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Dating & Friendship for the Over 40s...
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Save Money in 2011 and have more Dates!

Let’s face it.  Most of us are feeling the pinch in January.  We have spent more than we should have in December, followed by more spending at the sales in January.  Now you may be wondering how on earth you are going to recover your finances for this year.  There are now many websites which can help us find the best price for just about everything, as well as sites that offer freebies and discounts.  Invest the time now, and you could be saving yourself money for the rest of the year.

Comparison Sites

The internet is now flooded with comparison sites which enable us to shop around for or switch to the best price.  We have Gocompare.com and Confused.com for comparing and switching insurance and utilities, Petrolprices.com which finds the cheapest petrol in our postcode and now our biggest supermarkets offer their prices up for comparison on Mysupermarket .co.uk. Quaffersoffers.co.uk notifies us of supermarket and off-license offers before they come up, Kelkoo.co.uk will search retailers  by category or brand to come up with the best price for a product, and we can now even search for the best price for downloaded music thanks to Comparedownload.com.  If Amazon.co.uk doesn’t win on price, you can always try Bookbrain.co.uk which will find the best online price.

Although some of these sites can take some time to navigate, and there is a lot of reading to do – they can save us a good deal of money, and allow us to switch utilities (for example) online, at home, even out of hours, which may be the only time you have.

Spend Wisely

If you don’t have it already, download Skype.  This site allows you to make free phone calls to other Skype users around the world.  You can call Skype numbers for free, and pay a greatly reduced rate for calling mobiles and abroad.  You will need a handset or a webcam and microphone on your computer (many have them built in these days) and you are ready to go. Turn2us.org.uk enables you to check whether you are eligible for any state benefits. Mylostaccount.org.uk gives you the chance to locate any forgotten bank accounts you may have!  Tired of dialling 0870 numbers and sitting in a phone system on hold knowing that you are being charged for the call?  Try Saynoto0870.com for a list of geographic numbers for the large corporations that list 0870 numbers.  Selling your home?  Don’t pay estate agent fees – select a private house sales website and save yourself some big bucks!

Recycle

Recycling is now an everyday term as our conscience grows for our planet, as well as our pocket!  Looking for or getting rid of, Freecycle.org is a network of people who have something that they want to give away, or are looking for.  It is well worth taking a look and costs nothing.   Back to books, and the Readitswapit.co.uk site allows you to exchange your books for something on someone else’s shelf.  The service is free and only costs postage.  Another area of growth in the recycling arena is for mobile phones. Sellmymobile compares all the sellers, the rates they offer along with ratings.  Do not donate your old phone, it is worth MONEY!

The best online advice

For current deals on shopping and investments, news about online vendors, warnings about scams, and guidelines about internet financial safety we have a number of sites, Moneywise.co.uk and Moneysaving expert.com to name a couple.  These sites give comprehensive advice and tips and are well worth a visit.

Last of all…  to best save money, don’t go shopping!  How about going on a cheap date instead?

The Applausestore.com offers thousands of free tickets for TV and radio shows and Lastminute.com offers fantastic deals on theatre tickets and meals out.

Paula

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New Year’s Resolution – for Life!

Happy New Year to you all, and I hope your holiday was joyous and relaxing!  The New Year is always a time for setting new resolutions, to commit to do things differently, or to start doing something new.  Make your health your top resolution this year, after all none of us are getting any younger.  Looking after YOU is a big undertaking and is not just about exercise, but also about getting adequate rest, coping with stress, a healthy approach to diet, the removal of excesses, and a good mental attitude.

Exercise for Senior Singles

It is recommended that as we get older, we try to give 30 minutes to exercise each day.  Don’t worry, you do not need Lycra and a gym membership!  The term “exercise” merely implies increasing our heart beat from resting pace.  Exercise can include walking, light housework, gardening or DIY as well as more physical activity.  To add a social aspect to your exercise, look into your local sports centre.   There are often sessions for Seniors, with reduced rates.  Yoga is a great way to relax and do your body good at the same time, as well as meet others.  Green Gyms have been around for many years, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTVC) traces its roots to the 50’s.  Not only can you enjoy fresh air, physical activity, and work with others, but also work on conservation projects at the same time.

Let’s not forget that exercise is not only physical, but also mental.  Remember the phrase “use it or lose it” – don’t wait until you have lost it!  A daily crossword or Sudoku will definitely help, as will an interesting course at your local college, reading the paper (not just watching the news on TV) or joining a book club or special interest club.

Nutrition and Diet

Are you getting your five a day? As well as being full of vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fruit provide us with antioxidants which repair damage to our cells, and decrease the risk of many chronic diseases.   To remind yourself of healthy foods to eat, take a look at this shopping list, to get you back on track.  Healthy foods include reduced processed and fatty foods, and smartening up your diet may have some very positive side effects!

Give it up!

Still smoking after New Year’s Eve or are you on day 7 of giving up?  If you have given up – WELL DONE and keep going!  If you are still smoking, try try try to release yourself from the weed.  We all know why.  Try reading Allen Carr, go to the NHS Smoke free site for advice, try nicotine patches, look into acupuncture or hypnotherapy.  Whatever you spend is cheaper than buying cigarettes, let alone the damage to your health.

Coping with Stress

Let’s face it, life is stressful.  Whether it is making decisions, conflict with others, trying to get things done, being late, even trying to talk to someone at a utilities company!  Many of these things are out of our control, how we manage ourselves in these situations – IS.  Although our bodies are designed to function well on a certain amount of stress, excessive and continued exposure to stress can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, chest pain, to name a few.  If you feel you are suffering from excessive stress, understanding and addressing its causes will greatly improve your health.

Firstly, try to avoid situations which you know are stressful.  Slow down and reduce your deadlines, set realistic goals.  Start addressing how it affects you – one symptom at a time (like sleeplessness) and see if you can start changing your perspective, compare your experience with others.  Think about your reactions to stressful situations and see if you can change your approach, set yourself priorities, see whether you can take control of things.  Finally, learn to relax and take time to de-stress and prioritise what is important in your life.

More Sleep, less alcohol

Sleep, important for giving the body time to repair, enabling brain function, allowing the ability to cope are just a few of the benefits.  Chronic lack of sleep increases the risk for developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infections.   If you are feeling tired, lethargic, less able to cope, forgetting things – get to bed and enjoy those Christmas pyjamas!  Not only will it do you good, but it is free as well!

And as for alcohol – make your resolution to drink less.  Your liver will last longer, as will your memory, you will get proper deep sleep at night, will be less likely to snore, and your wallet will appreciate you!

Whatever your resolution – ensure you look after and make the most of yourself!

Paula

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Our busiest Christmas ever!!

Thank you! Your continued faith in our dating service, and our ability to help you find love, friendship & romance has made this the busiest Christmas at MFS so far.

While our technical team have been struggling to ensure the servers stay up and running under the burgeoning demand, other members of the team have been working through the period to ensure your service remains top notch and uninterrupted.

…And they’ve had to work hard. We have had the two highest ever days for traffic in the history of the company between the Christmas and New Year period.

The first record day was made on 28th December, together with experiencing very high levels of new registrations throughout the network – one new member joining every 10 seconds!

On 29th December, activity on MFS was even higher, smashing the previous day’s record by 6%. Comparing this year’s figure against the same day in 2009,activity has increased by a staggering 40%!

So a HUGE Thank you to everyone who have made this possible. Our team of dedicated support staff, our customer services team who have been fantastic, and our wonderful members. You are the ones who make this all possible, and we love having the privilege of helping you find new friends, love, relationships & new beginnings. Long may it continue.

Here’s to a Happy & Healthy 2011 for everybody.

Paula & Tim Taylor

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The Mature Singles guide to Eating Out

It can be an expensive business, going out on a date.  Traditionally, the man would pay, as he would have been the higher earner, however, these days, with women’s “lib”and women able to command higher salaries and their own independence, we are often sharing the bill, or taking turns.  Meeting someone from a dating site for the first time can be a daunting enough experience, and you don’t want the awkwardness  of discussing who or how the bill will be paid at the end of the meal.  Try some of our suggestions below, to help ease the cost of your dates and allow you to go on more single dates without going bankrupt!

  1. The recession has hit everyone hard – don’t be ashamed of seeking out money saving opportunities.  Your money is hard earned, and easily spent, use it wisely!
  2. Restaurants NEED your business.  As many new ones open up as old ones CLOSE down.
  3. Eating out is a national pastime.  In 2010 we have approx. 30,000 restaurants and pubs serving food nationwide, all looking to provide you with a pleasurable dining experience in exchange for your cash.

So how do we access Cheap Dining?

The internet of course!  Do your research, and download vouchers ahead of your date.

Moneywise.com offer a search facility so you can find something local (or afar) – you will need to print off the voucher, or book a table online to qualify.  (you must also scroll down the screen, as their banner takes up half the screen).

Try the Tastecard.  For a free trial membership, you will receive up to 50% (or 2 for 1 offers) across 3,500 restaurants nationwide.  Full membership costs £69.95 – which equates to nearly £6 a month against the cost of a meal. This could come in very handy if you enjoy eating out, and live near Tastecard member restaurants.

Also, Myvouchercodes.co.uk offers vouchers for just about everything, along with restaurants.  Keep an eye on which ones come up near you, and take advantage!

Book your table ahead

By booking your dinner date early, restaurants will reward you with discounts or incentives.  Take a look at Toptable for special offers and to search for cheap restaurants with menus under £25.  5pm.co.uk also allows you to reserve a table and find restaurants offering discounts.  And lastly, Lastminute.com offers the “eat out for a £10” search tool, although this applies mainly to London.

Become a restaurant Critic

Become a real expert, work whilst you date! Get your meals for free, or even earn on a date.  Mystery shopping is a new career, devised by brands to uncover what their competitors are doing, or to assess their own customers’ experience.  One of the leading companies is Retaileyes.co.uk who employ mystery shoppers to rate their experiences of shops and restaurants.  You make your visit, unannounced, return your feedback and will be paid for your time, and reimbursement of any purchases you make. You could make up to £20 a day, and get a meal or a night in a nice hotel thrown in for good measure.  Research carefully before joining any scheme, and check for reviews from others first!

And Lastly

A dinner date should not break the bank.  Increasingly, people are ditching the upmarket brands and choosing cheaper and more casual alternatives.  Look around, try something new, going on a date gives you the opportunity to explore your local area.

You could also try moving your dinner date to lunch time.  Menus are often cheaper, and there isn’t the pressure either to drink (alcohol) or to leave your table by 9pm for the next session.

Many restaurants also offer a senior citizen menu with a reduced price during off peak – so check out your local eateries and even larger department stores for senior offers.

A little preparation can go a long way to both saving money, and ensuring that you have a successful dinner date.  Enjoy yourselves!

Paula

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An Alternative Christmas for Mature Singles

If you could do ANYTHING during the Christmas holiday, what would you do?  If you didn’t have to prepare the Christmas meal, travel the country to visit relatives or watch far too much television or eat too much, would you spend it at home, alone, abroad, or perhaps helping others?  Acknowledging your freedom to choose is the first step – and relatively easy.  Deciding on what you would like to do is a little harder, and somewhat dependant on your timeframe and budget.

Singletons Unite!

If you are single, and would really like to spend it around people – firstly, get networking on your dating site.  Spruce up your profile, send ice breakers and seek out single people who will also be on their own at Christmas.  Identifying your interests on the site will also help attract other singles with like hobbies and interests.  We have listed below a sample of the many events which take place across the country which you could meet at.

The National Trust have a number of activities at their properties across the country, where you can participate in craft and cookery workshops, take part in house decorating and enjoy Christmas meals.

Attending Church over Christmas can be a special experience.  Take the time this year, to understand what the services are about, or for something a little lighter, attend a Carol Service, be moved by the music and atmosphere and have a good old sing song!

There is nothing like Horse Racing on Boxing Day – to get you off your armchair, and out about in a fantastic atmosphere.  The races offer everything, from the excitement of the horses parading the paddock, the roar of the horses coming in over the line, the mix of people attending the event, the drinks in the bar before, during or after – plus the chance to WIN!  Races take place all over the country, so head out with new friends, you never know, you may strike lucky!

Give something back, help a Charity

Being around others need not necessarily be about dating.  Have you thought about giving time to Charity?  Christmas is a time of both giving and receiving and if you have the time – then many charities would be exceedingly grateful for your help.  Crisis is the UK National charity for single homeless people, and seeks 8,000 volunteers for Christmas, to support the 2,500 homeless guests they will receive at their centres in London between the 23–30th December.

For broader volunteering opportunities – try Do It.com – which will search your local area to find volunteering positions in all aspects of aid, from administration to counselling, children to elderly, shop work to field work.  Not only will you make a valuable contribution, but will meet many other people at the same time.  If you really fancy something different, give the Santa Dash a go.  This is a gentle 5 – 6K run, dressed in a Santa suit, to raise money for Christian Aid.  Do some good, and have lots of fun in the process!

Have fun learning something new

Farncombe Estate, based in the Cotswolds, offer a wide range of weekend leisure courses and day courses at the 300 acre estate and have an interesting catalogue of courses to long to mention here.   Music appreciation, to Whiskey tasting.

The good old Women’s Institute also has a steady list of day and residential courses based at the Denman College near Oxford.  For the Crafty among you, CraftandDesign has an interesting selection of courses across the country – there is bound to be something near you!

Whatever you have planned, or as yet, unplanned for Christmas 2010, we hope our guide gives some inspiration and we wish you a very happy Christmas.

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Make this the best Christmas ever.

Christmas is a magical time, but can also become pretty stressful if you aren’t organised.  We have deadlines to get things posted, presents bought and wrapped, food ordered and prepared, people to visit, places to go – and all those Christmas special programmes on TV to laze about and catch up on!  This year, don’t rush out to stand in the queues with everyone else, remove some of the strain with our guide to surviving Christmas.

Start NOW!

We have 26 days to Christmas.  Everything is going to get busier and busier, and everyone will be after what you are after.  Start your Christmas card list, your present list; stock up on your wines and spirits start thinking about where you will spend Christmas and who you will spend it with.  Then think about your menu and whether you can start to prepare some of it ahead of time.

Use the internet to do your shopping.

There are a whole host of sites these days that categorise gifts by gender, age, occasion – which really helps you browse possible gifts without other shoppers getting in your way.  Shop Safe ranks it’s shops with stars for reliability and security, and includes many of our well know high street brands, plus a few interesting and successful online selections.  The suggestion panels really help you to select gifts which you may not have thought of, and save time traipsing around the crowded shops and queueing up to pay!

Look out for online vouchers

And whilst you are online – take a look at online vouchers.  Merchants are rewarding their customers for shopping online by giving discounts – unique to online sales.  If you know what you want to buy – search for online vouchers and you can make a saving on the price, or get free postage.  Both Shop Safe and Money Saving Voucher Codes have a great range of merchants on their sites, and are just giving away money!

Avoid the traffic; buy your tree and decorations online…

These days, you can even order your real (or artificial) Christmas tree online.  The Christmas Tree Farm will package and deliver your tree (£9.95 standard express delivery) and will leave the tree with a neighbour, or round the back, or on a specific date – saving that extra trip to the Royal Mail depot.  They also have a wide range of lights and decorations, so why not order the lot, from the comfort of your home!

Posting Dates

As ever, we need to get our Christmas cards to the Royal Mail in time.  This year, the posting dates are as follows:

UK

Sat. 18th Dec – 2nd Class

Tues 21st Dec – 1st Class

Weds 15th Dec – Standard Parcels

INTERNATIONAL AIRMAIL

13th December – Western Europe

10th December – Eastern Europe, USA & Canada

6th December – Rest of World

For more information on sending parcels at Christmas, visit the Royal Mail site.

Or for something different, try electronic Christmas cards

Sites offer the ability to order and personalise cards online – cards to suit all occasions including Christmas.  You can add names, greetings and a photo from 99p per card + postage.  You can also send free electronic cards which are animated and vocal which also give you the option to personalise, adding photos and words.   Ecards worked well, although it did encourage me to complete an “offers” survey which I started but did not finish.

Try a Christmas Market for an “olde worlde” experience and unusual gifts

Tired of us banging on about the internet?  Why not try a taste of reality, and step out and try a Christmas Market.  A Traditional or Continental Market tends to be more olde worlde, with wooden chalets set up for shops.  Christmas Fairs may include entertainment and a different approach, perhaps set up in the grounds of a castle or stately home.  They can last a weekend, or several weeks.  Markets attract craftsmen and traders, so gifts for all the family should be unique and thoughtful.  For the adventurous, markets take place in all European countries, The Zurich Market opened today.  For more information, and details of trips to visit all Christmas Markets, check the Christmas Markets website.

Alternatively, Eurotunnel are doing a £20 day trip to Calais from Folkestone until the 8th of December if you fancy a day out shopping.

Whatever you do this Christmas, we wish you a wonderful one.

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