Meet the hidden women behind London Fashion Week

Meet the hidden women behind London Fashion Week


Here’s how fashion week actually happens…

REX

Another London fashion week has been and gone, seeing bad traffic, excellent celebrity spotting and a lot of well-dressed people frequent the city.

Burberry, Victoria Beckham, Erdem, Christopher Kane and Roksanda highlighted the weekend, with Kendall Jenner and Winne Harlow being among those walking the runway.

But it’s not just models, designers and influencers that make London fashion week. What about the hidden women that are actually making it happen?

From fashion illustrators and street style photographers to backstage managers, DJs and make up artists, we spoke to the women behind LFW to find out what really goes on…

Jessica Bird

Job title: Fashion Illustrator

What my job entails at fashion week: Lots and lots of drawing. Capturing backstage activity and key looks from shows, live drawing, interpreting the collections from 3D to 2D essentially.

This LFW I have been… In residency each evening at the London EDITION hotel drawing guests and LFW goers, capturing their looks in 15 minute pastel portraits. I’m also SHOWstudio’s collection artist for London for this season so I have been illustrating shows live from their studio during the day.

What I wear on the job at LFW: I feel like my wardrobe has started to reflect my work – I play with colour a lot as I do in my illustrations, my wardrobe is very bright, quite fun, lots of fluorescent colours. This week I’ve been wearing a few of my favourite pieces from Roksanda – with my trusty artists apron over the top of course!

Three essentials in my LFW bag: Pastels, sketchpad and paint markers.

My most stressful part of fashion week: Trying to keep up with all the shows, there’s just so many looks I want to capture!

My most exciting fashion week experience: Being asked to cover LFW for Showstudio for sure. It’d been a dream of mine since I started illustrating so I’m feeling very grateful to have been asked!

Fashion week work snack: Popcorn!

Top LFW tip: COFFEE!

Samantha Qureshi

Job title: NARS UK Senior Makeup Artist

What my job entails at fashion week: As a makeup artist ambassador for NARS, my job behind the scenes entails various missions: assisting the lead makeup artists backstage is one of those, making sure my hands become the extension of their creative vision without a fail and I am also in charge of doing VIP makeup sessions during Fashion Weeks seasons.

This LFW I have been… Part of the most beautiful shows from New York to London so far. Rodarte was a dream and the exquisite pop art inspired makeup by James Kaliardos and beautiful flowery hair composition by Odile Gilbert, was part of one of the most inspirational moments of my career. I had the privilege to assist Lucia Pieroni during her makeup test at Christopher Kane’s studio in London, I loved to see how she creates and works the skin and how she really connects with Christopher Kane’s vision of beauty. All the shows always feel really special to me. As a creative person I feed my artistry juice with all the artists surrounding me, fashion designers, makeup artists, hairdressers, nail technicians, models are a huge part of my artistry growth.

What I wear on the job at LFW: All black, neutral and chic, comfortable clothes. Backstage, it’s always speed, you have to be ready to run, be on your knees, and be 100% effective and dynamic. I keep my makeup very glowy and lightweight with a lot of NARS Skincare. Our new Climax Mascara and the Radiant Creamy concealers are my bests products to wear when working on shows.. Orgasm lip balm this season and go!

Three essentials in my LFW bag: I make sure all my NARS skincare set is ready – radiant Creamy can do it all without fail, and my precious brushes which I never live without.

My most stressful part of fashion week: Time keeping, sometimes we have to wait for a while for the models to come from other shows, and when they arrive, hair, nails, and makeup teams become one big team making sure in the last minutes before the line-up, every model looks fabulous and ready to go on the catwalk.

My weirdest fashion week experience: The day we used just a concealer on a show was not the most satisfying feeling being a makeup artist. It also shows how being an artist is so subjective and I appreciated the reflection and inspiration behind it… but my brushes stayed clean!

Fashion week work snack: In my bag I always carry a protein and cereal bar, a banana and plenty of water. (Take away coffee isn’t an option…)

Top LFW tip: No coffee on an eyeliner/bold lips look day. Unless you have a really steady hand… Lucky you!

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orange works.

A post shared by Yossy Akinsanya (@ya.photographs) on Sep 18, 2018 at 5:03am PDT

Yossy Akinsanya

Job title: Street style photographer

What my job entails at fashion week: This fashion week I’ve taken to the main venues being used for shows and have captured every kind of outfit you can think of from designer to conceptual to on trend.

This LFW I have been… Running from venue to venue trying to find the most interesting and eye-stopping outfits out there. I’ve lost count of exactly how many people’s Instagrams I’ve asked for after taking their picture.

What I wear on the job at LFW: As it’s fashion week I do try and dress up a little bit myself but bring an element of comfort as I’m doing a lot of running around so I’ve been wearing dresses paired with vans, so pretty much girly but comfortable.

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models after the @burberry show, part one.

A post shared by Yossy Akinsanya (@ya.photographs) on Sep 18, 2018 at 5:08am PDT

Three essentials in my LFW bag: A power bank for sure because my phone is always in my hand whether it’s for directions, taking usernames, checking the fashion week schedule or snapping the experience. Water because it is a long day and you will find yourself feeling dehydrated if you don’t. Lastly, business cards. I made the mistake of not having any ready but after working it I’ve come to realise how much everyone uses them and how helpful they can be for building contacts and getting your name out there.

My most stressful part of fashion week: I think trying to feel like you’ve covered everything and getting to places on time definitely.

My weirdest fashion week experience: I got stopped myself along with my friend who was doing photography and we were interviewed on our outfits and being black girls in fashion which was cool!

Fashion week work snack: Energy bars, they fit anywhere, taste good and are quick to eat.

Top LFW tip: Always do a schedule for your day the night before – times, locations and shows. You need to be prepared on the day.

london fashion week careers

Cathie Carday

Job title: Showcaller/Backstage Manager

What my job entails at fashion week: Ensuring the show goes smoothly, making sure any backstage requirements are met, setting up and breaking down the backstage area, and liasing with the show director, technical team and security to identify and solve any problems that arise. I’m also the go-to person for the designer and stylist to keep to schedule and ensuring everyone can do their job within the given timescale. I take care of the models and inform them of choreography and creating model line ups before and during shows, provide model lists for hair, make up and dressing teams. And as a showcaller I work with the sound and lighting team and cue the sound, lighting and models when we go to show.

This LFW I have been… Working primarily as backstage manager in the BFC main show space but have worked on Steven Tai, Johnstons of Elgin and Mark Fast as a showcaller this season.

What I wear on the job at LFW: I need to be I invisible but not insignificant – the standard ‘uniform’ in event world is smart blacks but it is fashion so think utility chic – a jump suit with a designer pair of trainers is working well this season!

london fashion week careers

Three essentials in my LFW bag: A bum bag, a clipboard and Paracetamol/ lipstick.

My most stressful part of fashion week: The most stressful moment is when the alarm rings at 4am for a 5am call!

My most exciting fashion week experience: Richard Quinn last season – our special guest was the Queen !!!

Fashion week work snack: Bounce balls!

Top LFW tip: Be fabulous, fierce and feminine!

The post Meet the hidden women behind London Fashion Week appeared first on Marie Claire.



Hannah Shergold: ‘Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn, but everything happens for a reason’


Continuing our Women Who Win series is Hannah Shergold, an award-winning artist and former Lynx helicopter commander in the British Army

Hannah Shergold
Copyright Andy Barnham

Some people struggle to find the one thing in which they excel – Hannah Shergold is in no danger of that.

Following a degree in pre-clinical Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University, she became an internationally-exhibited bronze sculptor. Three years later, after what she calls a ‘whirlwind of an experience’, Shergold decided that she needed a new challenge, and joined the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

During her tours as a Lynx helicopter commander, Hannah combined her passions, now working with the WWF as well as recently being selected as the only Wild Card artist for the 2019 Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year competition.

Our Women Who Win interview series celebrates strong and inspirational female trailblazers, shaping the future for us all, and Hannah Shergold and her refusal to let anyone or anything stand in her way is that in a nutshell.

We sat down with Hannah to talk about tours of duty, her Sandhurst experience and the words that she lives by.

What inspired you to join the army?

‘My father has been in the army, and his best memories and friends and stories are from that time. I liked the idea that you form such strong relationships with people when you’re going through the same experience. My cousin’s boyfriend at the time was at Sandhurst then, and he’d tell me heaps of stories: the things that most people would say, “Oh my god that sounds horrendous!”, I thought, “That’s awesome!”’

How tough was Sandhurst?

‘There were hundreds of moments at Sandhurst when I thought, “What am I doing?” I remember being on guard in the middle of a night in the woods and it was pouring with rain. I was sat in a puddle, starving hungry and couldn’t fall asleep, otherwise we would get punished. I thought, “One day, I’m going to find it really funny how miserable I am at this moment, but definitely not right now.”’

What was it like living and training in such a heavily male environment?

‘The army is full of the most awesome people, and the majority of them are really, genuinely good, but as in any organisation, you come across some people that really don’t think that women should be in the army. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t encounter any prejudice – I didn’t really notice it at first and found it much easier to brush off earlier in my career. I suppose in hindsight I was in survival mode, and also I was so busy I didn’t have time to sit back and think about it.’

Why did you choose to be a helicopter pilot?

‘The short answer is because helicopters looked really cool. My piloting course, which was 18 months long, was the toughest thing I’ve ever done: if things start going badly, you can go from being absolutely fine to being chucked off the course in less than a week. I’m very self-deprecating and would be quite honest about it, and sometimes I found with the guys they would always say that their flights were fine, so I got into my head that I was the only one that was struggling. But I only failed one flight in the entire time I was training: my last one!’

How did you get your start in the art world?

‘My secondary school had the most fantastic art department, with a wonderful old building that looked like a proper old-fashioned artist’s studio. We got to use oil paint and do sculpture: a friend of a friend tried to buy some A-level pieces that I’d made from clay. In 2006, after I’d finished university, I booked myself a stand at Bleinheim Horse Trials to sell statues cast out of bronze – when I booked it I didn’t actually have any pieces to show… I went to Dubai to sell my pieces for three summers, but the credit crunch hit in the autumn of 2008 and luxury products are the first thing to go.’

Copyright Andy Barnham

How did you balance art and the army?

‘I was in Kenya for six months on medical duties, which means a lot of sitting around, waiting for something to go wrong. Some people read, some people played on the Playstation, and I drew. I did pen and ink sketches of life out there; I just found it so beautiful out there.’

What’s your mantra?

‘Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. I’m a massive believer in things happening for a reason. If things are genuinely disappointing or go wrong, my fall back is, “Well that happened because something else amazing is going to occur as a result of not getting it.” Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start something new!’

How should women ask for more?

‘Have proof that you deserve something. You shouldn’t necessarily be expected to cite that proof, but if someone has the audacity to question why you deserve something, you can back it up quickly with the reasons.’

The post Hannah Shergold: ‘Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn, but everything happens for a reason’ appeared first on Marie Claire.

These are the most Instagrammable places to go during London Fashion Week

These are the most Instagrammable places to go during London Fashion Week


How to be an influencer 101…

Photo: Olivier Degoulange/REX/Shutterstock

London fashion week has officially started which means all manner of things – bad traffic, excellent celebrity spotting and a lot of well-dressed people frequenting the city.

One of the most exciting parts of London fashion week however is the Instagram opportunities, which are endless BTW.

Sure, you might not have invites to the hottest shows in town, but even if you’re not actually attending LFW, you can still get in on the buzz, right?

From cool monochrome cafes and fashion week backdrops, to beautifully tiled floors and pop up presentations, there are plenty of Instagrammable ‘fasshuuun’ opportunities to go around.

So from getting an on-trend coffee to a LFW beauty treatment, here are the most Instagrammable places in London to hang out during fashion week.

Duck and Dry

What’s happening? For blow dries in the capital, there are few places more Instagrammable than Duck and Dry. Marble counters, duck egg blue furnishings, bare-bricked walls and the perfect egg-shaped mirrors to take blow dry selfies and Boomerang videos in.

What to order: A blow dry and a glass of Prosecco, or if you manage to get an invite to a party or show, get yourself a professional updo.

Glow Bar

What’s happening? While this isn’t a London Fashion Week exclusive, plenty of influencers will be hanging out in the new Instagrammable health and beauty shop over the weekend to browse the self-care drinks and take advantage of the Wifi and photographic decor (we’re talking pastel pink furnishings and rich green plants).

What to order: A moon milk – yes, it’s a thing and it’s packed with superfoods. Take your pick from chill, glow, yoni, golden or siren, and be sure to snap it against the marble table.

The Shop at The Bluebird

What’s happening? Covent Garden’s The Shop at The Bluebird has got a pop-up London Fashion Week area. We’re talking vitamin IV drips, rails of Rixo dresses and Bella Freud jumpers to browse, complimentary Kombucha and pop-up agile work stations with every phone charger imaginable. Did we mention the extra strong WiFi?

What to order: A vitamin IV drip and a complimentary bottle of Kombucha.

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Brighten up your day ☕💕 via @n__r331

A post shared by NAC (@nacmayfair) on Aug 13, 2018 at 3:35am PDT

NAC Mayfair

What’s happening? NAC is the place to go to for an Instagrammable brunch – and the food lives up to the hype. Expect the fashion crowd to head to NAC this fashion week season – and it’s not just because of the French bistro’s Mayfair location, situated near a lot of the shows. Decor-wise, we’re talking whitewashed bricks, pink backdrops and dark green plush sofas, and to eat, every brunch dish imaginable from churros and french toast to banana pancakes, acai bowls and all kinds of avocado concoctions.

What to order: The banana pancakes of course – they’re the most popular to Instagram and will give you a sugar hit before your day of fashion week oggling.

Saint Aymes

What’s happening? What’s not happening at Saint Aymes? Almost every fashion blogger you’ve ever heard of has had the obligatory Instagram snap on the black and white tiled floor in front of the wisteria-framed cafe. Flower walls, stunning tiles for downwards shoe shots and of course the pastel crockery to laden with whatever Instagrammable food you decide upon.

What to order: A signature unicorn latte – yes there is such a thing as a unicorn latte, and yes, as its name would suggest – it’s Instagrammable AF. Also on the must-try list are the pastel heart-shaped biscuit and the blueberry pancakes.

Farm Girl

What’s happening? Given the central locations of all three Farm Girls, they tend to be an obligatory stop for fashion bloggers and YouTubers – especially given the excellent lighting and photographic coffees. Whether they’re covered in lavender seeds or decorated with pug faces, their lattes might just be the most Instagrammable in history.

What to order: After bracing the cold weather for street style photo opps, we’d recommend a warming chai latte, but the liquid gold latte featuring a pug’s face and the rose petal latte are the most Instagrammable by far.

DryBy

What’s happening? DryBy has just had a revamp, turning it into an Instagrammable glam preparation hub. We’re talking agile working stations, allowing you to work on your laptop during a blow dry. Then head on downstairs for a gel manicure, with specialist technicians offering customised metallic designs and lettering.

What to order: A signature blow dry and a manicure of course.

Sketch London

What’s happening? Sketch has always been one of London’s most Instagrammable eateries, with each room offering different photographic opportunities. Fashion week is no exception, with influencers flocking to Sketch for the ‘gram. The Gallery offers the most photogenic afternoon teas, from its pink plush decor to the zigzag floors and monochrome drawings on the walls and the Glade is best if you feature a lot of greens on your feed. Maybe a trip to both is necessary? Just saying.

What to order: Afternoon tea at the Gallery, and an obligatory visit to the Sketch bathrooms for a photo in front of the iconic pod toilets. Trust us.

Dandelyan

What’s happening? For a post-fashion week cocktail, there are few places more on-trend. The Art Deco inspired decor (that lavender leather sofa), a soundtrack of 70s/ 80s rock mixed with funk and disco, and of course the most Instagrammable cocktail menu around – from the Nemo Old Fashioned and HMS Hi-ball, to the Nitrate Manhattan and Concrete Sazerac.

What to order: For Instagram purposes, the King Pig Sour or the Monkey Puzzle – solely for glass choice, cocktail colour and garnishing.

See you there! And happy Instagramming over fashion week!

The post These are the most Instagrammable places to go during London Fashion Week appeared first on Marie Claire.



These are the most Instagrammable London spots during Fashion Week

These are the most Instagrammable London spots during Fashion Week


It’s essentially how to be an influencer 101…

Photo: Olivier Degoulange/REX/Shutterstock

London fashion week has officially started which means all manner of things – bad traffic, excellent celebrity spotting and a lot of well-dressed people frequenting the city.

One of the most exciting parts of London fashion week however is the Instagrammable opportunities, which are endless BTW.

Sure, you might not have invites to the hottest shows in town, but even if you’re not actually attending LFW, you can still get in on the buzz, right?

With cool monochrome cafes and fashion week backdrops, to beautifully tiled floors and pop up presentations, there are plenty of Instagrammable ‘fasshuuun’ opportunities to go around.

So from getting an on-trend coffee to a LFW beauty treatment, here are the most Instagrammable London spots to hang around in during fashion week.

Duck and Dry

What’s happening? For blow dries in the capital, there are few places more Instagrammable than Duck and Dry. Marble counters, duck egg blue furnishings, bare-bricked walls and the perfect egg-shaped mirrors to take blow dry selfies and Boomerang videos in.

What to order: A blow dry and a glass of Prosecco, or if you manage to get an invite to a party or show, get yourself a professional updo.

Glow Bar

What’s happening? While this isn’t a London Fashion Week exclusive, plenty of influencers will be hanging out in the new Instagrammable health and beauty shop over the weekend to browse the self-care drinks and take advantage of the Wifi and photographic decor (we’re talking pastel pink furnishings and rich green plants).

What to order: A moon milk – yes, it’s a thing and it’s packed with superfoods. Take your pick from chill, glow, yoni, golden or siren, and be sure to snap it against the marble table.

The Shop at The Bluebird

What’s happening? Covent Garden’s The Shop at The Bluebird has got a pop-up London Fashion Week area. We’re talking vitamin IV drips, rails of Rixo dresses and Bella Freud jumpers to browse, complimentary Kombucha and pop-up agile work stations with every phone charger imaginable. Did we mention the strong WiFi?

What to order: A vitamin IV drip and a complimentary bottle of Kombucha.

View this post on Instagram

Brighten up your day ☕💕 via @n__r331

A post shared by NAC (@nacmayfair) on Aug 13, 2018 at 3:35am PDT

NAC Mayfair

What’s happening? NAC is the place to go to for an Instagrammable brunch – and the food lives up to it. Expect the fashion crowd to head to NAC this fashion week season – and it’s not just because of the French bistro’s Mayfair location, situated near a lot of the shows. Decor-wise, we’re talking whitewashed bricks, pink backdrops and dark green plush sofas, and to eat, every brunch dish imaginable from churros and french toast to banana pancakes, acai bowls and all kinds of avocado concoctions.

What to order: The banana pancakes of course – they’re the most popular to Instagram and will give you a sugar hit before your day of fashion week oggling.

See you there! And happy Instagraming over fashion week!

The post These are the most Instagrammable London spots during Fashion Week appeared first on Marie Claire.



Dear Dolly: Breaking up with a friend is never easy

Dear Dolly: Breaking up with a friend is never easy


Dolly spills some truths…

Dolly Pawton Marie Claire Columnist

The Strand 12.50

As London fashion week fast approaches the hysteria of many doing practically anything for a golden ticket is in full swing. Because let’s face it there is nothing quite like the feeling of a show. The excitement of seeing the looks for the first time, the lights, the FROW drama and the celebrity spotting is a must for anyone who loves fashion, networking or just wants to feel the vibes of live performance.

With NYFW wetting our whistle we are now into operation LFW and with it approaching faster than hate mail to president Dump, it’s time to get my wardrobe in order and make sure that I’m ready when I am walking around the London Streets.

The buzz of street style in Soho, Covent Garden or anywhere near the fashion show hubs is electric! Where photographers, bloggers and Vloggers flock to taste a slice of the fashion week creativity. People who can’t gain access or even those who can, line the pre show lines to catch all the latest trends laced with personal styling ready to go through those doors, elbows out ready for FROW action.

If you have never been, you’re a fashion virgin. Now that’s a word you didn’t think you’d hear again! The burning question usually is “How do I get in?” I am so not about restrictions, unless we’re talking bondage, but that’s another column!

Hierarchy can be ugly and those who have more money to buy their way in is so last season. So I am here to say you can all be part of a show that is fully inclusive and one where you are getting more than you may expect from a London based show.

LQFS. 21st September 2018 a show like no other will be launching at the V&M (Museum of childhood). A show where you can simply buy an affordable ticket with multiple designers and an evening of fashion, people and entertainment. The London Queer fashion show is a new way of showing fashion.

It’s a get in there quick policy for this one. I will be there! A fully stocked bar of Instagrammable cocktails and a hundred models swayed me! Whether it’s eye candy (yes, you can come alone) cocktail candy or a girls/boys night out make it all about you! You are all invited, included and you are encouraged to come as you are. Express yourself and enjoy fashion in your own way. You may well want to be in the VIP area, Frowin’ it up, or a tiered seat may suit you best, what ever you desire, if you love fashion, want to make new friends or take your existing ones and don’t give a fuck about not being able to get your toe in the door of LFW get yourself to LQFS and enjoy your shot of Fashion week. Because everyone deserves to have their fashion virginity taken in style.

Grab your tickets from londonqueerfashionshow.com

 

What Would Dolly Pawton Do?

 

Dear Dolly…..

I don’t expect you to answer this one and I think it’s pretty personal but I am at my wits end with my best friend.

Now I say my best friend but I am starting to wonder. We have been friends since primary school and although we went off to college in different directions we would still be in daily contact and meet up when ever I was back in town. We went into different areas of work but recently have started working for the same company. We were so excited. Being able to have lunch everyday and drinks after work. Not once did I think it would all be too much. But lately I feel like I can’t move. I feel guilty for saying that. But all my friends at work are now more her friends. I now have to include her in everything, in fact I feel like she competes with me for their attention. She has cut her hair exactly like mine. People around the office are calling us twins and she really seems to get getting off on it. The other day she brought up an embarrassing story about me in front of my colleagues. I was shocked and hurt. Why would she do that? I feel like she is changing or using me. Is it just me? She knows me better than anyone and it feels odd.

Thanks Dolly

Anonymous

 


 

Dear Everyone!

Darling you are not alone! We have all had that “friend” Now there are levels of imitation that is complete flattery and that feeling of admiration. Then there is the single white female moment when you feel scared to tell her where your driving too, or who you bloody fancy! Because you can’t be sure if she will turn up at a location, unannounced or invited but she will make a beeline for your sex/love interest and let’s face it, that’s not okay!

I think your work environment is a separate space to a social one and your bestie sharing personal stories is a step too far.

Haircuts and copying, well if you feel it’s all too weird tell her! She was a friend before a colleague. I think boundaries need to be set for both of you. You are not ten anymore and sharing crushes and candy is no longer fun. Step off bitch! My interests, my hair, my embarrassing story. She has no right to open up your personal life at work without your permission.

I can see where the lines have been blurred, she is now not only a bestie but legally someone at work. Can you tell her to back off or will she run to work and tell them all?

I think a coffee away from work (yes I know it means seeing her again on a Saturday) but I think for you being honest is the best policy on this one. You love your friend and you should give her the chance to know how her actions are affecting you. If she ignores you, then that would be the time to realise that besties in a playground and besties in adulthood are sometimes simply not the same. Nostalgia can get in the way. We all loved Jelly shoes and stirrup jodhpurs but it doesn’t mean we were right!

Good luck as losing a “friend” is never easy. But as I always say…. it’s better to know the truth than live with a fantasy that’s a lie.

 

London Love

Dolly Pawton

Dolly Pawton

Don’t forget, you too can ask Dolly a question.

Nothing is off limits so consider me your Dollylama (spiritual guru) here for all the real talk. Write in at dollypawton@gmail.com

Don’t worry you can be anonymous!

 

The post Dear Dolly: Breaking up with a friend is never easy appeared first on Marie Claire.

The connection between scent and attraction, explained

The connection between scent and attraction, explained


Promotional feature with BOSS The Scent

When it comes to connecting with someone on a deeply sensual level, could finding the perfect partner mean simply sniffing out the right match?

Come on, as blissfully easy as that sounds, establishing a meaningful and emotional connection with someone special takes more than an app or algorithm.

Despite living in an age that’s becoming increasingly reliant on digital interaction, the hopeless romantic within us wants to believe that pure love is based on chemistry. Crossing paths with someone unexpected, or a chance encounter that’s left you breathless. These indescribable attractions cannot be replicated, especially via social media.

So, rather than becoming a slave to the swipe, dating experts are now suggesting that singletons rely more on their instinctual emotions and attractions. Why? Because harnessing the power of our senses – AKA augmented sensuality – may well be the key to truly connecting with those around us.

Of all the senses, scent is particularly powerful – and only works through real-life interaction. We all know certain fragrances can evoke powerful emotions and memories, but you might be surprised to hear that scent triggers a response faster than a thought, making it the heart of instinctive attraction and desire.

Recent studies have suggested that our own natural odour and signature fragrance is key when attracting a mate. In fact, a staggering 75% of our emotions are triggered by what we smell* – proof that smells like freshly washed sheets or a favourite perfume, push our unique pleasure buttons.

Think about it. An alluring scent ignites and heightens the senses, making romantic interaction, however brief (hello, gorgeous tube stranger) so much more intense and electric. It’s a spark that certainly doesn’t happen if you’re spending your entire lunch break trawling through dating profiles. It’s no wonder that people are beginning to look beyond the screen to face-to-face interaction.

Hayley Quinn, a 31-year-old romance guru who has almost 100k YouTube subscribers and hosts regular all-day ‘renegade’ group training sessions for women, agrees that a growing number of people she meets are hoping to disconnect in order to truly connect.

‘I’ve been doing this for 10 years now and already I’ve seen a shift,’ Hayley says. ‘People are going on endless strings of dates, which are often unfulfilling and unrewarding.’

Not only is meeting the right person through dating apps exhausting, but there’s a prevalence of online behaviours such as ghosting (disappearing without a trace), orbiting (similar to ghosting) and breadcrumbing (leading someone on).

While these behaviours are not specific to the digital age, when you add to this the huge social media footprint left behind when a relationship breaks down, Hayley acknowledges that it’s often difficult to detach ourselves from the digital space.

That’s why we have to get back to basics and make real-life, sensory connections the starting point.

When it comes to romance, smell reigns supreme, so try wearing a fragrance that exudes femininity and seductiveness, such as BOSS The Scent. Honeyed peach and freesia make for a head-turning combination that will engage and intrigue, whereas notes of irresistible roasted cocoa add an addictive boost, arousing the senses even further.

And if you want to know more about the power of augmented sensuality, watch the tantalising encounters between Jamie Dornan and Dutch model Birgit Kos in the new BOSS The Scent ad. It’s a stunning reveal of the non-verbal signs that signal intense attraction, from smouldering looks to barely touching hands.

Whatever scent she’s wearing, trust us you want it…

*Source: The Scent-It Palette, August 2014

The post The connection between scent and attraction, explained appeared first on Marie Claire.

This is the future for women according to our MC 30th birthday panel

This is the future for women according to our MC 30th birthday panel


Here’s everything you need to know…

Robert Chadwick

This month marks Marie Claire‘s 30th birthday, a milestone that we are celebrating with a special commemorative October issue featuring none other than Jodie Whittaker, the first ever woman to take on the role of Doctor Who.

‘It’s no coincidence that our 30th birthday October issue cover star is Jodie Whittaker, the first female Dr Who in the show’s 50 year history,’ our editor Trish Halpin announced as she opened our Marie Claire 30th birthday breakfast on the future of women this morning at The Clock Library and Gym, in Marylebone. ‘I think that it demonstrates just how much can change, and an awful lot has changed in the 30 years since Marie Claire was launched.’

Robert Chadwick

‘But we all know that there is so much more that needs to be done to really get to a position of gender equality and to ensure that the voices of women of every creed, colour and age are really truly being heard,’ she continued, going on to introduce a powerhouse female panel to speak on the future for women in work, technology, diversity and sustainability.

Female guests networked over fresh fruit, granola and plenty of caffeine – hearing the expert insights on the future of women from the panel, and taking away invaluable advice.

These are the most inspirational takeaways from the Marie Claire 30th birthday breakfast, and what they tell us about the future for women…

The future of work and women

(Jo Swinson CBE and MP for East Dunbartonshire)

‘Thinking about what’s happened in the workplace in the last 30 years, we have made progress for the position of women,’ explained Jo Swinson MP. ‘We’ve seen a lot of legislative progress – in the 1970s the ladies at the Ford plant campaigned for equal pay which ultimately became legislation in the equal pay act, yet we still don’t have that as a reality over 40 years later. We won new protections for women in terms of maternity leave, and yet still today we have 54,000 women a year in this country losing their jobs because of pregnancy and maternity discrimination. It’s illegal, it’s been illegal for years and yet it still happens.’

‘Yes, there are more women at the top,’ she continued. ‘The number of women in parliament has gone from 3% to 30% so there is progress, but when I was 21 I didn’t think we’d still be having this discussion 20 years later, and it doesn’t feel like progress has been as quick as it should have been.’

What can we do?

Well according to Jo, there are three things that everybody can do to make change.

‘The first is to just sit at the table. Sheryl Sandberg once said that and it really resonated with me. How often have we gone to a meeting and women have sat around at the sidelines or not felt like they could contribute? So sit at the table – you are there on your own merit, and make sure you say something even if you’re scared inside. The second is to amplify the voices of other women. In Obama’s first term, the women in his cabinet decided to praise and amplify each other’s points in order to get them the credit they deserved – something we can all follow. And finally, break the mould – think about how you can challenge stereotypes and have an impact on what young boys and girls will see.’

The future of technology and women

(Anne-Marie Imafidon – co-founder of Stemettes)

‘If we had more women involved in the creation of technology, it would be more altruistic,’ Anne-Marie explained, going on to use the new FitBit period tracker as an example.

‘They put out this feature and it limited a period to ten days which is an interesting restriction to put on something like period tracking,’ she continued. ‘It just goes to show that there should have been more women in the room. We need to make sure that we are there.’

What can we do?

‘We all know the three Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic, but there are now four,’ Anne-Marie explained to the room. ‘We need to re-digital. Digital literacy is something we all need to make sure we’re clued up on. Rather than being just a consumer, we should look to be creators, get ourselves in that room and take control.’

The future of diversity and women

(Ella Hammad – Authentically Ella and Civil/ Tunnel engineer)

‘When I started in construction there were only a few women, and fewer women of colour, and even fewer women that were muslim,’ Ella explained during the panel discussion. ‘There were a lot of things about diversity that really resonated with me. I am treated differently – and not just because I’m a woman, also because I wear a headscarf.’

What can we do?

‘We need to encourage younger girls to get into engineering, and something that I definitely want to encourage is for those young girls to find the role models that I didn’t have when I was growing up,’ Ella explained. ‘My mother was my role model but she wasn’t an engineer, and when I got into engineering, if I had a role model that looked like me, I would have had a clearer idea which path I should take and I’d feel more comfortable and a lot more confident. It is difficult to talk about an issue that you are facing to someone who doesn’t look like you and doesn’t understand it.’

She continued: ‘But we shouldn’t just be trying to raise the number of women in engineering and construction. We need to shatter the misconception that our intellectual abilities are defined by the way we look and the fashion we choose to wear.’

The future of sustainability and women

(Amy Powney – Creative Director of Mother of Pearl)

‘There is a huge campaign going on at the moment with increasing numbers of women wearing t-shirts saying “I’m a feminist”, but I don’t think anyone is actually thinking about the woman that manufactured that t-shirt,’ Amy explained. ‘She probably had no maternity rights and didn’t get paid enough money, and we’re just walking around wearing them flippantly and throwing those t-shirts in the bin at the end of the trend, not thinking about the women earlier in the journey.’

What can we do?

‘It’s not just about us,’ Amy Powney explained. ‘We obviously have issues that we need to deal with here but there are huge problems out there that are bigger than our problems that need addressing. We need to talk about the women in the supply chain and think about them too.’

Amy continued: ‘We are a fast-fashion nation who are consuming clothes very rapidly and throwing them into the bin. We have got circulatory issues, we have got synthetic fibre issues – we are basically killing the world through fashion, and as the women that we are, we need to make choices that can ensure that we look great and save the planet at the same time.’

Robert Chadwick

Discussing these topics – writing about them, tweeting about them and addressing them in forums like this – is what is really going to push the agenda and make change,’ Trish explained to the room, encouraging us all to keep the conversation going.

Feeling inspired? Come along to our next event and experience the first hand empowerment yourself.

The post This is the future for women according to our MC 30th birthday panel appeared first on Marie Claire.



The most beautiful wild swimming spots in the UK

The most beautiful wild swimming spots in the UK


From picturesque countryside swims to the cliffs of Dover…

wild swimming
Adam Burton/robertharding/REX/Shutterstock

Now that the summer’s gradually drawing to an end, we’ve been trying to make the most of the blistering heat with weekly trips to the lido and picnics in the park. There’s no doubt that the weather’s getting chillier, but if you want to make the most of a sunny weekend then there’s nothing better than a road trip to a secret oasis. We’re always going to be partial to a gorgeous swimming pool, but there’s something about splashing about in nature that’s utterly magical.

From picturesque seaside harbours to hidden stretches of the Thames, the expert swimmers in the know over at Selkie Swim shared their favourite places to practice your backstroke. We’d definitely recommend bringing a few ciders and your camera, since many of these places are basically screaming to be posted on Instagram.

Here’s the ten best spots for wild swimming in the UK below…

1. Blea Tarn

wild swimming

Jeremy Lightfoot/robertharding/REX/Shutterstock

Fay said, ‘This spot always has the “wow” factor, no matter how many times you return. It is a site of special scientific interest and is good for wildlife spotting too. It’s quiet, remote, rather untouched and turns icy in winter. There are a few shingles beaches from where to enter the water and the Langdales make a wonderful backdrop.’

wild swimming

Selkie Swim

There’s a National Trust car park nearby (LA22 9JU) and a good access path which goes most of the way around the tarn, with benches. You can also head on over to Sticklebarn pub to refuel after a day spent swimming, plus grab a sneaky pint if you’re so inclined.

Address: Blea Tarn, Langdale, The Lake District, Cumbria

2. Tor Bay

wild swimming

Environmental Images/Universal Images Group/REX/Shutterstock

Andrew said, ‘[Tor Bay] is a large horseshoe shaped, sheltered, sandy beach, at the eastern end of Oxwich bay. It sits gloriously between the limestone headlands of Great Tor and Little Tor and the water is some of the best quality in the UK. The beach is at its best between mid and high-tide, and there is always sand even at high tide. It’s a lovely for a coastal swim with the possibility to swim out and around the headland to Three Cliffs (avoid the headland on the outgoing tide as there are strong rip currents forming then).’

The nearest Parking is in Penmaen and Tor Bay beach is accessed via a good coastal clifftop path, followed by a steep sandy path down to the beach. It’s dog-friendly all throughout the season, however do bear in mind that there aren’t any lifeguards if you’re bringing little ones.

Address: Tor Baoy, Penmaen, Swansea, SA3 2HJ

3. Kingsand Beach

wild swimming

David Lomax/robertharding/REX/Shutterstock

‘Kingsand Beach is located in what’s known as ‘the forgotten corner’ of Cornwall,’ Becky said. ‘It’s lovely, quiet and sheltered, as it is located in Plymouth Sound and there are even swimming buoys out in the bay. You can venture further out to Pier Cellars or all the way out to Penlee Point, but must watch out for water traffic. ‘The Devonport Arms’ pub is right on the beach as well, which is rather handy.’

wild swimming

Selkie Swim

This child-friendly beach is reachable from Plymouth either by a small boat that runs from the Mayflower Steps in the Barbican to the adjoining village Cawsand (seasonal), or by road. Parking-wise, there’s two decent car parks in both villages. If you’re super lucky, you might even be able to spot the neighbourhood dolphins who occasionally make an appearance.

Address: Kingsand Beach, Kingsand, Cornwall, PL10 1NA

4. Chichester Harbour

wild swimming

Jean Brooks/robertharding/REX/Shutterstock

Stephen said, ‘Chichester Harbour is a beautiful stretch of water running from the ancient city of Chichester, all the way to East Head and finally out to West Wittering Beach. Sheltered from the wind, it has several places to get in for a dip, Dell Quay, Itchenor & Bosham Hoe, all steeped in tales of smuggling and local folklore. [If you go] swimming in the harbour, you will always find new things to see and explore. And if you have had enough, you can take the Itchenor ferry back to the shore.’

On a more practical note, he also advised swimmers, ‘Watch out for marine traffic and make sure you’re visible. Early morning and late evenings are the quietest. [It’s] also the best time for stunning sunset swims. If it’s windy, the sailing clubs are out, but you can hug the banks on higher tides and swim under the branches of the old trees which is pretty idyllic.’

According to Stephen, there’s also a few nice old waterside pubs and cafes for food and refreshments. For more information, you can check out Chichester Harbour Conservancy for local information, maps and harbour tides.

Address: Chichester Harbour, Chichester, PO2 07EJ

5. Old Harry Rocks

wild swimming

Geoffrey Swaine/REX/Shutterstock

Stuart said, ‘Studland is a beautiful, scenic and popular National Trust series of beaches. Although coastal swims along the beaches are lovely with amazing views, the longer, tide dependant, swim to Old Harry Rocks is a bucket list must-have. Knoll beach, home to Studland Watersports, is a good starting point, as you can hire kayaks for someone to paddle as you swim for support and get tide information and tips; and the views of Old Harry rocks and the Purbeck hills from there are amazing.’

Parking is available in the two National Trust car parks a few metres from the beach. There’s also a cosy café for refreshments and food.

Address: Old Harry Rocks, Studland, near Swanage, Dorset

6. The Flower Pot

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Summer swimming in the Thames #summer #river #thames

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‘At the very end of Aston Lane is a lovely bucolic spot, from which to enter the Thames via a small slipway, for a dip or a longer swim in the Hambleden Valley,’ Jon said. ‘It is a long stretch of river with an island to swim upstream to or around, and a pontoon with water usually deep enough to jump or dive in.’

wild swimming

Selkie Swim

He continued, ‘The flow can be high at times, making it a challenging upstream swim with an easy float back. And there is a cold spring stream running into the river by the slipway, making the entry point a little chillier than the rest of the river.’

Easy parking is located right by the river at the very end of Aston Lane. For refreshments and pub grub, the Flower Pot pub is signposted and just up the lane.

Address; The Flower Pot, River Thames, Henley on Thames, RG9 3DG

7 and 8. Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-Sea, Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 4BG and Bantham Swoosh

wild swimming

Selkie Swim

Di said, ‘Burgh Island and the Bantham Swoosh are iconic South Devon landmarks, directly opposite Bigbury-on-sea beach, which is only accessible by a strip of sand at low tide. The island is famed for its links to Agatha Christie, the art-deco inspired hotel and as a one-time haunt for pirates and smugglers.’

She added, ‘From the beach at Bigbury-on-Sea you can swim around Burgh Island. The level of the tide determines the extend of the beach and thus the length of the swim.’

wild swimming

Selkie Swim

‘You can also do mini swooshes from Bantham Sands, running up the sandy banks as far as you like on an outgoing tide, plop in and swoosh down, get out with a big smile on your face and repeat!’ she finished.

She advised planning the swim beforehand and to ask the advice of the lifeguards on the East beach in season.There are paying car parks both in Bigbury and Bantham, depending on where you would like to start from and they do get pretty busy in season. After finishing up your swim, you can also finish off with some awesome food from the Gastrobus at Bantham Beach or a burger to die for at the pastel coloured old school Citroen van.

Address for Burgh Island: Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-Sea, Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 4BG

Address for Bantham Swoosh: Bantham Swoosh, South Devon

9. Dover Harbour

wild swimming

Josef Puchinger/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

‘Despite being a major port, [Dover Harbour] has a surprisingly pleasant (sharp) shingle beach, clean water and an attractive seafront behind,’ Nick said. ‘It is overlooked by the imposing medieval Dover Castle and the fortifications in the cliffs, the stunning white Cliffs themselves, the Western Heights Napoleonic defences and you can watch the ferries come and go.’

‘There is a designated recreation area and away from the ferries is the harbour used by swimmers which is about 1 km across,’ he said. ‘It is special as it is packed with history of Channel crossing training.’

There’s parking behind the promenade and a water sports centre on the beach that rents out equipment, if you’re keen to jump on a kayak. It’s also surrounded by cafes and shops as it’s super close to the centre of town.

Address: Dover Harbour, Dover, Kent, CT161LA

10. Clifton Hampden Bridge, Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire, OX14 3EE

wild swimming

Nigel R. Barklie/REX/Shutterstock

Katie said, ‘[Clifton Hampden Bridge] is a distinctive 19th century bridge, stepping over the still narrow river Thames in a pretty picturesque Oxfordshire village. The banks are covered in wildflowers and majestic trees, there is a lot of wildlife around and the river quickly finds its way away from the traffic and into the quiet countryside.’

‘You can swim for as long as you want,’ she explained. ‘There are entry spots on both side of the river, although the “post office lay-by” side has a couple of benches carved out of tree trunks and a table for a picnic. Swim upstream under the arches of the bridge, and back down again, or you can carry on upstream until you reach the lock channel and even further if you stay left. Downstream is also a nice swim through trees and fields.’

wild swimming

She also shared a handy secret, ‘The post office sells local fruit and veg, cakes and the best pain au chocolat for miles, but you will need to be early!’

If you’re looking for a spot to park your car, there’s spaces in the layby by the post office.

Address: Clifton Hampden Bridge, Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire, OX14 3EE

The post The most beautiful wild swimming spots in the UK appeared first on Marie Claire.



This charity event at Ibiza Ushuaia will melt your heart

This charity event at Ibiza Ushuaia will melt your heart


We can all agree Ibiza Ushuaia know how to throw a great party right? Their legendary pool parties are not to be missed and this charity event is no different.

ushuaia ibiza beach club
Credit: guillegs.es

The Night League in association with Music Against Animal Cruelty otherwise known as M.A.A.C are coming together with Ibiza Ushuaia to present ‘Wild’ and we are very much here for it. According to M.A.A.C 90% of the Worlds Rhino population have been lost in the last 40 years and up to 30,000 elephants slaughtered for their ivory each year; its safe to say we have a global crisis on our hands.

So if you want to party the night away and support animal cruelty at the same time, er yes, then this event could be right up your street.

Ibiza Ushuaia

When:

Thursday 13th September expect a line up of stellar DJ’s at Ibiza Ushuaia

Who:

DJ’s including South African’s finest, the man of the moment Black Coffee, Swedish DJ Adam Beyer and Art Department.

Johnny White of Art Department and co-founder of M.A.A.C explains that ‘This isn’t just techno against animal cruelty. This is music against it. This is a global force against treating animals like they have any less right to be here than we do.’ All DJ’s are contributing their time and performance for free and all profits will go directly towards wildlife conversation projects. So far, so good.

With the music industry uniting at Ibiza Ushuaia on this global cause lets hope its sends a message and we can all come together to support the cause and raise funds for such a worthwhile cause. Boom, we are in! Buy tickets here

The post This charity event at Ibiza Ushuaia will melt your heart appeared first on Marie Claire.

These are the 11 best online dating sites you need to know about

These are the 11 best online dating sites you need to know about


We’ve hand-picked the best online dating sites for you to try right now – and there really is something for everyone.

best dating sites
How to be single

With half of all single people now using some of the best online dating sites to find love (or at least quick, no strings sex – hello, Tinder), long gone are the days when Internet dating was seen as embarrassing or cringe-worthy. Now its about as normal (but way more fun) as Internet banking.

There are literally hundreds of dating sites out there. So, to make it a little less overwhelming, we’ve trawled the Internet for you and sought the advice of online dating expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams to find the 11 best online dating sites on the web. You can thank us later.

Best online dating sites

best online dating sites

Best online dating sites for over 40s

1. eHarmony

How does it work? If you are serious about looking for that special thing called love, then this is the site for you. eHarmony take this match-making lark very seriously, making them one of the best online dating sites around. They’ve even patented The eHarmony Compatibility Matching System. That’s right. They’ve taken 35 years of research to come up with a Relationship Questionnaire and pride themselves on matching users with people who are actually compatible with them.

How much does it cost? £9.95 per month.

The experts say: This is a great site for those who are looking for personality matching. eHarmony takes the hard work out of trolling through 100s of photos and delivers compatible dates directly to your inbox. This site provides quality over quantity and is great for those looking for a long term relationship.

Try now: eHarmony from £9.95 per month

Best online dating sites for over 50s

2. match.com

How does it work? match is the most widely-used dating site in the world and has nearly 1.8 million subscribers. It works in the most traditional way: Simply create a profile, check out your potential matches, send them a few messages and then arrange to meet for a date. There are also various off-shoots of match.com with microsites for gay and lesbian dating, Asian dating, Christian dating and Polish dating. The love-gods at match also arrange singles events and provide online dating advice, so it’s easy to see what makes them one of our best online dating sites.

How much does it cost? £12.99 per month for a 6-month membership.

The experts say: For those nervous about dating, this site puts the control in your fingertips allowing you access to thousands of profiles and the ability to chat to potential dates at the rate which works for you. It is well known and therefore attracts a wide demographic, allowing you to widen your dating pool or limit it with their advanced matching facility.

Try now: Match.com from £12.99 per month

best online dating sites

Best online dating sites for busy people

3. Lovestruck

How does it work? Lovestruck helps you target potential partners according to location and it covers many of the major cities across the world. It’s aimed at time-starved professionals, who due to busy work and social lives simply don’t have the time to date. Lovestruck helps put you in touch with people who are near you – be it where you work or live – to save you precious minutes or hours travelling to and from a date. The site also hosts regular events which are a fun, relaxed way to meet people.

How much does it cost? A minimum of £16 per month.

The experts say: Perfect if you are looking for love in the city and want to approach dating with an informal first meet in your lunch break or after work. It takes the travel out of dating especially with its tube station search parameter.

Try now: Lovestruck from £16 per month

Best online dating sites for beginners

4. DatingDirect.com

How does it work? There are no gimmicks or USPs with DatingDirect. In fact, it’s fairly similar to our old friends Match, mentioned above. You can start looking at potential dates for free, then when you like the look of someone and fancy striking up a conversation, you need to subscribe. Like a lot of the best online dating sites, it also has a handy instant messenger service which makes chatting to your matches easy and breezy.

How much does it cost? £12.99 per month for a 6 month membership.

The experts say: This site is owned by the dating giant MEETIC and gives you access to 20 million members across Europe and it also merged with Match.com in 2009. A daily email suggests six members you might be interested in, which is a useful feature that doesn’t feel like you’re being bombarded but provides you enough choice to find a compatible date.

Try now: DatingDirect from £12.99 per month

best online dating sites

Best online dating sites for finding long-term relationships

5. PARSHIP.co.uk

How does it work? This is sold as a serious online dating site for ‘discerning singles.’ A bit like eHarmony, PARSHIP uses a patented test, this time called The PARSHIP principle®, which analyses 32 personality traits and is based on an algorithm of 136 rules. It sounds complicated, but that’s not for you to worry about. Just sign up, do the test and get chatting to all those love-compatible people out there.

How much does it cost? Minimum of £14.90 per month.

The experts say: One of the best online dating sites for those looking for long-term relationships with professional people, users complete a personality test to measure compatibility with potential dates using psychometric analysis. Functionality is limited as the site is more geared up to helping you find a long term partner rather than flirting randomly with people you like the look of. Members have similar incomes and education. There is also a specific gay version of the site for those looking for a serious committed relationship with a same sex partner.

Try now: PARSHIP from £14.90 per month

Best online dating sites for fussy people

6. PlentyofFish

How does it work? Plenty of Fish works by asking users to take a special POF Relationship Chemistry Predictor test, which measures self-confidence, family-orientation, self-control, social dependency and easygoingness. You’re then matched to those most compatible to you.

How much does it cost? It’s free!

The experts say: This is great if you want free access to a large database of single people. It has a compatibility matching system that includes areas such as self-confidence, openness and family. A great starting point for people who have not tried online dating before and want to try it for free.

Try now: PlentyofFish for Free

best online dating sites

Best online dating sites for shy people

7. Mysinglefriend.com

How does it work? Mysinglefriend.com is the brainchild of TV presenter Sarah Beeny and it works by each member on the site being put forward and described by a friend. The site aims to get rid of the ‘cringe factor’ associated with having to big yourself up through your online profile and makes it more of a fun community, where like-minded people can chat, meet and potentially fall in lurve.

How much does it cost? £13 per month.

The experts say:
For those who are at a loss as how to sell themselves in 500 words or less, this site offers the opportunity to be described by your friend. It works on the premise your friend can sell you better than you can but they can also embarrass you too. MSF has a more chatty style in the profile and gives you a greater insight into your potential date’s world.

Try now: Mysinglefriend from £13 per month

Best online dating sites for the looks-obsessed

8. BeautifulPeople.com

How does it work? This online dating site does exactly what it says on the tin and only people deemed beautiful enough will be allowed to join. To become a member, applicants are required to be voted in by existing members of the opposite sex. Members rate new applicants over a 48-hour period based on whether or not they find the applicant ‘beautiful’. It sounds harsh, but the site claims that by admitting people based on their looks they’re removing the first hurdle of dating, saying that because everyone on the site is a fitty, members can concentrate on getting to know people’s character and personalities. Beautiful People also promises access to exclusive parties and top guest lists around the globe. Now for that brutal 48-hour wait…

How much does cost? If you buy a 6-month membership, you’ll get a reduced price of £7.50 per month.

The experts say:
This infamous dating site claims to have no unattractive members and is known for deleting members who gained weight. Aspiring members have to pass a 48-hour peer vote to be accepted as one of the ‘beautiful people’. They regularly host members’ events where allegedly you have to look as attractive as your profile photo otherwise entry to the venue is refused. This is the ideal site for those who want to bypass the usual filtering of profiles based on looks and focus on getting to know people they know they will be attracted to.

Try now: BeautifulPeople from £7.50 per month (6 month membership)

best online dating sites

Best online dating sites for people who hate first dates

9. Doingsomething

How does it work? Let’s face it, meeting up with a complete stranger for a first date can be awkward and hideously cringeworthy. But it’s less so when the date itself is a total riot. This is where Doingsomething.co.uk comes in. The site is all about the actual dating experience and let’s you pick a match based on the date idea they’ve suggested. And the more fun and unique the date the better. So, rather than nervously meeting someone for a luke warm coffee in a crowded chain, you could be trying out your culinary skills at a sushi-making masterclass or bonding over super-strong cocktails at a hipster speakeasy. It’s basically about finding someone who wants to do the same things as you at the end of the day, isn’t it?

How much does it cost? £10 per month.

The experts say: It’s a simple and unique approach to online dating which is great for those looking for fun and interesting ideas for first dates. Sign up is quick and easy without the usual numerous questions and sections to fill in, the hardest part is thinking what you would like to do on a date that might attract like-minded people.

Try now: Doingsomething from £10 per month

Best online dating sites for music-lovers

10. Tastebuds

How does it work? A similar taste in music can be a great indicator as to whether you’re compatible with someone, so the fine folks behind Tastebuds have struck gold with their music-based online datingsite. Getting started is dead simple: pick three artists or bands that you’re interested in, the gender you’re looking to date and press ‘go’. It’s a fun and relaxed site, which can introduce you to new music, concert buddies and potentially even your own real-life Caleb Followill.

How much does it cost? It’s free for exisiting members, but £8 per month for new members.

The experts say: This is one of the best online dating sites for those looking for love who also love music. It makes sense that if a potential partner shares your taste in music then you’re off to a good start and a favourite artist/band is a great ice breaker when approaching someone online for the first time.

Try now: Tastebuds from £8.00 per month for new members

Best online dating sites for the over 50s

11. Lumen

How does it work? Lumen is a modern dating app specifically designed for adventurous over 50s to meet genuine like-minded singles. Every profile includes at least three photos and a detailed bio, designed to spark interesting and meaningful conversation with your matches.

How much does it cost? It’s free!

The experts say: If you want good conversation with likeminded individuals in the age bracket, there’s no place better. There is a focus on good conversation and common interests so for people who want to chat away without the awkwardness, this is the app to download.

Try now: Lumen 

How to stay safe when online dating

We spoke to eHarmony UK’s resident relationship expert, Verity Hogan, on how to date online safely.

Be cautious with your personal information

‘When dating online or in person, be wary of anyone who seems to be asking for a lot of your personal informal early on. Don’t share any details such as your address, birth date or financial information. If a match is asking a lot of questions of this type, let them know that you’re not comfortable sharing that information and report them if you have any suspicions about their true motives.’

Arrange to meet in a public place

‘Even if they claim to make the best pasta in town, never meet someone for the first time at their home and don’t invite them to yours. Arrange to meet somewhere that’s busy and in public such as a restaurant or coffee shop that you’re comfortable in.’

Tell a friend

‘If you’re planning to meet an online date for the first time, be sure to tell a friend or family member who you’re meeting, when and where.  If you have an iPhone you could also share you location on the app Find My Friends. Check in with a friend during the date or ask them to call you at a specific time to check on you.’

Don’t be afraid to leave

‘If your date is making you feel uncomfortable, leave. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just sat down or enjoyed a three-course dinner with them. If they do or say anything which makes you feel uneasy, walk away. This person is a stranger and you need to protect yourself, first and foremost.’

Travel there and back by yourself

‘If your date offers to pick you up at home, politely decline. Plan your own route to and from your date so that you remain completely in control at all times. This also means you’re not relying on someone else to dictate how long the date lasts if you need to make an early escape’

How to have a successful first date – dating tips from the expert

Yes, much of it comes down to chemistry, but there are a few fail-safe tricks to navigating a first date that you should know about, according to Verity Hogan, eHarmony UK’s relationship expert.

Avoid social media stalking

‘It’s always tempting to ‘accidentally’ check out a date’s social media accounts before meeting up. In fact, our research shows that over a third (38%) of us admit to a pre-date Google. Try to avoid it, if possible. In-depth social media stalking will make you form judgments before you’ve even sat down together so prioritise getting to know the real person, rather than their online persona.’

Choose comfort

‘A first date is your opportunity to get to know your date – and for them to get to know you. While we all want to present the best version of ourselves, dressing in a way that feels unnatural is guaranteed to make you feel uncomfortable and is likely to put a damper on your date. Wear something that you’re comfortable in and that reflects the real you.’

Try a confidence exercise

‘First date nerves are natural, but you can tackle them by employing a few confidence tricks. Visualise a great date – one where the conversation flows easily – and hold on to the positive feelings that the thought encourages. Affirmations are a useful tool too. Stand in front of the mirror, put your shoulders back, and say out loud ‘I can do this’. It may sound strange but it really works.’

Have a laugh

‘When we laugh we release endorphins, which can help us to relax. Sharing a laugh on a first date is a great way to break the ice as well as an effective bonding tool. You don’t need to start telling knock-knock jokes, but if you have a funny anecdote or two in your arsenal, don’t be afraid to share.’

Use open body language

‘Most of what we communicate is through our body language rather than words. Folded arms and legs creates a physical barrier that implies you’re closed off. Try to adopt open body language instead. And don’t be afraid to make eye contact – it’s a great way to show your date that you’re interested.’

Pay attention

‘There are few things more attractive than someone who gives us their undivided attention. And there’s nothing worse than spending time with someone who’s constantly looking over our shoulder at something or someone else. Make an effort to be engaged and present on your date and save checking your phone until they go to the bathroom!’

Ask questions

‘Asking your date questions not only shows that you’re interested in what they have to say but it also allows you to get to know them, which is what a first date is all about! Don’t stick to small talk. More intimate questions about your date’s hopes, dreams and passions will help you forge a closer connection – and it’s a lot more interesting than talking about the weather.’

Be positive

‘Nothing is as reassuring as a genuine smile. If you go into your date with a positive attitude, you’re much more likely to have a good time – and make your date feel good too.’

Split the bill

‘Who should pay the bill is one the most hotly debated aspects of first date etiquette. Traditionally, whoever initiated the date would pick up the bill but, these days, it’s much more common to split the bill. But if your date does insist on paying, it’s more polite to graciously accept than argue about it!’

Follow up

‘If you’ve had a great date, let them know. Trying to act aloof by waiting three days after a date to get in touch doesn’t work in today’s age of instant communication. In fact, only 4% of people think you should purposely wait before replying to a message from a date. If you enjoyed the date, don’t be afraid to send them a quick message and let them know that you’d like to see them again.’

Related: Best dating sites: top 5 services

 

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