My first attempt at sugar cookies

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I see sugar cookies all the time on social media. Birthday sugar cookies, baby shower sugar cookies, wedding sugar cookies, Christmas sugar cookies. I can’t seem to get away from them when I’m scrolling through Pinterest, but I’ve never actually had a go at making my own sugar cookies before. Well, until now that is.

I get the impression that sugar cookies are a much bigger thing in the US than they are here in the UK. The only time I’ve eaten sugar cookies before is back when I was at Primary school; my mum has a friend who grew up in Hawaii, and she always made sugar cookies for us to decorate when we went round to her house. (Side note: I loved going round to her house.)

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So, armed with a bit of spare time and some good old nostalgia, I decided to have a go at baking my own sugar cookies. My mum’s friend was kind enough to give me her recipe, so I was able to make the exact same yummy cookies that I remember eating as a kid.

I was really pleased with how these cookies turned out for a first attempt. They tasted just like I remember, and were perfect for icing. I decided to keep things pretty simple and go with a butterfly design for these cookies, but I’m excited to experiment and see what other designs I will be able to come up with using some different cookie cutters.

I’m already planning on making some of these for my 21st birthday party next week, so I’ll be uploading a recipe soon! I’m hoping to have a go at making some cacti cookies, what do you think?!

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Have you ever made sugar cookies? Do you agree that they’re way more popular in the States?

Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Sister Style- Spring edition!

 

 

When I came to the decision to restyle my blog a couple of weeks ago, I really wanted to start incorporating more fashion posts. I wouldn’t say that I’m a fashionable person, but I’m still a sucker for all those beautifully styled Instagram photos of super trendy women in gorgeous clothing. I just said ‘trendy’, I’m so lame.

I’d actually love to have one of those super fashionable Instagrams, as I bloody love clothes; the issue is I hate being in front of the camera, which makes shooting photos to accompany fashion and beauty related posts pretty difficult. As you will be able to tell from most of these photos, I’m a pretty awkward poser. Body confidence isn’t something I possess in abundance.

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But those of you who have been following my blog for a while now will know that my sister, Hannah, loves being in front of the camera. Hannah loves all things fashion and has a pretty hefty clothing collection. Hence when I do decide to do a fashion post, Hannah is my go to.

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Today’s sister style had kind of a sports-luxe vibe- well, at least that’s what I thought, like I say, I ain’t no fashion guru. The weather has finally started to warm up (well, it’s not snowing anymore) here in Lancashire, so we decided to forgo coats and really embrace the ‘Spring’ weather.

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We had great fun shooting for this blog post, as much as I hate having my picture taken, it’s always a nice way to spend an afternoon with my sister.

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I decided to wear this Topshop bodycon dress that I bought a few weeks back. Since the weather’s been so bad up here recently, this was really the first time I’ve had chance to wear it. I paired it with a white t-shirt underneath for a bit of extra warmth and then an Asos denim jacket (courtesy of Hannah!). I love the colours of this dress, I think it has a real 70s vibe that I am totally digging.

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Those of you who saw my last sister style post will know that I am mad about these leather boots. My parents bought me them from Dune for my 20th birthday back in September and I’ve hardly stopped wearing them since! I usually wear these with knee socks when the weather starts to warm up a bit, I have a love of knee socks and mini skirts.

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Resident model Hannah opted for a loose jumper from Stradivarius, paired with some back cropped trousers from Pretty Little Thing. Hannah is lucky enough to have tiny feet, so her shoes are actually kid’s Reebok Classics! I’m so jealous of her shoe size -_- (Plus she has the best selection of shoes and I can’t steal any of them).

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There you have it guys, I hope you enjoyed this lil’ sister style post! I always have so much fun doing these posts for you, let me know if you like seeing them!

Hope y’all had great Easter weekends,

Maddie.

 

My makeup collection- Eye shadow palettes!

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So those of you who follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, what you doin’? Let’s just take a minute to stop reading and go sort that out right now: @alittlemadsmith) will know that I recently did a little poll to see who would be interested in seeing my makeup collection- and I was pretty overwhelmed with all of the responses!

I’m a bit of a makeup collector. You could say that it is the one addiction that I have, as well as cheese of course. I’ve never really been bothered by handbags or shoes, but makeup is just that one thing that I am obsessed with. I guess it’s kind of stemmed from my love of art. I didn’t actually wear any makeup until I was almost fifteen; to be honest I found the whole thing pretty daunting at first. I remember feeling incredibly embarrassed whilst buying my first mascara from a box of sale items in Boots when I was fourteen Oh, how things change.

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Jump forward six years and I am now somewhat of a makeup junkie, though limited from becoming full on makeup junkie due to the restrains of living on a student budget. Most of the makeup in my collection is from the odd splurge after saving for several months, or presents from birthdays and Christmases.

Instead of writing an absolutely MASSIVE blog post where I talk about every single product I own, I thought I’d break this down into a mini series, so that I can give you all a bit more detail on each product.

Up today is my eyeshadow palette collection! Eyeshadow palettes are my main addiction; if you let me choose between buying a new foundation or a new eyeshadow palette, the palette would win every time. The artist in me loves colour, and I’m drawn to anything that shimmers. Of course, I have a lot of palettes with neutral colour schemes in my collection, but I still get very excited when I see a bright and colourful new release. I’ve had my eye on the Juvia’s Place Zulu eyeshadow palette for months now, still saving those pennies. 

Disclaimer- I have no clue why almost all of these are from Urban Decay!! I’ve actually been dying to get my hands on some of the Anastasia Beverly Hills palettes (that Soft Glam tho), some more Morphe ones, Juvia’s Place and Colourpop (but that international shipping cost *cries*). Unfortunately since my interest in makeup has really peaked, my income has really dropped. The last two years at uni haven’t left me with much spare change, so most of these palettes are from back in the day when I thought Urban Decay was the only brand in the history of ever.

Naked 2- Urban Decay

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This was the first eyeshadow palette that I ever purchased. I had just turned 18 and decided that I wanted to try out some more high end makeup; there was A LOT of hype surrounding the Naked series at the time. My friend Gabby had actually recently done my makeup for a party (it was that time in our lives when everyone we knew was turning 18), and she used this palette on my eyes. I was well and truly convinced that this palette was the best thing ever, and immediately went out and purchased one for myself.  This was actually my second ever high end purchase, after the Naked foundation. As you can tell, I wasn’t very adventurous and bought everything from the same makeup counter.

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This palette is great quality, but it isn’t something I reach for regularly when doing my makeup. It actually has more of a cool toned colour scheme, and I’ve since come to realise that I much prefer warm tones. I do still use the gold shade (Half baked) from time to time though and apply it onto my lid with my finger, its a really pretty shadow.

The Electric Palette- Urban Decay

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I went crazy for this palette. Like I said, I love colour, and boy did this palette have colour. I remember at the time I bought this palette I had just started working Saturday nights at a pub as a barmaid; once a week before work I would spend an hour creating some crazy ass eye look that the locals would always comment on. I owe most of my makeup skills to this palette really, it really taught me how to master the art of blending.

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I still adore the pigmentation in this palette, I was swatching it before writing this and OH MA GAWD I’d forgotten how good the shadows were! It isn’t the most wearable palette in the world, but I love it. Plus you can use the dark pink shade (Jilted) and the silver shade (Revolt) alongside other shadows to create more wearable looks, something that I do quite often.

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Naked Smoky- Urban Decay (See a theme here?) 

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For some reason I have always had an obsession with ‘smoky eyes’. Even before I bought my first eyeshadow, I would paint paintings with said ‘smoky eyes’. Something about it just seemed so mysterious and sexy to me. Hence when I saw that Urban Decay had a smoky palette I went bananas for it. I was a very happy girl that year for Christmas when my nan and granddad bought me this bad boy.

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I’m sad to say, like the Naked 2 palette, this isn’t one that I reach for much anymore. The brown tones are just a little too cool for when I want to do a bronze smoky eye, and I never really use grey shadow anymore. Though I can’t lie, once again the feel and blend of these shadows is great.

The Jaclyn Hill Palette- Morphe

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The most recent addition to my palette collection! For those who don’t know, Jaclyn Hill is a beauty youtuber who created this palette in collaboration with Morphe. This is my favourite palette hands down. It’s got cool tones, warm tones, transition shades, highlight shades, neutrals, pops of colour, shimmers, mattes- EVERYTHING you could want from a palette. And the blend on these shadows is unreal, especially for the price. Not a lot of fall out but highly pigmented colours, I can’t tell you enough how much I love this palette.

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Naked Ultimatte Basics- Urban Decay

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Another Naked palette- I know! Younger Maddie was scared of trying new things, ok? I actually love the warmed toned deep orange shade (Extra Bitter) in this palette, for me it makes the whole thing worth it. It was the first shadow I had in this sort of colour and I loved it, I started doing dark smokey eye looks with this in the crease for a really warm transition and I loved the way it turned out. I also love the deep mauve colour (Lethal); I did a few cut creases with this in the crease and gold on the lid which looked really pretty.

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If you like matte shadows and creating neutral looks, this palette would definitely be one to invest in. The shades have a good level of pigmentation, but it’s not so much that it would be daunting for a beginner. Plus theres a really good matte black in here, which everyone needs.

Full Spectrum Palette- Urban Decay

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Biggest waste of money EVER! These shades are so ridiculously not pigmented, and pretty dusty and dry. Even when I tried applying them with my finger, the colour pay off was just not what you’d expect from a palette in this price range. I was so disappointed by this as I had been looking forward to purchasing it for a while and was so excited by the colour scheme!

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I’m not sure if maybe I just bought a dud or if they were all that bad. Either way, this was not what I was expecting from the same brand who brought us the highly pigmented electric palette. I hardly ever use it.

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Naked Heat- Urban Decay

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Let’s leave this eyeshadow palette collection on a good note! My sister bought me the Naked Heat palette for my 20th birthday- she’s the best. Being the lover of all things warm toned that I am, this palette was a sure win for me. I love it, it’s the one of my Naked palettes that I reach for the most. I love creating really blown out dark smokey eyes with this palette.

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There you have it guys! Did you enjoy this little run through of my eye shadow palette collection? What part of my makeup collection would you like to see next? Be sure to let me know in the comments! 

Maddie.

My Morning Routine

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Going old school with these filters to make up for terrible lighting. Also lets pretend I didn’t cut my head of by accident and that we’re being cool and artsy- K?

As a person I would say that I awkwardly linger right in the middle of being a full on morning person and not wanting to be spoken to until midday. 

I love mornings. I love opening the curtains to a bright new day, the promise of a fresh start, and breakfast. 

I hate getting out of bed. 

But one thing I hate more than getting out of bed is staying in bed all day. I absolutely HATE lying in until the afternoon, or going a day in my pyjamas, un-showered and never opening the curtains.  So, I guess you could say that I am a morning person after all. 

Once I’ve built up the courage and strength to pull the duvet back and venture out into the cold, I actually really enjoy the morning. I am very lucky in that most of my lectures start late in the day, usually 11am or later. This means that I have loads of time in a morning to take it easy and really start my day right. 

8am- The dreaded alarm. 

If I don’t have a 9am start (which is most of the week), I will set my alarm for 8am. This includes weekends. I actually have the most cliche alarm ever- it’s birdsong. This is kind of a nice thing to wake up to, though I have noticed that in Summer I get woken up at the crack of dawn by actual birds singing. 

8:10am- Breakfast!

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The most important meal of the day. I bloody love breakfast, I will never understand how people can skip it. Even when I was waking up at 6:30am everyday for college, I always, AlWAYS made time for breakfast. Over the past few months I’ve gotten into the routine of eating porridge with honey, a chopped banana and ground cinnamon- it is so good. It really doesn’t take an age to prepare either, I get the little microwavable pouches of porridge oats that you just add milk to and pop in the microwave for 2 minutes. I chop the banana while that’s getting nuked and Bob’s my uncle.  

I also always drink a glass of water in the morning. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to start drinking more water as there’s so many health benefits of it, so this is a pretty new addition to the routine.

8:30am- Get on down to yoga town.

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Yoga has become an integral part of my life over the past year. I started it primarily as a method for dealing with stress amongst other things; fast forward and I am now in the best shape I’ve ever been, both mentally and physically. A morning started off with yoga is a morning started off right in my opinion. If you’re fancying starting your own yoga practice, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Yoga with Adriene on Youtube- it will revolutionise the way you see yourself and others, as well as improve your flexibility, strength and overall outlook on life. Honestly, Adriene is a miracle worker. 

I usually do around forty minutes of yoga in the morning, with the type depending on my energy level for that day. Sometimes I will opt for an ab or glute workout, or sometimes I will enjoy a slow morning sequence to help me wake up. 

9:15am- The boring stuff- shower, teeth, hair.

After I’ve finished with my yoga session I’ll hop in the shower, before cleaning my teeth and brushing my hair. Just the usual stuff here I’m afraid, nothing exciting. 

9:30am- The fun stuff- getting dressed and applying makeup.

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At this point in the morning I’ll usually do a quick check of the expected weather for the day and temperature and decide what to wear. As I live in northern England, the usual weather is the standard ‘freezing your tits off with an extra portion of rain’.

On a day to day basis I keep makeup pretty quick and easy; if I’m really rushing but still want a bit of something something, I’ll stick to just mascara, concealer, brow gel and blusher. If I have a bit more time on my hands I’ll add a bit of eyeshadow, bronzer, highlight and a lipstick too. And of course setting spray. I never wear foundation on a day to day basis, I like to keep my look pretty natural for uni.

10am- More food.

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If I don’t have to be at a lecture for 10am, I’ll squeeze in some extra time for eating before I head out the door. I have Gilbert’s syndrome, a liver condition that means I can get very lightheaded if I don’t eat regularly. Also I’m just a greedy b*tch. 😉 My favourite mid morning snack to have is some strawberries topped with greek yogurt and honey. I’ve recently been working on building my glute muscles, so the yogurt is pretty good for that. 

And there we have it!

There you are guys, I hope you enjoyed this little run through of my morning routine. My friends call me absolutely nuts for spending two hours getting ready in the morning, but I really think that taking some time for yourself to get your mind in the right place and ready for the day is so important. I can say that, at least for me, taking the extra time getting ready in the morning means that I arrive at my lectures awake and ready to learn, with a clear head and a full stomach, and the satisfaction that I’ve already done some exercise. 

What’s your morning routine like? Are you a morning person or would you much rather get up in the afternoon? Do you think I’m crazy for spending so long getting ready?

Let me know in the comments!

Love ya, 

Maddie.

Upcoming content- what to expect from A Little Mad Smith

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We’re going lifestyle baby! 

Yes, hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, A Little Mad Smith is becoming a lifestyle blog as of today.

“But Maddie, wasn’t this already a lifestyle blog?” I hear you cry! Well, yes, it was, but I had a mental rule that said every post must have a specific purpose, like a recipe or DIY. As of today the rule book is going out the window, and I will be posting whatever content I fancy.

Please do not be alarmed! Recipes and DIYs will still be a frequent feature here on A Little Mad Smith, especially when Summer comes around and I have some more free time. But in the meantime I thought it’d be fun to share with you some of the more mundane stuff about my life, so you can get to know me a bit better.

Check out my new and improved “About me” page to see what I mean!

So what sort of things can you be expecting to see from me over the next few months?

I’m hoping to get some more chatty posts up here, monthly favourites, morning routines etc. I’ll also be aiming to post some throw back posts for you all on a regular basis, to keep that creative content coming!

If I can commit to taking a photo of my face that I don’t want to immediately delete, I would absolutely love to start getting some makeup tutorials up for you all seeing as I’m a makeup addict. I’m also hoping to get some “Sister Style” and fashion posts sorted when I’m back home over Easter! Maybe some OOTDs? Who’d like to see that?

I’ll also be giving you some tips on dealing with stress, balancing a degree and a healthy lifestyle, and coping with loneliness as we get closer to exam season.

WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU GUYS LIKE TO SEE?

Please let me know what else you would be interested in seeing! Are you excited for the change? Or have you already gone and unfollowed me? (lol please don’t).

Have an awesome day,

Maddie.

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Love birds!- DIY modelling clay owls

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Hey guys!

I am soooo ready for spring at the minute. As of tomorrow afternoon I will be having a short and much needed break from university life, and will be making the journey down the motorway to spend the weekend at home with my family and Jason. I had been intending on taking my winter coats home to be put away for another year and busting out my spring time jackets- as those of you who live in the UK will know, this will sadly not be the case. Most of the UK (and a good chunk of Europe, actually) has been hit with some serious snowfall for this time of year. Luckily for us Lancashire folk, the Northwest has managed to escape the worst of it; however we are being battered by incredibly strong winds.

So even though we’re not experiencing that warm Spring weather that I’ve been anticipating for so long, this miserable climate is good for one thing- staying in all day and crafting! As my regular readers will know, I haven’t had much time for crafting recently (or anything else for that matter!). My degree is pretty full on, so I’m always grateful of any chance I get to spend some time doing something fun. (Not that Physics and Maths aren’t fun… LOL.)

As luck would have it, I ended up with a couple of hours spare the other evening. Enter my modelling clay owls! 

I recently uploaded a post about my first attempt with my new FIMO clay and asked if you guys would be interested in seeing some little tutorials and more creations. As always, you were lovely (thank you!!) and great fans of my little dinosaur, so today I’m bringing you a quick tutorial on how to make these little love birds!

These two owls are actually going to be a birthday present for my gran. She’s owl mad and has a huge collection of little owl ornaments, so I thought it’d be a cute idea to make her these little guys to join the family.  Like I stressed in my last post, I am by no means a professional standard clay modeller. You can also probably tell from the photos of these owls that I accidentally got pen on the blue little guy, oops. But I’m still kind of happy with how they turned out!

Fancy making some? Find out how below!

To make one owl:

  1. In the colour that you want the body of your owl to be, roll out a small ball of FIMO clay in between your palms. Once you have a nice smooth sphere, place it on your work surface and press down lightly with your palm so that you have a circle of around 1cm thick. Begin shaping the body of the owl, as shown below. To get the ‘ears’, place your pinky finger at the top of your circle and mould the clay around it. P1240286
  2. Once you are happy with the body of your owl, in a contrasting colour clay or a lighter shade like I did, roll out three small balls, much smaller than the body of your owl was. You want two of these to be the same size, and one to be slightly bigger. Using your palm, press your balls flat until they are about 2mm thick. These will be the wings and stomach patch for your owl, as shown above.
  3. In white clay, roll out two small balls. Press them down lightly with your palm, but not as much as you did with the body of the owl. These will be the owl’s eyes.
  4. Assemble your owl. Place the wings on either side of the body and the stomach patch on the front. Add the eyes in the desired position. You will not have to apply a lot of pressure in order to get your pieces to stick together, be gentle. P1240291
  5. Out of orange clay create a very small triangle and press this on just under the centre of the eyes. To help your owl stand up, from the same clay as you used for the body of your owl, create a small triangle. Add this to the back of you owl to act as a little support for when it is stood up.
  6. Bake your owl in the oven according to the directions on the packaging of your clay.
  7. Once your owl is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool completely before handling it. Once cool, add two black dots for eyes. Ta da!

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There you have it guys, I hope you enjoyed this quick little DIY- maybe it inspired some of you to have a go playing with FIMO yourselves! I must admit I am really enjoying it the more I play around with it; it’s great fun and you can be really creative with your designs. I can’t wait until I have some more time on my hands to see what I can come up with! 

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

On a budget? Seven cheap but romantic date ideas

Hey guys!

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Photo by Lea Khreiss on Unsplash

So, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, we’re getting a little bit romantic today on A Little Mad Smith. First off, I have to apologise to all of you who are already sick of Valentine’s Day! I have to be honest, I’m not much of a Valentine’s Day person myself; I was one of the kids who never received a Valentine’s card while I was at school,  meanwhile some of the other girls were receiving teddybears and chocolates in abundance. Safe to say it put me off the celebration somewhat- we’ve all been there, right? 

Skip to the present day, and I still don’t eagerly mark the 14th Feb on the calendar in gleeful anticipation; but one thing that I certainly do enjoy doing is going on dates with my boyfriend Jason. Hence today’s post!

But before we begin, a little disclaimer! These date ideas are more aimed at couples who have been dating for a while rather than those wishing to woo that special someone. I’m not one to speak for others, but your Valentine might not enjoy spending your first date cycling!

BUUUTTT today is for those of you for who are all loved up and looking forward to spending some oh so important quality time with your partner this Valentine’s Day. Today I bring you my favourite cheap date ideas, for those who want a little romance without breaking the bank!

Cycling Date– One of my favourite days spent with Jason was about three and a half years ago, on the day we finished our GCSEs. We decided to go out for the LONGEST bike ride ever! It was bloody exhausting, but great fun. Neither of us really cycle much in our day to day lives- it’d been a few years since I’d last rode a bicycle before Jason and I decided to go out for a ride!- but it made a lovely change to our usual routine. If you’re lucky enough to be living somewhere warmer than ‘freezing your you-know-whats off’ this Valentine’s Day, why not pack some sandwiches and sweet treats in your backpack, have a cycle down to a local park and enjoy a mini picnic! Great exercise and great fun.

Indoor picnic– This is probably one of the most romantic things I’ve done for Jason, he’s usually the romantic one (he’s gonna kill me for saying that). To mark three years of us dating, I decided to lay out an indoor picnic in my living room to surprise him when he came round for lunch. I laid out blankets and lots of cushions, brought out my record player and the picnic baskets, and put on a load of good food. I also made some of his favourite coffee cakes. Wanting to up the romance a bit? Go all out with candles and rose petals. Put on an array of their favourite treats and have a romantic song playing when they walk in; wayyyy cheaper than a meal out, and way more intimate.

Go for a walk!– I know, I KNOW, this is so obvious. But you’d be surprised at how nice a walk just the two of you can be, especially while its chilly out. Enjoy each other’s company without getting distracted by phones and the buzz of everyday life, before coming home to a warm drink and lots of blankets! Who doesn’t love getting cosy after you’ve had your fingers fall off from frostbite? At least that would be the case with the current weather we’re having in Lancaster.

Iceskating– If you’re lucky enough to live near an ice rink like I am, then iceskating makes a really great date idea! Great fun, cheap entry and good exercise! All the while it gives you an excuse to cling on to each other for dear life- win win win win, right? 

Go to watch a little known singer or band– As some of you may know, I live near Manchester in England. This means that there are an absolute shedload of up-and-coming artists who perform at venues throughout the city all year round. Jason and I recently went to see Nina Nesbitt, with our tickets costing £12 each. I know it isn’t THE cheapest date idea, but its always a great night out for music lovers. Plus the fact the artist is up-and-coming means that the performance is likely to be in small, intimate venues, making for a great atmosphere. Don’t forget, Ed Sheeran started by gigging in pubs and small venues, so you could be watching the next big thing!

Museums and Art Galleries– If you and your SO have a shared interest for a particular artist or period in history, museums and galleries make a great date idea! Plus the best part is that they’re usually free to enter! Jason and I have visited a good few museums and galleries in our time, as we both enjoy that sort of thing, and it’s great to learn new and interesting facts together.

Movie night in– An oldie but a goodie. Who doesn’t love buying loads of junk food and sitting down to watch a film together in the comfort of your own home? Jason and I are movie addicts; we love going to the cinema to watch new releases- that’s actually what we did for our first ever date! But when money’s a bit tight, there’s few things better than stocking up on microwaveable popcorn, dimming the lights and enjoying watching a classic Rom-com.

That’s all from me today guys! I hope some of you found this post helpful and no one hates me too much for writing about Valentine’s Day! Back to normal next week- no more of this lovey dovey stuff. 

What’s your favourite date activity? Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? 

Let me know in the comments!

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x