The commercialism of Valentine’s Day seems to be grating on everyone’s nerves this year. And it’s not just singles that are hating Valentine’s Day. Couples everywhere that I speak to are vehement. “Bloody Hallmark”… “Overpriced Flowers”… “Don’t tell me when to be romantic towards my wife”
You know what everyone? Get over it.
It’s VALENTINE’S DAY! It’s a chance to show some appreciation to your sweetie. And the beauty of it is that there’s nothing to stop you also being romantic the week before, the week after or any other of the 364 days of the year.
As for what to do to mark the occasion, you don’t have to fall prey to spending hundreds of dollars, or paying a 300% mark-up on a bunch of roses to be romantic.
The key to it all is to stay away from the crowds. Dinner in a restaurant full of couples straining to carry on conversation does not a good night make.
Here are our top 5 low-key Valentine’s Day date ideas that will chalk you up some serious brownie points.
1. Plan a picnic
Go to the markets or a beautiful gourmet deli in advance and stock your picnic basket (traditional wicker ones are the most romantic by far) with yummy soft cheeses, chicken and salmon patties, pasta salads and fresh fruits. The inclusion of a few pretty cupcakes and a piccolo of French champagne (don’t forget the glass champagne flutes – plastic cups are tacky) will top it off perfectly.
Then find a quiet garden where you can recline in the sun on a picnic rug together and while away a few hours. A great picnic activity come in the form of this tiny little box from Kikki-K stationery. These Love Conversation Starters will have you laughing, reminiscing and chatting in no time. They’re a bit cheesy, but put that aside and enjoy it for what it is. You never have to tell anyone!
2. Take a Rowboat Out
Spending an afternoon in a rowboat conjures scenes from The Notebook. That’s a win. Find a quiet waterway that will rent you an old-fashioned wooden rowboat. It’s secluded and sweet. If it’s a hot, sunny day, make sure you provide a parasol for extra romance factor. You can pick up a brightly coloured paper one from Chinatown for about ten bucks, and if you wrap it nicely that can be her Valentine’s present.
To add some extra wow-factor, take a picnic with you. (But, guys? Leave the fishing line at home.)
If you really want to live up to the movie, you’re going to have to find hundreds of pure-white swans. Take some day-old bread and feed the ducks instead.
3. Champagne Breakfast
Knock their socks off before they’ve even gotten out of bed. You’ll need to prepare in advance. Plan a menu and go shopping the day before for ingredients. Blueberry pancakes, smoked salmon omelettes, croissants and fresh fruit are all great options. Get a bottle of champers and a red rose and serve a beautiful breakfast in bed.
The keys to making this even better include you cleaning the kitchen after you’re done, and making sure that the tray or the table that you serve your breakfast on are set impeccably.
4. Celebrate the Chinese New Year
This year, the Chinese New Year falls right on Valentine’s Day. February 14 marks the start of the Year of the Tiger – signaling a prosperous and strong year ahead. Book a table at your favourite Chinese Restaurant for Yum Cha and take your Valentine to drink tea and eat dumplings. It promises to be a festive date, and if you head to your city’s Chinatown no doubt you’ll be treated to Chinese drums, dragons and a street fair.
Before you get there, look up your own Chinese Zodiac signs online and print off the information. Then spend your meal reading out your horoscopes for the year ahead, or your compatibility ratings between your signs.
Tell your Valentine to plan for a night in with you. Then go about getting everything you’ll need to pamper them senseless.
If you can beg, borrow or steal a massage table then great. If not, the bed will do or even sitting upright on the floor in the lounge. You’ll need towels and oils. Cold Pressed Sweet Almond Oil is best, available from a health food store, or you can drop into Lush and pick up one of their delectable massage bars (the chocolate one is a favourite!)
Dim the lights, light some candles and play some chilled music. You may choose to start with wine, chocolates or a plate of fresh fruit to help you both unwind first. Then surprise your Valentine by offering to give them a massage! The key points to giving a great massage include going slow and using an open palm instead of your thumbs. Click here for some more thorough massage tips from our very own Denis Merkas.