Why are there so many sad Christmas songs, anyway?
Sometimes you just want to indulge.
For those individuals fortunate enough to have a Valentine by their side this February 14 is an undeniably romantic occasion. Those in love tend to be showered with chocolates, flowers and tiny trinket hearts. This is the one day of the year for you to grab your partner and embrace the gooeyness of it all.
However, sometimes saying “I love you” simply doesn’t cut it and when you realise that you’ve given all of the standard Valentine’s Day gifts you can stand, it can be a challenge to come up with something original.
No idea what to do with your partner? Fear not. Your own personal cupid has compiled a list of quirky, romantic, fun and relatively inexpensive date ideas for this Valentine’s Day:
1. Run away for the day
Day Trips are an easy bet. For a luxuriating experience, try a spa weekend or treat yourself to a couples massage. If you’ve got a taste for the outdoors why not rent a cabin out of town? What’s more romantic than cuddling up in the wilderness with your loved one and a glass of wine?
2. Recreate your first date
Nothing could be more romantic than recreating your first date with your partner. Whether you return to the bar where you
shared your first drink, eat the same food you both shared, or rent the movie you first watched, this date is sure to impress. After all, it’s the thought that counts right?
3. The $0 date
This year try a ‘no gift no cash’ policy. This date is the real deal when it comes to finding out whether you and your partner are a match made in heaven. Think old DVDs, people watching, window shopping, etc.
4. Jump for your love
Two facts for you: Exercise induced endorphins improve your happiness AND doing new things together as a couple ignites
the same feeling as falling in love.
Head to your local Flip Out trampolining arena and spend the afternoon jumping around like a kid with your partner. Mixing up dates with a fun activity is sure to keep those butterflies alive!
5. Catch the sunrise together
Unless you’re not a morning person, in which case there’s always the sunset!
6. Karaoke challenge
Whilst it may not be a first date activity, you’ve surely been together long enough to relish in a little embarrassment. Let each other pick out a song and give those vocal chords a workout. If you head to a local bar prior, you’ll forget how offensive each
other’s voices really are.
7. Hire a moped
And drive. Literally, any direction, to any destination. Everyone knows how much fun adventures can be. How long has it been since you two have done something crazy?
8. Double date
For those couples who could do without another night in with their other half, why not enlist one of your favourite couples and hit up your favourite restaurant or bar? Making fun of the hopeless romantics staring into each other’s eyes should provide endless entertainment.
Tired of the same-old dates which make you regret having plans in the first place? If you’re from Sydney, try just a few of our suggestions if you want something out of the ordinary for your next date.
1 Olympic Drive, Milsons Point
Relieve your childhood and spend a day at Luna Park. If your stomach doesn’t take well to rides, simply enjoy some games and indulge your sweet tooth in some cotton candy.
1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach
Enjoy an Aperol Spritz in the fabulous summer weather by heading down to one of their many locations across Sydney over the weekend. Relax by the water at Bondi Icebergs during one of their popular Sunday Sessions, or unwind with a relaxed day at Paddington Bowls.
Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
Why not take advantage of the Sculpture by the Sea and take your date for an afternoon of fun by the water. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
380 Military Road, Cremorne
If the weather is a bit too overcast, spend the evening at one of Sydney’s most prestigious movie theatre’s. Located on bustling Military Road in Cremorne, this movie palace has been operating since 1935.
The Rocks Ghost Tours
110 George St, The Rocks
Explore the unique history of The Rocks by taking one of their well known Ghsot Tours. Available for family, birthday, and even corporate events, it is the perfect way to enjoy a different night out.
Image via VL Blog
Australia’s Millionaire Matchmaker – aka Trudy Gilbert – has just released her new book 49 Secrets of an Elite Matchmaker. SHESAID was lucky enough to peer through the pages and snag an interview. So we took the opportunity to ask her about the book, her dating knowledge and what’s next for this highly ambitious lady. We even unveil a few extra secrets, which The Bachelor fans will find exciting, so read on.
49 Secrets of an Elite Matchmaker contains the type of advice Trudy offers her clients:
“Having helped so many people, it got me thinking: “What if I was able to help more people besides my clients?” Thus the idea for the book was born. 49 Secrets of an Elite Matchmaker is a culmination of everything I’ve heard and learned over the last nine years from single men and women. I’ve learnt so much, from what I’ve seen work to what I’ve seen fail, and why some people find a match and others don’t.”
The clients Trudy is talking about are some of Australia’s top-earning professionals. They aren’t mainstream singles you’ll find on standard dating websites. All are looking for long-term relationships. Membership costs $4995, so Trudy’s clients are pretty serious about the business of finding a partner.
We asked Trudy if some of the book’s content would be more relevant to her clients, rather than mainstream singles:
“It wasn’t difficult to give a broad view of dating as these are common issues we all face… some issues are common and others are more specific.”
That explains why Trudy included a chapter on narcissism, which other dating advice books neglect:
“I included narcissism in the book as I wanted to save them from being attached to these personalities. It can be hard to detect these personality types until sometimes you are too far into the relationship.”
Trudy explains around 1 in 100 people has narcissistic traits and therefore the chances of bumping into a narcissist are reasonably high, particularly for high paid execs. Although she has no intention of entering into the mainstream dating market, the information she’s presented does translate well for the masses. Things like happiness, attractiveness, why people are still single, game playing, myths, settling, chemistry and so much more.
It’s not just a book for women either. Men get an idea of what women want as well. It seems Trudy has the dirt on both sexes! We wanted to use some of her knowledge to our advantage, so we asked what she believes are the main differences between single men and women:
“Men focus on what a woman looks like vs women who focus on personality. Men don’t need to know so much about a woman before they meet (whereas women do). Men focus on a fun bubbly personality and women look for a man who is reliable and trustworthy. Men tend to live in the moment, whereas women tend to jump ahead and analyse. Eg. Will he be my husband while on date number 2?”
Sounds pretty spot on. The book goes into these sorts of things in much more detail. There’s gender-specific chapters, singles specific chapters and general knowledge which anyone could benefit from. Many of Trudy’s clients are now off the market, but what they’ve shared is highly relevant for people looking to revitalize their relationships or understand their partner a little better.
Trudy clearly has something to offer couples as well as singles, so we asked if she’s thought about widening her focus:
“No, not yet. I am so busy with my current business. When daters become couples, my job is finished and I get an incredible amount of joy hearing they are happy.”
It seems Trudy is one of those inspirational ladies where anything is a possibility so, we had to ask what’s next:
“Currently working on another book, in talks with a production company for a new dating show, licensing opportunities for the business around Australia.”
Hmm, now here’s a lady who thinks BIG! Looks like The Bachelor fans may be in store for some home-grown competition! After reading the book and interviewing Trudy, one would assume her contestants would have a much better chance finding real love, than the recent Bachelor fiasco! That’s for sure.
For now though, 49 Secrets of an Elite Matchmaker and Elite Introductions is Trudy’s primary focus. When we asked her if there was anything else she’d like to share about the book, upcoming events, promotions; anything which she would like to let readers know about, she finished off with:
“If you want to have a great date before Christmas, give us a call. My clients appreciate the high standards I hold when encouraging people to join the agency. Ladies, believe me, there are still some lovely, chivalrous eligible single bachelors in this town who want the same as you – a beautiful relationship”.
If you don’t meet the demographic and are looking for love, buy yourself a copy of 49 Secrets of an Elite Matchmaker instead. It’s well worth every cent!
Ever gone on a dinner date with some hottie and been totally struck down with a bad case of nerves? Yep, you know what I’m talking about. That awkward silence. It’s just the two of you, face to face, with nothing to say. Rather than reaching for that extra glass of alcohol, here’s a few tips on how to start a conversation and get those nerves back in check.
Rather than talking about yourself, which can be a total turn off, particularly when it dominates the conversation; ask them some questions about themselves. For example, how they chose their career, what hobbies they might have and what interests them, if they are close with their family, do they have a particular place they like to go or any travel they’ve done or have planned. There’s always something you don’t know about a new love interest. Dinner dates give you both the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better.
The trick to reducing those date jitters is being able to start the conversation. Using open-ended questions is the key. These are the types of things you ask someone, which require more than a one or two word response. Close-ended questions can be a barrier to communicating, especially when you’re a bit nervous. Here’s a few of examples of both so you can appreciate the difference.
“I know you’ve been working at (wherever they work) for a while. Do you like working there?”
“ It’s a nice change to get dressed up and go somewhere different. Thanks for bringing me here. Have you been here before?”
“You said that you like the footy. Do you play or like to go and watch?”
“I know you’ve been working at (wherever they work) for a while. How did you end up working there?”
“It’s a nice change to get dressed up and go somewhere different. Thanks for bringing me here. What made you choose this place?”
“You said before that you like the footy, but I’m not sure if you play or like to go to games. I’d really like to hear more about that?
As you can see, the first set of questions can be answered with a single word response; while the second set opens the opportunity to begin a conversation. Listen to what your date has to say and you can build on the conversation, using more open-ended questions. This will keep the conversation flowing. Asking closed ended questions is okay once the conversation has begun.
There is an art to effective communication. Remember, if you are nervous, chances are your date is as well. Increasing your ability to communicate effectively will ease the nerves for you both and will result in an exceptionally enjoyable and successful date.
Image via http://www.chatelaine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/c32e3b684c71abc5b51dbbf1857c.jpg
This fabulous dessert has been developed by the head chef, Michael Robinson, at Margan Restaurant. Margan is an award winning restaurant in Broke Fordwich, a region of the Hunter Valley, and has recently been named as one of the top 10 Regional NSW restaurants by Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide 2014.
125 g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup light olive oil
2 free range eggs
2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped dates
½ cup chopped pistachio nuts
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Line an 18cm spring form bake tin with Gladbake (or similar).
- Sift flour, spices and sugar together.
- Lightly beat oil and eggs together and add to flour.
- Beat with an electric beater for about a minute until smooth.
- Fold in dates, nuts and carrots.
- Pour into tin and bake for an hour. Cool.
In the Margan Restaurant, it is served with fried carrot ribbons (shredded carrot – do this with a peeler – deep fried in clean oil, drained and cooled); vanilla creme anglaise and praline pistachios (toffee coated pistachios). Or a simple dusting of icing sugar works well.
Recipe by Head Chef Michael Robinson of Margan Restaurant based in the beautiful Broke Fordwich wine sub-region of the Hunter Valley. Known as ‘the tranquil side of the Hunter Valley’, the region offers an authentic, rustic and stunningly picturesque destination for travellers wanting a relaxed getaway. For more information visit brokefordwich.com.au.