As much as I love my children and as wanted as they were, I have to admit I do miss having time alone with my partner. Before our children came along we used to have a lot of dates, several times a week in fact! We'd go out to dinner or for drinks, we had lots of weekend breaks and bigger holidays, we always had something in the diary. If there wasn't something planned, we would do something on the spur of the moment.
Of course, having children changes all that. Priorities shift and at the very least the spontaneity is lost for a while. My youngest still needs me a lot and is nowhere near ready to be left with grandparents for the night. We're okay with that, because we made the choice to become parents and we know how quickly these years will pass. Still, it's nice to find ways to reconnect every now and then so here are 10 date-night ideas for couples with children when time is limited. And yes, some of them are daytime ideas, because let's face it, you've got to make the most of any opportunity!
10 Date-Night Ideas For Couples With Children
1. Catch A Matinee
If you love going to the cinema but going in the evenings is impossible because your children need you for bedtime, then call on the grandparents to watch the children one late morning or early afternoon and go then.
2. Have a Games Night
It might sound cheesy as hell, but one time Ian and I got Monopoly out and it was such a giggle! He was hugely competitive which just made me laugh even more. What could be better than laughing together?
3. Bubble Bath for Two
A candlelit bath with lots of bubbles, maybe even a cheeky glass of champagne, how good does that sound? If your bath isn't big enough for the both of you, how about one of you surprising the other by having a bath ready after the children have gone to bed.
4. Brunch with the Kids
If your children are really young or childcare isn't as easy to come by, make time to go out for brunch as a family. You can occupy little ones with a hot chocolate and a baked treat, while you both get the chance to talk and catch up on each other's week.
5. Watch the Sunset
Head to the highest point and watch the sunset together. This is a great one if you have a small baby who can be rocked off to sleep in their pram, or if you just don't want to leave your children with a babysitter for too long.
This is one I like doing frequently, and we don't necessarily have to head outdoors to do it. I love to get some fresh bread, olives, Ian's favourite cheeses and share them.
7. Spa Night
I don't know why I don't do this one more often because we used to love doing this even before we had children! Get some gorgeous products and give each other a facial, a hand massage or even a back massage.
8. Dinner for Two
I really enjoy cooking for my family and a lot of love goes into it. Sometimes I just want to relax without cooking so we'll get a takeaway to share or take advantage of the Marks & Spencer Dine-In for £10 offers so we can enjoy a meal cooked by someone else without having to leave the house or get a babysitter.
9. Look Through Old Photos
Over the years it's easy to forget the things you've done and the places you've been so make some time to look through your old photos together. I do this every now and then and love finding photos I had completely forgotten about. And it's so funny to see how much younger we looked!
10. Movie Night
This is our favourite way to spend time together. We'll get lots of snacks, maybe a few beers, and find something cool to watch together. If I spot something listed on the TV guide I'll set it to record on our Panasonic HDD Recorder, or we check out what's on Netflix.
Panasonic HDD Recorder with Freeview Play
Last month I got sent a Panasonic HDD Recorder DWB-HWT150EB to review, which is compatible with Freeview Play. It's a Smart Network HDD Recorder with Twin HD which allows you to archive and play 4K of content. It has a 7-day catch up service on selected channels and as well as being compatible with Freeview Play, it also supports internet apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. With this HDD Recorder you can turn your TV into a smart TV!
Setting up the Panasonic HDD Recorder was really easy. It came with clear instructions on what to do, had an HDMI cable included and the remote control even came supplied with batteries. Once switched on the unit took a couple of minutes to configure the channels and then we were ready to go.
Freeview offers over 60 channels, 12 HD channels and 25 radio stations. All of our favourites are there including the children's beloved CBeebies! There is a guide to show the listings for all of the channels so you can find what you want to watch and record, and you can set it to record an entire series. Up to two programmes can be recorded at the same time which is great for us because our favourite shows seem to always be on at 9pm. You can also pause live TV which is really handy.
By connecting the recorder to our wifi we can also make use of Freeview Play. You can browse through a variety of programmes from selected channels and catch up with what's been shown in the past 7 days. I find this really handy if I see people discussing a programme on social media and want to find out what all the fuss is about! And as it also supports Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, it's perfect for when we are having our movie date-nights at home.
Another feature it has is TV Anywhere. I haven't used this feature yet but what it does is sends recordings and live broadcasts over the internet to your smartphone or tablet. How cool is that! And you can also connect your camera via the USB connection to view your photos and videos on screen.
If you are looking for an alternative to monthly subscription TV services then a Panasonic HDD Recorder with Freeview Play might be just what you need! Head over to the Panasonic website to find out more about this and the other HDD Recorders in the range.
* I was kindly sent a Panasonic HDD Recorder to review.