Cheap, free or easy ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

To some of us, associating Valentine’s Day with lavish gifts, romantic trips away or expensive meals just isn’t realistic or doable. Unfortunately, we’re not all in a position to be splashing that sort of money out on one day. If you are, then that’s great and I hope you find an amazing way to celebrate the day but for everyone else, I’ve compiled a list of either cheap or free and generally easy and low-key ways you can celebrate Valentine’s Day this year if you’re a bit stuck for ideas. I’m not a huge lover of Valentine’s Day (maybe if I was being whisked off to Monaco, I would be!) but it’s always nice to do something nice, right?

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Travel Off the Eaten Path this New Year

I really, really, really love crisps. Like, love them. I eat an awful lot of them. Probably more than I should but I’m all for eating what you want and I certainly don’t buy into fad diets that tell you eating crisps is a ‘syn’. You’re not going to hell for eating crisps just fucking eat them. However, I am all for trying different crisp options and if that’s a healthier crisp option, that’s cool too! I’m just a huge lover of food in general; healthy or un-healthy and I love trying and experimenting with different flavours. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a vegetable or something from McDonald’s I haven’t tried before.

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January goals

It is January. That month that we literally just had like, 3 weeks ago. It is January… again. First of all, I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year! I hope the end of 2017 saw you out well, whatever the year was like for you and I hope you’re feeling positive and enthusiastic about the year to come! I certainly am. Despite the end of the year being a bit meh and uneventful for me, 2017 as a whole wasn’t bad. I wrote about my highlights of the year here and I really can’t complain too much. But as always when a new year rolls around, I’m feeling motivated and inspired to tackle some brand new goals. But this year, I’m not going to set myself huge, unrealistic and un-achieveable goals for the entire year, I want to take it one month at a time. So here are my goals for January!

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The perfect home cinema night! 

I’m a big fan of the “night in“. In fact, I don’t do “nights out” because I don’t drink and clubbing isn’t my thing anymore. Oh and my anxiety would make it almost impossible for me to actually have fun, in a hot, sweaty club surrounded by drunk people with a bass drum pounding in my brain. So back to the point, nights in are good and I think we should all embrace the night in a little more and realise that they can be just as fun. Last year, I set up a home cinema one evening when my boyfriend came home from work. It had all the fixings and the making of a mini cinema just for 2! So here’s how to create your perfect home cinema evening if you fancy a cheap, cosy night in with a partner, friends or your mum! 

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Choo Choo: A weekend on the Severn Valley Railway

I’ve been really enjoying writing more personal posts recently and it’s something I want to continue to incorporate into my blog. I wrote about my smear test, what I got my mum for her birthday and about my birthday day out at Paradise Wildlife Park. I like injecting a bit of my personal life into my blog because I love reading those types of posts too! So today, I want to tell you about a trip away I had in September to the Severn Valley Railway! It was a new experience for me but one that I really enjoyed. 

First of all, it was a spur of the moment decision to go. My boyfriend’s grandparents were supposed to be going but didn’t so there was some spare space so I decided why the heck not! We drove to Bridgnorth from Lincolnshire on Thursday morning for the beginning of the Autumn Steam Gala, which runs along the line from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster and uses various different steam engines – some of which are over 100 years old. I’ve never actually been on a steam train before myself but I quickly found out that they’re really quite nice – a lot like the Hogwarts Express and the scenery along the route is to die for.

Bridgnorth to Kidderminster takes roughly an hour and a quarter on the train so it really was a slow, relaxing holiday. Plenty of time to listen to music, read, chat, think and just look out of the window at the lovely scenery. You’d think it would be boring, spending the majority of 4 days on and off of trains but it really wasn’t, there is so much to look at and so many people to meet that it’s impossible to get bored. The stop off times vary and you can always get off at each individual station and have a look around. They’re super cute and quaint, most of which had little book sales (which I took advantage of) and were plastered with old school advertising posters as they would have been back in the day.

We stopped for dinner each night, my favourite being a pub meal at The Ship Inn and my burger and chips was to die for. The trains also ran throughout the entire night on Friday and Saturday so I stayed on well until it got dark (and until I got too tired) and it’s a whole different experience, being on the trains in the dark. It’s really eerie but I loved it. My boyfriend’s family have taken these holidays his whole life but this was my first one and not something I ever thought I would enjoy. But even if you’re not that interested in trains (like me), it’s definitely not all about that.

Have you ever been on the Severn Valley Railway? Would you like to go? Where’s your favourite staycation destination?

Explore Beyond the Humble Sandwich *

Be adventurous with your lunchtime cuisine with Off The Eaten Path

All too often, we make do with a standard sandwich – when actually there are thousands of different and easy ways to enjoy lunch and be more adventurous with it. To help inspire people to try something new and spice up their lunchtimes, Off The Eaten Path has collaborated with renowned chef Deborah Thompson.

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25 Winter & Christmas blog post ideas

Back in July (goodness me that seems like ages ago now, doesn’t it? Where has this year gone?) I wrote a “25 Autumn blog post ideas” post which went down really well and I really enjoyed writing and brainstorming for. Sooooo… Now we’re in arguably the prettiest and most magical season (Winter, for those who aren’t aware…) I thought I’d do a Winter / Christmas themed post of the same nature!

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Cheap, easy or free ways to show someone you care 

For people like me who aren’t raking in thousands of pounds each month, it can be incredibly difficult when you want to show someone you care about them when you don’t have the money to spare. I treat my mum, dad and boyfriend on their birthdays and spoil them as much as I physically can without being unreasonable but for the rest of the year, I simply can’t afford to buy things for people on a whim or book tickets to see a show as a surprise or anything like that. It’s a shame but obviously that’s reality for a lot of people – unless you’re Zoella and have all the money in the world to spend on others without being in financial difficulties yourself (no hate towards Zoella here, I admire her greatly as an entrepreneur). 

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Stepping out of my comfort zone with We Are Tea *

I am a very British person. And being a very British person, you can take an educated guess that I love tea. Honestly, is there anything better than spending the time to make yourself a perfect cup of tea – knowing that it’s for you and only you. Getting yourself some biscuits to dunk and settling into your favourite chair or your bed, putting on your favourite film or YouTuber and relishing in the fact that this is all for you. Tea is a marvellous thing and although that sounded a bit OTT, that’s genuinely how I feel sometimes when I make myself a cup of tea! 

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The perfect savoury games night treat 

Getting together with friends or family for whatever reason is always fun. Even just hanging out at home, playing board games or watching the latest football match or  Formula 1 race and I find food can play a huge role in bringing people together, breaking the ice, having something to mingle over and talk about. My boyfriend and I often hang out with another couple and have games nights and we share the responsibility of food. The first time, I made loads of food and put on a spread. The second time, they ordered us all pizza. The third time, I made them some chocolates truffles and the time after that, they brought round an array of fresh fruit as it was the middle of summer. 

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