Hello hello! It’s so lovely to be back!
Hello hello! I’m back from a couple of weeks away from the blog and I’m feeling re-energised for it. Oli and I were due to travel to Menorca for our first wedding anniversary, but given COVID-19 there’s still a quarantine in place in the UK if you return from Spain.
Unfortunately neither Oli nor I could afford the quarantine, and so we put our plans on hold.
Instead, we headed to the UK coastline for a week-long staycation and it was JUST the break we needed. I hadn’t realised how low I’d run my energy reserves down, until that trip.
We rested a lot. Went to bed early and walked on the beach first thing in the morning. We also swam in the sea almost every day which I swear is therapy in itself! Testament to which my great friend Amanda shared in her recent post about sea swimming.
After mine and Oli’s week away I made a last minute decision to join some of my great friends down in Devon too. Again it was so therapeutic. After almost two full weeks away from home, I can feel my energy levels inching back up.
Both trips reminded me how important it is to:
1. get outside and connect with nature often
2. make space for fun
3. get a change of scene
The last factor on that list has been the hardest one to accomodate this year, since most of us have been largely homebound. But it’s possible to change up your routine even a little every day!
In fact, I recall reading that even the smallest of changes to your habits can help your cognitive function and make each day feel ‘new’.
As such I’ve been trying to make small adjustments. Like working from various spots in the flat, or going for a walk mid-way through the day.
Also incorporating more fun throughout the week! Be it a drink out (when allowed for), a walk at sunset, or (as we did in Devon!) taking part in a virtual challenge. Thanks to my friend Rosie who got us all in on the virtual Murder Mystery!
Dinner Dates at Home
ANYHU small segway before we get to the crux of this post but I wanted to share a few of the ways I’ve been boujee-ing up dinner dates at home.
Lockdown restrictions feel like they ebb and flow, and so I’m always looking for ways to make more time at home feel special.
These simple upgrades have made at-home date nights feel romantic and special. I’ve really enjoyed making date nights at home into an occasion. Plus, I’m always grateful for a short commute home, ha!
Here’s how I go about upgrading our dinner dates at home . . .
1 ~ Buy the ‘Good Stuff’
Get the good stuff! If you want your dinner date at home to feel special, you may as well buy the best ingredients you can get your hands on.
In Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project, Gretchen notes that one of her friends allows herself to buy whatever she wants in the grocery shop, since it’s always cheaper than going out. And it’s so true! No matter what you buy ingredients-wise, 99% of the time it’s going to come to less than you would have spent out anyway, so you may as well splurge.
The same goes for the ‘drinks menu’. Buy your favourite gin, and the boujee bottle of wine. You’ll enjoy it and it’s guaranteed to make your dinner date feel like more of an occasion
Bonus points for making your own cocktails too!
I love the look of Kate’s easy to make cocktails. ALL in for the grapefruit margarita!
2 ~ Light Candles
A no-brainer. Candlelight is romantic. It creates an ambience that your glaring overhead kitchen light wont, ha!
I like to use a mixture of candle heights, and tend to go for a mix n’ match vibe.
If you don’t have any candle holders you can easily use a small glass, or ceramic pot with a tea light. The same goes for candle votives you’ve used up – keep the jar and pop a tea light in.
3 ~ Lay the Table
My love of a beautifully laid table is well-documented. I have a stash of table cloths and napkins I regularly rotate. Honestly though? Making a table look a LOT nicer is disproportionate to how easy it is!
Pop some flowers into bud vases or a low glass, add candles, knot a napkin and you’re good to go!
I like to lay the table long before dinner’s ready so that Oli and I can chat at the table and enjoy some wine/a cocktail while the meal’s cooking away. Or I’ll chat to Oli while he cooks since usually he’s the one to whip up our dinner.
4 ~ Music
Music makes all the difference to the vibe of an evening. If we have friends over often we’ll listen to a more upbeat playlist, but if it’s just Oli and I we’ll listen to something laid back.
I have a handful of Spotify playlists I return to, inclucing Alicia’s playlists which I love.
5 ~ Connect (Read: No Phones)
Properly connecting with one another is my favourite thing about making dinner dates at home into more of an occasion. Oli and I are always pretty good at catching up over dinner, but when it’s a ‘date’ connecting with one another feels even more front and centre.
So, we’ll put away our phones, and hang out like we would at a restaurant.
Just as I shared in my post on weekend routines, changing up dinner dates at home has really helped to bring more positivity into the mix during this less-than-normal season of life.
Focusing on upgrading things at home, has made me miss ‘outside things’ less. Albeit we can still go to restaurants right now, I’ve also come to realise that dinner dates at home are something I want to continue to incorporate often. No matter what restrictions are in place at the time.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
Have you been making more of your dinner dates at home? If so, how? And are you upgrading any other routines at home?
I’d love to know!
Love, Monica x