Last Sunday was our 12th wedding anniversary, and we decided that this year we would go out for a change.
Last year, and a lot of the ones before that, we’ve stayed in. We’ve still marked the occasion with alcohol and a DVD, but actually going out has always seemed like too much effort. To Go Out you have to book a baby sitter, change into some clothes that haven’t been adorned with snot, food or drink, make a decision about where to go and actually book a table or some tickets. It all seemed like far too much hard work when we could simply send the kids to bed, open some wine and flop down in front of the TV.
I don’t know what changed our minds this year; 12 years isn’t a particularly special anniversary but we were both keen to leave the house. Maybe it’s because the kids are older so we feel more comfortable about leaving them with complete strangers. DS’s speech is so much better than it was and he goes to bed so nicely at night. On the other hand, the girls are now a complete nightmare to get down at night. A break from the nightly bedtime drama certainly sounded very attractive. So plans were made.
Although Sunday was our anniversary, we decided to go out on the Saturday night. It was more convenient to have a ‘day off’ the next day and we figured if we stayed up late enough we’d be able to say Happy Anniversary to each other anyhow.
So we booked a babysitter from Sitters and informed the kids that we would be going out. They wanted to know if it would be their ‘regular’ Sitters sitter but unfortunately she wasn’t available. There was a little wailing and gnashing of teeth, we don’t go out enough so they are always a little anxious about who will be caring for them.
Next we had to decide where to go. We thought about going back to a restaurant in West Hampstead that we used to frequent when we lived in Zone 2, but it’s at least 40 minute cab ride away and online reviews suggested it had gone downhill during the last 10 years. We decided not to risk it.
We did think about the movies, but we felt like actually talking, not just sitting next to one another in the dark trying not to fall asleep. We really fancied some good food as well so started asking around for some recommendations.
Our lovely neighbour suggested trying our local Miller & Carter Steakhouse. She had taken her DH there for Father’s Day and said the food had been great. She’s American and said both the food and service reminded her of the best of her homeland’s attitude to such things ( i.e. big servings and good customer service) without compromising on food quality. DH and I both like a good steak and the restaurant was 10 minutes from our house, so we rang up and booked a table.
Saturday night rolled around. The table was booked for 8:30 and the babysitter was booked for 7:30. We figured once she got here, we’d be able to go upstairs and get changed while the kids got used to her. Then we’d take a cab to the restaurant for 8, and have a drink in the bar while we waited for our table. The best laid plans and all that…
7:30 arrived and so did the babysitter. She was a perfectly lovely Belgium mum of three teenagers but DD1 didn’t take to her at all. She hung back as DH and I got changed , and told us she thought the babysitter probably had a gun and would murder them all while we were out. I pointed out that Sitters didn’t employ murderers but DD wasn’t convinced. I ignored her and asked DH when the taxi would arrive.
It was then we realised we should have booked a cab at the same time we booked the restaurant. We were told we would have to wait 20 minutes but it ended up being at least 45. There is something very uncomfortable about being in the same house as your children and a new babysitter. The kids were acting up, and the poor babysitter was being given the run around. I’m sure she wanted us gone as much as we wanted to be out of the house. Finally the taxi turned up and we got to the restaurant about 5 minutes before our table was booked for.
Miller & Caters was very busy when we arrived but soon quietened down a little. We were shown to our table straight away and our drinks came quite quickly; we had to wait for our food orders to be taken for a little while but the entrées came quickly. We had some rather average olives, but the first course was fantastic. I had a proper prawn cocktail, the prawns went all the way down to the bottom of the glass.
The mains were steaks (mine was rump and was fantastic), salad ( very tasty) and the most delicious seasoned chips I think I’ve ever had. There was a slice of onion loaf too-yum! And we had to have dessert of course, mine was Eton Mess, and that was fantastic too. We drank a bottle of very nice red wine and I had a chocolate martini to round the evening off while we waited for our taxi to pick us up. And our waitress was really lovely and helpful. It was a great night all round. Of course I was too full after all that food, but in a good way. Both of us agreed that the night was a success and we have plans to go back.
And when we got home, we found the babysitter had managed to get all 4 kids to bed ( we’d been taken bets on whether she would or not) so that was a bonus. We paid her, then collapsed in front of TV and saw in our ‘Real’ anniversary in exactly the same way as we had for the previous 11 years.
Some people might celebrate their 12th Wedding Anniversaries with gifts of Linen, Silk, Gems and Pearls, but DH and I were very happy celebrating with a decent Steak and some quality Alcohol.