My husband aside, I have always attracted men who dismiss Valentine’s Day as commercial nonsense, a conspiracy between card manufacturers and florists to make idiots of us all (no bouquets for me then). Fair enough—it probably is.
But while it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a romantic/cultural/sleazy twenty four hours without any pricy trappings, sometimes it’s nice to know that a little thought has gone into things. So here, whether you’re happily married, newly loved-up, joyously single, ecstatically divorced and/or shagging someone hideously inappropriate, are our suggestions for making next Sunday a good one.
One-off Valentine’s tasting menu at the Shed, www.theshed-restaurant.com
The seven-course tasting menu at Notting Hill’s much-loved bucolic haven the Shed will include totally yummy-sounding rose veal, Wiltshire truffle tortellini, venison tartar and white chocolate and pear mousse, every course paired with its ideal wine (which in itself should be enough to get you in the mood for lurve—prob best to stop after seven wines though).
Mac & Wild Valentine’s Day, www.macandwild.com
If your other half is of a rustic/bloodthirsty bent, why not surprise and delight them with this Highland cottage and shooting weekend, which includes dinner, champagne, long walks in the Highlands, two days shooting, your catch delivered to your home and dinner at Mac & Wild eating your spoils? From £1,000 (price includes flights and transfers).
Valentine’s Day Tipsy Tea at Mr Fogg’s Residence, www.mr-foggs.com
Next Sunday, Mr Fogg’s Residence in Mayfair will be hosting a Valentine’s bespoke Tipsy Tea event, which sounds a hoot—whether you’re loved up or on the pull.
On arrival couples and ‘those looking for a sufficient suitor’ will receive a rose and chocolates, before being serenaded by the in-house pianist. Once seated you can choose between pink Ruinart Rosé champagne cocktails, or a selection of Tanqueray TEN gin teas, accompanied by a selection of heart-shaped sandwiches, cakes, pastries and petit-fours.
Secluded lakeside retreat with private jetty and rowboat, Shropshire, www.dearnford.net
This one looks just brilliant. Take to the water on a rowboat for two at Dearnford Lake (wild camping, wild swimming and trout fishing site) where you and your other half—or friend, or mum—can enjoy the privacy of a secluded lakeside timber camping pod, complete with private jetty and white wooden rowing boat, and watch the sun set over the lake.
The on-site cafe serves homemade breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas made daily with regional produce. A takeaway service for pod guests is available (and, one imagines, eminently desirable). From £170 per couple for two nights over Valentine’s weekend, 12–14 February.
Show him you care with one of these manly gifts; alternatively, if he’s like my oh-so-clever (stingy) previous paramours, you can at least get the satisfaction of shaming him on this most romantic day of the year.
Stylish silver cufflinks, £24.95, www.prezzybox.com
The sleek figure of eight shape looks cool and is meant to signify eternal love…
Help for Heroes XTREME, the fragrance, £30 for 100ml, www.helpforheroes.org.uk
This aftershave was created by five injured veterans in partnership with a leading fragrance house to raise funds for the charity Help for Heroes (basically any ex-serviceman or woman affected by life-changing injuries or illness resulting from their time in the British Armed Forces). It’s an extremely worthwhile cause, the bottle looks like a hip flask, and it smells pretty damn good too. Not one to waste on someone who treats you like shit.
Estados leather wallet in choc croc and dark navy, £63.99, www.estados.co.uk
Utterly gorgeous billfold wallet, designed in Britain, hand-crafted from Argentine calf hide, and lined with silk, containing eight card slots, two full length note pockets, and two slip pockets behind the cards. So covetable, you might be tempted to keep it for yourself.
Meriko cufflinks, £95, www.merikolondon.com
Yes, more cufflinks, but men are so difficult to buy for and you can hardly give him socks on Valentine’s Day, can you? Anyway these ones are awfully pretty and would probably appeal to a handsome/vain man with blue eyes (have you noticed that they all wear shirts and jumpers in the same hue, having been told by doting females their entire lives how much they enhance them?).
Martone bike, £1,195, www.conranshop.co.uk
Insanely expensive, could make him look like a twat, but if you really do adore the cycling enthusiast in your life (and are minted) this, surely, is difficult to beat?
Peyton and Byrne heart and lip-shaped goodies, www.peytonandbyrne.co.uk
Biscuits shaped like lips, iced scarlet with ‘Bite me’, ‘Kiss me’ and ‘Love me’, scrawled in white; mini heart-shaped ‘La Di Da’ cakes (exceptionally creamy milk chocolate mousse, layered with strawberry and rose flavoured jelly); giant heart-shaped Jammy Dodgers. This deliciously cute collection of confectionary is sure to delight that sweet-toothed special person in your life.
Deliver Me Deli Romance, Mount Street Deli, £50–£210, www.themountstreetdeli.co.uk
Treat a loved one to a luxurious lie-in with a Mount Street Deli Breakfast in Bed Box, which includes a half bottle of champagne, peach nectar (for the perfect Bellini), Valentine’s jam heart biscuits, Mount Street Deli granola, organic fruit purées and Postcard breakfast tea.
Combine with a gorgeous luxury bouquet to go the extra mile and gain serious brownie points. To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biscuiteers Marie Antoinette Personalised Valentines Biscuit Tin, £39.50, www.biscuiteers.com
Let them eat… biscuits? Tell them how much you love them in your own words with this pretty hand-illustrated tin filled with heart-shaped vanilla biscuits with gold detailing, each beautifully iced with a personal message—sure to bring a smile to their face next Sunday morning.
Da Sousa Champagne 3A Grand Cuvee, £38.95, www.champagnedesousa.com
Toast your other half (or yourself) with the latest offering from the esteemed de Sousa Champagne House. 3A refers to the three wine-producing areas in Champagne of Avize, Ay and Ambonnay, and the result is an exceptional blend—pale golden, with fine bubbles—that combines the velvety texture of Pinot Noir with the freshness and mineral overtones of Chardonnay.
Rose eclairs, raspberry pavlovas and heart-shaped cheesecakes, £3.55–£5.50, www.maisonblanc.co.uk
Another one for the sweet of tooth, Maison Blanc’s Valentine’s range includes eclairs filled with delicate rose crème patissière and glazed with rose-flavoured fondant icing; chocolate cheesecake hearts—buttery, crumbly chocolate biscuit bases topped with rich dark chocolate cheesecake and coated in a fragrant rose glaze; and raspberry pavlovas with hand-piped chocolate hearts. One could have a lot of fun getting inventive with these.
Slate tray, £24.95, www.prezziebox.com
Surprise your loved one with breakfast in bed, served on this rustic slate tray with stainless steel handles, engraved with their initials. Croissants warm from the oven with lashings of butter and bucks fizz (freshly squeezed oranges, natch) would be our choice—crumbs in the bed notwithstanding.
Make yourself utterly irresistible on your Valentine’s date night, singles night or girls’ night out with the latest high-end beauty offerings. Boys, you could do a lot worse than treating the special girl in your life to one of these gorgeously indulgent cosmetic delights.
Burberry S/S 16 collection, £25–£45, www.uk.burberry.com
This entire collection is utterly covetable, with sensational textures and unbelievably flattering colours, but we particularly love Burberry kisses in sheer military red and midnight plum (£25), eye colour contour in dusky mauve (£29), and the limited edition Spring/Summer 2016 Runway Palette (£45)—a ‘lightweight illuminating face powder set with an intricate lace-pattern design, inspired by the delicate fabrics from the womenswear show’. Whatever the inspiration, it works brilliantly at highlighting and illuminating cheek and brow bones.
Sisley sugar kisses in Sugar and Love, £29, www.sisley.com
Another luxury brand, more fantastic lip colours. These pencils glide on easily, leaving a wash of super-moisturising colour, no liner required. Sugar is a pretty pale pink, ideal for day, and Love a bright, yet super-flattering raspberry pink. The ultra-cool zebra print packaging would add a touch of class to any self-respecting make-up bag.
Bagsy pretty cheeks in velvet rose, £16, www.debenhams.com
This creamy blush is dome-shaped so it’s easily applied, and blends to a soft, velvety finish. Perfect for that healthy, sexy, just-been-shagged flush. It’s designed to be easy for touch ups on the go, too.
Carol Joy Pure Collagen Spray, £100, and Collagen Eye Mask, £80, www.caroljoylondon.com
This new Pure Collagen Collection claims to give your skin a gorgeous glow and instant lift, ‘scientifically proven to reduce fine lines and promote a healthy, well-hydrated and radiant appearance, instantly’. The spray can also be reapplied over make-up to ensure you stay fresh-faced throughout the evening.
Avery perfumes, £98, www.averyperfumegallery.com
An elegant and unusual range of scents that just screams sophistication. Azagury Pink (£98) from legendary Knightsbridge-based couturier Jacques Azagury is a deeply feminine fragrance, combining magnolia, rose de Mai, jasmine, peony rose, and sea breeze, that closes with notes of tuberose, white musk, sandalwood and patchouli.
At the other end of the spectrum, AGONIST Black Amber (£98.50) is a gorgeously woody unisex scent by the niche and highly-regarded Swedish perfume house—the perfect gift for a discerning (yet fiery and passionate!) lover.
Meriko necklace, £120, www.merikolondon.com
Exquisitely pretty, extra-long (we’re talking cleavage-length) double-layered gold necklace with two rose quartz pendants—would look gorgeous with a bikini…
Rathbornes candles, from £16, www.rathbornes1488.com
These lovely candles take inspiration from an Irish kitchen garden, on a crisp February morning, evoking the fresh scents of morning dew, mint and thyme.
Heidi Klein new range Sardinia underwired bow bikini bikini, £210, www.heidiklein.com
The new range from Heidi Klein is just gorgeous, and if you’re planning to whisk her away for a romantic break in the sun, what could be a more fitting Valentine’s present than this cute pink bikini?
Mimi Holliday Hold Me modern bra, £66, and classic corset knickers, £42, www.mimiholliday.com
If you must go down the well-trodden lingerie route, eschew garish colours and scratchy lace in favour of this devastatingly sexy and sophisticated set. The knickers are made from sheer lacy silk, with a titillating lace-up corset back, and the semi-transparent bra gives phenomenal shape and serious uplift, while retaining an air of fragile femininity. Seduction guaranteed.