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As January ends, St Valentine and Cupid meet for their annual drink and hatch a plan to make or break relationships across the globe. Confectionery and card shops in every town have begun overloading shelves with all things pink, red and sparkly, while romantic menus are in progress across the culinary world.

Now, my partner is a bit of a tech geek, he loves design and loathes the traditional soppy gestures associated with the occasion. So this year I have been on the hunt for a card that suits him; I don’t want the standard ‘I love you’ plastered across the front, instead I’m looking to insinuate this in a cool and different way.

During my search, I visited a regular favourite of mine, I receive the newsletter and often leave hints around the house in the hope that one day it won’t fall on deaf ears; we can but try! As suspected, they have a great range of cards for just such a need, enough for an entire post! So here are a few of my favourites: 

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There comes a time when you just need to get away; whether your running from a problem, stressed at work or just fed up. This weekend, I took the oportunity to do just that and spent a wonderful few days in Dorset with my partner. Although primarily to celebrate an anniversary, the pair of us needed to get some fresh air and we picked the perfect place to do it.

We chose the Jurassic coast in Dorset, famed for it’s dramatic coast and history. With a world heritage status, you expect something amazing. I’ve never been to the area before but I think it’s safe to say it’s now one of my favourite places in Britain.

We spent Saturday at Lulworth Cove, a beautiful natural cove carved out by decades of crashing ocean. We walked the local area, climbed the headland and strolled the stoney beach. Wrappped up in gloves and hats, even the cold couldn’t ruin the atmosphere and our bravery was well worth our effort. That night, we stayed in a little B&B so close to the water we could hear the waves in the night; bliss.

Sunday morning was spent at Durdle Door. This facinating stretch of coast had me captured from first sight; I found myself totally relaxed, it’s a long way from London! We spent lunch in one of the many small caves  looking out on nature at it’s best.

After dragging ourselves away, we drove onto Poole for a coffee and Twix on the beach. With the sun on our faces, we attempted a romantic beach stroll, but a rather gusty wind took pay to that idea; shelter in an alcove of steps was the best we could wish for. But despite the wind and the cold, the two days provided a much needed cheap break from the city lights.

I’m not just sharing this to evoke jealousy, more advice; if a weekend away is much overdue, don’t hesitate to hire a car and go. This is defiantly a place to blow the cobwebs out, even more so out of season when it’s at it’s most blustery. The whole weekend took about £200 from our pockets, including petrol and food, not bad. Out of season is also quiet, relaxed and light on traffic.

If you need a mini break to do some big thinking, drive down to Dorset and let the view inspire you.

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For those looking for a simple yet very romantic way of saying ‘I Love You’ this must be a top consideration. I’ve just come across this beautiful little concept on Crafster and had to write a post about it.

Made out of a pack of cards, a pair of 1 inch binder rings and a bit of creativity, it would certainly put a huge smile on my face were I to receive it.

Here, scrabble pieces have been used to symbolise names but this is only one way of doing it. How about trying stamps, pressed flowers, pictures, shells or better still good old fashioned paint.

There aren’t any specific instructions to follow, it’s more your own judgement and creative flair. However, it is recommended that you try to laminate the front and back for protection. Other than that,it’s up to you, unleash your romantic side and have fun with it!





Maybe it’s just me but I love buying the lottery tickets where you have to scratch off the grey block to reveal your fate. My mind races as I imagine everything I could do (or more likely buy!) with that extra cash; that Chanel dress, a holiday in the Bahamas, a new car, a new house…

I admit, it usually ends in heart-breaking disappointment, you win nothing, or worse, you win 10p. But, what if you could design them yourselves? Admitedly it would lose the ‘what if‘ factor, but then the prizes could be more fun.

For children, home-made scratch cards could be an incentive to tidy their room, gambling on whether they win a Mars Bar or a trip to the zoo. For couples, the concept could be a little naughtier but what a wonderful way of spicing things up. They’re also a great way to aid a secret Santa and can be the decider in an endless ‘what shall we do this weekend?’ saga.

I’m thinking about making a batch and keeping them in a jar in the kitchen – it’ll be an excellent perk-me-up on those rainy days when I just feel like a treat.

So after all that build up, how can we make our own? I found a handy blog post from ArtMind which gives a step by step guide:

Here is what you need:

Cardboard, a print-out of your lottery ticket, glue stick, sticky back plastic (contact paper), metallic acrylic paint (preferably silver) and washing liquid.

Method: (Note: the paper cutting was prepared beforehand so that part of the tutorial has been skipped)

1. Beforehand you print out a design that you want to be on the scratch off lottery tickets. If your printer can take thick paper you can print it directly on the cardboard and skip this part. If you do it in two steps, it is nice to get a fun color background paper and glue the design onto the card.





2. Then you take a piece of sticky back plastic and put it onto the design.







3. Mix some metallic acrylic paint with washing liquid. Try to use 1 part washing liquid and 2 parts of paint. Mix the substance.






4. Paint the plastic part on the ticket and let it dry. Make sure that the picture underneath the paint is hidden. Add another layer if this is not the case.






5. And then… scratch away!



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Need something interesting and unique for a empty wall in your home? Want to make more of your family photos? How about this…

You could start off as a mere sapling and nurture your very own giant oak as your family grows. Even better, make use of those lovely old sepia photos that are gathering dust in the loft. However you choose to do it, this is a wonderfully visual addition to any home!

I found this image on Fresh Paint Artist, a website dedicated to the artisitc works of Linnette Lee in Kansas.

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After recently watching the film Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey, I started to wonder how many people actually do this any more? The film dramatises how most people feel about date night; busy lives often mean that finding time for a ‘special’ evening is more stressful than worthwhile. My partner and I have been together for the majority of our adult lives and despite our success we  have yet to actually go on a fairytale date. To clarify, I mean one of those dates where we both get dressed up and eat somewhere low-lit with soft Jazz. Obviously this is followed by a romantic stroll by a river and the whole evening is packaged into a montage narrated by the tones of Damien Rice.

Meeting through school at the tender age of 16, our idea of a date was a teenage house party where drink was plentiful and stolen kisses in crowded corridors were about as romantic as it got. Obviously things have changed since then.

To keep things ticking along, the concept of date night had reared its head a few times. Its appeal lies in the fact that it forces both of us to make an effort and do something different. Yet is it a practical option and can such an event be upheld on a regular basis nowadays? With rising workloads and stress to match, the idea of getting dressed up and going out to spend money we don’t have isn’t appealing. Dating is an act dreaded by many so the thought of doing it when you finally find your perfect partner seems particularly cruel for all those involved.

So with this in mind, can date night be a more fluid concept? Can it instead mean that once  a month some time is placed aside, day or night, unscheduled and at random, spent as circumstances determine? Whether at home or not, it has to be made special, for me this just means phones off and Facebook left alone. I don’t think date night should rigidly mean flowers, toe-numbing heels and expensive food. Why can it not instead be a simple candle lit dinner at home, a drive to the beach or an inexpensive but different Groupon. Services such as Groupon can help considerably for these occasions, only recently I saw a cheap cocktail making course, perfect for a special occasion.

I think traditional date night has evolved and it no longer works with the modern life style. If you can achieve one out of the ordinary gesture per month, I’m certain that it can only have a positive effect on any relationship. October’s date has yet to be determined in my household but I’m keeping an eye out for ideas that will suit both of us.


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