Believe it or not, romance can be found out right inside your door. We've enlisted Dr. Barton Goldsmith, award-winning Psychotherapist and author of Emotional Fitness for Couples: 10 Minutes a Day to a Better Relationship, to share some of his tips for keeping the love alive at home and having a romantic night in.
Make the invitation
If you're a couple who spends a lot of time outside of the house, simply ask your partner if they'd like to spend the night in. "It is a matter of just making the suggestion," Dr. Goldsmith says. Keep in mind that staying in doesn't have to be boring or a default. Put in a little extra effort - whether that's picking up a bottle of wine or a new lingerie set - and you'll be surprised what you find. (A bit shy? Check out our tips on how to flirt.)
Break out the bubbles
Whether you opt for a bubble bath, a bottle of champagne, or both - never underestimate the romantic power of bubbles! Dr. Goldsmith agrees, saying, "Couples have to understand that if you wait for the mood to come over you, you could be waiting for a very long time. Set the mood! Light candles, burn some incense, get in the bubble bath. Set the scene; all of a sudden you're in the mood."
Explore new territory
Instead of eating dinner at the table (or on the couch) why not make your own impromptu picnic and have it on the floor? Enjoy wine, cheese, grapes, crudités, and other easy-to-eat food on a big blanket. If weather permits and you have a porch or garden then take your meal outside! Yes, we know it's cold outside but all that fresh air will hopefully make the idea of getting hot and bothered back indoors all the more appealing...
Test your tastes
They say alcohol is a great aphrodisiac, so if you fancy yourself an amateur sommelier, try your hand at creating an at-home wine tasting. Head to a wine merchant in your area and get talking to an expert - they're often more than willing to help you out with the best offers for the best price. Set a spending limit - no more than x amount per bottle - and pick out a few different variations to enjoy together, just try not to get too carried away.
Do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen but haven't yet tackled the task as a team? Start off simple, with a dish that's hands on - like pizzas or fajitas. This allows you to spend more time on the fun part - assembling and eating - than on lengthy steps that more complicated recipes have. "Make it fun. Keep it light," Dr Goldsmith advises.
Mix it up
If you love going out for drink, why not enjoy them in the comfort of your own home? Get your hands on the ingredients to make a cocktail that feels elegant but is somewhat simple. Not sure where to start? Go for a Tom Collins. For each serving, fill a shaker with ice cubes and combine 2 oz gin, 1 oz lemon juice, 3 oz cold club soda, and 1 oz simple syrup. Garnish with a lemon slice or cherry!
Bring sexy back
We know tracky bottoms are tempting when you're in for the evening, but why not put in a little extra effort. Dab on some lip gloss, spritz your favourite perfume, and slip into something comfortable - but not TOO comfortable. We suggest wearing something tight on top and loose on the bottom - or vice versa, depending on your assets and confidence. Try a lacy cami and slinky bottoms - or boy shorts with one of his button down shirts. Leave a little to the imagination - you'll drive him wild. Want to go a little further? Do a striptease!
Who doesn't love a movie marathon? Pick a theme, like Woody Allen films, and choose a few flicks to cuddle up on the couch to. The more romantic the better! More into TV series? Discover a new show through Netflix. (Orange is the New Black is a can't miss and loved by both men and women alike.)
Most of the time we're all pretty stressed, so why not take the pressure off you both with a bit of romantic R&R. "A lot of people think a romantic evening needs to rival 50 Shades of Grey," Dr. Goldsmith says. "A real relationship is actually better; it is an exchange of tender emotions. It is better and cheaper than therapy. Also, the most important intimate moments happen outside the bedroom."
(But there's something to be said for the most romantic sex positions, too!)
Don't plan anything
We've made some suggestions for a fun night in with your main squeeze, but there's something to be said for doing nothing at all. A romantic night in need not be planned; sometimes it just happens. Be playful! Reaching out for your partner's hand doesn't have to be exclusive to when you're walking through town. "Just show real affection," Dr. Goldsmith suggests.
What's your favourite tip for a romantic night in? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!