Friday, 14 February 2014

Dozens of couples celebrate Valentine's Day by tying the knot at Gretna Green

Dozens of couples celebrated Valentine's Day by tying the knot at one of the UK's most famous wedding spots.

A total of 42 ceremonies were carried out in Gretna Green, in Dumfries and Galloway, with couples travelling from across the country to make their vows.

Its popularity as a marriage venue dates back to 1754 when the Marriage Act, which required parental consent to marry under the age of 21, came into force in England and Wales.

Many young couples crossed the border to Gretna Green, the closest village, to take advantage of Scotland's lower marriage age, which remained at 16.

One couple who made the journey to Gretna today were Londoners Amerjit Walia, 52, and his now-wife Sarah, 33.

Mr Walia, a keen Sikh martial artist, carried a Gatka sword while dressed in a red tartan kilt and matching red dastar turban.

He said: "I've always wanted to wear a kilt as it's similar to what the Gatka warriors wear."
His new wife said they chose the Anvil Hall in the village as their wedding venue due to the "history, romance and symbolic nature" which suited how they felt.

Anne Downie, an exhibition guide at the Blacksmith's Shop, said that "tradition and history" are the most important reasons for people coming to Gretna Green to get married.

She added: "With young couples not being able to marry without consent in England, speed was usually of the essence, so they would come to Gretna in hot pursuit by their parents to get married."

The Anvil Hall, registration office, Blacksmith's Cottage, Mill Forge, and the many hotels in the area are all popular wedding venues.

Allan Farr, 39, and his bride Karen, 35, travelled from Hereford to tie the knot in the Blacksmith's Cottage.

Mrs Farr said: "It's a secret wedding, so no-one knows. We felt it was appropriate as it's Allan's birthday and it's Valentine's Day."

The happy couple posted a picture of themselves on Facebook once they were married to let friends and family know their news.

Around 5,000 weddings are held in the area each year, but only 20% are said to involve Scottish couples, with 60% coming over the border from England and Wales and the rest from overseas.

Another couple to get married today were Mark Blincow, 26, from Inverness, and his wife Siobhan, 25, from Bedfordshire.

They chose Gretna due to the romantic history behind the town. They plan to travel to Sri Lanka with their family later this year for their honeymoon.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day on a Budget

VALENTINE'S day is supposed to be about celebrating true love and making that special person in your life feel wanted and cared for.

However, it's also one of the most commercialised days of the year where you feel pressurised into buying overpriced flowers, stuffed toys and greetings cards.

But you don't have to let this romantic day of the year hit you hard in the pocket, instead remember it is all about giving your partner an experience to remember and not about how far your funds will stretch.

You can have a fantastic and more memorable Valentine's day on a budget.

It is still possible to indulge in all those heart shaped accessories and still save money. You just have to reduce the amount you buy. For example don't buy him the biggest bottle of aftershave on the shelf, instead just downsize and buy the bottle size below. Instead of getting a huge box of expensive chocolates for your other half why not buy them a special brand of chocolate bar instead?

You could even just skip the gifts altogether and instead do something that the pair of you have never done before. You could try a drive-in movie which is the latest romantic craze or you could wrap up warm and head off in the car for a long walk followed by a pub dinner or lunch.

How about re-enacting your very first date together? The chances are it wasn't too over the top but very romantic. Taking a trip down memory lane can also be fun and spark intimacy between you.

The best way of celebrating the day of love without breaking the bank is organising a cosy night at home together. Prepare a special meal for your partner but one that fits your budget. Have a look online to get some ideas for recipes that you can use with simple ingredients that will make them taste amazing. Set the mood with a playlist of music that you know your partner will like. You could also snuggle up and watch each other's favourite movie before heading to the bedroom for dessert.

If you really want to go out, whether that be for a candlelit dinner or romantic night away, then have a look at some of the voucher websites which can have some cracking deals at this time of the year with some discounting as much as 50 per cent.

Or you could choose an intimate restaurant or bistro that's outside the city which will probably charge less than city centre places. That way you get a drive in the country and a lovely romantic meal at the end of it.

One of the most romantic gestures which is completely free is allocating time to spend with each other without any interruptions such as kids, working late or mobile phones. The good thing is Valentine's day falls on a Friday this year which means you could make the Saturday a day for just the both of you to spend time together.

If you have been taking your relationship for granted recently then it is the perfect time to reconnect and remember all the good reasons why you are both together. If you can't get a babysitter then make sure the kids know it is a special day for mummy and daddy and let them help by getting them to make cards or let them help you bake some romantic cupcakes.

Another money saving tip is not to bother buying champagne for your special night together. Why not pop the Prosecco instead? A good bottle of bubbly Prosecco will cost you half of what champers will and it tastes just as good, if not better.

Another fun way to personalise Valentine's day without it costing a fortune is to make some love vouchers. Each one should contain a promise. They can be straight forward ones such as a coupon which will allow your partner to watch his favourite boxed set that month or you can get all sexy and give him a voucher promising him the night of his life.

If you have just started dating someone new then keep things simple, light and fun not romantic and sappy as you don't want to scare them off with cards which say: 'I Love you'. Instead go out for a bite to eat then choose a fun activity to do like crazy golf or ten pin bowling.

The best gift of all is telling your other half you love them. It costs nothing to say those three little words but hearing them will make your partner feel like most important person in your life.

Just because you are strapped for cash doesn't mean you can't have a fantastic time. In fact the less money you spend the more creative you can be and the better the memories you will create.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

How Much Will You Spend on Your Partner This Valentine's Day?

ALMOST a third of people who are in a relationship spend absolutely nothing on Valentine's Day gifts, according to a survey.

While 29.1% spend nothing, another quarter (25%) spend £20 or less, and almost half of those who do buy gifts (45%) buy them either the day before or on their way to see their partner, the poll for Give as you Live charity shopping platform found.

Meanwhile, Carlisle and Dumfries and Galloway have been named the most romantic places in the UK, according to Royal Mail.

Residents in the CA and DG postcodes topped the list after Royal Mail analysed mail volumes in its centres last year, comparing post sent on February 6 and February 13.

The Carlisle mail centre, which serves the CA and DG postcodes, saw the largest percentage increase (32%) , while residents in the CF postcode saw a 30% increase, followed by those in London, Norwich and Kent.

Carlisle Mail Centre manager Vivienne Dalton said: "I'm delighted to declare people of Cumbria alongside Dumfries and Galloway as the most romantic places in the UK.

"Valentine's Day is a busy time for us so we would remind people to send their cards in good time so we can deliver your message to your loved one in time for February 14."

Romford claimed the title of the UK's most romantic town last year but has now slipped to ninth place.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Glasgow’s ‘perfect girlfriend’ is 5ft 8 inches tall, drinks white wine, has no tattoos and supports Rangers

GLASGOW'S ‘perfect girlfriend’ is 5ft 8 inches tall, drinks white wine, has no tattoos and supports Rangers, it has been revealed.

A study of 2,000 men by location based dating app Lovoo also found that men in Glasgow like a woman with a Scottish accent, who drives a Mini Cooper, is a meat-eater and loves a pizza.

Weighing a healthy 9st, she’s a 36C who enjoys listening to a bit of rock music and her favourite movies are Forrest Gump and The Godfather.

When asked to choose a celebrity who resembles their perfect girlfriend, Kelly Book was the nation’s most popular choice, while Glasgow’s was Denise Van Outen, followed by Kelly Brook then Kate Moss and Katy Perry.

Like other British men, they would like to date a nurse or a teacher with brown hair and think it’s more attractive if she wears makeup – but only subtly.

Homeland and Coronation Street are her current favourite television shows, followed jointly by Friends, Match of the Day and British Bakeoff.

The search for the perfect girlfriend was run by the location based dating app, Lovoo to promote their radar function that allows you to search for the perfect girlfriend near you.

Benjamin Bak, Founder of LOVOO said: ‘’It seems that British men have very specific tastes for a girl to live up to.

We know that everyone has a favourite hair colour and sometimes even eye colour and height.

But we think that avoiding a woman because she might support an opposing football team or enjoy a different genre of films to you, might be being a bit too picky.

We encourage meeting up with people you share interests with, but suggest not being too strict as you might find that you get to learn something new.

Dating is fun and shouldn’t become a chore or make you feel as though you won’t ever find ‘the one’.

Being more open to new things will certainly help you find that perfect girlfriend.’’

It was also found that the perfect partner enjoys a wide range of hobbies, with reading, going out to dinner and travelling as their favourites.

They also love to go to bars with their friends, watching a live band every so often and are careful with what they eat – without being too strict.

Men like a girl who likes to watch football and would prefer them to wear either skinny jeans or miniskirts.

Researchers also found that the perfect girlfriend needs to be adventurous in the bedroom, is happy to embark in a bit of role-play and experiment with different positions.

And men don’t want a woman who can just impress them; they want a girlfriend who will get on with the other important woman in their life too – their mum.

But after all that, three quarters of the single men who responded to the study said they don’t think they will meet their perfect woman and will have to compromise instead.

And more surprising still, two in five men already in a relationship think their current wife or girlfriend isn’t the perfect woman for them.

Benjamin Bak, Founder of LOVOO added: ‘’It is very surprising that so many men who are currently in a relationship, feel as though they aren’t with the right woman for them.

And it’s sad to see that some single men don’t believe the perfect woman exists.

We want to show these men that we don’t agree, there is someone out there for everyone.

And if they’re lucky they might even find that woman described in our study in time for Valentine’s Day”

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

UK Barking Mad this Valentine’s Day

THERE'S been a dramatic rise in the number of Brits who send their pets Valentine's Cards.

Personalised card company has released new stats revealing the disturbing truth.

Not only  is there an increasing trend for people to send Valentine’s cards to their pets, but
for pets to be sending cards to their owner.

There is also evidence to suggest that British pets are sending cards to each other - with a little help from their human companions.

Due to the popular demand the site has introduced a “Pet” option to the Valentine’s day section of the website, where pet-crazy customers can choose from a selection of pet-themed card.

The team can reveal the following results:

Dogs are far more popular than cats, with 10 times as many being from dogs rather than any other pet

Men are more likely to receive cards from their pets than women

While cards FROM pets account for 82% of sales, cards TO pets are also on the rise and predicted to be at more than double the figure from 2013

Dogs are the most popular pet for the card service at all other occasions throughout the year, with dogs featuring on 10 times as many cards for Birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day
compared to cats.  The majority of pets who get Christmas cards from their owners are also dogs

Tony Spooner, Chairman of, explains: “We’ve seen everything, from singletons sending cards to their parrots, to wives shunning their husbands in favour of sending a card to the dog instead. The real sentiment behind this is that people really do love their pets, and personalised cards are a good way for us to feel close to them.”

Britain is famous for being a nation of animal lovers, with more than 50 per cent of British families owning a pet.

We keep some 7.7 million cats, 6.6 million dogs, one million budgerigars and 18 million goldfish – and now Valentine’s 2014 is set to be the biggest year so far for Brits to show their pets some love.