Have Your Say – The UK Dating Awards

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As you know, this November the first UK Dating Awards are taking place and we need YOUR help.

To make the public vote as fair and demographic as possible, the awards will be judged in a lot of different ways across the next 3 weeks.

This is your chance to have your say!  We want your opinion. We have 2 questions for you:

Question 1 – Which is your favourite dating website?

a) Christian Connection
b) Guardian Soulmates
c) Just Singles
d) Lovestruck
e) Mature Love
f) Muddy Matches
g) My Single Friend
h) Smooch

Question 2 – Which is you favourite advert out of the following?

1)

Print

 

2)

meet someone worth meeting

 

3) lovestruck

 

 

4)

 

How to Vote

To cast your private and confidential vote all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog.

Thank you so much, your vote matters!

Cx

 

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Happy 10th Birthday My Single Friend

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Online dating website ‘My Single Friend’ turns 10 years old!

The brain child of property developer Sarah Beeny, My Single Friend (MSF) is the online dating website where friends write your profile, after all, who knows us better than our closest buddy’s?

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To celebrate they threw a birthday bash at Fable bar near St Pauls, with cakes, treats and lots of lovely people, including a couple I loved getting to know who had met on the site.

A Love Story

Not only did they meet on the site but she emailed him first (girl after my own heart). After their first date he didn’t feel the elusive spark so text her saying it was a nice evening but he didn’t think it would go anywhere. Her response back? ‘That’s a shame, i really enjoyed the evening but best of luck’. Fortunately for this amazing couple, his friend gave him a talking to and told him not to be so silly, fireworks rarely happen after 1 night (unless it’s a movie!) and so long as you’re having fun, give it a second date. So he did. And the second date became a third date and then a fourth and so on. He admitted that he didn’t pick up a ‘vibe’ for quite a few dates but when he did…he got it bad!

Open Mind, Open Heart

Needless to say they are now happy, in love and married. They were such an open minded, level headed couple who clearly adored one another. I wish them all the love and happiness in the world and hope that you can take from their story that love doesn’t always come all singing and dancing. Don’t expect expect ‘the one’ to appear with a shimmer halo. Give it a chance, it may well be the best thing you ever do.

All my love

Cx

 

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Why We Crave Love – The Brain in Love

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Why do we crave love?

What a million dollar question! It’s also one that Dr Helen Fisher and her team set about answering.

In the video below Dr Fisher describes the study which involved MRI scans of those recently dumped, and those happy in love for longer than 20 years in a quest to discover why we crave love.

What did the research find?

“Almost nobody gets out of love alive” ~ Dr Helen Fisher

– Love is deeply embedded in us.

– The part of our brain that really comes alive with love, was still going strong in couples in love.

– When we are dumped and heartbroken there is still intense brain action in the cells connected to romantic love and our reward system becomes more active because we can’t get what we want – love. There was also activity in the part of the brain associated with calculating and loses and the area connected to deep emotional attachment’s.  It’s no wonder breakups hurt so bad!

– Romantic love is one of the most powerful sensations on earth.

– Romantic love is an addiction, for example we focus on the person, crave them, distort reality, obsessively think of them are willing to risk life and limb to be with them.

– Romantic love has 3 main characteristics of addiction – tolerance, withdrawals and relapse.

– We are not the only ones who love, animals do to.

Why do we fall in love with one person and not another?

Dr Helen Fisher ends on the one big question she is currently researching – why do we fall in love with one person but not another?

As she goes on to say, we already know that similar intelligence and education levels, upbringing & socioeconomic background, the same general good looks and the same religious values play a part. But that’s it. That’s as far we know. So any matchmakers who tell you they use a ‘social technique to matchmake’ are fibbing….unless they happen to know something top scientists don’t ;-)

I’ve really just scratched the surface though, this 16 minute video is fascinating so please do take the time to watch, it pulls a whole different perspective on why we crave love, and finding it.

 

 

Thanks for watching and please share any thoughts you have in the comment section below.

Caroline x

 

 

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Great British Entrepreneur Awards

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The Great British Entrepreneur Awards Finalists have been announced…..

And I’ve only gone and made the shortlist! I couldn’t quite believe it, so much so I had to take myself off for an afternoon nap when I found out – now that’s how to celebrate rock n roll style  :lol:

The Natwest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, taking place on 19 November at Old Billingsgate in Central London, have become the recognised standard of excellence amongst entrepreneurs. Since their launch in 2013, the Awards have marked a new era for entrepreneurship in the UK and this year’s event is set to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution and inspiration provided by entrepreneurial businesses. The awards are sponsored by banking giant NatWest.

In other words, they celebrate the best of entrepreneurs across the UK and I am over the moon to be a finalist :-D

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the  economy. They question the received wisdom, drive  change and create opportunities. They  rescue failing industries and invent entirely new ones. They create jobs and solve problems. Entrepreneurs make something of nothing.”

Simon Burton, Founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

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The 2013 Great British Entrepreneur Awards Ceremony

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The Winners 2013!

I’m truly honoured to be a finalist and it’s another first – the first matchmaker and dating agency to ever becoming finalists! I think we should have it on a plaque on our doo, what do you reckon?!

Thanks for your support, you are amazing and have helped me get to this incredible place and I can’t thank you enough.

Caroline x

 

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Networking the Night Away….

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Last week I headed to a VIP networking event at All Bar One at the O2, just a short 2 minute tube ride away from my pad in Canary Wharf.

If you haven’t been to the O2 centre before I definitely recommend it. A great place to mooch around and it takes me back to holidays in America as it has a real American vibe going on. Even better it’s mainly inside so perfect for a rainy day. Aside from the actual concert venue there are tons of restaurants, a nightclub, cinema and bowling alley to keep you entertained on a date as well as plenty of bars – including All Bar One.

Part and parcel of being a matchmaker is networking. It goes hand in hand with the cupids bow and it’s part of the job I really enjoy. Even better, this event had lots of lovely things going on. With a welcome glass of bubbles in my hand I headed straight for the cocktail making where we were treated and tried our hands at all kinds of cocktails, the poor bartender couldn’t make them fast enough as the crowd appreciated his cocktail making skills rather too much :P

 

Cocktail Making Masterclass

Cocktail Making Masterclass

I struck up conversation with 3 guys and we headed for the wine tasting next. I know what you’re thinking – champagne, cocktails and now wine? It’s a hangover in a glass! As we were just tasting them it was only small glasses so no need for me to join AA just yet! The guys I chatted with were hilarious and they insisted I match the only single of them and of course how can I refuse? He’s 36, gorgeous, smart, funny and a really genuine guy. I’ve invited him for coffee next week so lets see what he’s like one on one. On to the wine tasting….

We did plenty of wine tasting and naturally I tasted the red, rose and white available…it was only to get a fair comparison of course ;)

Then it was time for more networking in between using the silly photo booth which brings out the child in all of us! I think these would be a great idea for singles events, cheesy yes but it did get people talking.

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Networking is the perfect opportunity to chat with lovely ladies and gents

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A magician got people chatting….who doesn’t love a good card trick?!

A band were playing in the background, canapés were being devoured by the hungry group and plenty of good conversations were taking place and smiles all round.

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Men in black tie? yes please!

Overall a fabulous event with lovely people. Whilst the downstairs looks very much the same as every All Bar One on the high street, the event space on the third floor is trendy, spacious and a very cool venue – perfect for a pre convert drink next time you’re at the O2!

Caroline x

 

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How To Stay Sane On Holiday With Your Partner

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The title of this post is a bit of a giggle really, but it’s amazing how many people have asked me ‘did you fall out at all?’ meaning Christian and I on our recent holiday.

Why would we fall out? We’re on holiday! I’m practically skipping everywhere i’m so happy – if we’re going to fall out it will be on a miserable November day when we’re both tired from work, it’s cold and we’re a bit grumpy. Not when i’m on a cruise around the Med sipping a pina colada 8-)

I got chatting with friends and they told me they usually end up having a row on holiday with their partner. Whether it’s a release of built up stress/life pressures releasing when you finally relax a little or the need to make the holiday ‘perfect’ – what is it that makes couples row when they should be enjoying a blissful break from reality? Whatever the root here are 3 mini tips for you to make the most of your holiday with your partner without so much as a cross word said:

1) Decide what you both want from the holiday

Are you wanting an action packed trip climbing mountains whilst he’s dreaming of sleeping in till noon? Before you go (and before you even consider booking) talk about what it is you want from the holiday. This is where compromise is key and you may want to plan a mix of chilled and active days to suit both your needs. For me, planning is one of the most enjoyable parts of a holiday aside from actually being there and it’s a great way to bond. Be open with one another, as always open communication will make sure you’re both on the same page.

2) Give yourself a bit of time apart

In day to day life it’s rare we spend every 24 hours with our partner, except for the weekend and even then we usually have friends and family milling around. Suddenly, on holiday you’re together all day everyday and it can get intense. Give yourself a bit of time apart. Book yourself into the spa for an afternoon of pampering, take your book to a quiet spot for a few hours chilling or wave him off as goes to play a round of golf. On our recent cruise I spent a blissful few hours watching the sea whilst C took a nap. When he fancied a salad and I wanted to laze in the sun he was more than happy to have relaxing lunch on his own. A bit of timeout from one another can do you both the world of good.

3) Plan for awesome not perfect

Your baggage goes missing, you forgot your favourite bikini, the flight is delayed or he has a tummy upset. There are a number of things that can happen on holiday, many of which you have no control over. Plan for perfect and you may be disappointed if something doesn’t go to plan. Rather than aiming for perfection, aim to have a fabulous time no matter what. If the weather is a wash out don’t throw a strop go dancing in the rain together, dig out the cards and grab a wine glass. Whatever happens you’re there to spend time together – enjoy it!

C and I had a great holiday but like the above, it certainly wasn’t perfect. Bar 2 sunny days it was overcast and chilly, we didn’t like the hotel in Barcelona and the flight going we had the worse turbulence ever – so much so I sat crying with a sick bag in front of me! Not the best start :-D Over all though we had a fab time together and I loved having some ‘tech free’ time – no emails, no beeping phone, no Facebook, it was bliss.

Here are a few pics from our Cruise on board Oasis of the Seas – the biggest cruise ship in the world!

Thanks for stopping by.

Caroline x

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It’s That Time Again….Top Matchmaker Award!

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Yep, that is a picture of my teddy, in bed, with my Top Matchmaker award – you are not seeing things!

I love Autumn don’t you? Cosy dates, long walks with leaves crunching underfoot and as the nights draw in it’s the perfect excuse (if one is ever needed!) to indulge in hot chocolate with a splash or two of rum!

It’s also dating award season and London is gearing up for a very exciting time. Not only do we have the first ever UK Dating Awards in November but it’s also the 5th annual idate awards which celebrate the very best matchmakers, dating coaches, dating websites and everything in between! The award ceremony is hosted in Vegas – could it be any more bling?!

Last year I was humbled to come out on top, voted the number 1 ‘Best Matchmaker’. I won the award in January and it was the start of a full on, exciting and really quite life changing year. Since becoming the official top dating agency & matchmaking service here in London, the big smoke, I’ve been invited to talk on tv, the radio and been interviewed and contributed to local and national press. It’s a real blast but also pretty terrifying – do I really sound like that in real life??!!!! :lol:

Top Matchmaker nominations now open – will you help?

I can hardly believe where the year has gone but the idate awards are open for nominations and I would love your help. If you love my work as a matchmaker, if you appreciate my dating advice here on the blog and in my weekly newsletter can I ask you a favour? Please nominate in this years idate awards, either for Best Matchmaker or Best Dating Coach.

What does it mean to me?

See the photo above? That’s my little teddy buddy Bruce hanging out with my award in my bed. Well, I don’t actually sleep there because the trophy takes pride of place. I sleep on a cold wooden floor so the trophy can be warm……nah just kidding hehe. Though you can imagine it might be true for some Hollywood actors :lol: Being nominated means the world for me so if you have a minute to spare please vote by clicking the image below and I will be eternally grateful, as I always am for your ongoing support…..

 

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Thank you

Caroline

xx

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Dating Photography At Its Best!

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Mutual Attractions lovely Alex

‘Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark’.

I love this and boy oh boy is it true and never more so when dating online. Whether you’re using the old hats of match or eHarmony to apps like Tinder and Luxy, your photo counts. Heck, in most cases it counts for much more than what you write! Whatever form of dating online (or matchmaking) that you’re doing, your profile is exactly the same – it’s all about selling yourself.

 

The hardest part? Getting your smile, personality and character across in a photo. Thank goodness then that dating photography is on the rise. Led by the awesome Saskia Nelson and her team of photographers at Saturday Nights Alright, they are the UKs dedicated dating photography service that is transforming how you look online. Forget cheesy poses. Forget bathroom selfies. Forget chopping your ex outta the photo. YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT!

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Why be boring when you can look like this!

 

When dating online you have just a few seconds to show off how fabulous you are. There are thousands of people on these sites and you need to stand out if you’re in for a chance of grabbing the attention of the people you want to attract. Aside from anything though, do yourself justice, make an effort, pull out the stops – a great photo will also give you an added confidence boost.

At my London dating agency, Mutual Attraction, we know all too well how important dating photography really is which is why all our memberships come with a shoot at Saturday Nights Alright and it’s a great way to kick off the matchmaking process!

My photo Shoot

I was thrilled when Saskia invited me for a shoot to try it out first hand and a few weeks back we hit the South bank, London for out shoot. First impression? At 4.30pm, there are a lot of people around! I soon got into the swing of it though and Saskia was fab at giving me some direction and not letting on when I looked like a wooden statute! All warmed up I started ‘striking a pose’ and what could be a better backdrop than the Agape love festival that was taking place – talk about good timing!

After the shoot Saskia edits the photos and what I love about them is that whilst they’re brushed up they are still natural…..and not a cheesy shot in sight! Here’s a few photos from my session….

 

 

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Saturday Nights Alright trademark look for the ladies

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Loving the colours

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A funky background gives the photo more character and edge

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Just chilling on some dusty ol’ steps!

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Smile for the camera

 

I LOVED my shoot, so much fun and whilst i’m not a dater myself I love having some photos which I actually like! if I were dating, you can bet your bottom dollar that I would be using one of these bright, colour popping pictures on my profile!

Saturday Nights Alright dating photography sessions start from as little at £80 including digital edited copies so no excuses to not look fabulous online!

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Dating at 29 Vs Dating at 31

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Oh yes I can relate to this!!

Have you ever had the urge to scream from the top of your lungs your frustration with dating? Are you pessimistic about finding ‘Mr Right’ when you were once a Disney fairy-tale loving, my prince is around the corner, kinda gal? Has your optimism given way to a general feeling of shittines? Then you will love this video on dating at 29 Vs dating at 31 by  Garfunkel and Oates - 2 female comedienne songwriters who have a way with words. You may also recognise one of them as Raj’s girlfriend from The Big Bang Theory ;)

What I love about the video is that it’s sort of true. When we hit the big ’30’ things change. There’s a shift from having a 2 to a 3 at the beginning of your age that puts the fear of God in even the coolest, most calm and collected woman. Friends start settling down at a rapid snowball effect pace and that endless supply of eligible men that were around in your 20s seems to be disappearing, vanishing into thin air.

Of course, it’s all dramatized and i’m first to say that age is nothing but a number, my clients are proof of that. But this video definitely made me think ‘oh yep’!

 

 

 

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How to Handle Pressure to Settle Down

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How to Handle Pressure to Settle Down

“Your turn next”

“I know this great guy, he hasn’t been on a date in 10 years but I think he’d be perfect for you”

“Look at your sister – wouldn’t you like to have a family like hers?”

“Don’t worry dear; it will happen for you one day”

“Better get a move on, that clock is ticking!”

Sound familiar?

From your recently loved up friends playing cupid to the magazine articles that inform you your chances of conceiving are dwindling at the speed of light, to the uncle/brother/ inebriated grandma who regularly points out the obvious as if it’s something you weren’t aware of – that you’re single. As a single woman, there is a lot of pressure to settle down. To get married. To have babies. To buy a house. To have a perfect little life. And a dog, the picture isn’t complete without a dog.

Basically, if you haven’t got a blown up black and white cheesy portrait photo of your happy family posing awkwardly in a studio adorning your wall – you’ve not made it.

It’s usually said in jest and not meant maliciously, not that that stops you from having an urge to test out your right hook on them! Well-meaning family and friends who are coupled up and in love want you to have the same. Family, particularly parents, want to see that you’re ‘taken care of’ and protected. They want to see you happy (yes of course, you can be completely happy and content single but you know where I’m coming from).

Sometimes it’s easy to brush off the comments and pressure to have someone to take home at Christmas. Other times the comments wriggle their way into your mind and heart. It can really hurt. You put on a brave face and a smile and laugh it off. You don’t want to tell them to stop as it’s making a big deal out of it, yet you begin to dread having to defend the fact you’re single. Even when you tell people you are HAPPY they give you that look. The one that says “sure you are, sure, we believe you”.

Even worse it doesn’t get better when you’re in a relationship. It’s merely replaced with when are you getting married?” Followed by when are you having kids?” which is then topped by “you better get a move on having baby #2 if you want them to play together.”

3 Tips for Handling Pressure to Settle Down

1. Communicate with those close to you

Before it gets to the point where a) it really upsets you b) you get snappy with them or c) you start to avoid being around them – talk to the family and friends making the comments. They probably think their old clichés are funny and don’t realise their jibes hurt or frustrate you. If they did and they love you, they wouldn’t dream of doing it. Don’t get grumpy but equally don’t laugh it off. Pull them aside and let them know you love that they care and want the best for you, but that their comments aren’t appropriate and that you shouldn’t have to justify your happiness. Give them a cuddle, they will feel suitably embarrassed (or laugh in off in awkwardness) and move on.

2. Remember it’s better to wait than settle

When you feel pressured into something, you’re more likely to rush into a decision you might not be ready to take. If you settle with someone because it’s convenient, because you feel you have to do what those around you are doing the chances of long terms happiness are slim. It’s better to hold off and know that you’re committing to someone for all the right reasons. Life is too short to settle.

3. Stay true to yourself

You might not believe in marriage. Perhaps babies aren’t on your radar. You would rather focus on your career right now. However you feel is what is right for you. Always stay true to what you believe in and how you want to live your life, it’s nobody else’s – it’s yours and yours alone. It’s easy to get swept along with the herd but if that’s not what will make you happy break away from the pack. Live YOUR dream, not someone else’s. Love is DEFINITELY (can I say that loud enough?) worth holding out for.

Handling pressure to settle down is something not just women face, but men to. Can we decide right here, right now, that we won’t ever say any of the comments at the beginning of this post to others? Aside from anything, you never truly know what’s going on in someone’s life. Be a friend, be a caring family member and strive to make people feel awesome about themselves.

Failing the above you can always start your very own mannequin family which is exactly what Suzanne Heintz did!

Caroline x

 

Psst! Are you a member of my awesome dating community? If you want free dating advice to your email each week then sign up here!

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