I have been with my boyfriend for two years now and we would be lying if we said that sometimes we don’t get stuck in a rut with date ideas.

It is very easy to fall in to a routine of Netflix, cinema dates and a meal out yet forget about all the other fun date ideas that aren’t all that expensive – especially if you are restricted by a student budget!

I thought I would compile a list of all my favourite date ideas under £20 for you all to enjoy.

  1. Make your own pizzas together
  2. Whip out an old board game – Harry Potter Scene it is so much fun!
  3. Ice skating (indoor or outdoor)
  4. Top trumps – We actually had so much fun playing this the other day, felt like I was revisiting my childhood
  5. Pumpkin carving
  6. Face masks (make your own too)
  7. The Globe Theatre
  8. Play Mr and Mrs – question how well you know each other! You can find questions online, buy the game/app or make your own up.
  9. Be creative – I made a scapbook for Adam that we update all the time. You could make Christmas decorations, paintings for your bedroom etc. I have always loved the dripping crayon paintings myself!
  10. Explore a stately home together – there is a great list of some here
  11. Watch the sun rise/sun set, drive out to somewhere for just you two to enjoy.
  12. Go for a drive
  13. Cook a new meal together
  14. Fly a kite
  15. Build a fort
  16. Go to your local animal shelter and cry over how much you want to save all the animals and build your own sanctuary for them?? Just me??
  17. Ghost hunting
  18. Mini golf or a driving range. Adam recently took me to a driving range and as he loves golf he really enjoyed teaching me how to improve my swing and recording me attempting to hit it straight! It’s such a cheap date but actually lots of fun
  19. Find a free entry museum to explore. The Natural History Museum is amazing if you live near London
  20. Play pool or snooker – or teach each other to play if one of you doesn’t know how!
  21. Go to a local arcade (who doesn’t still love the 2p machines)
  22. If you’re really up for it… karaoke night! This could be at a pub or alone… anyone else remember Sing Star!?
  23. Do a pub quiz – either together or compete!
  24. Buy a lottery ticket – I saw someone feature this a while ago and thought it was great. It is so easy to get talking about what you would do with £1 million
  25. Massages – learn how to massage like an expert
  26. Check groupon for any local offers
  27. Learn a song, it’s generally funnier if it’s a rap.. even more so if neither of you listen to rap
  28. Food eating competition – race eat a pizza because why not?!
  29. Work out together at home
  30. Visit relatives
  31. Snoop round a book store
  32. 2 for 1 cinema days on Meerkat Movies
  33. Yoga Challenge
  34. Pick your own fruit – Adam and I picked strawberries together and loved it as a cheap date idea
  35. Make cocktails – create your own or recreate your favourites
  36. Search for dream houses online

I hope you enjoy this short list of date ideas as part of my “Under ££” mini series. I tried to include some classics but also think of some more unique ideas to keep it interesting!

ella-x

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I received a phone call last week from my Dad that was pretty interesting. It went along the lines of him winning something (obviously – he has a knack for that!) and inviting me to the British Touring Car Championship that weekend.

And so, like a good daughter exploiting her father’s win (hey dad, I know you’re reading!), on Sunday 18th September, my dad and I visited Silverstone for the day.

I haven’t been to Silverstone in years. As far as I remember the last time was watching super cars race when I was a little girl; so getting to go again was really great.

The Grid and Passes

We were given passes that gave us access on the grid for the BTCC which was probably one of the best parts of the day. Just before every race, what seems like millions of people flood the track, taking photos of the drivers, the cars… and the women of course.

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Here is a delightful picture of me being blinded by the sun and sporting my lovely Grid Access and Media passes.

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Strolling past Shedden

I did feel that I was totally in the way when I was on the grid. I know that all the mechanics and other team members are used to people trying to get photos, ask questions and generally be in the way.. but I almost felt bad that while they were working tirelessly (very punny!) to get the car ready, people were just having a nosey… Saying that I did have a photo with number 99’s car – Plato (I’m a philosophy student.. sue me!) The photo actually got retweeted by Radio 1 which was pretty cool.

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Watching the Races

As we had Media passes we were lucky enough to be able to view the races from their building which was basically on the pit lane and next to the Champion’s Suite (these people had a lot of champagne and I was very jelly). This meant that when all the drivers came in you got to wave to them personally which I thought was kind of cool. You also got to smell the burning rubber as each car came in with a popped tyre!

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The view from the media stand

My dad and I decided that for the second race we would skip the Grid Walk and go and sit in one of the main stands (which was packed, unlike in the photo above!)

I thought that maybe in the stand we wouldn’t have such a great view as we weren’t up close and personal but I was definitely wrong. The atmosphere was incredible. You were surrounded by people, as opposed to just us in the media stand, and everyone’s reactions were almost contagious. You also got to see so much more of the track, the big screen and the track positions of the cars which was great! I know that you generally look at the people in the media stands or the champion suites so close to the action and think how fantastic it would be to stand there but there is something about being in the thick of it that is so much fun. I could only compare it to a football game atmosphere!

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The view from the stands

Activities

Aside from the actual racing (as well as BTCC there was a Clio Cup and a Carrera race which was fun to watch) there is a decent amount to see at Silverstone.

There were loads of food and drink standards offering your standard hot dog and burgers to something a bit extra like waffles and pizza – and they even had a Krispy Kreme stand!

I think if you went with children it would also be so much fun. There were several driving activities, bouncy castles and merchandise stands filled with toy cars that children would have had a ball with! Also, if you’re not totally in to racing you can 100% still go for the day and not get bored. So if you get invited by a partner, sibling or friend that loves racing and you’re kind of meh I guarantee you will still have a great time!

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Grid photo ft. random dude

I honestly had so much fun with my dad watching the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone and thanks to Autocar for the tickets! I hoped you enjoyed reading a bit about the experience too – it was definitely a first for me.

ella-x

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WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS

I’m late to the hype, 100% guaranteed. However, if I am late, why the hell has nobody told me about how amazing House of Cards is yet!?

When I came across the TV show on Netflix I was skeptical (mainly due to it’s 35 minute long intros… Or so it seems) but I have recently become obsessed with the twists and turns of the Underwoods in the battle for power.

If you haven’t watched it yet for yourself, I hope after these 6 reasons you will scramble to type in your Netflix password and binge watch a season for yourself. If you are in fact a fan of the show, I would love to know what you like the most about it too!

Reason One: The Underwood Dynamic

The relationship between Claire and Frank Underwood is so interesting that their dynamic alone is enough to keep you hooked (I have actually read about them being compared to the Macbeth power couple – which may imply a downfall for the pair??). Their lack of physical intimacy is replaced by this unique connection that they use to aid each other’s progress to power and ruthlessly ensuring they maintain it. The tension in their relationship is often palpable – I sometimes forget they’re not a real couple having a marital spat! – and you know that every disagreement between them will result in most things they touch around them imploding. Affairs, political disagreement and hunger for power is what both keeps them together and separates them, making for a very interesting watch.

Reason Two: Kevin Spacey’s Performance

I wanted to link this reason to the one before due to how the pair act together. Kevin Spacey’s performance in House of Cards is honestly amazing. He is ruthless, rugged and raw and suited perfectly to the role of a Washington politician. He often talks directly to the audience, something I have only ever found effective in The Office, which I was wary of at first but soon came to love the relationship it built; almost feeling like his diary.

Reason Three: Shock Factor Moments

The amount of shocking moments seems to escalate with each season. Deaths you didn’t expect, affairs that come to light and other press scandals that result in firing staff. You do also get some weird moments that you feel so awkward you could laugh at. Meechum, for example, partakes in a threesome with the power couple – something you have no idea is going to happen. Sex is often used as a power card in the show (and real life, eh?) and it’s interesting to see it at play here. As Frank himself said: “A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.”

Reason Four: Glimpse in to Washington Politics

I know that realistically (well maybe, who knows?!) that House of Cards isn’t like Washington, but there is something about the idea that you’re getting a sneak peek in to the corruption in politics and how people bargain to get what they need and want that is kind of thrilling to watch. You don’t have to be put off by the whole politics idea though… You literally need to know nuttin to understand what is going on – something I will admit put me off watching the series at first.

Reason Five: The Long Game

You will often sit waiting for a whole episode for something to happen but every moment has you sitting on the edge of your seat. I’m currently in the middle of Season 3 and Frank is running for re-election and the last episode featured a debate between 3 candidates. You knew that one of the candidates was actually working alongside Frank but had met with his main rival and so the whole episode I was leaning forward wondering whether she would stick with Frank or swing to the opposition. You do get your shock moments, like I mentioned, but they often take a lot of waiting – a dedication required by the fans. This is actually something I really like about the show as you have to put in time (much like Claire and Frank do to their work) to get the reward.

Reason Six: Villains

The first two seasons generally see Frank as the calculating villan who does whatever he has to to gain power. Often we as the audience find ourselves rooting for the hero but I feel now that many shows find you instead backing the villan who doesn’t really deserve to win but you can’t help but love him anyway. Frank is marmite in that sense I guess. You hate to love him but love to hate him – almost cheering him on or ‘ooing’ under your breath when he calls out someone for undermining him. As the seasons go on, you see more and more people step up as villans which is very interesting. I have yet to watch Season 4 but I’m aware that Claire becomes a lot more convining… Something I am really looking forward to Robin Wright performing.


I was recently disappointed when I discovered Robin Wright had to demand to be paid the same as Kevin Spacey. I do understand that he is generally the focaliser of the show but without Robin there is no Underwood dynamic, a massive drop in the twists and turns of the plot and definitely no amazing female lead role. Robin noted herself that the on-screen couple “are equal” and therefore deserve equal pay – such a Claire move!

I really hope that you all now check out House of Cards after reading these 6 reasons behind my love for the show. After watching it is so easy to understand why the American series has been nominated for 8 Golden Globes and won 33 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Ella x

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Am I really saying this? Am I? Ohhhh.. Go on then!

I.. Miss Ella Garrett… Have Reached 100 Followers! *confetti canon needed*

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I think this calls for another firework featured image!

(Another milestone – this is my official 20th post too)

I am honestly over the moon with the progress that this blog is making and yet again I have to give a massive thank you to all of you guys that decide to read my lil old posts on Testarossa.

When I first started I thought a handful of people here and there would enjoy my content and that in all reality I might find it hard to grasp the interest of others and write about topics people even care about. I never thought that in 3 weeks or so I would be hitting 100 followers.

I have several posts coming up that involve entertainment reviews and travel but if there is anything in particular that you like me writing about or have any ideas that I can do, please let me know in a comment.

You all mean so much to me and thank you for being such a fantastic group of people!

ella-x

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I have been very fortunate in recent years to travel to many countries that I have adored. As I grow older I want to be able to say that I was able to travel to so many more, experience new cultures, meet new people and take in some of the world’s most beautiful places.

I thought I would share my Travel Bucket List with you that I have already been working on for some time now (some will already be crossed out as a consequence) and let you guys see alongside me when I am able to achieve my travel goals, one step at a time.

LA

There is something about LA that I have always been attracted to. It may be cliche but I really want to visit the ‘Hollywood’ sign and soak in the glamour of the place. My mum and I have been obsessed with Pretty Woman for so many years and I can think of nothing better than being a cheesy tourist and visiting all the sights of the film.

New York

I think New York is one of the places on everybody’s list. FRIENDS was a show that I have loved for years and I would love to go to the Central Perk cafe that opened in NYC and be a real British tourist. Also, it’s undeniable that NYC is one of the most amazing cities in the world. Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Grand Central Terminal are all top of my list to explore.

Dubai

Similar to NYC, I think Dubai has an aura that is just incredible. The skyline alone is enough to make your head feel dizzy and it is a hub for World Records and World Firsts that means it makes it on to my Travel Bucket List. I mean it holds Tallest Man Made Structure, Biggest Shopping Centre, Largest Fireworks Display and First Indoor Mountain Resort. I think Dubai was one of the first destinations to trump the USA in doing things bigger, bolder and better and that’s why I am itching to go!

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Photo courtesy of emirates247.com

Rome

I visited Rome back in 2009 with my mum and it was such an amazing experience. The Vatican, the Colosseum and the city itself was incredible. The people were so friendly and accommodating and it is no lie that they make some amazing pizza.

Santorini

I know that Santorini has become a bit of a blogger’s paradise recently but it is just so gorgeous and Greek-white that I can’t help but want to go. I think in recent years a lot of the Greek islands have been denoted as party places yet Santorini still retains the chic Greek look that I love. It seems to hold some of the most beautiful villas that boost equally beautiful views and I hope that soon I will have the opportunity to holiday there.

Stonehenge 

My boyfriend’s family and I actually spotted Stonehenge when we were returning from Center Parcs. Granted, I didn’t get to go up close and see it but as it is corned off now to the public, seeing from afar was just as amazing.

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Anywhere I can see the Northern Lights!

There are just undeniably beautiful and it would be wrong not to feature such an amazing phenomena on this list. I know that you can sometimes see them in Scotland but I would rather visit a Scandinavian country to get the full effect!

Las Vegas

Again, another cliche but I really do want to visit Las Vegas to see if it lives up to it’s worldwide reputation. I feel like it’s a place that just sparkles and I really want to get caught up in the glitz of a fantasy life for a moment.

Berlin

Berlin is a city I am really hoping I can visit with my mum someday. The pure historical references truly amaze me and being so interested in the war gives it a solid place on my Travel Bucket List. The Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Holocaust Memorial and the scarred historical places which saw so much are on the top of my list to see. Also, Berlin seems to have a great atmosphere that everybody raves about, making it a very different European city (in comparison to the elegance of Paris, for example) and one that I am itching to visit.

Barcelona

I had the delight of visiting Barcelona this year with my boyfriend, which I actually wrote a blog post about (tagged for you). We had the most amazing time and I honestly regard it as one of the best places I have ever visited – I cannot wait to return soon. Casa Battlo, Sagarda Familia, La Rambla and the ports were such beautiful things to see and I enjoyed every minute I spent exploring the city. Barcelona has so much to offer and I feel that if I went back I would find it incredibly easy to plan another completely unique trip filled with things to see and do.

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Amsterdam

The closest I have got so far to Amsterdam is being in the airport for a layover! I really want to explore the renowned city and see some of the sights like Anne Frank’s house and the beautiful river. I am such a typical tourist and I would love to take a photo on the bench in The Fault in Our Stars and cruise up and down the canal. Similar to Berlin, I personally feel that Amsterdam stands out as a European city for being very unique; hence why it has become so popular in recent years.

Paris

I traveled to Paris last February (not Valentines!) with my boyfriend, Adam, and although the weather was honestly miserable, we absolutely loved the city and it was definitely one to tick off the bucket list. There is nothing quite like seeing the Eiffel Tower in all it’s glory and standing near some of the most renowned artwork in the Louvre. Also, being a student meant that Adam and I got free entry in to many museums and so we had so much fun exploring different places (and ultimately avoiding the elements).

 

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I think in time I will definitely add to this list (and hopefully cross some off!) so I will update you guys if anything ever changes.

I hope you enjoyed seeing why I want to visit certain places in the world and I would love to know your Travel Bucket Lists.

Ella x

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