‘It’s been a brilliant adventure, we can’t wait to see what comes next.”
You know we love seeing you on dates, we also love finding out about how the dating adventure came about. So we were delighted when Gemma and Matt agreed to share how their A Year of Dates box has helped their new relationship survive – and thrive – during lockdown.
When Gemma Draycott and Matt Holt got together in autumn 2020 it was hard to find ideas for dates in the face of ongoing coronavirus restrictions and then a national lockdown.
But when Matt bought Gemma the original weekly A Year of Dates box for Christmas it meant lockdown dating suddenly became much more enjoyable, and the dating cards led the couple on a series of adventures they hadn’t expected.
Matt explained: “I saw the box on a Facebook post and thought it looked intriguing. We both enjoy visiting new places and having new experiences, but that was made harder by the various restrictions.
“But I thought it would work well, as we could do date one on 1 January 2021 and then spend a year doing the different dates and having fun in spite of the lockdown situation.”
The first card the pair drew suggested a picnic – which they embraced wholeheartedly, despite the freezing weather.
Matt added: “It was early January and everywhere was covered in snow. But we pulled on our thermals and walking boots, packed some food and headed up a hill which is a local beauty spot in Shropshire.
“We were slipping and sliding all over the place and when we finally got up there and sat down to eat, a dog stole my chicken pitta! But we had such a memorable outing, and laughed so much, it was brilliant. There’s no way we would have thought to do that without the dating box.”
On many of the couple’s dates they’re accompanied by Gemma’s dog Poppy, a Golden Retriever who works as a therapy dog, helping school children with their behaviour.
Poppy also has an impressive Instagram following, which led to a lot of interest in the pair’s dating adventures as they posted pictures of their trips on social media.
Gemma said: “When we opened the envelope and the card suggested one of us should get a bottle of wine for the other, Matt texted me and said he’d sort it.
“He actually booked us a night away at a vineyard in the countryside, where we could have a tour and choose our own bottle of wine at the end.
“It was such a lovely place, and it was the first time we could go away for a night together.
Matt added: “Poppy came with us and we posted some pictures on Instagram and Facebook, and I suddenly had friends, family and people I’d not heard from in ages all really invested in our next adventure, asking what our next date would be, and of course for more pictures of Poppy.”
Other memorable dates have included visiting a museum – they took a virtual reality tour of the White House shortly after President Biden was elected – and a spa day, where Gemma turned her living room into a spa with the help of fluffy robes, a footbath and cucumber slices instead of an eye mask.
Matt said: “Meeting someone new and starting to date during the pandemic could have been a huge challenge, but instead the A Year of Dates box has led us to so many fun, exciting experiences we would never have thought of otherwise.
“It’s also helped us to get to know each other without any pressure or expectations, as the dates are so open to interpretation.”
Gemma added: “I love opening the envelopes and then starting to plan what we’ll do for that date. It’s been a brilliant adventure so far, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.”
Thank you Gemma & Matt for sharing your story, we love that the dates have helped bring excitement and fun to a difficult year, and we can’t wait to see what you – and Poppy – get up to next!