Londoners Abroad: The Dating Scene – London vs. Buenos Aries

I’ve decided to start a new series of posts written by Londoners abroad on various topics. Judging by the lovely flag counter in my sidebar, there’s a good chunk of you reading from other countries. Whether you are expats originally from London curious as to what’s going on back home, or you’re just a fan of the Big Smoke, I’m not sure… but, if you’re out there somewhere, originally from London and you’d like to write a few lines about being a Londoner in your new country or be interviewed, please do drop me a line (stephanie.sadler.23 @ gmail . com – remove spaces)!

The first post for this series happens to be a sponsored post, written by Londoner Tracey Chandler on the differences between dating in London and dating in her new city: Buenos Aires. 


Words by Tracey Chandler

I always thought that dating in London was tough and confusing, but it is nowhere near as tough as dating on a foreign continent, within a foreign culture and communicating in a foreign language.

Dating in Latin America, and learning to deal with foreign dating codes, has made me realise just how much I miss dating in London.

Every large city in the world abides by a number of unspoken dating codes and there are always a number of places that are perfect for meeting a guy you can chat with, share interests with, date long-term and perhaps even form a family with. The key is learning where to look in order to find the places where the diamonds in the rough hide out.

If you are looking for the perfect match in London, but you are finding it hard to connect with someone, don’t despair. Relax, smile and slip into your most flattering outfit of the moment. Dating in London, I have come to realise, doesn’t have to be daunting, particularly when you take the time to do some Prince Charming hunting in the following city hotspots…

1. London Parks

Summer sun and London parks provide the perfect backdrop for finding a new love interest. Hyde Park, Regents Park, Kew Gardens and even small plazas like those found on Upper Street in Islington or in the middle of zone one mayhem at Leicester Square, are magical spaces where romances blossom.

Rose Gardens
Photo by LLO

I miss enjoying the sunshine, with picnic and frisbee in tow, dressed in skimpy shorts and accompanied by a bag full of creams, nail polish and girly mags to ponder over. These magical moments, when all the girls get together, do wonders for strengthening friendships and they make your skin look great.

There’s something so relaxing and free about London parks. Even the shyest Brit on the planet will pluck up the courage in Hyde Park to get chatting to the pretty girl in the summer hat. Excluding Buenos Aires, innocent flirting in Latin American parks doesn’t really exist. The boys do their thing and the girls do theirs and I miss the spontaneity of the British boys who stop their game of football to spend a little time with the ladies.

2. Hoxton Square 

Hoxton Square never fails. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a weekend cocktail with the girls and, if you are open to innocent conversation and delicate flirting, (in true British fashion), Hoxton Square is one of the best locations on the London nightlife dating circuit to find someone who shares your interests and relationship ideals.

Photo by Tracey Chandler

Whenever I go back to London for a visit, Hoxton Square is one of the first places I head to with my London friends who remain on the singles dating scene because it attracts a true mixture of people from all walks of life. The thing about dating and the key to getting it right is to recognise and accept that finding someone that you feel comfortable with is ultimately more important than finding someone with an attractive face and nothing more.

Hoxton Square is full of people with interesting lives and interesting stories to tell. There is something for everyone in Hoxton Square and it’s one of the reasons that make it a great location for singletons on the London dating scene.

3. Theatre Pubs and the Brooding Intellectuals

There’s nothing like a good London pub to while away the afternoon, catch up with friends, or watch an important sporting event amongst fanatics, but the London Theatre Pub (like The Old Red Lion, The King’s Head or The Hen and Chickens – all of which happen to be in Islington) has something extra to offer the single girl looking for love… the brooding intellectual.

The London intellectual is a particular species not to be found anywhere else on the planet. He spends his time brooding, reading and worrying about the existential in life questions that plague us all.

I have often thought that I might one day end up marrying one of these brooding intellectuals, falling hopelessly in love and spend the rest of my days writing poetry from a one-roomed flat in Hackney.

The Intellectual Londoner has a particular way with words which is very attractive. I miss his conversational style and the sharing of romantic ideas. If your idea of the perfect man is one who spends time quoting poetry, start paying more attention to the London Theatre Pub scene. It’s good for the soul.

Photo by LLO

4. Guanabara Brazilian Beijos

Even though I miss the London dating scene and even though I have had to learn how to date in foreign lands, there are times when I’m back in London and I miss what Latin America has to offer too. Guanabara, a popular Brazilian bar on Parker Street in London is, during these moments, my salvation.

Brazilian music, Brazilian food, Brazilian Portuguese and Brazilian men. Guanabara is open seven days a week and if you happen to be dating someone who loves to dance, it is the perfect place to take them one evening.

What’s more, it is important to remember that London is one of the best cities in the world for inter-cultural experiences. You might find that you like the Brazilian culture and the attention of a Brazilian man. You might be surprised to find out that the person you feel most at home with was born thousands of miles away on a different continent and is now, by pure luck, living on your doorstep and offering to treat you like a princess day after day.

Give Guanabara a try. You might be pleasantly surprised with who you meet there. It’s all Brazil and well worth a look!

Love Lane
Photo by LLO


Tracey writes her way around the globe, focusing on travel, culture and love, for a variety of sites, including eHarmony. She has developed a penchant for Whitesnake and Joss Stone on a daily basis, doesn’t have the guts to jump out of a plane and cannot live without internet connection.

London Art Spot: Good Wives and Warriors

Good Wives and Warriors are Becky Bolton & Louise Chappell

It’s not often you find an artistic collaboration as seemless as this. Take any part of one of the Good Wives and Warriors’ giant wall paintings and it’s likely that even they wouldn’t be able to tell you which one of them painted that section.

They’ve had creative adventures all over the globe from a painting tour of South America, to Australia, to the States and around Europe sharing their talent with the rest of the world. Their colourful designs have been picked up by the likes of MTV, Adidas, Urban Outfitters and Swatch as well as a few design magazines and books. There will certainly be more of that in their future.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Becky and Louisa tell us where the name Good Wives and Warriors comes from, share stories of their South America adventures and talk about where they’re jetting off to next.

LLO: Where does the name Good Wives and Warriors come from and how has your partnership developed since university?
B&L: The name Good Wives and Warriors comes from the etymology of our names. The name Rebecca is Hebrew in origin and means ‘to bind’ and that suggests being a good and faithful wife. Louise comes from the French ‘Louis’ meaning famous warrior and renowned fighter. So together we are ‘Good Wives and Warriors’. It in no way represents our personalities but we liked the sound of it so it stuck!

LLO: Which aspects of London life influence your creativity?
B&L: It has to be the other creative, talented and motivated people that we are surrounded by in London. We share a studio with Nelly Ben Hayoun and Olivia Decaris, two energetic and talented French designers and next-door are Felix de Pass, Alex Hume and Giles Miller who are constant sources of support and inspiration. Also the wealth of exhibitions and opportunities in London make such a difference.

LLO: You’re known for your large-scale wall paintings. What’s the biggest you’ve done so far and where was it?
B&L: I think this has to be the painting we did in Clerkenwell with Space In Between Gallery. The exhibition was called ‘Buckminsterfullerene Dream’ and we spent 11 days on this painting, which is by far the longest we’ve spent on a single wall painting. We also painted the columns and part of the floor.

LLO: If you could choose any wall in London to redecorate, where would you bring the paintbrushes and what would you create?
B&L: The entire outside of the Tate Modern would be pretty good! A big sprawling mass of wonder.

LLO: Which piece of work or professional moment have you been most proud of so far?
B&L: I think we both feel pretty proud of ourselves when we’re in a book! There is something about being in print that really validates what you do. Also, the first exhibition we curated in Glasgow called the Sprezzatura Maze, because we were responsible for every aspect of the exhibition from selecting the artists, building the walls and playing hosts to the French artists that came to stay with us. It was such hard work but really worth it.

LLO: Past clients include Adidas, Urban Outfitters, Swatch, MTV and loads more. Do you have a dream client or project?
B&L: We’ve always wanted to do book covers, so maybe vintage or Penguin, we’d like to do a honey label and the set design for a big theatre production.

LLO: Tell us about your painting tour of South America – challenges, best moments, etc.
B&L: We had an incredible time in South America, but there were lots of challenges! It was really hard to pinpeople down with dates for exhibitions. We’d been emailing for months before but still had no definite plans when we arrived so had to try and make it all happen.

The first painting we did in Cusco, Peru, involved going round with a translated speech about ourselves, and asking if we could paint on people’s walls. Obviously there were lots of Incan walls that we couldn’t paint on, and we had many rejections, but finally a lovely man let us loose on his wall and kept giving us Inca Cola (which is luminous green) and key rings! His kids and the stray dogs hung around us as we were painting and we had lots of attention from passersby. (Most of which we didn’t understand!)

One of the paintings we did in Buenos Aires was throughout the night, starting at 10 and finishing at 7 in the morning. We were exhausted and I (Becky) ended up fainting in MacDonald’s which was really embarrassing as everyone just stepped over me thinking I was a drunk! This painting was a ‘Cock-Rocket’ so it got quite a lot of attention too, which was funny.

LLO: What’s a typical creative day like for the two of you?
B&L: We share a studio with designers in Shoreditch so most days are spent working away there unless we’re doing a wall painting somewhere and then that means long hours of painting in situ. When we’re doing commercial work we’ll be in the studio but doing exhibitions and wall paintings means we get out and about a lot.

We were just involved in an exhibition called ‘Super K Sonic Boooum’ by Nelly Ben-Hayoun at the Manchester Science Festival which involved us making a geodesic dome out of 75 pieces of cardboard, trying to paint and construct it in our studio (which is pretty small) and then attempting to take the whole thing in pieces to Manchester on the train. It was a nightmare and it kept collapsing! We finally managed to make it stay up so people could go inside but it was such a mission. Our brains work much better in 2-D than in 3-D! So we always have periods of exhibition stuff, which is way more fun than being attached to our desks.

LLO: Favourite London-based artists?
B&L: We love Raqib Shaw for his incredibly intricate and sumptuous paintings. To be honest, most of the artists we like don’t live in London!

LLO: What are you working on now?
B&L: We’re going to do an exhibition in Mexico City in 3 weeks time so we’re doing a new set of drawings to take over, so they are taking up most of our time at the moment. They are quite labour intensive. We’re also waiting to hear back from a couple of commercial jobs to see if we’ve got them.

Thanks Becky and Louise!

For more from Becky and Louise, check out their colourful website.

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.