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Bring Date Night Back to Life in Time for Valentine's

06/02/2014 12:22 GMT | Updated 07/04/2014 10:59 BST

If the closest you get to having time alone with your loved one is flopping in front of the sofa to watch TV after putting the children to bed, then you probably don't need me to tell you - it's time to go out on a date night with your significant other!

With Valentine's Day around the corner, it is easy to get drawn into the pre-children daydream of a romantic candlelit dinner for two, or a cosy weekend escape in a snug hotel. Sadly, for most time-pressed and cost conscious parents, that romantic night out followed by a long lie-in is off the agenda.

But maybe we are thinking about it all the wrong way. After all, weren't those pre-children dates all about getting to know each other? And isn't that just what we need to continue doing - getting to know each other, reconnecting, sharing fun times? Sharing new experiences or regular hobbies is a wonderful way to give you something else to talk about apart from the children. Even better, date nights to reconnect with each other don't need to be expensive. Book a regular babysitter - it could be once or twice a month - and use the time to be together.

So if money and time are holding you back from taking a date night together, take inspiration from our ten tips for cheap dates with your special someone.

Who knows, it could be the start of something special ...

1. Book a regular babysitter through Care.com, using our pay calculator to ensure that you are paying the correct going rate for your neighbourhood.

2. Visit your local pub. Agree to spend the first hour talking, without mentioning the children. A couple of drinks won't break the bank, and you can share some grown-up conversation in peace.

3. Go over to a friend's house and cook dinner together. That way, the work is shared and you can catch up with the gossip.

4. Take a scenic drive. Particularly nice as the days grow longer, drive to a local beauty spot you haven't seen in a while, or somewhere that you wouldn't take the children to normally. Look at the city lights or the local scenery.

5. Try stargazing. With so many guides available to help you spot the constellations in the sky at night, enjoy looking up at the Milky Way together.

6. Eat a takeaway by candelight or as a picnic. No mess and no washing up to share afterwards!

7. Attend a free event locally, such as a presentation, talk or concert. It will get you thinking and talking.

8. Take advantage of offers to try out free sports or classes at your local gym. Reconnecting with your own health and fitness can be a powerful way to keep in tune with each other.

9. Book a dance class. Strictly come date night ...

10. Walk hand in hand through your local neighbourhood, or a place that holds special memories for you.