I love a good date. Whether it’s the first date with someone special (complete with first date butterflies!) or the first date night in a long time with your other half, a date is such a wonderful thing. You get dressed up, you flirt, you try and impress…and after all, there really is nothing better than going out with someone lovely who thinks the world of you.

I also love a quirky date. Though for first dates I tend to stick to drinks or the cinema (meals out are a terrible idea because if you don’t click it can be super awkward, whereas the cinema is usually debatable. I like it because although you can’t talk, you can still discreetly hold their hand in the dark without them seeing you blush…!), there’s been a few dates that stand out as quite memorable in my mind. One guy took me to Southend beach front and we spent the day riding roller coasters, whereas the first date with my ex was spent mooching around town (coffee, to Tesco’s for avocado and ice cream, to food, to drinks…) because we didn’t want it to end.

Although I wouldn’t suggest something really out there for a first date (unless you know they’re super special!), it’s always good to have some ideas for third or fifth dates (perhaps when things go from dates to ‘seeing’ each other or boyfriend-and-girlfriend), anniversaries or special times.

So I’ve put together a list of my favourite wacky/unique/uber-fun/out there date ideas in the UK…

Even if you’re not a huge fan of theatre, seeing a play at this open air theatre in the middle of Regent’s Park just oozes romance. The setting is beautiful – think rustic stage surrounded by greenery and twinkling fairy lights when night falls – and there’s dining options on site too. The most romantic choice is a picnic or luxury hamper you can order in advance though. The picnic costs £49.95 and includes a mouthwatering menu of quiche, pork pies, freshly prepared sandwiches, chef’s ‘world famous’ sausage roll, crisps, dessert and even wine. Can you imagine scoffing this on the grass before the show on a warm summer day? So romantic.
Perfect for summer dates when you’re a few dates in but still looking for a date to impress.

Horror and adrenaline fans; this one’s for you. Zed Events boast the coolest zombie apocalypse experiences – and they’re not for the faint hearted. Their last venture (still running until the end of February) saw groups undertake realistic training before being let loose to explore an abandoned mall, following a storyline to avoid getting bitten by zombies. The event even included realistic weapons which could be used to shoot at the ‘zombies’. This experience is just finishing up as the team put their newest venture, due to be launched very soon. We know little about it – except it’s based in a Wasteland (in Reading) and if it’s anything like the The Mall, you can be assured that it’s going to be a totally immersive and heart pounding experience. Stay tuned and keep your eyes on Zed Events to discover more.
Perfect for special events and group dates.

The Forbidden Corner in North Yorkshire has been on my bucket list for years now. Annoyingly, I discovered it not long after I left uni, which is a shame because I was studying somewhat nearby for three years and would have had plenty of chances to visit! This wonderfully weird outdoor attraction is hard to explain but an exploration of the grounds will find you discovering bizarre statues and sculpted grottos, braving subterranean chambers and finding secret gardens. It’s kind of like a huge oddball real life fairytale, but more like a Tim Burton version. It’s best visited to really discover the place as words don’t do it justice.
Best for long term couples that want to mix it up a bit.

Solent Forts have been on my radar for a long time now. The three island resorts – off the coast of Portsmouth – have a lot to offer despite floating in the middle of the sea! Horse Sand Fort is great for history lovers – a visit includes the chance to explore the ‘living museum’ on the underdeveloped fort. No Man’s Fort is like a party hotel and is ideal for events and weddings with seven function rooms, a cabaret bar, games room, lazer battle area, a sauna and spa, rooftop hot tubs and a fire pit. Plush indeed. Spitbank Fort is the best of both worlds – it’s smaller and slightly cheaper than No Man’s Fort but offers just as much luxury. It boasts eight luxury bedroom suites, a function room, wine cellar, games room, a sauna and fire pit, a rooftop pool and a beyond beautiful lighthouse. If an overnight stay is too pricey, you can also visit the forts for just lunch or afternoon tea.
Perfect for special anniversaries or proposals. 

Another London based date, but one that oozes old school romance. Drive In Film Club is just like those amazing American drive ins – you park up, you can order food direct to your car (hot dogs, popcorn etc) and channel the movie’s audio through your speakers. It’s so much fun and takes place in really stunning locations like Alexandra Palace. The added benefit is that it doesn’t matter about the weather because you’re inside your car and it’s super cheap – entry is based on per car as opposed to per person. Experience Cinema are the company behind Rooftop Film club and other cool movie experiences too, so you know you’re in good hands.
Perfect for first dates and mate dates.

These are just five of many, many quirky date ideas that will never fail to impress – may I suggest bookmarking this post for future reference? And if you don’t have a special someone to take you to these places, why not look online for potential dates? You could try Dorset dating sites, Wiltshire dating sites, West Yorkshire dating sitessingle women in Lancashire and date Surrey singles.

Do you have any go-to quirky date ideas? Let me know!

*Please note, this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are entirely my own.


Relationships are a beautiful thing. There really is nothing better then falling head over heels for someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Relationships give you memories you’ll never forget, whether that’s romantic holidays or jokes that make you both laugh so hard that you snort. Unfortunately though, sometimes things have to end and sometimes you have to go through the gut-wrenching pain of trying to mend a broken heart.

Accepting that a relationship is over or is no longer working sucks big time. But it’s important to remember that you need to look after yourself as well, so here are some ways to help mend a broken heart when the inevitable happens.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Relationships | 7 ways to mend a broken heart | Dating | Love | Relationships |

It’s entirely natural and healthy to mourn a relationship, no matter what way feels best for you. Hole yourself up in your room for a weekend and binge-watch Friends with a tub of ice cream, or go out drinking with your friends for however many nights straight. Neither way is more healthy than the other but you need to wallow and do what you do. It seems tempting to put on a brave face and look ahead, but it’s important to feel your emotions too because if you don’t, how are you ever going to heal?

Although it might seem that your whole future has gone down the drain in a matter of weeks, it’s important to remember that there is still a future there, even if it’s not as you imagined anymore. You might not have motivation to do much or look ahead, but there should be at least one thing to focus on whether that’s blogging, getting to the gym for a workout or writing in general. If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a new hobby or research a side business, now is the time when you actually, y’know, have time.

No questions asked. Yes it’ll hurt and yes it may seem extreme but still talking to them so soon after the break up will not help one bit because you’ll either feel like you’re getting on really well and want to get back together or you’ll spend the whole time convinced they’ve met someone which will hurt like hell. Blocking them is the best thing to do because you’ll both have space away from each other to move on.

Relationships don’t just end for no reason. You always learn something from a relationship – good or bad – and you should take this away from the relationship. Maybe you weren’t understanding enough. Maybe they didn’t communicate very well. At the end of the day, if it’s meant to be, it will be – as my nan always says. So if it was meant to work, it would have done.

You’re probably nowhere near ready for a new relationship yet but that doesn’t mean you have to be entirely alone. Your confidence is probably at an all time low right now so talking to some good looking guys online or going on one or two dates could probably be really helpful when the time comes. Try heading online for websites like an Essex dating site, Cumbria dating sites, dating in Birmingham, to date Dorset singles or even single women in Gwent if that’s your thing (and there’s nothing wrong with moving on from men completely and experimenting a bit this time around either!). The important thing to remember is not to rush things: my cut off point for the end of a relationship is always when either one of you does the deed and sleeps with someone else. In my mind, there’s no going back from that. So if you want to move on for the sake of yourself but still want things to work out, by all means, go out and date but hold off on jumping into bed with someone until you’re entirely ready because once you do, there’s no taking that back!

Always, always take time to treat yourself. Go out and splurge money on some pretty lingerie from Boux Avenue or get yourself a stunning new hair cut. You deserve it.

Finally, after all the tears or once you feel like you’ve accepted things, I believe it’s also important to meet up with your ex on neutral grounds, especially if you still have things to give back to each other. This could be months after the break up, but you’re always going to have to see them again one day anyway, so why not get it over and done with? A quick coffee will be the perfect opportunity to show them you’ve moved on and you’re okay and is also the ideal way to say goodbye for a final time on good terms. You could also use this time to discuss once more why things went wrong; after so much time has passed and you’ve had some space away from each other, it will be a lot easier to talk about things without feelings involved. Plus, who knows, you might find yourself both understanding what went wrong and might want to give things another go..!

The important thing to remember though is that when you break up with someone, you must always focus on yourself first. Even if you do want to try to fight for things and get back together, there’s no use waiting around and putting yourself down waiting for a chance that might never happen. It’s always best to focus on making yourself feel better because, if anything, this is more likely to encourage your ex to see you being mature about the whole thing. If you’ve both had time apart to work on yourselves and realize what went wrong, you’re more than likely to eventually rebuild things if there are still feelings there months down the line.

What do you think? What’s your fail-safe way of dealing with heartbreak? Let me know!

*Please note, this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are entirely my own.


I may not be an expert when it comes to love and relationships but with fresh heartbreak under my belt (more on that later..maybe!), I can safely say I have learned a lot during my 11 years of dating the opposite sex.

I wholeheartedly believe that that’s the beauty of love though. Each relationship – even the bad ones that you look back on with regret – teach you something. And these things you learn stay with you as you go through life and meet the right person! So even the bad relationships are good for you in a way.

Here’s some things I’ve learned in my 11 years of dating.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Dating | 6 things I've learned in my 11 years of dating | Love | Relationships | Advice

Let me be entirely clear about this, I have learned time and time again that if a man uses the words ‘my ex is/was a psycho’ when you first meet, chances are HE IS THE PSYCHO or it’s just an excuse to cover his past, present and future tracks. Ah yes. It’s so easy to see through rose-tinted glasses to believe that an ex that is being ‘too friendly’ and ‘just won’t get the hint’ despite him apparently insisting to her multiple times that it’s over. You’ll believe him until evidently months or years down the line you’ve unwillingly become ‘that’ ex, sending him perfectly understandable messages about why he has suddenly started seeing someone else after dumping you to be single and why he won’t answer you when you deserve an explanation. Yep, I’m sorry to say this ladies, but if a guy tells you his ex is psycho, it’s probably because he’s leading her on whilst moving in on you and wants an excuse to cover up the fact that he’s clearly breaking her heart and her messages are just a repercussion of that. Stay well clear, else soon enough you’ll be labelled that ‘psycho ex’.

You just can’t. Yes, life would be easier if they loved you as much as you love them. You can be the perfect partner by being romantic and supportive but people can’t help how they feel. Much like when you friendzone someone, you don’t want to hurt them and you wish they didn’t feel that way or you felt the same way but sometimes you just can’t force things.

I was about three weeks into my uni relationship when I realized that my boyfriend at the time was a) a player and b) would never fully commit to me. But lo and behold, he was hot, he showed no signs of straying and I thought maybe I’d finally tamed him. I was wrong. If I’d listened to my instincts, I would have avoided nearly two years of stress. I mean I don’t regret the relationship but it taught me that I should have listened to that gut feeling from the get go.

If you’re like me, you may find it hard to walk away and want to fight for everything. This rarely has good outcomes for me but I’m proud of this part of me. I’m proud to be the one in the relationship who will always stand up and fight for it to keep going. That said, when it gets to the point when I know it’s no longer worth fighting for, I then walk away. My point is that relationships aren’t black and white: someone may do something to hurt you but if you know they/the relationship is worth working through, then screw what everyone else says and give it your all.

It’s very easy to consume yourself entirely in a relationship. Partners often become best friends too, so it’s no surprise when relationships with your other friends get put on the back burner for a bit. I’m very guilty of giving my all – in fact, often too much – to a relationship and this is definitely a bad habit. Of course it’s good to want to put your other half first sometimes, especially if they make you happy, but you should always remember to take time for yourself too. Don’t let your own goals suffer for their priorities – compromise is such an important word in a relationship for example. Don’t give up your hobbies – I gave up my pole dancing classes when I met Vincent because travelling back to Luton every Thursday just wasn’t convenient for me at the time, but now I regret it and wished that I’d kept that regular weekly thing for just me. So, to conclude, go with the flow and definitely fall head over heels for someone and spend as much time as you like with them if it feels right. But remember to keep something for yourself too.

They tend to happen when you least expect it so if you’re single and looking for a relationship, try taking the back burner and not looking for one. Concentrate on yourself for a bit first and you’ll hopefully soon find that someone will come along when you’re not looking. That said, it’s never fun to be lonely either and if you want to not-look-for-the-relationship-you-actually-want, dating is always a good shout. Why not try online dating with Cambridge dating sitesdating in Manchester, and Aberdeen dating sites in search of single men in Nottinghamshire or to date Hertfordshire singles? Whether you’re after just dating, a bit of fun or something more, you’re bound to find someone looking for the same thing online. And, who knows, maybe one of those dates will turn into an unexpected relationship..!

However, whether or not I learn from these mistakes and lessons is a whole other kettle of fish…!

Do you have any fail-safe advice or knowledge you’ve picked up on since dating? Let me know!

*Please note, this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are entirely my own.
*Images taken using Dom&Ink‘s Map My Heart.

I’ve been thinking about doing a few posts like this for a while now and I thought when better to post it up than on a Monday?! It’s the start of the week, the weekend is so far away and usually you get that Monday feeling – everything feels 10 times worse than it actually is. So here’s my little gem of advice for why not everything is as bad as it sounds….

Ah the age old debate – is it better to be single or in a relationship? In a relationship you get unconditional love – you get protection, you get someone to rely on and create memories with, you get cuddles (and more!) and you get that lovely feeling deep in your tummy. But when you’re single you get to do whatever you want without worrying how it will affect someone, you get first date upon first date upon first date (including those amazing first date butterflies) – in fact you get a lot of exciting firsts! You get to have fun and experience with different guys, each teaching you new and different things about love, dating, life and yourself. You can’t really compare the two – at some points in your life you like being single, at others you like being in a relationship.

Unfortunately sometimes when you’re single – no matter how much you love it – you do get a bit fed up and crave a relationship again (in fact sometimes when you’re in a relationship you crave the singleton life, but that’s another post for another time)…I absolutely love being single, but there are times when I miss being in a relationship. Generally we’ve all been at that point in life where it’s not worked out with yet another guy and we start to wonder what’s wrong with us and when/if we’ll meet the right guy.

Image taken from Tumblr.com
But here’s my helpful gem of advice. When I feel like that – I remind myself these things and instantly feel better. You have to date some guys that are wrong for you and you have to make mistakes before you meet the right guy. Why? Because every relationship is an experience. Every relationship, every fling – you all come away from them learning something new. It can be absolutely anything – you could learn just how important trust is in a relationship when it doesn’t work out with someone through lack of trust. You could learn that by shutting yourself down during an argument – perhaps the way you deal with stress – doesn’t really work and that communication is important. You might even learn that *those* types of guys are never good for you, or that by putting five kisses on the end of each text to your fling indicates that you’re coming on too strong and therefore it scares him off.
Now, imagine for a second if you met the right guy – if you met the one – before you had all these experiences and learnt all these things. Imagine if you met someone who was absolutely perfect for you and you truly believed it was fate that brought you together. Got it? Now imagine that you never learnt just how important trust and communication is. Just think about what would happen (like what happened in all those other relationships) if you and your partner didn’t trust each other and didn’t communicate with each other. It would slowly wear you both down and tear you apart. If you messed that up with the one guy you were meant to be with, with the guy who you were meant to one day marry, you’d kick yourself, right? You’d lose the love of your life simply because you never experienced what it does to a relationship when you don’t trust someone or communicate with them. And there are so many other things to learn, but trust and communication is just a general example.
That’s why you have to date a lot of idiots before you can meet the right guy. To learn from the relationships so when the real thing rolls around, you’ll get it right. Sure, you’ll probably still mess up from time to time anyway – after all, everyone makes mistakes – but the right guy? He’ll forgive you for these things. (What I mean here is that generally when the right person comes along he won’t be like other guys and will be more forgiving, accepting that you make mistakes and forgiving you for one offs. However just so I’m not contradicting myself, as perfect as this guy might be for you, everyone can only take so much of something! So like I said in the paragraph before, this right guy will be more forgiving towards mistakes, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stick around with constant problems like lack of communication tearing a relationship apart because, after all, he’s only human too!).
Image taken from Tumblr.com
My favourite quote of all time is ‘Nothing worth having ever comes easy’ (Said by Bob Kelso from Scrubs, naturally!) and that’s so, so true. Every bad relationship you have is just gearing you up for the right one. All the tears you cry, all the break ups you have to go through – that’s why! And even more so, the more bad stuff you go through, the more you’ll appreciate it when you get to finally go through the good stuff with the right one.
So yeah, being single sucks sometimes. And maybe that one night stand last weekend didn’t teach you too much (except that a bit of fun is okay sometimes) BUT it all works out in the end. And the best part is knowing that somewhere out there, there’s someone perfect for you. Someone who loves all the things you love, but isn’t scared to challenge you every once and a while. I don’t know what the perfect person is like for you, but they’re there somewhere. Personally every time I endure a break up, it helps me realize what I will and won’t tolerate in a relationship. Yes, every ex boyfriend and every ex fling, I’m looking at you – none of you took me to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park! But thank you very much for that because it taught me that the right guy will love Christmas just as much as I do and will take me there without me having to even ask! And then something bubbles deep inside me and I get excited about when this perfect guy will eventually come along. Because there is nothing better then sharing your life with someone, when the time is right and when the person is right. And there’s nothing more exciting when you know that special person is out there probably thinking the same as you, waiting to meet you.
Other reasons why you might be single right now –
  • You deserve better than the guys you know right now
  • It might just not be the right time for something serious at the moment
  • You don’t have to put up with the bad points of a relationship like being cheated on or lied to
  • The guy you’re meant to be with might not even be single himself yet
  • Shia LaBeouf/Ryan Reynolds/Ian Somerhalder (delete as appropriate) hasn’t moved to your hometown yet, and we all know you couldn’t have a long distance relationship with them (or go too long without seeing their sexy bodies!)
  • You might simply not be ready for a relationship right now – you’ve had enough of the serious stuff and just want a bit of fun for the meantime
  • You’re only young – you don’t want to settle down with the right guy too early and regret later on in life not having enough fun (with other men or otherwise!)
  • You’re just not ready right now – you’re still trying to lose a bit of weight, you haven’t taken that year out traveling yet and you’re still trying to achieve your dream job – you want to be at your very best with your life as sorted out as it can be when you meet him, right?
So if you’re single and you’re finding it tough, just remember that. It’ll all be worth it in the end and you might not see it now, but one day you’ll understand why it didn’t work out with anyone else. In the meantime, have fun getting out there and making mistakes because they’ll only lead you to the right person in the end!
If you’re single – do you ever feel like this? What about if you’re in a relationship – are you now, on some level, thankful for your past and what its taught you? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think – and keep your eye out for a similar ‘helpful wisdom’ post coming up soon – don’t be afraid to suggest any subjects you’d like some advice on!