We all need some time and space without focusing on children now and then, and planning a romantic evening at home can be just the ticket. Whether you're considering a special night in for Valentine's Day, or planning a regular 'date night' with your partner, we've put together some great tips for a romantic evening at home.
Having a blank canvas to start with in the form of a tidy, organised house - or at least a tidy, organised sitting room and kitchen - is a helpful first step. If you find you just don't ever have time to get sorted out, you could always ask a friend or relative for some help with childcare for an hour or two during the afternoon to give you time to tidy up and get ready.
Make sure your children are in bed and asleep before you sit down to your romantic evening. If you have a relative nearby who might offer a sleepover for the night, that can make for a guaranteed peaceful evening - otherwise, stick to the usual routine, fitting your evening around their hours, as most contented babies will sleep well once they are settled.
Food and drink
Of course, oysters and champagne are the traditional aphrodisiacs, but you may find something less costly is just as enjoyable - especially if you don't like oysters!
Think about what your partner likes to eat, but also what is easy to cook. Finding dishes that can either be prepared in advance and re-heated or choosing a menu that is easily put together will make all the difference. You don't want to spend your entire romantic evening dashing to and from the kitchen in a flustered state.
A good bottle of Cava or Prosecco can be just as nice as champagne if you're on a budget, and a cheap bottle of Asti Spumante can be transformed by the addition of the juice of a lime or two.
Candles, tea lights or fairy lights can help transform your home into a more romantic setting. If you don't have dimmer switches, you may prefer to use side lights to create a cosy atmosphere.
Think about the mood you want to set with the music. You may need to strike a balance between what he likes and what you feel would be suitably romantic.
Scent of romance
A diffuser or scented candles can fill the air with the scent of romance. Jasmine, sandalwood or rose are popular scents, or you may want to choose your own personal favourites.
A properly laid table with a tablecloth and napkins can help to make your evening special. You may want to set a red or pink colour scheme for Valentine's Day and scattering the table with some rose petals can give a truly romantic touch.
Flowers on the table are great, but don't forget that a single rose can be just as romantic as a large bunch!
Strawberries dipped in chocolate, petit fours or exotic fruits - you can have fun choosing a special desert. You could even consider making a heart-shaped cake if you have the time and the inclination!
Good chocolates can be the perfect finale to your meal, and there are lots of fun heart-shaped or red and pink wrapped chocolates available for Valentine's Day.
Have a wonderful evening!