The Single Swan

The Journey of a Single Mother

“There’s so many dreams I’ve yet to find”

I’m feeling contemplative, reflective, pensive, and maybe just a tiny bit morose.  Carole King’s masterpiece, So Far Away, is playing. It is one of my favourite songs.  I am on my second glass of a heavy red wine.

“You’re so far away.  Doesn’t anybody stay in one place any more ? It would be so fine to see your face at my door.” 

The lyrics make me remember the good times. For me, So Far Away is not just about distance, it is about time.  Can I suggest you listen to Carole’s melodies as you read the rest of this post?:  

I remember my mother dressing me, in a red skirt and a red jumper.  I can only have been about three.

I remember swinging high on the swing which hung from the apple tree in our small garden.  The red bike that my dad had rescued from a local dump, renovated, painted red and stuck stickers on lay on the grass near the tree.

I remember lying in bed with my grandmother and my sister.  My dad walked in to tell us that we had a baby brother. 

I remember Sunday family roast followed by rhubarb crumble and custard when we were children. 

I remember my mum taking me to an art gallery when I was off school following an operation on my hand.   

I remember writing to Jim’ll fix it.  He didn’t.  Thankfully. 

I remember being in love.  I remember us being the only people at some stunning Mayan ruins in Mexico. 

I remember telling the man I loved that I wanted us to split up.  A butterfly cannot thrive unless it is set free.  He* sobbed. 

I remember looking at the Imam Mosque in Esfahan, Iran and being overcome by the grace and beauty of the dome.   

I remember looking down at the newborn baby on my stomach and not really knowing what to feel. 

I remember looking down at my son as he breastfed.  I remember him looking back up at me and pausing to smile.   

I remember lying on the floor next to my son sobbing because I had failed to give him the happy family childhood that I had had. 

I remember the wonder on my son’s face the first time he played in proper sand on a beach.

I remember doing the ‘toilet bowl’ flume at Center Parcs with my sister and being worried that she might miscarry her 14 week old foetus.  She didn’t, but we still shouldn’t have done it. 

I remember watching my son look at his new cousin with curiosity and puzzlement.

“There’s so many dreams I’ve yet to find”.

Yes, indeed, Carole, there are so many dreams that I have yet to find.  Bring on 2017 and another new dawn.

There’s so many dreams I’ve yet to find

* He is not Cygnet’s father. 


Reflections From Me

Democracy has an ugly face

This was supposed to be an optimistic post. I was going to try to reassure you that all will be okay even though Donald Trump has just been voted into the White House in the United States presidential elections.  I have been trying to reassure myself. 

I woke at 5:40am GMT on Wednesday 9 November.  Trump’s victory was certain, if not secured, and I felt sick.  I felt sick to the pit of my stomach.  I still do.

Since then, I have been trying to reassure myself and everyone that I speak to that all will be okay, that he cannot achieve his promises, that his words were just hollow lies: 

“He can’t build a 2000 mile long wall along the Mexican border in 4 years, it has taken them a year to build a cycle path on the road outside my flat.” I quipped.

“Trump is after all a politician and we can rely on politicians to promise one thing, then deliver something else entirely.”  I said flippantly.   

“Don’t worry, Trump, will be reliant on the civil service, and if there is one truth about any civil service it is that it can’t do anything quickly”  I joked.   

But, I have been kidding myself…deliberately. I have been trying to ignore the truth, to hide from reality in some vain hope that this is all just a bad dream and will go away.

During his campaign Trump promised to …

  • …lock up his opponent;
  • …go after the women who claimed he sexually assaulted them;
  • …slash taxes;
  • …abolish Obamacare;
  • …scrap environmental legislation;
  • …deport all illegal immigrants. 

We can debate whether Trump will actually be able to do all of these things. We can question whether he’ll even attempt half of them.  But we are missing the point.  By focussing on what Trump may or may not deliver during his Presidency, we are turning a blind eye to the fact that Trump has won an election with overt lies, sexism, racism, misogyny and bullying.  We are turning a blind eye to the xenophobia and intolerance that Trump has encouraged.

democracy has an ugly face

We have seen the triumph of a man who consistently smears the lives of muslims.

We have seen the election of a President who is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. 

We have seen that liars are victorious.

We have seen that bullies do in fact win.

We have seen that women are objects to be looked at, groped, objectified and used for a man’s sexual gratification.

We have seen the triumph of a man who used the national stage to defend his sexual prowess. 

We have seen that racism is not just supported but celebrated. 

Most troubling, if it can get worse, is that after the election we’ve seen Trump’s victory give a mandate for free and uninhibited violence and racism.  In the same way that post Brexit in the UK, we saw Polish shops vandalised, we saw mosques graffitied, we saw open abuse of muslims on public transport.  In the US, Black and muslim students have been threatened and graffiti says “Trump, whites only, white America”.

How do we teach our children that everybody is equal, that difference should be embraced and celebrated, that justice will be victorious when Trump is now the most powerful man in the world? 

Trump may not carry through on his promises, in fact I would bet that he doesn’t even attempt most of them, but this doesn’t make the Trump phenomenon okay.  We are at the beginning of a new era of global intolerance and isolationism. 

Do not ignore this.  Do not try to put it out of your mind.  Do not try to reassure yourself that all will be okay. If we ignore this then Trump will become the new norm.

This is democracy and sometimes democracy has an ugly face. 

P.S.  Leonard Cohen, and it isn’t the first time I have written about Leonard Cohen on this blog, died this week. You can listen to some sublime poetry by Leonard Cohen, THE master of baritone melody, singing about democracy in the USA, here:  

And then the fun began...
My Random Musings
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Conversations in a public toilet

Cygnet:  “Mama wee wee red”

Me: no reply

Cygnet: “What’s that?”   

Me: pause

Cygnet:  “What’s that Mama?”

Me: Sigh, “It’s Mama’s”

Cygnet: “What is it? “

Me: Sigh, “It’s a tampon sweetheart, it’s Mama’s”

Cygnet: “tampon”

conversations in a public toilet

Cygnet: “Mama did a noisy bottom”

Me: “Thank you sweetheart”

Cygnet:  “Mama done a poo”

Me: “No, Mama’s not done a poo, Mama’s done a wee wee”.

Me:  “ Cygnet put the toilet brush down”   “Put the toilet brush down” “LEAVE IT” “PUT IT DOWN”

Cygnet:  “Mama’s got a dirty bottom”

Me:  “No Cygnet, it’s not dirt, it’s hair”

Cygnet:  “Mama’s got a hairy bottom”

Me:  ….thinks, I should have thought of that.


Life Love and Dirty Dishes
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How to find out what someone is really like

Two thoughts enter my head every time I see my ex which, unfortunately, because we are in a ‘co-parenting relationship’ is at least twice a week.  These are:

Thank God I am not married to this man. 

In 6 years that we were together, yes, you read that correctly, we were together for 6 years, how on earth did I not see what an a******e he really is? 

Now that I am back on the dating scene again I am really worried that I won’t be able to spot the clues that will tell me that my future date, my future boyfriend, my future partner, or god forbid, my future fiancé or husband, is in fact controlling and self-obsessed like my ex.  I can’t risk entering another controlling relationship with a Prince Charming type.  I need to be able to find out what someone is really like. 

These, my friends, are some clues, and I for one, will be looking out for these clues as I continue my single mum on the dating scene adventures.    

what someone is really like

These are ways to find out what someone is really like:   

Observe how they treat waitresses

First dates are quite often in restaurants or bars.  Observe how your date treats the bar or waiting staff.  Does he dismiss them and look down on them, or is he polite and respectful ?  We are all people and just because we are paying doesn’t make us more important, more intelligent or superior.

Observe how they treat those who can do nothing for them

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (a 19th century German poet, novelist, playwright, natural philosopher, civil servant and all-round super impressive bloke)  is said to have written:

 “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”  

These words are so true, if your date doesn’t give others the time of day, and focusses his efforts on those who will reward him then steer clear.  Run a mile. 

Observe how they treat their mother

Read my blog post on why you should marry a man who loves his mother.  Ultimately a man will treat you the way he treats his mother.  She deserves love and respect, but your date should be able to stand up to his mother.

Observe how they cope with a set-back

This is a tough one because we all struggle with set-backs.  Whilst it is true that out of our greatest challenges come our greatest achievements, we can only see this with hindsight.  Stay clear of a man who blames others for his set-backs.  Steer clear of someone who makes his own light shine brighter by extinguishing the light of others. 

Break up with them

Sometimes, I’m afraid to say, that the only way to find out what someone is really like is to break up with them.  Your date may be a charmer and a master of façade.   You want the relationship to work, you want it to work so much that you are blind to the clues.  When the relationship ends your ex turns out to be a vile individual lacking in morals, integrity, compassion, empathy or a sense of fairness.

Sometimes, we only find out what someone is really like when a relationship ends.

If only we could break up with someone before we start dating them…

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A crisis of confidence

One of the few advantages of co-parenting, and trust me when I tell you that there are not many, is that two nights a week when Cygnet stays with his Dad I can go out without having to fork out for a babysitter.

In reality, I work late on one of those nights and by the time I finish work I am too tired to do anything other than sit on the sofa and drink wine.  On the other night, I always make sure I go out.  Just because I can.

Tonight came round very quickly and I hadn’t made plans.  My delightful ex collected my son at 6pm and I was left in my flat on my own. 

Although a plan is clearly better, not having a plan has never stopped me from going out before.  I put my hair up, painted on some red lipstick to hide the fact that I hadn’t changed out of my scruffy jeans or plain black t-shirt and left the flat with my laptop.  I would go to one of my local bars, order a glass of Prosecco and write a blog post, just as I have many a time before.

Except tonight was different. 

I peered into the local pub and it was full of large groups of people laughing and chatting.  I felt self conscious and conspicuous sitting on my own in front of my laptop.  I decided against it. 

I walked passed the local gin bar (and an excellent gin bar it is too).  I planned to sit at the bar with my laptop and a large Hendricks and tonic (always Fever Tree).  But this evening the tables around the bar were candlelit and occupied by dating couples.  Again I felt too self conscious and I didn’t go in. 


I went to the local Italian restaurant where I have been known to occupy a table by the window, order a penne arrabiata and read my book.  But this evening it was full of families, of groups of friends, and of work colleagues having an early evening meal.  Again I didn’t have the confidence to go in.

In the end I walked to Waitrose.  Red lipstick is not my normal supermarket attire and the man who serves me my daily free coffee noticed and smiled.  Again, Jesus, I felt self conscious.

I walked round Waitrose, picked up some sushi, a yoghurt, some grapes, and decided to buy myself a bunch of flowers with the money that I was going to save by not buying Hendricks or Prosecco. 

I am now sitting at home.  I have eaten my sushi, my yoghurt and some grapes.  My flowers are in a vase on the side board and I am drinking wine whilst writing this blog post. 

I sure hope this crisis of confidence doesn’t last long.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Why you should marry a man who loves his mother

I have learned quite a lot about the relationship between a mother and her son.  I have also learned quite a lot about the impact the relationship between a mother and her son has on the son’s relationship with his partner.  It is for this reason that I think you should marry a man who loves his mother.

It is often said that how a man treats his mother is an indicator of how he will treat his wife.   Of course there are exceptions, there are always exceptions, but I believe this statement to be true. 

There is nothing more attractive to me than a man who adores his mum, treats her with respect and goes out of his way to help her. 

There is nothing more unattractive to me than a man who cannot say no to his mother, who lets his mother control him and who fears his mother.

marry a man who loves his mother

My ex has a complex relationship with his mother.   He dreads speaking to her;  it is his weekly, Sunday night chore.   He dreads seeing her, but she blackmails him emotionally and sometimes financially and he concedes. He dreads her judgement, because her judgement is always negative even when he has achieved great things. 

My ex’s relationship with his mother is a fine line between love and hate.  She longs for his love, but never shows him any.  She longs for his respect and consideration, but disrespects his choices and considers him a failure.  She longs for him to be successful, but will always find fault in his successes. 

He punishes her with harsh words, by making her travel across London to see him and then by going out and leaving her to babysit when she arrives.  He feels obliged to look after her as she gets old, but doesn’t want to be there.   

Before we separated, I could see that this was my future.  Now that I was a mother, in his eyes I had turned into his mother, and he was treating me the same way.

There are qualities in the relationship between a mother and a son that you should look out for:

He wants to see his mother

It is normal for a son to want to see his mother, not every day, or even every week, but if a man didn’t ever want to see his mother then alarm bells should be ringing.  If his mother happens to call and ask to get together when he already has plans — say a date, a sign of a healthy relationship would be for him to tell her he has plans but instead suggest an alternative time to meet up.

A sign of a healthy relationship would be for the mother to accept that her son has a life and plans which don’t involve her.   A healthy relationship is when a mother doesn’t see a woman in her son’s life as competition. 

He listens to his mother

I am not saying that a man should do everything that his mother tells him to do, in fact quite the opposite, but I would expect a man to show his mother respect and listen to her.   If a man doesn’t listen and pay respect to his mother, he probably isn’t going to listen and pay respect to his wife. 

He can stand up to his mother

A man will not want to do everything that his mother wants him to do.  This is normal.  A man should be able to stand up to his mother and explain to her that he is not going to do something and why.  A son should feel safe in the knowledge that however angry or upset his mother may first appear to be, she will forgive him.  It is his life, and because she loves him unconditionally (and a mother’s love is unconditional), she will get over it. 

He shows his mother love and affection

His mother is the one woman who bore him and who raised him.  I would expect a son to show his mother love and affection.  He has good reason to.  She went to hell and back to bring him into this world, to nurture him and to care for him.  She was calm and tolerant when his testosterone made him hyperactive.  She was patient when he couldn’t concentrate.  She pre-empted his every need.  If a mother has done this for her son,  I would expect a son to show his mother love and affection. 

Marry a man who loves his mother.  The signs and the clues are there.  Sometimes we need to learn to read those signs and observe those clues, but trust me they are there.  

I know that I should have read the signs. 

I know that I will next time. 

My Random Musings

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Co-parenting trouble : what you don’t know can haunt you

Something happened to my son last weekend when he was with his dad.  I don’t know exactly what happened, but I do know that my son has been more reserved, hesitant, nervous and clingy ever since.

My son is just over two and hasn’t got the language to tell me.  My ex hasn’t got the courage to tell me. 

I could tell straight away that something had happened.  My ex delivered my son home as usual.  I gave my son a kiss and a cuddle.  Ordinarily, he would then run off into the lounge and check that all of his toys were there.  Ordinarily, he would pick one or two toys out and show them to his dad.

Last weekend, my son would not let me put him down after our kiss and cuddle.  He screamed and clung to me when I tried to release him.  He refused to say goodbye to his dad.  He refused to give him a kiss and a cuddle.  He turned away from him and buried his head into my shoulder. 

When his father had left my son started crying, but he was crying in a way that I had never seen him cry before.  My son cries when he is having a tantrum and these cries are obviously fake.  My son cries when he has hurt himself and these are genuine cries of pain.   The cries of pain are always short lived, but my son has great stamina for a tantrum.

He had sadness written all over his face when he cried last weekend.  I had never seen him cry like this before.  He cried quietly.  As I held him in my arms the tears welled up and started streaming down his face.  He looked over my shoulder at the wall behind me.

I asked him what was the matter.  After a bit of questioning we established that he had done something naughty.  When I asked him what naughty thing he had done he said “throw mud”.

I’ve since established that he threw a car and that it hit his 13 year old cousin.  I’ve also established that his cousin was crying.

My son wasn’t just with his dad last weekend.  He was with the whole family.  He was with all of my former in-laws.  What I don’t know is how my in-laws reacted when my son threw a car and hit is cousin.

co-parenting trouble

I don’t know, but I can imagine.

I can imagine that my ex’s twin sister, and mother of my son’s cousin, went berserk.  She has always been volatile, and being around her is like walking on egg shells.  I imagine that she screamed and yelled at my son and at my ex.  My son is not used to shouting.  This will have scared him.

I can imagine that faced with his sister’s yelling, my ex felt obliged to take a hard line with my son.  Ordinarily my son is allowed to throw things, climb the bookshelves and jump on the sofa when he is with his father.  He is not allowed to do any of these things when he is with me.  I imagine that the sudden change in what is acceptable and my ex’s hard line approach, which could also have involved shouting –  my ex has a short temper – will have scared him.

I can imagine that a conversation ensued about how I, as my son’s mother, am to blame and am doing a terrible job, and that my son is disadvantaged because he is from a broken home.  In my in-laws’ minds I am  to blame, because I made the decision to leave my ex.  Although my son wouldn’t have understood everything, he understands some words and would most definitely have picked up on the atmosphere and tone of the conversation.  This will have scared him. 

I don’t know what I can do about this. 

I can cuddle my son, and reassure him, and allow him to be clingy and try to encourage him out of his nervousness and reticence.

I can’t be sure what happened, because I know my ex will never tell me, and I know that my son can’t. 

What I don’t know is haunting me. 

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And then the fun began...

Net-curtain-gate: spying spinster strikes again

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know that I am a net-curtain twitcher, a spying spinster extraordinaire.  The Tate Modern saga and net-curtain-gate therefore piqued my interest immediately and I had to see the performance drama for myself.

Although I am not at home much during the day, from my balcony window I can see the comings and goings of all my neighbours in my block of flats. 

I know, for example, that my neighbour at number 13 goes to the gym quite regularly but always drives his car there despite the gym being a mere 200 metres down the road.   

I know that the upstairs family have a dog (which is contravenes the conditions of their lease) and that the father takes said dog for a walk at around 20:45 every evening.  He is out for about 20 minutes and, more often than not, he is on his phone.  I haven’t yet worked out who he speaks to, but I will. 

I know that my downstairs neighbour leaves her flat with her wheelie suitcase at about 16:40 and returns just before 21:00.  I am intrigued and baffled by what is in her wheelie suitcase and have spent many hours fantasising about the salacious or criminal enterprises that the wheelie suitcase may disguise.   In fact I have spent so many hours fantasising about the contents of the wheelie suitcase that I have even written a blog post about it.  

Tate Modern’s net-curtain gate is right up my street.  A bit of background for those of you who don’t know the story: Tate Modern, near Waterloo station in London has built an extension, an awesome and commandeering architectural feat of sharp angles on the outside, housing smooth curves and importantly large hanging spaces for modern art on the inside.  Most importantly for this story though is the 360 degree viewing gallery on the 10th floor. 

Since the extension has opened hundreds of thousands of visitors have bypassed the art heading straight for the elevators and up to the 10th floor.  The viewing gallery rivals the Shard, the London Eye and Monument for spectacular images of London. 

In my view, however, the Tate Modern wins hands down because of this:




Look carefully.   

You can see right into these flats.  You can see the swanky sofas, the artwork, the books on shelves. 

You can see the inhabitants drinking coffee, reading the paper,  trying hard to look cool.  You can see their Filipino maids hoovering the rug and polishing the glass coffee table. 

The viewing gallery is open in the evenings and you can see the cross words, the arguments, the TV dinners and amorous embraces. 

This, my friends, is pure performance drama.

Now it won’t surprise you to hear that the inhabitants of these £4.5million flats have complained to the head of the Tate, Nicolas Serota, who offered a curt and cutting retort:

“they should buy net curtains”. 

Thus net-curtain-gate began.  Net curtains?  Insult of insults! 

I feel little sympathy with the inhabitants of these flats.  Anyone who buys a flat by a modernist architect knows that it will have no privacy.  Modernist architects don’t do walls. They do glass.  Duh!

The plans for the Tate Modern were available when the flats were sold.  Any sensible buyer would have checked the plans. 

My message to the inhabitants of these flats:  Embrace the drama, live the saga, play to your audience, outwit them with your humour. 

If you can’t stand the performance, then get off the stage!

My Random Musings
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Delight and disappointment: dating app reviews

I have a love / hate relationship with dating apps.  In fact I have a love / hate relationship with dating. 

I love the idea of dating: the anticipation; the optimism I feel that I might actually meet someone interesting; the potential for a couple of months of excitement and butterflies that you get in the early stages of a relationship.    

I hate the fact that dating is so often disappointing.  I hate the moment when you see your date approach your pre-arranged meeting point and you know, within seconds, that you don’t fancy him, and that the next hour or so could be torturous. 

I hate dating apps.  They really suck, but you’d be forgiven for believing that I love them if you knew the amount of time I spend swiping (usually left). 

Let me give you a tour of the five dating apps that I have had on my phone in the last six months or so.

Tinder (Score : 3/10)

Haha, Tinder!

Tinder is infamous.  It is commonly known as a hook-up app.  In fact I was in a meeting at work a couple of months ago and somehow, don’t ask me how, the conversation progressed to dating apps.  My boss informed the room that Tinder was “a dating app for those who just want sex.  It is the heterosexual equivalent of Grindr.  I decided not to mention that I had Tinder on my phone; probably not a wise admission for anyone seeking a half decent performance appraisal.

Dating App Reviews

My boss is wrong.  Tinder isn’t just about sex and hook-ups.  I have had a few Tinder dates and neither me nor my dates were there to hook up. One of my Tinder dates informed me that in Los Angeles (where he had been living for eighteen months) people use Tinder as a social app; an app for those who want to make new friends but want neither sex nor a relationship.  I am not sure how true this is, but I nodded approvingly.

Tinder is free and is really simple to use.  It links to Facebook, from which it takes your photos and you can have an account up and running in less than a minute.   If you live in a big city like London, you could probably spend 24 hours swiping and still not run out of potential dates.  You can waste hours, literally hours, and you could probably get some pretty severe repetitive strain injury from all of the swiping too. 

The opportunities are endless, and so, I’m afraid, are the bare chested men, the sedated tigers, the men astride motorbikes, the occasional dick pic and the photos that were probably taken a decade ago. 

I am British, a prude, and for better or for worse, I have the stereotypical British stiff upper lip.  After the my boss’ proclamation that Tinder users just want sex I deleted Tinder. 

E-harmony (1/10)

E-harmony was around seven years ago when I was last dating.  At that time though it was just a website rather than an app.  I now have the app version on my phone and have paid an annual subscription (about £35 a quarter). 

I am not a fan of e-harmony and wish I hadn’t committed such a huge amount of money.   The app feels clunky, messy and old fashioned.

You get more detailed profiles on e-harmony than on any other app.  You feel that, if someone bothers to fill their profile out, you might actually get to know something about them. 

The problem is that detailed descriptions and lengthy paragraphs don’t lend themselves to smartphones.  I don’t bother reading.  I am as superficial as everyone else on a dating app and I will make a decision based on the photo.  If a potential match passes the photo test then I might read the blurb, but then again, I might not. 

The most depressing thing about e-harmony is the activity page.  The activity page tells you when someone has added a new photo to their profile or updated their blurb, or sent you a smile (an utterly pointless feature on this app).  The activity page also tells you when someone has viewed your profile.   

The activity page is depressing because there is NO ACTIVITY on e-harmony.  Nothing happens.  People pay their subscriptions, but when nothing happens they ignore the app. They don’t delete their profiles because they’ve paid a subscription, they just don’t bother checking in. 

As you can probably tell, I am more than a bit annoyed about the money I’ve wasted on my e-harmony subscription.

Once (5.5/10)

This is the most recent dating app download onto my phone.  I really want to like this app.  It is clean. It looks smart.  I like the frog with a crown on its head. 

Once, as the name might suggest, pings you one potential match every 24 hours.  At midday every day you receive your ‘match’.  A digital clock counts down the hours, minutes and seconds until you receive your next match. 

Dating app reviewsDating app reviewsIt took me a while to realise that, unlike on Tinder for example, a ‘match’ isn’t actually a ‘match’ until you both ‘like’ each other.  Your ‘match’ then becomes a ‘connection’ and you can start chatting…apparently.

I say apparently because, in the two weeks or so that I have been on this dating app, I haven’t had a ‘connection’.  This is partly because I decline quite a few of the ‘matches’ pinged in my direction, and those that I don’t decline clearly decline me.   

When I first signed up to Once the connections page merely said “No connections yet!”.  It now says “But don’t worry there’s someone out there for you…”    Hmmm ????

Unlike most dating apps, Once is not purely based on algorithms.  There are apparently real humans in their offices, playing God (or maybe Satan) and trying to match us up. I have an image in my head of rows and rows of ‘match-makers’ sitting in front of their apple macs desperately trying to match us all up.   In my head the match-makers have my picture up on the wall under a title “the undateables”, “the unmatchables”, the “not a hope in hell”. 

Once is a new app and it is really pushing for dating app dominance.  Almost everyday there is some new functionality, a new offer, a new opportunity to spend some money.   I can pick my ‘match’ for tomorrow (if I pay £1). I can get another ‘match’ instantly rather than waiting until midday tomorrow (if I pay £1). I can send a message to a ‘match’ before a ‘match’ becomes a ‘connection’ (if I pay £1, although I suspect that the recipient would also have to spend a £1 to read my message).  I can pay for my own personal matchmaker and can chat through my own personal preferences (I suspect this would cost more than £1).   In a nutshell, I can spend an absolute fortune and still not get a ‘connection’.

I really want to like this app, but I fear that if I let myself have a love affair with Once I will soon be bankrupt. 

Coffee meets Bagel  (3/10)

Dating app reviewsI think this app is big in the US.  In many ways, Coffee meets Bagel is similar to Once.  Coffee meets Bagel is supposed to send you one ‘bagel’ a day.  A ‘bagel’ is essentially a profile of a potential match.  You then have  24 hours to decide whether you want to ‘like’ or ‘pass’ on your bagel. If you like your ‘bagel’ and they have also liked you, you’ll connect, meaning that you’ll be able to message one another in a private chat.   I found that I received four or five ‘bagels’ each day (I couldn’t work out why) but that I really didn’t like any of them.  I have to say that after that I just got a bit bored. 

Then my I-phone was running out of memory.  I sacrificed my Coffee meets Bagel download.  I think I’ll survive.

Bumble ( 7/10)

And last, but not least, is Bumble.  Bumble looks and feels like Tinder.   You swipe right if you like him, left if you don’t. There is still a lot of swiping left. 

When I first downloaded Tinder a friend of mine told me that ‘Tinder etiquette’ dictated that women should not message first.  I got loads and loads of matches on Tinder but weeks would pass without a conversation.   Men are rubbish when it comes to messaging. 

Dating app reviews

On Bumble the woman always makes the first move, and if you don’t say something to a new connection within 24 hours, that connection disappears forever.  This means that you don’t get so many dick pics on Bumble (although I have had one – totally unsolicited I can assure you).  It also means that you don’t get hundreds of matches and no conversation.

If you pay an extra £1.99 a month you can upgrade your Bumble account so that you can see who has already swiped right on your profile, thereby indicating that they like you.  This means that you don’t have to spend hours swiping without receiving any matches. 

Each day I get a couple of dozen men who have swiped right on my profile.  If I swipe right on them I get a match instantly.  This is much more efficient for the time poor.  

Now, logic dictates that this business model only works if the majority of Bumble users do not pay the £1.99 subscription each month.  If we all waited for someone else to swipe right first then none of us would ever get any matches. 

Do you have any dating app recommendations?  How do you find the dating world in 2016?

My Random MusingsAnd then the fun began...Brilliant blog posts on

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Single mum myths and the lies behind them

I have been a single mum for about eighteen months now.  It has been an adventure.  There are some great things about being a single mum, things that make me really proud to be part of the single parent community. There are also some things about being a single mum that are really tough.  The toughest thing about being a single mum is facing the single mum myths that are out there.

single mum myths

Let’s explore a few of these single mum myths:

  1. Our kids are not baggage.  I can’t tell you how many dating profiles I have read where men put on their profiles that they have “no children, no ex-wife, no baggage”.  Well, I’d say that their ignorance is pretty heavy baggage.  Grrrrrr.  
  2. Single mums are not desperate for a dad for our kids.  Our kids often have a dad, and often, whether we like it or not, the dad is still on the scene and involved, to some degree, in their kids’ lives.  If they are not on the scene it’s also fine because single mums are just great at being great.
  3. Kids of single mums do not suffer.  The only disadvantage that kids of single mums face is the judgemental attitude that others have towards their mother.  Trust me, I feel this judgement daily.  
  4. Only a small percentage of single mums are on benefits, and those that are really need to be.   That is the point of the benefits system, it helps those who need help.  A lot of single mums work.  Some single mums are highly successful. If there is one thing that is probably true of all single mums, it is that single motherhood makes us more resilient, determined and gives us a great sense of perspective.  Many of us are better in the workplace because of this! 
  5. Single mums are not all teenagers.  In fact the average age of a single mum in the UK is 37.  I would love to be in my teens, but unfortunately I am not.
  6. Single mums are not trying to steal your husband or boyfriend.  We have the double bed all to ourselves.  We sleep like a star fish in the middle of it.  We rarely have to change the sheets because without a man in the bed they just don’t get dirty.  It’s brilliant! 
  7. Single mums don’t resent happy couples.  We are happy for them, like really happy.  A happy couple can reinforce our decision to leave the father of our child.  Now this may irk a few of you, but happy marriages don’t end in divorce. Sorry! If we are honest with ourselves, our marriages, if indeed we were married, were probably not happy ones. 
  8. Single mums didn’t mess anything up.  Many of us are really proud to be single mums. Many of us chose to embark upon this journey as single mums from the outset.  We are single mums by choice.  Single motherhood has made us better people.
  9. Single mums are often very happy.  We have great kids.  We have a hell of a lot to be happy about.

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And then the fun began...


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