Feb – The Month of Love or Bleugh?

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Valentines’ day is fast approaching.

The shops are filled with red and pink gifts and cards – cute teddies adorning the words ‘I heart you’, small over priced boxes of chocolates and beautiful flowers that you’ll need to take a loan out to buy.

Most people tend to fall into the ‘love it’ or ‘loathe’ it camp. As a teenager and in my early 20’s I LOVED it. I would spend weeks thinking about how to make the day special when faced with a serious lack of spends….particularly when i had my first love at 16. I used to do the things all the magazines tell you to do like made homemade gifts. Have you ever tried to make a homemade gift? Mine have always been crap but hey, it’s the thought that counts right? ;)

As I’ve got older I have still always enjoyed Valentine’s day, whether I’ve been in a relationship or single, and I’ve had an equal share of both.

When I was single I enjoyed getting a card and spending the day together. When I was single I often spent it with friends. One particular Valentine’s Day when I was about 28 around 10 of us got together and arranged an anti valentine’s meal. It was really just an excuse to go out but we enjoyed a great meal at an Italian in Bloomsbury followed by drinks and laughed the night away. Such find memories of that night.

If you’re not bothered about Valentine’s Day then it will come and go without a second thought. If however you’re single (and don’t want to be) it can be a bit crappy but…..it doesn’t have to be! There are tons of events going on, get your friends together, host your own dinner party, get drunk, stay sober and watch movies – do whatever you want to do, own your life and make it bloody amazing!

Much Love

 

CarolineSignature

 

 

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1 Week Wedding Countdown!

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Nealy 1 year ago Christian proposed to me.

I’m not sure where the time has gone but what I do know is that I should have spent some of it doing a bit more planning haha!

The main stuff is all sorted: Registrar? Check. Venue? Check. Food? Check. Booze? Check.  What else do we need?! ;)

Christian went to get his suit LAST WEEK. That’s right, less than 2 weeks before the wedding he declares ‘well, i suppose i should start shopping for a suit’. Meanwhile my mum had been almost passing out that he hadn’t got one yet, but that’s what happens when you marry a laid back Canarian. Christian was brought up and lived in Gran Canaria till he was around 28 and he is very much the chilled, cool, calm and collected kind of person who has spent much of their upbringing on the beach. This morning waiting for the train at Petts wood station at 5:30am i think he was hankering for island life ;)

Now it’s the final bits and bobs that need to be sorted before a full on ‘wedding week’.

Next week I am having my hair and makeup trial just 2 days before the wedding ekkkk! As we are getting married in the Cotswolds we just couldn’t fit it in earlier. We also have a pre shoot with our photographer as well as shopping for food for the pre wedding mixer, meeting with our wedding planner, putting some decorations up at the venue and greeting all our family and friends who will be staying on site and in cottages nearby. It’s going to be a jam packed and fun weekend!

It’s exactly 1 week today until the wedding. People pre warned me that I would get nightmares. Pffft i thought. Lets just say i woke up at 3am sweating that photographer hadn’t turned up ;)

Working as matchmaker on everyone elses love stories it makes a lovely change to be working on my own :)

Here’s to my last week of freedom – haha!

 

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Euro Dating Awards 2016 Launch

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The Euro Dating Awards are launching this year and it is going to be AMAZING!

You won’t have missed my post about the UK Dating Awards (You did? Go take a read here!) and what an incredible opportunity it is for everyone in the dating industry to come together, network and celebrate the best in the industry as well as the new up and comers.

The dating industry is a booming business and everyone is alwyas trying to create the ‘next big thing’, who knows what it will be?

The problem with this wacky and wonderful industry is that ther eis little regulation (though this is imporving) and aside from that, how do you know where to spend your hard earned cash and time? There are so many choices to choose from – apps, online dating sites, matchmakers, singles events and mixers and everything in between. The awards were created by Charly Lester to help users of dating services make a more informed choice about which datign services they use.

This year it’s not just about the UK Dating Awards though, 2016 will see the first ever Euro Dating Awards taking place in Amsterdam at Rode Hoed on May 12th.

The categories are:

  • Online Dating Brand of the Year
  • Datigng App of the Year
  • Dating Expert of the Year
  • Dating Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Matchmaking Agency of the Year
  • Best New Dating App
  • Best Niche Dating Site
  • Best White Label Dating Site
  • Best New Dating Individual
  • Innovation on the Dating Industry
  • Safer Dating Award
  • Best Dating Related Marketing Campaign
  • Best Customer Service

If you would liek to enter then you can do so now by visiting the Euro Dating Awards website. Remeber, you’ve got to be in it to win it ;)

I am delighted to be on the judging panel for the awards as Head Judge and I can’t wait to read your entry!

See you in Amsterdam!

 

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Must Read Article: Single & Surrounded by a Wall of Men

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Occasionally I read an article that I think ‘I must share’ and this is one of those. First published online for the New York Times and written by Susan Gelles, a lawyer who worked way too hard, she shares her journey of dating. Check out the original article here or or keep reading below. Grab yourself a tea and a few biscuits too ;)

Sometimes I play a kind of shivery game in which I think about how different my life would be if I had made other choices. One thing leads to an unforeseeable other.

After spending my 20s as a would-be musician, I attended law school in New York City. I graduated owing about $100,000 in student loans. Luckily, I found a job at a terrific but demanding law firm, where I was assigned to share an office with an associate named Daniel.

Daniel and I bonded as soldiers who share a trench during wartime do. We were both shy, but working together on days, nights and weekends has a way of breaking down reserve. He would send me fake emails from terrifying law partners, and I’d jump out of empty offices and startle him.

We had no romantic connection, but we talked each other through our relationship messes. We agreed that socializing in unstructured settings was particularly frightening. Thus, we hid in our office and avoided the firm’s weekly cocktail hour. The prospect of schmoozing with unfamiliar co-workers put us both in a defensive crouch.

But even the best of wartime alliances eventually weaken. After three years, Daniel left the firm and moved to another city. It took me another two years to pay off my loans. About five seconds later I fled the battlefield and joined the legal department of a slower-paced publishing company.

I gathered my courage and signed up for a singles event run by a group that held regular mixers. I was 37, at my life’s midpoint, and it looked like a dull, downward slide from where I stood. So I squashed my misgivings and showed up at the next mixer.

It had nine attendees — five men and three other women besides me. We each spoke about ourselves into a microphone. Then came the part I always hated: the mingling. The event’s organizer gave the usual admonishments. None of us were to be rude. If someone approached us, we should talk to them for at least a minute.

Chairs scraped and we rose. I spotted an attractive guy and approached him. He beamed, came toward me and then swerved to speak with the woman he really had in mind. I saw a second guy and scooted over.

“Hi there!” I said.

“Sorry,” he replied, and kept walking.

I left, vowing never to attend a singles mixer again. I emailed Daniel, who wrote back that the same group was sponsoring another mixer in a month, and I should go. Ha ha, I thought. I began to research single-parent adoption and signed a contract for a small co-op apartment.

One Friday afternoon some weeks later, I was sitting at my desk at my blessedly quiet job. Here no one urgently needed a memo summarizing legal research. No one expected me to work that night. This was peacetime lawyering.

I decided to clean out my email inbox. And there it was: Daniel’s email about the singles mixer. The event would start at 6 that very evening in Midtown Manhattan.

I was dressed in a flannel shirt, jeans and sneakers. But what did it matter? I wouldn’t meet anyone. And who needed love anyway? Then again, maybe it would be fun. But wouldn’t I have to talk to people? I can leave at any time, I reminded myself.

This mixer had about 80 attendees, who sat on chairs in the meeting room of a high school. It took an hour to pass around the microphone. I scribbled notes of what certain men said about themselves: This one was a contractor who liked Shakespeare, that one was a lawyer who liked opera.

Then came the dreaded mingling. An angry-looking man stomped over and demanded to know how I was doing. Moments later, another man, this one with a fixed grin, asked what kind of movies I liked.

The mingling was to last for 30 minutes, but I couldn’t pretend to be perky and relaxed for that long. If I didn’t leave soon, I’d start telling inappropriate personal stories, such as the one about the nun in elementary school who told me I’d never amount to anything because I spoke so softly. After I chatted with a few more men, none of whom interested me, I hurried out to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall.

Why was I putting myself through this again? It was exhausting. Maybe love was overrated. Maybe love was just what people claimed to feel for anyone who’d put up with them. I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes. I could hear the chatter of women, turning on faucets, flushing toilets. I’ll just wait here, I thought, until the mingling is over. Then I’ll go back and see if anyone has written down my ID number as someone they’d like to date.

I returned to the meeting room, only to discover that the mingling session wasn’t quite done. Immediately the lawyer who liked opera positioned himself in front of me. He was immaculately dressed in a suit, his dark hair clipped short, his brown eyes penetrating. Meanwhile, I could have played the part of the stablehand who groomed his horse.

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“Hi!” I said. “I remember you. You’re a lawyer.”

“Yes,” he said, and his face remained a closed door.

“I’m a lawyer, too. I used to be a litigator. Now I’m in-house at a publishing company. What kind of law do you practice?”

“Real estate,” he said flatly.

“Ah. And you like opera. What period do you most like, or what composer?”

His expression eased just a bit. “I like Puccini.”

A dim memory came to me of sitting in a music library a decade earlier, listening to an opera that I thought was terrible. “I remember listening to ‘Tosca’ once, years ago,” I said. “It was so overblown.”

A rather long pause ensued. Somewhere behind the lawyer, organizers urged people to take their seats.

“‘Tosca’ is my favorite opera,” the lawyer said.

It was all so deliciously awful: the mingling, how I was dressed, the futility of trying to meet anyone. Even when I tried to show interest in a person, I unwittingly flung an insult instead.

I couldn’t help it: I laughed. “I’m sorry,” I said. “It was probably a scratchy recording. Or I was in a grumpy mood that afternoon.”

“No doubt,” the lawyer said.

All of us took our seats, dutifully wrote down the ID numbers of people we liked and handed in our scorecards. Then we waited for the computer to sort the results.

I matched with the lawyer, whose name was Richard. A week later, we enjoyed a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant. Richard wore another impeccable suit, and I wore a dress. I asked him, “If you hadn’t talked with me during the mingling session, would you still have written down my ID number?”

“Oh, no,” he said. “I would never date someone I hadn’t at least spoken with first.” He tilted his head, remembering. “It was hard to get to you that evening.”

Yes, I thought, because I was hiding in the bathroom.

“You were surrounded by men,” he continued.

You poor deluded one, I thought.

“I had to get through a wall of men,” he said.

I decided to opt for honesty. “There was no wall of men.”

“Yes,” he insisted, “there was!”

“I was hiding in the bathroom,” I said.

“There was a wall of men.”

That’s probably the beginning of love: when you see someone in a way that defies reality, but which makes perfect sense to you.

On our second date, we went to the Metropolitan Opera and saw “Tosca.” We emerged with the throngs into a crisp autumn night. The side streets were almost empty, though, and the two of us strolled along, talking excitedly about how evil Scarpia was, and the terrible fate that befell Cavaradossi.

“It’s nice of you to forgive me for insulting your favorite opera,” I said.

Richard gave an amiable shrug. “At least you’d heard of it.”

As we walked, we held hands and talked about musicals. Somehow we found ourselves back by the now-deserted fountain in front of the opera house. It was midnight.

“Sing something by Rodgers and Hart,” I said.

Richard considered. “I’m wild again,” he sang. “Beguiled again. A simpering, whimpering child again.”

Two years later, we married. More than a decade after that, we’re the parents of 10-year-old twin boys.

When I ask myself how I managed to get so lucky, I think: Because my life in music didn’t work out. Because I went to an expensive law school even though I had no money. Because I needed a well-paying job. Because the law firm assigned me Daniel as an officemate. Because Daniel sent me that email reminder.

But most crucial, I think, is that I stopped hiding in the bathroom before it was too late.

 

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How to Find Love in 2016

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Wow where did that go?

In the blink of an eye 2015 came and went and here we are embarking on a new year.

The New Year is often a time for reflection (and the back to work blues – we know, it’s painful!). It’s a time for thinking about what you have achieved over the past year, the people you have met, the good times and laughs you’ve shared, as well as those moments of sadness.

It can be all too easy to focus on what didn’t go right. What didn’t happen for you in 2015. But life is all about balance. Without those low moments you wouldn’t fully appreciate the highs. We often get lost in the ‘big events’. In other words did you get a promotion at work? Fall in love? Buy a house? Get married? Travel the world? For many of us these things happen rarely yet it’s often what we hang a ‘successful year’ on.

Think of all the small, yet profound things that happened in 2015

The lovely people you met on dates that restored your faith that yes, there are awesome people out there. The new friends you made. Projects successfully completed under your belt at work. Taking up, or at least trying something you’ve always wanted to do …even if you find out you aren’t so keen on it after all (hello running!). The times you put yourself out your comfort zone. Whatever it may be, not matter how big or small, celebrate it. That’s life. Every day, normal life that doesn’t always go to plan, but which shapes our life.

As people turn their thoughts to making 2016 the best year yet, we find that for many of our members this will mean making this the year they find love. Already we have received countless emails and phone calls from people who had a great Christmas, but who want to be sharing it with someone next year. Does this sound like you? Then please indulge me in a few minutes more to share with you a few thoughts I have on making this a reality and how to find love in 2016.

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Be loving, genuine and kind

At the end of 2015 I could feel that people everywhere were flagging. They were tired after a long year, ready for a break and were feeling frustrated and to be honest, a bit grumpy. Yes, love can happen at any time but it’s much more likely to happen when you are in a place of kindness. Where you value someone’s time and company. You take the time to listen and get to know them – not making snap judgements. Where you give freely and always act in a loving manner.

Last year an article appeared in the press about a guy who let down a woman via text. It was funny, to the point but polite and would no doubt leave her feeling good even if she was disappointed it wasn’t going to go further. This was news because it was a rarity. How sad is that? Kindness and sincerity cost nothing, throw it around like it’s going out of fashion. After all, when does anyone say they want to go on a date with someone who is grumpy, bitchy and a moaning? Nobody!

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Be truthful with yourself about what you really want

If you do 1 thing this week please let it be this. Spend some time thinking about what is really important for you in a relationship. I don’t mean how the person looks, or what they do for a living. I’m talking about what a happy, loving and lasting relationships looks like for you. We hear our fair share of ‘he’s got to be really tall, earn great money, live in the right part of town and have loads of time for me’. I’ll be honest, it wears a little thin. You could have the tallest, richest person living in the most affluent street in London chasing you but if he is a horrible person and treats you like crap you’re not going to be happy. Sorry but it has to be said! We aren’t living in a Disney movie (though my gosh I wish we were sometimes – I love Disney!).

Think instead of how they make you feel. How they respect and value you as a person. Think of what it means to be in a 100% trusting, safe, loving relationship with someone who will be there for you after a crappy day at work. Someone who will challenge you, introduce you to new things. Someone who will both teach and learn from you.

Life is here to be enjoyed and if you want to spend your life searching for ‘tall’ or ‘slim’ then that’s up to you. But wouldn’t it be a lot more fun with someone who cracks you up laughing?

Love isn’t guaranteed. None of us enter this world with a certainty that we will find love, a soul mate, ‘the one’. But love is out there, there are millions of people all searching for the same thing. Be open minded, be kind and give your all.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and love filled year.

 

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Matchmaker Academy Grads Shine at UK Dating Awards

Matchmaker Academy graduates at UK Dating Awards
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Two weeks ago the very best in the dating industry gathered together for the UK Dating Awards.

There were 17 awards ranging from Best Dating App to Dating Writer of the Year to Innovation within the dating industry and I was honoured to be the Head Judge (thank you for asking me Charly!).

Matchmaker Academy graduates were finalists in several categories and I am absolutely delighted to announce that the winner of the Newcomer Individual Award went to none other than Matchmaker Academy graduate Tara McDonnell from South Downs Introductions...

Do you think Tara was happy with her award? We reckon so! The Highly Commended in the same category went to the fabulous Denise Mcnally from Soiree Society.

 

A huge WELL DONE to both Tara and Denise and their respective matchmaking companies. One year ago neither were matchmaking, now they’re taking to the stage at the biggest dating industry event of the year! Click here to see a full list of the UK Dating Awards winners.

The celebrations lasted long into the night and it was great to see so many Academy graduates partying the night away, here’s a few of our favourite photos from the night and you can see all the photos from the night on the UK Dating Awards Facebook page.


From L-R: graduate Nora, matchmaker Lydia from Mutual Attraction, graduate Rich, guest speaker and judge Katy and Caroline matchmaker and head judge (me!)

 


L-R: Denise celebrating her Highly Commended award, Charly founder of the awards and Claire, founder of Soiree Society

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Denise and Claire rocking the red carpet
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Announcing the winner!
Want to watch the opening video from this years awards? Check it out here: UK Dating Awards Intro VideoOnce again a big WELL DONE to all the matchmakers who were finalists and winners at this years awards. If you’re sat there thinking about matchmaking, remember that it all starts with 1 step. Both Tara and Denise joined me on the June Matchmaker Academy Bootcamp and I cannot wait to see how far they will go!Hope to see you there next year :)
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How To Turn Someone Down Politely

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Ever been on a date then heard nothing? Frustrating!!

It doesnt take a genius to work out they’re not that into you if they don’t contact you again but if you had fun together it can leave a sour taste when they suddenly go awol.

I sit firmly in the camp that you a) you don’t need to go awol b) you can let someone down politely and c) people actually appreciate it!

This week a story hit the news about a guy who sent his date ‘Erin’ a message following their date. He told her that despite her not being the one for him, she was a great person and he hoped that if they were ever to bump into each other again they would say hello. He did it with charm, humour and was honest whilst remaining ploite and kind. What a gent! It is the perfect example of how to turn someone down politely.

It’s a shame this made the enws because it shows what a rarerity it is. Come on people, dating doesn’t have to be horrible, let’s make it an enjoyable, or at the very least, plesent, experience for all.

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Are you frustrated when your date goes awol or do you prefer them to just slip away – and from your memory too ;) Would you prefer your date sent a text message like this? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Much love

CarolineSignature

 

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Matchmaker Academy Training Graduates

Matchmaker Academy Training Graduares
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Last month I hosted the Matchmaker Academy Bootcamp in london for trainee matchmakers.

What a weekend it was! The bootcamp is geared up for people who are ready to become a professional matchmaker and want to learn about the profession from matchmakers themselves.

On this training we had 3 great people join us – Rich, Charlotte and Nora. It is with great pleasure (and pride!) that i introduce you to the latest Matchmaker Academy training graduates….

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Charlotte recently set up ‘Bespoke Introductions’

 

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Rich is soon to launch his matchmaking business and also has an interest in business start ups

 

 

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Nora is seeking a role in the matchmaking industry

It was great to work with such enthusiastic and passionate people and I’m excited to watch them grow and develop into successful matchmakers.

We were also joined by our guest speakers throughout the weekend – Charly Lester, Laura Yates, Saskia Nelson and Katy Horwood all of whom shared their experiences of the UK dating industry and words of wisdom with the group. Of course a special thanks goes to my co host of the weekend matchmaker Lydia Davis.

It was apparent during the bootcamp that this is the time for matchmakers. NOW. The services we offer are wanted and needed all over the country. Think you have what it takes to be a professional matchmaker? Then join us on our next training in Spring 2016…..date to be released in the new year!

See you next time!

 

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Dating Apps Linked to HIV Increase

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The increased popularity of dating apps on smartphones may be partly to blame for the rise in HIV infection , it has been claimed in a Unicef report. 

An article published in the Mirror delves into the research which argues that the advent of online dating means opportunities for sex with strangers has exploded, resulting in an increased risk of infection.

“The explosion of smart phone gay dating apps has expanded the options for casual spontaneous sex as never before – mobile app users in the same vicinity (if not the same street) can locate each other and arrange an immediate sexual encounter with a few screen touches.” States the report, Adolescents Under the Radar.

The report highlghts not just gay dating apps, but apps and online dating sites across the board.

What do I make of the study and results? Firstly any increase in HIV is worrying and I can only hope sex education has improved since I was at school. It’s all to easy to dismiss the issue by saying ‘of course people know to use protection’ the fact is though, it’s not that obvious for everyone. There will always be those who risk and gamle but equally there are too many people out there who simply do not understand the risks. Despite the glum headline though, the report did say that dating apps and websites are turning a corner and helping promote safe sex and are taking more acocuntability in promoting safe sex to their users.

We can blame online dating and apps for the rise in HIV but it’s not the cause

We as individuals are responsible for our actions. Simply by using a dating site we are not forced into having sex with someone and it is our decision whether or not precautions are taken. It all comes back to education and we are simply not doing enough.

Back when I was a manager of Children’s Centres we offered a 6 week course to parents about how to talk to their children about sex (it was a few hours a week not 6 full weeks – that would have been intense!!), I took the course with a group of parents and it amazed me how little I knew! Seriously! I like to think i’m a smart woman, most of the time anyway, but there was so much I had to learn. It wasn’t just me either, intelligent parents who found them questionning themselves ‘how the hell did I not know this’?!

So to me this study doesn’t show that dating apps and websites are dangerous, it highlights our need for better education not just for children and young people, but adults too. Even the so called ‘smart ones’ ;)

Stay happy, stay safe.

 

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Are Women Too Picky?

Are women to picky when it comes to finding a partner?
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Ouch. What a headline eh?

Are women too picky when searching for a partner?

A friend forwarded me the link to an article by Telegraph journalist Martin Daubney where he describes why he, and research, shows that women are being far too picky when finding a partner. What is the result of these picky women he asks?

“When, approaching 40, they decide they’re ready to compromise for somebody who isn’t that FTSE100 CEO after all, they’re surprised that many men aren’t ready to jump at the chance to have kids in the next six months.” ~ Martin Daubney.

Double Ouch. Only, with a heavy heart, I have to agree with the article that SOME women are missing out on finding genuine love because their standards are impossibly high for a mere mortal to live up to. They have put their dream man on a pedastal. Only it’s so high not even he can reach it. Equally there are many women, many of whom I have the pleasure of working with, who are incredibly open minded and willing to take the chance to find love. From my experience, these are the woman who usually find it….

So what do you think, are modern day women too picky? Or has Deaubney got women all wrong?

Read the full article here: Are Today’s Women Too Picky For Their Own Good?

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