley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PTB

(Photo: Nigel Crane/Hungrydog Media)

 

Five Dating Mistakes (I Made)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Dating!

PTB

The App That Could Save Your Relationships

Ever had that one relationship where you love someone deeply, but just don’t see eye to eye no matter how much you try? Well Dutch tech entrepreneur Johan Hagenbeuk has set out to change all that.

The free PersonalityMatch app does what just about every over-priced therapist in the country does, so perhaps it’s time we started saving our money? Users of the app can take the personality test given and then invite loved ones to do the same, at which point the app will assess your compatibility with one another. Perhaps it will lead to the revelation of a few home truths, but on the flipside maybe the outstanding kinks in your relationships will at long last be ironed out?

Reminiscent of the world famous ‘Myers-Briggs’ test, the app asks around 20-30 questions relating to your approach to: people, to working life and to how you might handle certain situations. The result? A detailed personality profile which you can then use for everything from a chuckle with friends to progressing your professional development.

As much as this is a social app, what struck me most was how useful this tool could be in business. My own team recently completed the Myers-Briggs test and to our surprise found out we were a room full of extroverts with high emotional intelligence. But what we are often guilty of in business, is approaching every client in the same way, when in fact their personality type is most likely very different to your own. So imagine the results you could achieve if you had a way of understanding your client’s personality type and what makes them tick. You wouldn’t even need to ask them to fill out the questionnaire, simply using the app with loved ones will progress your understanding of the many personality types out there.

“What is the one thing most people do every day?” Hagenbeuk asked me. “We spend our lives trying to understand the people around us and figure out ways of ensuring we all get along. I decided to create the PersonalityMatch app to facilitate this complicated process and offer everyone a fun and easy solution. If you want to develop a clear understanding of where your partner, friends, colleagues, fellow students or others close to you are coming from, then give PersonalityMatch a try. What do you have to lose?”

And Hagenbebeuk has a point. How many times have we heard of people putting up with insufferable partners or tolerating colleagues who just won’t listen to reason? PersonalityMatch could help determine if that relationship should grind to a halt, or, it could teach you exactly how to fix it!

Strictly from a dating perspective, it could signal the end of apologetic cards and flowers. With an app like this us men might just get it right first time!

Of course I too have signed up! If you’d like to connect just click here.

PersonalityMatch, the innovative new way to assess compatibility with those around you, is available now in the App Store at:https://itunes.apple.com/app/personalitymatch/id1098507017

A dedicated Android version is also available via Google Play at:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.personalityperfect.app

Further information can be found at: http://www.personalityperfect.com/app

PTB Meets Frank Turner

Singer-Songwriter Frank Turner will soon release new LP ‘Positive Songs For Negative People’, but before that I grabbed a quick chat with the famed folk singer to discuss finding success and his ultimate deal-breaker.

Frank you’ve enjoyed success in the music business for a number of years now, at what point did you really feel like you’d made it? That’s a tough question; in some way I’m still not confident that I have – this is a very fickle business to be involved in. In other ways, I think I made it when I stopped having to have another job which was a long while back now.

How did your every day life change after finding success?  Touring has been my life for more than half of it now and I was on the road before and after being successful. I guess the buses just get more comfortable (laughs).

Musicians are often perceived as living particularly hectic lifestyles, do you ever find personal relationships and projects taking a back seat for the sake of your music? Yes. I don’t have much luck in the relationship field but it’s part and parcel of the live I’ve chosen to lead so you get used to it. No one makes me do what I do.

Are you ever conscious of ‘hangers on’ who be interested in you for your fame as opposed to who you are as a person? Yeah you have to keep an eye out for them but it’s not overly challenging filtering out the d*ckheads.

Any dating horror stories? Yes, but none that I can share (laughs).

Looks vs Personality? Personality, every time.

Teen Pin-Up? Uh, probably the bass player from White Zombie haha, or Kim Deal from The Pixies.

What are the most important qualities you look for in a partner? Honesty and Loyalty.

Any Deal-Breakers? Astrology!

Does our perception of love change as we get older? Yes, as with everything else in life.

What’s next for Frank Turner? A new record and much, much touring.

Would you do it all over again? Of course, I’d definitely do it all again.

Main Image: Sarah Louise Bennett/Upset Magazine

Online Dating Success Stories…With A Twist

As I was doing my usual rounds of networking within the dating industry, one name kept cropping up that I previously hadn’t been too familiar with – Badoo. Whether it be dating, friendship or business related I’ve always preferred meeting people in person, but who knows, maybe that’s about to change?
I may be showing my age here, but what I always found off-putting was the lack of reliability in online dating. Between catfishing, fake profiles, two-timers and on a more extreme level, sexual predators. badoo 3What I loved about Badoo was discovering their commitment to safer dating on a level that I hadn’t quite seen before. Online dating no longer has the stigma it once had, and as its popularity continues to grow, safety for its users becomes all the more important. This is where Badoo goes the extra mile. As recently reported in TechCrunch.com, the company with over 300 million global users has introduced photo and profile verification as part of its dedication to keeping women safe online. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, particularly as younger age groups have started to adopt the online trend. Corporate responsibility like this is what will open my eyes to the online dating world once more, and perhaps the so called giants of the online dating world should promptly follow suit? Just swipe right if you agree.

With my new found curiosity for the online world firmly in place, I decided to ask some of my readers about their own online success stories, and to my surprise stumbled upon some very interesting results:
“I was using a particular dating app and I spotted this girl I really liked the look of, but when I went into her profile it turned out it wasn’t her profile at all, she was just a friend who had been in13625288_1048004385248552_933055941_n the other girl’s profile picture. So I wondered if I should take a chance anyway and just send her a message, which I eventually did. I tried to be really polite, particularly knowing what I was about to ask her but the girl wasn’t overly impressed by my message and pretty much told me where to go. That was the end of that I thought. But then the following day I was astounded to find a message from her that included just a name and a phone number. She’d shown her friend my picture who thankfully had approved and passed on her details. We dated for a couple of months, in the end it was nothing serious but it just goes to show what can happen when you take a chance in life.” Aidan, 23, Dublin.

“I was pretty new to online dating, it was really just a case of ‘well everyone else is doing it’ and so I thought ok let’s give this a bash. I actually really enjoyed it at first, but my big mistake was agreeing to go on a date with the first guy who asked. My approach was all over the place, it just seemed like a bit of a free for all. He was reasonably good looking, seemed a tad shy but I was open-minded and was interested to know more. As it happens he was extremely shy and had turned up pretty 13625065_1047999811915676_1027037733_nmuch inebriated as a result of trying to calm his nerves. One drink, I couldn’t understand why he was so nervous? His behaviour culminated in him swearing at me and dropping my phone, smashing the screen in the process. Thankfully the barman asked him to leave and escorted him out of the door. I hung back so as not to bump into him outside. Anyway, that very barman is now ‘my Kev’ and has been ‘my Kev’ for three and a half years now. In the most roundabout of ways, online dating very much led me to the man of my dreams.” Kerry, 33, Bristol.

“I’ll be honest, I was absolutely terrified of using dating apps. I’ve no idea why actually, I just always had a bit of a barrier with the whole thing. A close friend of mine finally managed to convince me to do it together on the proviso that any dates would be double dates. Fair enough I thought, so we both got talking to different guys. Funnily enough, it was the guys who were more hesitant about the 13624815_1048001011915556_1737809261_nwhole double date idea than we were, but after what happened next I probably can’t blame them. Basically I really liked my friend’s date. She liked him too, but her date liked me instead of her. Whilst my date didn’t seem to like anyone! After the double date, he asked me out and we met up behind my friend’s back, which in no way am I proud of but there was just something between us that I couldn’t put my finger on. I lost a friend, but gained a fiancé.” Ellen, 25, Slough.

So online dating, not always what you expect it to be but it seems at the very least you’ll gain a bit of life experience from it. If you are dating online or are considering signing up, then listen to people’s stories. As boring as it may sound, your safety is the most important thing and that goes for the guys as well! My advice? Be cautious but never negative and most importantly have fun! Who knows, you might just create a few stories of your own?

Fancy checking out Badoo? Just click here

PTB Meets Big Brother Legend Nikki Grahame

Would you believe me if I said it’s been ten years since “who is she? who is she?” bellowed from our TV screens? Well it’s true, a whole decade has passed since Nikki Grahame left her mark on Big Brother 7 and such is her longevity, she is still hard at work whilst other contestants fade increasingly into obscurity. Although still busy with media duties and her never ending Big Brother legacy, Nikki has learnt to appreciate the quieter side of life and even spent time in living in France where she used Tinder of all things to improve her language skills. This week I caught up with the 34 year old to discuss love, dating and of course what’s going on in Big Brother.

Hi Nikki, you’ve been in the public eye for a full ten years now, how has fame affected your approach to dating and relationships? Before I did Big Brother I used to go for really elite guys. I dated a couple of footballers and some really good looking guys, but since Big Brother its been harder to meet people. A lot of guys think that because you’ve been on TV you’re completely unapproachable which isn’t the case at all. I think some people are a little put off because of how I was in Big Brother, but you need to remember what an exceptional circumstance that was. Living in a house with so many strangers is never going to be easy, I’m definitely not like that all the time of course I’m not. These days as busy I am, I do like the quieter side of life and I’m more focused on enjoying my downtime.

Would you be put off dating a fellow celebrity now or would you prefer someone who is away from the limelight? I’m always open-minded I mean never say never, but I’m an extremely good judge of character so whether they’re a celebrity or not I would never waste my time on someone who wasn’t worth it.

Are you conscious of people wanting to date you for your public profile as opposed to who you are as a person? Well I’m actually really attracted to gay men and believe it or not I’ve met a couple of guys who have pretended to be straight to spend time with me. Don’t get me wrong it’s a nice compliment, but unfortunately I have absolutely nothing to offer a gay man in the bedroom.

What are the key qualities you look for in a partner? Sense of humour! I’ll tell you what if you can make me laugh you’re on to a winner. There has to be a physical attraction though of course, I really like guys in glasses. Generally my taste is quite varied though, I love that classic look that Leonardo DiCaprio has in films but I also like Johnny Depp’s kind of alternative style.

Any deal-breakers? Bad breathe.

Worst date? Bad breathe guy (laughs). No, I went on a Tinder date once and I was actually on a girls night out when this guy messaged out the blue to meet him so I went and he was just so dull, I actually fell asleep and he just sat there. It was actually a friend who came and woke me.

What are your thoughts on the increasing popularity of online dating? I don’t think there’s that stigma with online dating anymore. This is the generation we’re in and i think it’s quite normal now, I’ve been on Tinder and I’ve just signed up for another one with my friend and we’re going on a double date from it so yeah I’m all for it. I do prefer using online dating abroad however, just because of the Big Brother thing it’s easier to use it where I’m less known.

Teen Crush? Oh Duncan from Blue. He’s actually a really good friend of mine now and I’m a huge supporter of everything he does, he’s wonderful and extremely good looking.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self entering the world of showbiz? Just to keep your eyes open and be very aware of who’s around you and the company you keep. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve had the same group of friends for about 16 years now who’ve always been good to me and kept me grounded, but I’ve also had a lot of people tag along for the fancy parties and then when the sh*t hits the fan they’re nowhere to be seen.

Do you think our perception of love change as we get older? Yes definitely, it becomes much more meaningful as we get older. People know exactly what they want from a relationship, whereas when you’re younger you’re really still learning and getting to know yourself.

Big Brother has gotten off to a fiery start this year, what do you make of the new batch of housemates?
It’s insane isn’t it, I really don’t like Marco he’s just awful! I think him and Laura are taking the raunchiness too far, it’s actually really distasteful. It’s too violent as well and there’s far too much confrontation. I think some of these people are on the wrong show, they need to get themselves on Love Island.

To catch up on all of Nikki’s adventures around the world, check out her official YouTube channel by clicking here

At What Point Do We Take Things To The Next Level?

I had a really interesting question put to me this week and it wasn’t the first time I’d been asked this: “under normal circumstances, at what point is it OK to take things to the bedroom?” Now sex has always been a fascinating topic, in modern society sex often comes with a degree of judgement. It’s such a normal part of life, everyone does it and everyone enjoys it, and yet still eyebrows are raised at anyone considered even remotely promiscuous. As every female I’ve ever known will agree, it seems even more judgement is saved for women. A girl who sleeps with multiple people is called every name under the sun and a guy who does the same, is simply a lad. Is it fair? Well obviously not.

It’s almost disappointing to hear women ask me this question because deep down I believe the main reason for asking is due to that fear of judgement. This expands into two key points: are they going to scare a guy off by rushing into things and giving off the wrong impression? Or are they going to scare a guy off by doing the complete opposite – waiting too long?

It’s always difficult to generalise men (or any other group in society for that matter) because naturally everyone is different. There is a general assumption about men that we quite literally want sex as soon as physically possible. Sure it is true of some guys and yes it’s most likely crossed our mind within two minutes of laying eyes you (don’t hate the player, hate science), but fewer than you think would actually act on such an urge.

The important thing to remember, however, is that the decisions we make when it comes to relationships shouldn’t be dictated by numbers. 1 date, 3 dates, 5 dates, how much does it really matter? Should we really deny the inevitable just to save face and feel a little bit more lady-like or gentlemanly? I’m not saying throw yourself at the next guy or girl who comes along, I’m just saying don’t stress about it. At the end of the day it’s the individual circumstances that matter and how your individual relationship transpires, not the number of dates you can count on your left hand.

For me personally I would rule out anything beyond a kiss happening on a first date, not because I would be judgemental in any way, but because it’s nice to leave something to the imagination and ultimately have something to look forward to. The start of a new relationship is always the best bit in my opinion, and I’d want that to last for as long as possible. So it’s never ever about judgement for me, I just prefer a build-up.

After the first date try and let things take its natural course, over-analysing things will only send you round in circles. Any reasonable, down to earth guy or girl should have the common sense to judge a situation on its own merits and not jump to the conclusion that their partner automatically must have a few hundred notches on their bed post. So never worry too much about what your new partner is thinking. When it comes to how you’re perceived, the right people will always make the right call.

PTB