Tomorrow the papers will be signed…

…it’s odd to think of marriage this way. Well, to me it isn’t. I was never really the little girl who dreamed of a white wedding. I was the little girl who idolized Xena and wanted to be Peter Pan. I was the little girl hunting sheep round the back of our farmhouse. I had no time for dressup, boys or parties, although party food was more than welcome.

And I don’t think I ever grew out of that. If anything, I matured into it. I can say with almost complete confidence that I hadn’t once imagined a wedding until Jon said he’d want to get married. I was actually not all that into the idea of marriage until I met Jon. It just seemed like pointless expense that apparently most men didn’t want anyway, so whether I found someone whose company I actually enjoyed or became a spinster, marriage just wasn’t a concern.

So it’s odd to be looking at it now and realizing how unusual this is.

Everyone else seems to want a dress and a gathering, to be the centre of attention for a day or fifty. You’re expected to have a white dress, matching shoes and a giant cake, all your friends and family gathered for a fancy speech and a meal and a dance. Flowers that match the dress or the venue. Or if they’re less traditional they might want a themed wedding, something different, maybe a steampunk wedding or a candy themed wedding with an elaborate cake and jars of sweeties everywhere, I don’t know. So many people want to make it important, make it “the big day”, make it special. And if they want that for themselves, then that’s fine.

But I still don’t see the point of a wedding beyond making banking, child custody and joint ventures easier. Oh, and the tax break. The ceremony just looks like the best part of a deposit on a house that was wasted on fancy perishables, to be honest.

We’ve been together for almost four and a half years now and remaining together to raise children and grandchildren and look after each other into old age was always really the goal. Neither of us got into the relationship accidentally or just for the fun of it. Within three months we’d already ventured into the size of family we were looking forward to having. Sure, we wouldn’t be together if we didn’t find each other fun, but there was always a goal, it was never just fun. I’m not even sure I could build a human relationship purely based on fun. Fun is transient. My goal is to build and craft a life where I can have the most fun, enjoy myself the most. Not to just leap on it as and when it comes and live with consequences later. This was my first relationship beyond teenage social obligations to have “a boyfriend” for school conversation.

We’ve been living together as a married couple for over a year and a half now. And, again, it doesn’t really need celebrating. This is just what humans, or at least we, as humans, do. We wanted to have children and grandchildren together and look after each other until death, so living together was a natural move. We had shared our living spaces even before that, over weekends and weeks and fortnights. There were no surprises. He knew I had the odd day when I had low energy or needed to cry a lot. I knew he had days when he just wanted to sit and game. He knew I painted and read and wrote when I wanted to calm down and I knew how to get his favourite meals put together. It was a pretty seamless transition.

We’re not religious, although neither of us are vehement atheists either and I have a bit more of a belief in things beyond what we can directly experience. So there was no religious urge to marry. We would live like this regardless of whether or not we were contractually obligated to and if there is a powerful being that judges our relationship quality, I’m not sure that being legally married or not makes any difference to it.

So it doesn’t really feel like we’re celebrating anything.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to be with Jon. He is the most perfect human I have ever met. He’s good looking, tall with nice hands and a great grin. He’s smart and widely read and eager to discuss any subject with me as long as neither of us is illiterate in it, which is a rare occurrence. He’s more scientifically minded which balances and overlaps with my creative mind and where he helps me with mathematics, I can help him with language and linguistics. He and I naturally lean towards similar if not exactly the same viewpoints and even when we disagree we find merit in the other’s perspective. He’s also the only person I can be with half a day or all day, every day, for months on end without a break and not get tired of. Scratch that: he’s the only person I can talk to for over an hour daily for four days and not get tired of. He’s the only person where I don’t have to resort to the digital barrier of emails and facebook so he doesn’t drain my energy. We’re headed in the same direction in life: to a nice smallholding where we can both be self employed with 4-10 biological children and some fostered children once our own are mostly grown up. He’s great and an excellent match for me.

But I really don’t feel like I need a piece of paper to tell me that. I know that.

And I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me we will constantly strive to be together until one of us passes. I know that too.

So here’s to a tax break, future children and a great night out. May there be many to come.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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5 Things To Do For Your Husband Today.

Often we rely too much on someone telling us what they want. And not everyone knows what they need, how to express it or that you can help. Same goes for your husband or live-in-partner. However close you are and however much you ask, there will always be things to do to make his life better that he won’t ask you for, but will appreciate immensely.

In my personal experience and from observation, here are five things you can do to make his day nicer that he wouldn’t even consider asking for.

1: A massage.

A staple of stereotypes and jokes, massages are really great. And I’ve found that men tend to be more likely to offer a spontaneous massage and women are more likely to request one than the other way around.

But everyone benefits from a good rub down once in a while. Start by waiting until he is sat down and relaxing and begin at the shoulders and neck. Work your way down his upper arms, then back up and down his back. Massaging his legs and feet are also options. Try and mix up the massage techniques. Men have fewer nerve endings near the skin surface than women, so a deep tissue massage where your knuckles are really digging in can feel very pleasant to them.

2: Pudding.

Everyone loves treats and most people enjoy a treat after dinner. However people turn to unwholesome foods more often when there isn’t something better on offer.

With a few minutes, some cream and some fruit you can make an ice cream, with a little extra time and a pastry recipe you can make a pie. Think of his favourite pudding and surprise him with it tonight.

3: Wash his outdoor clothes.

Many men enjoy spending time outdoors or simply have to for their job and chores. Does your husband do the gardening, go jogging, walk the dog or collect firewood? Then he will have some designated outdoor clothes he uses for them.

It might look like his tatty old jacket, muddy wellington boots and dusty overalls are meant to be that way, but as long as you don’t accidentally break them, many men appreciate coming home to the holes in their jacket patched, their boots mud-free and their overalls washed and dried.

Just because he likes his old clothes doesn’t mean he wants them to look old all the time or fall apart entirely.

4: Find/buy him something to enjoy together.

Your husband likes you. That means he likes spending time with you, seeing you smile and enjoy yourself and sharing his hobbies with you.

Look into a few of the things he likes that you weren’t all that interested in. Maybe he’s an avid gamer, a fan of a certain comic, interested in music or fond of gardening. Then, find something you think you would both enjoy and plan to do it together.

You don’t have to actually do it today or to surprise him with it. The fact that you took the initiative to learn about one of his hobbies and want to spend time joining him will make him incredibly happy.

5: Have some quiet time.

However much of an extrovert he may be, however much he adores you, everyone likes a little bit of quiet and men seem to want just a touch more quiet than women. It’s possibly even a biological difference, just like women need a bit more sleep than men.

But this doesn’t mean you need to be out of the room whenever he wants quiet. He still loves you and wants to spend time with you. Just make a point of putting on his favourite show or leaving a book on the table for him and cuddling up as he enjoys it. Make a drink, get something to do in silence and just sit there together.

And those are five things you can do today to make him happy and show him how much you love and respect him.

What do you do to make your husband or wife happy? How do you try and make each day special? Please share your advice and anecdotes with us!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How To… set up a great picnic.

I’m not sure what it’s like where you are, but around here the weather is just about right for picnics. The Summer heat is fading a little, but the wind and rain hasn’t picked up yet. This means filling a hamper with food and going somewhere nice and warm to eat it.

This is how I make a traditional picnic, without relying on crisps and fruit, to have a great time anywhere.

1: Pies, pasties and puddings.

I try and make sure that all the soft foods like jam, meat stew and the likes are firmly encased in pastry, to make them easy to handle and carry.

Meat breads are also a great idea. You make dough and then as you are forming the rolls, you tuck meat and vegetables into the centre of the bread. When it bakes the dough absorbs some of the juices and makes for a delicious treat that is more robust than a sandwich.

2: Solid things.

Bring only hard fruits, like apples, or things in tupperware boxes. Anything soft or crunchy will crumble apart.

3: The basket.

You want a basket that closes well and keeps everything inside even if it is swung around. You want to pack it neatly.

4: Dishes and cutlery.

Choose less breakable items and try and bring a tray to keep them together.

5: A blanket.

A requirement. If the weather has been a little damp, bring a ground mat from a tent!

6: Keeping clean.

Baby wipes, two tea towels and a bottle of lightly soapy water for rinsing everything.

7: Drinks.

Bring plastic bottles, not glass or cans. If necessary, decant drinks from cans and glass bottles into empty water bottles before leaving. Just don’t bring glass or cans, as they can break, injure people, waste drinks and make a mess.

8: Against the elements.

Pick a spot where your blanket stays put on its own. Just put it down and watch it a moment if you’re not sure. When the wind doesn’t move it, the spot is right.

Don’t set up immediately under a tree, at the shell line on the beach or near sand dunes.

9: Against ants.

If ants are hard to avoid, bring some cinnamon and sprinkle it over your blanket. It burns ants so they will leave you alone.

10: For fun.

Bring two things for every person. There can be overlap, for example if two of the kids want to play football, that’s one thing for each of them, plus a magazine for the older kid and an art block for the younger one. Make sure everyone has something to do.

11: Make memories.

Press a few flowers, take some pictures or collect some still life every time you go on a picnic, it makes it all the more fun.

Finally, like anywhere, don’t overstay your welcome. When the food is gone, everyone has had fun and people are getting bored and tired, it’s time to leave. Trying to linger when everyone is bored is a surefire way to ruin a good picnic, not a way to make the day more fun.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Do you like picnics? How do you manage them? Got any good picnic recipes or ways of wrangling the kids? Feel free to share them with us!

WWW. BBQ Chicken and Piernik Brownies.

Another busy week with the new puppy. For something that spends so much time asleep, she really does add to the day! 🙂

But we did manage to have some treats and new things mixed up. Not least of all, a BBQ chicken pan roast that was so good we made it twice.

BBQ Roast Chicken.

BBQ Roast  Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

  • -8 pieces of chicken (thighs or breasts)
  • -300g celeriac
  • -300g potatoes
  • -300g carrots
  • -2tbsp chili garlic
  • -1tbsp soy sauce
  • -1tbsp brown vinegar
  • -1tbsp salt
  • -1tbsp sugar

Utensils:

  • -chopping board and knife
  • -large oven tray

Recipe:

  1. Slice the potatoes and celeriac into thin slices. Arrange them on the bottom of the tray.
  2. Arrange the chicken and carrots on top.
  3. Salt and place in the oven at 200C for around 20 minutes.
  4. Take out and rest a little. Add the sugar to the chicken skins. Leave to soak in.
  5. Add the vinegar and soy sauce to the whole dish. Drizzle with chili garlic.
  6. Roast at 160C until cooked through.

BBQ Roast  Chicken Recipe 2

Piernik Brownies.

Piernik Brownies Recipe

Piernik is one of my favourite things of all time. It’s basically Polish gingerbread and it’s delicious, especially with a bit of dark chocolate or jam. Dark chocolate, jam and piernik is a great indulgent afternoon treat.

This is a combination of two of those flavours: gingerbread and dark chocolate. I made a sugar-butter icing with cinnamon and cocoa powder as Jon likes baked goods to have some sort of icing, cream or custard on them, but they’re really delectable as they are.

Ingredients:

  • -2 cups plain flour
  • -3tbsp cocoa powder
  • -3tbsp sugar
  • -2 eggs
  • -1tbsp grated or chopped ginger
  • -1tsp cinnamon
  • -1/2tsp nutmeg
  • -1/4tsp cloves
  • -water as needed

Utensils:

  • -mixing bowl and fork
  • -greased or nonstick baking tray

Recipe:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Add more sugar to taste.
  2. Pour into the pan.
  3. Bake at 160C for 10-20min, or until spongy but cooked through.
  4. Serve with coffee.

And that’s what we liked the most out of our meals this week. What have you enjoyed cooking or eating this week?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 Pieces of BAD Dating Advice Girls Get.

The modern world is full of dating advice. And a lot of it is actually terrible. We hear about the bad dating advice men get more often lately, as it’s pretty obvious when something doesn’t work 100 times, it isn’t working. But when a teenage boy gets told that buying roses gets you sex and it doesn’t work, or that a healthy relationship means one person must dominate by force and he sees this isn’t the case he can start over more easily. With teenage girls it’s a little more complicated. One or two very bad decisions could shape a teenage girl’s dating life for a very long time, short of her changing town. And we hardly ever hear anything said against some legitimately terrible advice girls get.

So here are my top ten bad pieces of dating advice teenage girls are given that isn’t really challenged, why they are wrong, along with a few comments and suggestions straight from the horse’s mouth as I’m inviting Jon to contribute his own experience and knowledge as a heterosexual man.

A lot of this is bad advice that is also given to some teenage boys and most of it is also applicable to anyone in a long term relationship, so don’t shy away just because you aren’t straight or you’re a guy: there could still be something to learn. Just bear in mind that this is more geared towards people in long term relationships with a man.

1. Be cool and distant.

The bad advice: Try and look like much of life doesn’t matter to you, like you have so much more going off than the here and now.

Common phrases: “Keep cool.” “Try and be mysterious.” “Make him chase you a little bit.” “Don’t reveal too much too soon.”

Why it sounds right: Because many girls like the air of mystery in a guy. When he’s distracted it looks like he has a busy, fascinating life. It adds something extra when men are often a little simple (not in a bad way).

Why it doesn’t work: Because girls are already pretty mysterious to guys. We do communicate a little differently and we can change more quickly than a man can. When we’re fully present we’re already perplexing and enticing enough. Adding more distraction and layers is just confusing and possibly worrying.

From the horse’s mouth: “It can work if the person has a genuinely active, interesting life. If you don’t, it will appear forced and you will appear uninteresting. Further, more with younger males, if a female has that much more to do and he is that uninteresting, she should jog on and do that instead so he can stop wasting his time.”

What to do instead: Be friendly and open, start conversation but let him talk at least as much as you do, mention your hobbies and interests in passing and try and keep the talking flowing. Let him know you won’t bite his head off.

2. Be one of the guys.

The bad advice: Just hang out with him and his friends, have a good time, copy what they do, cultivate stereotypically masculine hobbies, drink heavily, swear a bit more than usual, show him that you’re a “cool” girl.

Common phrases: “Learn about what he likes.” “Hang out with his friends.” “Tone down your girliness.”

Why it sounds right: Because a lot of guys say that’s what they want.

Why it doesn’t work: Because what they mean they want and what we hear are two completely different things. A man wants a woman who lets him enjoy male company and his own hobbies, and who doesn’t hold him back when he wants to do something crazy or adventurous. But that doesn’t mean you should put on a butch act. He’s a straight man, he wants you to make the instinctive part of his brain think “woman”. Don’t try and force yourself to be a man.

From the horse’s mouth: “Very simple: if you are a woman, you are not a man. No amount of toning down girliness is going to change that. Also, women aping males is not only unattractive, it is a joke. There’s a lot more to being male than yelling in a weights room.”

What to do instead: Be as girly and as tomboyish as you’re comfortable with, but try and keep the edge of softness that says you’re a girl. You can still hang out with him and his friends when he’s fine with it, but a little makeup, abstaining from swearing (as best you can) and not getting drunk and rowdy is more likely to attract him.

3. He will love you for you.

The bad advice: The opposite (almost) of the above. Just relax, do whatever you like, say whatever you like, he just won’t care and if he does he should be dumped instantly.

Common phrases: “Your weight doesn’t matter, lose or gain, he should still love you!” “If a guy can’t handle you, then he doesn’t deserve you.” “You had the heroin habit when you started going out, if he doesn’t like it now, then too bad.”

Why it sounds right: Because it feels right. Many guys like a larger woman, one with a firey temperament or don’t mind one with bad habits.

Why it doesn’t work: Because it’s used to justify letting yourself go. Yes, you will go through bad patches, might have PMS and will age eventually. But you can’t just get fat and angry four months into a relationship and expect him to just live with it. How would you like someone pulling a 180 on you after they got you locked down? Besides that, if a guy loves you even when you change your body, your personality, your hobbies and everything else, then the only thing he loves about you is the only thing that hasn’t changed: that you’re a woman. If he only loves you for being a woman, then the relationship isn’t youXhim, it’s sexXhim.

From the horse’s mouth: “If there is no deception up front (hiding characteristics or exaggerating others) this advice is kind of true. However people change over time, as will you. Too often used as an excuse or as capitulation. If you are going to have a lot of kids and he is going to have a vasectomy before he has any, I don’t think love can rebalance that.”

What to do instead: Be upfront about any issues there may be in the future, so he doesn’t get unexpectedly surprised. Other than that, try and look after yourself and put some actual work into being, if not the woman he deserves, then at least the woman he started dating.

4. Put yourself first.

The bad advice: You are number one and nobody can ever forget that, everything has to be run by you, checked and vetted before anything can be done, you are the 51% shareholder in this relationship.

Common phrases: “Look after yourself.” “Look out for number one.” “You are the protagonist of your own life.”

Why it sounds right: Because it is, in fact, very important to take good care of yourself and to not get into a relationship where you are putting in 100% and getting out 5%.

Why it doesn’t work: Because it’s used as an excuse to be lazy, again. Furthermore, most women actually feel endorphin and oxytocin releases when we do something nice out of love, which means that putting him first from time to time will actually make you happier and more bonded to him than being selfish and lazy.

From the horse’s mouth: “If you are incapable of love, then by all means put yourself first. If you believe you are capable of love there will be times where you may have to put someone else ahead of you. A relationship is not a zero sum game of one side trying to extract as much as possible from the other.”

What to do instead: Put the relationship first in all matters that concern him. Sure, your haircut might not matter to him, so you don’t need to ask him every time you change it. But if you’re selling your car and planning on using his, look out for the both of you, not just your own interests. What will make you both happier and more harmonious in the future?

5. Let him have it, he deserves it.

The bad advice: If he’s upset you, you need to make sure to let all of it out and argue the problem away. Getting a little physical could help you too.

Common phrases: “Let him have it.” “He shouldn’t have angered you.” “It’s natural to argue when you’re angry.” “It isn’t domestic violence when you hit him.”

Why it sounds right: Because it feels good to let your anger out on someone who’s angered you.

Why it doesn’t work: Because you’re not fighting or competing, you’re in a relationship. If every time he angers you you are flying at him like a honey badger, he won’t get a chance to explain his side, make things right or love you. You just end up hating each other, fighting becomes a habit and eventually it will destroy most relationships.

From the horse’s mouth: “Men are normally physically stronger than women. You are trading on him not fighting back with any amount of his strength. Good luck with that. I hope you never encounter a male who treats you as the avenging warrior you clearly think you are. Also as a side note: getting angry does not give you super powers and it is not going to fix any damage done.”

What to do instead: Vent with a friend, anonymous blog or diary. Don’t go into gossip, but just explain that you’re angry and why. Maybe go jogging or punch a pillow a little to let off steam. Once you’re calm, explain the problem to him and have an adult discussion about it. Once the discussion is over, whatever the conclusion was, let it go and try and get back to normal.

6. Have sex by _ date.

The bad advice: There is a time limit on when you have to have sex by, otherwise the whole relationship is doomed.

Common phrases: “Have sex on the third date.” “If you haven’t had sex after twelve dates then you’re doomed.” “Sex before the fifth date is too early.”

Why it sounds right: Because we assume that men only want sex.

Why it doesn’t work: Because men want sex, but they also want other things. If you put a timer on your affections, whatever ones they are, from a kiss to marriage, then you’re adding pressure to the relationship. It’s probably wise to not have sex too early, to dissuade players. But it isn’t wise to assume that sex has an expiry date.

From the horse’s mouth: “LOL.”

From the horse’s mouth after recomposing himself: “What is this obsession with simple, idiotic relationship rules? Maybe I am an old romantic, who believes things should happen when they feel right, not when some magazine or dating expert has decided is the best time.”

What to do instead: Wait until you feel cool and calm before having sex. Heat-of-the-moment sex is far more regrettable and more likely to attract a man whose only intention is to have sex with you. But don’t force yourself to have sex at an exact date. Cool off, however long it takes, then make your decision. Most men won’t pass this test: either they will get bored (they only wanted sex) or you will stop liking them (you only wanted sex). Either way, this isn’t a bad thing, it’s all about building positive relationships without sex being a pressure point.

7. If he loves you he will _.

The bad advice: A man who loves you will do certain things for you and if your man doesn’t, then he’s using you.

Common phrases: “Real men propose on one knee with a diamond.” “If he loves you he will wait it out.” “A man who loves a woman will not forget her birthday.”

Why it sounds right: Because some men display their love this way and it looks charming and their partner won’t stop talking about it.

Why it doesn’t work: This had two problems. Firstly it assumes that there is only one way to love. A man who just wants sex with you loves you as well, it’s just not the way you want to be loved. So a man could love you deeply and fail to do anything to show it. Secondly, it’s good to have standards. But don’t let your standards be someone else’s. If you don’t want a diamond engagement ring, then why should the man who loves you give you one? If anything, that shows he doesn’t really know you.

From the horse’s mouth: “Clearly written by women who have no idea or interest in what’s going off in men’s heads.”

What to do instead: Set your own standards for how you like to be loved and tell him about them. If you like daffodils and not roses, tell him “Daffodils are my favourite flower.” If he forgets, mention it again, after all, he may not have much of a memory for flowers. Don’t hold him to some arbitrary standard. And if you’re just not compatible, it wasn’t that he didn’t love you, it was that he didn’t love you the way you wanted him to love you. He probably did and still does love you in his own way, so be gentle with him.

8. Your sexual prime is after 30.

The bad advice: You are far hotter, sexier and more voracious at some point after the age of thirty, so that’s when you want to start having your fun before getting married.

Common phrases: “Life begins at 30!” “35 is your sexual peak.” “You don’t want to be married before 35.” “40 is the new 30!”

Why it sounds right: Because many women of that age are saying it. Also, a childless woman at thirty can experience a boost in libido.

Why it doesn’t work: Because nature disagrees. The peak of your sexual appetite might be around thirty or thirty five, but your best fertility window is actually from your late teens to your mid twenties. 16-25 is when you are most likely to reproduce successfully. Which means that, to most men, you are more attractive then. Yes, even men in their thirties, forties and fifties. So holding off serious relationships until you are forty could seriously harm your ability to settle down with the sort of man you like. And that sexual appetite boost? Completely wasted if you have nobody to share it with.

From the horse’s mouth: “Being trendy and stylish doesn’t concern biology. However much noise is made, the biological reality is still a reality.”

What to do instead: Try and find a stable partner in your early twenties, when your teenage hormones are cooling off and you’re still pretty and fertile. Having children when nature intended doesn’t hurt either, just make sure you get that stable relationship first.

9. If you feel _ he should _.

The bad advice: He should work hard to calm your moods and adapt his behaviours around your feelings.

Common phrases: “If you feel insecure, he should stop seeing those friends.” “If you feel sad, he should get you something nice.” “If you feel angry, he should explain himself to you.”

Why it sounds right: Because we’re used to having our feelings matter, especially in childhood, and we’re used to friends who can easily spot and work with our changes in mood.

Why it doesn’t work: Because if every time you mood changed, he had to react, your life would be chaos. Try keeping a diary of every time you feel something. Every half hour for a day, write down what you feel. Can you really expect someone who isn’t telepathic and who has known you for a few weeks or a year to be able to guess what you’re feeling every minute of the day and guess what he needs to do about it?

From the horse’s mouth: “Unfortunately males do not have a telepathic link to your brain stem. To assume they will act a certain way to a certain thing is ludicrous. If we can acknowledge even a well trained dog can miss a cue, or react differently occasionally, why are we assuming a human with all their intelligence and all their skills will react in a way a separate person wants?”

What to do instead: Your feelings are part of you. They aren’t a physical mark on your body that everyone can see and that everyone knows how to deal with. You need to try and work with your feelings on your own and only bring them up with him once you’re 100% sure that there is a problem that he can help with. When it comes to venting, choose a close friend, a diary or an anonymous blog instead. It works better and doesn’t interfere with your relationship.

10. You are a prize.

The bad advice: You are something amazing, special and unique and he needs to know that he is replaceable, that he needs to be number one to win your heart.

Common phrases: “He needs to earn you every day.” “He’s lucky to have you.” “He doesn’t deserve you.”

Why it sounds right: Because we like ourselves and like to think of ourselves as important.

Why it doesn’t work: Because you wouldn’t be dating him if he wasn’t also amazing, special and unique. It’s like ordering a plain pizza when you prefer a four cheeses pizza and have the money to buy one. If you could do better, you wouldn’t be with him. And developing the attitude that you’re somehow ten times as special as he is will just make you feel like he’s a loser, however great he is. Even worse if you display it.

From the horse’s mouth: “No, you’re not a prize. No one is, unless they are a supermodel millionaire scientist who has fallen head over heels in love with everything about you as you currently are and everything you ever will be. The prize is the compatibility. If you are compatible with someone you have much more worth as a potential partner than someone who is not compatible. You’re not better than them just because they like you. On the flip side, do not undervalue yourself. If you’re having to ‘low balls’ or ‘slum’ it, you’re probably looking in the wrong crowd.”

What to do instead: Just because you love yourself doesn’t mean putting yourself first and him last. He is the best you can do, so show him the love and respect that he deserves. After all, isn’t that what you want from him?

What other bad pieces of dating advice did you get, or have you heard given to girls? What other incorrect facts are being spread around? Be sure to mention your personal peeves when it comes to dating advice!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Being Loved the Way You Want to Be Loved.

When we speak of relationships we tend to think of one sort of love. Early love. The light, airy head, the butterflies of neophilia, the strange conflict of socially approved lust and impressions of purity, the fascination of their mystique, the euphoria that comes with feeling like all of the future is an open possibility.

Due to a combination of popular media and the fascination with retaining our teenage experiences as long as possible, this is almost the only acceptable form of love to pursue and discuss.

Which is unfair on almost everyone, because nobody’s love is quite so contradictory. Human love is multifaceted. There are, arguably, three faces to romantic love and each of them has its own spectrum.

We have affection. This is the sort of love that, on its own, is also accepted as love in our world, though many people would not consider it enough for a romantic relationship on its own. Affection is clean, pure, basically born of simply liking someone or something. It includes sweetness and tenderness, respect, a desire for the other to be well. It’s basically the sort of love everyone seems to aspire to, as though it were a complete romantic love on its own.

But there are two other faces to romantic love that need to be there to make it complete. And these faces are often seen as impure caveats to affection, rather than natural, decent forms of love.

Then we have purpose. This is the sort of love that results in altruism, child-rearing urges and nestmaking. Some purpose is instinctive, like a woman’s urge to hold a child. Some purpose is cultural, like a person’s desire to provide for their partner. Purpose covers anything where you are neither acting out of lust or affection, but out of a sense of duty to the other person. This sort of love is devalued because it is seen as lacking genuineness. It is a noble thing to give someone money or even kill yourself for someone out of pure affection or even out of lust. It is shameful to do the same because you feel it is your responsibility to do so.

Then we have lust. This is the sort of love that is born of the desire to procreate. It is arguably essential to human romantic love. And it is also demonized. It needs to be compensated for with affection, otherwise it isn’t good. For example, your romantic love is supposed to be born of affection and develop into lust. Which is odd considering that is rarely the case. We are attracted to someone biologically before we feel bonded to them. Lust is purely superficial.

But just because purpose is cold and heartless and lust is superficial and selfish doesn’t mean they are kryptonite to romantic love. They are as necessary in love as affection is. A love free from lust and purpose isn’t better by virtue of innocence. Neither is it more likely to last.

Rather, all three need to be combined just right to make a relationship durable and enjoyable.

How To… be more productive.

I think everyone agrees that being productive is better than not.

You get things done, free up time for later in the day and have that satisfaction that comes with being pleasantly busy.

But some days it can be hard to get anything done and you go to bed feeling pretty rubbish, like you have a thousand things to do tomorrow and despite all your hard work, you accomplished nothing today.

To minimize that sort of day, here are some helpful steps to being more productive.

Step 1: Identify your tasks.

As I always say and will continue saying: lists are your friend.

Look at everything you have to do, walk around the house and look for jobs and write a list of everything that needs doing, not necessarily right now, but in the next three to seven days.

Step 2: Categorize their importance.

Make a list of ones that are urgent and a list of ones that make a big difference. Anything on both lists is very important, next comes anything on the urgent list, next on the difference list and finally we have the things that need doing but are neither urgent nor do they make a massive difference.

Step 3: Schedule them.

You only have so many hours in a day. So take the most urgent tasks and schedule them in. Anything that has a set time will obviously need to occupy that time slot regardless of importance, but you should otherwise try and get the most important things done first.

Step 4: Make a BORED? chart.

If you, for whatever reason, need to kill time, then make yourself a BORED chart.

Here is mine as an example:

BORED

Whenever you feel the urge to procrastinate, have an hour of dead space or an episode of mania, whenever you would normally just have a dead, tense gap in the day you regret later, consult your BORED? chart. That way even your slow time is productive.

Step 5: Set long-term goals.

When looking at your tasks, you need to see them as parts of a whole. Some, like doing the dishes, you just do and get done with. But some things, like keeping fit or sorting the garden, need a long term goal in mind. Work out what the end goal of your activities is and set yourself targets to hit. This lets you see how far you’re getting and adjust accordingly.

Step 6: Request accountability checks.

And if you really aren’t sure of your ability to go through with the work or to focus on your goals, why not ask someone to keep an eye on it with you? Having someone to report back to and help you refocus could be a great help.

And that is how I make the most of my time so at the end of the day I usually feel like I used my time wisely.

How do you balance your schedule? Any tips on how to avoid procrastination and maximize your day? Please share in the comments!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!