This photo was taken at about 10pm last Friday night:
I know it was taken at 10pm, because my husband happily posed for the photograph, which means he had consumed around five pints of beer and was feeling co-operative. Apparently his Northern roots don’t allow for selfies.
On Friday night the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine and I ventured into the cold for a rare night out, just the two of us. We were up in Rochdale, the NLM’s birth place, so his parents kindly offered to babysit. Rochdale isn’t the first place that springs to mind when I conjure up romantic images in my head, but Paris was off the cards and, to be honest, when you get out as little as I do then anywhere sounds appealing.
Our night out was courtesy of Head & Shoulders who gave us £100 to spend together, after a 15 minute coaching session with relationship coach Matthew Hussey.
It turns out £100 goes far in Rochdale.
The tapas restaurant – The Rake in Littleborough if you’re ever near – was brilliant. We ate prawns in garlic (you don’t need to worry about garlic breath when you’ve been married 2 years) and chargrilled sardines, along with Halloumi and some fancy chorizo dish. Oh and olives – of course. And calamari. And bread. Actually, there was so much food I had to undo the top button of my jeans to allow for breathing room. Sexy.
We washed it all down with Spanish beer and Prosecco. It felt positively decadent to be sitting in a restaurant on a Friday night, leisurely eating and drinking, without having to get up to go to the loo with a young child every ten minutes or worrying about getting back for bedtime.
The thing is, the bill only came to £60. So, obviously, the answer was to go to the pub down the road to spend the rest of the cash. That’s where things became slightly less romantic, although no less fun.
Black peas and cider were being served outside in the garden area, which made the NLM instantly excited about being reacquainted with his Northern roots.
We drank some more and chatted and laughed and generally had a brilliant time. It reminded me how important it is to spend time together away from computers and the stresses of daily life – even if it’s just to sit on the sofa on a Friday night and watch a film together. We made a pact to keep weekends free to do more stuff together, rather than let work or chores take over every space of our life.
I tried to remember the points that Matthew Hussey made during our pre-date chat, to compliment my husband and bring something interesting to the evening to talk about. Next time I will remember not to make Gary Barlow my specialist subject or to compliment the hair of a man who has none. Other than that, we found lots to talk about that didn’t revolve around work, money or our child. I call that a win.
The exhaustion the following day was a good reminder for us both of how long we’ve actually been together and how much we’ve changed since we first met. Time was, we would go out partying until the small hours and still feel breezy enough to do it the following evening. Those days are well and truly gone now.
And no, I can’t still walk in heels.
Disclosure: A huge thank you to Head & Shoulders who provided me with £100 for the night out, and to Tots100 who arranged it. Thank you also to Matthew Hussey who gave me some fantastic pre-date advice, even if I didn’t follow it to the letter.