time flies when you're being a mum

Time to Love

It’s easy with little ones to forget about your partner so this category is all about lurve and keeping your relationship alive!

19 Jun, 2014

One of the biggest changes in Mike and my relationship once Reuben came along, was date night. We both worked in the city and so deciding that night we would go for dinner, get a drink or catch a movie was run of the mill for us! Then all of a sudden that stopped. I don’t know about you but I think we’re still getting used to that change.

I’ve mentioned a few times previously that we’re making an effort to eat dinner together at the table but that’s as far as date nights go. So, I’ve been trawling the internet for ideas to turn an evening at home into a Date Night but first…

Prep for date night

Tidy up the house, set the dining room table if necessary, turn off your phone/computer/TV, dim the lights, light the candles and switch on the music. You might also want to get dolled up (big knickers are banned!) or at least get rid of the baby sick. And, send your partner a text to let them know your plans, if they don’t know (or allude to them if you don’t want to be explicit – see points 10 and 11!), so they aren’t disappointed when they can’t watch the football/play on their phone/etc.

I have gathered ideas from the Happy Wives ClubAsk Men as well as the places I link to below.

11 Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas!

1. Candle lit dinner – kind of obvious but get dolled up and have a 3 course dinner with complimenting wines and a nice playlist! (To make it a bit kinkier you could make dinner in some nice lingerie but make sure you wear an apron so you don’t get burnt/go up in flames!)

2. Movie night with a theme – after a hard day at work/with kids, the chances are you won’t get past the first one! But if you can, you can theme the films around whatever really; a favourite actor, a group of actors, a decade, a country, etc. Keep it light and get in the popcorn!

3. Make something new together – fancy trying something a bit more complex? Pop open the wine and follow the recipe together, chatting as you go along.

4. Double date – you might not be able to go out, but your friends could come to you for dinner and drinks.

5. Make a playlist – for each other or do one together for your next road trip/holiday, whatever. I hardly ever listen to music anymore, so this would be a good excuse to rekindle my love for it while having fun with Mike.

6. Alfresco Dining – with warmer, lighter evenings take dinner outside. Even in the smallest of gardens this is doable! Make it extra special with some tea lights in jars dotted around.

alfresco dining - stay-at-home date night! #marriage #relationship #wedding #datenight http://www.mumsdays.com/stay-home-date-night/

Our yard is a lot nicer now so this will be even better! Phones down for date night though.

7. Holiday planning – decide where you’re going to go, book flights, hotel, villa, whatever or just plan some of the lovely things you can do while you’re there. If you’re fella is anything like mine, you might not want to make a big deal of this one, just start doing it after a lovely meal inspired by your destination!

8. Themed night – this has the potential to sound a bit lame/corny but it’s up to you how far you go…here are some examples:

Japan – wear your favourite kimono (you know you have one just lying around!), make sushi together, drink Sake and watch Lost in Translation or your favourite Ghibli film!


Italy – Get your finest 50’s Italia inspired outfit on, make pizzas (or perhaps something a little more upmarket!), drink Chianti and watch The Talented Mr Ripley.

Spain – make little bites of tapas (like you’d see in a bar in Spain, not like the Tapas restaurants here!) and set it out on your dinning room table, get a few bottles of wine, dim the lights, light the candles, put on your spanish music and sit at the same side of the table – There, you’re at wine bar in Spain!

Other places that would work nicely would be France or Brazil (!).

9. Adult slumber party – bring loads of cushions, duvets, blankets, etc into the living room and snuggle up for the evening with a DVD box set or film. You’d probably be better off in your birthday suit too.

With that last idea in mind, the chances are that on your date night a certain amount of hanky-panky will be expected but in case you want to skip the formalities and get to it, here are a bonus 2 ideas!

10. Board games – make some cocktails (or Dutch Courage as I like to think of it), enjoy your dinner then get out the board games. I’m not a massive fan of board games, I’m way too competitive, but I can see how a game of Nookii, or perhaps this game, could be fun (but remember to keep it well hidden when you’re not playing! *Mortification alert*).

11. Fantasy Room Service – (click the link for explanation and the free printables). I’m not completely sure I get what you have to do for each category so I suppose some thought will need to go into it, but the premise is your partner chooses something from the ‘menu’ and you have 24 hours to deliver. Having to wait certainly builds the tension, so that could be fun!

What do you think? Any of those sound like fun for you and your partner? Or do you have a better idea for a stay-at-home date night?! Do share in the comments below…

There’s also a shed-load more date ideas over on Six Sisters Stuff to get you thinking and loving (and canoodling)!

AllAboutYou - 11 date night ideas

House of Tides


17 May, 2014

House of Tides

Oysters with yummy things and a bowl of seaweed – fancy!

Mike and I went for a meal last night at House of Tides. It was part Birthday present, part anniversary and it was extravagance itself! A 7 course surprise taster menu with wine pairing. Truly incredible. The food was out of this world with lots of local, fresh fish and a gorgeous steak. Oh my goodness and the dessert?!? Amazing. The service was lovely and unassuming, and the wines really complimented each course. Despite the fact that I know relatively little about wine, I enjoyed learning about each one (although after 5 I couldn’t tell you what we had!).

House of tides was fantastic, I’d highly recommend it and good luck to “Little Kenny Atkinson”, as I heard him described today (my friend went out with some of his old class mates recently!), in getting us a Michelin! Us meaning Newcastle.


Happy Anniversary Mike!


Are you ready for the 3 year itch?

13 May, 2014

Yep, tomorrow is Mike and my anniversary – 3 whole years of marriage. Happy Anniversary baby!

Mike and I, 14th May 2011 - Happy anniversary

5 years ago today I met Mike (properly. We had met once before, and I totally fancied him, but it was awkward and I thought he was someone else). It really was one of those eyes meeting across the room moments. We were at the opening party for an annual conference, and rather than networking, I spent the rest of the evening talking to Mike. We were virtually inseparable from that moment on. 12 months later we were living together, 6 months after that he proposed (under duress) and 6 months and a day after that (are you keeping up?) we were married on a gloriously sunny day in May! On our 1st wedding anniversary I put together a post about the actual day, with lots of photos if you click on that link.

I love my husband very much. We still get on so well, he’s my best friend and we hardly ever fall out, which in some respects is quite lucky considering the whirlwind nature of our relationship and the fact we were still getting to know each other! So, I guess 3 years in this is when it starts to become harder…we do know each other now and we have seen each other at our very best and our very worse (giving birth was probably both of those moments!!).

And, obviously day to day life for the two of us isn’t what it was – we spent the first 2 and half years of our relationship pretty much partying, so once I got pregnant and after a baby, that was going to change!

I know it’s normally called the 7 year itch but, while reading around what to write for this post, I came across this interesting article by therapist, Michael Kimmel, called The 3 Year Itch. In it he says that relationships start to become ‘boring’ around the 3 year mark!! He says:

“I’ve noticed that after about three years’ together, many couples hit a wall called “boredom”. It often manifests in the following ways:

  • You become bored with yourself, your life, your job;
  • You let your social life (with your partner and on your own) fade away;
  • Your sex life with your partner becomes almost non-existent;
  • You let yourself go (gaining weight, not exercising, eating poorly); and
  • You take your partner for granted.”

I don’t want to give anything away but I can relate with a few of those! I can really recommend reading Michael’s article because he goes on to talk about boredom being a mask for fear and WHY you shouldn’t scratch the itch (and look for someone new!) because long-term relationships are a challenge but the benefits are immeasurable!

Now…I wasn’t intending this joyful day to be overshadowed by an itch or boredom or fear! I know that Mike is my soulmate but I also know that being in a longterm relationship is hard. This is the longest relationship either of us has ever had, so we’re now in new territory.  But I’m not about to start getting itchy! Any problems we have are things that we will work through together. I made a vow to do so, after all, and I meant it. This is more just a reminder that it is going to get harder but working at it, together, will be the glue that keeps us stuck together forever. Cheeeeeese!

Are you ready Mike? I love you so, so much. Happy Anniversary xxxxxxx

p.s. this is in place of a card 😉

01 Apr, 2014

I’ll level with you. I’m really missing Mike. I want him home now. Reuben has taken to toting round a little (yet to be framed after 5 years) photo of him and Gabby, shouting “DAD” at the top of his lungs. I think he misses him too. I literally CANNOT wait to see his little face when he finally sees Mike on Sunday. It’s going to be so precious. In the meantime, while thinking about Mike, I was scanning through my photos and I found a bunch of recent photos (all in March) of Reuben with various male members of the family. It’s got me thinking about what a lucky little boy he is to have so many positive male role models in his life.

His dad is around a lot, we nearly always have breakfast together. This is our family meal. He picks him up on a Monday and is normally home early on a Wednesday and Friday. Plus we do lots of fun things together as a family at weekends when we get Gabby back.

male role models

Bit of telly with daddy

His Grandad Parker is around at the drop of a hat. He has him on a Monday (with Grandma!) but is always willing to have him if he can during the week. They go on bus and train rides. Eat ice cream at the beach and generally have a great time together.

male role models

Reading a classic with Grandad Parker

Then there’s Grandad David (he doesn’t want to be Grandad Bryan – that’s MY Grandad!). You will never know work ethic like my Dad’s. He works for God – was a vicar and now teaches people to be vicars (among a lot of other things). He generally works all day and night and some weekends. And he’s a published author. But despite not seeing him as much, Reuben still thinks he’s great, which is proven by the fact that he wants to snuggle up on the sofa for supper. This is not Mr Independent’s style!

male role models

Supper time with Grandad David

Then there’s Uncle Isaac, “Ike” as he calls him. ‘Uncle’ Isaac is my 14 year old brother. What a pain in the bottom he is! I may be 31 but he’s still my little brother. Guess who thinks he’s the bomb? Reuben. Isaac will spend the majority of his time while we’re there shouting at a computer screen, then come down, jiggle Reuben about and then he’s the favourite. Unjust but true.

male role models

Playing the piano with Uncle Ike

Then last week we met with my Grandparents for lunch. We don’t see them enough, it was before Christmas when we saw them last and yet Reuben acted and felt like he knew them. You can’t make a kid that age do anything he doesn’t want (believe me) so it’s all truth. It melted my heart to see him holding Grandad Bryan’s (Great Grandad to him) hand as we walked back to the car. As I said in Friday’s Mums’ List, he doesn’t like holding hands!

male role models

Walking with Great Grandad (my Grandad Bryan so my Dad’s Dad)

And those are just the photos I have in my phone. There’s more uncles who he also loves! He’s literally tripping over fantastic male role models. Apparently, the root to being happy is to be grateful and I feel so grateful for this.

I don’t know if you saw it but last Friday night Joanna Lumley met Will.i.am. It was an amazing documentary. What a fabulous pairing. Anyone else and I wonder how genuine it would have seemed. It also showed what a gentleman Will.i.am is. I’ve never been his biggest fan or anything, just thought he was an incredibly talented oddbod! Anyway, during this documentary, Joanna Lumley talks to Will’s mother. She was a single mother and in one sentence I was blown away. When asked if she was a strict mum she said something along the lines of, “My mum raised 8 kids alone and none of them went to jail, so I knew I could and, yes, I was strict.” Did you hear that? NONE OF THEM WENT TO JAIL. In that time in their neighbourhood, that was a big deal.

I thought/worried about a lot of things when I was pregnant but I didn’t think about jail. I can’t imagine having a baby knowing that the odds were stacked that he would end up jail. I feel so lucky that that isn’t really a concern. It’s there obviously, but not like for Will’s Mother where Gangs were rife and males went to prison.

It has brought back memories of some people I grew up with, albeit briefly. When I was 10 my family moved to Birmingham. I went to an inner-city school for a year, where the crime rate was high, and there were probably no more than a handful of kids in my class who had dads in their lives. I don’t know the statistics about linking crime with a lack of positive male role models but I do believe there is a connection. I wonder what happened to some of those kids?

Anyway, hats off to Will.i.am who hasn’t forgotten where he came from and is doing loads of great and interesting work with underprivileged people. And, I hope that some of the money you helped me raise for Sports Relief can help people in similar situation.

The other side of this is being a single mother. I’ve only had a week and a half of it and I’ve been a mess. Leaving my phone 30 miles away. Leaving the backdoor open overnight. Leaving the buggy out overnight in the rain. There’s been a lot of leaving going on and Mike is normally the one that makes sure I don’t leave things. I’ve realised that I need to get my shit together and stop relying on Mike for so much! There are some incredible women out there raising children and doing a wonderful job without a full time dad.

Last week I was feeling sorry for myself. I just needed a new perspective. As I take a moment to see how my son has grown before my very eyes (we’ve been having the discussion on the Mums’ Days Facebook Wall about how new pyjamas make us realise that our babies have grown!), I’m just grateful for these men in my life and my son’s life. We both have a lot to learn from them!

Male role models

New PJs! (I love them – a 2 pack was £7 from Sainsburys for anyone interested, although it looks like you have to go in store to buy)

I hope that made sense! Who are your favourite role models for your children?

I am also linking this in with #allaboutyou – Zaz, this is my shoehorned post so although it isn’t all about me it was a moments reflection on how lucky I really am, and a loose connection between feeling gratitude (and if you watch this fab TED video you will see how gratitude = happiness!) – so hopefully you still think it qualifies! xx
#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More
14 Feb, 2014

Love is …Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you are getting spoilt (either by your partner or yourself!) and you’re feeling the love.

I was woken up this morning by Mike sleepily saying, “You are beautiful and sexy. And clever. Definitely clever.” Whatever. Where’s my present?!

We are on route, minus the children, to London for a night out with my best friend and her partner. It’s going to be BRILLIANT. But in the pit of my stomach I have an ache having left Reuben, happy as anything with Grandad and almost too busy to say goodbye. He’s my little dude and while I’m sooooo excited for tonight, I can’t wait to see him again. Which is why this tagged blog from Beth is so fitting.

Beth from Betty and the Bumps has basically chain lettered me. She’s asked me to think about Love now that I’m a parent and if it’s changed. I’m paraphrasing as the original message from My Petit Canard was much more thoughtful! I loved what Beth wrote about this…it was so true! From not doing your hair to going out makeup less for months, these are the things we do because we love our little ones. And, here are my loves.

Love is

Love is…spending hours reading about weaning, making beautiful, organic, homemade food only to have it throw across the room x 1000.

Love is…getting a kiss on the lips. An actual kiss, with puckered lips *heart melts*

Love is…hearing the word “mum” from your little one.

Love is…not being able to watch or listen to The News because the world is too cruel to bare now.

Love is…reading the world’s most boring book over and over. Ditto singing the same song.

Love is…Eskimo kisses followed by little fingers pointing out the features of my face; our bedtime ritual.

Love is…sharing a bath with your baby and his sandwich.

Love is…sharing a bath with your baby and a sandwich #valentines

Now it’s your turn! How would you finish this sentence? Love is …? 

There are some lovely suggestions from my Mums’ Days mums over on the Facebook Wall too if you want to join in the conversation there?

And if you are a blogger and want to join in – do tweet me, beth and My Petit Canard the link! @Mumsdays and @MyPetitCanard and @bttyandthebmps


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