Paris, Afternoon, Wine, Togetherness, Enjoying

Dating Post-Apocalyptic Style in a House Share – What Could Possibly Go Wrong!

When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere” The Day of the Triffids (1951), John Wyndham’s 1951 post-apocalyptic novel.

Don’t you know the feeling…

 

I hope this finds readers safe and well.  I am, understandably, now starting to go feral in furlough.  The domestic goddess phase has, well, phased. Closet de-cluttered, under the kitchen sink clean, inside the dishwasher and washing machine surgically shiny.  Yes, yes, done. Domestic goddess bored.

 

So bored that I have been getting back on that thing called the telephone and, instead of fidgeting and looking at what my friends are wearing on Zoom calls, actually having a good old listen!

 

My current fascination is the lives of my single friends, and by chatting with them I’ve realised how many members of our dating network live with flat mates in a house share, rented or owned accommodation, and either full time or during the week.  Long gone are the days when the sharing economy was just for millennials, now it is for all ages.

 

My friend Harry (55) owns his house and wants to retrain (as a business coach). Since his children live with their mother, he decided to rent out his spare room during the week to pay for his studies. He joined the 40+ house share site Cohabitas and started looking for a suitable housemate. He found divorcee Katie (52) who works in London during the week… So, Katie and Harry began living together in a house share and now it seems that familiarity, far from breeding contempt, has started to fan the flames of attraction – at least for Harry!

 

My friend Lizzy (31) works for a social impact charity and lives in a house share called Lyvly, which facilitates harmonious living and work/life balance for 22 to 36-year-old young professionals. They match on age and encourage new friendships, by highlighting areas of common interest and promoting ways to meet the rest of the community. New members meet their future housemates via video call and visit the flat via 3D tour. Just before lock down, Lizzy met a man that she really connected with on Lyvly’s community app, doing a thing called ‘speed friendsting’ (a weekly opportunity to meet 2 other members you don’t know yet via video chat). She’s been telling me how they have been planning their first face to face date.

 

Is fancying your flatmate a symptom of Lockdown fever?

 

Before Lockdown Katie and Harry were like ships that passed in the night, or rather at breakfast, since Katie’s job meant she often worked late. But when Lockdown happened Katie was furloughed, so she decided to stay in London and, in the spirit of community, spend Lockdown with Harry rather than embrace solitude in the country. Suddenly, like shipwreck survivors marooned on a desert island, they found themselves thrown together – girl, boy, flesh and blood. Him Tarzan, her Jane. Maybe not quite, but things were definitely different. Previously they wouldn’t have gone to the movies, dinner, or concerts together. Now, eating together felt sort of date-like, as did exploring each other’s taste in music and TV. Intimate, but also awkward.

 

Feeling somewhat confused, Harry asked me to suggest some steps he might take to deal with the situation – for both their sakes.

 

Three steps.

 

Think about the reasons why you might want a relationship with your roommate. What is it about them that you find attractive right now? Do you have legitimate reasons for wanting to take the next step? If it just boils down to scarcity of choice, you need to know that they’re looking at things the same way, both physically and emotionally. Face it, if you are simply longing for intimate human contact, then it’s probably not a good idea.

 

Determine their feelings. Look for signs that your roommate has feelings for you. What is your roommate’s body language telling you? An interested person will make a lot of eye contact, touch you and lean into your personal space. They want to give you their full attention.

 

Be honest with yourself. When we have feelings for someone, we tend to see what we want to see. If it is unclear to you whether or not your roommate has feelings for you, chances are they don’t. 

 

Fight the urge to confess all. It may come to this eventually, but slow down. Give yourself time to see where your feelings are coming from. You may emerge from this lockdown in a wonderful new deep, supportive relationship. It is probably safest to focus on friendship and support, not muddying the water with full-on relationship pressure…. At least, not just yet.

 

Love in Lockdown…. 

 

While it’s wonderful to start a virtual relationship in lockdown, here are a few tips I gave Lizzy:

Try not to project too far into the future: It’s not helpful because your mind is not a crystal ball. Take each day as it comes. Hour by hour even.

Talking to others can help put things into perspective. And if you can’t talk, write your feelings and thoughts down on paper to help you question how rational you’re being.

Don’t watch the news 24/7: You can get overwhelmed. Just tune in to the news at 6pm and maybe one of the national bulletins. That is enough. Reality isn’t just what’s going on in the outside world.

 

Post Lockdown flat sharing

 

Lyvly predict the major trends could be:

A greater emphasis on the importance on who you live with, as you may spend most of your days with them.

An increased demand for better living conditions, with wider rooms and the space to work from home.

The need to belong to a group or community that can help during hard times.

 

Everybody is learning a lot about themselves in lockdown. We value our freedoms a little bit more and this crisis has given perspective to many things we took for granted or considered essential. Most importantly, lockdown can teach us to value the real things that matter most, like friends and family and your house around you.

Carrie and The Cheese Truck (002)

I get a kick out of quarantine….

I’m used to being asked to be someone’s Valentine, but when a meme asked me “Will you be my quarantine” last week I was touched. Until now the closest I’d ever come to quarantine was a weekend at Soho Farmhouse.

 

Now, along with most of the world, I’m stuck in lockdown and writing from my kitchen in London. The news is very saddening, and I wish everyone who is suffering a speedy recovery, but Miss BBB is here to share the Lockdown Lite, not the Lockdown Heavy, which takes some pizazz for a long-term social butterfly and prolific networker, who has now joined the lonely ranks of home worker. I figure butterflies are all about transformation, though, so I am trying to treat this as a ‘chrysalis’ phase; preparing to open my wings and flutter again when this era is over.

 

My birthday at the end of March was the first big test. I like to celebrate in style in a great restaurant surrounded by my lovely friends and this year it even fell on a Saturday, which should mean an all-day, all-night birthday with a guaranteed lie-in and full recovery day. What to do? Desperate to get out, a trapped butterfly is bound to damage its wings.

 

Fortunately, the restaurant sector is delivering a master class in adaptability which is deeply impressing this entrepreneur. First of all, it was Zuma to the rescue.  Miso cod, sesame spinach and a bottle of sake (why not?) delivered right to my door. Well, within a safe two metres.  That was just for starters. The next delivery came in the form of the Cheese Truck – I had ordered a Lockdown Lottery bag of 1 kg of the best British Cheese going. Why risk a lottery? Well, I’m a girl who thrives on spontaneity and there’s not much of that in lockdown, so surprise me! They did and it was great.

 

So in some ways it was like any other birthday — I drank too much wine and ended up stumbling into bed. “Where have you been?” my live-in boyfriend asked, understandably confused since we’d been in lockdown together all week.

“At a party,” I merrily slurred. “What? A party? Where?” “On the sofa, it was a sofa party”. I’d had a merry houseparty with my besties. One in Australia, one in Monaco, one in Wimbledon and one in Norfolk.  I have to say, we’ve embraced this new technology like over-enthusiastic teenagers, and we’ve embraced wine deliveries like an old friend coming for dinner.

 

We can do this people! Even if the world has turned to crap (no wonder the shops immediately ran out of loo roll!). I’m here to help, so to kick things off here are some tips for tackling the shock of the new normal. #domesticgoddess

  1. Carrie Bradshaw wrote her Sex in the city column on a Mac at home. Note: whether its emails, conference calls, or video Zooms; communication is always better when you’re wearing marabou.
  2. Declutter – Mari Condo your house and organize your closet. Find clothes to wear in combinations you never thought of before.  Trial them at home so all your new ideas can be sashayed back into the office, assuming there will still be such a thing.
  3. Keep life civilised: Open your curtains, get dressed, wear perfume, try new playlists on Spotify. Thirty-six hours in the same pyjamas promises a fate worse than the virus.
  4. Don’t eat from the fridge. Plan your meals, embrace your inner MasterChef and eat like a queen.
  5. Dance – be it Tik Tok, live instructors or YouTube tutorial learn something new. It’s time to tango!
  6. Host a virtual quiz or wine tasting.
  7. Plan a Friend trip – having missed them, plan to visit them.
  8. Help others, it’s good for the soul.
  9. Drink wine.
  10. Drink more wine.

 

Having a ritual to end your day is as important as one to start it. I suggest wine, cooking, Netflix, camomile tea and bed. At weekends shake it up with delivery food, new wines and perhaps a new cocktail, followed by Netflix, camomile tea and bed!

 

As we settle into the new world of social distancing we need to focus on priorities. Instead of moaning about the state of our nails and home-hair we’d do better to remember the keyworkers on the frontline and be thankful.  We will get through this thanks to their sacrifices and dedication. After COVID we can hope that society will continue to pull together and look out for the world as a whole.

 

The only thing we need is love.  Look after your loved ones and we will get through this.

Tango blog resized

Now you know that you’ve been Tango’d!

The Trafalgar St James’ Hotel.  26th February 2020

Our guests have been asking me for years to create a party involving dance.  And dance we did…thank you all our talented dance-up-for-it guests for being such fun.

We’ll look back on February 2020 as when our dance party passion was born.

Our super friendly and fun professional dance duo Ann and David who focus on the Argentinian Tango spiced up the party. We all got a chance to experience the passion of Tango.  There were a lot of different dance abilities, but Tango is a serious dance of love; learning, I noted, was taken very seriously indeed.

Our super-experienced dance duo took us through the most iconic dance moves of the Argentinian Tango. We started with the walking steps, progressing to travelling ‘Ochos’ and ‘Milonguero Ochos.’

Nice to see more men than women, but those on the outside didn’t seem to mind propping up the bar and overseeing the canapes – and weren’t they great canapes!  Mushroom & Truffle Arancini, Goats cheese and beetroot tart and Beef Sliders with cheddar and pickle.  There were plenty to go around.  The Trafalgar’s Head of Events, the fabulous Diogo Pessoa E Costa oversaw the proceedings and he loved that we had such a great time.

In under an hour, we were circling Biblio’s floor like Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, in the famous film Last Tango in Paris (1972).  Roll on our next dance party!

 

Some lovely feedback –


Thanks for a fun night – I was tango-ing in the office today!


Thanks very much for a really fun evening learning the Tango,
X, X and I had a great time.
It was a clever idea to swap partners every few minutes, it broke the ice,
and everyone met lots of people that way. The guys all clearly enjoyed the foot slide up the leg movement! Nice venue and useful to have a car park on the doorstep.


Dear Barbara,
it was a great idea to introduce the Tango dancing which meant everyone had to participate from the start.
It was certainly not a problem to follow instructions closely to ensure that we complied with the specific and intimate requirements of tango dancing!


Thank you so much for organising such a fun event last night.
The venue was perfect, the canapés were delicious, nice crowd of friendly people with the ‘stars’ of the evening being the Tango teachers.
I thought the evening worked very well. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. We all paired up and tried the steps. Changing partners at each new step was fun and an opportunity to meet more people. It was a most enjoyable and lively evening.
More dancing events with instructors please!


Hi Barbara, thanks for a great evening last night.
It was such fun and gave us all the chance to get up close and personal while learning to Tango! A real ice breaker …..Love S x


Dear Barbara

I just wanted to say thank you so much for inviting me to your excellent event. I meet some great new people and some old friends too. The organisation, venue and overall concept were all first class.

Regards
M