Romance doesn't mean breaking the bank

We all have a tendency to forget the practicalities when romance is in the air. We want to be generous and shower our loved one with gifts - but the fact is that our cash (unlike our love) always has some very severe limits.

There is a dangerous modern idea that making someone feel special requires spending money on them – but the fact is you don’t need a diamond ring or a weekend in a four star hotel to show someone what you really feel about them.

What actually counts are the special moments that you share together and the ways that you make those moment special and unforgettable. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to create magic moments and lasting memories that will not cost a fortune.

So, what can you do to show you care without melting down your credit card? We have some solutions…

The food of love

We all eat, every day. But there are ways to make even something as routine as eating special. Take a look at how they do things at the Ritz for example to see just how attention to style and detail create the magic.

But you don’t need to head off to Mayfair. You can book a meal at somewhere a little less exalted. Even a meal at your local pizza house will be special if you both make an effort to dress up and make the meal memorable with a good bottle of wine. Remember, you can get money off the bill with careful use of discount offers.

Feel that even a local restaurant would be stretching your resources a little too far? If you can cook, you may be able to recreate the restaurant experience at home. Dim the lights, get some candles, put on some suitable music, and enjoy some romantic recipes together. If you can’t cook, all is not lost. Again, give your home the restaurant feel, but get in a couple of special ready meals. Marks and Spencer do a range which includes wine for just £10.

Going places

Everyday travel, with crowded roads and trains may be a little short on romance. But heading off somewhere special – and certainly somewhere you would not normally go - can be a great shared experience. There are plenty of free museums to see, especially in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and across the rest of the country too.

Make a day out of it. Take a picnic – and lots of pictures.

Of course, it’s not just museums that offer a great day out. Walking is free and taking a walk through the countryside and discovering wildlife can be exciting if you are young and fit. If it means getting so tired you are holding each other up by the end of your hike, so much the better.

Don’t forget that the National Trust has some exciting places to visit throughout the British Isles. There are some stunning stately homes and spectacular gardens to see. You will have to pay for entry, but it can be free if you become a member.

The grand gesture

So you may not be able to run to that special piece of jewellery that your loved one will treasure. You still may be able to surprise them with a special gift.

Check out your local craft market for something handmade and unique. You may be able to save on jewellery with some online specialists, but what about buying something antique?

Flowers are always acceptable, and they can cost less than your local florist if you buy online.

But there are no standard answers for the perfect romantic gift. To really succeed, you need to do your research. What does your loved one like? The surest way to make a lasting romantic gesture is to find out about their likes and their passions (apart from you) and to surprise them with a gift that shows how much work you have put into pleasing them.

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