Doing It Outside … #MondayMoments

durex-Monday-MomentsSecond in our series of ‘Monday Moments’ (and yes, we’re still really excited to have a regular column dedicated to talking about… sex…)

Well – not just sex. Relationships too. We’re not looking at new-man dating – it’s a lighthearted look at life inside a relationship that’s been ticking along for quite some time.

It’s an adult-only read, with a seasonal twist around Summer Loving in a grown up way. We’re talking holidays, date nights… and some sexy massage, toys and grown up pleasures too. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, but I guess the people at Durex were right when they said that you don’t stay married for 23 years, have four children and manage to maintain a satisfying sex life without picking up a trick or two along the way…

 This week we’re doing it outside, Janeys.

Oh yes we are.

No, not that… though that might happen a bit later…

Date Night – it’s a bit of a new phenomenon, isn’t it? I suspect it’s probably another Americanism that we picked up, basically because it’s a bloody good idea. The death knell for all long term relationships is The Rut, isn’t it? You know how it goes – you’re on that some old treadmill all week, juggling the kids and food and shopping and housework and ‘real’ work (*hollow laugh*) and walking the dog and family time to have some fun with the kids while they’re still young enough to want to have fun with you… and somewhere in the mad maelstrom that is every. single. week as a modern family, you forget to set aside that quiet time for you and your partner. But it’s okay, really, because they’re always… there. Paddling away upstream beside you.
But before you know it, those tow-headed babies you had in bed by 7.30 every night are teenagers still up when you’re yawning and eyeing the clock to see if it’s your bedtime yet. And you cannot remember the last time you went out just the two of you. Just because.
And if that’s sounding familiar, then now is the perfect time to start creating a date night for yourself – because if you’re not, then you’re missing out on some proper magic. I talked a bit last week about using time together to rediscover the boy you fell in love with – and showing them that the girl is still there too. And that’s exactly what date night is for. It doesn’t matter that you have only a few hours of babysitter – or no babysitter.
It doesn’t matter if you have zero cash, are stuck in the house, or nothing new to wear.

Because, to quote the wisdom of Bananarama,  ‘Date Night’ ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it. That’s what gets results.(apologies for the ear worm, but I couldn’t resist…)

Anyway. Where were we.
Durex’s blog piece this week is a list of ’10 Summer Date Night Ideas’ – which is a good start. With four older children at home, going out of the home is often the easiest way to get a date night round here. Thank goodness for the eldest turning 16, and suddenly realising we have a dream homegrown babysitter for his younger siblings.
But I clearly remember the years of having three under five. And of laughing hysterically at the very thought of asking a young babysitter to sit for four children – one of whom was still in nappies, one was a major sleepwalker, and one prone to sleep-raging through panicked confusion when he needed a wee (and the fourth sleeps so deeply he doesn’t even look like he’s breathing, which has caused a few stirs with new babysitters in itself…). Yeah, we didn’t go out much in those years.

And of course, even if you have perfect babysitters on tap – lovely lovely family or friends who will step in to give you some time off – money’s often too tight to go far, or do much (seriously – the cinema got expensive in the Baby Wasteland Years…), and we’re in the depths of rural Dorset, so strolls through the streets of London are often out of our reach for a Tuesday night.

But it’s summer people. There’s a whole world of opportunity at your disposal. All you need is a little imagination and a little willingness, and magic can be yours.

So here’s our own personal top 5 Outdoor Date Nights (that don’t have to cost much more than a few beans), to get you thinking. But don’t copy ours, go create your own. Just remember the cardinal rule – This Is Date Night. Make an effort. :)

1 – Eating Out – but not Out out.
If you have a young family, get them all into bed in good time – if needs be, take them out in the afternoon and run their legs off to make sure they’ll be ready for bed. If you have older children, then let them have an earlier dinner on their own, and ship them upstairs, with strict instructions not to come down unless there’s blood or lack of breathing in evidence. We find older kids understand date night. They like being trusted with it, and older siblings will often help to manage younger ones to give you some precious time.
This is just like any other dinner party – plan your menu in advance, but keep it simple on the night. You can make it together in the kitchen, you could cook while he keeps you company and chats and pours the wine (or, my favourite, vice versa). You could even nip out for a takeaway. The food isn’t really the point here – the point is eating it together.
Dress up. Put on that killer red lipstick and your favourite heels. Chill the wine. If the weather is kind, then head outdoors to eat – but don’t just sit at the patio table like you do every week. Dress the table with linen, candles and flowers. Or create a corner of the garden with blankets, cushions and fairy lights.

2 – Picnic.
Okay, this one’s a bit like number 1, but this one you do go out. Go find yourself a quiet little spot that other people don’t go. A corner of the park, a clearing in the local woods, the edge of a field, down by the river… It doesn’t matter where it is, but be alone together. Walk to get there if possible. Take a lamp. Pack your picnic for easy simple foods. Be sure to bring a rug, and a warm flask of coffee in case the chill sets in. Be in your own Enid Blyton adventure, be silly, have fun. Just be somewhere new, and somewhere you can be boy-meets-girl for a change.
And if the place you’re in is actually properly secluded, then don’t put any limits on where your fun takes you…

3 – Stargazing.
You need a blanket, and something to drink. If you’re lucky, it can be a chilled glass of wine. But this is the UK, so I’d be prepared with a cardigan, an extra blanket and a flask of spiked hot chocolate. You can download a free app to help with your star spotting (I love Apple’s SkyView and SkyMap on Android) if you choose, but actually, we do that with the children. When it’s just us we like to simply lie back and watch for shooting stars. We sometimes head for a local hill top with dramatic and wide dark skies all around, but more often than not we head into the back garden with a couple of lounger cushions at least once a week in the summer.
Lying on our backs in the dark together, shoulders and hips touching, fingers entwined… perfect. It has been the start of all manner of interesting conversations… the sorting through of all kinds of emotional and practical stresses… and not a small amount of kissing…

Image of couple walking in a town at night courtesy of Shutterstock

Image of couple walking in a town at night courtesy of Shutterstock

4 – Go for a walk.
Just… go. The motion of walking, and not looking into each other’s faces, can often be more conducive to long overdue intimate conversations than staring at each other intensely is (ever noticed how that works in the car, too?). If you’re not big walkers, now’s definitely the time of year to go for a stroll. And if you are – go do it hand in hand. Find new spots; every single town and city has quiet and undiscovered areas to see. And even the most familiar of streets look different at night by streetlight. If you’re in the country, use your favourite footpaths. Near the coast? You have the beach, you lucky people. Do bring a torch, but turn it off when you can – it’s amazing how much you can see by the light of the stars and the moon.
Just stroll. Stop and look, notice what you’re passing, chat about it. It’s quiet, peaceful, and feels like the two of you are in your own small bubble.
Last year Mr LittleStuff took me to Paris for my birthday, and we spent three days just hand in hand under an umbrella, walking and walking and walking. We explored together, and it was magical. Not because of what we saw, but for the manner in which we saw it.

Image of couple kissing at sunset courtesy of Shutterstock

Image of couple kissing at sunset courtesy of Shutterstock

5 – Seduction.
Oh come on. Half the point of Date Night is to rekindle the sex, isn’t it? So let’s not beat about the bush, let’s just plan it and enjoy it properly for a change. If it’s chilly out, then you might want to set this one up in the bedroom. Or the living room (do make sure everyone’s in bed, obviously). But if it’s warm out – then head outside. There’s nothing like the blow of cool air on hot naked skin to make you feel alive.
And no it’s not illegal – but do be discreet. Your neighbours do not want to see your man’s Johnson bouncing at twilight, nor do they want to keep pace with your progress through your… erm.. noises. Keep it quiet, tucked into a corner of the garden that isn’t overlooked. Or, if you have them, open your patio or conservatory doors and make yourselves comfy on the floor just inside. It’s almost as good – and probably better if it’s raining…
I find this one often works even better if you either don’t share the fact that it’s Date Night with your partner and surprise them… or you overshare your plans. A lot. All day…

Nothing ground-breaking or new, is it? Outdoor Date Night is so simple – there are just a few very basic rules you should both agree to follow:

  • No screens allowed. At all. Phone on vibrate for emergencies if you’re out, but only to be looked at if it is called.
  • Dress up – wear something you feel nice in, brush your hair, put on some lippy.
  • Be flexible – if you’re disturbed, shrug and go with it. The kids will go to bed again, and you can pick up where you left off. Nothing will kill the mood quicker than a sulk that your plans have been foiled – they’ve just been bent a little. No biggie.
  • Plan it – schedule it, arrange it and stick to it.
  • Take your time – invest in some foreplay, try a few new toys, have fun and play.

How about you? What’s your favourite summer Date Night?

And don’t forget that during July you can WIN some Wild Excitement (worth over £100!) with Durex over on the competitions page. Adults Only!

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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