Monday, 25 September 2017

Playing the dating game

A little while back I wrote about a big life change, the end of a  long term relationship. One of nearly 5 years in fact. It seems a lot longer than 6 months since that happened. A period of 6 months can change a person a lot. This past half year has seen many changes within my life:

  • I ran not one, but two races.
  • changed team in work
  • grew closer to my friends and family.
  • failing my driving test and prepping for the second attempt
  • moved out of my parents(AGAIN)
  • went abroad for the first time since I was 16
  • booked my own solo trip abroad
  • Dyed my hair red, twice
  • new piercing


Quite a few things crop up without too much thought. It feels like I've spent the last half year getting to know myself and explore my own wants and desires. There's one big change that I've talked about briefly here, and that's getting back to dating again.
Truthfully I hadn't ever been dating before. The relationships I've had in the past have all developed from previous friendships. So to say it was new water, was well, the only way to phrase it. 

I've tried out three different apps now, to varying degrees of success. It helps I've found, to have an idea what it is you want from dating apps before you start swiping. Believe or not there are people on there who are only looking to meet new people, and of course there is the other end of the spectrum(yep people only after one thing!). Theres everything and anything in between.

So the apps I've tried out each have different selling points. I want to talk about the pros and cons of each. All the apps have a free version and a paid upgrades version. I've tested out he free option on all of them(cheapskate or what?). 
The first, is an app called: HER. It's a dating app for lesbians and bisexuals. It's a LGBT QIAAP friendly app.
Pros:
  • There's a wide mix of open minded people
  • Has multiple options for what you're looking for
  • Can search far and wide for like minded people
  • In app social feed
  • Notifications for if people liked you
  • Can upload lots of pics to your profile
Cons:
  • No age range. Comes under the upgraded paid app
  • People don't seem to chat. I don't quite get this one but the silence rates where much higher on here than I'd expected.
  • Can be harder to arrange meet ups. Between the silence and the large search radius, it can be hard to find someone willing to meet in person
  • No option for a bio on profile
Overall give this app a 6/10.

Next up is one called Bumble. The premise is simple, the girl needs to chat first, and within 24 hours or you'll unmatch. The other person has 24 hours respond in return, or again it'll be lost. If you both do then the match stays open. 

Pros:
  • Extra prompt for initiating contact with the 24 hour deadline
  • People seem more inclined to chat. Yep actually had some decent conversations through this one.
  • Cute little honey logo, yep I got caught in by the design...
  • No backlog of potential matches, if you don't chat then it's bye bye!
Cons:
  • I'll be honest this is definitely geared up for Herero couples. Although I had the option set for "likes men and women" only a tiny percentage where women. I'm pretty sure I never chatted to any gals on this app at all.
  • Surprisingly I found the time limit off putting rather than pushing me to initiate conversation. I definitely prefer the other person initiating.  
Bumble was probably my leafs favourite of the apps, only gets better a 5/10 for me.

The final app has to be Tinder of course. It's the one that I've probably used this most and probably has the bigger recognition in the dating app scene. 

Pros:
  • App is easy to use
  • Able to put a "bio" so not just swiping based on looks.
  • Big user base, plenty of potential people to swipe
  • Allows option of liking bob "men and women" and actually had some women come up on screen albeit still a poor ratio of profiles to the men.
  • Option for group dating, can be both funny and reassuring having your mates in the chat.
  • No 
Cons:
  • The app had a tendency to not tell me I had messages... yep sorry people, not just being a dick over here...
  • Sometimes people skip the hello all together and just go straight to propositioning you. Fair enough if you're only there for some casual fun, but a greeting or two goes a long way.
  • You can "superlike" people. It's meant to be a pro for the app but honestly the only time I use this feature was when I accidentally pressed it...
I've probably had the best run with Tinder. Found some genuinely nice people and even succeeded in arranging a few meet ups. 
Scores a 8/10, could be that little bit better.

Have you used any of these apps or are thinking of trying then? Let me know your thoughts!

Abi x

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Book Spotlight: Stories for Homes

Today's post is talking not just about a book but one for a good cause. Yep making books even better!
The ebook in question is called Stories for Homes and is an anthology due out on the 28th September 2017.

Summary:
Published and unpublished writers come together to create an anthology of stories about what ‘home’ means.

55 writers are included in a second charity anthology that brings issues around housing, poverty and crisis to life through the power of storytelling. Volume One of the Stories for Homes Project raised over £3K for housing charity Shelter and raised awareness of housing issues.  Volume Two of the anthology includes stories, poems and flash fiction and again all proceeds will be donated to the charity.


Praise for the Book

Emma Darwin, author of The Mathematics of Love, commented on the quality of writing in the anthology as: “A cornucopia of witty, tragic, elegant, raw, heart-warming and terrifying stories that take the idea of Home, play with it as only truly talented writers can, and all to help those who have no home at all."

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, said: “Stories give our imaginations a home. It's good to see them helping to give people shelter in the real world, too...” reflecting the connection between the immediacy of housing crisis and the stories people tell about their lives around and within it.

Sally Swingewood, who also edited the collections, commented: “The Stories for Homes collections would not be possible without the generosity of a huge number of volunteers. By working together we have produced a book which will not only delight but also help address one of the biggest humanitarian crises facing modern society. In a world where migration, identity and belonging are in the news daily we have a duty to help everyone have a home in which they feel safe and settled. Stories for Homes is one way we can be part of the solution”

Volume 1 and information including the names of all the contributors for Volume 2 can be found 
here.



Monday, 28 August 2017

Overwhelmed? Me too...

I came to a bit of a realisation the other day. Often when I'm feeling overwhelmed, low or just generally tired with life it is my blog that suffers. I find that those last bits of energy go into other things at such times. Mainly work, driving lessons, and so forth.
Blue Striped Square is a bit of a moodmeter for me for how well I'm managing things at any given time. 


Take this past month. I've had a close death within the family. Not going tp lie it really fucking hurt and I've really been struggling to accept it. Even after the funeral it still doesn't feel real. I still cry. A lot. I'm working on it.
 The day after the funeral I failed my driving test. It seemed I was bit distracted after all. I couldn't focus enough and now I'll have to retake the test. Naturally that knocked my confidence. 
Add to that in work I feel like the proverbial swan whose feet are paddling a 100miles a minute. 
Unsurprisingly my blog commitment has dipped during this time. The meter is on its lowest. 
I tweeted about how I felt I'd lost my blog mojo and a friend kindly pointed out that maybe that's what I should be writing about. Except I really couldn't find the words to describe what I've been feeling. Now I know that I've simply been overwhelmed with my life.

It's taken a holiday and a whole lot of time by bodies of water to help me get a handle on things. I've had chance to think about what I want to be doing. I'd been exercising less and feeling even worse for it. I want that to change. 

After time away from work I feel renewed again. It won't be any less busy when I return but I can approach it feeling more positive. Before I left the country I was spending my working day wishing away the minutes. I'd forgotten how much I actually enjoyed my job from just plain being swamped.

It's amazing what a bit of distance will do for your perspective. I guess what I'm saying is that it's been a successful holiday... 

I feel ready to face my life again.

Abi x

P.s. Holiday post to come... ;)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Blog tour: I Know Where She Is by SB Caves

It seems whenever enthusiasm for blogging dwindles, it's almost always a book post that sparks the fire again. This time we look to a cracking thriller I was kindly sent to review called I Know Where She Is by SB Caves as part of the initial book release blog tour! Cool stuff eh?


Book blurb:
On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn's abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS.
When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.
But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.
It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.
She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.
But will Francine get her daughter back-or is it too late?
Publisher: Canelo 

About the author:
 S.B. Caves was born and raised in North London. He loves crime and thriller novels, classic horror movies, Korean/Japanese thriller films and true crime documentaries. He is also a huge boxing fan.


The story is a great psychological thriller as promised, it really does hook you in early on. The depth of Francine's loss of Autumn is understood so deeply. What she has undergone is horrible for anyone but the reader really feels her grief and lack of closure throughout.
Overall the book rates a decent 7/10. It has a plot that is enthralling but felt that the characters outside of Francine and her mysterious letter writer didn't uplift the story enough. Just needed a little something more for me to rate the last few points out of 10.. Enjoyable read in the end!

Read it fo'yo self here:

Abi x
p.s. was sent a copy for review purposes. So despite the phrase a penny for your thoughts, all thoughts and opinions have come free of charge and off my own back.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Christmas showcase with Circo!




Last week I was kindly invited below ground to a very special evening at Circo. An evening of Christmas shenanigans showing the best the club has to offer for later this year!


On arrival we were greeted with gorgeous Christmas cocktails which are as yet unamed.  Let me warn you though they were lethally good. They were gin based with pomegranate, grenadie, sugar syrup and more included. Garnished with blood orange, rosemary and a dash of icing sugar they went wayyy too easily..


We were served various tasters off the Christmas menu, including a starter, a mini roast dinner and a wee trifle! My favourite by far was the butternut squash which came out in shot glasses with tiny straws. Purely for the taster evening but I had a good laugh trying to eat it.










As the evening went on we got to witness some aerial acrobatics by the trapeze artists. This was honestly thrilling and I couldn't help but get caught up! Tried hard to get a decent pic but they moved so fast!


I did manage to get pick of these two lovely ladies who even let me try the headpiece on. Won't lie to you it weighed a bloody ton after a minute or so. Credit to them for wearing them the whole night.


The night drew to an end with a "Guess that tune" mini quiz courtesy of resident DJ Les Calvert. He was certainly lively and tbh I was a bit gutted I only got to have a taster of the quiz, my competitive side was raring to go!

The whole club had a great fun feel to it, with showgirls and acrobats around. The decor is kooky and random and must be a great hit on a night out (think of the Insta!).



The club offers a range of events, from a crazy afternoon tea(with bare butlers!) to weekly dinner shows and extravaganzas. Check out the place further on their twitter tag #CircoIsBack

Abi x

p.s. I've never been Circo prior to receiving the invite to the Showcase. All opinions within the post are my own! Thank you for having me.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Cheerz

Big ears... sorry couldn't resist! Today's post is just a quick review tbh. Sadly not sponsored(shame eh?) but just a nice post about good service!


Crashing in the spare room comes with its own perils. Mostly that I don't have much say about the colour scheme (weirdly green in case you wondered). But what I can do is decorate over it...

The short story is that's what I did! I wanted to put some nice photos up from my instagram. So looking round at the variety of websites that will let you make prints I finally spotted
Cheerz amongst the crowd. 
I ended up getting 20 pics printed, all from my instagram but you could link your Cheerz account to other social media accounts if you wanted. The selection included a range of sizes but I chose the Polaroid-sequel style. I opted to not have any text on mine but that could be a nice memento if you make some for other people. 

Prices varied depending on what size you chose(naturally) but my order came out to about £7 with postage.

The order came pretty quickly, and they arrived in good condition on proper photo paper. A nice bonus was a cheeky money off your next order code that got included for future use.



Overall I was really happy with the service and how much more personalised my room now looks! 

Abi x

Ps yeah not sponsored, just a pleased blogger with a voice haha


Thursday, 20 July 2017

A female doctor?

Have you heard this riddle?
A man and his son are in a car accident. They're rushed to hospital. The man is okay but the son needs surgery. When they arrive the doctor says "I cannot operate, he is my son!" How is this possible? 

The answer, is that the doctor is the sons mother. The majority of people don't get that answer. If they do it's not the first answer people often guess or even guess that quickly. 

Women have been practising medicine for openly for some time now. So why is it when news came out that the next Dr Who would be a women the dark side of the internet rose en masse. Not even a real doctor, a fictional character. 

Jodie Whittaker is a brilliant actress known for her work in critical drama Broadchurch. Does anyone think that she isn't capable of playing the role based on her talent and education as an actress? No.

What people seem to be annoyed about is that she is playing what has consistently been a male role. The Doctor is an alien. Who's to say what gender or sexuality they might be? 

It's an interesting move from the BBC, to throw the gauntlet down and Challenge that notion. A female doctor has been called for for ages now. I grew up with Dr Who, but I fell away from the show around the era of Matt Smith because I wasn't able to relate to it anymore.  

It makes my heart happy to think of the children who get to grow up looking up to a female Doctor. I hope they make the most of the opportunities this presents, particularly as the relationships we've seen the Doctor have have all been with cisgender heterosexual women. Will we see not just the first female doctor but also the first lesbian or bisexual doctor?

Just some interesting thoughts. 

Abi x