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7 Scorching Winter Dates By Sarah Fielding (Lavalife columnist)

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When the weather turns chilly, it's easy to fall into the same dating traps -- movies, coffee, hanging around the house. But don't let the weather zap your dating creativity this winter. There are plenty of exotic, inexpensive and easy to execute date ideas waiting to be explored. Here are just a few...

7. Sherry and Tapas

Sherry is the new black, in wine circles at least. So it's time to banish those memories of your Grandma's bottle of cheap plonk and think richly flavoured, imported liquor instead. Sherry is the perfect match for a date-friendly meal of tapas, so why not combine the two for a Spanish-themed evening your date will love? Check your local bottle shop for tasting events to brush up on your sherry knowledge and see your local restaurant guide for a tapas bar in your area.

6. Volunteering

Get all warm and fuzzy on the inside by lending a hand to those less fortunate this winter. The selfless act of donating your time to the needy shows a lot about your character, and will also reveal something about your date's compassionate side. Contact your favorite charity to find out if they need a hand at their soup kitchen, offer to dog walk at an animal shelter, or help at a seasonal fundraising event. Don't forget to bundle up!

5. Treasure Hunt

Get a map of your local region, grab a pin and stick it in. That's where you'll be heading for your treasure hunt. Then with your date, create your own treasure hunt list, itemizing things you need to see, do or collect along the way. Items you might like to collect include a book of matches, a beer coaster, a postcard, and you might have to 'spot' a telephone booth, a children's playground, an ice-cream shop. Once you've ticked off all the items on your scavenge hunt list, head to the nearest pub and celebrate your success with your date.

4. The World's Biggest Hot Chocolate

We all know how delicious and warming a steaming mug of hot chocolate can be on a cold winter's day. So let's take things to the next level. Run your date a nice warm bath and add to it lashings of chocolate-scented bubble bath or bath salts. Hand your date a block of their favourite chocolate and let them settle in for an hour of bliss. Depending on how well you two know each other, you might like to join your date in the tub... Or you could perhaps offer to read to them while they soak. Recommended read? Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, naturally.

3. Hot Video Night

When the weather is chilly, set the temperature inside to hot with your own video heatwave. Choose DVD titles where heat, the beach, or the desert are key elements, and then sit back with your date for a scorching movie marathon. Some hot blockbusters include: Some Like It Hot, The Beach, Body Heat and Endless Summer. For extra kitsch value, why not rent a DVD of a real log fire? Played on your TV screen, this cheesy fake fire will give your lounge room -- and your date -- a warm glow. Ask at your local video store.

2. Skate on Thin Ice

It seems obvious but why not strap on the blades and hit the ice? Virtually every North American city has a public skating rink and most major metropolises transform a city square into a giant outdoor rink each winter (think Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto or Rockefeller Center in New York). Besides, there's nothing sexier than a novice skater nuzzling up against a more accomplished partner for support as they wobble around the rink. Skates can be rented by the hour in most places, the exercise is great and you'll have plenty to laugh and chat about post-skate at the pub or café. In this category, see also bowling.

1. Hot Yoga

All the rage in the bendy world of yoga is Bikram, a yoga style that uses a heated room to maximise the benefits of this ancient form of exercise. The room is heated to a balmy 37° C (or roughly 100° F), allowing participants to work muscles, tendons and ligaments through a series of stretching, strengthening and toning exercises. The results will leave you and your date feeling supple and stimulated, and a bit sweaty -- the perfect way to unwind after a stressful week. Check the Web or your local Yellow Pages for Bikram Yoga sessions in your area.

Armed with these tips from the pros, your dating game just got a whole lot smoother, sleeker and sexier. Game on.

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7 Scorching Winter Dates




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