Date-Night-The-FT-Times-Blog-Dinner-Place

10 TRUTHS ABOUT DATE NIGHT

Taking the time (post-kids) to make time to spend quality alone time with your long term partner/husband/wife is not only bloody exhausting to say, it’s actually pretty tough to put into action, too.

In an ideal world, date night is something I reckon we’d all love to do more often, however, the sad reality is that it never ranks that high enough on the parental to-do list, innit?

Well, not on ours anyway.

I mean, by the time you sort out a sitter, schedule your diaries, decide on something to do, a movie to watch, somewhere nice to eat, the law of sod either steps in with a unexpected bout of Norovirus so everything gets cancelled or life itself just simply finds a way to steer you both off track.

Which is a real shame because whenever you do end up cracking the date-night-nut, you realise, remember and reignite a part of you that wasn’t defined by just being a parent and it’s a farking lovely thing when that happens!

Granted, there are lots of hacks to help you keep on top of date night – Mr Husband and I once thought it’d be a good idea to work through the alphabet; each letter representing an activity.

Sadly, we only got to H, I think. Then we forgot all about it.

Plus we got bogged down in doing things that a) cost lots of money b) required lots of organising; life as a parent is already a massive juggling act and we set the bar too high – date nights seemed doomed for us.

But then we thought we’d try things that didn’t cost a sausage (no, not THAT!)

Whether it was committing to watching a series together on Netflix or going for a couples run. It worked initially – until we just got on each others’ tits (no, not THAT!) and would typically end up being incredulously indecisive about what to watch or on the verge of an argument because sometimes (actually all of the time) I prefer to run on my own.

Gah!

My point? It’s OK that the reality of date night usually ends up happening to mark a special occasion, a birthday or anniversary.

And that’s exactly what happened to us last week when I turned 41.

I’ll be honest, it’s been a while (seriously, I don’t mean THAT!) but when Côte Brasserie kindly offered a complimentary birthday treat, we locked in a date and made it happen.

Côte Brasserie in Godalming, Surrey

We got to try out their exclusive limited July aperitif, Pampelle Spritz, a refreshing, sparkling blend of bitter-sweet citrus peel, crisp ruby red grapefruit and natural botanicals. Apparently August’s exclusive aperitif is allegedly gin-infused (YASSS!) but that’s not 100% confirmed as yet…

Côte Brasserie exclusive limited edition Pampelle Spritz aperitif. Available in July.

When you haven’t done it in ages (again, not THAT!) there are a few truths that become apparent when going on a (dinner) date night.

I thought I’d share a few of them with you on this post. I wonder if any parents reading will relate…?

1. IT’S OK TO BE ANXIOUS

Not having the kids in tow does make you feel weird at first. It’s like leaving home without your wallet, phone or watch.

Depending on how your kids react to being left behind will also determine your anxiety levels.

Sometimes, you’ll get a lingering, weepy look that well and truly kick starts the Mum-Guilt; other times you’ll not even get a goodbye and you’ll feel rubbish that you’re not needed – until that is you realise you’ve got out of reading those awful Rainbow Magic books at bedtime, ha!

2. HE WON’T KNOW WHAT TO WEAR

Klaxon alert! It’s not just us Mums that faff over our outfits you know, men do, too!

Dinner dates for many Dads can mean stepping out of their comfort zone – if they’re suited by day, they may struggle with finding that fine balance between dressing casually yet smart. Similarly, if like Mr Husband they either look like they’re ready for a game of tennis or in firefighter kit, then getting dressed up can be equally challenging.

My advice, don’t do a Gok Wan on them without expecting at least a little bit of a row.

Instead, a bit like an appraisal at work, look for all the positives in what they’re wearing and offer helpful suggestions – and ultimately, as long as they’re comfy, it’s all cool!

*Note to self: I must remember this advice for next time! Live and learn, right?

Dress, Asos | Clutch, Boden (gift) | Shoes, Raid (old season) | Necklace, Thomas Sabo (gift) | Perfume, Floris London (gift)
3. YOU WON’T KNOW WHAT TO WEAR

Likewise, you may also be feeling the stress of sartorial pressure but remember, it’s so common for Mums to suffer a crisis of confidence whether it’s to do with body shape, sense of style, age or all three!

Even though you’re going out-out minus the kids, life has of course changed since their arrival. We all struggle with striking the balance of remaining the same person but accepting that you’re not – you know what I mean?

The reality is that your body has carried pregnancy wonderfully and for that we truly must learn to celebrate not chastise its beauty – stretch marks and all!

If you’ve shopped for something new to wear, you may feel out of the fashion loop or likewise, feel like you’ve gun-blazed your look a little too hard. Do not panic. Prep a couple of outfit options a few nights before and on the night opt for comfort – and by that I mean something that will allow you a starter, main AND pudding!

4. YOU’LL BE LATE

Because no Man-Dad ever leaves the house without needing to take a huge crap just before you need to leave! Fact!

5. HE WON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DON’T WANT TO WALK ANYWHERE

New shoes, old shoes, heels or flats – I have no idea if I’m on on my own on this one, but I become a bit of Z-list diva when it comes to dinner date nights.

In my defence, I’ve got all dressed up, therefore I expect to be dropped off at the restaurant – not have to walk from a car park half way across town. Is it just me? Maybe…

Also, you’ll have to tell him at least 10 times to slow down as he marches to the venue while you walk like a newly born calf a few steps behind.

6. WHAT IF SYNDROME

Once seated you may think now’s a good time to check on the kids. Did they go down OK? Are they asleep? Do the grandparents know where the Calpol is kept? Blah. Cue a conflicting conversation from one parent who thinks it’s wholly unnecessary, while the other thinks it’s sensible to just check in before ordering the starter plates – you know, just in case. Usually a waiter witnesses this entire debacle while awkwardly awaiting your drinks order.

6. TIREDNESS KICKS IN AFTER STARTERS

After we gorged on olives and flatbread with melted cheese, then ordered seafood starters, I could have done with a quick disco nap! I think the rule is that when any sleep deprived parent starts to even think about relaxing, it can often bypass all the first stages of sleep and head straight to R.E.M!

Piquant Mixed Olivesspicy marinated olives with rose harissa, caper berries and cornichons plus Pissaladerie Reblochonwarm flatbread with caramelised onions, reblochon cheese and thyme.
Moules Mariniérescooked mussels with white wine, garlic, shallots, parsley and fresh cream and Prawn Gratinéeking prawns in a white wine sauce, garlic, chilli and tomato sauce with toasted garlic and parsley croutons.
7. YOU’LL GET YOUR SECOND WIND AFTER THE MAINS

After much discussion, for my main I ordered the roasted seabass and Mr Husband chose the pork belly. After that, we were ON IT! If there was a late night spot in leafy Godalming to do tequilla shots, by this point in the evening, we ‘reckon’ we’d be good to go!

Roast Seabassroast seabass fillet, brasied fennel and a champagne beurre blanc with chives and tomato concasse and Roasted Pork Bellywith gratin potatoes, braised savoy cabbage, apples, thyme and calvados jus.
8. SILLY O’CLOCK KICKS IN

Is it the excitement of just having ordered a pudding that you DO NOT NEED to share with any small people that heralds the start of silly o’clock? From making-up stupid people watching games to just acting like an escaped grown-up – enjoy it. It’s what date night is all about, innit!

Tarte Fine aux Pommescrisp puff pastry tart with finely layered apples and vanilla ice-cream and Crème Brûléeclassic caramelised vanilla custard.
9. NEITHER OF YOU ARE BOTHERED ABOUT MAKING NOISE AT NIGHT

Unlike when one of you returns home drunk from a night out, when you’re both at it (not THAT!) there’s no one to scowl at when the bedroom light gets turned on, doors get flung open, toilets are flushed or when they breathe!

You’re in in together. Date night happened. You did it!

10. YOU MAY JUST END UP DOING ‘THAT’!

Yes, THAT! Nuff said. Bye.

F.T.

8 Comments

    • Thanks Sabrina. It was so gorgeous, we sat outside and it truly felt like we were on holiday – not the ‘burbs! Te-he 😉

      FT xoxo

  • Ooh yummy dinner!
    Sorry couldn’t resist.
    Ok now about this mysterious date night that you speak of… heehee sorta is a bit like that. Mark & I went out for dinner two weeks ago. It was the first time since we moved to America almost 6 months ago! Absolute truth. He changed his shoes twice before we left, bless him. Not me, I threw on a dress, scraped my hair into a pony & was out the door in seconds flat. Couldn’t wait to go!
    We had such a great night. Beautiful food, laughed a lot & talked about our new life.
    You’ll be unsurprised to learn we were home by 10.30pm Bahahahaha! Mind you we left at 6 so it wasn’t too shameful 😉

  • I love love LOVE this Fatima!! A great read & made me titter! Me & mr Lang always do a Friday date night… love it… but can’t always remember it! No more fancy restaurants for us (however I love Côte.. go with my friends instead!) no we go to the working men’s club… get plastered… get a kebab… pass out… oh & non of THAT… cos we’ve passed out 😵!!

    • Absolutely. Just making that effort to make time for each other, especially post-kids is really important. Unless Love Island is on hahaha!

      FT xoxo

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