// author archive


Emma has written 318 posts for $30 Date Night

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Do You Have It?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T… All I’m askin’… Is for a little respect when you come home (Ooh). They were the catchy lyrics that came to mean so much more than a frothy pop song usually amounts to. Set against the context of the civil rights movements in 1967, the song that tells the story of a relationship on [...]

Add Some Sizzle to Your Night with a Backyard Barbecue

Sometimes, the most romantic evenings are the ones you spend at home. In fact, planning a romantic backyard barbecue is a great way to share a special night together that can be even more meaningful than any fancy restaurant escapade. Set The Mood Take a few steps to set the mood. Hunt down a nice [...]

6 Rad Date Ideas Beginning with R

If you’ve made it this far in an ABC Dating Challenge, then congratulations to you! It’s not always easy to complete these things. The important part is, when you fall off the date night horse you just need to pick yourself up and book your next date in, even if weeks have elapsed in between. [...]

2 Quick Date Ideas Beginning with Q

This is one of the dreaded letters that’s hard to find a date for. I couldn’t think of a lot of options for this one… here are my top two (pathetic effort, yes!), let me know if you imaginative people can come up with more! Quoits Quoits is that old fashioned picnic game with a [...]

How to Tell When You’ve Crossed the Line

I wrote last week about the pitfall that is the Emotional Affair – when you get far too attached to a platonic friend and it becomes somewhat of a betrayal to your partner, even if you’ve technically not crossed any lines. But it’s these fuzzy lines of friendship that really interest me. If they’re so [...]

Lamest Date Yet

So, according to Den, this last date scored me the honour of having taken him on the Worst Date Ever.

I did not think it was all that bad, to be honest. It certainly didnt stack up to expectations, but surely borrowing a kid or cutting Den’s hair makes an afternoon at glow in the dark mini golf seem acceptable?

Are You Having an Emotional Affair?

We know that these days – where there are more females in the workforce than ever before, where they take more equal job positions than men – the parameters of male-female friendships are constantly being redefined to fit our modern world. We’ve come a long way since Mad Men. But even so, the parameters for [...]

The Male Contraceptive Pill Breakthrough

A scientific breakthrough involving sterile mice made news this week, and could mean that we will see a commercially-developed Male Contraceptive Pill on our shelves within five years. The initial buzz hitting the internet seemed to indicate that women are generally happy with this new development – there were lots of comments about men “finally [...]

When the Eiffel Tower is Just Too Small

My friend M was dating a perplexing girl for awhile. They’d go to dinner, and as soon as they were seated at their table, she’d disappear. The vanishing act would continue all night – right after entrée, again after main and then once dessert had finished. She’d be gone for fifteen minutes at a time, [...]

Fifty Shades of What Women Want

Take a careful look at that woman on the train engrossed in her e-reader. Is there a small, satisfied smile on her face? Is she shifting uncomfortably in her seat… looking a little hot under the collar, perhaps? If she is, it’s entirely possible that she’s up to something that she doesn’t want you to [...]

Date Review: Huxtaburger

Huxtaburger has been the name on every Melburnian foodie’s lips lately.

Devotees of the new burger joint are effusive – Instagram-washed arty pictures of burgers are plastered all over my Facebook stream (and I’ve added a few here for your own viewing pleasure).

I myself had but a tiny taste on my way into the adjacent Bill’s Bar on opening night, ducking back out to the fluorescent-lit grill for a teeny-tiny Rudy burger

Are the Days of First Dates Over?

For all the pressure put on the occasion, first dates are never a good indicator of the raging success of a relationship. There are so many rules surrounding this most daunting of dating customs. We’re told we must stand out from the crowd – choose a unique venue, say the right things, wear the right [...]

We Did It! The Worst Date Idea Ever.

It was the date night that was never supposed to happen.

The Worst One Ever, in fact, as voted by users of $30 Date Night.

It was regular user Ming who submitted, a few years back, the date night idea of Cutting Each Other’s Hair. It’s clocked only 1.5 stars on our 5 star rating system, from a total of 474 votes (and counting).

Missing You

Den and I have been together long time. A long, long time. Longer than any of our previous relationships. In dog years, we’re middle aged. In Kardashian years, we should have been dead and buried ten times over already. A month ago, he went away overseas. He’s not coming back for another whole month. He’s [...]

Who Has Your Ex Been Poking on Facebook?

It’s always been the Murphy’s Law of the dating universe – that the one time you’re doing the milk run with greasy hair, trackies and Ugg boots is the exact moment you’re going to bump into your ex. If the love gods are feeling particularly cruel, the ex will have a new squeeze on their [...]

How You’re Probably Killing Your Libido

Lost, one libido. Answers to the name of Larry. Careful, may be bitey. The daily commute. Long working hours. Low energy. High interest rates… I don’t mean to depress you, but I’m worried. The worrying is also worrying, because it’s only further adding to the problem. What problem, you ask? That would be the missing [...]

Relationship Advice? Never. Do. This.

If there’s one piece of relationship advice I could universally give everyone in the world – it would be to never end up being this girl. This brilliant piece of film is the visual adaption of This is What Crazy Looks Like, via Text Messaging – two NZ radio hosts do a brilliant job of [...]

What to do When You Hate Valentine’s Day

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m a cheap date. You have to be when you own a business called $30 Date Night. When Den takes me out on the town, it barely ever sets us back more than $40 – and that’s when we’re splurging. Ditto when I take him [...]

Those Three Words

I love you. Three tiny, little words capable of big things. They carry much weight, those three words. It’s somewhat of a currency early in a relationship – saying ‘I love you’ is a major milestone, an indicator that you are no longer just fooling around, that you have something real together. Hearing it back [...]

Has True Love Officially Carked It?

Forgive me while I fixate for a bit longer on keeping relationships alive. I was ready to let it go after last week’s column, but then Seal and Heidi dropped their bombshell on us all, leaving us with the fallout – true love has been obliterated to smithereens all around us. Everywhere you look, people [...]

Giveaway: The Vow

Oh dear. I can tell there will be tears when it comes to this movie. I’ve long been obsessed with memories. I’m fascinated by how subjective and slippery they are – how we never really know what actually happened, we just have to trust in our brains to feed us the right information. Even when [...]

If Your Days Really Were Numbered…

Forget the apocalypse, if we keep modelling our relationships on celebrity marriages and chasing sky-high Hollywood rom-com expectations, we’re all doomed.

Sunshine and Good, Cheap Food

It was a beautiful day in Melbourne last Thursday. I always say there is nothing quite like a gorgeous Melbourne day. It is partly because we never know when the good weather might come back. It may be 30 degrees and sunny now, but by Christmas day we could have 17 degrees and pouring rain…

How to: Support your partner when they’re stressed

It’s moving week. I told you all about it a few weeks ago – how I was expecting to be tired, at my wit’s end and neck deep in boxes by now. Well, I’m all that. And to add to the fun, all the expected relationship stress has peaked this week as well. So now [...]

Weddings & Princesses

Weddings and princesses. Diehard fans of both these things know they have something in common. Both give us hope. Hope that there’s something magical going on out there. That fairytales really do exist. And that true love is real. Let’s start with princesses. So rare, kids can be forgiven for thinking they’re make-believe. When I [...]

He Loves Me? He Loves Me Not? Why Women are Suckers for Mixed Messages

It’s official: Women have a thing for Mr. Mysterious. To be exact, women like a man more if they’re unsure about whether he’s interested in them or not. They thrive on it, in fact. A recent study, titled “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…” and using only women as the test subjects, had two [...]

The Sad Truth About Online PDAs

We got hot ‘n’ heavy last week talking about the etiquette involved in Public Displays of Affection (PDA). Like everything else, the PDA has adapted with our tech-savvy world and what we now also have is the original PDA’s pixellated cousin – the ODA (Online Display of Affection). Listing status updates like “I love my [...]

Y is for Laughter Yoga (Video)

This is one date I’ve always wanted to do. Laughter Yoga clubs exist all over the world.They are free to attend, usually held in public parks or city squares, and the benefits of practicing are enticing – more endorphins, less cortisol. An antidote for anxiety, stress and inflammation in the body. It may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more. You burn calories when you laugh. Best of all, you feel good!

Giveaway: Friends with Benefits In-season Passes

Friends with benefits. We’ve made no secret of it – that’s how the Den and Emma story started. Great friends, then, for the better part of a whole year, friends who knocked socks occasionally (okay, it was a bit more than occasionally. More like a couple of times a week. You can see how we [...]

The Dos and Don’ts of PDAs

We’ve all been there. Smack-bang in the middle of a sensational make out session that we’re not actually a part of. Out at a bar recently, my table was treated to some free entertainment courtesy of a young couple pressed against the wall next to us. They weren’t just kissing. They were engaged in a [...]

Supporting Your Partner Through Times of Stress

It’s moving week. I told you all about it a few weeks ago – how I was expecting to be tired, at my wit’s end and neck deep in boxes by now. Well, I’m all that. And to add to the fun, all the expected relationship stress has peaked this week as well. So now [...]

Intimate Moments in the… Kitchen?

New research shows Australians’ passion for food is reigniting relationships across the country with 44% admitting to ‘intimate moments’ in the kitchen and almost one in 10 confessing it happens at least once a week. Kind of makes you want to rethink your next invitation to a dinner party, doesn’t it? In all seriousness, I’ve [...]

How to Impress the Parents

“How soon is too soon to meet the parents?” someone asked the other day. My friend E would probably argue that you should at least be dating the guy before you have to make that decision. She turned up at a – ahem – friend’s house late one night for what was, by all accounts, [...]

An Open Letter to Ms. Julia Gillard

Dear Ms Gillard, I need you to do something for me, please. Well, it’s really not just for me, it’s for all of Australia, and indeed the world. We need you to legalise gay marriage in Australia. I’m not a gay woman. But that doesn’t matter. You’re still cheating me out of something that’s very [...]

W is for Whisk(e)y Tasting

Not many of our $30 Date Nights involve alcohol due to the prohibitive cost. At best, there’s picnics with BYO wine from the cellar (doesn’t count if it was paid for eons ago… or even last week!) so you know you’re onto a good thing when you can get your hands on some hard liquor and a beer for your budget

Why You Should Try a Wingwoman

It’s happened more than once: Cocktails in hand, girly catch-up session in progress. Enter stage left? An attractive girl on her own. She breaks into the group with some sort of compliment – “Great shoes,” or “Love your hair.” – you welcome her into the fold and continue chatting. Of course, she’s only there for [...]

V is for Vegetarian Feast

Our Alphabet Dating Challenge is drawing to a close and it’s getting to the pointy end of the alphabet where the letters are harder and harder to match to an appropriate date idea (X, Y, Z are all giving me cold sweats).

V, luckily, had quite a few options. Most of them food-related. I decided I was going to take Den once and for all to one of my favourite little restaurant gems…

The Walk of Shame

I don’t need to list the benefits here of all the fun involved in a one-night stand. Anyone that’s had the pleasure, so to speak, will know the lure of a no-strings-attached, one-show-only romp. But, fun as the night can be, the problem comes with how to delicately extract yourself from the situation the next [...]

The Movie Trailer Marriage Proposal

You guys know I’m a sucker for a great marriage proposal… this one is awesome! It’s all explained in the video…

Now This is a Wedding Video!

Joya and Emre didn’t want your average wedding video – instead they turned themselves into rockstars with this MTV Video-style piece that just put a huge smile on my face! Love it!

T is for Titanic

This was a fabulous date that we managed to squeeze in on our Vegas trip among conferencing and partying and getting married and whatnot.

And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

For the next almost-decade, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will be docked at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas.

The Truth About Nice Guys

Baby fell for Johnny. Sandy pulled out all stops to get Danny. Lisa Simpson even had a thing for Nelson for awhile. And we all remember when Carrie left Aidan for Big. What is it about the casual air of the devil-may-care bad boy that sends women to jelly? They’re arrogant, obnoxious, single-minded, manipulative and [...]

S is for Shopping

I’m not one of those women who drags their husband shopping for new clothes. I always feel sorry for them, the guys who sit forlornly outside the changerooms in boutiques as their woman parades garment after garment in front of them for their “opinion”. I saw a lot of it when I worked a brief [...]

Win a Date Night with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston

A funny thing happened to Den after we got married. He noticed that when out with friends in bars or clubs, women were more flirty with him. They would be more open, talk for hours rather than fobbing him off and spout cliches like “All the good ones are taken” (cue flirty eyelash-batting) and “Well, [...]

Are You a Relationship Chameleon?

Rewind my life seven years or so and you’d find an almost-unrecognisable girl. I didn’t drink, as a rule (though rules are, and were in this case, made to be broken), and I practiced Reiki while I wore Birkenstocks and read non-mainstream, naval-gazing spiritual books about the afterlife. I was probably a step or two [...]

Surviving Valentine’s Day for Singles

Just three short sleeps to the biggest date on any singleton’s calendar. Yep, Monday is Singles Awareness Day.

As it looms closer, I hear noises of discomfort from friends.

Most will assure you they hate Valentine’s Day – who wants the overpriced flowers, the forced niceties, et cetera?

As a couple, it’s not all that much fun all the time either.

Q is for Quesadillas

I have to admit, Q had me stumped for awhile!

I turned to Twitter for inspiration and my fantastic Tweeps had a plethora of ideas for me… A day trip to Queenscliff, a game of quoits and a quickie among them… we settled on a late afternoon date that involved Quesadillas from Trunk Diner.

Who Lies About Money?

The very clever team at Deals.com has come up with this cute-as-ten-buttons visual representation of Love & Money based on some recent findings… just in time for Valentine’s Day! Money is one of those Big Things that couples argue most about. You only have to look below to see that no matter if you’re doing [...]

5 Perfect Date Ideas Beginning with P

10 more dates to go and we’ve finished the alphabet! Here is my pick of the P Date Ideas for you. How’s your alphabet dating going? Have I missed any good P ones we should know about? Pack a Picnic A classic! Take a fully-stocked picnic basket to a patch of green near you and [...]

Where Did All the Men Go?

This is an open letter to the eligible bachelors of Australia: Where did you all go? There is a plethora of fantastic, smart, attractive single ladies here for you – some are great friends of mine – but you all seem to have collectively disappeared under a huge rock somewhere. At least, that’s the message [...]