Hannah Drake

Marriage

The Year of Alphabet Dates: D

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

For our D date, we decided to scrap the activity altogether and just focus on food. I guess technically we did go out to dinner, which is a treat for us. (We cook at home almost every night and get take out every now and then. We rarely go out to dinner just the two of us unless it’s a special occasion.) But our D date was for dim sum.

I read the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy over Christmas and in early January (when we were dieting…ish). Those aren’t the best books to read while you’re on a diet because the food just sounds AMAZING. And because some of the story takes place in London, the book actually includes really specific London food recommendations. Ever since, I’ve wanted to go down to London for crispy duck, lobster noodles, and dim sum. While that would have been fun—and hopefully we will someday—we ended up just going out in Birmingham last Wednesday, our usual date night.

Neither of us really had any idea what we were in for—we assumed lots of steamed dumplings—so we just started ordered what sounded good. We got a steamed dim sum platter for two, a fried dim sum platter for two, and a few other things, including crispy pork belly and a duck steamed bun. Everything was SO good, but our favourite dumplings were definitely the ones with pork or prawns. (Others had veggies or beef.) The crispy pork belly and duck steamed bun were unbelievably delicious. We definitely should have gotten two of the duck. It was interesting to share. I mean, have you ever tried to share a taco with someone? It’s not easy.

It’s definitely something we’ll add into the rotation when we go out, which is usually special occasions. And one of these days, we will get down to London to try all that Crazy Rich Asian food. (I can’t recommend that trilogy more highly. Please read it!)

ACTIVITIES FOR THE D DATE NIGHT

  • go on a double date

  • cook dinner (together) - Is cooking at home a rarity? Make it special! Do you not usually cook together? Oh boy, you’ll learn so much about each other and your relationship.

  • go out to dinner - Is this a special treat? Three words: TREAT YO SELVES.

  • go dancing

  • take a dance class

  • have a dapper date - Dress to the 9’s for something fancy or for something totally normal & casual if you’re up for the looks!

  • eat at Digbeth Dining Club - If you’re in Birmingham and the dates line up, it’s a great night out!

  • hit balls a driving range - Top Golf is insanely popular in the States.

  • play darts

  • try dining in the dark - Go to one of those restaurants that’s pitch black for dinner.

  • rent your dream car - Spend the day driving around in a car you probably won’t ever own.

  • watch Disney movies - Pick your favourites or one that you haven’t seen yet. (Can you believe I still haven’t seen Moana?)

  • go to Disneyland or Disney World - If it’s nearby or even if you just want a big adventure!

  • donate blood - This is one of our usual dates. We donate blood together every quarter and since it’s in the city centre, we usually go to dinner, go to the cinema, or go to the mall after. (Just make sure you drink lots of water during the day and have a decent snack before you go if you’re planning to go to dinner after.)

  • go to the drive-in - A classic summer activity! What I wouldn’t do for a drive-in in the UK. Maybe they have them, I just haven’t looked very hard.

  • drive race cars

  • go diamond shopping - If engagement is on the horizon, go try on some engagement rings. If you’re already married, that doesn’t mean you can’t shop for another diamond, right? (My younger sister and I visited Tiffany & Co. on Rodeo Drive one time and they let us try on massive diamonds even though we said we were just looking. They even sent us home with a little book about diamonds with a classic Tiffany blue cover.)

  • have a DC movie marathon - Watch DC movies, whether they’re from the current DCEU or old school Batman movies.

  • hang out at a dive bar

  • tackle a DIY project together - If you’re like us, you probably like brainstorming/designing/creating projects together. Our best creation yet was our bar cabinet. Set aside a day to do it together. You can even do cutesy things like put paint on the end of his nose. And for some reason I’m picturing a totally 90’s outfit of overalls and a flannel shirt, probably tied around your waist.

FOODS FOR THE D DATE NIGHT

  • dim sum

  • dessert - Go out for dessert or make your favourites at home. Have dessert before dinner. Or if you really have a sweet tooth, do a dessert progressive date and just go all over town eating signature desserts at different restaurants.

  • doughnuts

  • D restaurants/bars - Does your favourite restaurant or bar start with a D? Or what about a spot you’ve been dying to try, but just haven’t found the time yet?

DESTINATIONS FOR THE D DATE NIGHT

  • Denver, Colorado

PIN FOR LATER!

Header Photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.

The Year of Alphabet Dates: C

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

Find out more about the idea for alphabet dating on the first post, for the letter A.

We decided to do a cocktail masterclass for our C date. It goes along with our shared interests and my personal goal to learn more about making cocktails this year. I found an option at a trendy bar I’ve been to in town, but their scheduling is really inefficient and they require a group booking, so it didn’t end up working out. (Though I think we’ll do it there with a group of friends this summer.) Instead, I found a different masterclass at a bar I’ve never even heard of that sold individual tickets and hosts them once a month. We signed up for the Gin Cocktail Masterclass at The Jekyll and Hyde and it lived up to all my expectations!

Gin Cocktail Masterclass - The Jekyll & Hyde Birmingham

The class basically walked us through a history of gin, allowed us to enjoy different gin cocktails, and even try making our own. We learned that gin didn’t actually originate in England like the British would have you believe. They actually got it from the Dutch (Dutch Courage, anyone?) who drank Genever, which is where the name gin comes from. We learned about Gin Alley, Old Tom Gin, and how in Victorian England, gin was safer to drink than water so basically everyone was drunk and people (including children) were paid in gin.

We learned that sailors in the British navy drank gin that had to be at least 57% alcohol since it was stored near the gunpowder and if the gin spilled, the gunpowder still needed to be able to light. (Sailors were allowed to drink 1 pint of gin per day since there wasn’t water available.) The term proof comes from proving that it was flammable and therefore could be transported by the sailors. Sailors also had limes to prevent scurvy, which is where the gimlet (gin and lime cordial) comes from. Tonic water came from India, as the quinine was used to repel mosquitos and prevent malaria. (Which is where Fever Tree tonic water gets its name.) And that’s why we drink gin & tonics with lime!

Throughout the evening, we had a cocktail made with genever with lime and sugar (I’m not sure what it’s called, but it kind of tasted like a margarita), a Tom Collins, a gimlet, and then a Bramble that we got to make. After the class was over, Luke had another Tom Collins and I tried a gin martini for the first time. (I now know that I prefer them with vodka even though gin has become my favourite spirit.)

We had a lot of fun in the gin parlour and I would absolutely recommend that particular class to anyone in Birmingham! (It’s only £25 per person and you get a ton of information and four cocktails.)

ACTIVITIES FOR THE C DATE NIGHT

  • take a cocktail making class

  • go camping

  • go out for coffee - How often do couples do this after the first couple of dates?

  • go to a concert

  • take a cooking class - Maybe one or both of you is a master chef, but try something new! We both really enjoyed the pasta making class and I’m all about taking more classes when we visit places known for their cuisine. (Though Luke said no to a cooking class in France. He said it’s just a lot of butter.)

  • visit a comedy club

  • take a candle-making class

  • drink at a cidery - One of my favourite spots near my hometown is a cidery. They do have some local beers, but they make their own cider and it’s the best. They also have the best BBQ pork pizza I’ve ever had. My goodness do I miss The Old Mine!

  • go clubbing - It’s perfect if you can stay up later than 10:00PM, unlike me!

  • visit a castle - You might have to be in Europe for this one.

  • gamble at a casino

  • bake cookies

  • go climbing - Rock climbing, mountain climbing, any kind of climbing

  • take a coffee art class - You know, go learn how to make latte art so you look like a total pro at home! (TBH, I’ve always wanted to do this, but I don’t drink coffee and you just can’t get the same effect with chai lattes.)

  • hang out at a cafe

  • do a corn maze - This is seasonal, but perfect around Halloween.

  • have a craft night - At home or at a place that does crafts. Whatever kind of crafts you like!

  • go cross-country skiing - Obviously it would need to be winter and you would need somewhere to go, but it’s a great active date! (If you’ve never been, do some research on what to wear. You don’t want to dress the same as you would for downhill skiing.)

  • go to a carnival or circus - Those still exist, right? Probably in the summertime?

  • visit a cat cafe

  • drink at a champagne bar - There’s a fantastic one in Larimer Square in Denver that Luke and I have visited both times we’ve seen The Nutcracker.

  • go to the cinema

  • make and share a cheese plate / charcuterie board - Get some of your favourite cheeses, pair them with meat and crackers (and fruit and olives) and enjoy. Don’t forget the wine!

  • play chess (or checkers)

  • go canoeing

  • go to church together - Or maybe get involved at church together.

  • decorate cakes - Take a class (Michael’s offers them regularly) or just do it at home together or as a competition.

FOODS FOR THE C DATE NIGHT

  • Chinese food

  • Cuban food/sandwiches

  • Canapés

  • Curry

  • C restaurants/bars - Does your favourite restaurant or bar start with a C? Or what about a spot you’ve been dying to try, but just haven’t found the time yet?

DESTINATIONS FOR THE C DATE NIGHT

  • Cambridge, England

  • The Cotswolds (England)

  • Cornwall, England

  • Cardiff, Wales

  • Conwy, Wales

  • Colorado Springs, Colorado - Visit the Air Force Academy, Garden of the Gods, The Broadmoor Hotel, and everything else the Springs has to offer!

PIN FOR LATER!

Header Photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.

The Year of Alphabet Dates: B

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

Find out more about the idea for alphabet dating on the first post, for the letter A.

I asked my Instagram followers to give us some suggestions for our B date night and they truly gave us some spectacular ideas! (I’ve included them in the lists below.) Bowling was far and away the most suggested activity and we were pretty sure that’s what we were going to do already. In the end, we decided on brunch then bowling, but we had no idea it would turn into a weekend long date!

After going to the cinema in the morning with a friend, I met Luke in town to visit our favourite brunch spot in the city: York’s. We ate there after we gave notice for our marriage, so it’s kind of a special place for us, but also they have the world’s best chicken and waffles. (It’s true, don’t @ me!)

The plan was to check out a new bowling spot nearby called Lane 7, suggested to us by Oli and Emily who did burgers and bowling for their B date. On our way, we stopped by The Body Shop so I could ask a few questions about their new skin care line. But when we got there, we found out that we should have booked in advance because, at 14:00, they didn’t have any openings until midnight.

We were a bit sad, but went home and booked a lane for two games the next afternoon. Instead, we stayed home on Saturday night and watched the latest episode of The Bachelor.

Lane 7 Birmingham

On Sunday afternoon, we went back to Lane 7 for our reservation and had the best time. It’s definitely the coolest bowling alley I’ve ever been to! I even told Luke I want to have my birthday party there!

We got a couple of drinks and then went head-to-head in two games. I had originally suggested we do three games in case we each win one, but what a joke that was. Luke out bowled me 141-80, then 116-87. And that was with a broken hip!

It was a really fun way to spend the afternoon and a great hang out spot. I loved all the little touches they had everywhere, like the balls looking like billiards balls, cool murals, and trendy decor. We even did the photo booth on the way out, which made them realise it hadn’t even been plugged in yet. Whoops! The only thing I would do differently at Lane 7 is book for a bit longer. Two games can go quickly when just two people are bowling, but we weren’t in any real rush. However, that meant at the end of our allotted time, there was another couple hovering by our lane waiting for us to finish.

And I’m serious about my birthday party, even though I’d be turning 29, not 9.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE B DATE NIGHT

  • go bowling

  • go to brunch or breakfast - Visit your favourite spot or try somewhere new.

  • do a bar crawl - Choose your favourite bars, plan a route, and maybe even pick a signature drink to have at each place.

  • go boating

  • visit a beach

  • take a bike ride

  • play bingo - Maybe you live in a place like my hometown that has a bingo alley. Maybe you live in the UK and can try Bongo’s Bingo because that is a freaking blast.

  • play billiards

  • have a bake off - Choose an ingredient and/or choose a type of bake. After our first bake off, we found that it works best if you make the same type of bake. Invite friends or family over to do a blind taste test and choose the winner.

  • do a beer tasting - Go to a bar, pub, or brewery that offers beer flights. Or make your own at home with your favourite beers.

  • go to a ballet

  • have breakfast in bed

  • play board games

  • go hot air ballooning - Or go to a hot air balloon festival. I’ve always wanted to go to one!

  • drive bumper cars - We did this at the arcade and it was a blast. I highly recommend it, but it was short for us since it wasn’t the main event.

  • have a James Bond movie marathon - You could start from the beginning and make a weekend out of it. You could just watch your favourite Bond actor.

  • take a bread making class

  • try base jumping

  • visit a botanical garden

  • visit a book store - Browse together or separately. Choose a book for each other. Sit and read in one of the comfy chairs around the store.

  • go to a baseball game

  • go to a basketball game

  • have a Batman movie marathon - There have been a lot of Batmans (Batmen?) over the last few decades. You could watch them all or you could just watch your favourite actor. (Always Christian Bale, right?)

  • try bungee jumping

  • break stuff - There was a date on The Bachelorette last season where they went to a warehouse and smashed a bunch of stuff with sledge hammers. Apparently that’s a thing now. You can pay to go break TVs and hit cars with sledge hammers. I mean, who wouldn’t want to do that?

  • take ballroom dance lessons

  • visit a butterfly farm/pavilion

  • go on a brewery tour - Colorado is known for it’s microbreweries and some of them even offer tours (and tastings). Or maybe because you’re a Coloradan, you just know someone who works for a brewery who can give you a private tour.

  • play at a bounce house

  • warm up around a bonfire - bring s’mores, hot chocolate, and a cozy blanket

  • hit the batting cages

  • go bouldering

  • recreate a date from The Bachelor - The show is known for its wild and extravagant dates and maybe it’s within your budget. Recreate one of the best, like taking a helicopter ride, bungee jumping, take a dip in a secluded hot tub, or even just a candlelit dinner for two. (Just make sure you actually eat the food.) Don’t forget the red roses!

FOODS FOR THE B DATE NIGHT

  • brunch

  • BBQ

  • burgers

  • B restaurants/bars - Does your favourite restaurant or bar start with a B? Or what about a spot you’ve been dying to try, but just haven’t found the time yet?

DESTINATIONS FOR THE B DATE NIGHT

  • Birmingham, England

  • Bristol, England

  • Bath, England

  • Brighton, England

  • Boulder, Colorado

  • Beaver Creek, Colorado

  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

  • Black Hawk, Colorado

  • Breckenridge, Colorado

  • The Broadmoor Hotel (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

  • Hotel Boulderado (Boulder, Colorado)

  • The Brown Palace Hotel (Denver, Colorado)

PIN FOR LATER!

Header Photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.

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