Date nights are the nights that make life worth living. Putting an entire evening aside for your loved ones – whether that’s your best friend, partner in life or the whole family – is essential for happiness. This Valentine’s Day, make sure you get something planned with the people you love. Here are a few ideas…
Fun for all the family
Modern families so rarely get the chance to come together as one unit and spend some real quality time together, why not use V-day weekend as the perfect excuse? It’s an ideal opportunity to start scribbling memories in The Family Book.
Ready, steady, cook!
Eating together as a family all at the same table is one of the most important bonding experiences there is. So why not take it up a notch, delegate the cooking and make a date night of it? You could choose one cuisine and decorate the kitchen based on it, have a teenager compile the perfect playlist, get the younger ones making place cards and you could even get everybody involved in the grocery shop.
Playing board games as a family sounds clichéd, but it’s a cliché for a reason: it’s an easy, fuss-free, low maintenance way for the whole family to get together and have fun. If you’re in it for the long haul, go for Monopoly – just watch big brothers, they’re a nightmare for trying to swindle the younger ones. Articulate is great if you’ve got bright sparks in the family, and the old classic of Scrabble is perfect if you’re into the occasional heated debate.
Camping at home
If you have a big garden, embrace the full on ‘camping at home’ experience by pitching up proper tents, building a campfire and taking the acoustic guitar out for a strum – and don’t forget those marshmallows. If you’re not blessed with enough green space to play at outdoor camping, set up a pillow fort in the sitting room! Turn off all the lights and use candles and torches instead, eat delicious picnic food and read stories until everybody falls asleep. A ‘no screens allowed’ rule would be nice for this one if you can risk it!
Cinema in the living room
If you’ve got one blank wall in your living room (or anywhere else in the house), set up a cinema environment and screen a new release or and old family favourite using a projector! If you don’t happen to have a projector, try asking one of your neighbours – it could be the start of a new friendship. Don’t forget to buy in lots of popcorn (there are ‘pimp my popcorn recipes in The Family Book!).
We know that having dessert every night wouldn’t be the healthiest of habits, so this should be a rare and occasional treat, but… can you imagine the look on the kids’ faces if you told them they were having more than one dessert? Pick 2-3 eateries near you and have one (small) pudding at each of them, nobody will forget that night in a hurry! Although we do apologise in advance for Small Child Sugar Rush syndrome.
Just the two of us
As fun as it is to hang out with the whole family, sometimes it’s nice to get a little one-on-one with the other half. Here’s how to do it in style…
If you live somewhere with a good view of the stars, it’s your duty to get out there and lie beneath them every now and then – it’s one of the most romantic activities there is. Don’t forget to research some constellations before you set off to see if you can spot them. If you live in a big city with a light pollution problem, find out if there’s a planetarium near you, it’s the next best thing and the talks are often fascinating.
If you’ve ever wished you could waltz right into an Agatha Christie novel and get involved in the whodunit action, this is the date for you. Get all dressed up and attend a murder mystery dinner – or weekend! There are some amazing events going on up and down the country all the time that could be right up your street, you can check out http://www.murdermysterycompany.co.uk/ or just google “murder mystery” and your nearest city to find something intriguing.
The bucket list
This is the date night idea that just keeps on giving. Date number one: write a bucket list together, detailing all the things you’d love to do if you had the time. Dates forever after that: checking items off the bucket list.
A night at the movies is great, but it can be so very overpriced and sometimes feels like such an overplayed experience. Why not check out your local comedy club? It gives you a chance to support a local business, laugh at some up and coming talent and hang out in a cool independent space. Win, win, win!
image: Ed Schipul
The loved up romantics are big fans of the scavenger hunt. Leave clues in all your old haunts from your first months together, leading up the ultimate romantic venue to spend the evening together – just try and make sure the clues are guessable, you don’t want to end up in a tiff!
But no matter how you spend Valentine’s Day this year, make sure you never forget by documenting those beautiful memories in The Family Book. Have a lovely romantic and fun weekend, everyone!