Date Night at Home…

Raise your hand if you can remember the last time you and your significant other had a date night?! Nope, me neither!

Never fear! Chrissy is on hand with her tips to get your date nights back on track in collaboration with Real Soy Candles

Creating the Ultimate At-Home Date Night

In the UK, the average parent gets only 48 minutes of free time each day, as reported by the Mirror. The same report revealed that mums and dads usually get to start unwinding at around 8:53 pm each evening. Despite the time constraints, scheduling regular date nights with your significant other is of top importance. It is common knowledge that taking time for yourself and for your partner is essential for the health of your relationship. Without regularly fostering your connection with each other, it is almost impossible for parents to have healthy communication and bonding. But with so little time, how can mums and dads keep the flame alive? Learn more about the top strategies for creating the ultimate at-home date night.

Set aside a specific evening for your date night

Before planning the details of your next at-home date night, it is an absolute necessity to commit a specific date and time to your partner. Why? If you don’t set aside a particular time for your date night, you are more likely to cancel it. Remove all barriers that could prevent you from having your at-home date night, such as last-minute work and appointments. If necessary, leave work an hour or two early, hire a babysitter for the night, and complete housework in the days before your date night. If your plans are tentative, you are much more likely not to take your evening of romance seriously.  

Take your dining experience to the next level

Think that the only quality dining is available outside of your home? Think again! Whether you are a skilled chef, or even if you can only cook the basics, there are numerous ways to serve a 5-star dinner. If you enjoy cooking, prepare a meal of your favourite and your partner’s favourite foods. Plan multiple courses, and research the best recipes for each food online. Since you are not purchasing an expensive dinner out, give yourself permission to splurge on quality ingredients. Alternatively, if you do not know how to cook, there are other creative options you can utilise. Depending on your budget, you can hire a private chef, order a step-by-step subscription box meal, or get takeaway from a favorite restaurant. In addition to putting effort into your cuisine, make your environment as romantic as possible. For instance, choosing cozy and fragrant candles can completely change the ambiance of any room. Not only can the scent and low lighting help improve the mood, but a long-lasting candle can be re-used for multiple at-home date nights.

Get creative with your activities

Rather than planning a simple evening in, get creative with the activities that you plan. Want to watch a movie with your partner? Skip the family room television for a more unique set up. Use a projector and outdoor screen to watch the movie under the stars. Did you have a particularly memorable first date? Challenge yourself to recreate the events of that date as much as possible at home. No matter what you choose, plan activities that are meaningful to you both. Since date nights are few and far between for parents, make the most of your time together.

Having an incredible date night with your significant other doesn’t require hundreds of pounds and a special location. Instead, your home can be the perfect place for a convenient, yet romantic evening together.

Do you have any other tips for date nights at home? How have you managed to plan a romantic evening for your partner ?

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The Truth About Your Sex Life After Kids…

You may hear a lot of people tell you that you’ll never have sex after having kids, in the same way that people tell you that ‘everything changes when you get married’.

Okay, family members – gonna pre-warn you now…

DO NOT READ THIS.
Disclaimer over and done with, let’s get down to the dirty business 😉
You may hear a lot of people tell you that you’ll never have sex after having kids, in the same way that people tell you that ‘everything changes when you get married’.
In my opinion, they’re both a load of bollocks!
The truth is, yeah stuff changes, but it’s just part of getting older.
I won’t lie, our sex lives were pretty bloody amazing (and still are)… But I mean, sometimes it would be 3 times a day or more, and while that’s awesome, it’s not really sustainable when you have little people climbing into bed with you in the middle of the night! Nothing changed when we got married, but we already had Olivia by that point.
After I had her, it wasn’t long before we started trying to get down to it again – I think the first attempt was 4 weeks postpartum, but it was still too sore for me down there after being stitched up so we had to hold off and wait to try again another time. I think it ended up being 8 weeks postpartum that we actually managed it successfully, but the first time after birth will change for everyone – some people literally go months without even trying, but Jamie and I being the way we were we couldn’t wait that long.
The next hurdle is then if you have time when either or both of you aren’t exhausted. In all honesty I don’t remember the particulars of how often and when, but I still don’t remember it being that much different for us. We were relatively lucky and Olivia slept through the night from quite early on, meaning we could still make a bit of time for us. Although sleep deprivation hit me hard from the midnight breastfeeds at the very beginning, you begin getting into a routine with your child and then the much needed me-time, or us-time, will go back to normal, or almost normal for us.
This may be the difference between one kid and multiple, but since Olivia started going to her own bed in her own room, it obviously became even easier to maintain our relationship as it was before having her… And let’s be real here, the 7 months apart while he was on deployment probably helped keep our sex lives going as soon as he got back!
We’ve now been married for a year, had Olivia for 2 years and have been together 5 years. I’d like to think that it’s just as it always was.
Things don’t need to change as long as you keep making time for each other, that’s all it really comes down to!
How do you make time for each other after having kids?

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Ideas for your Paper Anniversary

Mine and Jamie’s first wedding anniversary has been and gone (I had planned on publishing this on the anniversary but I’ve become a bit unreliable with blog things lately as life is getting in the way!) and so I thought I would share the ideas I had before FINALLY deciding on my first anniversary gift to my darling husband.

I should say, I’m a bit cringy when it comes to these things. My Paper Anniversary means that the gift should be Paper too! But anyway… here are the gift ideas I came across on my search for the perfect present!

1. Tickets

More often than not after having kids, you don’t really get the time to have a good old night out with your significant other. So… the FIRST thing I considered was some kind of event ticket.

BUT I didn’t want to wait absolutely months for the event – Jamie is still not home yet from Afghanistan so we’ve missed our actual anniversary. With a bit more pre-planning I maybe could have found an event for when he came back, but there wasn’t really anything and the things I did find were still a little while away!

The gift(s) I did compile in the end incorporate theatre tickets, concert tickets, and other event tickets, so these have featured in our anniversary celebrations but not as a standalone gift!

2. Scrapbook

I wish I’d had more time to put something like this together, though in all honesty it would be more for me than Jamie! I’ve still yet to finish my bloody wedding scrapbook… that I started while I was planning the wedding!

If your other half would appreciate a scrapbook of memories from your first year, this is the perfect present to reminisce over your honeymoon and beyond.

3. Love letters

Again, I wish I’d had the time! I wanted to write 365 letters to Jamie for our next year together. However, being a military family this again presented issues as the whole one-a-day idea doesn’t work when he misses the first 9 or 10 days of our second year of marriage.

Plus, I’m good at being lovey dovey, but filling 365 letters or notes with lovey dovey stuff? Not sure even I could do that! 

4. Maps

I’ve seen these a lot on Pinterest! Maps pinpointing the place you met, the place you said ‘yes’, and the place you said ‘I do’. 

These are such a cute idea and I may well do this another time for us. You can frame the maps in a aperture photoframe and even decorate the frame yourself if you wanted to. It’s both a cute present and a lovely addition to your home decor!

5. Lyrics

I think Jamie would actually have really liked this one – using your first dance song as the inspiration, you can turn the lyrics into a piece of art for your loved one! Frame the lyrics on their own as a standalone piece, or write the lyrics onto a mount of your first dance photos… which brings me on to the next one!

6. Photos

Again the options are limitless for this – get your wedding photos printed and framed, or get a couples photoshoot of you holding a wedding photo.

Every year, book a photoshoot of you holding the picture from the year before! I would love to do this just to see how many photos of photos of ourselves we can get in the frame! It may take some convincing though to get Jamie to do a photoshoot… tactics, anyone?

7. A Diary Full of Dates

Last but not least, this is the present I’ve put together for my husband!

One event wasn’t enough, and I liked the idea of the love letters in having something to open/do every day. However every day wasn’t feasible, so my idea was to buy Jamie a 2019 diary. In the diary I have planned events for us at least once a month, and they completely range from romantic to trying to kill each other with paintballs.

Here are just a few of the events I’ve planned:

  • Weekend away in Belgium
  • Football match
  • Party Like Gatsby event in London
  • Theatre tickets
  • Cinema date
  • Dinner date
  • Paintballing
  • Day out at Hever Castle
I’ve even pencilled in my birthday, with a note that it’s his turn to plan a date for me!
For me, this was the perfect idea because I got to put a lot of effort into planning so many lovely things for us to do, and equally we will both reap the benefit of having regular date nights together having spent 7 months of our first year apart (not by choice!)
Have you got any other anniversary ideas for your Paper Anniversary? What’s worked well (or not so well) for you?

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A poem for my husband

If you’ve been following our blog up until now, you may or may not know that my husband is currently deployed in Afghanistan.

We recently received some pretty bad news about his deployment, and I’ll be honest, I’m not handling it all that well. I’ve been on anti-depressants again for a few months now and only recently upped my dosage, and I felt like I was finally content with my life. After all, I have nothing to be depressed about right?
Wrong.
Depression affects the way you perceive everything. And so, Jamie, my darling husband (warning: if you’re reading this you might want a sick bucket to hand), there’s only one thing that is unaffected by this horrible illness, and that’s the way I feel about you and our girls.
This is for you, for keeping me going through the tough times.

Our Love

Our love is like a tidal wave,
Powerful and strong.
Our love is like a piece of string;
It goes on and on and on.
Our love is like an hourglass –
Stuck forever in time.
Our love is like a rocket,
Seeing how high it can climb.
Our love is like an envelope,
Enclosing everything we are.
Our love is like an aeroplane,
Taking us away someplace far.
Our love is like an ocean
With beautiful depths to find…
Our love is like the sun;
It can make any other man blind.
Our love is like an angel,
Flying across the earth.
Our love is like a goldmine
With its irresistible worth.
Our love is like a mountain,
Standing steadfast and tall.
Our love is like a safety net
To catch us when we fall.
Our love is like a fairytale
With the happiest ever after.
Our love is like a playground
Filled with so much laughter.
Our love is unconditional,
Evergreen like the trees.
Our love is everywhere,
And it means everything to me.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Stop Asking When I’m Having “Baby Number 2”

 

I am in my mid-twenties with a preschool-aged child and have been married to my husband for just over a year now – so it’s time I had another baby, right? *insert eye roll here*
At our wedding people were asking if I was already pregnant again (drinking champagne from the bottle soon stopped those questions). We were asked if we were going to have a super romantic honeymoon baby. A couple of months after the wedding people were checking in and asking if I was pregnant with said honeymoon baby. A year on, people are tapping their watches, commenting on the age gap and generally getting involved in our private business. 
 
Compare that to when my son was still very little and people were telling me that I absolutely shouldn’t have another baby. Some people even commented that THEY weren’t ready for me to have another baby (?!) but my answer has always been the same:
 
That is between me, my husband and my uterus. 
 
Thankfully, the word “uterus” seems to stop most people from making further comment for some reason.
 
I am not going to divulge whether or not we are trying for a baby because… well… That is between me, my husband and my uterus, but here are just some of the reasons why brash comments about a couple’s reproduction can be really inappropriate:
 
1. This is a big one with a trigger warning for infant loss – they have already conceived but have suffered one or more miscarriages. I would encourage everyone to be as open as they feel they can be about these losses but equally, if they don’t want to talk about it then it’s not okay to force their hand or make them lie or brush it off like nothing. If someone has suffered a loss like that the last thing they want to do is smile along and say “oh no babies for us just yet”. 
 
2. They are struggling with fertility and may well be considering other options like IVF, surrogacy or adoption. Unless this person has told you about their struggles and you are just checking in to see how things are going then this is a real stinger.
 
3. They don’t actually want to have (more) children. Yep – that’s right, humans can actually make the conscious decision not to reproduce and their reasons, if they choose to share them, are perfectly valid and you should respect them. From previous pregnancy/birth trauma to just not wanting to raise a family the phrase “you’ll change your mind” needs binning along with “when are you having a baby then?”
 
4. They already know they can’t have children for medical reasons. This can be broad, perhaps due to an injury or illness, complications with a previous child or medication that could make pregnancy risky to the mother and/or the child.
 
5. They’re already trying and if you just hold on a few months they will let you know when they are good and ready. They don’t want to talk to anyone about their sex life. “We’re trying for a baby” = “We’re having regular sex” and that level of sharing is just a little too much for some people. 

 
6. They want to wait until they are in a more stable financial situation or living in a nicer area and they don’t want to talk to you about sex and money and how they don’t like the town you raised your own kids in because that is an uncomfortable conversation waiting to happen. 
Now, I am actually going to hold my hands up here and say I have asked people about when they’re having babies in the past, and more than once I have been shocked and saddened to hear of their losses and struggles but now the shoe is not the other foot I can only apologise and change my attitude. 
 
Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments, I’m sure there are more than six reasons not to ask a person when they are having a baby!