Some of us are born romantics who love any opportunity to celebrate love, and others are a little more sceptical about the fourteenth of Feb. (With good reason, too; Valentine’s Day is unabashedly consumer-driven. Those little heart-shaped boxes of chocolates? Richard Cadbury invented them in 1861 and we’ve been using them to prove our love ever since. Almost a million Aussies flock in and pick up a box of chocolates from Woolies in the week before V Day, and that’s just Woolies…) Okay, okay – I am one of the sceptics.
But this year my partner and I are forgoing the crowds and clichés, and celebrating in a way that suits us: affordable, creative and from the heart. Here’s how:
1) Go hand-made.A beautiful card is surprisingly quick and easy to create, and you can probably get away with making it at work if you’re time-poor. It’s a small but totally meaningful gesture when you personalise it. Check out this lovely travel-inspired card, these fun food puns or this gorgeous card for foodies.
2) Roll up your sleeves in the kitchen.At home you can listen to your favourite music, unashamedly play footsies under the table, and it’s much, much friendlier on the budget than eating out. Plus if it’s usually your partner that does all the cooking, a home-cooked meal might just be the sweetest gift they have received in a while. Try these easy recipes – they’re simple, nourishing and delicious – just like love.
“An excellent wine, someone's best attempt at cooking, and the candles and flowers on the table can turn the simplest dinner into an unforgettably romantic event.” – Letitia Baldrige
3) Be spontaneous.Do something you haven’t done before, like embrace your inner Patrick Swayze and enrol yourself in a pottery class. Alternatively, Sydney has lots of great painting classes! If you’re feeling adventurous you can try a session with a live nude model - they’re fabulously relaxed and the teachers are wonderful. The best part is you’ll both have a finished canvas to take home which you can proudly display (or stash in the wardrobe and laugh about) for years to come. Either way, you’re creating memories.
4) Get outdoors.You could climb a mountain, watch the sunset, or hire stand-up paddle boards and enjoy the ocean together. If (like me) you are not so outdoorsy, try this instead: buy a bottle of wine and a few nibbles, throw some cushions and a picnic blanket in the car, and hit the road. Go somewhere you can simply be alone together. Leave your phones at home. The space to be yourselves, to connect and chat – that’s a pretty great Valentine’s Day gift, I think.