Matchmaker of The Year 2014

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Last Thursday was the first ever UK Dating Awards and what a night it was!

Dress finally sorted, shoes brought the night before (always last minute!) and blow dry and make up done at the brilliant Blow bar here in Canary Wharf and I was finally ready to go.

We started with pre drinks at Mcqueens bar in Shoreditch, just myself and a handful of girls to start the celebration off with a glass of champagne. With the Christmas tree up and lights twinkling it certainly got us warmed up and excited for the night ahead. I knew we were in for a great night.

At 7pm we headed to the Honorary Artillery Company (HAC) where the awards were held. How had I not noticed this building before? Absolutely stunning.

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We were greeted with a glass of champagne after walking the red carpet and whilst the girls were ushered to have their photo taken I took my spot ready for my live interview with TV Channel ‘London Live’. All I can say is thank gosh I had only had 1 glass of bubbles!

I babbled on at the presenter and my opening line is “we work with people under 50, so people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s” – are you glad I clarified that for you? ;-) You can check out the interview here: London Live Interview

It was now time to network and with over 270 of the UK’s dating professionals in the room it was a fabulous opportunity to connect with old friends and make new ones. From online dating websites, to dating platforms, matchmakers, singles event companies and many more it was awesome to see so many people gather together from the industry. What was even better was that is was a mixture of small, medium and large companies – nobody was left out. The awards were hosted by Rick Edwards who turned out to be quite a hit (sorry ladies he’s taken – I asked!).

But less talk more pictures which highlight the very best parts of the night. First off, the judges….

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The UK Dating Awards Judges

Now onto the night itself….

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Natalie from City Matchmaker and I first met at the Matchmakers training course, we were sat next to one another so lots of time to catch up.

 

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The gorgeous ladies from online dating website Strictly Dating who I blog for

It was then time to take our seats ready for the award ceremony and I was lucky to be sat with some of the most amazing people including members of the Mutual Attraction team, Saskia our photographer, Katy who blogs for the Metro and match.com, Natalie from City matchmaker, Sue from Elect Classic and we made new friends with the team from Table 8.

As the awards began it was clear we were a winning table. First Table 8 took the crown for Best Food & Drink Event. They arrange dinner parties for single people who want to dine at some of the top restaurants in London and meet interesting single people at the same time. Split evenly with men and women, they host either tables of 8 or 16 and from Hakkasan to Paramount, they go to all the top places.

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Lydia Davis from Table 8 glowing after collecting their well deserved award

Next up this happened……..

blogger of the year katy horwood

Well done Katy on being Blogger of the year AND Best Dating Blog

Katy is a blogging pro and this girl says it how it is! She writes for the Metro, match.com and The Huffington Post to name a few, as well as her own blog All Sweetness and Life being highly recommended by Cosmo.  Katy took home not 1 award but 2, winning Blogger of the Year and Best Dating Blog. Go Katy!

Then it was this incredible lady’s turn to take to the stage winning Best New Dating Individual. Saskia is the founder of Saturday Nights Alright the only UK photographers dedicated on dating. She takes photos of all Mutual Attraction members, took my professional shots and she fricking rocks! As you can tell she much prefers taking the photos to having hers taken!

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Saskia, Mutual Attractions official photographer

Matchmaker of the Year Award

Not long after, and with no nails left I was so nervous, Rick Edwards announced the category for Matchmaker of the Year. Yowza I was one nervous lady! The shortlist was:

  • Lemarc Thomas (Seventy Thirty)
  • Mary Balfour (Drawing Down The Moon)
  • Picnic Project
  • Sue Sherring (Elect Club Classic)
  • Vida Consultancy

First up was the highly commended and that went to CEO of Drawing Down the Moon Mary Balfour who has been in the industry for years.

Then it was time for the biggie – who was the winner? Well………………

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Matchmaker of the Year 2014

 

I did it – I won Matchmaker of the Year 2014! Can I get a serious kick ass whoop whoop?! I wanted to shed a tear or two but I didn’t as I have a rep to protect (who am I kidding?) but I really was quite honoured to win and was up on the stage faster then ive moved in my life! Now the party could really get started…..

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Celebrating with dating coach Des O Connor

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Recognize this Harry lookalike? He’s the fake Harry (aka Matt) from TV show ‘I wanna marry Harry’

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The team from dating agency Drawing Down The Moon celebrating Mary Balfour’s Highly Commended award

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dating website Christian Connection celebrating their win

Best dating journalist highly commended

Best dating journalist highly commended

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Looking good guys from Loveflutter

What a night! There were so many deserving winners, and with 25 categories too many to mention here but do check out the list of winners over on the official UK Dating Awards website: UK Dating Awards Winners 2014

Credit to the judges who worked so hard, 25 categories to judge is no mean feat! The venue staff at the HAC were amazing but most of all, a big thanks to Charly Lester who tirelessly got this event off the ground, spent her nights planning it and lets face it, took a huge gamble – and one that paid off better than any of us could have imagined.

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Charly Lester – founder of the UK Dating Awards

Signing off to go celebrate so bye for now.

Cx

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Dating Website Review Service

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Not sure which online dating website to try? Help is at hand with dating website review service Dating-Experts.co.uk

Dating-Experts is an independent comparison service with a mission to deliver honest endorsements and insider industry tips to UK online dating consumers. They spend time reviewing all the major UK dating websites so you don’t have to – genius!

The site has pretty much every dating website under the sun registered and you can search using drop down boxes for price range, type of dating and target age range. So whether you’re looking for casual fun or a long lasting relationship there is something for everyone.

At the moment the focus is purely on online dating websites but that’s all about to change and Mutual Attraction is one of the first dating agencies to register for the service.

It’s 100% free to use so if you’re thinking of using an online dating service why not check it out?

Happy and safe dating

Cx

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Dangers of a Dodgy Pick Up Artist

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You know how once in a while you read about something that truly shocks you?

That was me last Friday when I woke to the story of Julien Blanc, ‘Pick Up Artist’ (PUA) and slime ball. There’s plenty of dodgy people out there so what makes this one stand out? This guy pitches himself as a man who can help turn around a mans luck when it comes to attracting women.

Pick Up Artists generally go under the guise of helping people have more confidence though usually that relates to ‘confidence to pick up in a woman and take her home for sex’. Ok, hardly a revolutionary thought. So why the uproar?

Watch this video to see why….

Feel sick yet? Head on over to my post on The Huffington Post to find out what I really think about this guy but be warmed, the words ‘poor excuse for a pair of testicles’ does crop up!

Read my article on the Dangers of a Pick Up Artist on The Huffington Post here.

Please share and let’s make sure this so called pick up artist never steps foot on UK spoil!

Caroline x

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Best Knickers Always – 50 lessons for Midlife Q&A

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The other week I had the pleasure of sitting down with the very fabulous Rebecca Perkins.

I knew from her pictures I would love her, and indeed she’s a woman after my own heart! She is genuine, grounded, caring and knows her stuff. Which is why her book ‘Best Knickers Always – 50 lessons for Midlife’ has been such a success. Crammed with words of wisdom that are perfect for a woman in midlife, but are also relevant for all women out there – I enjoyed it and i’m still a few years off!

After a quick gossip and some tea we got down to business and I want to share with you today my interview with Rebecca.

Rebecca, what inspired you to write ‘Best Knickers Always: 50 lessons for midlife?’

 I’m an ordinary woman. I’m a daughter, a sister, a mother and I’ve been a wife. I’m not perfect. I’ve been through a painful divorce, I’ve suffered years of depression and come through it all stronger and more at ease with who I am. My daughter suffered with anorexia and we’ve dealt with other serious illness within the family and we’ve survived…in fact we’re thriving. I am the woman I am today because of my life experiences and I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is my inspiration for writing Best Knickers Always: 50 lessons for midlife. I wanted to share what I’d learned along my journey in the hope that it would inspire other women to feel they weren’t alone on their journeys through midlife. I’d also been nagged by friends who’d read my blog to do something! In the words of one dear friend ‘Do not deny women your wisdom.’

I LOVE the title of your book – where did the title of your book come from?

 My story began one miserable day nursing a broken heart, years of tears and grief came flooding out of me. Tears and grief that had been buried for years. A text came in from a girlfriend asking how I was. I responded that I was devastated and couldn’t imagine ever feeling happy again. She texted back with the words, All I can say is it gets better. Go gently, be kind to yourself, and best knickers always.

My dear sweet friend knew exactly what I needed to hear at that precise moment. She knew because she’d been there too. The truth was I was no longer looking after myself, I’d stopped being kind to myself and my self esteem was rock bottom. I understood exactly what she meant by her text. These best knickers were for no one but myself and it was time to start nurturing myself and getting back on my own two feet.

What were the ‘turning points’ in your life that led to where you are today?

 Standing in my kitchen saying those 4 words – I want a divorce. Although traumatic and a little like Pandora’s box once opened could not be closed again, it was the start of this journey. I knew that I couldn’t be the woman I knew I was if I remained in an unhappy marriage. I realise now what a brave and courageous decision that was.

Pressing ‘Publish’ on my first book online was a major turning point. I was putting myself out there in a very big way. Women would either love or hate what I wrote….and all shades of grey in between. I was a testament to how far I’d come and I’m very proud of that.

Saying ‘I love you’ to my partner for the very first time. Wow, that took some courage too. I’d been hurt before and I didn’t want to go there again. At our most vulnerable we are at our most courageous I’ve come to learn and understand.

What are your biggest achievements?

 Without a doubt my 3 wonderful children are my greatest achievements, they are the wind beneath my wings. They give me courage daily. It is their unconditional love that has enabled me to stand out on the edge and share my story with other women. I love them beyond words. I’m also hugely proud to call myself a published author….that’s pretty cool especially as my English teacher told me age 13 that I had no imagination!

What’s your 1 top piece of advice for women in midlife searching for love?

 Love starts within. Until we truly love and esteem ourselves there is no point in searching for love outside. I fell in love with a man after my divorce, I was clingy, needy and desperate to be loved. I was doomed to fail. How could I expect this man to patch me together again and show me the love that I failed to show myself. Start by loving yourself and then you’ll find that you begin to allow love into your life and the search will be over.

 How do you help women through your 1:1 coaching?

 One of the simplest and hardest questions I ask in coaching is What do you want? Midlife is a time of transition, physically and emotionally. Often women get to this time and look in the mirror and don’t recognise the woman staring back at them. I am passionate about working with women 1:1, it’s a privilege to be on the journey with them as they start to rediscover the woman they were and the woman they want to be as they move into the second half of their lives. We look at who they are, what they want, what lights their fire. We uncover passions, what they’ll no longer tolerate in life and what motivates them. It’s really about deciding to live the second half of life on purpose.

What’s in the pipeline for Rebecca Perkins?

Oh there’s another couple of books in the pipeline as well as workshops and ecourses as well as opening up some more slots for 1:1 coaching…..what a great way to end 2014! I love what I do!

Please do check out Rebecca’s site, she is so inspirational and you’ll be hearing lots more about her! www.rebperkins.com

Tell me this woman doesn't look amazing in midlife?!

Tell me this woman doesn’t look amazing in midlife?!

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Chris Evans Mystery Guest

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Last Friday I got a call from the producer for the Chris Evans breakfast show on BBC Radio 2.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show it’s aired weekday mornings between 6:30 – 9am and has a listenership of around 9.91 million per week. Quite a few then ;)

Each day they have a ‘mystery guest’ which links to something Chis has been talking about the previous day. On the show that morning had had been talking about how he had been matchmade by his friend, none other than Ronan Keating from Boyzone fame. Now that’s a matchmaker! Ronan introduced his friend Natasha to Chris who is now his wife and mother of 2 of his children.

With that in mind they decided that the mystery guest for the next show should be a matchmaker!

I was the ‘Mystery Guest’!

I was so excited to be invited to chat with Chris as his mystery guest. I find radio so much fun and Chris has an infectious enthusiasm and personality.

We chatted for a little while with his asking me questions about matchmaking and how I met my other half Christian – of course the story of meeting him on a drunken night is never the most glam one to tell but hey, it’s the truth! as far as i’m concerned it doesn’t matter how or where you meet the love of your life….just so long as you find them!

It was a short and sweet interview just a few minutes but a great experience. if you missed it you can listen to the show for the next 4 weeks here:

 

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Dispatches from the Dating Zone

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Last week I had the pleasure of chatting with author KT Valentine about her debut book ‘Dispatches from the Dating Zone’.

From good dates, dodgy dates, to love, marriage, single parent hood and friendships this book has got it all.  It’s a great read and if you’re aingle I can guarantee you’ll be nodding along!

I quizzed KT on her inspiration for her debut novel of course whether the bad dates were based on real life experiences!

1/ KT how would you sum up your book ‘Dispatches from the Dating Zone’?

Dispatches from the Dating Zone is primarily based on the escapades of the main character, Fleur Summers. A single mum and unlucky in love, she makes the drastic decision of asking her family and friends to help her find ‘The One’ by setting her up on a number of arranged dates. While the reader gets to experience each and every date with Fleur, it isn’t the entire premise of the book. Friendship, love, marriage, heartache and parenthood all feature through the lives of Fleur and the other key characters, with a side order of raunchiness thrown in for good measure.

2/ ‘Dispatches from the Dating Zone’ is your debut book, how excited are you feeling now it’s for sale?

If someone had told me this time last year that my debut novel would be published I’d have thought the joke was on me. After all, I’m an average 36 year old single mum who’s recently recovering from spinal surgery! I never thought something like this would happen to someone like me. The fact that it has is amazing.

3/ What inspired you to write the book?

A friend once told me that some of the best writers are the ones that write about what they know. Whether that was the case or not, it got me thinking about everything I’d been through over the years and how I could draw on it for inspiration. After a traumatic divorce, I found myself on the rocky road as a single mum trying to find love again. You name it, I’ve done it with regards to finding that elusive ‘Mr Right’ and it’s not exactly been plain sailing.

Then, one evening while I was deleting yet another potential ‘shirtless’ match on yet another dating website, I started to wonder what it would be like it I put my love life into the hands of my nearest and dearest and that’s when the idea for ‘Dispatches from the Dating Zone’ was born.

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4/ Who do you think will enjoy reading it?

I think women of all ages and from all walks of life will enjoy reading this book, because who hasn’t experienced trials and tribulations in their love life, as a parent or friend? If you enjoyed reading ‘Bridget Jones’ and giggled your way through the film ‘Bridesmaids’, then I’ve been reliably informed that the humour and naughtiness in my book is for you.

Hopefully, for those women that do read Dispatches from the Dating Zone they’ll find a warm and engaging story with a real and relatable heroine that will make them laugh out loud (and occasionally blush).

5/ Any favourite characters? 

Obviously Fleur Summers herself, but at times I think the character that often steals the show and endears himself into the reader’s heart is young Tobey Summers. I certainly had a lot of fun writing about him and I think he adds another dimension to Fleur.

6/ Go on, tell us, how much of the book is based on real life?

I / n neither confirm nor deny whether any of the characters are based on real people (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). What I will say, is that writers have to get their inspiration from somewhere!

7/ Do you have a top piece of dating advice to share?

My best advice would be before you look for ‘Mr Right’ make sure you’re happy with whom you are as a person right now. It may not sound like the formula to find life-long love, but the choices you make when you like who you are as a person are way better than when you don’t. Trust me, I speak from experience. The amount of dodgy dates I went on because I was willing to settle for second best. As the saying goes: “Confidence is the key. If you don’t believe and invest in yourself, nobody else will”

Dispatches from the Dating Zone is the racy romantic comedy debut novel from KT Valentine. To download the first 3 chapters for free please visit the following website: http://ktvalentine.com/

Or buy direct for only 99p from: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00M8CD9U6

 

 

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Top Tips For Finding Love

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I love sharing my top tips for finding love.

Working with singles day in, day out, I see and experience a lot. I work with people who are a breeze and others who are more challenging to match. What I can say for all of them is that if they trust me, if they listen to what I share with them, they’ll have a greater shot at finding love. Why? Read on….

I have a dream job, well in my eyes anyway 8-) Working with incredible single people has taught me more than I could have dreamed of and there are certain patterns, traits and behaviors that I can recognize in all the people I have successfully matched. This knowledge formed the basis of my 7 top tips to finding love that I shared with Women’s Health magazine earlier this month.

Tips for Finding Love

1/ Change your mindset

One recent study showed that you should expect to kiss 15 men and have two serious relationships before you meet ‘the one.’ Does that mean you should go on a wild snogging spree until you find lucky number 16? Of course not. But try to go in to each date with an open mind, an open heart and neutral expectations. Remember, a first date is just a chance to meet someone new and see whether you are interested enough to find out more about the person and vice-versa. Some dates will go well and others won’t, and that’s OK. It’s part and parcel of dating and accepting that will make it a much more enjoyable and stress-free journey.

2/ Do some soul-searching

If you’ve only got as far as thinking ‘tall, devilishly handsome and loaded’ then you might need to give it a bit more thought. The couples I successfully match are the ones who are focused on what the relationship will be like, instead of focusing solely on what he/she will be like. So, what does your ideal relationship look like? Where would you holiday? How would you spend your weekends? What qualities will he have that will keep you happy one year, five years and 20 years down the line? Thinking of the bigger picture will help you focus on meeting the right person.

3/ Get with the times

One in four relationships now start online, so it’s a great place to start. There are tons of free sites to choose from, or look out for free three-day trials from the big names which give you the perfect opportunity to take a look around the website before committing to a membership. Don’t just stick to one method of dating though, we’re spoilt for choice with pheromone parties (yes, it’s a real thing), matchmaking, speed dating, apps like Tinder, and even a singles sleep over in the Shard! Take every available opportunity to meet new and interesting people. Who knows where ‘the one’ might be? The possibilities are endless. And hey, worst comes to worst – at least you’ve tried something fun and new.

Want more? Read my 7 top tips for finding love: http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/sex-love/wh-dating/2035/7-tips-for-finding-love-from-a-professional-matchmaker#ixzz3HpQ5cpLF

Much Love
Cx

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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)

5)

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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