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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Online dating is both a weird and wonderful thing.

For some people, it's an absolute godsend. If you're skint and don't have time to go out and meet people in bars, if you're kind of shy in real life or even if you feel that everyone is on Tinder and POF anyway so it's no use trying to meet people in 'real life' then, of course, online dating is your answer.

Online dating has led to some great things. I know friends that have met their serious other halves by logging online and we all know there are plenty of stories about people who have met and gone on to get married by forgoing the traditional way of looking for love.

Then there's the bad, too. The weirdos. The horror stories. The fact that deep down you still wish you could meet someone offline in more 'normal' circumstances.

But what surprises me the most is just how socially acceptable it is to online date these days. Years and years ago, I'd be embarrassed at the thought. I wouldn't tell my friends in the fear that they'd judge me and think I'm not good enough to find someone in real life. But with the rise of Tinder, it seems pretty much everyone has taken a dip into the online dating pool and shared their experiences.

Here are just a few things I've personally learned since giving it a go.

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Okay, 'selling yourself' sounds dodge, but when you write that little (or long) bio, you are essentially selling yourself and it's so hard thinking of what to write. You want to share your best parts without giving too much away and with a bit of air and mystery, too. But you also want to stand out. I always feel tempted to put some sort of forewarning like 'don't message me if you're going to waste my time, please' but it always sounds rather rude. And it's so hard to get your profile information to a genuinely acceptable length. I tend to start with the basics (age/personality type/what I'm addicted to currently - aka basically my Twitter headline) and then spend a couple of sentences listing my likes. Then I'll vaguely write what I'm looking for on said website, aka dating-to-see-where-it-leads when really I mean dating-but-I-want-it-to-lead-to-a-relationship, and sometimes I throw in final line like often needing a plus one to snazzy blog/work events. Because yes, in all honesty, if I've been talking to someone cute but we haven't been on a date yet, I have used that excuse more than once, insisting a friend has bailed on me and I need a last minute plus one.

Is my logic sound? Well, I don't think I have the ideal bio, but I think it's the right length and it's the right balance of revealing without sharing too much.

God, trying to find the perfect pictures to upload ARE THE WORST. It's so easy for guys. For them, it's a photo of: them in a gym, pulling a stupid pose with about fifteen guy mates (and some guys have this as every single photo like mate, how am I supposed to know which one is you?!), standing on top of a mountain with hands on hips, overlooking some landscape and usually a photo with a puppy/baby thrown in. For girls, it's a lot different. You want to use your prettiest photos, but also some realistic ones too because let's face it, you don't always look as amazing and as done up as that glam night out. I also include a photo with a friend, and at least one or two photos that are great for conversation starters. Cue photo of me and friend posing next to a giant c*ck in Amsterdam. I also try and have one full length smart photo, like me in a lovely dress from a wedding or something. I absolutely do not ever use a overly flirty or revealing photo but hey, each to their own. It may work for some people..!

This is a tough one and it took me so long to learn to start listening to my instincts. Even now I struggle. If you're talking to a guy and something seems off then chances are, something is. I've spoken to guys that have been way too over friendly (who have turned out to be f*ckboys), or way, way too flirty for a first conversation (again, f*ckboys), and sometimes even guys that have just been so half-assed with their conversation. It took me ages to realize that yes, they're good looking but no, they're still not good for me. With the swipe-generation of online dating and the fact that it moves so quickly these days, trust me when I say there's really no point making time for these guys. Delete and move on.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Dating | 8 Things I've learned by online dating | online dating | modern dating
My friend got me this book for Christmas as a joke..!

Yeah, I mean duh, right, but some guys really are just after one thing, even if they've stated otherwise. It's alarming how many guys are actually after just some online fun (not even real life fun, jeez!) and will try to initiate it after a five minute conversation. No, I don't want phone/cyber sex with a complete stranger thank you very much.

This one is a given but it's really important to be more open minded when it comes to online dating. I know a lot of it is looks-based, but I tend to try and be as least shallow as possible. There are plenty of guys I've got talking to on these types of websites who, looks wise aren't my type (as in not rocker etc) but have been ever so lovely to talk to. Much of the time, I've had amazing conversations with guys I wouldn't even look twice at in the street (and I don't mean that in an ugly/good looking sense, I'm very much the type of person who doesn't care about looks anyway, but I mean in a sense that looks wise I definitely go for guys in skinny jeans with messy hair etc and a good looking guy who doesn't look like this is probably less likely to catch my eye). In the past, I've gone on to date people for around six months, even though when we first started talking I had my doubts because they weren't my type. So it just goes to show, its never worth logging on looking for a set thing with a set type.

As stated before, with the introduction of Tinder, online dating moves very quickly. It's because there's always someone else at your fingertips just one swipe away. If you're talking to someone and it's not going as well as you'd hoped, it's very very easy for someone else to pop up and occupy your attention and for the other person to be forgotten about. Another thing about online dating is it's obviously nice to speak to someone and click with them but it's also easy to cover so much in just a matter of hours. If you progress to whatsapp, in just a day you could already learn about someone's relationship history, their goals in life and what their family are like. Which means when it comes to actually meeting up in person, all the basics have already been covered and there's little to talk about. So, if you can, always try and arrange a date as soon as possible, even if it is nerve wracking. Sometimes it's best to just arrange a quick cup of coffee before going your separate ways and then arranging more dates after, because at least then you've got past the online stage and have already met.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Dating | 8 Things I've learned by online dating | online dating | modern dating

It's also very easy to feel like things have gone a lot further than they actually have. When you speak for weeks on end, even if you've not met in person or have only been on one date, it's so easy to feel like you're already 'dating' or 'seeing' someone, which means everything that comes after happens quite quickly. If you have a five date rule before sex in general but you've been on two dates and have been speaking for five weeks, you're probably going to want to break that. 

By all means do if it feels right, but keep in mind that things like meeting the parents/labelling yourselves as dating may or may not happen in a quicker timeframe as usual. I find it important to remember to slow things down a bit and just try and remind myself that even if I've been speaking to someone every single day for the past few weeks, it doesn't mean we're seeing each other. It's still early days yet and there's still plenty of chances for it to go wrong - don't put all your eggs in one basket until, y'know, things get to that point in real life.

No matter what you're looking for online, at the end of the day, just see it as a bit of fun. Don't log on hoping to find the love of your life (even if you might in the end!) and take it with a pinch of salt. It took a while for my head to get around the fact that online dating is just a regular part of our generation now. Go on dates with people you wouldn't normally. If you start speaking to an insanely good looking guy and click well but he's not after a relationship - if you're comfortable with it, say f*ck it and go on a date with him anyway. It might lead to more. It might not. 

At the end of the day, even the bad dates will give you a funny story and will help you learn what to avoid in future. And online dating is also a great way to get back to basics and check in with YOU. Spending time on your profile can help you evaluate what you do and don't like in your life currently, and online dating will soon help you realize what you will and won't tolerate in a relationship.

And, it's fun. It's always fun to go on a date with a cute boy who digs you and wants to kiss you.

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to attend one of my favourite events - the first ever Hard Rock Fashion Show.

The event was held at the Hard Rock Cafe London (obviously), in conjunction with London Fashion Week. The evening was held to showcase the brand's winter and spring lines, as well as some exclusive items.

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I've always been a big fan of Hard Rock Cafe - from their restaurants to the merchandise and everything the brand stands for. Plus, it's heavily influenced by rock 'n' roll and I love that music memorabilia can be found on display in all of their restaurants. 

So I grabbed a friend and headed down to Park Lane, already feeling the excitement upon arrival. There was a definite buzz in the air but we also found that there was also a really relaxed, friendly and informal atmosphere inside. 

The beyond friendly staff took our coats and directed us to our area where we ordered some wine (for Becky) and a beer (for me) and began to socialize in the short time before the actual show was about to start. During this time, plenty of yummy appetizers were on offer, which we definitely took advantage of as neither of us had had dinner yet! There were mini burgers, balsamic tomato bruschetta and delicious chicken tenders.

We were spoilt for choice and definitely well looked after.

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When it was time for the show, Sarah Handy, sales and marketing manager, introduced the show and gave us a bit of an insight into the brand, the clothes that we would be seeing and the models in the show. She also introduced Reka Abid, who arranged the outfits for the show, and Craig Nightingale who organized it all. I found it really interesting how Hard Rock Cafe didn't just use random models - they've used ambassadors for the brand who will be working/collaborating with them on a regular basis, which was nice.

I've not been to a ton of catwalk shows, but it was also fun to see each model have their own personality walking down the catwalk, rather than looking straight ahead and stony faced. Some danced down the catwalk, others bounced energetically - and often, when one model replaced another, they interacted with each other with a high five or a hip bump.

I really liked this idea. It gave the show a very informal but fun tone to it.

But onto the clothes. The beautiful, beautiful clothes.

I wanted them all.

We saw a ton of tops in different styles and fashion with the traditional Hard Rock logo - what I like about the logo is that it's actually rather stylish as it is. I'd happily wear a top branding the logo in an everyday situation not just, y'know, in a bid to promote the brand.

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Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fashion | Hard Rock Fashion Show | Hard Rock | Hard Rock Cafe | London Fashion Week | LFW
I have used Hard Rock's images with permission as obviously mine suck and do not even begin to compare to these ones...

The spring collection was gorgeous with both bold and pastel slogans and all outfits accompanied by bright and delicious looking summer cocktails. I wanted everything, but I particularly loved the simple but sweet vest tops, and a gorgeous top with a distressed detail on the back which was right up my street. The turn it up muscle tee's were really cute too.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fashion | Hard Rock Fashion Show | Hard Rock | Hard Rock Cafe | London Fashion Week | LFW

There was even a range created in collaboration with Pitbull. These included bold pink and blue prints against more versatile coloured tops and had a real LA/Vegas vibe to them.

Overall, the collection was really stunning and I liked that everything was so wearable. Some fashion's you see on the catwalk and could never imagine even trying to pull it off but Hard Rock's spring and winter lines are simple but eye catching, and the models demonstrated how the range's could very easily be dressed up or down.

I had so much fun viewing the newest collections and found myself realizing that Hard Rock is a lot more than just a brand - it's a lifestyle too, really, and I enjoyed meeting those behind the scenes and hearing about how exciting it was putting together the first ever (and very successful!) Hard Rock fashion show.

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

I've just got a very brief and quick post going live today I'm afraid - and it's all about promoting my Depop! #sorrynotsorry.

Basically, I've just paid off my trek to Mexico in full and I'm now saving left right and centre for spending money. I've also recently moved back home which means although I'll be saving in the long run, I've also come to realize just how much junk I own and how many clothes I have hanging in my wardrobe that I don't wear.

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Hence the long overdue clearout.

Here's just some stuff available on my Depop shop now - but plenty more will be added in the upcoming weeks. All items come from a smoke free house and are in great condition, and I also have a bunch of clothes to sell that still have tags on (back from when I worked in retail and abused my discount just because).

Any questions, just ask!

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Also, I am 100% debating going into the foot fetish business and selling old dirty shoes. So, y'know, if you know anyone into that sort of thing, tell them to hit me up...


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Sunday, 19 February 2017

The nation’s capital has events, activities and excitement in abundance — but sometimes, it’s nice to have a break from the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets. Fortunately, there are plenty of worthwhile day trip and getaway locations in the surrounding areas and a little further afield.

While there’s no doubt that a jaunt around a big city like London is full of fun things to do, there’s a lot to be said for taking some time out and hopping over the metaphorical city walls. With so much diversity in regards to activities and locations, a quick train or car journey (many of which are an hour or less) is of little sacrifice for a memorable trip.

Brighton Beach

The historic seaside pier, its 5.4-mile long beach and endless shops, cafes and pubs amidst The Lanes are just a few of Brighton’s prime tourist locations. Whether you want a leisurely seaside stroll with a bag of chips or a jam-packed day of activities, Brighton has something for everyone.

Museums and galleries offer visitors a keen look at the artistic nature of the town, while an abundance of shops and boutiques show off Brighton’s ability to stay at the forefront of alternative fashion and trends.

With so much to see and do, you may find that a day trip to Brighton won’t be enough to experience all it has to offer, so the short train journey from London and a ticket fee (around £20) that does little damage to your bank account will come in handy for future trips.

A mere ninety-minute train journey from London’s Waterloo Station will see you arriving in the enchanting environment of The New Forest. With plenty of nature to explore and wildlife to see, a diverse range of activities and events going all year round, The New Forest is a must-see and must-do for any Londoner looking for a change of scenery.

There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to find places in London where you can enjoy outdoor activities or see animals at the zoo, but with The New Forest, you have an environment where you can enjoy various outdoor activities in scenic locations and observe an abundance of wildlife in their natural habitat.

Whether it’s a family trip, weekend adventure with a group of friends, or a romantic getaway, The New Forest really does have a bit of everything. Walks through the countryside, exciting activities, shopping, museums, spa days; it has something to fulfil most people’s idea of the perfect weekend getaway.

London has a humongous range of activities, suited to the needs of a wide variety of people — but the problem is that the majority of these activities will be indoors. Stepping beyond the city limits and off the beaten track will allow you to experience some exciting activities, while embracing the great outdoors.

If you fancy making a change from the hectic foot traffic of London’s busy streets, a leisurely stroll in the countryside will be the breath of fresh air you need. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with the amount of scenic walking locations nearby. If you’d prefer something a bit more extreme in similar locations, there are plenty of off-road cycling paths and downhill mountain biking courses.

For those of you who are looking for an activity that’s outdoorsy, exciting, energetic and highly competitive, look no further than paintballing. You won’t have to go far to find the best paintballing London has to offer — as well as the best paintballing deals London has to offer. There's little that rivals the excitement of exploring diverse outdoor combat scenarios, while being immersed in the adrenaline-fuelled action of paintballing.

Many people would think paintball is reserved for days out with friends or stag dos, but specialised equipment means that the sport is safe to play for anyone aged 8+. This means families can attend for an exciting day out, or plan a children's paintball party. The possibilities are endless, so it’s worth checking out the exciting paintball London has to offer.

While the streets of London are riddled with historical relevance and beautifully aged by memories of the past, the locations that make up the surrounding areas are just as worthwhile to check out and embrace your inner historian.

From the Roman bathhouses of the rather aptly named Bath, to the wonderful medieval craftsmanship of Canterbury Cathedral, you’ll find locations that are a brilliant insight into Britain’s past. Other sites such as Stonehenge are known all over the world for the mystery behind its original purpose — an opinion that has been debated for many generations.

Neighbouring cities such as York and towns like Winchester are packed with history, scenic countryside and quirky buildings that make visitors instantly fall in love with the atmosphere and change of pace from a bigger city.

Whether you’re a Londoner looking for a break away from the city, or a visitor in search of some nearby gems while you spend some time in and around the capital, it’s pretty safe to say you won’t be disappointed. Scenic strolls in the countryside, historical tours of the local area, or intense, adrenaline-rushing fun of paintball; it’s all within a short distance of London and definitely worth making the trip.

*Please note, this post has been contributed.

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Friday, 17 February 2017

I know I already wrote a brief post about Pound Fitness and my experience of taking a class but, if I'm honest, I didn't really feel that post was anything more than a ramble about how much fun I found the class.

I've been back since and have even turned my sister into a fan of this quirky fitness class, so thought I'd share some reasons to why you should try it too.

Pound Fitness is a cardio workout with simulated drumming, which sounds like an odd mixture but works pretty damn well. In a class, you are given a pair of Ripstix (neon green lightly weighted plastic drumsticks), which you use to drum the floor (or tap together in the air) during the upbeat workout, which ranges from stretches, squats and various cardio moves. 

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To say Pound Fit is a great workout is almost understatement. It's basis is cardio - but it really is an all over workout. When I heard it's inspired by drumming. I figured maybe it would only give my arms a workout. I was wrong. There's a lot of squatting and there's also some ab inspired floor moves too. So, it works out the whole body and one hour of Pound Fit can burn up to 900 calories!

One of the founders, Cristina Peerenboom, broke her drum stool and, determined to still practice, spent an hour squatting to do so. The following morning she woke up with aching abs and legs and thus the idea was born into a unique workout.

You really do. Even though it doesn't turn you into a drummer, taking part in simulated drumming along to the soundtrack of bands like Paramore or Fall Out Boy is a really great feeling, especially when you have a lot of anger or stress to work out. And, although I read somewhere that it won't help you improve your drumming, I kind of feel like it has helped me improve my rhythm and get used to the concept of drumming.

Each class is really laid back but upbeat, and the hour workout is filled with giggles and points where you sing along. Some exercise classes I go to and I feel not necessarily judged, but not accepted as much, or I feel bad not being as good as others. This isn't like that at all. It's so laid back, and there's a totally awesome online community too. It's not just a workout class. The website has a blog which shares tips, playlists, interviews with badass women and recipes, and there's a really awesome clothing range that can be purchased too.

If there's not a class near you (it's not massively popular in the UK yet - although there are lots of opportunities to become a trainer!), you can order DVD's to take part. There's a Rockout Results System for £72.09 (really random 9p there but that's the conversion from US dollars!), which includes five DVDs, a balance guide and seven day kickstart, a Poundoff calendar and workout journal, interval challenges, a 'live' class, a 101 tutorial and a pair of Ripstix. Perfect for a gift or to save for if you become an addict like me. There's also a cheaper version, Album 1: Sweat. Sculpt. Rock. This DVD set includes two DVD's and a pair of Ripstix for £16. Bargain.


But essentially, if you're just after something a bit edgy or different, then this is definitely a fitness class for you!

Would you ever try Pound Fitness? Let me know!

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