One of the more exciting emails I returned to after our France trip was one from Money Supermarket, telling me about their Big Night In campaign. The premise of the campaign is that ‘staying in is the new going out’, and they were giving bloggers £50 to have their own night in and get creative with how they spent it. This, sounded right up my street.
I’ve long been a fan of staying in over going out, and having moved an hour away from our respective friends and families in order to live together, Tom and I find ourselves going out much less often than we ever used to. For me, a big night on the town these days involves planning transport, packing an overnight bag and sleeping on someone’s floor, and the older I’ve got, the less inclined I feel to do so. More often we tend to invite friends over for dinner – luckily we have a spare room and so we tend to enjoy long dinners, drinks and then plonk ourselves down in the living room for DVDs and catchups. I must admit I enjoy this so much more than tottering around in heels in a noisy club, having drinks sloshed over me and waking up £40 lighter for the privelige.
So it made sense that our ‘big night in’ kept with the same theme, though this time the budget allowed for some little treats to pretty up the garden and make our night in even more perfect. We invited some friends over for a barbecue last night and luckily the sun well and truly put his hat to allow us some al fresco dining.
My first stop for pretty home accessories is always dotcomgiftshop, and so I picked up some jam jars (£1.95), milk bottles (£2.95), stripey straws (£2.95) and water bottles (£4.95) for our drinks offering. This vintage tray (£14.95) was perfect for serving them up on.
We had Kir Bretons (in the second bottle), which is Breton cider with crème de cassis (blackcurrant liquer).
The rest of the budget went on food. We went to our local farm shop and bought sausages and pork burgers (they had run out of everything else!) and picked up some chicken drumsticks, burgers and lots of salads from Sainsbury’s.
Tom manned the barbecue, the smell of neighbours’ barbecues wafting over the fence and merging into one perfect British summer’s evening. Along with the Kir Bretons we served we also had white wine and the boys enjoyed ales from Tom’s extensive collection. We put music on and sang along to Tears for Fears and REO Speedwagon whilst tucking into delicious barbecue food. We also lit candles and chatted and drank until it started to get a bit cooler. Even then it was still too hot for Bodhi, who snoozed under the bench, hoping for errant bits of sausage to drop from plates…
Because living out in the sticks tends to necessitate sleepovers, our friends always pack pajamas and I must admit we’re usually in them long before bedtime. In cosy PJs we settled down on sofas and I served dessert. I had some Reese’s Peanut Butter Dessert Topping (£3.79*) kindly sent to me by Cyber Candy last week which was the perfect excuse to whip up some Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars from Sarah’s recipe.
I also made some chocolate peanut butter cupcakes from this recipe, which were similarly amazing.
Bellies full of food we were forced to put on Point Break after discovering that our friends hadn’t seen it. After some more drinks and watching Keanu Reeves fire a gun into the air we retired to bed. Without a doubt, the perfect big night in. Thankyou to Money Supermarket for kindly providing the budget. If you want to see what other bloggers did with their £50, check out the hashtag #msmbignightin.
Do you think that staying in is the new going out?