Early last week an email dropped into my inbox from a company called ‘Datemakers’ asking me I’d like to go out on a date. Aside from having a little chuckle to myself thinking ”ey up Em, someone thinks you’ve still got it.” My first reaction was to do the honourable thing and let them know I was in fact a married lady. (I know Stu can be a little annoying at times but I’m not ready to trade him in for someone else just yet!)
But alas I was wrong. Far from me thinking I was still a young spring chicken ready to head out on the dating scene, I was quickly informed that Datemakers is actually a company specialising in dates for couples like me and Stu who, to be blunt about it – don’t get out much! Their mission is to ignite a bit of sparkle back into relationships by sending couples out on fun and interesting dates that they wouldn’t necessarily think of doing themselves!!! – looks like I’d be bringing Stu along!
When I heard what Datemakerswas actually about I literally couldn’t wait to talk to Joe (one of the founders) to set up our date. With me living the other end of the country to my Mum we struggle for babysitters and haven’t actually been out just the two of us since Ollie was born (I think I can probably count on one hand the number of times we’ve been on a date post Ettie!) When we have been lucky enough to break the shackles and leave the house for an evening, we’ve always done the standard thing of booking a table for dinner, having a few drinks and realising pretty quickly on that getting drunk was a ridiculous idea because we’d peak way too early. The end result would be us being ready for bed by 11pm, one of us (me) inevitably having to wake up with the children within an hour of going to sleep and us both having to suffer a long, horrible hangovers with children bouncing on our heads the next day.
Luckily Datemakers avoids all of that!!
So what is Datemakers?
Datemakers is a small but growing company dedicated to making boring dates a thing of the past. Founded by Matt and Joe after a few too many ciders, their mission is to bring the fun back into dating. Established in Bristol, they have over 50 date experiences on offer there ranging from gin tasting and chocolate making, to letting you fly over your own house in a helicopter. And because Brighton is always pipped with Bristol as being the UK’s coolest city, the duo have decided to branch out and bring Datemakers to Brighton as their second location.
Datemakers market themselves as ‘a one stop shop of things to do for two’ and they aren’t wrong. A quick glance over their website and my mind was blown at just how many fun and exciting things there are out there for couples to try. Things we would never have thought of doing never mind organising and most importantly things that are way more fun than catching a quick meal in Pizza Express (or sitting over dimly lit restaurant table wondering if the extra glass of wine you had with dinner pushes you into the ‘most drunk’ category, thereby enabling you to shirk all responsibilities of parenting the nocturnal children through the night shift!)
We chose Archery and Clay Pigeon shooting for our date because we wanted something a bit different that could take place in the afternoon meaning we could take Ollie. Whilst not the most conventional ‘date for two,’ I’m still breastfeeding so he comes along with us everywhere we go and although he might not have enjoyed playing Robin Hood as much as we did, it was still fun to have him there with us as our little datecrasher.
The archery and clay pigeon shooting takes place at centre called Polewood on the outskirts of Brighton. We drove there in the van, parked it up and were greeted by Gary (who runs Polewood) in a 4×4 ready to take us to the range where we’d start our date. Already feeling excited about being out in the open air, we were like two giddy school children on a school trip. When we got out of the van at the lodge, Gary made everything seem so laid back and relaxed it felt like we were seasoned ‘archers’ up there to ‘shoot a few arrows for the afternoon’ (or whatever it is that archers do!).
The day started with Gary giving us a safety brief, talking through all the parts of a bow and arrow and giving us a quick demonstration of what to do and not to do with the bow. If you’re a little concerned that Archery might be a bit hard to get the knack of, don’t be. After one ‘practice’ shot I was hitting the colours on the board with almost every arrow and because I was only there with Stu (rather than a team of people I was worried about looking silly in front of (hello corporate event)), my competitive edge kicked in pretty early and I was more than ready to whoop his ass!
Get me I hit the yellow (not with Ollie on my hip at the time – although that would have been impressive!)
After the Archery we tried our hand at Clay Pigeon shooting. Whilst we’d both tried archery in the past, neither of us had had a go at clay pigeon shooting so we were really excited to give it a go. The adrenaline hit on this one was something else. I’ve never even been near a gun before let along hold one and so when they asked me to hold the shot-gun for the first time to feel the weight, I was a little apprehensive and wasn’t sure if I would like it! I mean it’s a gun!!
I also didn’t think I’d have a cat in hells chance of hitting anything! My hand/eye co-ordination leaves a lot to be desired and we’re talking about hitting a moving object with something the size of a penny – so I didn’t hold out much hope. But again after one ‘practice shot’ I managed to hit one of the clays, and then another and another! It felt so satisfying, like playing on the rifle game on the Pier but in real life! By now all apprehension had gone completely out of the window and it became rather addictive! Again my sole purpose to beat Stu! Whats a date without a little spousal rivalry.
We had an excellent time on our date and it’s something we’d definitely do again. Having someone arrange the whole thing for us and take us out of our comfort zone was the perfect way to spend an afternoon and it was lovely to be able to spend some fun and quality time together (albeit with Ollie too)! I made a joke that when I replied to the initial email asking me to go on the date, my reply stated that I was simply ‘married and not looking to date anyone at the moment’. When I was re-telling the story at the end of our date I inadvertently changed the wording to ‘a happily married woman’ proving the date must have been a success! And so that is how we went from being a couple of old marrieds to happily married in the course of an afternoon!
Datemakers what a wonderful idea!! Thankyou so much for inviting us along to be your Guinea pigs in Brighton. We know what we will be asking for on our Christmas list next year.
If you’d like to know more about Datemakers and their newest venture in to Brighton you can find them at www.datemakers.co.ukor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (where they are currently running a competition to win one of their dates) There are loads of experiences to try from Active Fates to Creative Dates, Drinks dates and Foodie Dates and they take care of everything. Just choose your experience, when you’d like to go, make your payment BOOM, you could be on the fast-track to true love! (or gift vouchers are also available if you’d prefer to give the loving to someone else).
As a special Valentines treat, Datemakers are offering a discount code to all my readers for Datemakers dates in Brighton. Just use the code EMMASENTME at checkout and you can receive £5 off any date you choose!
DatemakersUK kindly gifted us this experience in exchange for an honest review. As ever all views and opinions are my own