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!

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

PTB Meets Emmy Nominated TV Chef Ching-He Huang

As we all know dating and relationships affects every single one of us irrespective of who we are or where we come from, as a result I like to try and interview quite a diverse range of people to share their experiences and advice. When the opportunity arose to interview culinary wizard Ching-He Huang I jumped at it. Emmy nominated and the pioneer of BBC 2’s ‘Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure’ alongside Ken Hom, Ching is globally recognised as one of the finest Asian Chefs of her generation. Married to actor Jamie Cho, I recently caught up with Ching to talk life, love and dating.

Hi Ching, you’ve enjoyed great success in your career so far, is it ever difficult to prevent fame interfering with your personal relationships? The media are more interested in my food than my husband so I’m lucky I get to keep that part of my life private. The only time I think fame can interfere with personal relationships is if there is an affair or a scandal and you’re in the public eye, but we (my husband and I) are quite boring so we’re ok!

Do you think people often put too much pressure on themselves to meet the one? I think there is a pressure in society for people to have the perfect ‘everything’ so not just work, life, but of course relationships too. This is too much pressure – better to just relax and ‘the one’ will find you.

You married husband Jamie in 2014, what were the key qualities that made you think this is the guy I FullSizeRender (18)want to spend my life with? We married after 12 years together and he has always been there. I knew he was ‘the one’ not long after we met, we just never got round to making it ‘official’ until recently.

Any funny dating experiences from the past? An ex once gave me his house keys for a date, I put the keys in and his mum opened the door! What an introduction!

Your idea of the perfect date? A good meal in a cosy restaurant, with good food, wine, and ambience – preferably in a quiet romantic corner. Now, finding the ‘the perfect table’ is tricky – so a sign of a good date is how much homework they do! After all, preparation equals success!

What advice would you give to young women struggling with confidence issues? I think most women are hard on themselves. I take my advice from my mum who is no-nonsense. Life is too short, there is no point worrying about what others think of you, only what you think of yourself – so embrace and celebrate who you are. Only if you are happy in yourself will you find true happiness and be able to give and share it. Without that, no relationship can fulfil you.

Beauty magazines are a major contributor to such issues, is there anything we can do to limit this? Beauty magazines are there to try inspire us, but remember beauty is only in the eye of the beholder. There is beauty all around us and mostly in our hearts. Don’t look outward, look inwards and find peace. Every flower wilts and that’s what happens to all of us. Life is fleeting and beauty is fleeting. It is better to focus on your skill, personality and charm, than on ‘looks’ because that won’t last. Limit what you expose yourself mentally to and detox what is not healthy for your mind, personal growth and inner development.

51a8e42a320cb71160Teen crush? Too many! Growing up it was Keanu Reeves, Brandon Lee, Robert Redford – anyone with a good mop of hair. Did I mention Johnny Depp too?

What’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you? My husband carrying me everyday, in and out of the bed for 3 weeks when I had an operation and couldn’t walk. He was the perfect house husband.

Relationships can be difficult at the best of times, what do you think is the key to maintaining a happy home? Treating your partner like your best friend and communicating honestly without any blaming or guilt tripping. You can’t put a fire out with more fire.

Do you think old school romance has gotten lost in a world dominated by technology? Yes! Where have all the love letters gone? And that first nervous phone call…asking someone out…now it’s a swipe! Too fast and not enough build up – fire’s out before it’s started!

Do you believe our perception of love changes as we get older? Yes, I do. I think our needs change and instead of the attention that is exciting and self-fulfilling at first it evolves from self validation to true love for your partner. As you become a unit and more compromising, love becomes unconditional and selfless as times goes on the more that we give. We all want someone to love and to hold forever, and that means wanting the best for your partner and ultimately you reap the rewards you sow.

Ching’s Amazing Asia premieres on the Food Network tonight at 9pm, Freeview 41 | Freesat 149 | Sky 248 | Virgin 291. In her new 10-part series, produced by Sentient Films, Ching travels the continent and showcases the amazing diversity, innovation and originality of Asian food, placing delicious flavours at centre stage set against the rich and exciting backdrop of Asia.

PTB Meets Former Corrie Star Charlie Condou

Veteran of a variety of challenging roles, Charlie Condou is perhaps best known for his portrayal of midwife Marcus Dent in Coronation Street. An ambassador for the gay community, Charlie is a proud supporter of Manchester Pride and a patron for charities Diversity Role Models and The Albert Kennedy Trust. Recently I caught up with Charlie to talk acting, marriage and his idea of romance.

Hi Charlie, you’ve starred in a number of vastly different roles over the years, at what point did it really click that you had made it as an actor?

I’m not entirely sure I have made it! I suppose Corrie gave me the fame side of the business but I’d worked fairly consistently for a good ten years before that. I guess when I realised that I could support myself and my family through acting without having to get part time work in between jobs, that was when I knew I was successful. I’m always convinced each part I get is my last though!!

As a profession, a jobbing actor can often be portrayed as a struggle, was there ever a time when you were tempted by the 9 to 5?

Oh God yes! Many, many times. Being an actor is HARD. Not the acting part – that’s the bit we can do. It’s the long periods of being out of work that’s the real struggle. I’m sure I would’ve jacked it all in on a number of occasions if there’d been ANYTHING else I thought I was any good at

You’ve featured heavily in a number of pride lists in recent years, what advice would you give to men young and old struggling to come to terms with their sexuality?

It’s very difficult to advise anyone in this situation because you’re asking them to confront their fears and that’s something people have to come to themselves. But in my experience (and the experiences of many friends), it’s not nearly as frightening as you think it’s going to be. Be true to yourself, lead an honest life as best you can and accept yourself as you truly are. The rest is easy.

Appearing on British soaps such as Coronation Street can often propel an actor into the limelight, how did your role as Marcus affect your every day life?

It’s very strange going from basic anonymity to suddenly being recognised by a huge part of the population virtually overnight, but that’s what happens when you’re on a show like Corrie. It’s been a good few years for me now so Im used to it, but like most of the cast, I found it quite overwhelming at first.

Congratulations on your recent marriage to the handsome Cameron, how did you know he was the one?

I’m not sure he is the one, I just wanted to get my first marriage out of the way early! Seriously though, I knew very early on that I was in love with him, but more importantly, that he was someone I wanted to spend my life with. We’ve been together 10 years now and while it hasn’t always been a bed of roses, I love him more now than I ever have. It doesn’t hurt that he’s fairly easy on the eye either.

Any dating horror stories?

Yup, loads, and none that I’m sharing! They all know who they are.

What’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?

It’s the small things that Cam does that I love. We’re not ones for big romantic gestures; we don’t buy flowers or even celebrate Valentines day. But he brings me a cup of tea and something to eat when I’m working hard or he cooks a meal that he knows I love. I suppose he thinks about me first and often knows what I need before I do. That’s the stuff I find romantic.

Online dating: Curse or Convenience?

I’ve been in a relationship for a long time so Grindr and the likes have passed me by. But I remember Gaydar and I think like all things, it’s fine if you know what it’s all about. Sometimes you just want sex, and that’s ok. But those sites can become compulsive and that can be a real problem for gay men.

Teen crush?

Rob Lowe, who I’ve actually just worked with. He’s a lovely man and still as sexy as he was when I was 15.

Does our perception of love change as we get older?

No idea, I’m still working it out. But I think what we want changes, so we look for different things.

What’s next for Charlie Condou?

I have two shows coming out, one for Channel 4 and one for Sky. Im developing a comedy series, working on a book, getting a treatment together for a documentary and trying to focus on my company Out With the Family. This, while trying to spend more time with Cam and the kids. So it’s fairly quiet at the mo!

Check out Charlie’s website www.outwiththefamily.co.uk, an organisation aimed at bringing together LGBT families to aid networking of gay parents and children of same-sex parents.

*main image courtesy of Magweb

At What Point Do We Say Enough Is Enough?

How many people are in relationships they shouldn’t be in? How often do we stay together because quite frankly, it’s easier than breaking up? Fear of being alone, fear of regret, fear of being honest…these are all reasons (or perhaps excuses) why we stay together, even when our gut tells us to run. We have to ask ourselves though, how much can we really take? How much happiness are we sacrificing with someone else? How many times can we use the same old excuses and ultimately, when will enough be enough?

It’s often difficult to make sense of our relationship problems, sometimes it’s near impossible. The struggles of every day life can often give these issues a back seat. Problems at work, paying the bills, making sure the kids are ok – there’s always something taking priority. But if we don’t address these issues one way or another then we allow them to fester, the resentment creeps in and before we know it we’ll be 60 years old wondering what might have been.

Often in an unhappy relationship we talk ourselves out of ending it. We obsess over hypothetical situations, how would I feel if I saw them with someone else? How would I cope without their financial contribution? You have to realize it simply doesn’t matter! All that matters is how that person makes you feel every day in the here and now, are you truly happy, are you content that this is what it’s going to be like for the rest of your life or deep down do you desperately crave an escape?

Still can’t decide? Ask yourself these questions…

Do you make excuses for them? Ok so you’ve been with someone for a while and you’ve had doubts for a while too. They mess up constantly and by messing up I don’t mean mixing the whites in the washing, I mean those times when they have quite literally punched a hole in your heart. But still, we forgive. We say to ourselves the next time this happens that’s it over… ok the next, next time it’s definitely over…and still it carries on, over and over again. Where does it end?

Does the thought of ending it fill you with relief? It doesn’t always have to be a bad or abusive relationship, sometimes it’s really simple. They’re great, they treat you with respect, they’d do anything for you…your Mum likes them. You’re just not in love.

Is the sex too good? That’s right I said it. Your partner is hot, really hot. You have an incredible, passionate sex life and in those moments you find them utterly irresistible, you can’t imagine your life without them. But the second it’s over, your doubts magically reappear. Don’t let physical attraction mask the obvious.

Are they compromising your life goals? You’ve always wanted to travel, you’ve always wanted to work abroad, you want a high-flying career that makes a white dress and a veil fade into irrelevance. Whatever it is that you want, don’t bin your bucket list because you were with the wrong person.

Are you scared of breaking their heart? You know how much they love you, you know it will destroy them, you’re a nice person and you don’t want to do that – does that mean it’s ok to break your own? Be fair, on both of you.

Feeling the pressure? Time is cracking on, you’re not as young as you used to be, you’re partner is nice, good, reliable, loyal, they’ll be great with kids…but they’re also boring, snore loudly and dress badly, there’s no spark and you feel more unchallenged than you ever thought possible. This is your life, not your parents, not the gossipers at work, you’re allowed to be picky, you’re allowed to look for that spark, never ever settle – ever!

Is the problem taking over your life? You know that way when you have a dentist appointment you’re dreading and every time you laugh or smile in the run up to it you suddenly remember sh*t I’ve got the dentist next week and the smile is instantly wiped from your face? Well that can be true of a bad relationship also, you might be laughing away with friends and suddenly you remember, oh dear I need to go home to him/her tonight. Imagine feeling like you have a dentist appointment booked every week for the rest of your life!

Are you scared of being alone? I’d rather be alone than be with the wrong person. Who is going to want me you ask yourself. Maybe, ‘the one’ was also with the wrong person but they’ve taken the leap, now you have to as well. One door closes another one opens, the one is waiting just around the corner…take your pick of tired cliches. All that matters is, it’s true. Besides, what’s so bad about being on your own? Travel, sit about in your pants, take those dance lessons…smile again.

I know what you’re thinking, easier said than done and I don’t disagree, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Don’t forget to live the life you wanted. There’s always a way to make a change, irrespective of age. Just adapt, be brave and make it happen.

PTB

5 Things Guys Don't Want To Hear

As I’ve spoken at length about before, guys aren’t particularly great at sharing their feelings. In fact a lot of men are more accustomed to biting their lip than actually expressing their honest opinion to their partners. Now that might sound a bit harsh, but ultimately it saves us rather a lot of trouble, an easy way out if you like. So ladies, if you ever feel like your man is being uncharacteristically quiet when you bring up certain subjects there’s probably a very good reason why. Here’s my list of comments that guys never ever want to hear…like ever!

c50fc643a30a2fbc9f277dafb4db58f81. “I’ll always love him” – Everyone has a past, we all hate that fact but in the end we learn to accept that it’s a part of life and sure you might not be your partner’s first, second or even third love, but that doesn’t mean we want to hear all about it. A friend of mine was recently telling me about how things didn’t work out with her ex, but that he’ll always be the one and she’ll always love him no matter what. I said please tell me you’ve not said this to your boyfriend?! “Oh he just knows” was her response. No, no, no, no!! Whether it’s true or not don’t ever let your partner feel like they’re always going to be second best, no matter what they do. There should only ever be two people in your relationship.

2. “I like it when a guy does this…” – So this continues from point one but leans more to the physical side of the relationship. How many guys have been with a girl in the bedroom and she’s let slip a comment that leaves your stomach numb and your mind full of images? We know you’ve got a past, we’re already trying our best not to think about it, but please don’t give your guy sex advice based on your past experiences. After all, actions speak louder than words. Show him, don’t tell him!

3. “I’ve had bigger” – No explanation required.

4. “I’m outside” – So you’ve got a night out planned with your friends or colleagues and sure we’d spoken previously about you meeting them and maybe even going on a double date sometime, but please oh please don’t surprise us! It’s not that that we’re ashamed of you or that we’re up to something we shouldn’t be, it’s just that this is your man’s time to lead-large_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAhave some ‘me’ time. If he wanted you there, you’d have been invited. Tough love I know, but sometimes it needs to be said.

5. “We need to talk” – History dictates that this is code for ‘we need to break-up’but if you’re saying it just for effect, attention or to prove a point then please just leave it out. Guys can be sensitive souls as well (whether we admit to it or not) and well it upsets us more than you think. (I’m laughing at the sad face I unintentionally pulled as I wrote that).

Guys don’t think you’re getting off lightly though, these comments of course work both ways. But yeah be wary of what you say, within every burly builder is a sensitive Sally pretending that you are in fact untouched in every way…deluded aren’t we.

Confessions of a Cam Girl

Over the past few months I’ve done a lot of research into the pros and cons of online dating, with some surprising outcomes that I’d never previously considered. During this process I discovered that the biggest complaint of women was the quality of men on offer, but interestingly enough the biggest complaint of men was the plethora of ‘fake’ women on offer, i.e Cam Girls. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a Cam Girl is someone who strips off on camera and gets a tad playful for the benefit of willing participants and their credit cards. It’s a concept I’ve always been aware of, but naturally taken no notice of. However, the more the term cropped up in my research, the more I was intrigued to dig a little deeper. No I didn’t pay for one, but I did interview one. To protect her identity I’ll call her Sandy, it’s the least sexy name I can think of haha.

PTB: What made you want to become a Cam Girl in the first place?

Sandy: I quit my job as a Corporate Manager after ten years due to my frustration with unequal pay with my male counterparts who had much less experience. I wanted to do something that allowed me to be my own boss and provided me with unlimited earning potential.

PTB: How exactly does the process work?

Sandy: Basically the more the guy pays the more they’ll get within the means of a web cam. It isn’t always about taking your clothes off though, some guys just want to chat or will have more specific requests, I don’t do anything too weird though.

PTB: What does a typical day involve?

Sandy: Hair and make-up, picking out clothes and then sitting around trying to make small talk with people I don’t know. It can be surprisingly boring at times.

PTB: What’s the most money you’ve made in one day?

Sandy: $200 is the most I’ve made in a day, on average I’ll make $50 a day which doesn’t sound like much but remember that’s for only a few hours work and gives me a minimum of around $1500 a month.

PTB: And that’s better than your previous career?

Sandy: In terms of money it’s slightly less, but I have a much easier, more satisfying life and generally I suppose I’m happier.

PTB: What’s the strangest request you’ve had from a customer?

Sandy: To crush mice with my heels, which I of course refused.

PTB: Any stalkers?

Sandy: There is one guy who I’ve never spoken with and he never pays for a show, but he’s always online. It almost feels like he’s watching me without properly watching me if you know what I mean, it’s really creepy

PTB: Is it hard to do a job like that and be in a relationship at the same time?

Sandy: Surprisingly no, my husband actually gets really turned on by it.

PTB: Do you see this as a temporary thing or are you in it for the long run?

Sandy: It’s definitely only temporary, there’s an age-limit to this thing, no one wants to watch an old chick writhing around.

PTB: Are you quite open about your job to family and friends or do you worry about people finding out?

Sandy: I’m not open about it with anyone except my husband. It’s not something I shout from the rooftops, but other than family I don’t really care who knows. At the end of the day I’m not actually having sex with anyone so I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to be ashamed of.

PTB: What is your response to people who call the whole thing a scam?

Sandy: Some guys might think it’s a scam because whilst trying to generate business we may copy and paste the same message to any number of different guys, however when you click on that link you’re always going to get what you pay for. It would be an extremely rare case where someone runs off with your money and credit card details, at the end of the day every girl wants repeat business, we all need to earn a living. I think some guys may label it a scam because they don’t like the idea of the girl not being interested only in them, but you have to remember it’s just business. It surprises me when people take things personally, when you pay for a cam girl you do it for a quick fix, not for love.

So there you have it, a little bit of insight into a world that’s entirely alien to most of us. Obviously it’s an industry that I can’t throw my weight behind, but I do respect everyone’s story regardless of their occupation. I don’t know enough about the industry to know if there is any scandal or fraudulent activity, but from what Sandy has told me it seems to be a little more straightforward than we may think. If you’ve had any experiences of cam girls or heard any stories please feel free to share. Is it really straightforward after all or is this an industry with a few dirty secrets to tell?

10 Things I Love About You

There’s a lot of difficult stuff going in the world right now and nothing I could ever say in a blog is going to change that, however today I thought it might be nice to focus on something positive. It seems on an almost daily basis we are confronted by the frustration and anger of relationship problems and if not our own, someone else is always ready to weigh in with theirs. This is an understandable part of life of course, but this week I spoke to ten different people and asked them to explain the one thing they love the most about their partners. The results, were just what I needed to hear.

“Do you remember the time we were all dressed up, I had a fancy dress on and you were in your bow tie. I was so nervous before the big event that I got blind drunk before we’d even arrived. You had to pull the taxi over so I could be sick and you looked after me even though for some unknown reason, I was screaming abuse at you in the middle of the street as dozens of people passed by. I ruined your big night, but you still made sure I got home ok, I was even still giving you abuse later that night when you called to check on me. I really didn’t deserve you that night.”

“I’d lost my job because of an absolute moment of madness, it was completely my own doing and it affected our entire relationship. Out of nowhere we struggled to pay the bills, our holiday was cancelled and we only just managed to scrape by. It took me three months to find a new job and you carried us through that entire time. Your patience and understanding was like nothing I’ve ever seen, in fact I don’t think you ever complained once, for that I love you.”

“There’s no great twist to our story I just love you and I have from the very first day we met. It seems too good to be true at times but I hope we never change.”

“From the first day we met you knew how important my family was to me and when I took you to meet them for the first time you were more nervous than I’d ever seen you. That night however, you worked your way around every single one of them, chatting, laughing, getting to know them. You even had a dance with Gran. I’d never loved you more.”

“He already knows how much this means to me, but from our very first conversation he knew I had a daughter and unlike a lot of guys he showed nothing but interest in her and couldn’t wait to meet her. I was probably more nervous about this than he was, but from the very moment they met they were like best friends. He never tried to be her Dad, he was just there for her as a friend. It’s a shame we didn’t work out, but I still love him for that.”

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“Sometimes it’s the simple things in life and to be honest I didn’t have much of a sense of humour before I met you. Without fail, you always make me laugh and you might not think much of it, but to me it means the world.”

“You are the quirkiest girl I’ve ever known and the first girl I’ve met with one of those colourful hair braids you get on holiday since about 1999. I was pretty content with life before you came along, but looking back my life was probably a tad boring. I fell in love with you the night I came home from work and you had lit lots of candles and prepared marshmallows for us. I thought you were totally bonkers, but I loved it and still think about that night constantly.”

“I’d been in an abusive relationship for more than four years. You were my best friend, I couldn’t have asked for any more from you during that awful time. On so many occasions I took his side instead of yours, I’d scared myself into loving him. I wish I’d realised you were the one all along so much sooner, I was an idiot. That was a long time ago and you’re there for me now even more than you were back then, that’s why I love you. You never ever left my side”

“I consider myself to be a complete oddball to the point where I never thought I’d meet someone. You are a very different kind of oddball, but the way you accept, encourage and support me is so very normal and as odd as we both may be there is something incredibly simple about our relationship. I can’t imagine finding that with anyone else.”

“We’ve been together since school, that was around 30 years ago now. I’ve always hated the term but high school sweethearts, that was us. I wasn’t the easiest person to be around, but you always stuck by me no matter what and today we have three amazing kids and have built a life together. It would’ve been so easy in the early days just to think we’re too young for all this and call it a day. When I think about what we would’ve missed out on if we’d done that, well it scares the life out of me. I love you because you were the energy that kept us going, you made all of this happen.”

To be perfectly honest this is one of my favourite posts I’ve ever written, purely because the research was so rewarding. In a time where we are so engrossed in the negatives of the world it’s such a refreshing change to go back to basics and see first-hand the extraordinary depths of love people have for one another.

Stay safe everyone.

PTB

 

 

 

The Insecurity of Man

As strange as it sounds, insecurities affect even the most confident of people. In fact sometimes over-confidence is the clearest cut sign of anything but confidence. Over the past few years there’s been a lot of bad press about glossy magazines having a particularly negative impact on the confidence of young women and rightly so. A negative impact on ordinary people should always be highlighted, no matter what the industry. Magazines need to look pretty and appealing so people will buy them, that’s why thousands of pounds is spent on stylists, make-up artists, designer clothing and of course, Photoshop. But no one really explains to these young girls what goes on behind the scenes and instead girls burden themselves with an unnecessary expectation to look perfect. With this in mind I decided to take a look at the male perspective of body confidence. There’s a huge health and fitness wave which has exploded all over the UK and beyond and although there are obvious health benefits, again we have this pressure to be ripped or to be drinking anything green or to have a fully stocked Instagram of half-naked selfies. Now us guys often have problems with being open about our feelings and emotions, so I’m going to do it myself in the hope that I can inspire other guys to be big emotional teddy bears who don’t live in the gym. Here is my own list of guy’s biggest insecurities:

Age – many of you will know that girls tend to be a little bit more mature than guys. I’ve recently turned 29, but a girl at 29 probably has the mental age of about 35 so that then leads me to feel like I should be dating someone slightly younger. But then when you do date someone younger she wants to go out until 5am when you’re ready for bed at 10pm after The apprentice finishes (or maybe that just me?) The problem with age is we totally over-analyse it. Maybe it’s not an issue at all, maybe it’s all in our head but it’s definitely something we need to pay less attention to – so long as it’s all legal of course.

Our profession – what’s one of the very first things you ask when you meet someone? “What do you do for a living?” Love or hate your job we all know our job title is going to go some way in forming their first impressions of us and again we start to overthink things. It’s a bit like what Subway did with their job titles, I mean ‘Sandwich Artist?’ I’d probably rather tell a girl I was a ‘Road Hygiene Technician’ a.k.a Roadsweeper. But of course there’s no shame in any job, it’s just amazing how much we care all of a sudden when we have to tell someone what we do. How many times have you heard people jump into a big rant about why they do what they do and how the people are great, the money’s not bad, how you’re still looking around and how it’s definitely not a forever job, before the other person has even responded to your initial answer? The funny thing is, most women are happy just to meet a guy with a steady job, no matter what the title.

How much money we have – I’d say the vast majority of people between 18-35 live payday to payday, but as you get older you start to place an expectation on yourself where you must have money put away. Personally I ended up spending every penny I had travelling and I’d do it all over again, but there’s a small part of me that wishes I could go on sporadic holidays whenever I could, but I guess everyone feels a bit like that sometimes.

Our bedroom performance – This is a big one (no pun intended). The problem is everyone is different. A guy could have been with a girl for years perfectly comfortable in the knowledge that she is completely satisfied in every way possible. They then break up and the guy does the exact same stuff with the next girl and she falls asleep. You then become very aware of this problem and yet again you begin to overthink things (spot the theme yet?) and you find yourself caught in two minds. Before you know it doggy style turns into what can only be described as ‘an atomic 69.’ It’s not easy that first time with a new partner, again first-ish impressions are being made, just try not to break anything.

Who their ex is – Personally I turn into a big immature kid when it comes to people’s exes. Some guys don’t care who the ex is as long as they aren’t better looking than they are. I’m a bit different, the immature teenager in me is thinking “nah I don’t like this one bit, his thing has been in one too many places for my liking.” Thankfully, the 29 year old (almost) adult in me calmly says “it’s all good, everyone has a past” – at least most of the time anyway. It’s a tough one, no one likes the thought of someone they love doing atomic 69’s with another guy, but that’s life.

Our physical size – I was reading an old blog of mine and I remembered a story I’d told a while back. As a teenager I was a cross-country runner and when you’re running anything up to 50 miles a week it’s impossible at that age to put on weight, this was way before protein shakes and bars were commonplace. I’d met my first ‘proper’ girlfriend and I was really insecure about my blatantly obvious skinny frame. I didn’t look ill or anything, there just wasn’t much to me. On our first date, a ridiculously hot summer’s day, she happened to notice I was wearing three t-shirts. I don’t know why I acted so surprised when she pointed it out, as if I didn’t know. It was basically my feeble attempt to look bigger. So yeah, as much as we try to accept and love ourselves it’s hard not to envy the Christiano Ronaldo’s of this world. Not his diamond earrings though, they belong in 2004.

These are the typical insecurities that I myself and many guys I know find to be the most common. Everyone is different of course, but it’s always interesting to hear what men have to say when they’re being honest and not hiding behind the bravado that develops when more than one man is in the room.
To the girls I say it’s ok not to be perfect and to the guys I say it’s ok not to be ripped, if you want to be bigger or slimmer then go for it and if you want to eat Dominoes and fall asleep the moment The Apprentice ends then me and you are going to get on great.

“Just be your beautiful self.”

PTB

PTB Meets Former Corrie Star Mark Moraghan

It’s not often I get the chance to speak to a housewives favourite, but it was also a pleasure to speak to a genuine entertainment all-rounder. Not only has Mark Moraghan been gracing our screens for over two decades in a number of gripping roles, he is also an accomplished musician. Recently I caught up with Mark to talk acting, music and of course dating (I had to promise myself not to ramble on about my past love of Dream Team).

Mark, you’ve played a variety of roles over a number of high profile shows over the years, what’s been your favourite?

That’s a tough one. I’ve enjoyed most TV jobs I’ve worked on. But my top 3 would be Corrie, Holby City, and Dream Team all very different but great fun.

As well as acting you’ve been heavily involved in music, was there ever a time when you had to choose one over the other?

I was in a band called Personal Column for a while when I was 17 and I had to make a choice of either investing in some percussion instruments or continue with acting. I think I made the right choice.

How did being thrust into the public eye change your every day life? Do you enjoy being recognised or do you savour the quiet life?

Being recognised is a double edged sword. Without people noticing you for your work you wouldn’t have a job to begin with, people are generally very nice and I always say thank you for watching . Very rarely you come across the odd plonker. I have an array of one liners at the ready for such occasions. I often get strange looks walking around the supermarket, which amuses me.

When you were a young actor starting out, did you ever imagine you would go on to appear in a show so pivotal to British culture like Coronation Street?

Starting out, you always hope that your career will take off, but it’s a long hard road with many highs and lows along the way. I wouldn’t want to be starting nowadays though! But I don’t regret a single day as an actor it’s given me a nice life and I’ve met lots of interesting people on my journey.

Dating and relationships these days seems to have been taken over by the world of online dating, how does this compare to when you were a teen?

I find the idea of dating on the Internet a bit tacky. It’s seems from an old farts perspective, to be about instant gratification, what happened to the thrill of the chase ? But with technology now it seems that’s the way of everything. The Internet has given us more choices and made us greedy in a sense, it eats up news, opinion etc. There is a big thirst for tomorrow’s next big thing, only for it to be forgotten in an instant. And so it goes on, if that makes sense?

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to go out and make it happen. Don’t wait for the phone to ring because it won’t. I spent a few of my early acting years treading water until a light got turned on in my head when I was around 25 years old. As they say youth is wasted on the young. If I knew then what I know now!

What are the key qualities you look for in a partner?

Loyalty, the ability to listen, affection and a great sense of humour.

Any deal-breakers?

Racism , bigotry, incessant talking and swearing too much – although I’m guilty of the latter.

Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older?

Definitely. I don’t think you fully get to grips with what love is until you’re well into your 20’s or even 30’s and it’s something you have to work hard at to maintain. I like most people have made many mistakes in that department, but thankfully I’m very happy and content with life.

You’ve had a career spanning nearly four decades, would you do it all again?

I’ve always said I will never retire. The job or ill health my retire me, but I’d do it all again in a heart beat.

PTB

PTB Meets Opera Star Lucy Kay

Lucy Kay rocketed to fame on last year’s Britain’s Got Talent with a stunning rendition of ‘Vissi D’Arte’ from the opera ‘Tosca’ by Giacomo Puccini. After finishing runner up to musical theatre boyband Collabro, Lucy went on to land a number 1 record in the UK Classical Charts with her debut album ‘Fantasia.’ Recently I caught up with Lucy to discuss life after BGT and bringing classical music to the masses.

Hi Lucy, you were thrust firmly into the public eye with a rather moving audition on Britain’s Got Talent, how has appearing on the show changed your every day life?

Since the show last year it’s been pretty hectic. I’m traveling to London almost every week for meetings, recording and traveling around performing in some of the most beautiful venues.  I was at The Royal Conservatoire of Music in Glasgow before I entered the show so I’m no longer a student and graduated literally just after the show had finished. So no more student ways and straight into performing for a living. It’s tiring and hard work but I love it.

Has being in the public eye made simple things like dating difficult at all?

I wouldn’t say it has actually, I live in Glasgow so it’s a pretty relaxed environment and I feel I can be myself with my partner and not get any hassle. It’s nice to just enjoy being normal when we head out on dates but when we are in London it’s a little harder.

Die-hard classical music lovers have been known at times to be a tad disapproving of talent show stars, how have you found their reception to your work?

Oh awful haha, as I expected really. That’s why I decided to enter a Talent show I felt that classical music has a stuffy image, it feels very elitist most of the time and I wanted to show that opera and classical music is for absolutely anyone. I certainly wasn’t brought up with a musical background – I did it because I enjoyed it. When I was at music college, I really felt like one of the odd ones who didn’t want to go the ‘proper route into music’. I didn’t want to be in full blown opera companies, I just wanted to be a commercial singer – like Katherine Jenkins for example. Some singing teachers I had were very disapproving with my decision and refused to teach me for my end of year exams – I found it all a little sad but carried on never the less. I’ve been criticised for going down that route and performing opera arias on TV, especially for singing the world famous ‘Nessun Dorma’ which is written for a male voice (Tenor) – I decided to break the rules a little and perform it. Lots of opera buffs had a lot to say about that one. But You just keep going, trying to make it more readily accessible and acceptable for people who would never really get a chance to listen to classical music had it not been for these types of talent shows.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Hmm there are so many people I’d love to collaborate with one of them I’ve already ticked off my bucket list which was Andrea Bocelli, but I’d really love to collaborate with Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge and Killswitch Engage actually and maybe even Metallica!

Are you ever conscious of someone wanting to get close to you for being a famous face as opposed to who you are as a person?

Yeah there are a lot of people who do that and I’ve had my fair share of them trying to niggle their way in after years of no contact. Funny to see actually.

What qualities do you look for in a partner?

I know most girls always say that they look for someone who can make them laugh but I really do think that it is so important. It takes the edge off the seriousness of relationships. Don’t get me wrong I love being in a long term relationship but you have to have laughter for it to work in my eyes. I’ve been with my man for 3 years now and he makes me laugh everyday. Even when we argue or have the typical bad days he somehow always manages to make me laugh and that’s what I love. Personality is a must have! If a guy hasn’t really got a great personality there’s no point in perusing if he’s just good looking. Those are the relationships that never work. A girl just wants to feel like she can be sexy, safe and loved and that you can trust him and know that he is by your side through whatever life throws at you. I’m not asking too much here, am I?

Any dating horror stories?

I dated someone at college who was pretty much hobbit size, I’m 5″2  so pretty small myself! I had seen him around the place but I was always sat down in the cafe bar so I didn’t see much of a height difference – so  he asked me out via Facebook messenger – very modern. I accepted and when I met up with him that night I really couldn’t believe I hadn’t been aware of how short he actually was. He was incredibly sweet, good looking and ticked all the boxes. Just not the height one I’m afraid. It just felt so wrong… Sorry!

Snog, Marry, Avoid…David Walliams, Stephen Mulhern, Ant & Dec?

I would snog Ant and Dec two for the price one one there! Marry David Walliams (he can make me laugh) and avoid Stephen Mulhern I’m afraid! He’s got some crazy eyes on him.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Not to wear my heart on my sleeve so much and don’t ever feel guilty for living the life the way I want for fear of what others might say. Do things that make you happy not just to please others.

Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older?

Oh yes I believe so – when you’re young, you mainly go for hot guys and soon you get to the point when you realise that looks really aren’t everything. The idea of love itself is a tricky one at such a young age, you find yourself believing that because you have a boyfriend you must be in love. But really what is love?? It comes in different forms I guess and it’s different for everyone. I know when I’m in love because I see no one else that can come close to what I have with my partner. He gives me stability, warmth, laughter and a deep connection I can’t really put into words.  It’s also being able to put up with someone through their bad days. Which is when I do feel sorry for David as I have my ‘bad days’ at the same time every month haha! He’s worked out what not to say and how to handle me at my worst. Now That’s love!

What’s next for Lucy Kay?

Well I’ve recently changed management and I’m now with an incredible team who are working on my next phase. I’m going to be working on more lighter classical crossover music for a second album, currently taking more dancing and acting lessons and auditioning for some big roles in the west end as it’s something I’ve always loved and wanted to do. I’ll be touring on my own in September as well as with guest appearances on Rhydian’s solo tour and G4’s reunion tour.  There’s also a big project coming up next year which is something quite different from what I normally do – I can’t say too much about at the moment but keep your eyes peeled!

PTB

How Not To Blow Your New Relationship

So often I come across people who put endless amounts of pressure on themselves to find a relationship but when they do it’s all too easy to carry that pressure into the relationship itself.

To want something so badly for so long – you could be forgiven for not knowing what to do with it now that it’s finally here.

So here is my simple guide to making a success of your new found love.

Be Yourself.

Firstly let’s get the obvious out of the way. An age old cliche but when it comes to relationships never was a truer word spoken. Have faith that who you are is enough because if it’s not then you are with the wrong person. It really is as simple as that.

Sometimes when we meet new people it’s very easy to disguise our flaws and occasionally adopt personality traits which deep down we know aren’t true to ourselves. But at the end of the day if this person really is ‘the one’ then who you are and I mean who you really are should always be enough. I’m a firm believer that there is at least one true love out there for everyone – don’t waste your time on those who don’t deserve it.

Don’t Get Ahead Of Yourself.

I admit, this can be difficult. When you meet someone you really click with enjoy it but try and stay grounded. If it’s meant to be then it will be – what’s the rush?

Talks of wedding bells and kids mere weeks into a relationship could be described as romantic but only if you’re both in the same place. Try and maintain a steady progression in the relationship don’t risk ruining things early on with signs of desperation. All these things will come in time, don’t sell yourself short with irrational expectations that will send them running for the hills.

Know What You Want.

One thing I’ve learnt from experience is to know exactly what you want from a relationship. Sometimes when we like someone enough we compromise everything we’ve ever wanted and as touching as that is it may lead to future resentment and ultimately a lifetime with the wrong person (see point one).

Have Fun.

As much as I don’t want you to blow your new relationship, I also don’t want you to stress about it. The beginning of a new relationship is one of the most incredible feelings you can experience in what can sometimes be a tough life – embrace it!

Make the most of every second. Stay positive and enjoy your new found blessing. Every single day is a new opportunity to create lifelong memories, give it a try.

Get To Know Your Partner.

Obviously you know each other to an extent otherwise you wouldn’t be a couple but I mean really get to know them. Find out what makes them tick, what makes them laugh and what makes them cry. Knowledge is power and understanding the way they work (as difficult as this sometimes is) will increase your chances of a successful relationship. Talk and be open with each other, no one ever enjoyed a closed book.

Overall, trust that you are on the right path whether it be for long-term success or for a further learning curve. Avoid over-analyzing and try to go with the flow, a relationship shouldn’t be a case study – let things flow.

If things don’t work out try not to be too downhearted. Time (and laughter) is a great healer and you just never know who else’s path is about to cross yours. When people tell you everything happens for a reason don’t doubt them or try and prove them wrong – just be patient.

PTB

PTB Meets Former TOWIE Star Pascal Craymer

International model, champion gymnast and a stint on TOWIE it’s been a busy few years for Pascal Craymer. Throw in a couple of relationships with Mario and Luigi, ahem Louis, you wonder how this girl remains so refreshingly down to earth. Recently I caught up with Pascal to discuss her taste in men, dating in the public eye and her plans for the future.

Hi Pascal you’ve led a rather exciting life from a very young age but how did you find the transition from aspiring gymnast to model and reality star?

Well my whole life was gymnastics and I never thought I would be able to make a career out of modelling. It kind of just fell into place when I moved over to Spain. I was approached to model and thought why not and it has all gone from there. I never would have thought in a million years that this is what I would be doing as a career after gymnastics. I’m very grateful to be able to do something I really love.

Your time on TOWIE firmly put you in the public eye. How did appearing on the show change your every day life?

TOWIE literally happened over night. Suddenly your life becomes not so private. Relationships become very public which can put a massive strain on things. I have a great loyal fan base that I’m truly grateful for, a lot of them have been with me from the very start and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.

You’ve dated some high profile personalities. Is it difficult to maintain a normal relationship when you’re both in the public eye?

Relationships can be difficult as it is but when they’re in the public eye it can put a massive strain on the relationship. I got a lot of messages from people claiming they were cheating etc which is difficult when you’re only just getting to know that person yourself. I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve managed to keep my relationships relatively private.

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What are the key qualities you look for in a guy?

The key qualities I look for in a man is ambition, personality and loyalty. I love a man that is ambitious and knows what he wants. Personality is a must! Someone who can make me laugh and has great conversation. I get bored easy so I like someone to keep me on my toes. Loyalty is also a must, who doesn’t want a loyal man! I also like a man’s man. No sunbeds! No fake tanning! No plucking!!! And it really puts me off when they take selfies.

What would be your perfect first date?

Everyone likes being wined and dined! Good food, nice wine and great company is perfect for me.

Worst Date?

I’ve not really had a bad date but I hate the awkward goodbyes! If they lean in for a kiss and you’re not feeling it and you have to dodge it with a kiss, awkward!

Any strange requests from fans?

I get proposed to a lot! Might need to accept one soon!

Teen Crush?

Oooh I had a few! Peter Andre being one of course! Mysterious girl!

What advice would you give to women out there looking for Mr Right?

Stop looking! The minute you stop looking someone comes along!

Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older?

Yes massively. Well in my case yes. I believe as you get older you become wiser and learn a lot about yourself. Based on this I believe our perception of love changes because as you get to know yourself you begin to realise what type of person it is you will fall in love with.

What’s next for Pascal Craymer?

First and foremost I am sticking by my gymnastics past and my fitness which I seem to be becoming a bit of a role model for. I can’t really talk about any projects yet but there are some exciting things in the mix. I’ve never really followed the rules in terms of plans with my future and my work as I believe living in the moment is the best way to be!

Follow Pascal on Twitter: @pascalcraymer

PTB Meets Jethro Sheeran

Some things run in the family. It’s a tough task sharing a name with your global superstar cousin but Jethro ‘Alonestar’ Sheeran has built a worldwide reputation of his own – credible artist, writer, producer and of course doting Dad. Personally, I have great respect for just about any type of musician, whether you’re the busker on the street corner or the chart-topping pro it takes grit and determination to follow a dream of any kind and Alonestar is the perfect example of this. But as much as I love music, today I caught up with Jethro to talk about dating, relationships and well groupies (I had to ask).

As a dedicated musician do you find it hard to juggle your career and relationships?

Yes it’s very hard being away a lot, especially working weekends and late nights in the studio it does put a strain on your relationship at times. Also, when you’re gigging or travelling there’s a lot of trust issues so you have to make your partner feel secure.

What are the main qualities you look for in a partner?

Trust and loyalty, being supportive of my career and total honesty between us.

Any deal-breakers?

If my partner cannot accept my daughter Skyla Rain Sheeran.

Are groupies a thing of the past in music or do you still find the usual cluster of people hanging around?

There’s always groupies around when it comes to musicians but for the most part they don’t know you as a person at all. They just see you walk off stage after a performance and jump at you, I think it’s weird. I’ve been in a club before a performance and seen a beautiful girl who didn’t bat an eyelid at me but when I performed she was right at the front staring at me and afterwards asked to buy me a drink. I accepted but thought she was a little fake.

Online dating: curse or convenience?

Online dating is awesome I think, for everyone. It’s like an online night club without the bullshit of dressing up, dancing, drinking, catching her eye then having the courage to chat her up. On dating sites your pictures represent who you are which can be both a good and a bad thing, but if we’re honest we need that initial attraction so we shouldn’t see it as a bad thing if we end up scrolling through until we find someone we like. A lot of my friends have met their wives online so I think it’s a great thing especially if you’re working hard and don’t get out much.

Any strange fan mail?

I’ve had lots of fan mail, mostly really cool letters about how my music has helped people get through some hard times in their life but also a few odd things. One time a girl threw a sex toy with her number attached to it on stage and my singer picked it up and kept it. Her face was priceless and she was frantically pointing that it was for me, was funny.

Looks Vs Personality?

For me it has to be both.

Teen Crush?

My teen crush was wonder woman.

Does our perception of love change as we get older?

I think so. My first love was so passionate, we were obsessed with each other, the love we felt was so powerful. I think it still does feel strong but you also put barriers up to protect your heart especially if you’ve been really hurt before. You also start looking for a relationship with someone you really trust where you can let the love grow and have mutual respect for one another as opposed to someone you are besotted with but they don’t treat you right and cheat or whatever. You yearn for them and it hurts – I’m not sure if that’s real love or infatuation.

Download Alonestar’s work at Jethrosheeran.com or on itunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/real-life-feat.-ed-sheeran/id940742964#

Twitter: @alonestar1

Office Romances: Is It Worth It?

The office can be a fascinating place. The politics, the flings, the teacher’s pets, the endless gossip, the lack of common sense of those in authority. The global success of the TV show itself proves firsthand the endless entertainment provided by office dynamics. But if truth be told, we really need look no further than our own workplaces for something to talk about it. In my own experience, nothing gets people talking like an office romance.

As a writer the office is a great place to find inspiration. Sometimes it’s good to just sit back and watch. If you take away the menial tasks being performed by workers then what exactly is an office?  In my opinion a social hub – filled with friendships, hatreds and of course physical attractions. How many scandals have you heard in your time emanating from the traditionally wild office Christmas party? Exactly. Twelve months of secret crushes, flirtations and sheer lust flooding out in one alcohol fuelled evening.

If we look at the idea of convenience well sometimes it is simply that – convenient. An office caters for just about every type of person on the social spectrum. Take your average call centre for example – dozens maybe hundreds of young single men and women. Relationships, trysts, flings whatever you want to label them they’re bound to happen in such a testosterone filled environment. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s quite possibly the easiest way to meet someone outside of online dating. However, physically meeting someone isn’t really the issue – it’s the aftermath.

What happens if or when it all goes pear-shaped? I find it difficult at times to promote the idea of a workplace romance because personally I’ve seen so many bad outcomes but that’s certainly not to take anything away from the success stories out there nor should it deter anyone from trying, after all what’s meant to be will be. The harsh realities however are difficult to ignore. Break-ups are tough at the best of times but imagine having to work with your ex every single day. What’s one of the toughest things about a break-up? Getting over them. How can we possibly expect to get over someone when we have to look at them through the little gap in two computers all day? Think of all the games that come hand in hand with the situation as well; making each other jealous, flirting with other people. Life is way too short to have to put up with such things. In my time working in offices I’ve seen everything from the most awful of break-ups to demoralized teams to disciplinary proceedings to people having to leave their jobs. All as a result of office romances. But on the flip-side maybe it’s just the price we pay to find love? Nothing wrong with taking a risk once in a while.

All in all I’m not a great advocate of office romances but neither am I an advocate of pessimism when it comes to finding love. If you like someone at work just go for it! Why let something you actually have in common deter you from potentially finding the one? Let’s be honest we all rule with our hearts when it comes to love anyway so why don’t we all just seize the day and deal with the consequences later. You will always hear stories good and bad whether it’s from me, your parents, friends or even your boss but we only ever truly learn from our own decisions, our own mistakes, our own happiness’s. Just live, it’s your life. There’ll be other jobs.

PTB

PTB Meets Gail Porter

Any time I grab the chance to speak to a household name, I prefer speaking to those with character and life experience. After all, what can we really learn from the squeaky clean? Twelve years ago I sat in the audience of a now defunct celebrity game-show. An adolescent sixteen year old I gazed at a real-life FHM model sitting happily alongside one Mark Owen – quietly confident that I would soon be the envy of all my friends. Today as a real-life grown up I look beyond the cover shoots of old to have an even greater respect for this TV presenter, writer, documentary-maker and of course doting Mum. Recently I caught up with fellow Scot Gail Porter for a brief chat about life, love and dating.

Hi Gail, you first came to our attention in the mid-90s. How did your everyday life change once cast into the public eye?

My everyday life changed in the fact that I went from a wee girl from Edinburgh who would plod around unnoticed, then suddenly strangers would come up to me in the street to talk to me. I love a chat, so that wasn’t a problem. Paparazzi scared me though. I never like dressing up and I hate makeup and suddenly I was having my picture taken wandering out of Budgens. I never understood what was interesting about my shopping habits.

Was there a time when dating had to take a backseat in order to pursue your career or was it easy enough to juggle the two?

I was not a big dater. If it happened, it happened. To tell you the truth I loved working and dating was not a big concern of mine.

Were you ever concerned that guys might be interested in you purely for your celebrity status as opposed to who you are as a person?

I guess I am quite naive. I always believed that if someone wanted to take me out it would be for myself as a person, not my job. Unfortunately I was proved wrong on quite a few occasions.

Any odd requests from fans?

I have been sent a request to send a picture of myself naked with whatever cereal I had for breakfast covering my lady parts!

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Any dating horror stories?

The worst date was with a guy who wanted to sing to me over dinner. Awkward…and he had a shit voice and loved Mariah Carey.

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Teen Crush?

My teen crush was Nick Kershaw. I think it was a height thing.

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What advice would you give to young women looking for Mr Right?

No advice to give. Single and 43, say no more!

What do you look for in the ideal partner?

My ideal partner would have to be breathing. Oh…and funny!

Any deal-breakers?

Ignorance and shit shoes.

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Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older?

Love is love. I haven’t found it but I won’t stop looking.

@paulthomasbell

@gailporter

24 Hours On Tinder

Many of you will know that I’m not the biggest fan of online dating. I’d describe myself as sceptical but open-minded. I’ve known so many people let down by the online process – conversations which held much promise quickly turning to bitter disappointment and regret. That being said there are many online success stories so regardless of my opinions of the online game; I fully accept its place within 21st century dating. So with this in mind I decided to try Tinder. I say try but I really just mean see what it’s all about. The growing popularity of the Tinder app has been rather astounding, in fact many people now have it in the same way they would have any other app irrespective of what if anything they are looking for. So in 24 hours here’s what I discovered:

1. Girls love baths. Tinder has introduced a new ‘moment’ feature simply allowing you to post a temporary picture with a message. Remember all those beach photos in the summer: legs or hot dogs? Well be prepared for lots of these except in the bath. They are of course legs this time I might add, no hot dogs in the bath – I hope.

2. Guys seem to (mostly) only want one thing. This doesn’t go for every guy of course but one of the most common complaints from girls was the vast amount of dirty messages being sent to them. It seems ‘would you like to see my penis’ has replaced the popular greeting known as ‘hello’ for many men. This is a similar complaint that I’d heard a while back from the women of plentyoffish.com so I was a tad disappointed to find a similar trend on Tinder. If you are only after a casual relationship there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but there’s ways of going about. I countered this with a ‘moment’ of my own: “Post dogs not d*cks” accompanied by a picture of my beloved Cocker Spaniel. The girls loved it, probably out of relief more than anything.

3. EVERYONE loves a selfie. The world has officially gone selfie mad. What more can I say?

4. Some people really are just lonely. This isn’t a criticism of course I genuinely felt a bit sad realizing this. There were girls posting their phone number publicly meaning just about anyone would have access to it, I found this slightly alarming. I decided to investigate this a little bit more and engaged in a few different conversations. It was incredible how each of these conversations took the exact same turn. It started with ‘oh I’m just bored’ but then slowly as they began to open up a sea of confidence and anxiety issues are revealed. I’ve written about this in some depth in the past, I wish people could see the good in themselves sometimes but easier said than done I know. They may not be who they want to be yet but that doesn’t mean they’re not a great person. I always say for every person who spurns you there are twenty others who would kill to be with you.

5. Looks are everything. Well at least on Tinder anyway. It’s incredible how often you hear people saying ‘looks aren’t everything’ and I agree looks may spark initial interest but it’s personality that determines the longevity of a relationship. On Tinder however that all goes out the window. It’s fascinating really and perhaps even a little bit of an ego boost but it’s incredible to see how quickly our every day rationality simply disappears.

So Tinder, I’m not yet convinced. I’m not sure Tinder quite knows what it is yet? I speak to so many people looking for love but I don’t think Tinder is the answer nor does it seem like a particularly good ‘hook-up’ site, in fact the mere suggestion of it is met with a barrage of hostility – but like I say there are ways of wording your intentions and it doesn’t begin with ‘do you wanna see…’ All just my opinion of course, I’ll let you make your own mind up.

Happy Dating

PTB

A Thank You To My Readers

As we start the countdown to 2015 I wanted to write a quick post with one very important message – thank you. For me 2014 has been a year of extreme highs and heartbreaking lows but my new found love of writing and the support of my readers has been by far my greatest highlight.

I began the year in a far away land, Australia to be precise. I’d moved out there feeling rather lost but delighted to once again be surrounded by the incredible friends I had made on my travels to
America. Going to Australia was one of the scariest things I’d ever done. I’d walked out on my job, packed a bag and flown to Oz via stops in Istanbul and Bangkok. When you do something like that it’s difficult to know if you’ve done the right thing. Abandoning every possible form of stability in search of an adventure. Some people thought I was crazy and maybe I was a little bit but no regrets, I had my reasons. There were days when it made my stomach turn wondering if I’d done the right thing but the following weeks of exhilaration, endless Melbourne sunsets and the manner in which new and old friends adopted me as an honorary Aussie, more than dispelled those fleeting moments of doubt.

When I returned home I was even more lost than before I left. I’d spent so long depressed in my bed (about three weeks to be exact) that I’d almost caused an intervention with my family – funny but true. This is one of the major pitfalls of travel – unbelievable highs to the inevitable ‘what now?’ This is when I discovered blogging. Not exactly a return to stability but a step in the right direction, in fact I was enjoying it so much I was reluctant to find a new job. Not many of my readers will know this but my blog was originally an ‘experimental food’ blog – it lasted approximately 3 hours. I realized the key to blogging was writing about something you are truly passionate about or at the very least something you have a little bit of knowledge about. Experimental food? Must have been the jet-lag.

When I started writing I was astounded by the feedback I was getting, it’s a wonderful feeling to know people can relate and genuinely benefit from your stories. The emails and messages I get from people unlucky in love and young writers starting out looking for advice leaves me completely blown away and incredibly thankful. It’s a real privilege to know your opinion can make a difference to someone’s life. Five months and 30,000 readers later I simply want to say thank you, to each and every person who took the time to like, read and comment on my posts, it genuinely means the world to me. I’m so happy to have discovered the blogging community and long may it continue.

Wishing every single one of you an incredible year ahead.

With Love

PTB

Deciding What You Want

The older we get the more we begin to analyze what we really want in life, at least in my experience. The years of experimentation fade away and we start to consider our decisions with our heads firmly screwed on, perhaps for the very first time. Naturally I believe this applies to relationships just as much as anything else in life. Those three month non-starters and dead-end flings are no longer good enough and more than ever before we ask ourselves – what do I actually want?

I don’t really believe in compromise when it comes to relationships. By this I mean our specific choice of partner. You only live once, what could be worse than a life spent with the wrong person? There’s nothing selfish about being picky – it’s your life after all. If you fear the idea of settling for convenience or choosing the person that suits your family or someone else’s expectations then you’re doing it wrong. Ultimately it only has to suit you. Relationships of convenience are a curse in my opinion, I compare it to jobs I’ve had in the past. Steady, comfortable, and nice but completely unremarkable. The ever wonderful Sheldon Cooper once said “Howard is perfectly justified in seeking out the optimum mate for the propagation of his genetic line.” In human terms quite simply – aim high.

I would never of course try to determine who is the best kind of partner. For some it might be the person with the best job or the flashiest car. Me? I just want a good spoon and some Netflix but everyone is different. One of my readers messaged me recently asking for advice, something which I am continuously flattered by. I always say if my writing helps even one person then it was worthwhile doing. For this guy, years of being single were taking it’s toll. Online dating, speed dating, blind dates, being set up by friends – every attempt as fruitless as the next. I spent so much time trying to convince this person of his qualities. ‘Convince’ him – I find that so sad. We all have flaws but we should never shy away from acknowledging our qualities, even if it’s just privately to ourselves. After all, we should be proud of these traits it’s what makes us good people. To listen to such a genuine person be so self-critical was genuinely quite upsetting, particularly as I know that for every person to ever reject him there are fifty women out there who would kill to be with him. Trying to convince him of this was another story. I tried to make him see that he had just as many qualities as any other guy out there he just needed to believe it and find the right person to appreciate and acknowledge those qualities. I know it will happen for him sooner or later, even if he doesn’t.

I remember being 19. For the first time I found myself dating someone who I knew (on paper) was way out of my league. With regret I changed for her, I would’ve been anything she wanted me to be. Naturally we grow as people and learn from experience but I can’t help but cringe at the thought of doing that for someone even if I was only 19. Who we are as people is the one permanent fixture we will always have in life until the very day we die, don’t compromise it for the wrong people. No one is worth that. I remember being so lost in this facade of being someone I wasn’t that I would just freeze mid-conversation, not knowing what to do or what to say. What a horrible feeling. To completely lose sight of who you are through your pathetic desperation to be someone else. It was like losing the very foundations of the person I was and who I was brought up to be. I had become nothing and all to impress a girl. Back then I was just a lost teenager but I still see grown adults doing this every single day. If this is you I urge you to stop, take a step back, think about your relationship. Do you really want to live your life like this? Acting?

Be yourself, have faith, have hope, have confidence, recognize your talents, your qualities, even the gap in your two front teeth. Not everyone will appreciate these things but someone, somewhere – will. That I promise. As for me, ten years later have I learnt my lesson? Well, someone tried to make me give up writing. I politely declined With Much Love,

PTB

Twitter:@paulthomasbell

PTB Meets Former X-Factor Star Laura White

As X-Factor reaches the closing weeks of this years competition I decided to catch up with one of my all-time favourite contestants. “By any standard I have ever heard that was incredible” love him or hate him when music mogul Simon Cowell hits you with comments like this then you know you’ve got a little something special. In 2008, Wigan girl Laura White captivated British audiences with her expresive, soulful tones and such a shock was her week 5 elimination that it even sparked an Ofcom investigation. Recently I spoke to Laura about life post X-Factor and of course dating and relationships.

Hi Laura, you first came to our attention in one of the most notable seasons in X-factor history spawning the likes of Alexandra Burke, Diana Vickers and JLS. How did appearing on the show affect your day to day life?

I was a working artist and musician before the X-Factor and had written songs, gigged, really worked hard in getting my music out there for years before, but I still found the show to be a big change to my life. It made the UK who have been amazing to me  immediately know everything about me and my music. Being quite a shy girl to start with was crazy at first to deal with but I was just so grateful for the fact that they listened to me and loved my music so much.

There is often a rather unfair stigma attached to being a talent show contestant, is the X-Factor label something you’re proud of or something you would rather shake off?

Some people may say there is a stigma attached but I think every case is different. If u go on the show and end up in theLW finals but have no talent the UK still won’t be fooled you know? In the same sense I am proud to say every decision I’ve made in my music career has been for the music and still is something I feel proud of. I feel even on the show, creatively, I picked my songs and music so I’m proud of the show being a stepping stone in my music life. I worked independently after the show with my fans touring, gigging, writing non-stop day and night we did it alone! The EP was number 1 in the singer/songwriter charts in November and these moments of tirelessly never stopping and believing feel even more amazing when it’s an independent music release.

How did being in the public eye affect your relationships? Were you ever concerned people would approach you because of your new found fame as opposed to who you are as a person?

I think for me I’m a private person so this was tough too be honest. You meet a lot of people along the way. You have to be tough-skinned as people talk no matter what you do, it’s tough and yes I think after becoming a person known to the UK it’s often tough in meeting someone who understands that and doesn’t feel threatened. It’s crazy though I’ve been out with people with similar careers and it doesn’t bother me, I think it’s all about being comfortable in yourself. No one in life is perfect everyone makes mistakes I’ve been out with some great guys and out with some awful guys but every single one of them has made me wiser and stronger

Any dating horror stories?

Worst ever date was probably just turning up and not being into a guy. I’m still like hey and cool about it but it’s terrible if you are thinking how do I get away and not have to kiss this guy.

Ever had any strange requests from fans?

This guy came to every gig with toys for me!! Craziness!! Some guys message me really rude things and ask me to send them pics thinking I will!! So funny though!! 

LW2Who was your teen crush?

My teen crush was defo Shane from Westlife, I met all of them except Shane and I still think I would die if I met him!

What do you look for in a guy?

I look for a good heart, caring, trustworthy, funny, ambitious and someone who I’m attracted too and I guess someone positive who supports me in every part of me. Also I love a guy who is romantic! 

Any deal-breakers?

I can’t date someone arrogant, not good-hearted and someone I just wasn’t attracted to too be honest. It’s not about looks it’s about feeling them you know? And lazy I don’t like lazy guys!

What’s your idea of the perfect first date?

A night of dancing. I love to dance, I love a cocktail and kisses in some crazy place where no one would see us, a beautiful moment. If I’m into a guy I’ll happily stay out until 7am with them. Dancing only though. 

What advice would you give young women out there looking for Mr Right?

My advice for them is to be happy in themselves. No girl needs a guy. Never settle, you really only live once and you deserve to live the life you’ve dreamed of.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you when it comes to men?

Best advice I’ve ever been given is to never text a guy first when you meet him Boys love a chase girls! 

Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older?

Yes. We get wiser and we know what we want more. We know ourselves more, we know what we need and I think the older we get the better love gets. Love should be respected and looked after like a gift.

You’re still only 27. What’s next for Laura White?

I will be releasing my debut album through my management, Climax and Island Records. My song ‘To Be Loved got picked up by Radio One so it’s all progression. Working and meeting the fans, getting the music out to as many places as possible u know? My dream is to win a Grammy for my songs as I write all of my own music and for the world to hear my songs and to heal others in the way the songs heal me. When people come to my shows I love to see them having fun, forgetting their problems, dancing on tables and telling their hot dates for the night that they are into them when they hear ‘To Be Loved’. I just want girls and guys to love who they are and accept themselves like my music made me accept who I am.

What My Father Taught Me

Some of you will know that my Dad passed away suddenly, two weeks ago today. It’s moments like this that we never ever forget in life and for so many different reasons. As a writer I couldn’t not write about this and as a son I couldn’t not share a little bit about the man who had such a profound influence on my life – more so than I had ever realised.

My Dad was 78. We almost hesitate to tell people this because his age didn’t give a true reflection of the person he was. Often when we read that someone elderly has passed away we tend to think “oh ok they lived a good life,” but in his case age truly was just a number. He was so full of life, so funny, still so handsome and just as cheeky as I imagine he was when only a young boy. It pains me to say it, but he wasn’t ready to go. For now though I’ll put that to one side because if there’s one thing my Dad wouldn’t have wanted, it’s me depressing you all with some morbid post about death!

He was a joker. Anyone who has ever worked with me knows I’m a bit of a prankster and love a good joke and anyone who has ever worked with my Dad knows exactly where I get it from. His humour was his most endearing quality. It’s also been a bit of a saving grace for us over the last couple of weeks. To find ourselves hysterically laughing at a time like this seems rather strange, but it’s proving to be the mark that he has left on all of us. A few years back my Dad was hospitalised with pneumonia and one evening when we went to visit him, his bed was lying empty. We looked at each other confused as to where he was as we all know what an empty bed can mean in a hospital. Moments later we noticed his feet popping out from behind a chair at the back of the room, he was crouched down hiding, waiting to jump out and scare us. It made me smile then and I’m smiling now as I write this three years on.

Humour isn’t the only thing I’ll take away from him. As you’ll all know my writing is centred around the subjects of dating, relationships and I guess to some extent, love. I never claim to be an expert on any of these subjects, because I believe that every single on of us are experts in our own way through life experience. But it isn’t always our own experiences that we learn from. My Dad was hilarious, but he was also grumpy and annoying at times and like all of us had many flaws. But at the end of the day when I reflect on the things that really matter, he would’ve done anything for anyone, he doted on all of us. The way he felt about my Mum and the way he looked after her set an example to any husband. My Dad had lived a long life before our little family and would be the first to admit that he made many mistakes over the years, but I believe from the bottom of my heart that he learned from all of them and in the end he lived for us. When I look back now, I can proudly say that he was always there for us – always.

My Dad never asked for much just a newspaper on my way home from work and a quick chat at the end of the day – I only wish I’d done it more often. It’s so sad to think that our parents won’t be around forever but whilst they still are; talk to them, hug them and make sure they know just how much they mean to you. I guess that goes for all of our loved ones as well. As for me, I will remember the good times and I will laugh and I will write through the pain and then I’ll laugh some more. He wouldn’t have had it any other way.

In Loving Memory of Thomas Cox

PTB

PTB Meets Singer/Songwriter Ben Harvey

Ben Harvey made me late for work. Every morning I jump on the bus, put my headphones in and zone out for the brief 25 minutes of peace I get before reaching my desk. You know that way when you’re browsing through iTunes and you look up one artist and it starts making recommendations and you end up looking at another and another and another? Well that’s what happened on this particular morning and as I found myself lost in blissful contentment I realized I’d missed my stop and not by one or two – I wasn’t actually sure where I was. I’d been listening to ‘turn off the light’ by Ben Harvey. Recently I caught up with Ben to find out more about a talent that wouldn’t look out of place alongside acoustic heavyweights like Ben Howard and Benjamin Leftwich Francis (what is it with the name Ben?) and of course – talk about girls.

Hi Ben, how has your success so far affected your day to day life? Do you enjoy being recognized or do you prefer to keep your head down?  To be fair, it hasn’t affected my everyday life. I still work to support my music and to do what I do at the moment and once in a blue moon someone will recognize me and to be honest, its actually quite nice! It’s always nice when someone pays you a compliment when you don’t expect it.

photo 3 (2)How does girlfriend Paris react to seeing you on stage? Paris is great! She’s been really supportive and understanding of my music! She loves coming to the shows and enjoys the whole ‘music Life’ with me. I’m sure by now she must be bored of seeing me play as she’s seen me quite a lot! 

Has there ever been a time when your relationships have suffered as a result of pursuing music or is it easy enough to find the right balance? I wouldn’t say ‘suffered’ but there have been times with a few past partners where they may not have liked the attention I was getting on and off stage. It’s never really been a huge problem though.

Have you ever received any odd requests from fans? Haha actually nothing really strange to be honest! I wish I had something ridiculous to tell you but I honestly don’t! 

Are groupies becoming a thing of the past or do you still see a few sights backstage involving other acts? I have seen a couple of backstage things before but never at my own shows! I’m an acoustic singer songwriter so the shows I play are quite tame and chilled! I haven’t seen it much in my career but I’m well aware it does happen and it probably will for a very long time in the music industry.

What do you look for in a girlfriend? Laughter, honesty, patience, someone easy going, and someone with a big heart! I love to laugh and I think that’s one of the main attractions I had for Paris. We’re both very similar and I think that’s why we get on so great. Shes everything I want and more in a girlfriend.  

Any deal-breakers? As I said before I love to laugh and if you really don’t have a sense of humor and you’re afraid to laugh at yourself then that’s a big turn off for me. Jealousy and arrogance really doesn’t do it for me either plus bad hygiene.

What did you and Paris do on your first date? Me and Paris had been talking for a few weeks online. I met her on Twitter when she decided to use my music in one of her beauty videos. Then one day I said I was going to be in London for a live video shoot with Fortitude photo 2 (3)Magazine and why not come down. We met at Waterloo Station and I did the video, then after that we spent the day together. We went to Ripley’s Museum then got some food, had a few drinks and got to know each other some more. We got on great, I really wanted to see her again so I said to her that I was going to see Lewis Watson live in a couple of weeks and would she like to come. It’s honestly one of the best dates I’ve ever had.

Who was your teen crush? Wow, this is going back! I had a mad crush on Rihanna when she did the ‘Umbrella’ video – to be fair still do now.

Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older? Definitely! Maybe ask me in a few more years as to what I think and I’ll give you more of an elaborate answer. Love is shared and viewed in so many different ways and it definitely changes as we get older.

Lastly being a big fan myself could I be in one of your music videos? Yeah? Good I’m glad that’s settled. Haha Of course! Why’d you even ask? I’ll let you know on the time and place of when we start shooting. We’ll give you the lead dance part! Sound good?

Follow Ben on Twitter @BenHarveyMusic and download the awesome EP ‘#TWO’ available on iTunes now.

Breaking Up With The Single Life

Today feels like a good day to write. I’ve never claimed to be a dating expert, my words stem from experiences (the good and the bad) and it’s experience which has made me sit down and write today. I’ve always been quite emotional for a guy, sometimes it’s the smallest things that hit you the hardest. Today I’ve reflected on times when I myself have hurt people, not because I’ve done something really bad, but because I am the way I am – over complicated, too much in my own head and often non-committal.

I’ve spoken previously about the pressures people put upon themselves to find love, to find the one, to settle down. There comes a time in life where it consumes us. I myself was a quiet kid up until about the age of about eighteen and had never really had a proper girlfriend until then. Fast forward ten years and I’ve wracked up a solid seven or eight serious relationships one after the other and spent a grand total of just five months being single.  This decade of relationships is where my experience comes from and what inspires my writing, but it is also one of my biggest flaws and I hope people can learn from that.

The point I’m making is that being single doesn’t have to be a negative thing. I’ve heard loved ones speak about being single as if it were a disability. This of course is complete nonsense. I ask myself how many of my relationships I regret and as much as I try not to regret things in life there’s certainly three or four I could’ve done without. We need to learn to value the positive side of being single and no not playing the field, I mean self-development, discovery and finding out what you actually want from life. These are the very things which can lead to long-term happiness. What is it they say ‘short-term pain, long-term gain’? I truly believe this can be applied to dating and relationships.

I always champion the idea of loving yourself before you can love someone else, but perhaps I’ve too often been guilty of not taking my own advice. When I have taken that advice however, life seems to be that little bit smoother. Then when the time comes for that long-awaited relationship, you’ll feel like Rocky reaching the top of the steps (somewhere I’ve been – take a jacket it’s freezing).
What happens when we put too much pressure on ourselves to meet someone? We end up with the wrong person. Simple as that.

Have faith that the right person will come along at the perfect moment. In the meantime, make the most of the single life. Get to know yourself before you get to know someone else. If you do, breaking up with the single life will be harder than you ever thought possible.

“Trust the path you’re on, if you don’t
nothing makes sense.” – Paolo Coelho

PTB

follow me on Twitter @paulthomasbell


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Age Gap Relationships

Lehmuth_Lehmuth_Rachel_Brenke_Photography_lauren28bw_lowFrom your classic gold-digger generation to modern day cougars age gap relationships have always been of great interest to me. There’s no great secret to my enthusiasm for the subject, it stems solely from my parents who have nearly three decades between them – 28 years if you’re counting. My mother is a youthful 50 and my Dad still as sprightly as ever at the age of 78. Has it affected their relationship? Honestly? Yes it has. But do they regret it? Probably not.

Growing up my Dad never held back from his parenting duties, already in his mid to late 50’s people would constantly ask my sister and I – “is that your Grand-Dad?” We never once hesitated from proudly proclaiming “no, that’s our Dad!” An old Dad is better than no Dad I always said. The setup between my Mother and Father has always fascinated me – perfect material for a relationships writer you might say. Age differences can be tricky at the best of times, even five to ten years can sometimes prove event_225976522.jpegdifficult, so how do you make a gap of three decades work? When they got together my Dad was the most devilishly handsome (and surprisingly young looking) 48 year old you could feast your eyes on and my Mum – a fresh faced 20 year old who’d only recently left her seaside town for the big city. Perhaps my Dad was the strong arm my Mum needed to help her settle into her big move or perhaps he really was just incredibly handsome. I can only imagine the two of them complimented each other perfectly in the same way I still observe them do to this day. My Dad is funny. It’s my favourite quality in him and any person for that matter, I love people who make me laugh and I guess my Mum is the same. My Mum on the other hand is organized, sensible and well – motherly. In fact it’s incredible just how much I am like my Dad and my sister is like my Mum but it just goes to show that with the right balance of characteristics in a pairing, age gaps really do become irrelevant. For just about every time I have seen my Mum stress over a phone bill I have watched my Dad reduce her to tears of laughter only moments later, maybe these are the true great qualities of a successful relationship? Not appearances or money or how you might look on paper, just the purest form of balance. I envy them every day.

One of my fondest memories of seeing them together was on holiday in Devon (England) as a youngster. We’d taken a trip to the zoo and my sister and I sat on a bench devouring ice lollies whilst my Mum and Dad went for a wander. My Mum was more the sun bathe by the beach type whilst my Dad (like myself) was quite the explorer, in fact we often took gruelling day trips just to keep the peace more than anything. The zoo of course was fun, but as my Mum marched ahead with her arms crossed my filmnoirpage-e1319841938815Dad blissfully trundled along gazing at every animal, bird, leaf, plant, tree etc that came his way – ‘Father Nature’ I used to call him. As my sister and I watched from a distance they came to a bridge overlooking a stream full of exotic fish, it was one of those bridges that you could shake and sway from side to side, my Mum who has suffered from vertigo for many years naturally walked across as quickly as humanly possible, my Dad on the other hand stopped in the middle to admire the fish in sheer wonderment. What happened next still makes me laugh and to this day I have never seen my Mum laugh harder – she was quite literally floored. My Dad in his mid-60s at the time is only around 5ft 3, a group of young and very excited German tourists had spotted the bridge from afar and in their excitement hadn’t even noticed my Dad innocently watching the fish as they sprinted to the middle. They bounced around on that bridge like kids on a trampoline at Christmas. The bridge wasn’t high so he was in no immediate danger but watching my Dad’s face as he hung on for dear life whilst this group of athletic young men almost twice his size bounced around was a sight I’ll never forget. This was the beauty of my Dad’s persona, whether he was making a joke or just finding himself in yet another comedic situation there was always laughter. It was in these moments that I knew my Mum would think that loveable little man…is mine.

It’s not easy to brush aside the opinions of others and although I wasn’t there at the time, I can’t 13-wedding-kiss-photography-in-the-1950s-uncovered-on-ebayimagine a 20 year old on the arm of a man approaching 50 sat well with those around them, but did it put them off? I wouldn’t be sat here on this cold Autumn evening if it had. I talk a lot about not caring about what others think, frankly I believe life is too short and I spent most of my teens trying to make the world around me like me before I myself even liked me. It’s only tonight that I’ve realized this attitude comes from my upbringing. So to those suffering the strain of a scrutinised relationship, if you’re not hurting anyone – just do whatever the hell you like.

PTB

Great Myths About Men Explained

Being a guy, who knows a lot of guys, I unfortunately am all too familiar with some of man’s great failings when it comes to women. I could never claim to have been a perfect boyfriend, but every now and again friends, colleagues and often complete strangers will share their stories with me, and as much as I love to listen, every now and again my jaw hits the floor at some of the things we do and say. I could never judge anyone, way too many mistakes made on my part to do that, but are all the negative myths about men actually true? Or are they just that…myths?

1. We’re only after one thing. I get asked this question constantly and the truth is – a bit of both. I know someone who uses online dating and when asked what he’s looking for he is always completely truthful, “a bit of fun.” Hardly the romance girls are after but so long as it’s done respectfully is there really anything wrong with such honesty? This person’s explanation is “I travel a lot for work so it wouldn’t be fair for me to get seriously involved with someone, I just don’t have the time”. So yes sometimes guys are after only one thing but believe it or not, sometimes there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for it. Guys do think about sex constantly, it’s in our DNA after all, but that doesn’t mean we’re all predators and you can’t argue with science! Girls, if it’s something you’re really concerned about look out for the early warning signs, some are more obvious than others – requests for dirty photos, innuendos, and the classic “I’m in bed, wish you were here” – we try and pass it off as ‘banter’ but that would be a blatant lie (guys you know exactly what I’m talking about). If you’re still worried sometimes the best thing you can do is actually the simplest – just ask.

2. We constantly lie. This isn’t true of all men of course but yes you’d be surprised at just how much men tell porkies. There is, however, a little method to our madness. Guys are too often guilty of saying what we think women want to hear rather than what we’re actually thinking. The peculiar thing is that guys are often berated for lying, sure it’s not okay but you’d be surprised how often guys lie simply to protect a girl’s feelings and I’m sure that works vice-versa as well. This is of course just your typical little white lies, the other kind of lying that we all know about is a different story altogether. If a guy thinks he can get away with lying, cheating and stealing then he’ll probably continue to do it, you’d be surprised at how quickly lying can become a habit as opposed to a one-off. On a more general level, learn to know when your guy is lying (he will have a tell) and nip it in the bud before it escalates. Don’t be a bunny boiler about it though, we aren’t always lying – believe it or not.

3. “Once a cheater always a cheater” This one drives me crazy, I cannot stress enough how much I wholeheartedly disagree with this. People change, people grow up! Obviously I don’t condone cheating but people do learn from their mistakes. I’ve known guys who’ve cheated and continue to cheat with numerous different women, it’s a sad fact of life, but I also know guys who were so wracked with guilt from cheating that they couldn’t eat or sleep for days and wouldn’t dare go near another woman ever again. It’s down to personal choice whether you forgive a cheater or not but when making that decision don’t assume that he will always cheat. Just keep a casual eye on him – time will soon tell if you’ve made the right decision.

4. Our feelings don’t get hurt. Definitely not true. Even the biggest, buffest guy in the gym can be a delicate little flower inside. Guys don’t express feelings very well but don’t mistake this for being made of stone. Sometimes we’re just as insecure as women. I’ve written in detail about this before but more recently I did a small photoshoot for a friend and you’d be surprised at just how much a good quality camera can reveal your every flaw. I almost cried myself to sleep that night – big softie that I am.

5. We hate all of your friends. Not true at all we just hate when you’re in a group together! I have this ex and individually I loved every one of her friends, but as a group? Don’t get me started! There are few words to explain the frustration of a man having to spend an evening with a group of hyperactive, babbling, ranting women. Yes we’ll be gents, keep quiet and politely listen to every one of your meaningless conversations about “that bitch from work” but sorry girls we just don’t want to be there – please don’t make us be.

So girls, yes we’re far from perfect but don’t always believe what you read and be wary of the words of a woman scorned. People can only speak of their own experiences but not everyone or every circumstance is the same. Try your best to be a good judge of character and never be afraid to ask questions. Failing that just come and ask me – I promise I’m not only after one thing (but I do not want to meet your friends).

PTB

Dumped? The Fast Track Guide To Getting Over It

Let’s face it break-ups suck. There’s nothing worse than that overwhelming numbness in your stomach, forcing yourself to watch ‘The Notebook’ for the hundredth time and of course your sudden lack of interest in all things nutritional but it doesn’t have to be this way. I myself have been there, the skinny emo kid crying in the rain secretly believing life is a movie and that she will indeed come running back into my arms. Sadly there are few situations I haven’t found myself in, here’s my guide to coping with a break-up without resorting to a rendition of  “Hey there Delilah” outside her bedroom window.

dawson_cryingDay 1: The toughest day of all. It’s still raw, you have a lot of unanswered questions in your head and you’re craving answers but whatever the situation, trust me when I say turn your phone off! As someone who has been both the dumper and the dumpee, giving each other space is vital. The worse thing you can do is continue pestering someone when they so clearly need a bit of space. This also applies if you are trying to win someone back, let them miss you! Cry, there’s no shame in it. Let it all out, we’re only human and break-ups hurt, cry as much as you need to but the second you stop, look in the mirror and laugh at the state of your face. Laughing is an amazing cure for most things in life.

Day 2: So yesterday was tough, really tough, but you got through it. Things still wont be easy but you need to shake yourself off and at least attempt to be positive. Make a playlist. We’ve all been there, when that one song that reminds you of your ex comes on, the one you used to lie in bed together listening to, planning a lifetime of memories. Sadly this too is now a memory, don’t let this happen or you’ll find yourself back at the beginning of day one. Listen to all the music in the world but be strict with yourself, stick to positive, uplifting songs, nothing slow, depressing or romantic and under no circumstances are you to listen to Adele! I personally recommend old school rap, you may find yourself shaking your butt in the mirror at a time when even getting out of bed seemed impossible.

Worn_Sneaker(3)Day 3: Time to get the running shoes on. The benefits of even a ten minute run are incredible. Clear your mind, get David Guetta booming on your ipod and just run! It worked for Forrest Gump (without the Guetta) and it worked for me. I pounded the pavements like a marathon runner almost every day. Do not stay in bed!

Day 4: Spend time with friends and family. It’s important to remember there are other people in your life, people who love you and actually want to spend time with you. Avoid the subject of relationships. If your a guy moan about the football, laugh at your mates dodgy new tache and if your a girl ask your gal pals ‘omg, what is she wearing?’ Or if you’re like me, do all of the above.

Day 5: Remember all those things you wanted to do but couldn’t because your partner drank your money away last weekend? Well here’s your chance, have some you time. Now more than ever is when you’re allowed to be selfish. Treat yourself! It’s been a difficult few days and you probably need a little pick-me-up. Go and buy that leather jacket you wanted or those sickeningly expensive shoes, you deserve it. Or even better get a makeover, a new haircut for a new you.

Day 6: Keep busy.  Occupy yourself, it wont always stop you from thinking about your ex but it’ll certainly help. Take evening classes, learn to cook, remember how they used to complain? The world is your oyster, you’re a talented person you just never had the time to show it.

tumblr_mb3bd08Tjs1qe1a2ao1_500Day 7: Let your frustrations out. Possibly one of the most important days of all. It’s time to let it all out again but crying is a little too morbid at this point. Be a badass, hit the gym and hit that punch bag harder than you’ve ever hit anything in your life. Show them what you’re made of, it’s a release that can be just as good as sex.

Day 8: Delete the photos. You knew this day was coming but you’ve already proven how strong you are, rip the band aid. Once it’s done it’s done. We both know looking at them was only making things worse. Your focus is positivity remember!

Day 9: Let’s be honest you haven’t been eating all that well this past week, it’s time to give your body a break. Go to your favourite restaurant and order your favourite meal, do not stop eating until your shirt is literally popping buttons! Trust me your newly visible ribcage says you need it.

black-and-white-cute-fashion-happy-photography-Favim.com-137587_largeDay 10: Plan ahead. You may still have dark days from time to time but your over the worst and by this point you know what works for you. Try and remind yourself of your ex’s bad points, of your good points and of all the opportunities at your disposal as a result of being single. Be grateful for the good times you shared but trust that everything happens for a reason and that eventually, you will meet someone else. Focus on your career, book a holiday, just be you again. Life could be worse.

PTB Meets Heart Radio's Charlie O'Brien

Radio Presenter and Popular Culture blogger Charlie O’Brien holds the enviable feat of finding career success and the man of her dreams along the way. I recently caught up with the lovely woman herself to get her career tips and find out just what makes the perfect guy?

Hi Charlie, congratulations on your successful career so far, what advice would you give to anyone looking to break into the media industry? WORK EXPERIENCE, WORK EXPERIENCE, WORK EXPERIENCE! As unfair as the thought of unpaid work may seem – I think it’s the only real way into the media. You don’t really see media jobs advertised, so you need another ‘in’ to the industry. I must have done about 3 years unpaid work in total, and have to sometimes! Work experience DOESN’T mean going to sit in a radio/tv station or newspaper for a morning though and thinking you’re qualified. We had a teenage girl who sat in on our radio show for 2 hours the other day. After her 4th cup of tea she announced “well I can now add radio to my list of work experience!!” No! Real work experience is getting your hands dirty, staying late, being willing to do anything and everything and not turning down any opportunity. Oh and making the tea. (Good tea, not stuff that looks like dirty dishwater with bits floating on top). Also in this age of amazing technology – take advantage of it! Write a blog, start a Youtube channel, a Soundcloud account. It’s all there for you, waiting!

You’ve obviously landed some pretty high profile gigs in recent times, what have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in getting to this stage of your career? There have been lots – right from funding my way through two universities and then starting out in journalism on a pittance, to trying to prove myself as a female. I think the media industry is still fairly biased towards men. Women have to work harder. Reinventing yourself is also a challenge. I started out life as a news journalist. I had to work hard to prove that I could make the move to lighter presenting and be funny after people were used to me being serious. I hope I’ve achieved that.

You’ve been with boyfriend Jay for 2 and a half years now, what set him apart from other men? He’s real! And just the loveliest, most uncomplicated person I’ve ever met. We’d both had enough of awful, destructive relationships when we met – and were in the same place emotionally. It’s cheesy, but he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I adore him. Hopefully it’s reciprocated!

CHARLIE AND JAY MALLORCA How did you two meet? On twitter! We work for the same company so we knew of each other – but one day out of the blue I got a tweet saying “hey fellow breakfast presenter, how are you?” and the rest is history! Although he likes to tell people that I tweeted him first. It was definitely him!

Who was your teen crush? Mark Owen, Andre Agassi and Marti Pellow. You couldn’t see my bedroom walls for posters.

What is your idea of the perfect first date? Again, cheesy, but mine and Jay’s first date was perfect. A sunny evening, drinking wine out on the pavement in a restaurant just off Regent’s Street, followed by dinner, then dancing and one or two jaegar bombs!

Any ‘deal-breakers’? Good teeth, good conversation and even better sense humour.

What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on? Is it weird to say this – but I haven’t really been on many dates?! There was one guy who was obsessed with hummus … maybe that counts!

What are your thoughts on internet dating and the increasing popularity of apps such as Tinder? The world and technology has moved forward, so why shouldn’t dating move with it? I know a girl who recently married a man she met from a dating site. It can work. I’m slightly disturbed by Tinder though. I don’t like the idea that you can dismiss someone in one swipe. It makes people very disposable. I’m an old romantic – and Tinder doesn’t seem very romantic to me. But if it works for you, go for it.

What advice would you give to any women out there still searching for Mr Right? Don’t give up – it happens when you least expect it. A week before I met Jay, I said to my mum “I’m giving up. I’m never going to meet Mr Right or get married and have babies, it just isn’t happening for me.” 3 months later I was moving into a gorgeous flat with the love of my life!

How important is physical attraction in a relationship? I think physical attraction is important, especially initially. Let’s face it, you’re not going to get through the tougher spells if there was no attraction there to start with. But it’s only one part of a much wider picture. Being great friends, having the same values and wanting the same things out of life is just as important in my opinion.

Do you think our perceptions of love and what we look for in a partner change as we get older? Definitely! In my teens and twenties I used to think it all had to be hearts and flowers, like The Notebook. But as you get older those priorities change. Feeling safe with someone is very important to me now after bad past relationships and feeling a sense that you’re a team and working through life together. When you get to your 30’s and want to settle down I think it’s more usual to look towards your parents perhaps and how they made it work, or maybe didn’t. You have a clearer, less cluttered vision of what you want. But hearts and flowers is still good occasionally too of course 😉

Finally, how will you be spending the rest of your summer? Working on the radio, blogging, working on my joint radio and media ventures with my partner jay, all topped off with a week on our favourite island, Mallorca in September. I can’t wait!

You can catch Charlie on Heart Breakfast in Kent, Monday-Friday 6am-10am. Charlie is also a fellow blogger check her out at realgirlramblings.com and also see her vlogging with partner Jay at www.youtube.com/user/JkCharlieShouldWe

and….

Lastly, Charlie is an ambassador for The Children’s University, check out the amazing work they do at www.childrensuniversity.co.uk

*For bookings contact sue@chasemanagement.co.uk