Then I realised I didn’t want to write about Valentines Gifts. I love Valentines Day. Whether I’ve been single or in a couple, with my husband on Valentines Day or sadly apart, I’ve always done something to celebrate it. But what I don’t really do is buy gifts.
Sometimes I’ll invest in a discounted supermarket chocolate and champagne deal, but that’s not really a gift, it’s an excuse to buy chocolates and champagne. One year I think I did buy Mr Chick a mug with hearts on it, and I’m not averse to the purchase of something fun, but generally I don’t look on Valentines Day as an expensive gift giving opportunity. It’s more an excuse for a celebration. A chance to be soppy and celebrate all the people I love, and the ones that love me back.
I’m not going to promise that in future years I won’t dive into the world of Valentines gifts, but this year my heart isn’t in it.
So, instead of a gift guide, today I’ve decided to write about some fun things you can do as a couple on Valentines Day. They don’t include having a £50 a head set meal at a restaurant where the food would normally cost £30, but they’ve sprinkled some confetti on the table. They’re not all free, but most of them can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be, and they’re also kind of fun.
Remember that time you went to Paris and you ate croissant and orange juice for breakfast in a pavement café or bought croque monsieur from a street vendor. Or perhaps there was that weekend in Rome where you ate a pizza the size of head and drank Italian wine. Or maybe it was that time you went to Brighton and ate candy floss on the beach. You can recreate the memories, even if you don’t have the time or money to recreate the trip.
Buy in, or make, the right food. Grab a couple of movies that recreate the ambience and use a bit of imagination to decorate your room like a Parisian cafe or an Italian bistro or a seafront cabin. Give your other half a card with a handmade “ticket” for the trip, if you want to be really cute.
Yeah, I know, it’s February, but if it’s not raining and you’re not worried by a little bit of cold this is a really fun thing to do. I love to take a flask of chilli and a flask of mulled wine or cider and go and sit on a bench in the park, or by the river. It’s fun, and there’s something about the silliness of an outdoor picnic in winter that makes it extra romantic.
If you can’t face the cold, then do a proper Summer picnic on your living room floor. Get yourself a checked blanket, make lemonade and tuck into scotch eggs.
But without having to sit in a room with a million other people. If you don’t already have a projector then they can actually be picked up pretty cheap. Hang a sheet up as a screen, make popcorn and serve it in proper popcorn containers, drink your drinks from paper cups, and eat hot dogs from paper trays.
Doesn’t even have to be a slushy romantic movie, watch whatever blockbuster you missed out on, or pop on a DVD of a film you went to see together years ago.
You don’t have to be walking along the Seine for a walk to be romantic.
Go for a walk by the river, through the park, or even just round the block. Take a hip flask (here, that’s your gift sorted) and share a drink as you walk and talk.
This only works if you both think this is fun. Take advantage of the Valentines craziness to do the cheesiest, cheapest, Valentines thing that you can imagine. Remember all the times you walked past the sign at Wetherspoons advertising 2 steaks and a bottle of wine for £20 and thought “Who takes their Valentines date there?”. Well today, you do.
Buy the wilted flowers, champagne and chocolates deal at the local garage. Have a competition to see who can buy the absolute cheesiest valentines gift for under £10. Ceramic “Love you to the moon and back” card perhaps? Sprinkle rose petals around your house and blow up some heart shaped balloons.
Today you are the Valentines cliché, but it’s ok, because it’s totally ironic, right?
It could be your Wedding day, or your first date, or the day you got engaged. What was on the menu, where did you eat, what did you wear, what music did you listen to?
Much like recreating a holiday, this one is about picking out the key things that made an event special and remembering them. You could book the Wedding suite that you stayed in on your wedding night, or if money is a little tighter then you could perhaps pay the bar at the hotel a visit for a drink, and then recreate your wedding dinner at home. Make a playlist of music from bands that played at a festival you went to, or buy a bottle of that cheap white wine you used to drink when you were students and drink it out of mugs.
That’s a few ideas to get you started from me. Feel free to chip in with your own suggestions!