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Date Night At Home

Author: Naomi Liddell

I love a good date night. Life never seems to slow down enough to allow for some quality time with Gavin. And he’s my favourite man after all (don’t tell my Dad). It would be great if we were gazillionaires and could lounge around on a yacht all day soaking up some sun and each other’s company, but alas… Work, house, kids, friends etc. seems to leave us with not very much alone time aside from collapsing onto the sofa or into bed exhausted at the end of most days.

In-House Date Night Ideas

We’ve always made time at least once every couple of months to go out together, just the two of us, and every time we do we wonder why we don’t do it more often. I will look at Gavin across the restaurant table and think… “Oh yeah, you. You’re a whole other person. Not just the guy who changes nappies and takes out the bins. You’re pretty hot. I like hanging out with you.”

But at times, namely saving for a wedding and/or house and in the early days of child rearing (that would be now then), we’ve often felt like that £100 or so that we would spend on an evening out, would be better put towards those new dining room chairs, kids school uniform or [insert unexciting but necessary life purchase here]. So for us, the ‘In-House Date Night’ was born. And to be honest, there have been some lush evenings we’ve had at home that have trumped our date nights out.

The general idea is that every month or so, we pick a night of the week, usually at the weekend. We make sure that night stays free, get the kids to bed super early, no chores are to be done and decide in advance what we’re going to do to make it special and different from every other night. This also makes it something to look forward to.
Here are four of our tried and true in-house date night ideas:

Fancy Dinner

We love to cook from scratch and do so most nights. But unless we’re planning on cooking together as part of the date night fun, I do like to take advantage of the Dine In for Two deals in either M&S or Waitrose to minimise time in the kitchen and maximise having a laugh together at the dinner table. You get a main, two sides, dessert and a bottle of wine for £12 at M&S! And although I’m not a big fan of ready meals, I have to say that these are delicious. You can also choose the mains that come in foil trays rather than the black plastic ones if you’re conscious about waste.
Alternatively, we’ll make a dedicated trip to Waitrose and pick out a selection of fancy, delicious things we want to try and have a tapas style dinner with a little bit of everything. We’ll spend more on things like olives and cheeses than we normally would week to week, but it feels more decadent and still ends up drastically cheaper than a night out.
Either way, we set the table nicely, candles and music are mandatory (but more on that later) and relax into a nice evening together. Dishes can wait until morning.

Music is Food for the Soul

We both love music. And luckily, we love the same type of music. So if the evening has been a bit too busy with the kids for an early bedtime, or we want to have dinner with them and our date night later, this is always a great option. One of the best Christmas presents Gavin ever bought me (aside from that trip to Paris in our first year together – back when he was eager to impress, *sigh*) is this Sonos wireless speaker. Might seem like a strange gift, but being able to play music around the house and control it from my phone is my fave. So the date night involves us both on the couch with our drink of choice (for Gavin, likely craft beer or wine – for me, likely something sweet and fizzy) and we take turns choosing a song. It might sound simple, but it always ends up with us reminiscing over music that has peppered our lives and some lovely conversations have ensued. The rules are, only one song each and you have to listen to the full song and the lights have to be low. There’s something so emotional about music that these evenings often end up being the most chatty, cuddly and intimate in-house date nights.

Movie Night

If you’re both a bit frazzled and know you won’t be able to bring dazzling conversation to the table, then in-house movie nights are the best. The difference between just flopping on the couch and scanning Netflix for something to watch (does anyone else hate the pressure of choosing something?) is that with a movie night, you choose well in advance something that you’ve both been looking forward to seeing. You can even rent new releases through Amazon Prime and still be spending buttons compared to a cinema outing. We also buy in loads of naughty snacks, wine and get cuddled up under a huge blanket.

Board Games

One of our most memorable in-house date nights was a New Years Eve when we lived in Australia, I had shingles, it was 40 degrees and we had no air conditioning. We played a game of Monopoly that lasted 12 hours (!!!) and had to be resumed the next morning. Admittedly we don’t have this type of date night often enough, but I guess it’s a nice break from screens and ends up being a good laugh trying to compete with your other half. You could even get inventive with what’s at stake for the winner or loser. I’ll leave that one to your imagination.

Whatever type of in-house date night you choose, there are a few very important ingredients that we’ve found make the whole thing a special experience, rather than just another night at home:

  • No talking shop – If there are bills to be discussed or chores to be done, this is not the time. All perfunctory adulting has to be left off the table.
  • Change up your scenery – Always sit together in the living room? Have dinner at the table. Or if it’s a nice evening and you love your outdoor space, get bundled up and enjoy a drink outside. Have a picnic dinner on the living room floor. Going out is all about a change of scenery, so see how you can replicate that at home.
  • Mood is important – Light candles, play music, keep the lighting low. It might feel a bit extra or cheesy, but you wouldn’t go for an evening date in an untidy restaurant with full overhead lights. Your surroundings are going to impact your experience, so make them cosy.
  • Make an effort – I’m not saying heels and a fancy frock, (unless you want to, then you totally should)! Even if your evening involves sitting on the couch in your comfies, make them your favourite comfies, do your hair and wear a bit of perfume. Whatever it is that makes you feel beautiful and confident.
  • Be present – No conversations with other people on your phone, no scrolling Instagram while he goes to the loo, just switch the rest of the world off and focus on being with your partner. My new favourite quote (gleaned from the awesome Anna – @mamas_scrapbook) – “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity” – Simon Weil. Give your partner your attention.
  • Attitude – There’s no point in creating an awesome night for each other if someone is just going to moan about who’s turn it is to clean the bathroom, or how overdone your steak ended up. Remember the lighthearted, flirty first days of your relationship and bring THAT to the table. Be happy to be with each other and make an effort to remember why you’ve chosen to be with your other half in the first place. In a long-term relationship, it’s so easy to get complacent. Date nights are about remembering to look at each other and think “Oh yeah… You.”
  • So that’s how we do it. But I am totally up for new ideas. Writing this post has reminded me that we haven’t had one of these in a while and we’ve recently had a slew of visitors one after the other since Finn was born six weeks ago (Yay! Welcome Finn!) so I think we’re long overdue. I’m off to text The Husband.

    Do any of you have in-house date night ideas to share?
    Or are you thinking of giving one of the above a go?

    {Contributors}

    Photography by WE ARE // THE CLARKES

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    Naomi can’t decide which she loves more: adventuring with her boys or being left alone in a luxurious bath with a great book.
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    6 thoughts on “Date Night At Home

    1. Love these suggestions, I think I’m going to try some. My husband works a lot of evenings and weekends so I think we need to make the effort to pin down a date well in advance. The only thing that won’t work is getting kids to bed early – not feasible once they reach a certain age! How I long for the days of early bedtimes 😄

    2. This all sounds lovely! We do a Friday night film night – which feels like going to the cinema without the faff! Like you, we get nice nibbles and snuggle in. It’s a nice way to end the week and feel like the weekend has arrived! Xx

    3. I’ve just added the Tesco Finest meal deal to my online basket for the weekend as it’s our wedding anniversary next week and on our actual anniversary I’m flying off on a city break without him … oops!

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