Modern day life can be hectic. A full day of work, gym sessions to go to, household chores, spending time with friends and trying to squeeze in some time int he great outdoors too. So how on earth can you fit dating in on top of that? Well the great thing about online dating with Maverick Matches is that you can take it with you and message potential Maverick partners whenever you have a few minutes to spare. But what happens when it comes to meeting them in person? Here are our favourite ideas for six mini-dates that will leave you refreshed, inspired and eager to schedule in another as soon as your jam-packed diary allows.
Who says dating is an evening activity only? If you've got a busy work and home schedule then get up an hour early and meet for breakfast. Super-easy if you're in a city, we've noticed that more and more places in the countryside - think farm shops, independent coffee bars, beach-side shacks - are opening earlier. They are the perfect place to meet someone new when you're short of time. And a great date will put a spring in your step all day long. Result!
2. Fitness date
Multi-task by combining your date with your workout. Invite them along to your gym session or dance class or, if it's fine weather, head outside for a cycle ride or jog. Just remember to follow our tips for a safe first date and stick to popular places with other people around.
3. Meet for dessert
A little unconventional perhaps, but meeting for dessert is a short, sweet way to slot in a date. It beats a 'pub' date hands down and you'll find out what taste they have in puds right away. The question is; custard, cream or ice-cream?
4. Lunch date
Break up your working day with a lunch date. Just choose somewhere handy for you both, book a table (you don't want to be jostling for elbow-space at the counter) and rendez-vous in your hour off. A lunch date is more informal and relaxed than an evening date and if you don't quite click, having to get back to your desk is a great get-out line.
6. Picnic date
Following on from the lunch date idea, a picnic date at a local park or beauty spot is wonderful in summer. If it's a third or fourth date too you can get super-romantic with fancy foods and a special picnic rug. Go easy on the lunch-time drinking though.
Somewhat obvious but if you have weekend plans already then a coffee date means you can segue your way from coffee to fun with your friends. Just make sure your date knows you have plans later on to avoid any awkwardness.
6. Visit a market together
Doing your food shopping can be romantic when you head to a farmer's market or a food market. London's Borough Market in London is a wonderful place to pick up your groceries, chat at leisure and grab some street food. if there isn't a food market near you then meeting at a farm shop is also great - just make sure it's a top-quality one where you can really indulge.
So you're based in the North West? Lucky you! Manchester and Cheshire are jam-packed with things to do and places to go that make great date locations. Here are our personal favourites.
Channel your inner Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy as you visit one of Cheshire's most stately homes. If a sedate wak around the grand interiors doesn't suit your maverick spirit then its 1,400 acres of estate are sure to keep you active with their alks, Nordic Walking routes, trail runs and even a Night Run.
Embrace the 2019 Year of the Pig with Manchester's Chinese Quarter's Celebrations. This year there'll be a giant art installation piglet, a glittering golden dragon, and live performances before the all-important Dragon Parade. That's not to mention the delicious food available at one of Manchester's many restaurants. See what's on here.
Just how ninja are you? Find out with your date at Total Ninja, the world's largest Ninja Warrior training park in Trafford. The eleven ninja runs include a Spider Wall, Ring Sliders, Warped Wall, Ninja Reaction Zone, Jump Tower, Sea of Swings, Tilting Beams, Rotating Logs, Scramble Net, Spider Wall, Quad Steps, Sea of Doors, Floating Bridge, Ninja Climbing Wall, Giant Airbag and Foam Pits. Now, is that enough to sate your appetite for adrenaline?
Crazy golf meets cocktails at Junkyard Golf Club in Manchester, all to a backdrop of neon lights and pumpin' beats. And you thought crazy golf was tame?
Indulge in everything water=sport related, from sail boats to jet skis, kayaks to canoes, windsurfs to katakanus, at Sale Water Park. Warm up after in their cafe, full of hearty, filling grub.
Running from Southport on the west to Hornsea on the East, head to Trafford at Dunham to join the Trans Pennine Trail. Perfect for walking, running and cycling, you'll enjoy a scenic, tranquil ride at your own leisure. Don't forget a picnic!
Get your winter sport fix, whatever the weather, at Manchester's The Chill Factor. Ski, snowboard or just mess about in the snow park. Perfect for showing off your Olympic-standard tricks to your impressed date.
Beatles buff? Or more of a Classics connoisseur?
Whether you’re into walking in the open countryside or exploring the cultural quarter of a city, there’s much to be said for a ‘pop culture’ date. First of all, a real chance to get to know more about your date’s interests – no more awkward conversations. Second, loads of exercise and fresh air for all those active singles out there: what’s not to love?
1. Haworth, West Yorkshire
Even if you’re not a fan of the Kate Bush song or original Wuthering Heights novel by Brontë, the walking around Haworth on the windy and wild moors is second to none. Either start from the Brontë Parsonage in the village or drive a short way to Stanbury, then head out on the signposted tracks. There’s much to explore, including the ruins of the farmhouse whose location was said to have inspired Emily Brontë and the Brontë Falls, a series of gentle waterfalls which were much loved by the sisters.
Want to impress your date? Compare the two versions of the poems Wuthering Heights by Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, who made this same pilgrimage. Back in the village, there are a plethora of cafes, boutique restaurants and B&Bs to choose from: our favourites are the The Old Registry and Weavers Guesthouse. Haworth even has a beer festival in March. Winner.
2. Liverpool waterfront
Since Liverpool’s accolade as ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2008, the waterfront has been totally revamped. Spend a couple of hours wandering around the Royal Albert Dock with your date, admiring the views across the Mersey, the skyline of Liverpool and the various statues to music stars of the past, while dipping into the Tate Liverpool or the award-winning The Beatles Story museum if it takes your fancy. The Albert Dock is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
One of the locations for the first Harry Potter film, you could easily spend half a day exploring the magnificent cathedral, boating on the river and walking the riverbanks of the city.
4. Lincoln City Centre
Cathedral square, just outside Lincoln Castle, was totally revamped for the recent Mike Leigh film, Peterloo. This may not be 19th Century Manchester but there is plenty to explore: from the Cathedral itself, famously used for shooting the Westminster scenes of The Da Vinci Code, to Steep Hill – Britain’s best street in 2011 – to the many suggested walking trails (Roman to modern-day) which loop around the city. There’s even a pub called The Magna Carta.
5. Nocton Hall, Lincolnshire
This is one for horror film enthusiasts and is definitely off the beaten track. A devastating fire in 2004 left the once grand Nocton Hall derelict, but the perfect film location for The Woman in Black 2. If that doesn’t get you and your date comparing notes on spooky films, the view through the nearby fence of a deserted RAF hospital should do it. Head to Lincoln afterwards for a bit of light relief and refreshment.
This stunning palace near Newbury in Berkshire is not only the filming location for Downton Abbey, but also has huge links to the history of aviation. It was also was being the ancestral home of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, along with his friend Howard Carter.
Fans of James Bond may want to head up to the beautiful, awe-inspiring scenery featured in Skyfall. This is a fantastic area for hiking and exploring some of Scotland’s famous peaks, as well as searching out more James Bond filming locations!
The birthplace of playwright Dylan Thomas not only boasts the Dylan Thomas Centre, museum and host to a plethora of literary events, but head a short way out of Swansea and you’ll find the spectacular beaches and bays which inspired him. Plenty of walking opportunities for you active singles out there!
9. Music festivals
It’s never too early to book tickets for this year’s British Summer Time in Hyde Park... or Latitude... or any of the other festivals lined up for Summer 2019. Even if the romantic sparks don’t fly (à la Bridget Jones), this is the perfect excuse to have a great time dancing and reenergising yourself. And you never know, you might just connect over an Ed Sheeran acoustic session (zorbing optional).
10. Comic Con, Wrexham
Who knew that Wales has its own Comic Con? Fans of The Big Bang Theory and Marvel take note. You can indulge in Cosplay, as well as gaming. If you and your date are into LARPing, Candleston Castle in South Wales runs regular events.
Ghosting, catfishing and breadcrumbing. What on earth do they mean? The worlds of online dating and relationships are full of dedicated lingo to describe situations and behaviours, but what do they mean in IRL? Here's your Maverick Matches 101 guide to the online dating lexicon.
Literally 'In Real Life'. Commonly used to refer to taking your conversation offline and meet in person. The question is, though, are they just as attractive IRL?
Either an acronym for 'before anyone else', or a shortening of 'babe'. When someone refers to you as their BAE it's good news.
Not a pleasant one: the term 'catfish' refers to an online dater creating a fake persona, using false photos, and taking in other online daters. As well as for personal kicks, it can be done as part of a con. We have a team dedicated to checking that all online dating profiles on Maverick Matches are genuine but if you have any concerns you can hit the 'Report' button which appears on every dating profile.
Just when you thought everything was going smoothly, you find that conversation is suddenly cut off and you hear no more from your online match. You've been ghosted.
Like ghosting but slower. They take longer and longer to reply to your online messages, their messages get shorter and less detailed and then, eventually, contact ceases.
The return of the ghost. You've moved on from being ghosted and suddenly they pop right back in to your inbox.
The odd flirty message here and there leads you on to think that something romantic could happen, but then it never comes to pass. This is breadcrumbing; letting you believe that it's going to turn in to something serious when they have no intention of taking it any further or meeting IRL.
Also to be translated as 'they're just not that into you', benching refers to when someone keeps in touch but never gets around to meeting you. Plans might fall through, they cancel on you, an emergency turns up. Basically, they like the attention they get from you and want to stay in touch 'just in case' but you're not their BAE. Sorry
Aha, so you've matched with someone online and you want to find out everything about them. You start to Google, find them on social media and then 'liking' their photos from ten years ago. The problem is that pesky little notification that lets them know they're being researched. If this is you it might be worth reading the Muddy Matches blog on 'The pros and cons of researching your date'.
Sunday Night Fever
Sunday evening is one of the busiest times of the week in the online dating world. Impending doom about Monday morning, a weekend spent alone and a few spare hours spark conversation like never before. Cue your inbox being deluged with messages from anyone and everyone.
Maverick Matches is from the same people who bring you Muddy Matches, and we have over ten years of experience under our belt at matching great people and keeping you safe. Our commitment to your safety is just one of the reasons why we are members of the Online Dating Association, adhering to its policies. We have a 'vetting system' in place to make sure only genuine people have their profiles approved, but there are some things you can do to have a happy and safe dating experience.
1. Listen to your instincts
If someone is claiming to have achieved something that doesn't quite sound feasible, then question what they tell you and listen to your instincts. Similarly, if someone gives information that doesn't marry up with their online dating profile then think twice; are they telling the truth?
2. Don't give too much away about yourself
Whilst our online dating message facility is designed to help you get to know potential matches better before you meet in person, be mindful about how much information you give away. For example, don't give details of your address or place of work, and if someone asks for personal information such as your number or email on their first communication then please do bear in mind that you cannot take this information back. Although you will have to exchange numbers eventually do not do so unless you feel comfortable and ready to do so.
3. Never give out bank information
If a potential match requests you to share your bank information with them then please report them immediately and cease all contact so we can investigate.
4. Report unacceptable behaviour
We have clear guidelines on what is and what is not acceptable, including aggressive, threatening or offensive language or behaviour, advertisements and indecent photos. If you come across any of these please hit the 'Report' button that you'll see on any messages you receive and at the bottom of each member profile. Find out more about what constitutes 'Unacceptable Behaviour' here.
5. Only meet when you feel comfortable
Our online dating messaging service is a fantastic way to get to know someone better before deciding whether to take things offline and meet them in person. We recommend that you always tell someone where you are going, arrange to meet in a safe and well-populated place, and follow our guidelines for a safe first date.
Want to avoid the Valentine's Day cliche of romantic dinner and drinks? Or maybe you want to rebel against the hyped-up and over-commercialised 'Day of Love' and spend quality time with your date doing something slightly different? We've pulled together some active and not-so-active ideas for your Valentine's Day evening. The chocolates and flowers are up to you though.
1. Get the giggles
February blues can leave you low, so up the happy endorphins with a visit to a local comedy gig. Chortle.co.uk is a great online source to find one near you.
2. Cook at home
If a £50 set menu at a restaurant leaves you cold then this is for you. Take time to plan a delicious menu (or just buy a supermarket meal deal - we're not judging) then chill out in the comfort of your own home without the stress of being squashed in next to other couples. BBC Good Food have a great bank of delicious dinners to try.
3. Spin and spa
No need to skip your sweat session. If your date shares your love for fitness then book in to a local spin class - we love Psycle London and 1Rebel - and follow it up with a session in the swimming pool, sauna and steam room. Your fitness and energy levels will get a boost, and working out together is a fab way to make a connection.
4. Hit the Climbing Wall
With everyone out with their loved ones, the climbing wall will be yours for the taking. Make sure you read our 'How to date a climber' blog post to prepare, and remember that nothing builds trust like belaying for someone else.
5. Avoid the crowds
If you really want to treat your date to eating out then skip the dinner and plan a romantic breakfast or afternoon tea instead. A breakfast will kick off the day beautifully whilst everyone feels spoiled with an afternoon tea.
6. Celebrate friendship
You might need to run this by your date first but who says you have to spend Valentine's Day solely with a partner? Where you have friends who are couples or singletons, invite them around for a night of food, drinks, films and fun. Your Valentine's will be relaxed, happy and full of warmth and it's a great opportunity for your date to get to know your mates better.
7. Learn to dance
Even if you have two left feet, a dance class is fun, active and a great way to pass an evening. Visit DanceNearYou to find a local class - from Lindy Hop, Ballroom and Jazz, Contemporary, Salsa, Latin and many more.
8. Have a winter garden party
Who says bonfires are just for November? Prep your bonfire the weekend before, then get your date around and snuggle up to enjoy the warmth. Don't forget the bonfire food, sparklers, marshmallows on sticks and blankets for ultimate cosiness.
Looking for something to reinvigorate your adventure lifestyle in 2019? We've gathered together five fantastic ideas for getting outdoors and getting active. And the best thing? They are all based right here in the UK.
1. Packrafting, Snowdonia
So what is packrafting exactly? Well, you'll journey into the wilderness by inflatable boat, which you can then pack up and stow away (pack + raft) in your rucksack to continue your adventure on foot and camp in the wild. Want to give it a try? Head to Snowdonia where Tirio offer a variety of experiences, which take in sea, lakes and mountains.
Indulge your love of running and do good at the same time on one of National Trust's unique working Holidays. Their Tracks and Trail-running holiday in Devon combines a few days repairing the coastal path with intensive trail-running coaching and advice from an expert coach. Get more details here.
3. Try an Aquathlon
Like a Triathlon with the biking element, an Aquathlon combines a swim and a run. Head to Essex's Lea Valley on the first Tuesday of the month between May and September and you'll soon see you progress. Find out more.
Take the trip down to Cornwall this July for Man Vs Coast. Hug the coastline for 23 miles from St Michael’s Mount to Land’s End - you'll need to run, walk, scramble, climb and even swim some sections to get to the end. The incredible beauty of the landscape and the sea make it totally worth it, though.
5. Learn to sail
Is 2019 the year you learn to sail? RYA Northumbria has a range of courses available to help you sort your port from your starboard, ranging from intensive two day 'immersion' courses to five day residential trips where you live on board. Book your adventure here.
If you've not heard of alphabet dating before then you're missing out! Alphabet dating is a fun, adventurous, exciting way to make your dating life sparkle and keep your romance alive. The premise is to enjoy 26 different dates, all starting with a different letter. You could start at A and work your way through to Z. Or, for even more dating fun, pick a letter at random and see what comes up. You may have seen our blog post in early December with our first instalment of active, creative and 'different' date ideas and we're back with list number two.
E. Escape Rooms
I. Indoor Climbing
J. Jive Class
K. Kitchen date
M. Mountain Biking
N. National Trust Estate Walk
O. Open Air Cinema
T. Tandem biking
U. Upcyling session
V. Vineyard visit
W. Water Park
X. Xbox tournament
Z. Zoo tour
When you're online dating, the first message you send to someone might be your only chance to get to capture their attention. So, you need to make sure that you make a great impression and spark conversation. Not sure how to go about it? We have you covered in this blog post.
1. Make your message personal
Even though writing a unique, personal message is time-consuming and requires effort, it is worth it. Most people can spot a generic, copy-and-pasted message that has been sent to many, many online daters and believe us; that is not going to make a great impression or grab their attention. Make sure you include their name (or username if their name isn't apparent) in your starting sentence, and relate your message to their profile. Which brings us to...
2. Read their online dating profile thoroughly
Taking time to read someone's profile and study their photos will give you the information you need to write a personal, interested message. If something about them sparks your interest make sure you ask about it. If you find some shared hobbies (well, you definitely enjoy staying active and getting a healthy dose of adventure, being on Maverick Matches), then tell them. And ask for more information; including a 'hook' will encourage them to reply to you and get the conversation started.
3. Take time to get your message right
In the days of mobiles and apps, firing off a message without taking time to properly check it is very easy to do. Stop right there. Who's going to be attracted by a message full of silly mistakes and potential auto-correct fails? read your message back to yourself to check that it's mistake-free, makes sense and that it reflects who you really are.
4. Include information about yourself
An online dating message is your chance to let your personality shine through. Just as you might find a 'hook' in someone else's profile which draws your attention, include some personal details about yourself to attract your reader's interest. Making your message truly personal and full of character will ensure that you stand out from the crowd.
5. Only message those you're interested in, but keep an open mind
Think that this sounds far too time-consuming for you? Well, be selective with who you send messages to. Reading through various online dating profiles will give you a feel for the kinds of people there are out there, and what their life goals are. There's no point in spending time messaging those whose hopes and aspirations are diametrically opposed to your own, so be picky and focus your efforts.
6. Be prompt in replying
No games, no delays, just conversation. We all know the pain of waiting for someone to reply when your message has been read (that sneaky old Whatsapp double blue tick, no?) so why do that to someone else? Replying promptly indicates that you are interested and serious about getting to know them better.
January is a wonderful time for making new resolutions and positive healthy changes in your life. This year why not doing something a little different and set yourself an active challenge to aim for? We've selected our favourite fitness and adventure challenges for the new year, all of which have superb support along the way and give you a fantastic confidence boost on completion.
Run your way through January with the fantastic Run Every Day January. RED January's founder created this annual event as she was 'Inspired by the life-changing effect that a physical challenge has had on my mum’s mental health' and thousands of people have since experienced the boost that regular physical exercise can give to their mental and physical health. Sign up online and join the Facebook group for daily support, tips and some excellent story-sharing.
Head up to God's Own Country for this 24 mile circular walk that climbs Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. A great one to organise with a group of friends, bagging this challenge is also a great stepping stone to the more well-known British Three Peaks.
Wales can add another string to its bow. As well as being fantastic country for hiking and providing exciting opportunities for surfers, its varied landscape of majestic mountains, rural lanes, stunning coastline and peaceful towns is a great backdrop for cycling. In this challenge you'll pedal 260 miles from the Isle of Anglesey south to finish in its capital city of Cardiff.
Rat Race returns in May for its Dirty Weekend at Burghley House, Lincolnshire. Expect 'monster obstacles, a phenomenal afterparty, huge event village and an awesome festival campsite' as you tackle 13, 20 or 40 miles of all-out muddy fun. More details here.
Is 2019 your triathlon year? Around the UK there are so many to try, and 220 Triathlon has all the guidance you need to help you along the way. July's Guildford Triathlon is a fab event to cut your teeth on whilst more experienced triathletes can take on Whitchurch's Ultimate Triathlon in August.
Alton Water in Suffolk is the location for the annual The Great East Swim. Whatever your experience and strength, you'll find something to suit as distances range from a 250 metres to a 10km swim.
Combine a fitness challenge with a holiday on the pretty Isle of Wight. With a mere 106km of coastline, this challenge asks you to circumnavigate the island by walking, jogging or running. Sea views are guaranteed.
For something a little less outdoorsy, sign up this January for Yoga With Adriene's 30 day yoga challenge. It's the perfect introduction to yoga for novices, and you'll see the benefits in all other areas of your life - from work, play and rest to fitness, strength and a peaceful mind - in days. Subscribe on Youtube now.
If you haven't heard of the Devizes Westminster International Canoe Marathon, then get searching right now. You'll be asked to paddle 200km from Devizes in Wiltshire up the Thames to Westminster. Training, stamina, a sense of humour and a love of the Thames are a must. You need to find out more so click here.
A team event for all CrossFit addicts. Put all of that Crossfit training to use as your team is tasked with lifting, shifting (carrying, dragging, pulling), locomoting (running, swimming) or climbing during this two day event in South Devon. See what's involved here.