It’s lovely to have an evening out as a family but it can be a bit stressful too. Will it be too busy? Will there be room for the pushchair? Will we spend too much money? Sometimes I want us to do something nice together but just can’t be bothered with the fuss involved with going out. Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks that?
Luckily this weekend the charming folks at Money Supermarket came to my rescue by asking me to take part in their Big Night In Competition which involved them giving us £50 to spend on coming up with a great evening in for the whole family. This was great timing as we were planning on meeting some old friends in Stratford on Saturday afternoon for the River Festival. We were really looking forward to it but if you’ve ever visited Stratford on a sunny weekend you’ll know it was bound to be a bit manic. After that a night in would be just the ticket!
I think the key to a big night in is to find something that we can all enjoy. A bit of a tall order perhaps but then I got some inspiration from the weather and decided it would be nice to make the most of the sun by getting rid of our manky old paddling pool and getting a new one that was big enough for all four of us to fit in. So Hubs was duly dispatched to Argos clutching £30 and returned with this bad boy:
Nice hey? And a bit of a bargain I thought. He set to work pumping it up and filling it before we went out to give the water a chance to warm up and when we got back it took the boys about eight seconds to strip off and dive in. Hubs and I followed suit a little more gingerly and then my lovely neighbour added to the fun by tossing over one of his grandchildren’s beach balls but don’t worry I’m not going to mentally scar you with pictures of me frolicking in my swimming costume.
Now of course the other crucial part of a big night in, at least for my family, is food. Luckily, the boys are generally pretty easy to please but one thing they are particularly keen on is a barbecue. I think it’s just the novelty of eating outside and getting to pick bits of lots of different things but you really would not believe the sheer volume of charred meat the males in my family can consume when given the opportunity. So £18 of our budget went on a lovely selection of burgers, sausages, chicken, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, potato salad, coleslaw and the all important baps and the boys wolfed the lot wrapped in soggy towels.
But what became of the other £2, I hear you cry! Well here Hubs show precisely the clarity of thought I so admire in him. When he realised he have some change left in the supermarket he opted for a big bottle of lemonade and a lime which I then mixed with just a splash of gin from the cupboard after the kids had gone to bed. He’s a keeper!