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As a celebration of matchmaking we spoke to single mum KT Valentine about her new book, Dispatches from the Dating Zone.

What inspired you to write Dispatches from the Dating Zone?

Along time ago someone told me that some of the best writers are the ones that write about what they know. Whether that was the case or not, it got me thinking about everything I’d been through over the years and how I could draw on it for inspiration. 

I've been a single mum for almost 12 years now and over time, I've tried all kinds of ways to meet a man,  from standard internet dating to speed dating, all with mixed results. At one point I found myself wishing that I could hand over the responsibility and hassle of finding someone nice to date to my nearest and dearest, which in turn got me thinking about what could and would happen if I did. Putting pen to paper, ‘Dispatches from the Dating Zone’ was born. 

I think if you've been on the dating scene for awhile you can sometimes get a little dissilusional (ok, more than a little) and either through desperation or defeatism you just stop making the right choices for yourself. Not good looking enough. Delete. Too short. Delete. Not smiling in his profile picture. Delete. The reasons to not get in touch with the numerous matches staring back at you from your computer become ridiculous and practically throw away. Whereas, family and friends would look at those men with a completely fresh pair of eyes and perspective. The amount of times my own mother has told me she knows me better than I know myself sometimes!

So you can imagine my sheer excitement and delight when I stumbled upon www.datemy.co.uk - a real life dating website that incorporated the very premise of my book but removed the embarrassment of actually having to go around asking each of your friends and family in person to set you up on a blind date. And the icing on the cake is that you have an extensive source of potential matches for your matchmaker to review. No exhausting a local and limited source of single men known to your friends and family before they start scraping the bottom of the barrel, as in the case of my books main character, Fleur Summers, causing unfortunate and hilarious consequences. With a new spin on the tried and tested internet dating, isn't it something all us singletons owe ourselves to try?

What’s your debut book about?

Having exhausted all the conventional ways to meet her ‘Mr Right’ (and because now she really is a little bit desperate), single mum Fleur Summers turns to her well-meaning, but eccentric friends and family for help.

From ‘Man Mountain’; an engineer who eats everything in sight and tall dark handsome Tom with big hands but no idea how to use them, to the mysterious and brooding Henry Austin. Dispatches from the Dating Zone follows the trials and tribulations of Fleur’s journey as she works her way through a number of eventful blind dates, all in the name of finding true love.

The story focuses on love, friendship, parenthood and dating and is primarily a romantic comedy with a side order of raunchiness thrown in for good measure.

Dispatches from the Dating Zone by KT Valentine is available to buy now for 99p at Amazon.co.uk

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dispatches-Dating-Zone-K-Valentine-ebook/dp/B00M8CD9U6

KT Valentine has given us 1 signed copy to give one new Matchmaker. Sign up to get your hands on the copy!

admin Jul 30
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Trick or Treat your loved ones this Halloween!

 

Our top date ideas for this Halloween, but are you going to Trick or Treat your loved one?

 

Trick?

 

Thorpe Park Fright Nights – On selected dates during October and November Thorpe Park turns into a scary town full of horror themed mazes and moonlit rides. ‘Pretending’ to be scared makes a perfect excuse for getting closer to your date.  

 

www.thorpepark.com/events-experiences/frightnights/

 

Treat?

 

Hotel Chocolat has created a range of absolutely delicious spooky Halloween treats. Our favourite is the Halloween H-box collection which contains yummy but perfectly themed treats such as oozy eye truffles and beastly spider bites.

 

www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/gift-ideas/halloween-treats

 

Trick?

 

The London Dungeons call themselves The Home of Halloween, they tell us to expect darker, scarier and altogether more twisted behaviour from a cast of history’s most notorious characters. Book the tickets in advance though because it will definitely sell out, and it also means you’re less likely to talk yourself out of going... not that you’re scared or anything.  

 

www.thedungeons.com/london/en/

 

Treat?

 

Boo at the Zoo – London Zoo is always a treat even when they’ve kitted themselves out in Halloween decor and introduced activity zones such as the ‘Bat Cave’, and ‘The Owl Emporium’.

 

www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/whats-on/boo-at-the-zoo

 

Trick?

 

The Shiva Halloween Ghost Ship Party – A spook-tacular boat party on the 1st November from 9pm til 1am, fancy dress is encouraged and if you really want to go the extra mile they also provide an after party until 6am.

 

www.shivaparty.com

 

Treat?

 

Lola’s cupcakes are an ideal treat no matter what time of the year and they have made them even more relevant with their selection of Halloween themed cupcakes!

 

www.lolas-kitchen.co.uk

 

Trick?

 

A number of cinemas are holding Halloween specials – our favourites are Hot Tub cinema and Popup Screens both of which are showing a range of spooky films around Halloween. PopupScreens Notting Hill has gone all out so you have to navigate your way through a scare maze before you can find your seat in the haunted screening room.

 

www.hottubcinema.com/

 

www.popupscreens.co.uk/whats-on/

 

Treat?

 

A horse-drawn ride in Richmond Park. This is an amazing spooky treat for a loved one! Go on an hour long evening trip through Richmond Park while you hear about the history and ghost stories relating to the park and a Victorian murder case which was only very recently solved.

 

www.supporttheroyalparks.org/shop/experiences

 

Trick?

 

Twisted Circus at Indigo O2 – bring a date to a night of tricks and scares and surprises from the talented and bizarre performers, p.s fancy dress is compulsory!

 

www.theo2.co.uk/events/detail/twisted-circus-halloween-festival

 

Treat?

 

Selfridges’ new Winter Rooftop restaurant for dinner and cocktails is a must! We love the sound of the hot choc-tails which are perfect for the cold evenings!

 

 www.selfridges.com/content/le-chalet

 

Trick?

 

The Ghost Bus Tour! A London tour with a difference. Onboard, actors and technical trickery combine to create a complete scare tour experience. An eerie conductor provides the commentary for this tour, which explores the haunted palaces, unmarked burial grounds and the skeletons in the capital’s cupboard.

 

www.theghostbustours.com/london.html

 

Trick and treat?

 

Hoxton street Monster supplies have created a box of earwax.... trick! It is actually cubes of mouth-wateringly delicious clotted cream fudge!

 

www.monstersupplies.org/products/cubed-earwax

admin Jul 30
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Because of our heartfelt story we’re firm believers in giving someone the gift of love. Love is in the air (literally) for us this week. We're dotting “gifts of love” attached to balloons across London. The gift balloons symbolise our story which is to “Help someone find love.” Find a gift around London and you can follow a QR code to watch our launch video, where we celebrate a Matchmakers role in helping someone find love, we believe it is the greatest gift of all. See if you can spot one!

It may sound a little cheesy, but the truth is everyone likes to meddle a little, especially if it leads to you being the proud Matchmaker behind a love story! Have you ever had someone say to you, “I’ve met someone you would LOVE, I’m going to set you up!” Well that’s what we’re encouraging. For a lot of people, searching for that someone can become a bit of a burden and Internet dating can be daunting. We hope to take the pain out of online dating, by letting Matchmakers set up their single friends, family members and even co - workers. What’s great about matchmaking on datemy is the singleton can sit back whilst their Matchmaker does the hard work for them. They write their profile, search, make matches and even set up blind dates. We like to think of it as the online version of traditional matchmaking.

 

So if you’re slightly hesitant, or even if you don’t have time for online dating, you might find that a great alternative is to get someone to do it for you! Handing it over to your nearest and dearest may pleasantly surprise you. You’ll find that they know you better than you think. That’s the great thing about all of our members; their profiles are honest and heart warming introductions. No clichéd descriptions or misleading photos in sight.

At the moment datemy is welcoming Matchmakers of all kinds, from sister-in-laws to sons, to siblings, to colleagues and it’s great to see. We’re championing the Matchmakers out there to put their Matchmaker hats on and help someone they know find love!

www.datemy.co.uk | Help someone find love

admin Jul 30
admin VIP

It may be getting colder and the quirky London summer events have drawn to a close but that is no reason to stay in. We've compiled a short list for you to earn brownie points with your loved one using these impressive and original cosy date ideas. 

Queen of Hoxton  - The famous London rooftop bar has transformed for Winter into a woodland theme, complete with open fire and cosy indoor candlelit ‘Wigwambam’. With a daily winter BBQ at more than reasonable prices (£5.50-£7.50!) and a range of mouth watering drinks such as Hot Buttered Rum (yum) and Egg Snog, we literally couldn’t fault this venue as a date idea this Winter!

ChoccyWoccyDooDah Why not take a look at the remarkable chocolate creations on show, they really are out of this world! The café also does one of the best hot chocolates in London which makes it a great cosy and relaxed date idea.

Winterville - The newest winter activity area comes to Victoria Park, East London. There are plenty of things to do such as ice skating, roller disco, clubs, food, drink, and a hot cider bar! It is open from 2nd December – 1st January.

The Disappearing Dining Club – London is undoubtedly full of secrets, but look and you shall find! The disappearing dining club turns diners into excited, giddy children as you find yourself climbing down a secret stairway behind a curtain in the back of a Brick Lane clothes store to ‘Back in 5 Mins’ the clubs pop up restaurant.

Drink Shop Do  It’s basically a kids club for adults. Bring your date along to an evening of drinks and papier mache, lego robot making, or decorating biscuits to look like Lionel Richie and you are set up for a worthwhile bonding session. The activities vary daily but most favourites are re-run every couple of weeks. 

William Curley – Try something different and take your date to a luxurious dessert bar where you are served 5 different courses of melt in your mouth desserts and they also have champagne as an optional accompaniment. This is a definite winner.

admin Jul 30
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Traditional matchmaking has been a part of many cultures for years and not just by people with an official ‘matchmaker’ title. As time has gone on Matchmakers still exist in families, friends, co-workers. With technology shaping the way we form love today, datemy.co.uk prides itself as one of few platforms that brings matchmaking to the online world letting somebody help select and set up matches for someone they know. 

We were thrilled to be featured on PSFK last week. Have a read of the article here:

http://www.psfk.com/2014/11/datemy-matchmaking-app-family-friends-help.html

Datemy.co.uk encourages singles’ nearest and dearest to help them find love

Writing an online dating profile is up there with updating your CV as one of the most off-putting tasks ever. Finding a photo of yourself that ‘sends the right message’ as well as nailing the perfect slogan to sum up your personality can make joining a convent look like appealing.

A new site promises to take the pain out of online dating, by letting matchmakers set up their friends, family and even co-workers on the platform. Datemy.co.uk is a London-based dating service that launches this week, which lets people help others find love.

Unlike most dating sites which are created for single people, Datemy.co.uk is designed for matchmakers. In a release, Founder Rachael Wardle explains:

We want to reach out to people across the world who would like to play Matchmaker and help someone find love. We all know someone who would like to find love, and datemy has been set up to do just that.

The site was inspired by a personal story of single parent matchmaking and Wardle’s once single widowed dad. She explains:

In the beginning we set out to become the home of matchmaking for single parents, but the reactions eventually shaped what datemy.co.uk is today. People wanted to sign their sister up or their friend, not just a parent. Our unique features like Matchmaker Requests and Blind date invitations make it a fun and personal experience for the Matchmaker and their single person.

Together with her team, Wardle spent nearly a year developing the concept, which included a successful crowdfunding campaign. From this week, people will be able to set up friends and family members who are struggling to meet someone or who have had enough of conventional online dating.

Matchmakers will not only write the profiles for their friends, they can also seek out suitors, send messages and even set up blind dates. It takes the hassle out of traditional online dating and lets the single person benefit from their friend or family member’s good taste.

To celebrate the platform launch, datemy.co.uk is releasing “gifts of love” attached to balloons across London this week. People who find a gift can scan the QR code to watch the launch video, which celebrates the importance of matchmakers.

For people who want to play cupid for friends and family, Datemy.co.uk is offering free subscriptions for single members until January.

admin Jul 30
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