So, last Friday was date numero uno since we started Project 52, & I was kicking things off. I got the initial idea for passport dates from The Romantic Vineyard, though I wanted to expand it & make it more suited to us. We both love to travel, & if we had that elusive money tree everyone’s talking about it, we’d be globe-trotting in an instant. But, until then, imaginative travelling will have to do!
So, the evening began when The Facilitator got in from work, he had a quick bath & changed, & while I was waiting I cooked our starter, home-made bruchetta.
Bruchetta is actually something that The Facilitator originally made for me, years ago, & that is definitely one of my favourite things, so I thought that would be a nice start.
But, before he got to eat anything, I had left him with an envelope containing a home-made passport, which I had put together in Photoshop. I made the cover like a real UK passport, then changed the colour hue on a few pictures of London we’ve taken over the years & made them the inside pages, I even did a really long-winded details page, complete with the silliest picture of The Facilitator I could find (& there were plenty to chose from!). To complete it, on the very first page I pritt-sticked a “passport stamp” from Rome. This must’ve given him a clue as to what we were doing, but he was still unsure. Also inside the envelope I’d given him, was his plane ticket, something I was going to make myself, but I thankfully found the Make Use Of website, which did the whole thing for me, including personalised details & all for free!
On the living room door I had taped a sign with a logo for my made up airline, because I wanted to give him the impression that when we stepped inside the room, we were stepping off the plane. Lame I know, but fun nonetheless.
So, I had attempted to transform our living room as best as possible, with not being able to tape anything to the walls, it wasn’t the transformation I wanted, but I had all the little details down. I had printed off a flag, stuck it to an old chopstick & popped it in a little pot to keep it upright. Another printed detail was a couple of “I <3 Italy” signs, which we were going to tape to our clothes to re-create the famous t-shirts, but it was awkward, so we stuck them to the chairs. I had also whipped a tablecloth out. Yes it was the Halloween one, but it’s my favourite, OK?
I added a few little heart-shaped candles we have from way-back-when, that we’d not used until now, along with a Italian restaurant style menu to let him know what we’d be having. I also made an origami paper flower to go in a little vase. Now this is where I didn’t quite achieve my aims. I wanted to do a bunch of flowers, to fill a vase, but no-one told me those fiddly little things take an age to make, so I was left with just the one. I decided one flower is just as romantic as a bunch & decorated the table with the one flower & a pot of pencils that were nice & colourful & would come into use later in the evening…
This is where The Facilitator is clearly psychic- when he arrived home, what did he have in his hand? A bunch of flowers to celebrate our first date night! I love that guy, I really do.
To create an ambience, I had also made a YouTube playlist with a bunch of Italian-themed songs on it, from Pavarotti to Glee’s version of Bella Notte (yes, I know that doesn’t really count, but shhh!).
So, with the scene set, we ate our starter (yum!), then as I disappeared to prepare the main I had made a little quiz for The Facilitator, with lots of questions about Italian footballers, & Roman Gods (two things that I knew would get him interested), I may have also thrown in a question or two on Roman Catholicism for my own amusement, I did study religion as my main degree subject, after all. I also did a picture quiz of Google-d Italian landmarks. So, he was kept busy & entertained while I finished off the bacon carbonara. The main wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped, but I knew that The Facilitator was excited about the pudding, so we quickly moved on.
Earlier in the day I had made some panna cotta, & to my surprise, The Facilitator told me they were one of his favourite puddings. I was surprised, because he never orders it in restuarants, but that’s apparently because although the flavour is his favourite, you don’t get as much bite with panna cotta as you would if you ordered, say, sticky toffee pudding.
At this point I show my ignorance, because The Facilitator told me they were hard to make & that getting them out of the moulds might be tricky. I wasn’t aware that I’d picked a difficult dish, it seemed simple enough to me, but I was a little worried now that getting them out of the moulds might not be smooth sailing. He wanted to help get them out of the moulds & was excited about it, so we each did one, & they both came out easypeasy, so I was relieved. I also added a little pot of really tart home-made plum jam to go with it.
I’ve never had panna cotta before, mainly because I’m not a fan of cream, but it was nice, I’m a fan of vanilla & lemon, & as that’s the flavours I’d used, it suited me perfectly. And The Facilitator couldn’t stop going on about how good they were, so that pleased me!
So, we then did the activities I had taken from one of the dates on The Dating Divas site, & I challenged The Facilitator to make an Italian-themed sculpture with the home-made play-dough I’d put together earlier in the day. Firstly, he made a penis. This is no surprise, I imagine pretty much every man would do the same. Then he got a bit more determined & made a colosseum, complete with gladiator, who he then decided to “kill” by punching…
I then got him to do some gentler Italian art, with some drawing (& colouring- remember the pencils?). He did the scene that most reminds him of Italy, which is Pavarotti on stage, singing the Italia ’90 version of Nessun Dorma. It was a pretty good drawing, & I really loved that he put quite a lot of effort into it.
We finished off the evening by settling down to watch a film, “When in Rome”, a typical rom-com with a few extra laughs, & our in-flight meal, which was essentially a tupperware box with my made-up airline label on it, and some Garibaldi biscuits inside, I think he thought it was a nice touch, but we were both too stuffed & ended up eating them the next day!
So, that was date one out of the way, we both enjoyed it & I think I’d enjoyed the few days building up to it even more.
Now, I’m off to get sorted so we’ll both be in line for The Facilitator’s date tonight. Can’t wait!