Meet the West Yorkshire woman who ditched excruciating Tinder dates for 'solo Saturdays'
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Claire Kenny’s outlook changed completely after she realised it was not a relationship that was missing from her life. The 47-year-old said: “I decided to do everything I could to embrace my single status and build a life I loved, regardless of whether or not I had a partner.
"I found that as my life started to include more of the things I enjoyed doing, I stopped worrying about what I did on Saturday nights. In fact, I found myself looking forward to my ‘solo Saturdays’. Although for many people it’s the big night out, for me it’s become my precious time to relax and recharge. I cook something lovely, watch what I want on the TV and enjoy my home. Bliss!”
Claire, who works as a head of communications and blogger, hopes that sharing her story will help other single people who may be feeling lonely as Valentine’s Day approaches. It is something that she has been doing though her Instagram account – @my40pluslife.me – where she hosts online gatherings.
Speaking to Diamonds Factory UK, she said: “While happily cooking for myself one Saturday, I had a lightbulb moment: I’d host a #SoloSaturday Instagram live. The premise for this was simple; to provide a friendly, welcoming space for anyone who wants to enjoy a bit of a social connection and a giggle on a Saturday night. And I absolutely love it.
“A wonderfully diverse range of people join me, including those who read my blogs and want to connect with like-minded people. The conversation can be extremely random as it’s largely driven by what my guests put in the chat, but it’s always a lovely mixture of what’s topical, and a good laugh.
“I also use this platform to encourage people to be honest about how they are feeling. For me, saying the words ‘I’m lonely’ out loud was a watershed moment and allowed me to move forward and try to address it. I also encourage my guests to find something they enjoy and that allows them to connect with others – many of my guests are involved with the Parkrun.”
Claire, who lives in Wakefield, said she was was blown away by the response. Among the heartwarming messages was one from a woman who had booked a wreath-making class. Claire recalled: “Her friend could no longer make it and she was going to cancel, even though she’d loved attending the previous year. But connecting with other like minded people had given her the strength to go alone.”
Looking ahead to Valentine’s Day, Claire said: “I’m quite capable of buying myself flowers and do so regularly. I don’t know why it took me over 40 years to realise I can do this on 14th February, too. In celebration of this epiphany, a few years ago I not only decided to treat myself to a beautiful bouquet, but I also had it delivered to my doorstep and added some beautiful, heart-shaped chocolates and pink fizz. This year, I’m hosting a Valentine’s special of my usual Instagram Live for anyone who's either experiencing FOMO at home, or is at home by choice, like me.”