Wednesday, 3 July 2019

*On dating IRL

offline dating

A single friend of mine was recently telling me about her trials and tribulations in the online dating world. So, I asked her, 'well have you tried meeting anyone offline? You know, in real life?' to which she stared at me, her eyes agog, as if from my neck another head had sprouted and was talking in pig latin. 'People don't meet in the real world anymore, everyone meets online' she told me. It was my turn to watch a twisted, Medusa-esq head sprout up and glare at me. As the conversation went on, she told me it's better to meet people online, because you can get to know as much or as little about them in a shorter space amount of time, as long as they can type fast. You can do it all from the comfort of your own home, logged into a dating site, wearing your pjs and a face mask. The mystery guy or gal you're speaking to doesn't need to see the toothpaste drying on your spots, you can just send them a very filtered selfie from a previous night out if they want to see what you look like. 

You don't run the risk of a bad first impression when it comes to online dating. You won't awkwardly fall over your words or smear cappuccino froth on your top lip, you can put your very best self forward at any time of the day. With sites like, you can find your soul mate from a multitude of sources, sorted by age, interest, how they take their tea and what their postcode is. If all goes well, then you can put your best game face on and meet them out in the real world, if not, well, that's what the WhatsApp graveyard is for. 

offline dating

But is online dating really the only way to go? Do people really not fall in love in the line at Starbucks anymore, or have a moment on the bus straight out of a Richard Curtis film?

A lifetime ago, when I was oh so young and single, I never ventured into online dating. It wasn't as big a thing as it is these days, and to say you met anyone off the internet was always met with an air of panic and a 'you should have told me where you were going, I could have hid around the corner and kept an eye on you'. Catfishing was rife, and no matter how long you spoke to someone on MSN for, or how much you loved the lyrics in their screen name, meeting them outside of the chat room was a huge taboo. People had no choice but to put themselves out there in the real world, to casually start up conversations with cute strangers, or throw another shot down their neck before they had enough dutch courage to ask someone to dance. Are you really telling me people don't do this anymore? The butterflies, the nerves, the rejections, it was all a part of the dating game. You won some hearts, you broke some hearts, some hearts you were never quite brave enough to approach, and you still catch yourself wondering 'what if?'. But that was dating.

'How would you do it then?' my friend asked, 'if you went about playing matchmaker, setting unsuspecting singles up, how would you do it?'

I'd start by putting the phone down. All too often now, we reach for our phones as a distraction. People don't just stand in a queue anymore, or at a bus stop. Everyone has their head down, staring into screens, only lifting up to see if that rumble they can hear belongs to the bus they're waiting for or their stomach. Put the phone down, look up, look around, catch somebody's eye. Ask them for the time, tell them you like their coat, strike up a conversation. Even if it's meaningless, you'll get a kick out of at least trying to talk to someone you think is worth the time until the next bus comes along.

And people can still fall in love in the queue at Starbucks. If the hottie in front of you orders something that sounds really good, tell them. Tell the barista you'll have what their having. If they sit down, alone, ask can you join. Yes it's nerve wracking, yes you'll probably want to throw up, but what a story to tell in the future. Same goes for pubs, bars, and Greggs. If you really want to strike up a conversation with someone, you can find an excuse. If they don't reciprocate, if they see that second head sprouting from your neck, fine. Move on. But you tried and it's their loss (or your lucky escape!) if it doesn't go any further than them giving you an awkward sideways glance as they mumble the time and take a step back.

offline dating

Online dating is a wonderful thing, I know so many happy couples who have met this way, but, it’s also worth remembering that sometimes the more nerve wracking, traditional approach to meeting that special someone still has it’s place, and you shouldn’t give up on it (or them, or you!) just yet! 

How did you meet your other half?

Until next time, 


*This post is a collaboration. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer policy. 

Friday, 29 March 2019

*Honeymoon Road trip - UK

uk honeymoon road trip itinerary


When it comes to wedding planning, it’s not all wedding dresses and decorations, there’s the ever important, slightly fancier than usual trip that comes after you say ‘I do’. From tin cans tied to the back of the car to those cheesy matching Mr and Mrs passport covers that we all secretly love, the honeymoon from start to finish really should be a trip to remember. It’s not just a holiday, it’s the adventure that starts the adventure of your lives together. 

Let’s come away from the traditional adults only Sandals resorts and island hopping in far off lands for a minute and talk about a magical memory making trip we can take right here, on our own Great British Isle. Before you go spraying just married across the back windscreen, you’re going to want to check your tyres at kwik-fit because we’re off on the Great British Honeymoon road trip!

Road trip safety first!

As excited as you might be about your Honeymoon road trip around the UK, there’s a few things to bare in mind before you put the key in the ignition. Think of this as the inflight safety instructions before your plane takes off. 

One of the biggest things to cause an accident on UK roads and motorways is people not being aware of stopping distances. The average speed limit in the UK is 30mph. If you have to make a sudden, emergency stop, it takes 23m for the car to come to a standstill - and if it’s raining? It can take twice the distance to stop. If you’re driving in the winter, it can take up to ten times the distance to stop on an icy road. That’s just at 30mph - think about what that all means if you’re travelling at 40mph? 60mph? 70mph? 

Our country is a beautiful one, take time getting to every destination on your road trip - it’s not a road race! Drive slowly - drive safely! There’s no point racing ahead to each destination on your itinerary, not if it ends up cutting your trip short or worse

Honeymoon road trip stops to make!

I’m no map reader, even Google Maps confuses me sometimes but if I were to take a road trip honeymoon, I would love to head towards and explore Scotland a lot. There are some amazing itineraries out there showcasing the best of the highlands, quintessential villages and all the rolling green hills your literary heart could wish for. With the Mr being a bit of a golfer, there are also some amazing golf and spa resorts along the way that I think we’d both enjoy stopping at!

We’d grab the train up to Edinburgh, and go from there, jumping in our rental car and heading towards Cairngorms National Park - they have free roaming reindeer! It would then be onto Loch Ness because can you ever say you’ve been to Scotland if you haven’t gone hunting for Nessie? Heading toward Mallaig means we can then hop the ferry over to Isle of Skye - I mean if this isn’t the most picturesque spot on the trip I don’t know what would be!

Glencoe would be our next stop - there’s a lot of links back to our family history in Glencoe so I think it would be a really interesting place to stop! Last but not least, we would find our way down to Glasgow - fun fact, I’ve spent about 2 hours in Glasgow, one was in the Asda, the other was being very lost trying to get out of Glasgow, so it would be nice to what else Glasgow has to offer!

If you were to take a road trip honeymoon somewhere in the UK, where would you go?

Until next time, 

Header image: @michaeljosully

*This post is a collaboration, all thoughts, opinions and dreams of Scotland are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer policy.

Monday, 25 March 2019

*To thine own self be true - discovering your creative self with Viking

how to discover your creative self

Sometimes we all get a little lost. We get wrapped up in what everyone else is thinking, saying, doing, the places they’re going, that we forget what it is that we want and instead, we do the things that others want. How do you hit the reset button and get back to your own, true self?

Sometimes, the things that we want won’t be the things that others want, and when that difference becomes apparant, sometimes people will get upset. As hard as it is to see those closest to us hurt, we’re not doing right by them or ourselves just going along with what everybody else wants. It’s not always easy to stick to your guns and do things your way (as long as it’s not flat out hurting anyone) but we have to protect who we are, and live a life we love, not the life others want for us. With National Poetry week just behind us, this is a great time to use words and creativity to express our true self. I teamed up with Viking this past poetry week to see how words, expression and creativity could help us overcome obstacles and problems and to express our true, inner self. 

how to discover your creative self

Get creative with your journey

For me, nothing helps me find myself more than through creativity. Collaging is something I’ve done since I was a kid, but isn’t something I always make time for as an adult these days. I used to spend hours as a kid with my Crayola safety scissors and the latest Index or Grattan catalogue, cutting out clothes, decor and accessories that sparked pure joy within me. Damn, how I wish I still had some of those old collages! There’s something about just aimlessly flipping through magazines and seeing what images or words jump out at you.

I decided to pull out the not-so-safety scissors and glue stick one chilled afternoon at home and see what direction the collage took me in. The self that I am growing into is focused on 3 things right now; creativity, mindfulness and memories. As I was clipping from a few magazines things that summed these 3 thing up, I remembered I had some old photo prints from my last trip to Walt Disney World rolling around my desk drawer. So I grabbed a couple of those too and got cutting and pasting.

What I found I was drawn to was things that represented what I feel like I am made from. Things that bring me joy. Things that ground me and make me me. It’s so important to remember to take a step back and remind yourself sometimes what it is that makes you you in order to figure out where you want to go next. 

I swear, the best way to find your self is to let your inner child take control. 

how to discover your creative self

The inner child and the self

Remember when we were kids? And we would just play in worlds of our own creation for hours upon end? We’d be an astronaut, a nurse, a teacher and an explorer all before lunch. Before bed we would drift off dreaming of far off lands and the space amongst the stars. 

As a child we loved to play. To roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty - or at least I did! I was always happiest when I was creating. Be it cutting and collaging or colouring and playing make-believe. Our inner child knows our true self with no holds barred

FFS saloca, this sounds like a bunch of millennial mumbo jumbo

What I’m trying to say, is try spending some time now, exactly like you did back then. Remember what gave you pure joy as a kid, it might not have been colouring, it might have been bike riding or rock climbing, collecting seashells on the beach or making a daisy chain in the garden. Let your inner child out to play for a while and see how much more like yourself you start to feel.

how to discover your creative self

Write it out

If nothing else, put pen to paper or fingers to keys and write it out. Back in my university days, we used to spend the first 20 minutes of a session free writing. I still have some of these, most of which start with ‘I have no idea what I’m supposed to be writing but everyone else's pen is moving across the page so I feel like mine should be too…’ but somehow, somewhere in the mindless word dumping, something would start to appear on the page. Sometimes it would be part of a story or a poem, sometimes it would be something much more personal. Whatever it is that is stopping you from being yourself, start there, write that down, then see where the pen takes you. It might not be obvious at first, but try this exercise.

For a week, write the problem (if you can pin point it) at the top of the page. Then, free write for 5 - 20 minutes. You might address the issues, you might not, but don’t read back over what you’ve read. Just write.

Do this every night for a week, same question, same time frame, same rule, do not read back over what you have written. 

how to discover your creative self

At the end of the week, find some quiet time and go over the weeks worth of free writing, start highlighting any repetitions you find. Any similar themes or ideas, Highlight them. Chances are, the answer to your problem is trying to get out, and it will repeat itself across the pages, shouting like a neon sign to be noticed. We all have the answers to any and all problems and road blocks inside us, we just need to give them an exit route!

To thine own self be true

Until next time,