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Dating advice for the busy Londoner

A guest post by  dateinadash


For a busy professional, time is the ultimate demon.

When schedules are full and life overflows with pressures and other commitments, you want to ensure that dating equates to fun not stress.

Let’s face it, you have better things to do than to sit through hours of blind dates and trawling through websites to find others – so we have listed 3 easy steps to make the process easier for you.

Don’t waste time going to places you don’t enjoy with people you don’t like!

Sort ‘your stuff’ out

Dating needs to work in your favour – which is ultimately, finding someone YOU want to pursue a relationship with in the shortest amount of time. Most of the drama comes when we project our ‘own stuff’ of negative experiences. The way to avoid this is to work through your own dating prejudices first.

When we think that relationships will be successful without any work from us, is it any wonder we continue to attract on-going disappointment? Not only are you wasting valuable time you are slowly chipping away at your own confidence and self worth. When you have low morale, you are susceptible to staying in bad relationships simply because you ‘can’t be bothered’ or don’t have the energy to leave. Every now and then, it’s good to check in and question your motives.

Rather than continue with your usual predictable dating strategies, use any spare time you do have to concentrate… on yourself! When you know yourself, it is much easier to become the best person you can be – and attract equally a well deserving opposite sex. Not only will self-awareness help you assess your relationships, it will also be a major boost to your self esteem.

Ask yourself:
– Have you been single for a long time with no good reason?
– Do you always find fault or an excuse to get out of a new relationship?
– Does your love life feel like a bad car crash?

Take Action:
– Get some honest feedback – from a friend / ex/ coach
– Make some changes around said feedback
– Consult the experts where necessary

Play to a higher standard

Keep your standards in dating as high as you keep them at work. That means asking for what you deserve without being unreasonable. Do not undersell yourself to make someone like you more. That means refrain from saying yes to everything in ways that lower your personal value. Do not be the booty call, the bank loan or the constant shoulder to cry on. There are plenty of good, attractive and successful people out there who will love you just as you are so be willing to walk away when someone is taking you for granted. Trust that you still have plenty ahead of you and that you are worth waiting for.

Ask yourself:
– Do friends tell you you’re ‘too nice’?
– Do you feel a new partner’s early interest always fades away?
–  Are you the one always giving in relationships?

Take Action:
– Pull back from a situation and see what happens
– Have a mental checklist for how you want to be treated and stick to it
– Walk away if someone disrespects you

Chill out

Some people treat dating like a second job – with weekly targets, monthly timelines and annual projections. When you try too hard, you’ll only create more disappointments. The reason why you can’t force love is because it’s very much synced with the flow of nature. And as we know, nature can be complicated and slow! If you’re dating like a monster – you’re signed up to every dating website going, you’re friends are setting you up, you’re going for drinks after work with colleagues and clients alike you are going to feel exhausted! Take time out and come back again when you’re feeling ready. And when you are feeling ready, keep it simple and stick to one method. The modern dater will know speed dating is a practical and fun way to meet a whole group of singletons in one night.

Date In A Dash – a London speed dating company have a whole host of events happening around the capital, everything from bowling parties, cocktail making classes, comedy nights and lock and key parties to take your fancy.

At £20 a ticket you can expect atleast 10 dates, a good venue and friendly staff to help guide you.

So when YOU’RE ready, check it out www.dateinadash.com 

5 Things Every Renter Should Know

ImageStabilised, if not dropping, rents mean it is a fantastic time to rent in Britain. The ‘quintessential renters’ i.e. young professionals and young families, are choosing to get on the property ladder instead of rent meaning there is huge availability of properties to lease. Renting has been a common lifestyle choice throughout Europe for generations but it is a relatively new phenomenon on UK shores meaning there is still confusion within the ranks of ‘generation rent’ about how to get the best renting experience and stay protected.

If you’re getting ready to rent your first property it is important to arm yourself with as much information as possible so there are no nasty surprises waiting for you at the end of your lease.

It’s All In The Research

UK rental rates aren’t one size fits all. Research the average rates in your desired location so you can find the area which gives you the best deal for your money, a local lettings agent should be able advise you on what you should expect to pay for your preferred property type in your desired location so you can plan your monthly budget accordingly. The fluctuations in rental rates don’t just differ city by city, there can be a surprising difference in price a mile down the road or even around the corner! Look through the area thoroughly so you’re not paying more per month than you need to.

Larger more valuable properties typically have a lower than average yield making them increasingly popular for tenants. In many affluent areas tenants can find themselves paying around 3% of the purchase price in rent, lower than average mortgage rates, making renting a perfect choice for individuals in the market for homes exceeding the £500,000 mark.

Know Your Deposit Rights

Deposits are a big investment; usually they amount to 6 – 8 weeks rent upfront.  Your landlord or lettings agent has a legal responsibility to secure your money through a tenancy deposit scheme which means your money can’t be touched without your say so. For money to come out of your deposit both parties (the tenant and the lettings agent) have to agree the amount or the money stays safe and untouched so know your rights and check through your contract before you sign on the dotted line. There are official government approved deposit protection schemes designed to ensure you get your money back if you meet the requirements of your lease.

Protect Yourself With An Inventory

If there is no concrete record of the condition and contents of the property upon your moving in you could find yourself paying for property damage or loss that occurred before your tenancy. A detailed, professional inventory can protect you, go through the property with a third party and take note of any damage, compile a thorough inventory of every item and back up your list with dated photographs so have proof of the standards upon your arrival. The evidence you compile should be agreed with your landlord prior to your moving in and ensure you both sign documentation. Some items/property damage may seem trivial, a stain on a carpet here and a tiny crack in the glass there, but if things are heated at the end of a tenancy agreement anything overlooked can come back to haunt you so it is important to agree and have evidence to protect both sides from arguments and possible legal action.

Choose A Licensed Agent

When choosing an estate agent the first thing to do is make sure they’re licensed by a body like the NAEA, this ensures that your agent has completed a qualification in estate agency and therefor works to strict rules . With a licensed agent you know you will be treated with fairness and integrity and will be working with an expert who understands the housing market and will help you find the best property for you.

Know Exactly What You’re Paying For

Have a clear understanding of what is included in your rent and the terms and conditions of your lease before you sign on the dotted line. For peace of mind it is a god idea to have a third party that you trust check the document as well so you are completely aware of all relevant information.

Before you sign a contact on a property you need to know the facts, make sure you are fully comfortable with your new home and establish a good relationship with your landlord/letting agent to ensure happy times ahead.

If you’re looking to rent in the London area then do what Emma Smith did and choose Martyn Gerrard Estate Agents, one of the leading estate agents in the London area for over 40 years, to help you find your perfect property.


Luxury guide to Sloane Square

Located on the boundaries of the central London districts of Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Chelsea, Sloane Square is known it for its distinctive style of living, grand architecture and affluent residents. Range rovers litter the streets, yahs and rahs can be heard everywhere; cosy coffee shops line sleepy side streets and “sloane rangers” saunter down the fashionable Kings Road.


Sloane Square is the destination of choice for high end shops, unique luxury boutiques and designer flagship stores filled with glittering delights and gorgeous garments. Move away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Circus, take the district line to Sloane Square and get pull on those purse strings. Littered with an array of shops to satisfy even the biggest shopaholic, chose from Tiffanys& Co., Links of London and Hugo Boss to name a few. Sloane Square is also home to the iconic Peter Jones department store filled with tantalising treats so you can shop until your hearts content. Whatever you do, don’t forget the credit card.


After a day of hitting the shops hard, you need a place to rest your weary head. Located just off Sloane Square at 26 Cadogan Gardens, The Draycott Hotel is one of the top hotels in Chelsea offering unprecedented service. The Draycott’s location could not be better for the myriad of luxury boutiques and quality restaurants that Sloane Square has to offer. Take lunch at one of the many eateries or take a wander to the West End, one of London’s most famous quarters and only a stone’s throw away from the Draycott Hotel.

Feeling hungry? Try The Botanist which takes pride of place on the corner of Sloane Square, offering a deliciously decadent menu of treats for any time of the day with an extensive menu of drinks and cocktails including the infamous signature Tahitian cocktail, filled with Pinky vodka, hibiscus syrup and Joseph Perrier Brut Champagne. Start your day well with The Botanist Breakfast, or indulge with the grilled lobster with garlic and tarragon butter and hand cut chips when hunger strikes.

Soak up some culture and stroll down the Kings Road to the famous Saatchi Gallery. Recognised for its modern art and often controversial exhibitions, this gallery is one to be explored, letting the public admire Charles Saatchi’s own personal art collection. Take some time out and saunter around the picture clad walls, musing over the artists meanings and debate the reasons behind the art work. Finish off your cultural session with a coffee at the Gallery Mess in the Saatchi Gallery which has attracted enthusiastic reviews for its beautiful setting, charming atmosphere and excellent food and drink.

saatchi gallery
If you’re looking for a chic, individual, and undeniably cool bar to wind down (or wind up!) in the evenings then look no further than Tonteria, Guy Pelly’s Mexican themed high society club. Pelly’s latest addition to the Chelsea nightlife scene is wonderfully unique and offers an array of Tequila based cocktails and Mexican beers and lagers. Order a special Tonteria drink and receive your purchases on a motorised toy train that makes its way around the ceiling train track to your table, being presented to you and the cheering crowds in a Day of the Dead skull with sparklers – we say, all aboard the Tonteria train!


Cadogan Hall, located just off Sloane Square, is the home to the musical ensemble of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The first London orchestra to have a permanent home, the RPO gave its first concert as a resident ensemble of Cadogan Hall in November 2004. Since then, Cadogan Hall has been home to The Proms’ chamber music concerts and Saturday matinees, being noted for its distinctive stained glass windows and becoming an iconic London building. Book tickets for a matinee session and enjoy a part of musical history.


Daily Distraction: What To Watch On The Box Tonight

The Wire with the very handsome Idris Alba

So tonight we were going to go to the cinema, however instead  I’ve decided to invite everyone round to mine for a TV catch-up.

There are so many episodes I’ve been dying to watch yet due to a hectic schedule, I quite simply haven’t had the time. I’ve asked each friend to bring a treat along – I’m supplying ice cream so hopefully the others will come armed with popcorn, chocolate and nachos!

We’re going to start off with Hung on HBO UK. My parents bought me the box set of the first series last Christmas and ever since I’ve been dying to know what happens in the next. I recently invested in HBO GO, which allows me to watch missed episodes of my favourite programmes so getting my hands on the right episodes should be a doddle.

Next, I’m going to introduce the gang to the newsroom. Created by Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote Moneyball and The Social Network (two of my favourite films), I had a feeling this would be good – and it didn’t disappoint! The entire show focuses on the main character and network anchor, played by Jeff Daniels and his executive producer Emily Mortimer.

Dev Patel, Olivia Munn and Thomas Sadoski also feature in this series, which makes for a great cast. It combines both their working and social lives and the many obstacles involved in successfully airing a show.

Finally, I’ll think we’ll put the wire on (Idris Alba is dreamy!). I’ve been promising one of my friends he can watch it for ages, he’s taken a liking to my rather ample, HD flat screen television and wants to see what difference it makes to this fantastic series. It’s one of the most critically acclaimed TV shows airing at present and although a cop show, it’s unlike any I’ve seen before.

It’s set in West Baltimore and explores a variety of different plots and ideas. Many of the storylines revolve around drug lords and gangs so it’s definitely one for the guys. Fortunately I like it too and the fifth and final season is the only one we haven’t all seen so there will be no arguments about which episode to watch!

Study In London

Guest Post
Every year more and more people choose London to come and study and often they love the city so much that they choose to make it their permanent home. London is a cultural melting pot and with something for every interest its the best place to come and learn English. Kaplan has three English language schools in London; Covent Garden, Leicester Square and a summer school in Russell Square.

For me the best season for things to do in London is the summer, that’s when the city really comes alive with festivals, foodie events, art openings, and the chance to embrace the open space. This illustration captures the spirit of London, from Tower Bridge to the London Eye we really are spoiled for choice.

london postersKaplan International Colleges

A Guide To Christmas Markets: London Style

credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/krypto/320587800/sizes/z/in/photostream/

If you are looking for somewhere different to do your Christmas shopping or just for a day out, then why not have a wander round some of the interesting Christmas markets in London. These can act as mini Christmas breaks to get you in the festive spirit nice and early. London’s diversity is reflected in the varied Christmas markets available in the UK capital.

The Southbank Centre will be hosting a German style Christmas market from 16th November to Christmas Eve. The wooden chalets offer German charm and there will be a wide selection of gifts on sale, as well as traditional German refreshments such as Gluhwein to warm the cockles. Other German culinary treats on offer include gingerbread hearts, Bratwurst sausages and roasted almonds. The market stretches from the Southbank centre and the London Eye right down to Waterloo bridge.

There is also a Real Food Christmas Market in the Southbank Centre Square on December 14th-16th, where you can treat yourself to any number of tasty morsels to augment your Christmas menus.

Hyde Park offers a beautiful setting for a winter’s stroll. From November 23rd to January 6th, there will also be an opportunity to visit a Winter Wonderland here. Alongside the Christmas Market, there is entertainment for all the family: an ice rink, magical Ice Kingdom, circus, Cirque Berzerk and Giant Observation Wheel mean that you could spend your entire holiday here without running out of fun things to do. The popular Angels Market is joined this year by a second market selling all the Christmas decorations that your heart could desire. If your Christmas tree is looking a little bare, then make a beeline for this area to smother it with all manner of tinsel and baubles.

For a traditional British start to the festive season, why not take a trip to Greenwich market, where they will switch on the lights on November 28th. School children will join in a lantern procession and everyone can join in singing Christmas carols before visiting the wide selection of stalls in the covered market. There will be Christmas themed stalls alongside the many local arts and crafts sellers. Visit Santa’s grotto and maybe let him know what you would love to find in your stocking, only if you’ve been a good boy or girl though.

Cabbages and Frocks’ Christmas market

If you are looking for a more alternative shopping experience, then Cabbages and Frocks’ Christmas market could be for you. The market was originally created by organisers of the popular London Fashion Designer Sales. Fashion is therefore well represented, alongside other designer ware for your home. The market takes place in the grounds of St Marylebone Parish Church and will offer festive food alongside the top quality Christmas designer gifts on sale.

International House: The Best Curry

A special guest post by Gurpareet Bains

Gurpareet Bains, chef to A-listers and royalty, author of Indian Superfood and most recently winner of the 2011 Chef of the Year ‘Curry Gong’ at the English Curry Awards, takes a breather from his book tour to share a select handful of his personal favorite Indian restaurants dotted around the world.


New York, USA

Average $60 per head

Only in the last few years have dapper Indian restaurants started popping up in New York. And although it is most definitely the pioneering days of curry in the US, New York just had to deliver in style…

Devi is America’s only Michelin star Indian restaurant, and accordingly worth a visit. Chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur are sure to whip your taste buds into a frenzy with traditional Indian home cooking fused with the bold flavours of the new world.

I’m salivating just musing over fond memories of the grilled scallops with roasted pepper chutney and bitter orange marmalade, and the signature Tandoori lamb chops with pear chutney. Or for something a little more traditional, how about Phool Makhanee Kee Sabzee (lotus seeds and cashews in a creamy sauce) or the all-time-favourite, and must have Indian street food, Bombay Bhel-Puri?

With an ambience akin to an old worldly Rajasthani boathouse palace, this is the place to entertain and astonish. Be sure to invite your Indian business clients to a dinner at Devi. Deal done and dusted!


Cinnamon Kitchen

London, England

Average $60 per head

With London widely recognised as the curry capital of the world, restaurants on this side of the pond have a mighty high bar to aspire their standards upon – and the Cinnamon Kitchen doesn’t fail to astound. Right in the heart of London’s financial district, the Cinnamon Kitchen is located in a courtyard abuzz with activity. Start with a Cinnamon Spiced Martini in the Anise Bar, sipping it just to the left of the main dining room.

When you’re ready, the main dining room is a converted warehouse with 20 foot ceilings that reverberates a debonair ‘007’ style.  With an exceptional wine-list, a flawless brigade of staff and most importantly, award-winning chefs Vivek Singh and Abdul Yaseen on-hand, you’re really in for a spectacular night.

The menu is short; instead, it focuses on a select few dishes that they get right every single time. Although the meals are presented in an aptly contemporary fashion, with subtle hints of fusion, the food is truly Indian at heart. To start, I’d recommend the Fat Chillies with Spiced Paneer or Hyderabadi Lamb Mince.  As an entree, try Scottish Angus Fillet with Masala Chips or Seared Sea Bass with Kokum Curry and Rice (kokum is slightly sour, although less so than tamarind). The dessert menu is as equally as spectacular – so remember to leave room.


Claridges Hotel, New Delhi, India

Average $30 per head

Dhaba specializes in Punjabi Highway Fare. In the Indian state of the Punjab, locals consider highway eateries – better known as Dhabas – to serve up the best food…and they are absolutely right. It’s rather a kind of street food for people on wheels, who miss home cooking.

Dhaba’s menu is comprised of many traditional family recipes handed down generations. Try something suitably rustic, and typically Punjabi, such as Baingan Ka Bharta (spicy barbecued eggplant), Dahl Makhini (lentils slow cooked overnight, until rich and silky), and accompany this with flaky Tandoori Rotis and some of the more familiar suspects such as meat kebabs and  balti curry dishes – and you will be eating just as heartily as any Punjabi farmer. If you’re not sure what to order, or if you want to try a bit of everything, go for the Thali, which is the chef’s taster menu, and is very much the avant-garde thing to do.

But at Dhaba, it’s not only about the food. The ambience is also of the classic rural highway eatery, complete with a truck fresco, rustic interiors and waiters dressed in traditional Punjabi dress. There is even a thatched ceiling and walls replicating the irregular mud painted texture of a village hut. An old wireless belts out golden oldies from the silver era of Indian cinema, putting the final touches on a perfect evening.


Ravi’s Restaurant

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Average $10 per head

Ravi’s on Satwa Road (near Satwa Roundabout) is an institution, and arguably Dubai’s number one curry house. Set amidst the hustle and bustle of old Dubai, and bounded by spiraling minarets and the haunting sound of muezzins’ calls, this is the place to eat curry.

It’s very much a rough-and-ready diner style restaurant with Formica tables; fortunately, the tacky decor only enhances the experience of Dubai before it became an international tourist destination.

Ravi’s is frequented by the legions of Indian and Pakistani expats living in Dubai – which is always a good sign of authentic food. If you can imagine classic dishes, such as Butter Chicken, Tarka Dahl, Biryani and Naans, all served up in monumental portions, and for just a few dollars – this is Ravi’s!

For more information about Gurpareet Bains and his no.1 bestselling debut cookery book, Indian Superfood (Absolute Press/Bloomsbury Publishing), visit www.indiansuperfood.com

Orginal article: http://www.execdigital.com/food_travel/food/international-house-the-best-curry