Hear ye, hear ye – let all know that there is merely TWO WEEKS until Valentines Day.
Sometimes I feel like I defy a lot of the ‘strong woman’ ideals that I wish to emulate when I admit that I LOVE Valentines Day. I always wanted a boyfriend who would do cute surprises for me, like send flowers to my work just because, or take me on a surprise date of dinner and something cutesy fun, like bowling or browsing a new bookshop that he found. The boyf, as great as he is, certainly does not do those things. So it’s nice to have a day dedicated to the event as a gentle reminder (in amongst some of the much less gentle reminders I give throughout the year), that I do in fact like being treated like a spoiled princess. It’s just who I am.
That aside, I bring to you 6 Valentines Day Dates and 6 Valentines Day Gifts that your significant other – be that boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, best friend or dog – will love.
It’s traditional, but IT WORKS. You know the number one ingredient to an excellent, and well-received, date? Effort. Put together your SO’s favourite foods. Pick their favourite wine or champagne. Or spirit. Picnics with shots are good too. Make a playlist of songs for the occasion. Wear a nice outfit. Stake out a solid location beforehand. Pack sunscreen or mozzie-spray if need be. Bring along a lantern with an electric light inside for when the sun starts to go down.
“But Emily”, you say, “what if it rains?” Picnic on your living room floor. Put up some fairy lights around the place. Use real glass and cutlery instead of the plastic stuff you would have packed for the outdoor picnic.
2. Re-enactment date
Do exactly what you did on your first date, down to any awkward moments involving spilling red wine on yourself or accidentally thoroughly insulting their religion. I’m big in to nostalgia, and it is a nice reminder of how invested you are in the relationship.
3. Turn up unexpectedly with chocolate and flowers
Leverage the benefits of a surprise, and turn up somewhere, where you’re least expected, with chocolate and flowers. Bonus points: add in a copy of The Notebook to watch together. Or some other movie I guess, if you can even think of an alternative.
4. Make wishes
Super cheesy, super adorable. The best kind of date. Get yourself a big handful of 5cent pieces (or pennies, if you are from countries that still have them), locate a fountain in advance, then go there together and make wishes on the coins. Bonus points: Date-themed gift of a journal and a framed photo of the two of you with a star motif (get it? Wish upon a star? You are so welcome).
5. Do a cocktail-making class
Not as committed as a wine tour (and anyway, wine tours now remind me of drunk uni days, not a romantic escape), but still involving a healthy dose of alcohol to smooth over any awkward moments if this is an early-ish relationship, this would fall into the more expensive, but more exciting category of dates. I’d look on RedBalloon or keep an eye on Scoopon, but tonnes of bars offer these kind of classes now, and it gives you a chance to develop a fun couple signature cocktail to drink together and make at home. Bonus points: Date-themed gift of a set of martini glasses and a cocktail shaker.
It’s line-ball whether the Japanese deserve more praise for changing the world as we know it by introducing sushi or karaoke. Drink some, spend the afternoon learning the lyrics to karaoke favourites like Ice Ice Baby and anything by the Backstreet Boys, then have a tipsy time together showing off and fighting over who gets the lead in the next duet. Karaoke can now easily be done at home, but spare a thought for whether you want to maintain your relationship with your neighbours and maybe go to a karaoke bar.
For a gift that keeps on giving: Subscriptions.
These are the BEST, because you get a present one day, and then you keep getting presents every time a new month rolls around. And the days of only subscribing to National Geographic are GONE my friend, and to be honest, none too soon. Great make-up subscriptions include Bellabox (pleeeeaassee can someone get me this) and Lust Have It (excellent full size bonus samples are sent out regularly). If the giftee loves stationery, check out Happy Mail or Pipsticks. If you’re buying for a boyfie, try the Dollar Shave Club or Gentleman’s Box. Foodies? Easy, subscribe to Little Box of Yum. Fan of reading? Try an Audible subscription, which has an awesome collection of audiobooks. Don’t forget your pup, get them the Top Dog Box ❤.
2. For the sweet-tooth: Homemade cookies.
Be adorable and bake their favourite cookies from scratch. Extra bonus: make them in the shape of hearts (use a cookie cutter from Ikea or KMart). Extra extra bonus: write cheesy slogans like ‘Be Mine’ and ‘My Valentine’ on them. Package the cookies up in a nice box, and stick a picture of the two of you on the lid.
3. For the insta-lover: A fuji instax camera.
This would pair especially well with certain kinds of dates, like exploring the city or going for a hike, where you can test the camera out. This definitely isn’t the cheapest gift, as cameras seem to go for between $80 – $100, and the film is an annoying recurring cost. However, these cameras are sooo much fun. It feels extra quaint to be able to hold the photo in your hand and watch the colours develop. And if you take the time to learn to use it properly, most photos turn out great. Added bonus: less likely to spend time as an #instagramhusband or #instagram wife, since you get one shot, and one shot only.
4. For the stationery lovers: Fountain pen and Leuchtturm notebook.
I’m a huge fan of giving good quality pens; every one has an occasion in their life when they need one, and it makes for a really special gift. Lamy is a great option for an affordable and fun, but nice, pen. And Leuchtturm makes absolutely beautiful notebooks in various sizes and page layouts. I tend to buy from LarryPost, which has excellent prices (although I note I haven’t had an awesome experience with their customer service), but T Sharp & Co (on the long shot if you’re in Perth), or Myer also stock both. Pro-tip: include spare ink.
5. For the stressheads: Zen pack.
Is your SO stressed out of their freakin’ mind? Put together a zen pack. Suggested items include an adults colouring in book and set of nice pencils or textas, a face-mask product, a fluffy robe, box of soft tissues, herbal tea, gratitude journal, a subscription to Headspace (the meditation app), a voucher for a massage (better, schedule one for that day) and a block of their favourite chocolate. The more personalised to their special brand of stress insanity, the better. (Not going to lie – this is my personal favourite gift).
Good luck! If you have any other ideas, or if any of these are an absolute roaring success, let me know in the comments.