I have mentioned before on here, but we don’t tend to make a massive thing of Valentines between Nath and I. We see it as just a bit of fun, and therefore usually buy each other a soppy or flirty card, and then a cheapo gift with some cheesy slogan on it. Our budget every year is always £5 max and we welcome how inventive that enables us to be in sharing our love through a gift.

I usually end up with some tulips (which are my faves) and chocolate of some description with a reason why he bought it (Eg, Milky Way stars with “You’re out of this world amazing”)! I of course enjoy the challenge of being creative, and making him some cute and fun love notes on a treat, and have in the past given him anything from a bag of chocolate bars to a pack of muffins saying “You’re such a Stud muffin”! Like I say – It’s just a bit of fun and it always makes each other smile.

We use the day now (since having kids), as an opportunity to teach our kids about dating and take them out on a family date somewhere special. We big it up and give them a little treat each, and then reserve the evenings for us to have a sneaky dinner date from M&S (or take out) whilst watching a Rom Com! We have had some lovely dates with them for Valentines and is a tradition we really enjoy.

We used to have a goal of going away together but with the more kids we had this kinda fell by the way side and we felt it better to turn it into a family event of love, which is working wonderfully whilst we share our love in our own way.

In true thrifty style I have been on the look out for lovely things to get for Valentines that are under £5, so I though as a bit of fun (and just in case you too want some frugal gift ideas), I would share them with you on the lead up to V-Day!

Valentines Gift Ideas under £5

M&S Sweets 

When I saw these sweets in M&S last week I literally jumped for Joy. I instantly felt they had stepped right out of my mind! Nathan and I will be getting them for the kids as we thought they were so cute, but for £2.50 each they make for a lovely little gift for a loved one.

Glasses and posh pop

I saw these glasses in Poundland for £1 each and thought they were really lovely. Whilst they go with nothing else in my kitchen I still had to have them and think they would be great for a date night tradition. Why not buy a couple with a bottle of something lovely and write a letter to your loved one about how they fill up your heart with sweet fizzes!

Love Frame and some chocs!

I love this little frame I found in Asda on Tuesday and thought it would make a lovely gift for someone with a special picture in it and perhaps a £3 box of chocolates or even £1 ones from the pound shop. They had it in 2 different colours but I loved the pink and gold.

I am going to find a picture of me and Nath from back in the day to put in the lounge on our soon to put up picture rails!

Chocolate gift basket with slogans

I did this for one of the first years of us being married and Nathan loved it. I bought loads of chocolate bars and then wrote a love note on each one and popped them in a little basket. I believe he still has the notes, though the chocolate of course is long gone!

Reeces Pieces – Love you to Pieces
Galaxy – You are the best in the Galaxy
Maltesers – You are such a tease!
Peanut M&Ms – I am nuts about you
Wispa – I want to Wispa sweet nothings to you
Mars – I’d go to Mars and back to show you how much I love you
Starburst – My heart bursts for joy each time I see you

I know I had a few others but I can’t remember them!

Muffins/Doughnuts 

Posh or not this makes for a lovely little gift for a loved one or crush! Buy them a pack of doughnuts from Krispie Cremes and slap on “Doughnut what I’d do without a hubby like you”! (Or Boyf, Girl friend, Wifey etc).

And then of course the one I already mentioned. I bough Nathan some Chocolate chip muffins from the bakery and left them with a card that said “You are such a stud muffin!” – He LOVED it!

Flowers/Chocolates

Whilst the old cliche of valentines, these always go down a treat! A traditional rose can be picked up cheaply and most supermarkets are doing boxes of Thorntons and other lovely chocolates for about £3.

Shopping in Aldi or Lidl, you can buy bunches of Roses, Tulips and other lovely flowers for about £3 and then maybe give them with a big bar of Galaxy or like their favourite pouch of chocolates. Use my slogan idea to make it more cute and fun!

Dates for the year 

This is a gift that barely costs anything and yet is rather romantic and shows commitment. Making a little box or envelope with monthly dates inside of it to give to your love shows how much you are thinking of them and that you want to set time aside to do these things with them.

You could include; The cinema, Massages, A picnic, Rock Climbing, Trampolining, Ice Cream Parlour, A new City, Golf, A new restaurant, Farm/Zoo, Chocolate making etc. Sit down and write out some date ideas and give them as gift this Valentines with a commitment to have proper dates each month together!

Valentines to me isn’t about money and isn’t an excuse to get a pricey item we’ve had our eye on. Its about love and sharing your feelings with others..sharing a day with those we love and making it memorable and a little out of the ordinary and special. I love the opportunity each February to be creative and find ways to tell Nathan how much he means to me through the cheesy gifts and laugh out loud slogans I give to him! I love our family day dates and making it a day the kids can be excited for too and I love that we also use it as an excuse to spread love to friends and neighbours through heart shaped baked goods and little crafts.

How will you spread love this February?

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The City of York is by far my most favourite here in the UK (though I have not yet discovered them all). Every time I visit it just makes me so happy to be there and as a teen I often dreamed of living there too. I find great joy in strolling along the wall, the small cobbled streets and standing in the majesty of the minster. I love to soak up the history and appreciate all that has happened there, see the little shops and tea rooms and sit in the little parks. Being in York, especially as a family just feels lovely to me and therefore seemed the perfect place for this years family date for valentines.

For the last couple of years we have worked on our new tradition of making valentines a family thing. To me it is a great opportunity to teach our children about loving others and saying it to them. An opportunity to teach them about dates and how fun they are, and to take the focus off them feeling a need to have “A Valentine” and just making it fun. Loving people solves so many problems in life and helps us be forgiving, and I feel that by showing my kids ways to show love for others in and out of our family will be a valuable gift.

The exchanging of cards and little inexpensive gifts goes on in the background for us as a couple and then a little date when they’re in bed of food and a cheesy Rom com. But ultimately valentines is focused on the growing love in our family and “dating” the kids. We hold hands more with them, check our phones less and talk about one another.  It’s really lovely and we all look forward to it.

This year’s date saw us not just in the beautiful city of York, but at “York’s Chocolate Story“, which was quite possibly the perfect date destination.

York’s Chocolate Story – The perfect date destination

York’s Chocolate story is an entertaining and informative guided tour through the history of York’s most famous chocolate-making families and their finest creations. It is a fab morning or afternoon out with the family, but even better than that I would go so far as to say it would easily be the prefect place to take a date, go on a date together, or like us – something special and different for a family date. And here’s why:

1. It lets you walk and talk at the same time, and provides ample things to talk about

Being a museum it is rich in interesting facts and things to discover, things we found ourselves “ooooing” and “ahhhing” over as they were delivered to us. There were a lot of smiling and eyebrow raising going on in the group as it was just so fascinating to us all. I have been to chocolate museums before, but as this one is unique to the history of York, I learnt tonnes of interesting things about a city I thought I knew!

You move between rooms so every few minutes there are chances to chat to each other briefly about what you have both seen and heard, and again as you walk down to the chocolate making rooms and the cafe at the end of the tour.

The kids loved it all and gained a lot from it, some of which was the focus of conversation through the rest of our day.

2. There is an element of humour so you can laugh together

The perfect date of course must provide opportunities to laugh together, and there are many of these at York’s chocolate story. The staff are fabulous at what they do and remember, and the delivery of information is brilliant. We found ourselves laughing from the start and with surprises round every corner, accompanied with stories of the past, you and your date(s) won’t be short of a chuckle or 2!

3. It is interactive and fun

With out giving too much away there are parts that are very cleverly created to give the history in a captivating and fun way for kids and adults alike. Of course the sampling that is intertwined with these makes the whole thing come to life even more, and then towards the end you have an opportunity to make your own chocolate creation to take away. Each of these stations, especially the “make it yourself” exhibition, made it hands on and entertaining. Ethan and Megan had sprinkles flying everywhere, and it created an activity that was both different and very enjoyable.

4. It is tasty

Possibly the most obvious one here, but whats a good date without something tasty? Not only is there a gorgeous cafe and tasty shop at the end of the tour, but the whole activity throughout of “Chocolate tasting” is something that is a little bit different. It has an element of romance there and is just plain joyful!

There are opportunities throughout the tour to not only hear how chocolate was invented and created over the years, but also to sample it in its various forms (Our favourite being at the end with the confectioners). We learnt how to see if it is a well made chocolate and how to really get the most from the flavours when trying it (as oppose to just scoffing it down). The kids found this obviously to be one of the better parts, but because they new there were several promises of chocolate tasting it really kept their attention in the more educational points.

5. It is an experience that will be memorable

Each one of us thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The combination of cleverly created displays, along with interesting facts, fun activities and tasty samples is something we will remember together for a long time as a special date.

I love York and always have done, and now its plain to see why. The Tuke, Rowntree, Terry and Craven families made the city of York world-famous for its chocolate and sweets and their legacy runs through it. My favourite city, whether I realised it or not, is built on chocolate – no wonder its the best!


I would most definitely recommend you book on a tour next time you are heading to York, whoever you go with you will be sure to have a tasty time! For more details on prices and booking information click here.

Yorkshire Tots

*Thank you to York’s Chocolate Story for inviting us for a complimentary visit. All thoughts and pictures our own.

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With the blur that was January, I was not alone in forgetting (or rather not being motivated) to gather, photograph and write about my under a fiver bargains. I started my weekly frugal posts though and so don’t feel too guilty for not sharing the thrifty spirit over here. But here we are in a new month, with new opportunities, new funds and yes – new bargain buys.

February is a weird month to me, but one that is all about love and the approach of Spring. Whilst still cold and frosty most mornings, the sun is shining more, and my favourite thing –  Tuplips and daffodils are beginning to creep into the shops to signal the beginning of a new season. Life is starting to feel brighter, more vibrant and lovely and I feel this is very reflective in my 5 under £5 this month.

Firstly are those very much loved Tulips – my most favourite flowers. The colours they carry are beautiful, their fat green stems lush, and the shape just lovely. I saw these beauts for £1.25 in our local green grocers and so had a red bunch and a yellow. They bring so much joy to the corner of my lounge, and thus to my daily life!

Next up are a couple of valentines things I got in Home Bargains this weekend. The heart garland was about 59p (or 79p) and is made from felt. I like the delicate little hearts, and the subtle touch of the Valentines season it brings to my home without being in your face! The “Love” candle was £1.49 I think (ahhh sorry) and is a nice addition to the mantle piece in our bedroom. The glass, the gold, the font…it had to be in my life at that price.

Also from Home Bargains are the letter magnets. They were in the Valentines aisle and were only £1.29 (what a bargain). I of course grabbed 2 and thought they would be fantastic to not only leave love notes, but more so for the kids to practice their spellings whilst annoying being with me in the kitchen. They were very excited and so far love writing words and the alphabet on the fridge!

Finally as a reminder that we are still in Winter with all of its bugs and germs is my new favourite baby thing – Snuffle babies! Alice has been so under the weather this past week with a cold and cough, and snuffle babies has eased her woes – especially at night time! It is a small pot of vapour rub, suitable for babies from 3 months and was recommended by one of the mums at school. For £2.50 it was money well spent on the little bean!

I am not a huge Valentines person, we have always just kept it a low key affair, and more recently about the kids actually. But there is something about this year that makes all of these little love decorations and accessories exciting to me. I am enjoying embracing the season of love, especially for under a fiver!

As always I am linking up with Julia at Rainbeaubelle to share the bargainous joys! 

 

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Since being married we have always used valentines as an opportunity to go away together for the night. We rarely do this on the actual day, infact I think one year it was mid March by the time we “celebrated valentines”, but we always get a card  and some inexpensive chocs for one another with a cheesy message. Last year it was peanut M&Ms for Mr Smith with a “I’m nuts about you” note attached (you know silly things like that) its one of the only times in the year that the stuff I’ve pinned I actually use and we both love chocolate so its a guaranteed win! I think I see valentines as a bit of fun and to save the mushy love stuff for our anniversary.

As we recently went away for our Christmas pressie to Prague, and now the kids are older we decided it might be nice to make Valentines day about them and give them little heart treats, a nice day out, family meal and let them feel the love. We hope over the years it will teach them about dating for when the day comes they have their own valentine.

All week I’ve made a big deal about it, telling them its a day to tell the people you love how much you love them. We had a mass baking sess with my sister in law and their cousins on Thursday where we made some delights for their friends and teachers and I baked some heart shaped brownies for Naths work! They ran with excitement to school to hand them over and everyone seemed so touched and joyful (we love spreading joy) and Nath reported reviews were 5/5..delic and heavenly (Domestic goddess? I think so).

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This morning we exchanged chocolates and cards to one another and are still indecisive of how we will mark it (I expect a midweek meal out) and then gave them a little chocolate treat each. We quickly got ready (a rare occasion on a Saturday these days) and then took them on a “date” bowling. We haven’t bowled as a family in over a year and so they didn’t remember that the had been when they were teeny tiny…both of them were a pair of giddy kippers and loved everything about it, from proving their strength with carrying the balls to wearing the silver shoes; they went crazy and cheered when even just one skittle was knocked down and it was lovely to see the way they were with one another. We certainly had a lot of fun together doing something  a little different for the day, and I especially loved beating Naths score – a 1st in our relationship!
Ethan bowlingmegs bowling

I had my new sewing class  for a couple of hours this afternoon and so Nathan took them both to soft play to keep the day feeling a little spec for them and then we had a chilled dinner out at a local pub, where the food was nothing special but the kids behaviour was and so it was a lovely family meal out.
I feel so joyful and blessed today for my little family and love to reflect on how in 6years this is the result of marrying a special valentine!!! I hope your day was special in some way too and made you smile 🙂
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