divya

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My 24th Birthday

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Every year, without fail, I get stuck by the age-old question: what do I want to do for my birthday this year?

Welllll, this year I made a very organised decision, and thought instead of celebrating my birthday for the entire month (!!!), I’d do 3 separate events with the people I love most in the world!

(No shade to anyone who celebrates their birthday for the entire month – I’d love to have the time and money to do that!)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling the best (I complained multiple times on social media so you missed out on those moody tweets if you don’t follow me on Twitter then you are missing out pal!), so I had to make the best out of a bad situation.

The first thing I wanted to do was go away for a weekend, with my sisters and my Mum. I did want to go with my Dad too, but unfortunately he couldn’t get out of work. I wrote a whole post on my trip to Edinburgh, which you can read here as I can never resist adding to my Travel Diaries haha, you may have noticed that the travel part of my blog is my absolute fave! I won’t bore you with the details of the trip, but it was actually one of the nicest trips I’ve been on and Edinburgh was absolutely stunning!

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I took the day off on my actual birthday, which was on a Wednesday so a lil’ mid-week break was a-calling! We stayed in the Holiday Inn Kensington and it was such a perfect stay. The hotel is on Kensington High Street so there is no shortage of shops and restaurants, and the area is always buzzing with people. I spent the Tuesday evening in bed eating a burger from Five Guys (which is making my mouth water just thinking about it), and I woke up on my birthday feeling so content with life.

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I had a massage booked at the hotel’s spa which is Imagine Spa (one of my favourites), and as per usual, their service was amazing. I opted for a Raindrop Massage, which is their signature massage and it was incredible. The therapist poured hot oil on the backs of my legs and on my back, and gave me a deep tissue massage and exfoliation. It was just so good, I wanted to stay there forever. The actual spa itself was really nice too, with a big pool, a hot-tub, steam room and a sauna that was actually located in the changing rooms. I don’t know what it is about spas, but I genuinely just love them, they make me so bloody happy.

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The last thing I did to celebrate my birthday was go to a bottomless brunch. I love daytime drinking, it’s just so much fun! I invited my bestest girlfriends along with my sisters and I just had the nicest day. We went to Galvin Hop in Spital Square and I had avocado on toast and the pecan pie. I was quite ill so it wasn’t ideal as I couldn’t taste much, but the food looked great, albeit slightly small portions, but what are you gonna do eh? Also the rye bread was a *touch* too sweet for a savoury dish but apart from that, the prosecco went down a treat!

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So that was my 24th birthday! How do you celebrate your birthday?

10 Reasons I Can’t Wait For Summer | AD

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Now for those of you who are long-time readers of The Dizzying Heights will probably be slightly confused with this title, as I am a huge fan of the winter months and the colder climate.

H-o-w-e-v-e-r, even I have to admit that on occasion that I am prone to a ~teeny~ bit of that ever so special Vitamin D. Honestly, I don’t have a split personality or anything, I promise! Basically, I associate the winter with getting shit done, and the summer with doing nothing and just relaxing. Soooo, after what does feel like the loooooongest winter ever, I cannot wait to get on a beach and eat and drink and relax and swim and just chill the eff out!

As if my own reasoning wasn’t enough, here are 10 more reasons for you to get booking your very own beach holiday this summer!

Vitamin D

Yes, as already mentioned Vitamin D is fabulous for you! Of course, too much of anything is bad for you but sunshine is a great source of Vitamin D, which helps your body gain calcium and allows your bones to grow stronger – basically all the good stuff!

Exercise

Now I know exercise isn’t the first thing you think of when someone says ~summer~ but I do think the warmth gives a great excuse to go for a swim. Swimming is one of my favourite activities, but in the winter it’s so bloody cold that I can’t motivate myself to get down to the pool. If I lived closer to a beach, I’d also love to go for a morning run on the beach, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking!

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BBQ’s

O-M-G, I bloody love a good BBQ, please show me someone who doesn’t! First off, the food is always incredible, I love burgers and hot-dogs and chicken wings and potato salads and cocktails! Secondly, there is something about being with family and friends in the gardens on a nice warm day, playing games and having fun! My family like to have an annual BBQ where we play giant Jenga and giant Connect-4 – it’s the best time of the year I tell ya!

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De-stress

Being at a beach or on a summer vay-cay, forces you to unplug from your phone, your emails, your current life. Sure, you will probably want to snap a few pictures of the beach for your Instagram, but when you realise you’re in the midst of summer, you (hopefully) won’t be glued to your phone!

Longer Days

Okay this is a super selfish one from me, because in the winter time I can’t take blog photos without good natural lighting, which means that I have to wake up early on the weekends to capture all my photos. I just can’t wait to finish work and it still be lovely and light outside!

Beer Gardens

This is one of my favourite things to do in the summer. I love having a few drinks in the sunshine and spending time with friends. Some of my local beer gardens have dogs as well, so as if I needed another reason to love them?!

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Ice-Cream

I mean, not one person is saying that you can’t eat ice-cream when it’s not summertime, but with the warmth, it does make a lot more sense! I love ice-cream, Viennetta is one of my favourites and I love ice lollies too – yum!

No Exams!

This is such a selfish one from me, and I do apologize if you have exams, but the summer makes me so grateful that I no longer have to take exams in the summer. I used to hate having to go to the library everyday when it was nice and warm outside to revise for exams, and it was so much worse when you had exams later than everyone else so you had to still study whilst everyone else was enjoying their summer. Now I get to work in the summer, so who is the real winner?! All jokes aside and as much as I love my job, I slyly miss Uni, enjoy your time there whilst you can!

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The Beach

Now I’m not the biggest fan of the beach, I like it and everything and yes I do look forward to visiting when it’s summer, but I don’t think I could go there everyday! Having said all that, there are a few things I do like about it. Apparently, you get a better night’s sleep after spending the day by the sea, which is great news! Also the colour blue of the ocean helps us to relax more, and the sand is a natural exfoliant so you can get rid of the dead skin from your feet and your hands – #winning!

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Booking a Holiday

Speaking of beaches, booking a summer holiday is definitely one of the best things about summer! I know England can get warm on occasion too (!!!), but getting away from everything and not having to worry about cooking or cleaning for a week is just heaven. For this year’s holiday, I’ve been using Holiday Gems to find a great deal. I’ve heard lots of good things about Holiday Gems but the best thing I know is that you can find the cheapest holidays from Holiday Gems.*

What are your favourite things about summer?

*THIS POST WAS KINDLY SPONSORED BY HOLIDAY GEMS BUT AS ALWAYS, ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN! READ MY DISCLAIMER HERE TO SEE HOW I WORK WITH BRANDS.

 

What I’m Watching On Netflix Right Now Pt.1

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My dream job would be watching Netflix, I just love it. I even download episodes and films to watch on my commute to work. It’s so bloody handy! I thought it would be nice to do a little post about what I’ve been watching, because I personally love reading posts like this and getting new recommendations of what to watch. Most of these will be programmes, even though I love watching the films, I generally watch the same kind of romantic, lovey-dovey films ha – so if you have any great films that you’ve watched on Netflix then please do let me know!

The Crown

Okay first has to be The Crown. If you haven’t watched it already, then what are you waiting for?! I’m a teeny bit obsessed with the Royals, I just find them fascinating. Season 1 begins with King George VI and then the coronation and current reign of our Queen Elizabeth II, and it is just brilliant. Being that the Queen was crowned in 1952 and waaaay before my time, I find it so amazing to watch and read up on all the Royal gossip after each episode. Also Claire Foy is just so perfect as the Queen, she won’t be in Season 3 unfortunately and I can’t see anyone else playing the Queen but we will have to see Olivia Colman lives up to the role!

Peaky Blinders

Oh-em-gee. Two words: Thomas Shelby. Well, first of all he is absolutely gorgeous. Secondly, the show is about gangsters. What is not to love?! It’s set in 1920’s Birmingham and follows the Shelby family in the aftermath of World War I. It’s so crazy and intense, so much fun to watch. I think Season 1 was my favourite, it makes a great binge-watch. Season 4 isn’t on Netflix at the moment, and I got so annoyed that BBC iPlayer took Season 4 off before I got a chance to watch it!

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Grace and Frankie

This recommendation came to me from one of my best friends, as an easy-to-watch and entertaining programme. I watched the first episode and fell in love with the characters, the plotlines, everything! It’s subtle comedy and I find it hilarious. I have been likened to the character of Frankie (which I’m not sure is a good thing or not), but I find her so funny so I’m going to take it a good thing! Grace is played by Jane Fonda who looks so good for 70! I won’t give away the story but it’s about two friends who find themselves in an unlikely situation!

The Sinner

The Sinner was one of those shows that when it first came out, everyone was watching it and talking about it, so naturally I wanted to see what all the fuss was about! At first, I really didn’t get it, but that is the beauty of the show is that it pulls you back in every time. I just desperately wanted to know what the story was, so obviously I continued watching. The story focuses on young mother Cora Tannetti, who commits a very violent and public stabbing, with no explanation as to why.

Alias Grace

This was a show that came up as a recommendation after watching The Sinner, and it was such a strange programme but I am sure that some of you will love it! It’s a psychological thriller based on Grace Marks and the 1864 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery. Very interesting and at the end of every episode I was so confused so I wanted to carry on watching. It can be quite scary (or maybe that’s me being a wuss), but I would love to know what you think!

Friends

I mean, I couldn’t write a post on Netflix without mentioning one of the best programmes ever: Friends. I know some people think that this show is now so dated (which to be fair it is, it came out in 1994 – when I was born, eeeek!), and the jokes are maybe not what would be acceptable in this day and age, but in all honesty, I couldn’t care less! I loved it when I was growing up and I still love it now. It’s a bloody classic and I’ve watched every episode hundreds of times and I don’t regret one second!

(Although there are a lot of plotholes which will forever haunt and p*ss me off.)

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Gossip Girl

Another bloody classic. I could watch this on repeat all the time (often happens, I won’t lie!). When I went to New York in December, I made a point of visiting a lot of the Gossip Girl landmarks, because even though Friends was set in New York, it wasn’t filmed there and so I knew I had to visit some of GG’s hotspots! I just love the show, it’s full of hot gossip (who would have thought?), and tons of amazing fashion. There are also loads of famous cameos too, and even though Blair and Serena have more fights than you can count, it’s brilliantly entertaining.

The Office

Another recommendation from a friend, and this is exactly my kind of humour, Ricky Gervais is just so funny. He has that dry sarcastic kind of humour and it just makes me die. It’s set in a typical office environment in England, and it’s like a documentary-style programme – so brilliant.

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Wild Child

Last but certainly not least, it’s the only film on the list! Wild Child is one of my all-time favourites, it’s about an American brat who gets sent to an English boarding school. I love her hair salon moment, and Freddie is so hot! You just can’t help but root for her, even if she was really annoying at first. Typical rom-com, but an all-round girly, feel-good film!

What are you watching on Netflix right now?

 

 

Travel Diaries | Edinburgh, Scotland

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When someone suggests for me to travel around the UK, my reaction is generally like ‘ummm yeah one day, but I’d rather go to Paris!’. I think I forget that the UK has some incredible cities and there are some amazing sights to behold. That’s why when my Mum asked if I’d like to go away with her and my sisters for a little pre-birthday trip, I suggested Edinburgh.

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I have always wanted to visit Edinburgh, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit. We only went for the weekend, and even though it didn’t seem as though there was an insane amount of things to do, it did feel like we needed longer!

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Our flights were actually good timings as well, none of us wanted to take any days off (those extra days really come in handy in December hehe), so we caught a Saturday morning flight from London at 8.30am to land in Edinburgh at 9.30am and the return flight was at 8.30pm on the Sunday evening to arrive in London at 10pm!

Getting There

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From the airport, we got on a tram directly to Princes Street and from there it was around a 3-4 minute walk to our accommodation. I love getting trams, they’re just so cool and because I very rarely get trams, it makes it extra special when I do! For an open return ticket, it cost us £8.50, which I thought was decent, I think a taxi would have been the same price but we felt like the tram was a lot easier. They also come every 3-5 minutes, so very easy to simply hop on the next one if you miss one!

Hotel

We stayed at a beautiful apartment on Hanover Street simply called Hanover 71 Suites, which was a road off of Princes Street and in an ideal location. Very close to the Royal Mile which was around a 10-15 minute walk, and there were lots of great restaurants and bars too – The Dome was just around the corner!

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It was such a lovely space, we had a ~beautiful~ bathroom (if you saw my Instagram story, you will know it was literally bathroom goals), and a big old bedroom with a sofa-bed and the comfiest bed to fit the 4 of us in. I’ve never stayed in an apartment before but it was so lovely and so cheap compared the hotels. Next time I visit though, I want to stay on the Royal Mile!

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Day One

As the flight arrived in Edinburgh pretty early, we dropped our bags off in our room and set off towards the Royal Mile. Part of the Old Town, the Royal Mile (as the name suggests) stretches a mile and a Scotch mile long, with Edinburgh Castle at one end and lots of other attractions with bars and restaurants along the way.

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The weather let me down, as it usually does in the UK. I don’t mind the cold as much as others do, in fact if you read my New York Travel Diary, then you will know that I actually prefer the cold to being too hot! But one thing I don’t enjoy, especially when trying to explore a new city, is the constant blooody drizzling. It was the most frustrating thing ever!!!

FYI: The first picture is day one and the second picture is day two!

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The first place we visited was the Real Mary King’s Close which was a tour of the 17th century streets of Edinburgh, it was so interesting and such an insight to the way people used to live with the Plague and how many people from all kinds of social standing lived in the smallest rooms! We actually went there early to get some tickets for a later tour at 5pm – it was very chilly as it’s all underground, so if you go when it’s cold, don’t forget to wrap up!

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Next, we visited Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. I know this is a gimmicky place but it was honestly so much fun! It is a quirky museum and you could literally spend all day in there, no matter how old you are! There are 6 floors full of cool illusions and parts of Edinburgh history to learn about, and your ticket also includes a 15 minute show right at the top of the building. I won’t ruin the show for you, as I found it so cool, but what I will say is that you should definitely try and visit here when it is a bright clear day!

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After Camera Obscura, we went to lunch at a beautiful restaurant called Witchery by the Castle that was literally opposite Camera Obscura. We ate in the Secret Garden and it was one of the prettiest places to eat ever! It is definitely pricey, but they have set menus which have tons of choices, and my Mum doesn’t eat meat and she didn’t really like the veggie meal that she had so they actually took it off the bill for us, which I just thought was a lovely touch!

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After doing the Mary Kings Close tour at 5pm, which lasted an hour, we were absolutely knackered (and bloody freezing!), so we decided to head back into the warmth of our apartment and just chill before dinner. We had dinner at a lovely restaurant called Mother India Cafe, which was like Indian tapas and it was well worth the money! After dinner, we went for a drink at the Dome, which is the nicest place to have an after-dinner cocktail. It reminds me of a London hotel, it’s very fancy and just generally quite a nice place to visit if you’re ever in Edinburgh.

Day Two

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The second day, the sun was shining and we woke up in a bloody great mood (except the fact that we had to check out at 10am, but that is by the by). We decided to have breakfast at a place that was quite literally next door to us, a relaxed restaurant called Grand Cru and even though we wanted to go to somewhere more blogger-esque (and by we, I mean me, obvs!). It kind of felt like a Wetherspoons or something, but hey the food was good and coffee was included and they did caramel + hazelnut lattes, so who is really going to complain?!

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I know that there have many a controversy around J.K. Rowling ~but~ I will forever and always be a Potterhead. It’s just the way it is, I’ve accepted it as should you. It was such a huge part of my childhood and even now when I’m feeling a bit down, I will read one of the books or watch the films. So when I did some digging and found that a lot of sights in Edinburgh were used as inspiration for the book, I knew I had to visit as many as I could.

But before I could start my Harry Potter mission, we had to visit Edinburgh Castle. It is a beautiful building, I mean it’s a bloody castle so how could it not be? We didn’t actually go inside, and I think next time I go, I would want to take a tour inside, but this time around I didn’t feel like we had that much time and didn’t want an hour (or more) to be spent in a castle when the sun was actually shining.

We walked the 10 minutes from Edinburgh Castle to Victoria Street, where it has been said that J.K. took inspiration from to invent Diagon Alley. Okay so there is also a street in York that she supposedly took inspo from too, so who knows? But this street is super pretty, with lots of coloured buildings, and cute shops. Even if you’re not a HP fan, I’d definitely walk past here if you find yourself in the area!

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A little bit further down from Victoria Street, there is the infamous Elephant House. This cafe claims to be the ‘birthplace of Harry Potter‘ (in the most horrific font, I might add!), because J.K. Rowling used to come to this cafe and wrote her earlier books. Apparently there are a few cafes that claim this, it feels like every cafe claims that she wrote a page of Harry Potter in it!

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A graveyard wouldn’t really be the first thing on my list of places to visit in a new city, but when I learned that there was a grave for a Thomas Riddell, I thought it was only right to have a ‘lil nosy. Now, I may a be a huge fan, but even I know that this person’s grave *probably* has very little to do with Voldemort, but even so I had to admit it was kind of cool! There is also a grave of a William McGonagall but I couldn’t find it!

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For lunch, we had booked a table at Makar’s, which is a gourmet mash bar. The food here was so good, very comforting and exactly what you need on a chilly day! For a starter, we ordered a traditional Scottish meal of haggis, neeps and tatties. Haggis is a Scottish speciality so I knew I wanted to try it, and I was actually pleasantly surprised! Neeps are turnips and the ones in the starter were a mixture of turnip and swede mashed, and tatties are just mash potatoes. For my main, I ordered a sausage and mash (kid’s portion was a £5er, get in), my sausage was ~slightly~ too salty for me, but the mash was delightful.

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After lunch, I wanted to see the handprints of J.K. Rowling, and they were just a 5 minute walk away by the City Chambers. To finish off the day, we walked past a Harry Potter shop so I took a few snaps, and played with some wands and basically pretended I was shopping for a new year at Hogwarts. A gal can dream right?!

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So that was my trip to Edinburgh! Have you ever been to Edinburgh? Did you do any of the same things?

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11 Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

I know Valentine’s Day is not for everyone, and it is also very commercialised (trust me I know, I share my birthday with the damn day!), but I also think that it encourages people to make effort and give yourselves and your partners a lil’ treat! You may or may not agree, but as much as I do sometimes wish it wasn’t my birthday on the same day, there is something a little bit cute about it.

I know that not everyone has a lot of cash to splash, especially to endorse a commercialised holiday such as Valentine’s Day but if you do want to do something and not break the bank, I’ve split these suggestions into ‘Budget Ideas’ and ‘Higher End Ideas’ to make it easier!

Budget Ideas

Organise a Scavenger Hunt – I love this idea so much, it can be tailored to any kind of budget, and you can be as creative as you like! It could be around your house, around your garden or even as adventurous as around your town. If you wanted to, you could leave little presents at each checkpoint instead of a big present at the end – it’s totally up to because you can customise it!

Outdoor Cinemas – This is all the rage now especially around London, and I think this is a lovely idea. When it’s chilly you can snuggle up to your significant other and watch a romantic movie. I know the prices can range from about £12 to £30 per person, so if you can spare it then it is definitely worth it. I visited the Winter Garden outdoor cinema in Clapham Common before Christmas to watch The Holiday and it was so cute! I really want to visit the Backyard Cinema next!

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Photo taken from Backyard Cinema

Dinner & a Movie – This classic date idea is a classic for a reason. If you’re feeling a little bit broke then you can buy fresh ingredients and make something from scratch, such a good idea because it shows that you put effort into it! Also now that Netflix and Amazon Prime are so readily available, I don’t really buy DVD’s anymore, but if you have a favourite movie as a couple, it might be a good idea to invest so that you can always watch your favourite movie with your favourite person (alllllll the cheese).

Volunteer – Everyone needs a little love at this time of the year, and I have been donating a lot of time recently to various different charities and homeless people. Maybe organise a day that you can spend some time volunteering at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter and give something back together. I’ve volunteered at Crisis London many times, and it’s a fab thing to do.

 

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Photo from Crisis London

Build a Fort – Just because we’re adults, that doesn’t mean we can’t behave like children sometimes! Get some blankets, pillows, fairy lights and set up in front of the TV with lots of films and you’re sorted! Bonus points if you have red wine, cheese and crackers, turn it into a lil’ indoor picnic and go wild!

Higher End Ideas

Salsa Class – I used to take salsa classes through my office until the teacher couldn’t teach the class anymore. I found it so much fun and with the right partner it can be very sensual. If you haven’t done anything similar to this with your partner then it can be a great way to have some fun and relax after a long day at work. It can also get your super fit so get booking a class and shimmy the night away! There are lots of options, especially in London, so LondonSalsa is a great place to start!

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Photo from London Salsa

Spa Day – I am in love with spa days, I think they are the perfect way to relax and with options to have couples massages, it is the nicest way to spend an afternoon with your beloved. They can be quite pricey so keep a lookout for any cheaper deals you can find. I know SpaBreaks always have some good deals.

Wine Tasting – If you read my ‘What I Got For Christmas 2017’ you will know that I received a voucher for a wine-tasting experience, and I just think it’s such a great idea to do something like with your partner. Obviously it’s a bonus if you and your OH like drinking wine, but even if you didn’t it might be the perfect opportunity to try it and see what you think. Either way, it’s something totally different and fun!

Cooking Class – This would be my ideal date night, maybe that is because I just love cooking and it really does soothe me. But also, I think it’s quite cool that you can learn a some new recipes. It’s quite sweet that you can go home and make that kind of food again and again and always be reminded of a cool date! Groupon always has some great deals on.

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Photo from atelierdeschefs

City Break – This can definitely be a pricey one, especially if you want to leave the country and visit a European city for example, but there are plenty of lovely cities in England that would make for an amazing weekend break, such as Oxford or Bath. You can always look for cheap airline deals online, and look for Air BnB‘s instead of fancier hotels.

Bonus Date Idea

Lastly, you can re-create your first date. Now this is a bonus date idea because everyone’s first date is totally different and of course different budgets. But generally if it’s something you can re-create, such as a cinema and a pizza date, then why not? It’s such a romantic idea and it will show that you’ve thought about it and put some effort into the idea.

So those are my Valentine’s Day Date Ideas! Which of these are your favourites? Do you have any plans for Valentines Day?