Valentine’s Day is almost with us! In the past I used to avoid Valentine’s like the plague – all I could think of was cheesy cards, cuddly toys, and sickeningly sweet lovey-dovey expectations. It’s really not my style, and having had doubt cast on my relationships in the past by my parents (you’re too young, you need to focus on education, you need to focus on your career, etc.) I’ve almost been embarrassed to display love and affection towards another person.
I’m now happily seeing a guy who makes me so happy… And I’ve realised that this day is less about the pink, fluffy stuff, and more about celebrating how we make each other feel. I’ve reached a level of maturity about it all, one that isn’t afraid to declare my adoration, but one that will also quietly enjoy it instead of broadcast it from the rooftops. This is about him, us, and nobody else.
In that vein, I’ve put together a Valentine’s Day gift guide that celebrates relationships (platonic, romantic, or otherwise) and gives back at the same time.
I believe the ultimate way to enjoy a relationship is to spend time in each others’ company. There’s a certain calmness in spending time together, where social anxiety falls away and you can really be yourself. To celebrate this, perhaps it’s worth booking time away together; my guy and I will be going to Devon in March to stay at eco-friendly Devon Dens, although for something further afield I would recommend Macdonald Hotel’s Monchique Restort & Spa in the Algarve (full review) or perhaps a weekend away in Bath, a beautiful city that gave me such a welcome break from the city this time last year.
There’s nothing nicer than sitting opposite another person and talking, talking, talking. It’s actually quite a rare occurrence when you think about it, and yet it’s one I cherish. If you’re looking for a good place to eat in London, have a look at my healthy hangout guide and get booking now… Otherwise, why not cook a meal for your partner? Whatever you do, make sure you follow it with a box of Booja Booja truffles – these dairy-free truffles are even better than their standard equivalent.
Pamper each other
Sometimes, in order to make time for my relationships, I need to make a little time for myself too. Work is a central focus in my life at the moment, and it can really be all-consuming, especially going it alone for the first time. Why not give the gift of me-time for Valentine’s? There are a few delightful gifts you can give that will treat your partner to relaxation and leave them feeling their best. My top picks include Kiss The Moon’s natural beauty pamper kit, including bath salts, face oil, hand cream, a little soy candle and a velvety eye mask, and for him Sukin’s Charcoal Face Mask, Facial Scrub and Moisturiser.
Treat each other
I always like to surprise people, and a sweet treat may just be the answer to an early-days Valentine’s Day. A personal recommendation is Norah’s Brownies, whose dairy-free brownie bites I could gobble down all day. They’ve even got red glitter cherry ones especially for Valentine’s!
For longer lasting gifts (longer lasting being more than a 60 seconds…), why not give a plant – which last a lot longer than flowers – or perhaps a clean-burning soy candle from Hopscotch? For a really tasteful gift, a little sliver of jewellery might do well – have a look through my latest ethical jewellery guide for inspiration.
And if you’re getting intimate, try Yes’ Organic Lubricants, which are Soil Association approved, as well as investing in ethically-made lingerie… A few good brands on my radar include body-positive Neon Moon, opulent Studio Pia, slinky Gilda & Pearl, sweet Luva Huva, and the playful Colie Co.
Above all, it’s crucial to remember that while these days may seem over commercialised, at the heart of them is a shared fondness that we all need. To quote an inspiring film… Love actually is all around!