Romantic gestures and cool dates for under a tenner

Money’s tight at this time of year, but you can still have fun on a shoe-string.

Money’s tight at this time of year, but you can still have fun on a shoe-string. Here’s a few ways to show your date a good time without blowing the budget.

Make saucy desserts
Baking can be an incredibly sexy way to spend time together, so why not arrange a date that centres around your kitchen? Pick out a suitably seductive recipe – Nigella has plenty – and get baking. Preferably something that involves lots of melted chocolate, whipped cream and plenty of suggestive spoon licking! You never know where it might lead…

Visit a Christmas market
Wrap-up warm and take a wander around one of the many pop-up Christmas markets around at the moment. Soak-up the festive fare, admire the decorations, immerse yourselves in the familiar sights, sounds and smells of the season from roasting chestnuts and Christmas trees to carol singers and gingerbread. Hold hands, kiss under the mistletoe and warm-up with a glass of mulled wine and mince pie or two. It’s hard to think of a more fitting yuletide date.

Load up on free culture
A leisurely stroll round an art gallery can be both stimulating and fun. Even if you both don’t like what you see, it will give you both something to talk about over an inexpensive hot chocolate and slice of cake in a nearby café afterwards. Most museums and galleries offer free entrance, especially if you’re not planning on seeing a specific exhibtion. Check out your local listings and see what tickles your fancy.

Organise a treasure hunt
No one’s ever too old for a good old-fashioned treasure hunt. First write out a set of simple clues on the back of postcards for your date to decipher, then conceal them around the house for them to find. Your clues should spell out a special personalised message for your date. Make sure there’s a reward for each clue solved – this could be something as inexpensive as penny sweets or a packet of Love Hearts. It’s a novel and fun way to spend time together and your efforts are guaranteed to please.

Don’t do dinner
Taking a date out for dinner can be expensive, so why not arrange to meet up for mid-afternoon coffee or just go out for cake? It’s just like a dinner date, with the added bonus of cake! Choose somewhere near a market or fancy high street for a spot of window-shopping afterwards.

Take a car for a spin
Feeling daring? Put on you’re your most expensive clothes, pose as a wealthy well-heeled couple and pay a trip a fancy car dealership. If you look and sound like you mean business, chances are they’ll hand over the keys for a test drive.  The frisson of being caught out by the salesman will give you both an extra thrill. Why not aim high and test-drive a Ferrari!

Plan a moonlight picnic
Take your date on a romantic moonlit date under the stars. Pack a bag with a nice comfy rug to sit on, a bottle of wine, corkscrew, a couple of glasses and a few nibbles and you’re good to go. Choose somewhere high up with a good view. What could be more romantic than snuggling-up to keep warm under the stars whilst sipping wine and admiring the view? Just remember to check the weather forecast first. There’s nothing romantic about sitting in a muddy puddle.

Go for a bike ride
A sure way to get your date’s heart racing is to organise an energising Sunday bike ride for just the two of you. Stick to quiet lanes and scenic countryside or canal tow-paths. Take it nice and slow and cycle side-by-side where possible so you can chat along the way. By the time you get home you’ll be ready for relaxing bath and maybe even an early night.

Make movie night special
Turn a night in with a DVD into something extra special. Hire your date’s favourite film, dim the lights, turn your phones off, provide plenty of popcorn and make sure you’ve got a cosy blanket to snuggle under whilst you watch. Warm, cosy and almost free.

Arrange a spa night
Plan a romantic night of pampering for your other half. Create an ambient atmosphere by lighting a few candles and putting on some romantic tunes (no whale music please). Cut some fresh fruit and arrange in a bowl, run a relaxing bubble bath, treat them to a de-stressing massage and enjoy a sensual stress-free early night. Heavenly.

Watch a live recording
Fancy night of free top notch entertainment? Apply for free tickets for one of your favourite TV or Radio shows. Whether you’re into comedy, music, current affairs or dance, it’s possible to secure tickets for some of the most popular shows by applying to the production company direct. It’s worth signing-up to a few mailing lists so you know what’s on in your area and can apply straight away.