#12×17: February – Yoga Part II

I started off my February yoga month with a vinyasa flow class at Frame, Shoreditch – London. The word ‘vinyasa’ can be translated as ‘arranging something in a special way’ like yoga poses! In vinyasa yoga you coordinate movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. Flow classes string poses together to make a sequence and keep you moving throughout the class.

In life sometimes you hit a setback before you even begin a new journey but taking steps into the unknown pushes us to feel joy in new ways. “If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.” (Charles Bukowski)

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#12×17: February – Yoga Part I

I’ve practiced yoga on and off for two years but I’ve never been committed despite dreams of having a yoga retreat in the Philippines one day. I’ve always let daily life get in the way and feel like I’m never making progress.

Yoga is great not just because of its physical benefits but mental benefits as well. Yoga has always been light when I am surrounded by fog. I find that when I practice it is one of the few times I can switch off completely and be in the moment. It’s not about whether you can do the perfect downward dog or headstand, it’s about the journey you take to get there and it’s more than a couple bendy poses, yoga incorporates meditation and breathing exercises as well as stretching.

Last month I spent some time at Blue Osa yoga retreat in Costa Rica being taught by the wonderful Yoga Hollis. I felt so invigorated I didn’t want my yoga practice to fall to the wayside when I came back to London. So this February I aim to practice yoga everyday, at home or at classes. I’ll be exploring different types of yoga from iyengar to bikram to vinyasa. Whether you’ve never tried it or you’re a yoga addict, come along to a class with me this month and discover the benefits, or at least follow along my journey for some fun yoga facts! Namaste.

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girl v 12×17

Last year my pal Sam Furness did a year long project (#12×16) in which he pursued a new creative project each month. Inspired by this I have set out on my own project (12×17). My aim is slightly different, after a difficult year in 2016 I learnt the value of wellbeing – physical and mental – each month I’ll be pursuing a new project to contribute to cultivating better wellbeing for the present and the long term and along the way I will be encouraging you to join me. In January I decided to take an instant photo a day – in a world of phone photos living up in the cloud, choosing and selected one important (or even unimportant) thing a day to document was tough (not to mention mastering the ‘art’ of an instant photo – a lot of over/underexposed outtakes) But it encourage me to appreciate each day and discover new things around me. Recording life like this has always helped me a great deal when anxious or down. Whether it’s recording my daily steps, my dreams, my anxiety out of 10, the things I’m greateful for, over time routine brings me back to being content in the present moment. A quick count will show I missed the first week but I will be trying my best to continue to take one instant photo a day for the rest of the year because this brought me a lot of joy this month. I won’t leave it so long to share next month, tomorrow I’ll tell you all about February and how you can join me.

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The Patty and Bun Theory

So you’ve scared them won them over with your opening lines, the law of probability says that eventually you’ll match, chat and bag yourself a date. And if I can bag a date with my lines, there’s hope for us all.

But where do you go? This could be a story you’re telling your grandchildren one day, or maybe just your therapist, so you want to make it good. Many people opt for the drinks, but wine on an empty stomach after a day at work can never end well. (Especially if I’ve spent half the day in the crying cupboard again.) So like all decisions in my life, I choose to always stay true to myself, my stomach. I need food and I’m pretty sure it scientifically increases the likelihood of falling in love*.

*not scientifically proven but there is a link between the amount of food I eat and how gooey eyed I get on a date.

Much like my very well thought through opening lines experiments I thought to myself that I needed to find the best way to ensure that the carbs didn’t blur my reasoning and I judged everyone fairly and not just on the amount of house white I had gobbled.

Enter Patty & Bun (sorry guys) for my perfect date control test.

A control group is defined as “the group in an experiment or study that does not receive treatment by the researchers and is then used as a benchmark to measure how the other tested subjects do.” So I’m not being entirely true to its definition, but essentially I decided to use the same first date place for a number of first dates so I could compare them and use it as a way to choose a second date (rather than trusting those emotions of mine that have been known to be dicks). That makes me sound like an asshole but after failing in so many ways dating I felt why the hell not. I’ve gone for love, money, lust, the “safe”, and the “unsafe” and nothing really sticks. Some people might think it was an issue about myself I should look at. I decided to standardise my first date.

So why does Patty & Bun tick all of my control group boxes?

  • First of all, who doesn’t like burgers? It’s an easy win.
  • It’s a small and popular burger joint and queuing can be expected, therefore I can gauge their patience when faced with a (perhaps unexpected queue). This might be a good indication of the patience needed to date me.
  • When it’s really busy, service is good but perhaps fast paced – do they get agitated or roll with it? Again, this is an excellent indication of how easily agitated they get when I can’t decide what to eat/where to go/what to do WITH MY LIFE.
  • Burgers are messy things – do they wash their hands? Do they eat the burger with a knife and fork? Do they eat a burger like a graceful swan leaving no trace of sauce around their lips (although I kinda dig messy pups)
  • We’re going to have finished within 90 minutes if we’re lucky –leaving two options – it was terrible and you can get home before 9 without it being too obvious, or, it was good and you have the rest of the night to drink cheap house white and stare into their eyes at the pub round the corner.

So there’s a theory that I made up to why I take every first date to Patty & Bun. But mainly because I fucking love their burgers.

Disclaimer: Please note, I may be an asshole but I am kidding, but I have been on at least 3 first dates here in the last 2 months.

on Bumble opening lines*

(*tried and tested) 

Every time I log into Bumble (after uninstalling it for the 2nd time that week) I am at first filled with hope and romance, which is quickly replaced by questioning why I do it to myself. I thought dating apps would boost my self confidence but all they have done is left me wondering whether I’m pretty/thin/witty enough to warrant Barry from Clapham who is apparently 6”1’ to send a reply to my carefully crafted opening line. I really see where Bumble is trying to go with the girls starting the conversation and hell, I’m sure it’s cut down on the average number of surprise penis pictures coming a girl’s way, and yet the last thing I feel is empowered. However, everything has flaws; let’s not fall on the first hurdle. I thought I’d give it a chance and test out a series of opening lines to measure the success rate and make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

Method 1: The standard opener.

“Hey, how are you?”

It’s not big and it’s not clever but hell it’ll stop you saying any of the below and that might just get you a date. My friends told me this was dating app suicide but it worked around the same amount as any other method. And do you know what, sometimes I just want someone to ask me how my day went.

Rating: 2/5 – don’t be scared of being normal.

Method 2: The gif.
I love me a gif. Beyonce and Nicki Minaj eating burgers. Cat ninjas. Pandas falling down a slide. But have I mastered the gif as a flirting tool? No. Do I want to…? I’m not sure. Inevitably it spirals into a gif only conversation which could get tricky when you meet at a grotty Sam Smith’s pub and have to talk through googling gifs about how your day went. I ended up in a conversation with a 36 year old man who sent me gifs of tumbleweed when I didn’t reply instantaneously. He then sent me a video gif on Whatsapp when I didn’t reply because I was at work.

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Rating: 1/5 – it’s a slippery slope; leave the gifs for you and your bestie.

Method 3: The Sherlock.
Scan their photos and their bio for something that is different, some may say, odd, to point out and highlight. It shows that you have wonderful attention detail and are interested in their interests. See below:

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Rating: 4/5 for originality, maybe 2/5 for success because you know, maybe you come off endearing, maybe you come off creepy.

Method 4: The Picasso.

Be creative. Go rogue.

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He’s listening, for what? This isn’t bloody X-Factor and I’m not waiting for you to buzz your stupid buzzer. I have a degree and a job and a house the only thing person who should be waiting is me, for a pre-nup. I thought the whole point of a conversation is that it’s give and take and I’ve given all I could in that first line. That said, this is my preferred method of Bumble opening lines I just need to work on keeping the conversation going after the first line…

Rating: 5/5 for being awesome, 1/5 for success after the first interaction. I literally run out of things to say after expending all my energy on an opening corker.

Conclusion:
Perhaps the men of Bumble SW9 and 10 miles of the surrounding area are not ready for the Picasso. And I’m not ready for conversations longer than 5 lines.

Evaluation:
Ignore all my methods, tell them you’re not great at opening lines but they look cute in that top they’re wearing or you liked Thailand as much as it seems they did from their photo and that they look like they have plenty of stories that would be great to hear over a bottle of wine. There are some people out there that like to keep it traditional. They say they want rogue, but inevitably, they can’t handle the rogue.

Next steps:
Well lucky you, Barry from Clapham thinks you’re up to his standards and you’ve bagged yourself a date. But where will you go… stay tuned while I test this shitty dating world so you don’t have to.*

*Disclaimer: it’s not that shitty and Barry was actually quite nice.

on dating, again

Last time I was single Tinder was something reserved for the world of hook-ups and sordid fantasies. But in the time my last relationship had blossomed and subsequently crashed and burned – Tinder had become not only a hook-up app, but also a place for people to meet their true love. People have met, fallen in love and gotten married in the couple of years it took me to convince my ex to have a conversation about our future, which consequently led to him leaving the country to pursue a different future without me. But who’s recalling the little details anyway…

After staring longingly at my phone for a couple of months hoping my ex would call me, I decided to call it a day, mainly due to the RSI I was giving myself from refreshing his Instagram page. But the world of modern dating can be a daunting place for a newbie like myself with so many apps to navigate, so many aubergine emojis, and now, even gifs are a way to flirt. My friends informed me that “Hey, how are you” was the romantic chat of peasants and that I would have to up my game if I was going to get noticed in a sea of flower crowns and dog filter profiles pictures.

It seemed like trying to find a needle in a haystack. How could 3 photos and a three-line bio tell me if this was the next love of my life? I believed there had to be a better way to filter than just by miles and height. So I decided to put my GCSE science to the test and run a few dating experiments to help me navigate the scary world of dating in 2016.

Step 1. Download a dating app. With the prospect of finding sex, love and penis pictures all in one place – how can a girl choose to start anywhere else?
I chose Bumble, it seemed the least offensive and since the girl has to speak first, surely you couldn’t get too many surprise penis pictures (famous last words…).

Step 2. Find a series of photos that summarises all I aspire to be: the most intelligent woman in the world, the most beautiful woman in the world, not an alcoholic, vaguely fun, not a psychopath, so interesting I clearly do not need an app to find a boyfriend.

Step 3. Think of a bio that does the above. I settled with something succinct and to the point: “I like burgers, yoga and running. Also not a terrible person.”

Step 4. Try to calculate the optimum age and distance range to match with Prince Harry.

Step 5. Start to scroll my evening away and the let the (scientifically monitored) dating games begin.