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So, as many of you may know, I’ve spent my summer writing an MA dissertation about Tinder. Yes, Tinder.  I definitely had not planned to spend a summer after having broken up with a boyfriend (sorry, I promise this won’t turn into some sort of DMC) thinking and writing about other peoples love lives but in retrospect its actually been quite therapeutic and has given me an interesting insight into how other people my age go about finding love or just a bit of fun.  These days, we’re all so glued to our phones (I sleep with mine IN my bed) that it almost seems like a natural progression to start finding our next love/bed warmer/flirtexter (I’ve just coined that phrase, I’m well aware it won’t take on) inbetween obsessively checking Twitter, Instagram and chatting aimlessly to Siri.

Having spent hours in the library pouring over my research, I thought I’d share some of my wisdom with the masses (or just the few people that occasionally read this blog including my dad, just a heads up, this probably isn’t one to send onto grandma), so here we go:

– The first thing that emerged throughout my research was the variety of intentions with which people are using the app.  From looking for a long-term partner to purely using it to take the piss out of others at pre-drinks, there really are as many different intentions as there are users.  While it is hard to gauge intentions from someones profile, I’d say as a hard and fast rule, if a guys profile is just a picture of his goolies, hes probably not looking to settle down just yet.  But, you know, thats just my opinion.  My advice?  Don’t invest yourself fully in the idea that you’ll find your future husband/wife on Tinder, instead use it for casual dating or for a bit of an ego boost.

– Tinder is co-situational in nature so if you’re looking for a night out with a bit of footsie, most people don’t want to travel more than 30KM so make that your maximum distance setting.  If you are willing to travel the full 160KM to find someone, well...I think you should start reevaluating your priorities.  

Looks ARE everything (well on Tinder at least).  This app is a glorified Hot or Not game, so be warned, you’re going to be judged almost solely on your looks.  If you’re not comfortable with that, then just take the high road and bypass this fad.  Just remember ladies, we all thought Christian Bale in American Psycho was fit until it turned out he was a murderous arsehole.

– On that note, we all know that the secret to a good profile is to show off our good side and choose pictures which make us look like we’re desirable little mother fuckers.  BUT as tempting as it is to upload that picture of you from three years ago where you had a really fucking great tan and were skinny as hell because you’d just been to Zante for two weeks and had a dodgy tummy for the whole time you were there, those pictures might be a little misleading.  Try limit yourself to pictures which were taken in the last year (or even better, 6 months) and which are representative of yourself now.  If you’re not quite sure what you look like now or you have a sneaking suspicion that the mirror is lying to you, then ask a friend to have a check over your pictures because the punishment for misleading photos is for all contact to be severed and then you’ll have to make up a story as to why you and that fit guy from Tinder never went on a second date.

– Everyone loves a group photo.  Its the start of the night and you’ve all just had your first glass of wine, your makeup isn’t smeared, your eyes aren’t glassy yet and you all want to show off how many friends you have and how great they are!  YAY GIRLS NIGHT!  While you should probably include one group photo on your profile, don’t put it as your first photo as most people frankly can’t be arsed working out which one you are.

Pouty duckface.  We all know what I’m talking about.  Yes it brings out those barely there cheek bones, but its also really weird when you think about it.  What situation was she in for that expression to happen?  Is she happy/sad/constipated?  Is she okay?  Those are the questions a prospective match is going to be asking when he stumbles on your profile with all six of your photos looking like you’re mid-charades pose.  If you’re a serial duckface puller you may need to reconsider a lot more than just your profile pictures.  

– I’ve not updated my Facebook interests since I was about 14 and as a consequence, I am apparently a fan of such things as ‘dressing up as a seagull and walking around stealing peoples chips’ (something I have never done), ‘ditching your mates to hang out with your goat’ (don’t own a goat, but this is probably something I would do) and ‘going out and getting absolutely Charlie Sheened’ (I just sound like an absolute twat).  So although Tinder has an ‘interests’ section downloaded from Facebook, you probably don’t want to get too excited if you and this random man share ‘being a mac daddy pimp’ (another one of my ‘likes’) in common.  While they may not be too useful in actually gauging what kind of person this match is, they are a good first liner so at least theres that.  

– To bio or not to bio, that is the question.  While most online dating sites like Match.com get you to go through the whole convoluted process of writing out a bio where you’re forced to make yourself sound like you’re really bloody nice, when in reality you’ve got a perennial case of bitchy resting face as bad as Aubrey Plaza’s, Tinder lets you decide whether you want to warble on about yourself or not.  Keep it short and sweet and try to steer clear of cliches as no one actually wants a man who likes ‘long walks on the beach’ because they all sound like massive wetties.

– Also on the subject of bios, if you’re upwards of 15 years old and still typing in text speak, well just good luck with that.  

– A picture really can speak a thousand words on Tinder.  If you’re making claims in your bio that you love to try new things, you party as hard as Prince Harry in Vegas or that you found yourself while travelling to the inner most depths of the Amazonian jungle, then why don’t you prove it with a few pictures.  Bonus points if you are actually Prince Harry.

– So you’ve matched with someone, you’ve chatted a bit and you’re starting to think that you would quite like to meet this person face-to-face, but beforehand you’re going to do what any 90s kid would do in this situation and Internet stalk them.  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great places to gather information about someone and to check they really are who they say they are and most Tinderers admitted to having a snoop at others from the app, so you’re in good company.  Just be aware that if you’re having a snoop, others will be looking at you too, so if you’re not too enthused by that idea, make things private.  If you don’t give a flying fuck who sees that you Instagrammed a picture of you gorging on Dominos yesterday with one of your fake eyelashes falling off or tweeted an inspirational quote which may or may not have made you cry, then why not help your prospective stalkers along and put your social media handles in your bio.

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Just an example of the type of moronic pictures which I put on Instagram.  I barely spent any time in this pool because I WAS WRITING THIS DISSERTATION.  

– And lastly, ladies, a word of warning.  Do not treat the above behaviour as an issue of ensuring your ‘personal safety’.  Now, I don’t know about you but if I was a serial murderer, I probably wouldn’t have the twitter handle @ImGoingToSkinYouAlive or Instagram images of dark parks with the hashtag #MyKillingSpot so please please please do not think you can judge whether a person is capable of such things over social media.  We’re all presenting a front on here, whether we like to admit it or not.  I for one don’t post pictures of myself in the library on Instagram, even though this would be far more representative of my life than the 1% of the time that I spend on beaches but just happen to photograph.  Make sure you meet your date in a public place with plenty of people around, that you tell multiple people where you are going and with who and that you have your phone on you with full battery.  Also if you can, ask a friend to be on hand to pick you up and drop you off, firstly because then they at least know you got home safe, but secondly, because then you can tell them all the weird stuff your date inevitably did.  Lads, take this all into account as well, us ladies can be weird, wonderful and slightly psychotic at times.  

If you’re using Tinder, chances are you’re probably not looking for the next big love of your life, but just a bit of fun and a few nights out, so you may scoff at my advice, but you never know so keep your options open.  As for me, I think I’ll stick to the good old fashioned way and just wait for some poor unsuspecting fool to lower their standards and start feeling lonely and vulnerable and then swoop in.  60% of the time, it works everytime.  

Let me know if you agree/disagree/have anything else to add or just generally want to swap some stories.  

(P.S. I also want to add that I’m extremely grateful to all of you who took part in the research process!  I had an overwhelming response to the survey portion of my project and interviewed some great people who were more than willing to share their experiences on the app honestly and openly, which just made the whole process so much easier than what it could have been.  I’d defo swipe right for you all x) 

Hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and New Year!

This post is a bit belated – bad blogger – as the seasonal grub on offer meant that I was in a partial food coma for the majority of the festive season.   Alas, I’ve now recovered and have regained the ability to write again!

This year, the Ayre family headed to Newcastle to spend Christmas with the extended familia.  As is tradition, Christmas morning was spent walking along Tynemouth beach preparing ourselves for the mammoth task of unwrapping presents and the traditional Turkey dinner which lay ahead.

Tynemouth beach is undeniably beautiful and is even better on Christmas morning as  hundreds of people bring their dogs out for walks along the sandy stretch.  As a dog lover, I adore seeing our canine friends having the time of their lives on a beach chasing each other.  

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After our bracing walk, we headed back to the hotel (The Vermont in Newcastle city centre) for the inevitable unwrapping of presents!  Nowadays, although I do like receiving a well wrapped package, I prefer a spot of money to bolster the bank balance and to spend in the post-Christmas sales so I was grateful for a bit of moolah.  I did end up spending my new funds on a looovely Sandro coat which I found in the Selfridges sale in Manchester and have been wearing ever since!

We quickly stashed away our presents to play with later and got ready to head out for Christmas dinner.  I wore one of my favourite purchases this year, a tartan suit from Topshop which I endlessly scoured both stores and eBay for before acquiring it!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture, so you’ll have to imagine me wearing an outlandishly patterned suit.

We picked up my Grandma on the way and headed out to Matfen Hall in Northumberland with rumbling bellies.  We’ve visited Matfen Hall on Christmas Day several times now and I’ve loved every single meal I’ve had at the picturesque hotel so was more than excited to return to the old haunt for some spectacular grub and a few glasses of wine along the way!

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Once we’d had a couple of glasses of champagne, exchanged greetings and presents with our cousins we slipped into our seats ready for the six course meal which was ahead of us.

First of all, came an amuse bouche of celeriac and black truffle soup with some white truffle oil on top for good measure.  As always, I was eager to start so I abandoned all blogger senses at the first sight of food and forgot to take a picture.  Apologies! 

I just about recovered my senses in time for the second course of duck and duck liver terrine which was the perfect warm up to the upcoming fish course of seared fillet of Seabass served with a fennel and saffron compote and salsa verde.  Having upheld that I was not a massive fan of fillets of fish for the last couple of years, I had to concede that this was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating and will now be considering the fish sections of menus far more often.

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The main event was of course the Turkey dinner which came with all the traditional trimmings (the photo is sans pig in blanket as I quickly gobbled that up)!  Although the portion size was just right for me, the men of the table were still pining for some more meat!  Greedy

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Still not conquered, we moved onto the dessert section of the meal which included a traditional Christmas pudding and the final cheese course of a fine stilton.  Although I’m not a fan of Christmas pud, I did give it a try before finally concluding once and for all it is just not for me, fear not, the blue cheese made up it! 

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After defeating five out of six courses, I was well and truly in a Christmas Coma and spent the rest of the evening with family playing with all of our new gadgets and watching all the specials on TV.

Although it is a bit late, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year spent with those that you love.  Of course, the turn of a New Year is always full of people repeating the old mantra of ‘new year, new me’ and blabbing about their resolutions for the year, although I don’t personally set myself any resolutions I did decide to join the bone marrow donor register!  If you’d like to do the same then please have a look at the Anthony Nolan website to learn how to sign up!

Lets hope 2014 is a good one!

MAC’s new Spring 2013 make up campaign has an approach which has been rarely seen in the fashion world.  Up until now, models have stereotypically fallen into two categories; plus size or size zero.  However, recently, the fashion world has wised up and began a love affair with the healthy looking woman.  MAC’s newest campaign, perhaps influenced by the recent London 2012 Olympics, embraces the physically fit lady, (think, the sensational Jessica Ennis) and it’s tag line is:

‘Flex your femininity with a colour collection that’s fearless, elegant and strong. Strike a powerful pose, stand out, redefine the notion of beauty – and do it with strength too irresistible to ignore.’

This campaign aims to create a sleek look which is both feminine and strong as it showcases dramatic eyes and lips to project power, while cheeks are chiseled with soft and natural tones.  My personal favourite, of the already popular collection (it’s sold out in America) is the aptly named Firm Form lipstick, shown below.  This dark colour has gold undertones and is not for the faint hearted.  Use the campaign as influence, and wear Firm Form with dramatic brows but natural cheeks.

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A release date for the UK has yet to be announced so watch this space!  I know what I’ll be spending my Christmas money on…

JKA x