There are a lot of people that hate the commercialisation of Saint Valentine of being made to feel like you have to partake, pay over the odds for a bunch of half dead roses, be screwed over by extortionate restaurant Valentines. I, however love the romanticism of St Valentine. Not only did I meet the husband for the first time on Valentine's Day but I love the slushiness of it. I'm a deep romantic at heart and love nothing more than being swept off my feet by a gallant gentleman.
1. Flowers, always but always go down well. Not a bunch of your local Shell garage chrysants but something unusual, thoughtful (doesn't have to be roses, in fact anything but often works). My favourite floral designers at the moment are Stems, InWater, Wildatheart and Luna Stein.
2. Wrap up warm, buy her something cashmere and arrange for a hamper to be delivered at her office and whisk her off for a picnic (weather permitting) in a local square/park including a bottle of bubbly and 2 glasses.
3. Buy her a massage or a beauty treatment somewhere lush like Elemis or Triyoga, a haircut/treatment at Aveda or a day at The Sanctuary .
4. Jewellery is always a hit especially if it comes in a little blue box wrapped with white satin ribbon. If the finances don't quite stretch to Tiffanys take a look at www.kittydolittle.com, the perfect site for all things girlie and gorgeous.
5. There is not much that is more romantic than a box of Laduree Macarons with a little diamond hidden inside the jewelled box.
6. One year the husband organised a fabulous surprise he turned up at my office in town, whisked me off not telling me where we were going. Took me for dinner at Yauatcha then on to the theatre to see Sister Act The Musical. So boys the best thing is to plan a lovely surprise that involves a gorgeous dinner somewhere special, a restaurant that isn't your regular Friday night haunt. Perhaps add to that an exhibition or a show then a late night cocktail at the coolest bar in town. DON'T get the tube or a night bus home, treat your lady to a cab!
7. If it's not possible to take her out for tonight (babysitters are scarce on Valentine's Night) then get home early. Prepare her favourite dinner or stop off at your local Deli (my preferred choice would be Ottolenghi), light a brand new Dyptique candle, open a bottle of chilled bubbly and DO NOT allow her to tidy up or load the dishwasher. Pop a romantic film in the DVD player and snuggle up on the sofa under a blanket.
8. I know it may be considered naff but good quality chocolates such as Paul Young, Rococo or Charbonnel always go down well.
9. A well considered scent is forever welcome, Jo Malone, Les Senteurs, Anick Goutal. Avoid the obvious Perfume shop type perfumes. Dipytique provide a matching scent to personality service which I think is just genius.
10. If she's a foodie why don't you look for a Cookery class something like Cakes4fun in Putney where they hold one day cake making courses or a Macaron making class.
11. And last but not least a romantic weekend away in a small boutique hotel in the country preferably with log fires, great wines, lovely local food and heavenly scented toiletries to fill those free standing baths, always goes down well with the ladies.
Beckford Arms Tisbury, photos from www.i-escape.com (the best hotel booking website which I use all the time!)
Well these are just a few of my favourite things, hope they may have helped you in your quest to find the perfect Valentine's Day present for your loved one. Have a great day!