May 21, 2020

Date night ideas during quarantine

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder - which is no easy task when you're locked up at home together, 24/7. If you've reached the point of wanting to leap out of a window when your significant other walks in the room, then it’s time to bring the love back.

Coming up with quarantine-friendly at-home date night ideas can be tough. Sure, you could order takeout and watch Netflix together, but is that really any different to your typical night at home? To spark the fire of romance, you need to think outside of the box.

Inject a little bit of DIY romance into your lives until you are able to travel back to the beautiful Hunter Valley. Nearly all of these date night ideas can be recreated at Glenmore Country Estate once we are able to welcome you back, letting you relive the same love-inducing experiences twice.

We have ten date night ideas for quarantine right here. But before we get started, let's take a quick look at the science behind it all.

The science of date night

When it comes to love and romance, the last thing you'll probably think about is neuroscience. Well, research into the effects of date night on the neuroreceptors could just help you create a date that induces plenty of love hormones.

Keeping things exciting, fun, and fresh will flood your brains with norepinephrine and dopamine - two of the main contributors to that 'you make me feel amazing, I can't stop thinking about you' phase. The third hormone, also known as the love hormone is oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone and it floods the system with human contact and interaction.

The issue is that when things are predictable, your brain wires itself to expect the same situations time and again, causing less norepinephrine, dopamine and oxytocin to be dished out. Your brain receives fewer pleasurable rewards, causing a lack of desire for your significant other.

Luckily, brain plasticity is something we can all take advantage of to get them flowing again. The brain has an incredible power of being able to rewire itself, bringing that spark back to fading feelings of love and lust. By switching normal routines up and bringing physical contact back on to the scene, you can start falling in love all over again.

The romance of love is always tied to the heart, but it's your brain that actually does all of the hard work.

10 quarantine date nights to try at home

To help get those butterflies fluttering once again, here are ten of the best at-home date night ideas to try during the lockdown. Forget about regular dinner dates or bingeing on Netflix, these will all add a little bit of excitement back into your lives while you start planning an extra-special post-isolation getaway to the Hunter Valley region.

1. Enjoy Romantic Backyard Picnic

If you're lucky enough to have a back garden or a balcony, you have the perfect settings for a romantic evening picnic. Dig out some cosy blankets, take out the Christmas lights and string them up around the garden and put out plenty of cushions to relax on.

For food and drink, a bottle or two of bubbles paired with French baguettes stuffed with rocket, king prawns and lemon mayo will go down a treat. You don't have to go overboard, but try to create something that screams country picnic. If you have a firepit, even better!

Open Spotify on your phone, play some of your favourite songs and get down to reminiscing about how you first met. The night off with an indulgent dessert and two spoons. If the weather is bad, bring the garden indoors with lots of cut flowers and potted plants and have your picnic on the floor of your living room.

2. Have a Bubble Bath - Together

Fill your bathtub with luxurious soapy bubbles and a few drops of essential oil for a truly relaxing quarantine date night. Create a romantic ambience with plenty of candles, rose petals in the water and a couple of glasses of your favourite wine. Then climb in together.

Bathing is an intimate experience most people usually do alone. By bringing your partner into the tub with you, you're reconnecting on the most primal level. Wash each other’s hair. Scrub each other’s backs. Relax, letting the warm water soak away your aches and stresses.

If you don't have a bathtub, a shower or a night’s stay at Glenmore Country Estate, make a  good second option. Obviously, it's nowhere near as romantic, but it allows you to share an intimate experience, getting that oxytocin flowing through your veins. Take your time and don't rush. It's all about enjoying the experience and being together.

3. Get Retro with Your Games

Video games can be fun, especially if you have an old Sega Megadrive or Nintendo 64 laying around. Retro games transport you back in time, opening the doors for talking about your younger years. Of course, you don't need to use a games console to go retro. Board games work just as well.

A game of Monopoly or Guess Who can last an entire evening, bringing out your competitive streaks. If you have kids, raid their games and see what there is to enjoy.

Twister? Operation? Jenga? Whatever it is you choose, make sure it's as fun as possible - and play them once the kids have gone to bed.

If you don't have any games to play, create your own. Come up with a unique board game that reflects where you live. Who knows? It could become a family favourite passed down through the generations for years to come.

Nintendo Videogame

4. Cook a Meal Together

Normally, it's just one person that cooks for everyone. So why not get together in the kitchen for a joint cooking experience. The great thing about this is that you can do it every week, choosing a different country's cuisine to try your hand at.

Go the full hog and create a menu for a three-course meal. It can be a lot of fun working together in the kitchen, especially when you've set aside some time to do it. If you're one of those who gets stressed with people getting underfoot in the kitchen, choose one dish to make and leave the other two for your partner.

While one of you is cooking up a storm on the stovetop, the other could be whipping up a luxury desert. Jump online a few days before and check out some exotic dishes you both want to try, then have fun making them. You could try Indian, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Korean or French food. Your imagination is the limit. Download some traditional music from your chosen country and play it in the background to add an authentic touch to the experience.

5. Oil Up with a Massage

Skin on skin contact is the ultimate way to get oxytocin levels up. You don't need to splash out on expensive massage oils for this. If all you have to hand is baby oil or even olive oil, you're set to go. If you want to make it a little more personalised, add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to the mix.

This one is perfect for the bedroom, just don't use white or satin sheets unless you want oil stains on them. Cotton works best. There are hundreds of different types of massage you can do. Deep tissue, Thai, Swedish, relaxation, pressure points, etc. You're not sure how to go about it, head on over to YouTube where there are plenty of massage tutorials perfect for a quarantine date night.

When doing this, to recreate a spa setting. Use soft lighting, stream some nature sounds from your phone or laptop and scatter rose petals on the bed. To up the ante, have a dish of strawberries dipped in chocolate and a glass of prosecco or two on standby.

If a home massage isn’t enough, alternatively Ubika Spa hair salon is currently open and taking bookings. Come and nourish your hair with a treatment, trim and colour to achieve that ultimate post isolation fresh look! Book your appointment today.

6. Spend the Night Stargazing

One of the positive things to come out of the global lockdown is that there's less pollution blocking out the stars. The night sky is clearer than it has been for over 100 years, making stargazing extra special.

Make two mugs of hot chocolate, wrap up in warm blankets, and head out to your backyard. If you're not sure where to find the constellations, you can download Google Sky to help you.

Keep your eyes peeled for shooting stars and see if you can spot any of the planets. The best way to see the stars is to turn off all of the lights, move away from the house and keep any phone screens off. Let your eyes adapt to the dark and enjoy a spectacular light show that will blow your mind.

There’s no better place to stargaze than the Hunter Valley! Keep this on your radar for when isolation restrictions have been eased.

7. Get Crafty

Whether it's creating a new piece of furniture for your home or creating art to frame and hang on the wall, there's plenty of crafts to enjoy. Find something that you're both interested in, and work together to create something amazing.

Melting down bars of soap to create delicate flower petal soap is a great way to spend the evening. Work together on a canvas and recreate your favourite romantic moment using watercolours or oil paint. Recover your sofas or get the bedazzler out. The options are endless.

8. Creative Cocktail Night

With all of the bats and restaurants closed, enjoying your favourite cocktails can be tough. If you have a decent supply of alcohol in the cupboards, why not create your very own lovers cocktail? If you're not particularly creative, a quick search on the internet will throw up plenty of cocktail recipes. But the fun of this is experimenting and trying new combinations.

Instead of both of you creating cocktails for yourself, create them for each other. Use out of the box ingredients, including chocolate milkshake, fresh chillies, pineapple, banana, anything you think will work well. If you have a smoothie maker, you can create your very own adult-only Slurpees and slush puppies too.

Once COVID-19 restrictions have eased, book a visit to Vista Lounge at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. They have over 36 whiskey varieties to choose from along with a vast array of handcrafted drinks to enjoy by the fire. Trust us, it’s worth the visit.

9. Build a bucket list

One of the great things about being in quarantine is that you have plenty of time to dream. Take out a writing pad and build a couple's bucket list with everything you both want to do when restrictions are lifted.

  • What restaurants do you want to eat at?
  • What domestic destinations do you want to visit?
  • What attractions would you love to see?

Be as creative as you can and then set out a timeline for doing them all.

This also throws up another benefit - birthday, honeymoon and Christmas gift ideas. Create three lists. something you want to do, something they want to do, something you both want to do together. Compromise is key in a happy relationship, so take the chance to try new things that you wouldn't necessarily want to do.

Let your imaginations run wild. Talk about all of the amazing things you've done together so far. Then find ways to add even more of a wow factor to your memory book.

Check out this incredible Hunter Valley bucket list for a few more amazing ideas and experience.

10. Camp Out in the Garden

Sometimes, all it takes to reignite the spark in a relationship is to move away from familiar surroundings. Your garden isn't only somewhere to enjoy summer - it can also be a safe and enjoyable place to spend the night. Dust off your tent, prepare all of your bedding, load up on snacks and take the laptop outdoors with you.

If you really want to make this at-home date night special, fire up the barbecue, create a fire pit and get cosy under the stars. When it's time to head inside, find a romantic movie to stream on your laptop and snuggle up under a mountain of blankets and cushions. With the weather turning colder, plenty of hugging up is guaranteed.

Quarantine date nights made for romance

We could have covered all of the usual date night ideas, such as takeout food in front of Netflix, a candlelit meal, or binge-watching your favourite series. But these are things most couples do together every night anyway. Getting those feel-good hormones flowing requires doing new and exciting things - which we have covered here.

Glenmore Country Estate looks forward to welcoming you all back!

We are the ideal location to host you and your loved ones for a refreshing country escape, without the crowds. In the meantime, don't let your quarantine date night become a quarantine hate night. Step outside of the usual clichés and reconnect in ways you'll remember long after lockdown lifts.

To stay up to date with our opening dates, check our website or call (02) 4991 0000.

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