This afternoons post comes to you from Martha – a Florence Finds reader who floated the idea of chronicling her way of keeping things fresh and avoiding the post wedding blues with the genius idea of Alphabet Dating. I always love getting insight into other peoples relationships and getting ideas for my own so I jumped at the chance of her sharing her experiences… Take it away Martha!
As a couple, my husband and I have always been a fan of a “date night”, trying hard not to slip into the easy habit of boxed set DVDs and dinner on our laps every night. However, in the hectic run up to our DIY wedding last summer, we were often guilty of this. During the evenings and weekends you could often find us slaving away with a craft knife making invitations, getting RSI from pompom folding or discussing the best way to fashion a suit for our clothes peg cake topper. So when we returned from honeymoon, with an abundance of time (and a little more spare cash!), we were eager not to fall into this routine again. A good friend mentioned that her and her boyfriend were “Alphabet Dating” and we thought that this would be a fun way to kick start our life as newlyweds.
Now for those of you not familiar with the concept of Alphabet Dating, it basically does what it says on the tin. You and your other half take it in turns to plan a date for the other using the letters of the alphabet for guidance. And from there you can make your own rules! We started off trying to plan a date for every other week but this proved challenging when work, life etc got in the way. We also had to take a rather lengthy break during a particularly stressful time when we were buying our first house and I was unemployed (so not ideal)! However, for us (so far at least!), this has been a great way to make time for each other and also to actually do all those fun things you rarely get round to doing. And here’s what we have been up to so far…
A is for Afternoon Tea.
The pressure of the first date fell on me and I quickly decided that we should go for afternoon tea. This was something that I had always wanted to do, so I booked a slot one weekend at Fleming’s Hotel in London (I thought this was rather fitting given that my maiden name is Fleming!). However, on the morning of the date, I decided that a whoooole free weekend was far too exciting a thing to “waste” on a few hours in London. So, I set about planning an “Adventure”! Tenuous I know, but I did say the rules were flexible 🙂 Anyway, I am rambling already… we ended up in the Cotswolds, spending the night in Stow on the Wold, eating at the gorgeous Daylesford and generally having a grand old time. We even managed to stop off in a small market town for tea and a scone so we did have afternoon tea after all…
B is for Beach.
My gorgeous hubby excelled himself on this one! I was “working from home” one Friday and instead of the expected Tesco delivery man, I opened the door to find my mister grinning (somewhat demonically) and screeching something about the beach! Turns out he’d booked the afternoon off work and we set off for a weekend at the beach with a dinner of barbequed burgers for good measure 🙂
(We soon realised that full weekends away were not sustainable and toned it down from then on…!!)
C is for Cheese.
One Thursday after work, we headed to South Kensington’s La Cave à Fromage for one of their tasting events and this one happened to include two of my favourite “C”s (and things in general really)… Cheese and champagne. Yum. We giggled our way through the formalities of sniffing the bouquet and trying to taste the hint of Elderflower blah blah and then scoffed as much delicious cheese as possible.
D is for Dance.
We checked out a performance at Sandler’s Wells Theatre. And we may have skived off for a D.rink instead of watching the second half…
E is for English breakfast.
E is actually really hard! I struggled for ages on this one and settled on a full English at a favourite of ours, The Empress in Victoria Park (sneaking in an extra “E” there :)) where they serve up a mean brunch and Bloody Mary – perfect for a long Sunday morning with the papers **cough-trashy magazines-cough**.
F is for…. (hangs head in shame) Furry Fun Times.
The hubby was obviously feeling extra creative with this one but I can assure you it was much more “PG” than it sounds! We went to Zoo Lates at London Zoo where they open up the zoo to grown-ups only every Friday night over the summer. We spent the evening looking at all the animals (I just LOVE the otters!) and with alcohol and face painting thrown into mix it was a definite hit!
G is for Gingerline HQ.
As a fellow ginge myself I was extra excited about this one! Gingerline HQ is essentially a pop up restaurant somewhere on the East London or “Ginger” tube line. We had to get ourselves to a station on the tube line when we received a text telling us where to get off. From that point we follow a trail of hearts (and other confused looking diners) to a secret location where we enjoyed a slap up meal. That, however, is all I can say as visitors to Gingerline HQ are sworn to secrecy…
I is for Italian cooking.
Nope. I haven’t lost my mind! ”H” was scheduled before “I”; however, I ruined everything by getting the flu and a 40 degree temperature so you will have to wait for the next instalment for that one! Now, I have to say, I am especially proud of “I” and it was a great success! Pasta making is something that me and my other half have always wanted to do. I googled classes in London and knew I’d be on to a win when I stumbled across “Recipease” by Jamie Oliver. There were about 20 of us in the class with 2 to a work station. We got taught how to make the perfect pasta and a yummy sauce which we got to enjoy at the end of the session (there was enough to take some home to cook later too!).
So that’s where we are so far! Hopefully I will be back in a month or so with the next batch of dates! “H” is scheduled for this weekend and I am excited to see what has been planned. I am struggling to think of something for my next date with “K” though… A friend suggested kite surfing but I’d prefer not to break my neck! Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated (but don’t tell the husband I’ve had help :))!
I am also interested to know how you guys manage to make time for your relationships with the pressures of work, life, weddings, babies… and how do you make sure you don’t end up in that DVD boxed set/takeout rut (although it is a winning combo!)? Do you have a “date night” perhaps? I would love to hear your thoughts!
PS! Have you got an idea for a submission? Completed a decorating project or DIY? Have you been on a wicked city break or found an amazing hotel? Got a relationship or life dilemma you want to share? Chances are, if you like it, our readers will, so please send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org and mark the subject box ‘Submissions’
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