‘Finding time’. It’s a strange concept. And it’s a phrase I’m using a lot lately. I never seen to ‘find the time’ to do some of things that should be most important to me. It’s easy to rush around doing the things that feel most urgent, but the days and weeks quickly slip by and I look back with a tinge of sadness that I’ve been focusing on all the wrong things.
I remember having to do a time management exercise one day in a department meeting at work (in my job before pregnancy). We had to split a piece of paper into four quadrants labelled:
- Not important, not urgent
- Important, not urgent
- Urgent, not important
- Urgent, important
We had to plot where each of our usual jobs would sit within the quadrants. It was a pretty interesting exercise, and I often think about it now to help me prioritise my workload. The thing is, if I did this with my personal life – I think I’d be surprised by the results. I think I spend far too much time on the things that feel urgent, but ultimately are unimportant. And I want to change that.
At the very top of the list of things I need to dedicate more time to: date nights. It sounds so silly and frivolous to talk about the need for us to spend time together – but it’s more than just an excuse to eat good food and enjoy a movie. It’s for us to reconnect. To enjoy each other’s company without the stresses of parenthood and the ever-looming threat of whenever the next tantrum will be. To remember why we decided to embark on this crazy journey together in the first place.
Just before the end of March, we asked my Mother in Law to babysit and went to enjoy a meal at Mexican restaurant Chiquito. We hadn’t been there for years, and we really made a night of it. Pre-children, a meal out was a fairly frequent event. It was something we did when we couldn’t be bothered to cook ourselves or to face a kitchen of washing up. We went wherever was convenient, and rarely spent more than an hour dining. This Saturday? We spent three hours at Chiquito, chatting, laughing and soaking in the things we love most about each other. It was glorious.
From enjoying a cocktail to start with (well, it would have been rude to pass up the 2 for 1 Happy Hour offer!), right through to our sharing street food starters, mains and even a cheeky pudding, we took the time to just enjoy each other. So often throughout the evening, I sat dancing in my chair, jigging my shoulders to the music and feeling like we were ten years younger again. If only I looked ten years younger, too!
It was a particularly good idea to opt for a selection of Street Food starters – I’ve always thought literally sharing food is a good way to bring people together, which is why we did picnic type food for our wedding. Just as we wanted our wedding guests to chat and interact, it was fun to try the different starters together, comparing which was our favourites (mine was the halloumi served with a lovely jalapeño jelly) and offering each other the last chorizo (that’s even better than sharing your last Rolo, surely?).
I’ve mentioned on here a million times before that I’m a real creature of habit, and I always end up ordering the same things off the menu. In fact, I’m sure LPD and I know each other’s habits so well by now that we could happily order for each other. To buck the trend, I went for something that although I’ve eaten lots of times at home, I’ve never ordered out at a restaurant before: chicken fajitas. It was absolutely delicious, and I love the drama of the hot sizzling chicken as it’s brought to the table! LPD kept with tradition and predictably ordered the brownie off the dessert menu. Although, I’m pretty sure he hadn’t ever had a popcorn brownie before, and the addition of salted caramel ice cream made it a real treat.
It’s a good metaphor for marriage really. It’s nice to fall into familiar patterns of behaviour. There’s comfort in the safety of it, and the reliability of knowing what lies ahead is reassuring. But if you’re not careful, you can just as easily slip into a bit of a rut. The comfort gets replaced with boredom and it becomes difficult to find that same spark of enjoyment in the mundane. Throwing in a curve ball surprise now and then can only be a good thing! It keeps us on our toes. It throws us off guard and makes us try new things, develop new tastes (both figuratively and literally!), and it enriches the tapestry of our lives together.
I have to give a special thank you to Olivia and Kenny, who looked after us so well during our meal. LPD and I have both previously worked in hospitality (in fact, it’s how we met) and so we know there’s no excuse for poor service. It was clear to see that Kenny and his team love what they do, and they should all be really proud of the friendly, welcoming and uplifting environment they’ve created at the Chiquito in Rubery. I think LPD and I could have chatted to Kenny all night about tequila! He gave us quite the lesson in the different varieties they stock behind the bar – giving LPD a couple of different ones to try. He was really impressed with the Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia, an aged tequila with flavours of butterscotch, caramel and cinnamon which should be savoured more like a whisky than slammed down as a shot with salt and lime (which, by the way, isn’t the thing to do with proper tequila!). LPD looks a bit miserable in this photo, but trust me – this is his ‘musing’ face when he’s carefully considering something – and he was giving the tequila his full attention.
We’ve already got out next date night planned as our third wedding anniversary is just next week (those three years have flown by!), and I’m already looking forward to another evening spent together. We’re opting for a steak restaurant to tie in with the ‘leather’ traditional anniversary gift, but I know it won’t be long until we’re back at Chiquito, and we’ll be sure to download their new app so we can get £10 off our next bill. Bonus.
Disclaimer: we were invited to Chiquito to try out their new menu and in order to share our experience. All opinion and views remain my own, and as always, are 100% honest.