If you’re still feeling the pinch of austerity, or having a personal post Christmas credit crunch, you may be wondering how to make Valentine’s day special without breaking the bank.
But enjoying the romance of February 14th is perfectly possible without prejudicing your finances.
Make this year’s Valentine’s celebrations memorable by heading outdoors for a Valentine’s Day picnic.
Location location location
Yes it’s February, but that’s no reason to fester inside. Our suggestion for a romantic winter picnic is not without the risk of rain, so before pulling on your mens boots, hat and gloves make sure you choose your destination with care.
Do some research to find somewhere that offers a reasonable degree of shelter should the weather be less than ideal. With this in mind, a windswept Lakeland fell is probably out, but sheltered woodland gets the nod. And remember you can always pack a beach tent to keep you dry should the heavens open. The Woodland Trust website has a search facility that will find your nearest patch of forest at the click of a mouse.
Think layers because nothing kills romance faster than being wet, cold and miserable. Go for a moisture wicking non-cotton thermal base layer that’ll keep you toasty and prevent you chilling once you stop walking. Next comes the thermal layer of fleece or wool and finally a top coat that’s water and windproof, as well as breathable.
If it’s cold, consider wearing lined trousers or a thermals. Cotton is best avoided because once wet, it stays wet. Good stout footwear, hat and gloves are a must, and don’t forget your head torches!
Contact with the cold winter ground won’t help shield the flame of your Valentine’s day ardour. Equally, humping heavy soft furnishings to your picnic site won’t be much fun either. But cuddling up is a vital part of the Valentine’s experience so we suggest you opt for a lightweight fleece blanket. It’s great to share and and doesn’t take up too much space in your pack.
And to protect your derriere from the frosty forest floor, a camping carry mat or square of polystyrene works well. Alternatively camping chairs are easy if a little bulky to carry. Failing that, tape a cushion or pillow into a plastic bag to keep it dry while you sit on it.
A thermos of hot soup is a must for a winter picnic, but that’s not the only warm treat you could consider. If you’re allowed to light a fire at your chosen destination, you can’t go wrong with foil wrapped baked potatoes.
To make them them cook quicker, thinly slice them nearly all the way through, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Place the wrapped spuds in the embers for a hot tasty snack. Cook sausages in the same way – not only will they cook all the way through, they won’t taste burnt either.
And don’t forget to pack a bag of marshmallows for a great toasted sweet treat to share.
Do you know the Plough from Orion’s belt? Gemini from Taurus? We’re talking constellations of course, because winter is the best time to view some of the most impressive night time stars. Cuddle up and share a pair of binoculars for an experience that’s sure to bring you closer.
The National Trust have a great guide to stargazing that’s well worth a look. Taking the time to work out what’s what and where will be well worth the effort; show your loved one the stars and they’ll soon fall for the twinkle in your eye!