Why is it that we’re always more cash-strapped in summer? Probably because as soon as the first chink of sunshine appears, we come out of hibernation and go on a social rampage, trying to squeeze every drop of fun out of the fleeting nice weather. So if you’re in the middle of a money lull, here are seven romantic ideas that are totally free to do…
1. Plan an outdoor movie night
Lay a patchwork quilt in the garden, gather a pile of cushions, put some retro films on your laptop, and voila – you’ve got your own hipster-style outdoor cinema. Just add craft beer and falafel for the full authentic experience.
2. Go skinny dipping
It doesn’t get more idyllic than skinny-dipping in a secluded spot (as long as no-one makes off with your clothes, that is). Our favourite lake scene is from Love Actually, in which Aurelia strips off to dive in after Jamie’s novel manuscript, and he leaps in after her – the stuff of movie magic.
3. Have a camping adventure
On the face of it, camping is the enemy of romance – we know it’s not fun showering amongst spiders while a trickle of water fails to wash your hair. But with no distractions or pressure to have an ah-mazing time, you’re free to enjoy each other’s company and laugh about the things that go wrong. Plus, if it’s cold in the night, there’s all the more reason to snuggle up under the stars.
4. Soak up some culture
Think you’ve already been to every free gallery around? There are always lesser-known places where you won’t need to battle the crowds. Hidden galleries (think London’s Old Police Station), pop-up exhibitions and obscure museums (we love the nostalgic Pollock’s toy museum), will give you a curious day out without any queues.
5. Bake your own picnic
You know the scene: he spills the flour, you wipe some on his face, you have a big flour fight and it ends in hysterical laughter. Even if you end up bickering rather than play fighting, taking your labour of love to the park for a picnic will sweeten up your afternoon.
6. Get back into books
Reading a romance novel in the sun will warm the heart of even the most stressed out bride-to-be. If you’ve already worked your way through the classics, immerse yourself in a modern love story like Nick Hornby’s One Day or Graeme Simsion’s hilarious The Rosie Project. Just be prepared to forgive him if he’s more keen on The Zombie Survival Guide than Pride & Prej.
7. Hang out at the farm
We might be too big for a donkey ride, but you’ll never convince us that feeding pygmy goats is just for children, and that pot-bellied pigs are actually not funny. Plenty of parks have animal corners, so find your local and we promise the cute-factor of those farm friends will make you feel loved-up. Or a bit gross and in need of a shower. Either or.