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Dating & Friendship for the Over 40s...
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The rise of the Online Universe

A recent report by Ofcom (the Government Office for Communications) has revealed some interesting statistics about modern internet use, and the results are particularly interesting for the over 50s population!

The key points made from the study are that around 73% of UK homes now have access to the internet.  Five years ago, this was 60% of homes.  The biggest area of growth has been identified as the over 55s age group.   (Quarter 1, 2010)

Although nearly 80% of 15-54 year olds take up the internet; only 69% of 55 to 64 year olds, half (51%) of 65-74 year olds and a quarter (23%) of 75+ year olds use the internet at home. Despite this drop in take-up with increasing age, much of the growth in internet take-up has taken place among the older age groups with the highest growth among the 55-64 and 65-74 age groups, which grew by 6% and 7% respectively.

This increase has also been found by UKOM (UK Online Measurement – a company who monitor online use) who found the 50-64 age group was the fastest growing group for internet take up over the past year, which saw 14% growth.  They reveal that the 50+ population now constitute 31% of the online population in the UK in 2010.

So what are you doing online?

The study shows that although younger people are more likely to use the internet for leisure pursuits to relax and ‘for fun’, older users tend to use it ‘to find out or learn things’ and ‘for contact with other people’, suggesting that older users take a much more functional approach than younger people to the internet.

Around half (53%) of consumers are using the internet to shop and save money,  47% are using “online” vouchers and 61% more likely to use price comparison sites than they were 12 months ago.

Social networking now accounts for around 23% of all time spent on the internet with Facebook the greatest influence in the UK with nearly 25 million unique visitors in the year to May 2010.  Although Facebook is currently a phenomena of the younger generation, we are seeing a 7% increase in take-up in the 55-64 age group (to 20% of these internet users).

Development of online technology has enabled us to do things in different ways, like watch TV online, listen to digital radio, order groceries and to participate in new internet only activities, like social networking, participating in blogs and of course internet dating.

Increasingly new ways to access the internet

We now have a range of different devices for accessing the internet;  As well as PCs and laptops we also have mobile phones like the iPhone and the Blackberry, and games consoles like the Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, which allow us to browse the internet as well as play games online.  We now have portable media players – devices such as the Apple iPod Touch and Archos 5 as well as newer devices such as the Apple iPad, Dell Streak and various e-reader devices which all enable users to access internet content.  We can even go online via certain brands of TVs, for example, certain Sony Bravia and Samsung 6 Series models TVs, and internet radios combine online content with broadcast content.

Traditionally, we had a dial up (fixed line) connection to the internet – it was slow and we needed a separate phone line.  These days, with broadband, we can surf the Net at break-net speed, and are able to run a number of devices at the same time – and WiFi, allows us to access the internet across the home – or in city centres or hotel lobbies FOR FREE !

With the continual developments in technology, online security and the increasing range of products and functionality available online, comes the confidence for people to use the internet to achieve a whole range of everyday activities and functions.  Online dating is just one of the many facilities available to us now, which we would never have dreamed of 15 years ago.  Good luck to all our techies out there and welcome to the new generation!

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Dating ideas for November

London-Brighton Vintage Car Rally (7th Nov)

Are you tired of meeting up with new people in pubs and coffee shops, fancy doing something different?  Now is the time to get more creative in your ideas for dates.  Let’s face it, meeting up with a new person can be a little nerve racking, and we over 40s have been and done many things already!  A new shared experience can open up a new world, and get that first date off to a flying start! Looking for something interesting, quirky, entertaining…  Take a look at our suggestions below for fantastic ideas for dating singles in the UK this November.

London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally

Are you in the south of the country? Are vintage cars your thing? If so, then book your diary for Saturday November 7th.  Get yourself up to Hyde Park if you are interested in seeing the cars assemble for their journey south.  The first run took place in 1896 – and this year, 550 pre-1905 cars will be taking place.  They depart from the Park in pairs between 7:04am and 8:40, and arrive in Brighton anytime after 10am.  They travel the 60 mile journey at 20mph, primarily down the A23.  Pick a good spot for a picnic, and watch the cars pass, or watch from the start, or congregate at the finish.  It is a memorable event, particularly, to remember as a first date! Visit their website for more details.

If you don’t drive, do you drink?

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has over 1000 members and organises real ale festivals throughout the country.  If you would like to share your enjoyment of real ale with your date, then look no further than the CAMRA site for details of a festival near you.  In November – festivals include: Swindon, Wakefield, Woking, Watford, Belfast, Wantage, Rochford, Dudley and Heathrow.  Happy drinking, and take care you don’t drink too much!

And elsewhere around the country…

  • Bath – the 20th Film Festival takes place between 10th and 20th November.
  • Tenby – we have a Blue’s Festival 12-14th November
  • Dundee – Jazz Festival – November
  • Brighton Early Music Festival is in full swing, and continues to the 7th November.
  • And Glasgay, is Scotland’s celebration of queer culture – until 13th November.
  • Swansea – the Dylan Thomas festival continues to the 9th November.
  • For Classical music, look to the web sites of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra or the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the South Bank or the Halle Orchestra (Manchester) for the current list of performances.

These are just a selection of the many interesting events that are taking place around the country over the next month.  If you take a look, you will find even more that are suitable for dating singles.  If you know other people who are meeting up for the dates, why not suggest you attend some of these events with other couples?  The more the merrier at these types of events!

Paula.

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Halloween for Grown ups

Halloween is both a Celtic festival and a Christian holiday All Saints’ Day, celebrated every year on October 31st.  The event is increasingly observed by children, who enjoy dressing up in scary costumes and trick or treating.

However, the celebrations need not be solely for the younger generation, and there is great fun for adults to be had as well.  Not only can we get into the spirit of the event by decorating our front porches with pumpkins, dressing as ghosts, devising pranks and supplying copious amounts of sweets to the trick or treaters, but it is also a time for us to indulge in our own, adult festivities as well.

Fancy dress party for the Over 40s!

Halloween is the perfect opportunity for adult singles to let their hair down and dress up for the evening.  Costumes are easily rented these days, and provide an easy ice breaker for conversations between singles at parties.  Even M&S have a small line of adult costumes this year!  With such a strong theme, a party need only provide the atmosphere and a couple of simple activities to keep your guests entertained.  Try changing your light bulbs to red, drape your venue with white sheets, hang spiders from ceilings and fake cobwebs from door frames.  Set up apple-bobbing, devise tricks for your guests and get them to play ghoulish charades.  Find some horror movies to play in the background and get some monster movie soundtracks!

Haunted House Weekend.

Google “haunted house weekends” and a long list of events and venues pops up for you.  Some offer murder mystery weekends, as well as opportunities to bring dating singles together.  Whether you wish to go on a ghost hunt, an evening event, or a full weekend stay, the option to have a memorable Halloween is out there.

Hold an adult garden party.

Now the nights have drawn in, the garden party, with bonfire, costumes and festive foods is the easiest way to pull people together to celebrate the event.  The proximity to Guy Faulkes night means that fireworks are readily available to add a special sparkle to your evening.  Hold a pumpkin carving competition and ask your guests to “bring a pumpkin!” – the produce will illuminate your garden and create atmosphere! Festive foods include anything pumpkin, as well as hearty stews, Colcannon and the opportunity to go mad decorating your cup cakes and biscuits!  You can also provide more simple finger food, decorated with clever “blood” tinged sandwiches (cochineal and tomato skins) and spider webbed quiches or pizzas, or anything ghostly!  To intoxicate your adult guests, try some spooky cocktails!  Try the Foodnetwork.com for some tasty recipes!

Whatever you end up doing on Saturday 30th October, have a GREAT time!

Paula Taylor

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Fancy a walk in the Kent countryside?

Are you the outdoors type? Fancy getting yourself wet and muddy on a beautiful autumnal morning in the Kent countryside? If so, our friends at ClickSingles.co.uk might have just the thing for you…

On Sunday 17th October, at 10.30am, there’s a walk being organised. It’s a 4.5 mile walk. Janet (the Guide)’s walks always receive excellent feedback from members and they are attracting a steady number of singles who wish to socialise and chat whilst taking in the countryside and taking light exercise.

Here are some details for you:

Venue: The Spotted Dog, Tonbridge, Kent

Price: £5.00

Member price: £2.00

In order to find out more, go to ClickSingles’ Sunday morning walks page

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Prepare for autumn dating & review your profile photo

Are your toes really as big as your balcony?

As the nights draw in and the colder weather sets in, we can all look forward to wrapping up for brisk walks and cosy nights in by the fire.  With Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas on the horizon, now is the time to start building relationships ready for this outdoor season! To improve your chances of meeting the right new people, now is the time to look through your profile and make sure you are presenting your best in your profile.

Photos to attract Senior Singles …

Lets face it, it takes courage to post your photo on a senior dating site.  I remember being nervous about the first time, that someone at work might see me, and that by posting my picture, I was inviting colleagues to read my profile (or not!).  I soon discovered that I was getting little interest, and no one was looking at my profile with no photo – so I took the plunge and posted one.  Then, after a while, I posted a nicer one, particularly when I saw the lovely pictures that some people post.  It is very much a first impression thing – we wouldn’t wear a shabby suit to a job interview now would we!

What works well on Dating sites?

It is a well know fact among dating sites that photos improve a person’s chance of attracting viewers to their profile.  Recent research of 7000 profiles by OKCUPID has revealed some interesting trends and effectiveness  of different types of photos on dating site profiles.

Photos of women tend to receive more interest (contact via the dating site) if the subject is looking directly at the camera, smiling or is engaged in doing something interesting.  The “Myspace photo” where the subject is taking a self portrait from their mobile camera, and looking upwards, tends to receive the most interest.  Although shots of cleavage (particularly in youth) attracted greater response, generally this interest was not reciprocated – so in the end attracted the “wrong sort”… but then we all knew that anyway didn’t we!

Conversely, male shots received more interest, or were more likely to be responded to, if they didn’t look at the camera, and were NOT smiling.  Women prefer to see their men outdoors, perhaps with their chest revealed (particularly among the younger population!) and also to see men with their pets!  Men were not interested in women with pets or travel pictures.

Most surprisingly, our heads don’t need to be in the photo to attract interest.  A photo of you climbing some spectacular scenery, or perhaps a photo of your hands busy creating a clay pot, or playing a piano’s keys attracts interest, and makes it easy to strike a conversation, particularly to those interested in that same hobby.

Suggestions for over 40s dating photos?

Take the above research as you will, it is in the end what you feel comfortable with.  The most important thing about your photo, is that you are honest.  It may be a picture of feet, caked in ashes and black charcoal – but as long as it is YOUR feet that ran through the fire, then the photo is a way to start a conversation, and says a LOT about you.  A word of warning however, we do advise that you see a photo of anyone you are likely to meet head of any face to face meeting.  Best of luck with your photos, and have a great time meeting other senior singles.

Paula

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The art of dating over 40?

Is there an art to dating over 40?  We think there is, but it’s really not that different to dating at any age – the same dating tips apply. In other words, nothing really changes in terms of approach, personal relationships, and human interaction just because you are over the age of 40 and looking to meet someone or make friends.
Many people entering the dating scene after the age of 40 will do so after being out of it for a long time. Divorce is a common reason why many older singles return to the dating scene. But also there is a growing number of people at this age who decided never to marry, but are now looking for a longer-term relationship (although not necessarily marriage!)
Regardless of the reason, here are some helpful words of encouragement: you can enter the dating scene at any age and find it quite a rewarding experience. So, do not assume age will have any bearing on how effective your dating life becomes.
That said, there may be a few additional concerns that dating over 40 brings along. One is that the over 40s will frequently need to deal with professional responsibilities that might compete for their time. That can cut into their ability to head out into the world and pursue dating fully. When you are working 60 or more hours a week it can be a little tough to find free time to date. But that’s why internet dating is so useful for those busy professionals. You can access the dating site and those members of it at any time of the day or night. This means no schedule will lock you out of a dating scene.
Online dating also allows you to find potential partners and friends that are closer to your type and needs.
Communication on online dating sites allows you to meet people in a light-hearted, unserious manner that comes with no stress. And that helps you boost your dating success potential immensely.
Yes, this certainly does make dating over 40 sound easy. Through an effective online dating site like MatureFreeAndSingle.com, your efforts to find new friends and relationships are hugely improved. Why not take the plunge today, and good luck!!
The MFS Team

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