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Badoo App: Navigating singledom at 33

I can't say that being single at the slightly less ripe age of 33 was entirely the plan.  In my early 20s I might have imagined that by now I would have secured a life of married, countrified bliss - two children running around my feet as I potter around my immaculate kitchen and take a warm apple pie from the oven with an Emma Bridgewater teatowel. The problem is that I am now single, I live in a busy city and I have no idea how to make an apple pie.  The plans have not exactly come to fruition (is that an apple pie pun?) but honestly, it's fine.  What ever actually goes to plan anyway?

So, when Badoo asked me to write about being single, and using their app - I must admit I didn't know where to start.  Some of their features include the 'lookalikes function' which means you can upload a photo of your favourite celebrity (or the guy three years' above you in school that you had a massive crush on, if you so wish).  You literally could end up dating Tom Hardy's doppelganger - imagine.  You can also use Badoo to video chat, and you can call people using the app without giving them your number.  It's fair to say that this was seriously blowing my mind.

From the age of 25 I was in a relationship for around seven years, almost two years' of that being married.  There was a lot of love and good times but in time we realised it wasn't quite right and things came to a close at the beginning of this year.  He has since found a new relationship which is making him really happy and I hand-on-heart wish him all the best - and that's a nice feeling.  We are still good friends and co-parents of Bodhi dog and I'm glad we've managed to make something work out of what was a difficult time.  Since our break-up I did meet someone else, and being able to smile again and be someone's 'girlfriend' was something I didn't expect to fall into so soon, but it felt natural and helped me through a very dark time.  Sadly that relationship has now come to an end and so with a heavy heart I find myself single again, and wondering how to navigate single-dom in my early-30s.  (Since I'm 34 next year I probably can't get away with calling myself 'early 30's' much longer, so I'm pretty much milking it.)

The reason I included my relationship history there is not to bore you or spin a tale of woe, but because the mathematician's amongst you will realise that I haven't been single for almost eight years, and even before that it was only a few months between relationships before I met my previous significant other.  In fact, I've really not ever spent more than around six months' being single since I was about 23.  Ten years ago.  Ten years ago there was no dating apps, no swiping - in fact whatsapp wasn't even invented.  So 'the dating world' (I'm assuming that starting any sentence with the phrase 'the dating world was different in my day' is an instant mood-killer, right?) was very, very different.

I think though, that all of the swiping, the whatsapping, the Facebook stalking and the instagram following doesn't necessarily change the world of dating, it just makes it a lot easier and quicker.  It means that instead of trawling bars and nightclubs for 'the one', you can get to know people purely at the click of a button, and find out immediately if they're the type of horror that puts pineapple on a pizza without waiting for the fifth date.  Although some people might say that it's taken the romance out of dating, I just like to think of it as being more efficient.  And I like efficient.  I'm busy.

The thing I've realised now is that finding another person is not what makes you 'whole' - despite the fact that we're often motivated to seek out our other half.  And so what I plan to do with all of this new found free time is to also fall in love with myself a little bit more.  I want to find my independence, my wildness, and really get to know the Rosie that doesn't need to rely on someone else for her happiness anymore.  I will be taking myself for coffee dates, making myself yummy meals, taking long baths and tucking myself into bed with a good book.  I will be going on adventures, for weekends away, sitting around in my PJs and chatting to friends, and just generally dating the hell out of myself alongside any swiping I might do.  I'm very much of the opinion that you need to learn to love yourself before you can give someone else the job, and that being happy on your own is a really key step before, or whilst being in a relationship.

I'll soon be taking another step out of my eight-year comfort zone and living on my own.  Well - I have Bodhi dog to keep me company 50% of the time, and of course there's Netflix.  And if I do decide I want a bit of a chat or a date, I can of course embrace the 2017 digital world and do a little swiping.  I'll certainly have a little dabble in Badoo, where you can also see people nearby or even people you've bumped into - which could be handy when moving to a new city.  Of course it also has the swiping feature we all know and love (I might need to learn how to use that, such a novice right here).

What are your tips for being single in your 30's?

Friday inspiration and wanderlust

Some of you may know that I currently only work Monday - Thursday, and whilst Friday is supposed to be a blogging day, it often ends up being a day of pinning inspirational quotes, drinking lots of peppermint tea and planning my next holiday destination.

Where I'm at a real crossroads in my life at the moment - leaving another house, single again (at 33), still feeling like I'm searching for my 'calling' in life and having only Bodhi dog and my parents to tie me to this area, it's incredibly tempting to want to up sticks and go away for a few weeks, or months and have a bit of a break.  I must admit that my Google history is currently featuring a lot of searches for flights, on Jet2Holidays and for yoga teacher training in Ibiza.  It probably doesn't help that we watched the movie Wild last night, and now I'm wondering whether I can walk 1000 miles and carry 20 lbs on my back in hiking boots (no, and no - but imagine).

I must admit that Jet2.com rather fuelled my wanderlust recently when they sent me a little care package of items to pack on a yoga holiday (as well as to have some relaxing time whilst planning one).  Yoga is actually a pretty good hobby to take to other countries as all you really need is a mat (which are incredibly light) and lots of other items can be swapped for other things you might already be taking (a stack of books works well as an alternative for blocks, belts can be used as straps, and all hotels have blankets you can use for savasana).  Having witnessed how difficult it is to bring surfboards home from Bali I can honestly say that packing for a yoga retreat seems much more stress free - which of course is exactly what a yoga retreat should be.

I've been reading through Yoga For Travellers by Jennifer J Ellinghaus and it's a great resource for anyone wanting to keep to a yoga practice whilst on a trip.  Not only does it have great advice for yoga sequences and postures, there's also a really interesting section on using yoga to create space and time for reflection on a trip and to help you through tough times.  It has reassured me that should I take a solo trip, you can combat the loneliness by befriending other travellers, with positive self-talk and of course with the discipline to get on your mat every day.

Whenever I'm feeling stressed and a little lost (as I definitely am now), I make it my mission to step up the self-care rather than letting it fall by the wayside.  Jet2.com sent me that gorgeous Tranquility candle from St. Eval Candles (£9.46*) in the first photo and tonight my plan is to give that a burn - it has lavender, orange and ylang ylang which are three of my favourite scents - put a face mask on, run myself a long bubble bath and do some serious holiday planning.  I don't have any more trips booked this year but I really fancy a city break, especially with the weather being like it is at the moment (I'm not at all a fan of storm Brian).  I've never been to Italy, and Tuscany and Rome in particular look utterly stunning and are top of the 'to visit list'.  (Of course the Vogue Weekend Guide to Florence is a frequently visited page in my bookmarks - though I'm not sure I could afford to hire a Ferrari to drive around in).  I have a feeling my travel Pinterest board is going to have a lot more pins by the end of the evening!

Where would be your top spots for a city break or a sunny escape from this gloomy weather?

*yoga themed hamper gifted by jet2.com, all opinions my own

My life now - an update

I've realised that I've spent a few posts talking about some of the smaller details of my life like my health and wellbeing, and trips and holidays I've taken, but I haven't really spoken about some of the larger details of my life since it changed hugely in January of this year.

Long-time readers of the blog have probably gathered that Tom and I separated in January.  It was an incredibly painful and heartbreaking time and obviously I will keep the details private, however I will state that we are still good friends and I still have a lot of respect and care for him.  We are sharing Bodhi the dog and we have him around 3-4 weeks each before he then goes to his other home.  He is a hugely loved little doggy and he now has double the amount of cuddles, walks and people around him who love his little face.  I should have him again within the next week or so and I can't wait to give him a big squeeze.  It's tough but it's been the logical thing to do since we both love him very much.

We sold the lovely house in Lymington (goodbye roll-top bath - a sad day) and I moved to Southsea in August.  I had been living at my parents for the first seven months of the year so it was amazing to finally have my own space again rather than trying to keep a houseful of things in one room. I will, however say that the time with my parents was wonderful and they looked after me so well - it was actually such good fun to be around them again and to wake up in the morning and have long chats with my Mum over breakfast.  I grew up in this area so it really felt like coming home again, and though it was obviously an incredibly tough time, it was also a time when I focussed on healing and finding myself again - I even ended up having to take time off work but it was exactly what I needed to find my way out of that depression.  I went for lots of walks on the beach with Bodhi, saw friends, read lots of books and watched lots of Netflix. (And caught up on lots of sleep).

I've been living in Southsea for two months now.  It's very different to living in Lymington (as I write this I can hear police sirens in the distance) - in good ways and bad ways, like any situation.  Southsea has lots of lovely coffee shops, independent bars and restaurants, the beautiful seafront and it's easy to get the train into work.  The area is quite different to anywhere I've lived before and there have been some issues with the neighbours and noise, but nothing you wouldn't expect from living in a fairly student-y area just outside a city.  

I've been spending my spare time in Southsea finding the best coffee shops, going for drinks and trying to get back into running and yoga.  I've found a yoga class but though I've booked in twice I haven't actually made it along yet for various reasons.  I'm hoping to get back into a regular practice soon as I find it really makes a difference to my mental and physical health.  It's funny how you can know that something is really good for you and yet be useless at making time for it (monkey covering face emoji).

At home I've been powering through my to-read list on my Kindle (I've been updating my Good Reads) - favouring trashy crime novels, self-help books, the picks from my work book club and anything else that takes my fancy! I'm going to write a blog post soon about some of the best ones I've read this year as I've come across some really life-changing non-fiction and some gripping fiction novels.  I'm also still completely addicted to podcasts, particularly true crime podcasts.  My current favourites are In Sight, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, The Trail Went Cold and Up and Vanished.

Not much else is new - the last month or so has flown by in a flurry of hen do's, weddings, trips to London, festivals and settling in to a new home.  I can't deny that my life looks very different to what I thought it would be at 33 but I'm healthy, have amazing friends and family and I'm working on finding happiness again.  The last few months have given me the opportunity to start to get to know myself again and start a bit of a love affair with aromatherapy, crystals, Law of Attraction, shamanic healing and acupuncture (which I'm long overdue another appointment for!).

I don't know if I've shared too much in this update but I just wanted to write a little bit about where I am and what I'm doing.  It's been a funny old year so far, but it's Autumn now, and how could you not be happy about that?