Back, way back....no not that far back... there- about five or six years ago, in fact, Man Wonderful and I would take ourselves off a few times a year for a lovely romantic weekend 'away from it all'.
Then we got our reality check, and the occasional night away or meal out became the norm.
And this weekend we are sneaking off again, just the two of us, for a two night stay and a little mini-break!
"But how can this be done frugally and on a budget?" I hear you cry, "Do share, as we too would love to have a bit of spoiling in amongst all this toiling!!"
Pull up a cuppa and a cushion and I'll share.
Firstly, you set your budget and run your household.
Only the very strong and determined can plough on, head down, through paying off debts and managing their budget: if you need a treat to look forward to (be it a rare takeaway, a yearly trip to the Panto or a new bra) and it helps you, then include it in your plans.
Secondly, look around you. Your nearest and dearest are near and dear because you love them. If you're not going to spend a little spare time and cash with them every now and again, they'll not stay close or sweet!
Thirdly, we actually only get one wild and beautiful life. There's no feeling in the world like having paid for a treat up front, then sitting back and bleddy enjoying it!
Nuff said on that point.
So our break.
We knew how much money we could spend on each bit: petrol, accommodation, food, activities.
We both went online and searched MoneySavingExpert, Lastminute.com and Laterooms.
We booked two nights at a pub in a lovely town about three hours drive from home using the Laterooms site: this gave us more than 50% off as we booked it three days before travel. Our room includes breakfast for two mornings.
(My use of the Quidco site is paying for this: if you haven't got Quidco yet, it's free cash back for things you are already buying! My utilities and purchases since moving house in May have just paid out. :-) )
We budget for petrol for the month, and the money goes into an envelope. This month, with a week of half term we will be travelling 200 fewer miles but I still allowed the same amount of cash for fuel.
We will eat tonight at the pub where we are staying.
Tomorrow we'll eat well at our paid-for breakfast, and I'll top up my vacuum mug at the same time. We might share a bun at lunchtime with the fruit I've brought from home.
And on our walk around the town tomorrow we'll seek out a cheap-ish place for dinner.
There's a TV in our room, and we've brought with us a borrowed portable DVD player and a couple of DVDs as well as our reading books....and each other. No cost there!
Photos to follow: I've been blogging as MW drove, and we've just arrived!