My history of being single more often than in relationships has left me with quite an independent streak – and when there is a guy on the scene I am frequently the one calling the shots. Don’t get me wrong, I love a take-charge guy, but with the ball firmly in my court for this Five in Five challenge I was absolutely expecting to be running the show, choosing the date locations etc. Instead, my dates have been immediately offering up plans of their own.

Date #3 was no exception. In fact, he admitted to feeling a bit competitive after reading about my first two dates here on TNT!

Set up through a mutual friend, ‘Pat’ decided we’d be going to Tonkotsu East in Haggerston for after work dinner. I understood what he’d jokingly meant about “making fun of the hipsters” as soon as I arrived at the railway arch eatery; in a three-piece business suit he was by far the most smartly dressed guy in the place, AND he had the charm to match.

From the outset, Pat was the perfect gentleman, holding the door open, taking my coat, pulling out my chair, giving me the better vantage point to be watching ramen noodles being freshly made. Simple gestures but, golly, they make you feel special.

Getting to know each other over cocktails and Japanese food (the Shimeji, Shiitake and Miso Ramen and Soft Shell Crab Kara-age is delicious, by the way) we decided to continue the date with after dinner drinks. That’s when Pat revealed he had in fact already made a booking at Vertigo 42 Champagne bar.

Cue my initially surprised expression and then big, goofy, delighted grin.

After a short taxi ride (slumming it on the Tube? Oh no!) we take the lift up Tower 42 and I am treated to my first bird’s eye view of London, the city sprawled out below and lit up like Christmas. It was truly stunning, and felt so damn romantic.

Taking it all in with a nice bottle of wine, some smooth jazz playing in the background and a dashing young man beside me, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to wind down such a lovely evening. So lovely in fact, we were the last to leave.

Carlie has now passed the halfway mark on her challenge to go on five dates in five weeks, and great news! She has passed her initial fundraising goal! You can still show your support for Australian charities tackling poverty and homelessness – Whitelion, Kids Under Cover and St Kilda Gatehouse by donating here.

Click here to read about Carlie’s second date, and here to read about her first date.