Archive for October, 2010

A Suggestion For A Random Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Having arranged to go on a casual double date, a colleague and I found ourselves stumbling around Soho trying to find somewhere that was fun, not too crazy, but more importantly where we could find a drink! We had been walking around trying to locate Milk and Honey and had failed miserably. We also couldn’t leave it up to the boys as they had originally met us at a bar that had rainbow lights beaming through the windows…

Barrio Central

One Tequila, two Tequila, three Tequila, Floor!

Exasperated with being lost, we decided to be pro-active, embrace the situation and fall into the next bar we came across. That bar happened to be Barrio Central on Poland Street. Mixing up Latin influences, you might feel like you’ve just walked into a Mexican tequila bar – in Spain! I felt like it was Summer again and in true Summer style, opted for a Mojito (or two, it was happy hour after all). The cocktail menu extends to different corners of the globe and if the Caipirinha’s don’t do it for you, their collection of rums and specialty tequilas is deep enough.

Head downstairs where things get lively. DJ’s play an eclectic mix of everything from salsa, indie to 90’s rock. If you’re lucky enough to get into one of the booths (we weren’t, so it’s best to book), try the food. Expect the usual in terms of pinchos, sharing plates, nachos etc with a few casual departures to the Carribean. Though it’s not exactly fine dining, it partners perfectly with the booze and keeps things fun and relaxed.

The last hour was a total blur and as sure as we fell into the bar, we also fell out of it and despite having to nurse a terrible hangover the next day at work, a random Tuesday was just what the doctor ordered.

Online adventures: Credit crunch dating

Monday, October 11th, 2010

I love bargains and offers. When it comes to booking restaurants, I’m not shy of looking for discounts or using the new phenomenon which is the Taste London card. But I know where to draw the line.

If I accept a date, a few things are guaranteed. I’ll look my best – carefully applied make up, perfect hair and sometimes, a brand new outfit. I will make an effort. I’ll also be on good form whatever my mood, and provided the guy is not a total wally, we’ll have some good chat and a few drinks. This is what I bring to the table when invited on a date.

picture of voucher

Bargain hunting boys!

On the flip side, throughout my dating career, I have found that my effort is generally reciprocated, and usually, my date treats me to a spot of dinner and a few drinks. This arrangement has always worked very well for me, and is pretty traditional in the dating world.

On a recent date, I made the usual effort on my appearance, but made an unusual journey to meet the guy. He pressed hard for a North London meet up, which meant as a South London girl, I was the one that travelled. He chose a bar-restaurant combo, and was propping up the bar when I arrived with a newly purchased pint. After pleasantries and introductions there was no forthcoming drink offer, so I ordered myself a glass of wine.

Dinner was good. We chatted about mutual friends and I knocked back a few glasses of wine, whilst he knocked back a few tap waters. Despite some very tempting starters and desserts, I followed his lead and went for just the one course, not wanting to eat alone. Towards the end of a pleasant evening, my mind was ticking over: he didn’t want to travel, he didn’t offer me a drink at the bar, he was drinking tap water at dinner, he went for a one course order….

And then the bill arrived. He worked out the exact 50/50 split on his phone. I have no issues ‘going dutch’ so chucked the required notes on the table. But then, la pièce de résistance: he carefully unfolded a voucher and placed it on my cash. After an embarrassingly long discussion with the waitress regarding its validity, it was accepted. So I had paid whilst he got one free!

Outrageous! If the credit crunch has hit dating, it’s sad revelation. But on the bright side, this  story has certainly lightened up recent gloomy credit crunch and recession conversations…

Date on TV

Sunday, October 10th, 2010
Picture of Take Me Out and host

Take me out - get in on TV dating

When you ask your friend how they met their new beau, the responses are more varied than ever before. A few years ago, you could pretty much guarantee it would be “he’s friends with Sarah’s brother” or “at a wedding at the weekend” and so on.

More frequently now, responses to that same question include “online”, “at a speed dating event” or a “social networking party”.  So far, no one has said they have met him or her on TV, but with more and more shows like “Dating In The Dark”, “Dinner Date”, “Take Me Out”, “Street Mate” and “Love Island” dominating our viewing, it is only a matter of time.

Some members rose to stardom when they appeared on “Dinner Date” last month and with more of our members casting now for the next series of ITV1’s big Saturday night show “Take Me Out”, expect to see more budding stars from the site on your screens soon!

If you would like to be put forward for the next series of “Take Me Out” get in touch and we’ll get an application over to you:

(Read about members set to appear in the next series of Pineapple Studio here:

Could You Be A Weed Dater?

Friday, October 8th, 2010

If you think of yourself as greenfingered, get your best gardening gloves and trowel as this newly sprung dating craze might be for you. Forget speed dating, the aspiring Alan Titchmarch’s and Charlie Dimmock’s amongst you will adore “weed dating”. Agricultural lovers are getting back to their roots (literally) and branching out to meet new people by weeding…

The idea was born in Vermont, USA where founders, Jean and Wendy Palthey noticed how many young, singles there were in the local farming community. They don’t work 9-5 jobs and tend to not “get out much” – well, if you can’t bring Mohammed to the mountain…
Also, the shared interest in farming and agriculture allows for great conversation hence more opportunity (forgive me here) for love to bloom.

Jesse Metcalfe

Remember the sexy gardener from Desperate Housewives?

Julie Roop, coordinator of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Program of the American Farm Bureau, whose program targets the 18-35 demographic has seen a few romantic connections blossom, even though the focus of her events aren’t necessarily geared towards dating. It seems that those young farmers just love the idea of getting down and dirty behind rows of onions and potatoes.

 One weed dater told USA Today:

“It’d be really neat to meet a woman, but I’m not pressuring myself. I’m just thinking that you get to meet people while you help out a local farm, weeding. It says something about people that they’d like to do something like this.”

 What it exactly says about you, I’m not sure, but the emphasis on bringing people together through their common interests is certainly a great way to meet a potential love interest. The young single and ready to mingle farmers claim people always have something to share whilst weeding. They meet in the fields to weed together and at intervals of seven minutes, a cow bell is rung and you switch partners. Not that I’m particularly opposed to this bizarre, albeit interesting idea, but if I’m to date I would rather be armed with a cocktail in my  hand than a trowel…

Online adventures: Booty call from Batman

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I’d been on a great first date with a guy I’d met online and I was eagerly awaiting a call from him to arrange round two.  My mobile started ringing as I arrived home at 2am after a Friday night out…  It was The Boy, asking if he could come round. A very cheeky request, but I quite fancied some company (and some more drinks) so I agreed. Before hanging up, he told me that he was dressed as Batman.

picture of batman

The night Batman visited

On opening the door, I realised that he wasn’t fibbing. The ensemble included the boots, mask, cape and rippling six-pack – he was just missing Robin. The randomness of the whole situation had me crying with laughter. After seeing off an excessive amount of drinks, he ended up crashing at mine.

I was taking care of my young nieces and nephews the next day, so knew I had to kick Batman out before 10am. Not true to form at all, my sisters arrived early with four kids aged between three and seven at their heels, and settled down in my living room for a cuppa and a chat. There are not words to describe the glee that spread across their faces when I mouthed that “I had a guest upstairs” – the joy they found in embarrassing me, their littlest sister, had not faded at all with age.

Back upstairs, Batman and I discussed the two exit options – the first, being boxer shorts, and the second, full Batman attire. We decided the latter option was preferable, and that he should also adopt the persona of Batman for the sake of my reputation with the kiddies.

And that is how the boy I’d met only twice found himself pretending to fly down my stairs and around my living room – to the amazement and delight of my nieces and nephews. My sisters’ jaws almost hit the floor simultaneously and they were for once, lost for words. Batman competently fielded a number of questions from the boys using a very apt deep, Batman-like voice. He then flew out of the front door and into the Bat Mobile (i.e. my Ford Fiesta) so I could deliver him home.

Not quite the booty call I think he was anticipating and not quite what I had in mind for our second encounter, but you just have to roll with the punches….

An Introduction To The Dating Game And Its New Rules

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I’ve never really been very tech savvy and as for my abilities in the dating world, well they can vary from disastrous to stellar. With all the different channels to interact with someone, it does not get any easier. There’s Facebook, Twitter, online dating sites, email - it can be incredibly complicated to master your skills in the wake of multi-medium communication.

The days of spending half an hour on a text or scripting an answer machine message are over, the time this takes is a luxury that today’s dater can no longer afford. It seems it’s all about the fast and the furious with no time to slow down. Playing the waiting game in between answering a message is almost impossible as whilst you’re debating how to best draft a Facebook message, you’ve updated your status, written on someone’s wall etc, and then the mysterious, too busy you has been exposed! Whilst your private life is exposed on a grand public scale, so are your levels of interaction. To be coy, you have to much much cleverer about it.Swingers

After talking this over with a friend, we came to the conclusion that the many channels with which to engage with someone were more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Once mastered, these new tools at our disposal can be incredibly helpful. For example, messaging online allows you to demonstrate your more composed, articulate side – the side of you that is rarely shown if you’re a nervous babbling wreck the first couple of times you meet someone. First impressions count for everything and unless you’re fortunate enough to be perfectly smooth, charismatic, charming from the word go, you won’t get a second chance.  Remember that brilliant scene from the movie Swingers where Mike (Jon Favreau) hopelessly attempts to leave a message on a girl’s answering machine?? Forget it, the days of being cut off by the machine, incoherent mumbling and all things bizarre are also long gone.

We also mused about the democratisation of information that would not be available to us through traditional mediums. Ever googled someone you just met/ started dating? You can unearth some brilliant information and at least you won’t agree to second date with an axe murderer. Additionally, Facebook can be very helpful – relationship status, photos (are they pictured with a different girl/guy in every other photo?). You get the idea. What is also amazing, is the amount of people you are exposed to at any given time. Your potential dating pool has gone from baby size to epic olympic proportions. Anyway, we thought it would be useful to strategise, advise and generally wax lyrical about the world of online interaction. So every now and again, be sure to look out for our tips & tricks for the dating game and its new rules!

If you liked this, then you’ll be all over Shopping For Boys and our new series of Online Adventures!

Shopping For Boys – Advice From A Seasoned Online dater

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

You’re new to the meeting online idea. Nervous? Unsure what to expect or if the experience will be a good one? Heard a few horror stories? Well, with a little bit of guidance and managed expectations, you can have a ball. Here are some pointers to get you off on the right foot:

picture of girls window shopping

Shopping for boys

  • Expect to be contacted by some guys that you don’t like the look of or who you think are ‘below your level’. See it as flattering and understand that guys are way more confident online – they may not walk up to the most beautiful girl in a bar, but online, they will have the confidence to message the most beautiful girl on the site – which might just be you.
  • Watch out for a one-photo-wonder. A genuinely good looking guy will have plenty of photos where he looks…. well, good looking. If there is just one snap, be suspicious; ask for more or get on his Facebook.
  • Expect to receive the odd rude or unappealing message. Don’t let it offend you or put you off. Ignore it, block the sender and move on.
  • Engineer a phone call into the pre date negotiations. If you can have a decent phone chat with a guy, you will probably be able to enjoy a few drinks as well. If there’s no rapport on the phone then it’s a big no-no to a date.
  • Be prepared for, and understand, that the guy you’re chatting to is likely to also be chatting to other girls at the same time as you – that’s the nature of meeting online. After a date with you that may well all change, but at the outset, gracefully accept that information. After all, you’re likely to be doing the same.
  • Send some messages, or if you really aren’t keen to do any chasing, at least add some favourites or use the flirting tools on offer. That will bring your profile to the attention of the guys you like the look of whilst leaving the ball firmly in their court to start the real interaction.
  • Be online – this is the best way to attract the boys. Guys are looking for someone they can speak to now, and if you’re online, it’s going to be you.
  • Take control over where you meet – a lunchtime rendez vous will be more light hearted than a candle-lit dinner, it can also be shorter and easier to escape from if you need to!
  • If you’re 50/50 on whether to meet someone or if you’re nervous about the one-on-one pressure, make the meeting more low key. Meet him with some of your friends and some of his friends, or meet him at a Click Party – where you can potentially have 10 dates in one night!

The bottom line is that you should view meeting boys online, like you do shopping, which all girls are masters at. Expect plenty of window shopping, to make the occasional return and if you look really hard, to discover a few real gems.

Love, Is It Written In The Stars?

Monday, October 4th, 2010

I was having dinner with a friend recently at The Albany, on the corner of Great Portland Street (which if you’re interested, does the best homemade burgers ever) and while I was in the bathroom, I overheard two girls talking…

One of them had been to see a psychic and was telling her friend about what she had been told.
“Honestly, she said that I would meet someone who I would click with instantly. It would be passionate but short-lived. The next guy would be an American and then that would be it – my perfect match.”
Behind the cubicle door I was rolling my eyes and muttered the word nonsense under my breath a few times. The other girl gasped and decided to flip from her previously skeptical stance purely on the premise that her friend had been nursing the aftermath of a bad break-up and has just started dating an American, things were also going very well.What's Your Perfect Zodiac Match?

This Mystic Meg of love had also given this girl her love astrology matches and apparently her ideal match was a Pisces. Something about the nature of her strong-headed determination and his…I forget now but I decided to look up some ideas about our perfect matches and what bearings our star signs might have on our compatibility with the perfect partner.

Apparently only Scorpios and Aquarius can sustain relationships with their own kind, as extreme types demand someone who will understand them. Cancer and Libra make a “sweet” couple, but aren’t the best match as Cancer is pessimistic and Libra is in denial. Gemini and Leo are good friends as they both love to talk whereas Taurus and Sagittarius are either all or nothing – no middle ground. Reckless and impulsive Aries find an ideal mate with pragmatic and sensible Virgos and two Pisces swimming in opposite directions can either be commitment phobes or serial monogamists.

I’m not sure whether or not I buy into love astrology. I’ve never really liked the idea that an external force held the power over the success of my relationships. In the past I’ve dated a Capricorn, a Pisces, a Sagittarius, an Aries and a fellow Scorpio and none of them have worked out and not necessarily for the reasons an astrological love chart has pointed out. I can’t help but be a skeptic and after reading through horoscope matches, astrological love charts, I’m as clueless as ever. Can I count on fate for this one? Should I ignore the universe and take things into my own hands or should I leave it and wait for the stars to give me a sign…

To be romantic or unromantic, that is the question….?

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

When it comes to London, the choice of date destinations is unrivalled… Or for some, it’s daunting. In deciding where to go, do you opt for somewhere that screams romance or do you keep it casual?

If I’m 50/50 about the guy, I always push for casual as it’s quicker and easier to escape from if it turns out badly. If I’m interested in the guy and it’s not a first date, I don’t mind somewhere a little more romantic. Here are some ideas at both ends of the romance scale….

Souk Bazaar

Souk Bazaar

  • SOUK Bazaar – near Covent Garden, great Moroccan food that’s all about sharing – it’s impossible not to get up close to your date. With cosy seating tucked away into caves and intimate rooms and the lighting dimmed as dim as possible without being turned off, it’s candle light romance all the way!
  • Dim T – yes, it’s chain I know, but Dim T at London Bridge serves top notch dim sum coupled with a top notch view. Make sure you reserve a table by the window upstairs and enjoy your dinner with the Tower Bridge lit up in all its glory as your back drop.
  • The North Star – a little off the beaten track, but the North Star, an Islington gastro pub, offers great food with no shortage of candles. After dinner, you can move into the bar area and sink into one of the comfy leather sofas with a cheese board and glass of red.
  • Soho Jazz Café (Pizza Express) – it’s the pizza you know and love in a ground floor Soho club. Expect live jazz acts and a very relaxed setting. There’s a cover charge in addition to the bill, but for something a little different, it’s worth it!
  • The Bleeding Heart – wonderful French food tucked away on the corner of a cobbled courtyard in Farringdon. Homely dining rooms spread across several floors and a great wine list. Not easy find, but well worth it when you do!
Picture of Song Que

Song Que Cafe in Shoreditch

If you’re unsure about spending a full 3 course evening with him or her, keep it more light hearted with one of these options:

  • Busaba Eathai – this sleek modern Thai eatery has just added it’s 5th location in Old Street with others in W1, WC1 and SW1. The service is fast; you’ll be presented with the bill as soon as you put down your chop sticks! With shared tables of around 12 people, there’ll be no footsy and he’ll find it tricky to slip his hand on your knee!
  • Song Que Cafe – rough and ready service in a rough and ready Shoreditch setting – the food arrives as and when and don’t expect to have your wine topped up. This place is all about great Vietnamese food and fast table turn around. Expect queues during peak times and not a hint of romance.

For more date ideas check out these posts ‘Date night? Ideas for dates in London‘, ‘Who cares what picture we see?’ or ‘This little piggy went to market’.