TIP 1: VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS
With shops filled to the brim with cards conveying every conceivable emotion, it’s tempting this time of year to just spend £3.99 and have the job done, but why not take a little time and effort and create something wonderful, personal and - most importantly - one-of-a-kind for your loved one. Use red paper or card and photos of the two of you together. And while you’re at it, I highly recommend penning a few words or maybe even a poem if you’re feeling creative. After all, surely we are more qualified to write the perfect message expressing our deepest feelings to the person we love than a complete stranger!
“Just speak from the heart,” recommended Sheffield poet Pat Griffiths.
“Don’t worry too much about making it rhyme, just get what you want to say down on paper and then see what you’ve got. Personal messages mean so much and it doesn’t have to be epic poem length, just a few lines that shows the person you love that you’ve thought about them.”
If you do decide to be brave and give the rhyming a go, it’s not as hard as you might think! Just start by thinking of a sentence you want to write to your loved one, such as: ‘You always make me smile’. Then just go through the alphabet trying out every letter that could rhyme with smile, for example: dial, file, I’ll, mile, Nile, pile and so forth, until you find something that could begin to make sense in the third sentence. After working that out, build your next line around finishing with that word. i.e. ‘You are my favourite man,’ ....ban...can...fan... ‘I’ll always be your biggest fan.’
Obviously make sure your verse - whatever it is! - is perfectly worked out before you start writing it on your card.
TIP 2: PERSONAL PRESENTS
Photos make a great present, whether it’s a lovely picture of the two of you in a nice frame, or a scrapbook filled with pictures of the things you’ve done together. Get your photos printed and buy a nice book then stick them in along with any keepsakes you have or little personal handwritten captions saying why you like the picture or your memories of when it was taken. Remember Valentine’s Day isn’t about spending money - it’s about showing someone why you love them. She’ll love this!
Or why not make a CD of your favorite songs as a couple, including love songs that you both enjoy listening to or songs that remind you times together or holidays you’ve been on. You can’t go wrong with old favourites like flowers and chocolates too. Make the gesture a romantic one by having them delivered to her in the office!
TIP 3: VALENTINE’S PLANS
Put some extra thoughts into your plans this year. Make the most of the weekend leading up to Valentine’s Day to take time out from your busy lives to spend some time together. Go for a nice long walk or a drive somewhere you can stop and have lunch, or maybe visit an attraction or place together you’ve both always talked about going.
On Valentine’s night, you don’t have to go crazy but thinking ahead and booking a table at her favourite restaurant will show her that you’ve thought about her. Re-enacting one of your great early dates is another fantastic idea, going back to somewhere that is special to you both. If you fancy something more personal, cooking at home is a good way to go, but be warned - a takeaway in front of the TV will not do! Leave her to relax in the bath and get ready while you get everything ready downstairs. Put some nice music on, sprinkle some rose petals around the house and light some candles to create the right mood. Eat dinner at the table without the TV and enjoy spending time together talking. Alternatively create a picnic feast and eat on a blanket in the living room - make sure to tidy the XBox away first though!
Begin the evening with a toast to each other and pay lots of attention to her. Lots of kisses and hand-holding like when you first started dating is a great way to create a romantic mood and remind each other of how much you feel for one another.
Have chocolates on hand for after the meal to give you something sweet to enjoy with coffee or wine.
If you’re planning to propose on Valentine’s Day, make sure to have some champagne on ice for if and when she says yes. Buying a pair of monogrammed champagne flutes would be a nice touch to make your first toast together to your new life together.
MOST IMPORTANTLY - remember that Valentine’s Day is not just a lot of commercial hoo-ha and it’s not about spending lots of money, it’s an opportunity to show the person you are closest to just how much they mean to you and for you both to remind each other why you are together in the first place, so make it as special as you can....