So, you have a date. The venue is decided, the time is set, now remains the question…what to wear? First impressions count and once made, cannot be undone so this question is rightly one that strikes fear into the heart of daters everywhere, man or women (but especially women).The most important thing to consider is comfort. Obviously, you don’t want to rock up to your date in your PJ’s (unless you are going to some mad, night-time themed rave, in which case that would be a nifty outfit choice) but pouring yourself into the skinniest jeans you can find – and this goes for man or woman – just because it is a trendy choice would be wrong. So very, very wrong. Comfort shows in your stance, in your baring and will make your whole date less nerve-wracking.


Next to consider is what you plan to do on your date. No use buying a stunning dress to wear if you are off to the beach for a surfing lesson. Obviously, you want to look good for that first meeting, but at the end of the day you will feel silly for the entire duration and a good long time after if you are unable to enjoy the date because you wore something entirely unsuitable. If the date venue is a surprise, ask for a dress code from your date organiser.


With comfort and practicality sorted out, you are then free to fully express yourself. After all, the practice of dating is to find out if you and the other person like each other and feel a spark – no point dressing head to toe in pink to impress someone whose profile says they love the colour if you hate it with a passion. They will forever after assume you like pink as much as they do and you will ruin any real chance of connecting.


While expressing yourself however, it can sometimes be a good idea to reign back a little and let them get to know you before you hit them with your penchant for wearing a Mohican made of forks to 5-star restaurants. Self-Expression is all very well, but it is often unnerving in those we don’t know very well or at all and the last thing you want to do is scare off someone you really like just because they weren’t prepared for all the intrigued stares that come from wearing a purple top hat to the local spa. Thereby, make it your mission to put your date at ease and make them comfortable. Apart from anything else, concentrating on another person’s wishes is a surefire way to win a second date and stop your own nerves in their tracks!

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Virtual Dating

Whether you celebrated Valentine’s Day as a couple or a single, it’s all in the past now. It is almost like a second New Year’s Day, as you vow that this time next year you’ll have met someone, or changed this, or tried that to improve your luck when the next February 14th rolls around.


In this new light of promise then, why not try online dating? The success rates speak for themselves and for those reluctant to try it out, ask yourself; Why?


Is it the ability to narrow down who might suit you and who might not at the click of a button, instead of sorting through them manually in a crowded bar, stopping you?


Is the terrible notion of being able to let your friends vet your choices (or indeed, prevent them from having any say in the matter at all) without actually having to perform introductions, preventing you from turning on the computer?


Here’s one: You can peruse the lists however much you like, but you can do it in the comfort of your pyjamas and wait to get dressed up until it is actually worth it and you have a date to impress.


Whatever persuades you to try internet dating, let there be a few standards kept in mind.


-When choosing a picture, think of how it portrays you. A drunken pose with your girlfriends in the local club sends out the wrong signal, really, doesn’t it? As does a picture taken years ago, when you were 5lbs lighter or didn’t have quite so much of a receeding hairline… Take this opportunity to dress up nicely and take a proper picture of the way you are at the present (no use starting out on a lie, leads to heartache later).


-When filling in your profile, do so truthfully. Embellishments are all very well, but saying you are good friends with Prince Harry when your closest connection is your best mate’s sister’s hairdresser’s cousin who saw him once, maybe, at a bar in London is only going to make you look foolish when the truth comes out.


-When looking for a possible date, don’t judge too harshly. After all, you’re not perfect and you can’t expect every date to be. Don’t dismiss someone just because their hair is straight and you prefer curly, or because they support Manchester United. Everyone deserves a chance and your perfect match could be the least likely suspect – after all, its not like your ‘usual type’ tends to work out well for you, or you wouldn’t be here. How about narrowing down your list to a category like ‘cuddly’ or ‘professional’ and using Free and Single to aim your profile at people you actually want to be contacting you?


-Once you have chosen a likely few people to be your first dates, its time for the hard part. The making contact, the breaking of the ice! This takes bravery, it will be tricky. The good thing is that once you have a list of people picked out that you would like to know more about, you can approach them all while you are feeling courageous! Send out a message and see who replies.


-Even if it all goes up in the air and the first person you message doesn’t even reply, you can simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off and chat to the next on your list. They don’t know you just got rejected. In fact, nobody does because nobody saw it happen – it was all online! Serendipity is the bravery to just chat to people. After all, you’ll never know what could have been if you don’t even try to start with, do you?

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Get yer jim jams on and head to 40 Winks on Mile End road for some seriously saucy bedtime stories. Celebrate Valentine’s with stories of ‘Love, Lust and Longing’ and chuckle at everyone in their sleeping gear.



Pop along to Barburrito on Piccadilly Gardens for dinner and take turns creating burritos for each other. I’d say go with the hot sauce every time, but you might want to check allergies before you go piling peanuts on top of everything.



What is better than a trip to the Pier to inspire teenage memories of dates gone by? Compare notes with your date about terrible teenage mishaps while zooming backwards on a G-force ride. Steady your stomachs after with fish and chips on the beach – preferably, in the rain.




If you fancy a bit of an electrical-speakeasy vibe, meet your date at Cabaret Voltaire on Blair Street on the 13th, then spend VDay itself dissecting every little bit of the indie-folk-rock band, Chasing Owls.



Enjoy a sophisticated teatime treat at the Cake Cafe on Camden Street, with a plate of delightful home baked cake and a glass of bubbles. From your vantage point, you’ll be able watch all the men dashing around looking terrified, trying to remember whether their girlfriends and wives said they liked getting chocolate as a present.



Grab your date and head to the Bullring, put aside £10 each and challenge yourselves to find the worst Valentine’s themed item in the place. You have 30 minutes to search, then meet up for coffee, exchanging your ‘gifts’ and sharing the tales of your adventure.



Treat your date to an Exeter Red Coat Guided Tour exploring the Ghosts and Legends of the city. Wrap up warm for the tour then make up for all the calories lost in the adrenaline of being in the city at night surrounded by scary stories by chowing down on some hot street food like pancakes or noodles.



Get yourself and your date to the brand new Marlowe Theatre for a DJ Workshop and spend the day mixing tunes and premièring your beat at the end of the day. Once you have finished storming the charts you can stroll down the High Street and enjoy any number of delicious pubs and restaurants – check down the side alleys for the really good stuff.



Feeling romantic? Take your date to the shores of the River Cam and hire a punt. Languidly float through the waters cuddled up together under a blanket, with a thermos of soup and some fresh bakery bread. While roaming the river, you can discuss such serious topics as the meaning of life, where babies come from and why X-Factor is still going for another series.



Pop out of the city towards the Wirral and spend the day surveying the farmshops and noshing down on as many free samples as you can get your sticky mitts on. Take turns delving into conversation with the vendors and decide on choice foodstuffs to take home and picnic on later.




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That most hackneyed of days is upon us again. Valentine’s Day, where we randomly celebrate the martyrdom of St Valentine, who was stoned, beaten and beheaded for marrying Christian couples at a time when Christianity was most definitely bad for your life expectancy.


Whether you find yourself single, in a relationship or somewhere in-between, February 14th has always had a mysterious hold over people. The onset of the presents and proclamations of love ideology has merely opened the doors to feeling rather forced the have a romantic day mid-way through the shortest month of the year.


Well, be you one of those who applaud or disregard V’Day, the point remains moot – what to do? Do you head out to dinner à deux with your sweetie, smug in the knowledge that you have a ‘special someone’ to share food with? Do you laugh in the face of tradition, grab your mates and go out on the pull? Do you attempt to ignore the entire thing only to find yourself dripping ice cream on the duvet at 2am while watching Sex and the City?


Here’s the thing – Valentine’s Day isn’t going anywhere. It makes too much money for the card companies, heck, it could single-handedly restore the economy if more people felt a little love this year. So, for once, how about waiving the disgruntled arguments about ‘cheap tack’ and how roses are rubbish anyway? Why not grab someone, anyone – be they mates, mums, crushes, acquaintances or random strangers and head out on a date? I’m not talking mushy, I’m talking using the day for your own ends and having an experience to remember.


In the hope that you will take my sage advice to heart, I’m including in my next post a little go-to list of all the places I would go Valentine’s Day if I could but replicate myself to be in more than one place at once.


However, should that list fail you and you actually live in the official middle of nowhere, may I suggest grabbing the first 5 people in your Facebook Timeline and getting them all over for a good dinner, some dancing and a few naff party games – remember the one where you had to dress up and complete an obstacle course? Rename it ‘Get Date Ready’ and come up with the most horrific looks you can for each other. Send us some pictures when you’re done!


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New Year

Resolutions. We’ve all made them, we’ve all broken them. That is all in the past now though and I need you to be looking at the present, and the future. 2013. This is your year to shine.


New You

There is no need to give yourself a mile-long list of things you need to change about yourself in order to make the best of the year and reach your full potential. Think small – I’m talking small, manageable changes. Slight alterations in your already established habits that could really make a difference? Are you one of the thousands who are promising themselves that 2013 is the year they will get fit? Maybe that you are aiming for a promotion at work?


Well, don’t just sit there! Having a goal is all very well, but without a plan to achieve your aim your resolution is going to be over and done with by the 3rd January.

If you are trying to get fit, don’t buy a gym membership and congratulate yourself on your fitness forethought.

  • Go for a walk every day for a week before you even think about laying down your plastic.
  • Try walking instead of taking the car to the shops.
  • Take the stairs during the department store sales instead of the elevator.
  • Write up a program of treats you get every time you make one of your goals – lost a pound? Take an hour off chores to watch a film. Finally managed to run 1 mile? Buy yourself some proper trainers to encourage you continuing.
If you are looking to get promoted, don’t rest on your laurels from last year’s successes.
  • Put forth a plan on how you will accomplish your promotion.
  • Arrange a review with your manager to discuss what you can do to be eligible for promotion.
  • Schedule in some extra time to devote to developing your ideas or writing reports to show willing.
  • Be available to help out and be there with ideas when they are needed.
Think about the end goal, but also put a plan in place to help you get there. For example, if your resolution is to meet someone to form a relationship, or just to get out dating more, it will never happen unless you take the first step and try to make it happen. Be more open to opportunities, ask your friends to help set you up, join an online dating website, say ‘yes’ to people you wouldn’t usually date and be willing to experience new things in your search.

New Dates

If you are looking for new dates in 2013, or just on the hunt for a special relationship don’t treat the aim as the be all and end all. After all, dating and finding your partner in life should be enjoyable!

Have a think about what you want to gain from dating – casual flings, steady dating or a proper relationship – maybe even marriage? Once you know what you are looking to find, it will be easier to spot and you are more likely to be successful.

We at Free and Single recommend reading over some of our articles on getting started online dating to help you out in the beginning;

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