It’s quarter to midnight, and I’m sitting in the bar of a luxurious hotel, in a city I’ve never visited before. I’m wearing the same polkadot dress which I wore twelve months ago on my ill-fated date with the Henley Boy. A date which a few hours ago, I was genuinely telling a soap star (who I fancied when I was at uni!) all about! (I think his response was something on the line of “what an idiot!”)
It’s incredible how much can change in a year!
For new readers, this blog began as a Facebook status. A silly off-the-cuff comment, inspired by a guy who treated me rather thoughtlessly. A throwaway gesture, which in the past twelve months has grown and grown.
Apologies regular readers, I know I’ve spoken about it a fair bit in the past couple of weeks, but the little child in me is still pinching myself. This isn’t just a blog – this is my life. And I barely recognise it!
As I sit here in the very same polkadot dress, my world is completely different to that which Henley Boy walked both into and out of.
In the past year, I’ve travelled both the country and the world, meeting up with people I would never have met if it weren’t for the 30 Dates Challenge. I’ve had dates in New York, Los Angeles, Madrid, Dublin and Amsterdam.
Last week I moved to London – I ditched my banking career, and comfortable village existence, and took up residence in the capital as a freelance writer.
In the past few months I’ve interviewed authors, comedians, pop stars and TV stars. In the past week alone, I’ve been key-note speaker at the Guardian Headquarters, with a famous comedian warming up the crowd for me!
And today, during a visit to the Hollyoaks set, where cast members I’ve watched on TV since I was in my teens were treating me like an old friend, I found out this blog had been short-listed as one of the country’s Best Sex and Relationship blogs! (Please take a few minutes to place your vote for 30 Dates here! Thank you!!)
What a difference a year can make!
This time last year, I was mourning my single status, and wondering what I’d done wrong with Henley Boy. Now my single status has become my most valuable commodity!
Tomorrow (or rather today, as I know this post will go live just after midnight on the 8th), is the blog’s first birthday. And I genuinely feel like a proud parent.
There will be various celebrations in the coming weeks, including some re-appearances from some familiar faces. (Not Henley Boy – though I did actually try to get him involved!!) I won’t spoil any of the surprises, but I do want to thank everyone who has supported this blog over the past twelve months, and everyone who continued reading, even after I finished the 30 Blind Dates!
You’ve been there for every one of the ups and downs – from the Henley Boy’s disappearance, to the appalling dates with The Burlesque Dancer & Mr Twenty40, to the excitement of The Enigma, the rebound of the Fresh Prince, the exotic date with the Hollywood Actor. There was the infamous Return of The Henley Boy (Parts 1, 2 and 3!) and the most incredible date of my life with Mr SC. You were there when I made some depressingly adult decisions, and thanks to your support, you’ve been able to follow my progress on the Huffington Post and at the Guardian.
This past week could not be more illustrative of the excitement of the 30 Dates whirlwind. I started it living in a village outside of Reading, and ended it in a luxury hotel in Liverpool with a flat in London to go back to. I started the week a banker, and now I’m a bonafide journalist. Even the final date of the year, with the jaw-droppingly exciting Captain Charm-Offensive (a man I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t been auctioned off for charity a few weeks ago) summed up everything this blog has grown into perfectly.
I finish the blog’s first year not just as Miss Twenty-Nine, but also as Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian’s Soulmates Blog, and Head Judge at the UK Dating Awards.
And what better a birthday present, than being shortlisted by the best magazine in the country for Sex and Relationship Advice, in one of the most competitive Blogger Awards of the year.
So thank you for sticking around – my witnesses to the most crazy rollercoaster ride of my 30 years. And here’s to Year Two! Who knows, maybe I’ll even find an actual boyfriend next year?! 😉
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx