How we celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget

Having been with my lovely husband for more years than I care to remember (19 ok, it’s 19 years) we’ve celebrated a Valentine’s Day or two over the years. In the early days it was all massive bouquets of flowers and fancy pants meals in swanky restaurants. Then as time wore on we set a budget for gifts and nights out we’re replaced by takeaways.

How we celebrate Valentine's Day on a budget

Then when baby (now lively toddler) arrived, we sort of gave up on Valentine’s Day entirely. We were too busy and too tired to make an effort. But when you’re too busy and too tired to make an effort, that’s the time you really should be making an effort.

This year will be different. I’m now self-employed and all my disposable income has been disposed of elsewhere. But being a bit of a thrifty type I’m determined to make this one a little bit special even on my tiny, virtally non-existent budget.

Valentine’s Day this year is on a Friday which is obviously a work day. Hubs will have been at work and I’ll have spent the day with a riotous toddler. We’ll both be tired and maybe a bit frazzled, so what we plan needs to be not only budget friendly but incredibly simple, so this is what’s on the agenda.

7.30pm – Put riotous toddler to bed.
7.35pm – Breathe.
7.45pm – Husband (who never cooks but when he does it’s brilliant) makes his signature spaghetti dish.
8.00pm – Open leftover bottle of prosecco from Christmas (yes, such a thing as leftover booze does exist in our house, it’s rare but it does happen), consume spaghetti vongole.
8.30pm – I make a sexy pudding, which in this case will be some heart shaped biscuits the toddler and I will have made that afternoon. (Baking activity turned into slave labour, parenting at its best) served with nice Aldi ice cream and some raspberries.
9.30pm – Curl up on the sofa with the rest of the prosecco; exchange homemade cards and cuddles then watch a DVD.
11.30pm – Bedtime with extra snuggles.

Simple but lovely and what’s more, very, very cheap.

Will you be enjoying a budget Valentine’s Day? What are your penny-wise tips for passionate Valentines? I’d love to hear them.

Summer loving – 1995 changed my life forever

In the summer of 1995 I fell in love with my husband. I was a youthful 18 year old, freed from the shackles of A level revision and all set for university. I had a handsome man on my arm and a badly paid summer job in the steamy kitchen of a care home. This is our tale of summer loving.

Summer loving - 1995 changed my life forever

Although my memories of that summer are patchy, I remember sweaty evenings working in the kitchens followed by sweatier nights out at nightclubs with my man. I worked hard and played hard, hardly seeing daylight from one day to the next. My main focus was on squeezing every last bit of fun out of my pre-uni summer.

I was busy getting to know the person I would eventually marry, even though we’d end up at universities at different ends of the country for a few weeks until he moved up north to be with me.

Our love burned brightly and intensely as teenage love does. I still love him intensely and passionately for the man he was and the great man he has grown into. I often look back at the boy I met way back in the early 1990s and see how being together we’ve helped to shape each other and grow, our shared destiny intertwined.

I’m so pleased that I married my soulmate, my best friend and favourite person in the world. I love that I managed to just stumble across him so early in life before I managed to accrue too many broken hearts and hurtful memories. I know how lucky we are, I know how lucky we still are. 

It’s 2017 now. Next month will mark 22 years of holding his hand and facing whatever life throws at us together. We are not the people we were that lifetime ago. We are changed, mostly for the better. We’re parents now and dog owners, we are both self employed and reasonably responsible members of society. Though I still enjoy a sweaty nightclub. 

Everything and nothing changes. Life is funny like that.