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 ?

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

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?

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

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?

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Do I follow my head or my heart?

Recently I made the decision to leave my partner of 5 years and move back in with my parents. It’s a decision I never thought I would have to make and this made it even harder. My head was saying leave but my heart wanted me to stay so I was very conflicted about what to do. So what do we do when our head and our heart have different opinions? How do we finally reach that all important decision?

1. Ask for advice from friends and family
This was the biggest help for me as my friends are usually the ones to remain unbiased and give me tough love when I need it. They were able to organise my thoughts without hesitation and made things really clear.

2. Don’t rush it.
The last thing you want to do is to get caught up in the moment, make a rash decision and then end up regretting it. Take as much time as you need to decide what is best for you.

3. Think about the outcomes.
Weighing up the outcomes of your decisions can be very helpful in stressful situations. It makes you think about which outcome is best for you and how you can reach the ideal outcome.

4. Remove yourself from the situation.
If you are constantly surrounded by whatever is causing you stress, remove yourself. Take a few days to take care of yourself and try to take your mind off of it. Whether that be a day out with your friends or having a self care day, just make sure you are focusing on yourself and not the stressful situation back home.

However you deal with things, you should always make the decision that is right for you. Just because you love someone, it does not mean you should stick with the stress or upset that comes with that love. You are worth so much more.

What do you do to help make big decisions? We would love to hear from you!

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

 

Living away from your partner during pregnancy

My pregnancy was spent largely alone – the unexpected nature of my expectant motherhood meant that things had to continue as planned as far as possible. I stayed at university to complete my law degree until I could go on maternity leave, but that also meant living over 100 miles away from Jamie for virtually the entire pregnancy.

It was my housemate, Shannon, that helped me through the morning sickness. It was my housemate, Elliot, who covered for me when I had a UTI. It was Shannon, again, who would accompany me to the first doctors appointment, and the midwife appointments, especially when I absolutely hated that first midwife in Southampton! So, I suppose I wasn’t really alone alone – but it’s something quite different from doing those things with your partner.

Everyone jokes about pregnancy hormones making you over-emotional, and yes, there are times when the hormones are slightly ridiculous… but usually, the feelings underneath the exacerbated crying fits are totally genuine. Spending my pregnancy apart from Jamie was really tough, and with those hormones to make things worse I did feel like an emotional wreck 24/7… which, of course, is when I needed him the most to cheer me up (which he did, but it’s not as easy over the phone!).

I accept that my pregnancy wasn’t a normal kind of situation… I don’t know anybody else who stayed at university living a fairly long distance away from their fiancé at the same time as being pregnant! But some of the things I experienced may be similar for other mums or mums to be. Single mums to be have to go through this all the time with no reprieve, so a big shout out to you girls! You’re doing amazingly. Army wife mums to be also may have to deal with this – one of my lovely friends up here is expecting, and her husband is deployed in Iraq… Jamie’s deployment in Afghanistan has been taxing enough without the added pressure of me having another baby! I don’t know how I would cope, so a big load of respect goes to the army wife/mum community, too. Particularly with army wives, it’s highly likely that they may even have to move house while they’re pregnant, and possibly even while their husbands/wives are still deployed! Although not the same situation, I had to move during pregnancy, when my maternity leave finally started!

Moving house is stressful at the best of times, but when you’re 7 months pregnant it can be a bit of a nightmare!

Because I had been studying at university and was about to go on maternity leave, meaning I had to move my entire life back from Southampton to Dover, Kent to prepare for giving birth and becoming a mother – how daunting is that? It was for me, anyway…
The hardest part was that I had no help whatsoever in packing up all of my belongings in preparation for this big move. Jamie was already living in Dover, so I had done the majority of the pregnancy alone in Southampton (though he made trips down on the train/coach for scans and appointments when he could). I got everything ready to move and waited for Jamie to come and pick me and my belongings up a week into our Easter break. I’d finished my coursework and at that stage was preparing to do my exams in the August of the same year (though due to PND I took a whole year’s maternity leave in the end), so I’d tied up all of my loose ends and was ready to get home and start nesting.
Being home, however, didn’t mean that Jamie was around all of the time. He did shift work in London, so would stay with his mum in Essex for 4, 5, or 7 days/nights at a time to save time and money. He would have been too exhausted to drive all the way back home in between shifts. But this was slightly more manageable. I had help when he was around, and when he wasn’t I had time to do things for me – I volunteered at my local Magistrates’ Court one day a week and started preparing our home for having Olivia. It felt more relaxing being in a normal routine, so even though some days were still spent living apart, it didn’t feel that we were because I was in our home instead of my uni room.
However, the next stressful thing was moving between NHS trusts… Southampton General Hospital and Buckland Hospital have completely different sets of maternity notes. Buckland couldn’t make sense of my notes from Southampton, and so I ended up spending a whole day with the midwives so that they could redo my notes into their neat folders. Before they took time to do that, it made appointments longer, and it was frustrating having to repeat things over and over again because they couldn’t find notes in my folder due to the different layouts. Something to bear in mind if you’ll be moving back to live with your partner towards the end of your pregnancy!
All of that being said, I don’t think I would change how it all worked out. I finished my degree, and had 1 year old Olivia at my graduation ceremony. Unbeknownst to me then, I’d also had some pretty good practice for life as an army wife coping with deployment! The only difference is now I have a child to look after as well as myself and definitely no pregnant belly!!!
It can be stressful, and it can be emotionally difficult to go through pregnancy alone, but it is possible, and sometimes it can be worth it. It made me determined and motivated to do the best I could for my baby girl, and it has probably actually made me more mentally resilient in the long run.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

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

Things to remember when you fall out of love with someone you thought you’d love forever.

Share

Things to remember when you fall out of love with someone you thought you’d love forever. 
  1. Your worth hasn’t decreased due to their inability to see how valuable you are. Whether they’ve dropped a diamond whilst flicking through pebbles or they’ve neglected the best thing that’s ever happened to them- it is their problem and not yours! 
  2. Your ability to love so relentlessly, passionately and fearlessly is a strength. Not a weakness. You have SO MUCH to give. Never let anybody tell you any different. 
  3. Try to let go of the hurt. Holding onto it is only hurting you. Easier said than done, but whilst you’re replaying scenarios- they probably can’t even remember the half of the struggles they’ve caused you! 
  4. You will love again. It seems impossible, but you will. You have no idea of who or what could be around the corner for you. You have no idea of the love and adoration you might find it you just let yourself try. 
  5. Celebrate all of the good things you’ve done together. They’re still achievements. At one time, you made the best team- if you’re coparenting the chances are that you’re still a sturdy unit. You’re allowed to be proud of all the wonderful things you’ve done together.  
  6. Even if you’re angry, even if you’re hurting. Don’t throw away a chance of friendship with the one who once meant the world to you. Try not to regret anything, even a bad ending doesn’t have to spoil great times, triumphs and memories. 
  7. Give yourself all the time you think you need to heal. Let yourself hurt, let yourself cry. You are more entitled to everything you are feeling. Don’t give yourself the “so and so had it worse” treatment- stop belittling your pain, it’s not a healthy way of dealing with things! 
  8. If there are children involved, never let either party or their families speak badly of the other. This breeds distrust between both parties, a quick nasty comment can drop out of an angry mouth in a heart beat- but the chances of it being forgotten by an impressionable child? Not likely! I’m not saying to necessarily hide the hurt you’re feeling from your children or the heart break your feeling, as these are great lessons of resilience and overcoming emotional turmoil- just keep hurtful truths and hyperbolic stories away from minds that can buy too much into them.  
  9. Remember that everything you’ve felt with with person, everything you’ve been through- is an example of better things to come. Keep reminding yourself that better things are just around the corner. that relationship and the subsequent breakup could be exactly what you needed to go out and find the better things.
  10. Let the pain remind you that your heart can heal. The likelihood is you’ve hurt like this before and maybe you will again. You’re alive to feel so many different emotions, to experience so many different experiences- life is like a cardiograph, the ups and downs are just a good sign that we’re still alive- kicking and fighting. 
  11. I’ll reiterate- PLEASE never, ever forget your worth. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever. You are so worthy. Scream it from the rooftops until you believe it!