In the run up to Christmas I had seen lots of projects on Pinterest for 12 months of date night gifts. I knew that 2012 has the potential to get busier than we are used to for both of us, and decided to do something along those lines as hubby's Christmas gift.
I knew paying for these dates was going to be an issue, so I used my head a bit and came up with some solutions.
First of all I raided my Tesco points. For my American friends, let me explain. Tesco is the supermarket where we do most of our grocery shopping. They have a points scheme, so for every pound you spend you get a point onto your card. You can then either use those points to buy things in store or save them up for deals. Deals cover a wide range of things, but for our purposes, they cover a range of restaurant chains and cinemas.
So I placed an order for my Tesco points deals vouchers. I can't share everything I ordered here, because my husband reads my blog and I want each date to be a surprise until he opens that envelope. Vouchers are only valid for about 6 months, and I ordered ahead so I had time to finish the gift, so those only take us up to the middle of May.
I also decided that every other date should be at home, in order to further bring down the costs, and make the vouchers last longer.
First of all I put the envelopes together. I printed out an invitation for each date (24 in all, 2 each month) at A5 size, trimmed them to close to the borders, and mounted them onto card. Where vouchers were needed for the date, I also put those vouchers into each envelope. I bought some nice gold envelopes from ebay and I found a basket that the envelopes would fit in nicely (thanks dad, it was one you gave us for Christmas the year before), and popped them in. Wrapping it was a bit interesting but I managed.
Here are the invitations for the three envelopes that have been opened so far:
The next part of the plan is what makes it all work! I use an online To Do list which also has an app that I use on my phone that syncs with the online service. Astrid. I went into my Astrid account, and added To Do list items for every single date, right down to the fine details. So for the Indian one you see above, I entered To Do list items for:
- making sure the table cloth was laundered
- getting the balti serving dishes out of storage
- setting the table
- arranging the menu
- making sure I made time to get myself ready
- organising an Indian music play list on Spotify
- and so on
I put links into some of those To Do list items, so recipes were there, as was a how to page for a lotus flower napkin fold. It truly is these to do list items that make the whole thing work!
Sorry for the quality of the photo, it was taken when the light wasn't good, with my phone.
The tablecloth is a piece of fabric I picked up years ago at a craft fair, each of those tiny flowers is embroidered. I just hemmed the two ends and use it as a tablecloth. The balti serving dishes I bought sometime last year from one of the local supermarkets and under the balti dishes is a food warmer.
I will continue to share some of the ideas as we move through the year. Obviously once we get past May, some of the dates involve spending money to go out as the vouchers were not valid past then, but I am sure you will find inspiration from some of those ideas too. Come back later in the year for more . .