How to make a splash without splashing the cash

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Once upon a time we used to worry about the physical aspect of dating – but now it’s the fiscal aspect that really worries us. How do you go on great dates without breaking the bank? We spoke to our friends at London members buying club Keynoir – bona fide experts at living the high life for less – to find out how you can make someone feel like a million dollars without spending as much as a tenner.

If you don’t live in London, don’t worry, there are still some great tips here for creating that special date, whatever stage you’re at. It’s dating, just smarter.

First Date – Ice and Easy
A first date is a nerve-wracking experience, and if things don’t go as planned, you’ll want a get-out clause. So don’t dive in head-first to a long evening of wining and dining (we know what it’s like when the time between starters and mains seems like an eternity) – instead, do something low-commitment. What better way to sweeten them up than an ice cream in an Italian gelateria?

Keynoir recommends Gelato Mio, which has four locations across London, and for less than a fiver you can have a delightful date. Trying to get your tongue around the Italian pronunciation of the flavours is a great way to break the ice (sorry!).

Second Date – Liquid Leisure

Across the country, we’re finally tapping into the idea of small food dining. Sitting down to a full meal can feel very formal, so make it easy on yourself and prioritise some great cocktails or a good bottle of wine, and watch how easily the rest fits in. An evening spent sharing little morsels of food can be a romantic way to get to know each other’s tastes, and it costs less than a three-course dinner. Whether it’s cocktails with bar snacks or sumptuous Spanish tapas, you’ll both feel totally relaxed.

And to make sure you feel just as relaxed when the bill comes, Keynoir recommends scouting their site for great opportunities like cocktails and tapas at the Hempel, or whiskey tasting with bar snacks at The Albannach – a great way to indulge without overdoing it.

Third Date – Cunning Cuisine
Once you’re confident that your date is capable of holding a decent conversation, then you’ll be dying to make eyes at them over a candlelit dinner. But eating out is a prohibitive sport, so we recommend you get wise to wining and dining the cheaper way. Lots of restaurants (even upmarket ones) do special offers, set menus and loyalty cards. And in these times, there’s no need to feel embarrassed about saving money on dining out – just be discreet.

If you’re dining out in London, Keynoir run delicious deals in restaurants such as trendy Soho eaterie Quo Vadis, Chelsea hotspot The Collection, and the Michelin-starred Tom Aikens restaurant – for when you really want to impress. You could save up to 70% on your bill and your date will be none the wiser. It’s a recipe for success.

Fourth Date – You’ve got Bottle
It’s time to get creative. Keep your date on their toes by introducing them to a new experience, because learning something together is a surefire way to get closer. Keynoir recommends trying out an afternoon of wine tasting. There are many independent wine shops all over the country which offer wine tastings and will be cheaper than the big name places. If you really want to impress, do it at somewhere like Bottle Apostle, a gem of a wine shop nestled in the heart of pretty Victoria Park Village. Once you’ve chosen your wine of choice pop to the nearest deli to grab some delicious snacks and settle down for a picnic in your park of choice.

Fifth Date – A love-in with the luvvies
By now you’re probably comfortable enough with your date to be able to sit next to them in silence for an extended period of time. Hit your nearest theatre and you’re guaranteed to have heaps to talk about when the curtains close. We know that theatre-going can cost an arm and a leg, so we recommend hunting around for last-minute tickets on theatre discount websites or eBay – however these tickets are often lower-end seats, so it’s a good idea to shop around. Keynoir like to make theatre-going into a real occasion for its members with extra treats like a glass of champagne at your interval – keep an eye out for the little extras that will create a memorable evening.

Keynoir.com is London’s premier lifestyle buying club, giving you daily deals to your inbox on the best restaurants, clubs and experiences in London – all at exclusive prices. To check out some of the incredible offers Keynoir have run in London, check out their Facebook page


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