Guys. I’m going to level with you. This date night kit that I’m going to be prattling on about for the next 800 words, you can win one. So if you don’t want to nod politely through my recollection of romantic endeavours, then just skip to the bottom and click on the link to enter. 

Those who are left! Hi. I don’t get out for dates all that much, either with my husband or any other lucky suitor. We worked out that our last date took place in November 2015 when I was pregnant and stroppy, and we went to the cinema. There was fuck all on and so we sat through The Man From U.N.C.L.E. What a film, what a film…said no-one ever.

Since then, we’ve done a lot of Netflix and Chill (meant in the innocent lady sense, not the Urban Dictionary sense), but having Moo so reliant on my babylons means that our escape the house evenings are tentative and hurried. So, when I saw an advert for a complete date night kit from Just Us Box, I thought we’d give it a go. The box contents change monthly to fit a new theme, and you can buy them as a gift for someone else, a one-off box, or take out a subscription. We went for the one-off option because, well, the idea of a date per month seems a trifle excessive to me.

The theme for July’s box was “Stargazing”. I was delighted at the box’s heaviness, and I deliberately didn’t Google the contents in advance because I wanted it all to be a lovely surprise. We managed to get the children in bed at a semi-decent hour, and then decamped to the garden for a night of love and wonder. I’d made a pretty impressive raspberry vicky sponge with pink buttercream. I’d got us a Toblerone from Poundland. I’d even shimmied into something flimsy and feminine from Victoria’s Secret (alright, it was my oversized hoodie from the Pink range. Shaved my legs though!).

“Bit light still, isn’t it? What are we meant to do until it gets dark?” asked my husband. Then: “The grass needs a sodding good cut.”

Unopened box with black tissue paper and glow in the dark stars

Sensing I needed to achieve buy-in for the concept, I suggested we open the box and study our loot. The packaging was very cute – little glow in the dark stars and red tissue paper hearts. Inside was a festoon of actually really good quality items – there was a thermos flask for two, a hand-held spotting scope, a torch, some citronella candles, a craft kit for a Kepler telescope, activities, challenge sheets, sweeties, a memory jar, and some UV bodypaint and lipstick. Plus a dinky little picnic blanket designed for maximum bum-squishing-together-ness.

Contents of box laid out on a picnic blanket. L-R: UV body paint, lipstick and torch, Kepler craft telescope kit, torch, activity and challenge sheets, flask, hand-help telescope, sweets.

I served up some fat hunks of cake and studied the suggested date plan. There was a suggestion of streaming themed music from Spotify, but I totally trumped this by tuning the baby monitor in to Twinkle Twinkle. Relevant AND functional. We started by looking at the list of conversation starters. “Ooh, ask me the second one!” My husband hopped about with excitement and I knew the answer would be something to do with Star Wars. The mood fell slightly flat when I asked him what he would take to Jupiter, as I was informed with short shrift that you’d die instantly so there wasn’t much point in taking anything. Onward…! We then filled in some little love notes about each other, with pre-populated headings such as “you make me shine because…”. We dropped these into the glass jar and the ol’ smooth talker I married said that we should save the jar for a day when we’re feeling particularly shit about life, then read them all for cheap thrills and happy feels.

Cup of tea (mug has M logo), 2 x lit citronella candles, plate of cake - raspberry victoria sponge.

We finished our cake and talked for a while about the children, obviously, moaned for a bit longer about the state of the garden, then waited for the soft, inky night to envelope us and spark off le charme. Unfortunately, it was cloudy as fuck, and so we’d resigned ourselves to not seeing much in the way of astrological bounty (or should I say milky way?!). The kit did contain a brilliant star-spotting guide with key dates throughout July and August to view various starry / meteor-y / International Space Station type things, together with a constellation map. This led to an absolute clanger of a blonde moment from me, when I asked if Australia can see different stars in the winter months compared to the summer. Yep. I’m not even blonde. Anyway, point being, just because it was cloudy on our chosen date night, we still had all the tools to go out on a clearer evening for a better look.

One quite genuinely wonderful interruption came with a clatter over the back fence – our errant, nomadic cat Charles had decided to drop in to let us know he was still alive. They say cats choose their owners, and he sadly seems to have gone over to the dark side and pledged allegiance with a mad-as-a-box-of-frogs lady two doors down who entices him with gammon ham off the deli and saucers of cream. We caught up on our news and I told him that I loved him very much, before he scampered off for a late night snack of charcuterie and Baileys.

Husband stroking our cat.

After that distraction, we looked up and saw a handful of stars as the wispy clouds parted. There was an almost very romantic moment when my husband stood behind me and showed me how to use the telescope, but Moo spoiled it by eliciting a series of farts over the baby monitor. I then suggested we crack out the UV body paint and lipstick. Dear reader, you may recall from this post that my husband is entirely bald. So really, it would have been a shame not to graffiti his dome in a puerile and opportunistic manner.

Husband is looking at sky, I have drawn a penis on his bald head in UV paint...!

All joking aside, we both agreed that these boxes are a lovely idea and a pretty unique concept with mass appeal. I like the suggestion of packing up some food and drink and taking the box out into the wild somewhere, but actually we really enjoyed a night in the garden without a TV, giggling at our inability to focus the telescope and being able to duck back inside for a wee / to fetch more cake. It’s not the sort of thing we would just “do” without the kit facilitating it for us, so as perpetually knackered parents we enjoyed the slightly paint-by-numbers directive that the box offers.

Let me conclude by quoting the late, great Fredster of the Mercury variety:

I’m burnin’ through the sky yeah
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mr Fahrenheit
I’m trav’ling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic woman of you…

(That’s my tenuous way of shoehorning in the fact that Mercury should be visible on 16th August, so try and have a nosey upwards. The planet I mean, not the dude with the ‘tache.)

Husband and I in the dark with UV face paint

The Science Bit

I lied, that was 900 words. Anyway, August’s date night box has an Indian Summer theme. I’ve had a sneak peak at the contents and it looks fab….so, would you like to win one? All you need to do is follow this clever link, which will guide you to my Facebook page and allow you to enter. The competition opens at midnight on Friday 5th August and runs until 11.59pm on Friday 12th August. Good luck!

Enter Competition

Promo image for Indian Summer featuring Taj Mahal, henna, people doing yoga, candles, and brightly coloured paint

-SJW August 2016

Diary of an imperfect mum
A Cornish Mum
ethannevelyn
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