The last time I was pregnant, The Native and I really did sense the change ahead. A change we were excited to embrace, but one we also knew would mean a more sacrificial stage of life – where adult conversation is a rarity and usually takes place over the bar of a pushchair or in the front of the car once the kiddo has nodded off. As a result we tried to soak up the final stages of being a two-some by going on as many dates as humanly possible in my final weeks of pregnancy.
And we were right because over two years later, we know firsthand that it’s REALLY hard to go out. Since we are working parents and because my in-laws provide so much help with childcare in the week, we feel too guilty to ask for anything more when we want a night for grown-ups and often find ourselves in our pyjamas by 8pm on a Saturday.
A Big Night In is just what we need.
So when Little Stuff said they were teaming up with 2 Little Fleas to see what bloggers would classify as a great night in if they had £750 to spend, my mind started to put all of the dates we haven’t gone on since The Duchess’s birth into one night. And I have to admit that in true Foreigner fashion I went for the extreme opposite of what we’ve been living for the last 27 months.
“A Big Night In. Red carpet attire. Catering. A candelit dinner. Fine wines (or Schloer for us preggos). A stringed quartet. A make-up artist. Maybe hair too.”
I got a little carried away.
I soon came to my senses and realized that even if I blew 80% of the budget on styling myself like Jennifer Lawrence, I’d likely be the only one to enjoy it. (Even though I would enjoy it.)
Some of the best nights of our lives have been the most relaxed when we are in the company of people who we absolutely adore. And as a foreigner, something that has been so significant to me on those nights is when I get to share and enjoy little bits of my culture with those people. It’s a chance to share a unique part of who I am.
So the Big Night In would absolutely have to be an American barbecue. Because in the Expat Family book, there is always room (and a season) for barbecue food.
Eight of our nearest and dearest would arrive to a cozy backyard layout. Picture it. Picnic blankets strewn about with cushions scattered on the ground, a couple of comfy seats, bunting dangling above and fairy lights hung overhead, acting as our British fireflies for the evening.
We’d have a menu solely dedicated to feel good American grub (you guys KNOW how I feel about a good burger). We’d dip our sweet potato fries in homemade sauce as we sip on fresh lemonade and root beer floats from Kilner glasses.
But the real fun is that when the sun sets. There was a drive-in movie theatre not far from my house when I was growing up and I remember so clearly going there for the first time as a young child. It’s an experience I’d LOVE to share with The Native and would love to introduce to some of our friends.
Sure, it’s not quite a drive-in, but a sit-in movie theatre under the stars sounds just as magical. My in-laws have a projector and screen and so we’d serve up hot apple cider (not the West Country type – but of the spicy, non-alcoholic kind), set up the speakers, light the firepit, cozy up on our blankets, start to toast the S’mores and project a classic American film onto the garden wall.
So what’s in my shopping bag to make our Big Night In happen:
- £220 for beautiful, adaptable outdoor seating. And yes, I will be making use of these chairs and cushions after the Big Night In.
- £40 for fairy lights
- £40 for Kilner jars for decoration and drinks (You can never have too many!)
- £169.99 for Leisuregrow Grillstream barbecue
- £80 for food
- £59.90 for firepit
- £129.95 for Yamaha speakers for watching an American classic under the stars
That is date-doing, soul-filling, memory-making, life-sharing stuff.
Oh, and if you don’t know what s’mores are – I’m glad you’re here. I’m about to change your life.
How would you spend a Big Night In? I would love to hear your ideas.
Check out my Pinterest boards for a complete look at the menu, decor and film selection.