Last Valentine’s Day the UK was in lockdown and the day was not quite the same for a lot of us. Of course there were some incredible meal kits on offer that I shared last year and plenty of options for people to enjoy a romantic night in. This year we have a lot more freedom and therefore no excuse to not spoil the ones we love! Whether you’re shopping for her, him, them, yourself or the people in your life that deserve a little love, this Valentine’s Day gift guide for him, her and them has something for all to enjoy.
Remember that hilarious scene on Mrs Doubtfire where she’s trying to cook lobster and it all goes wrong? Imagine if you could cook a restaurant level lobster for your other half but have someone do all the difficult prep beforehand. Well imagine no more as you can get your very own kit and delivered from Burger & Lobster, perfect for a romantic night in. Burger & Lobster have done all the hard work – prepping the sumptuous crustaceans ready to be grilled or steamed at home. Don’t worry if you’ve never cooked or even eaten one before as the kit comes with all the instructions you need and even the option of adding a shell cracker and pick. It also comes with the restaurant’s signature unctuous garlic and butter sauce for drizzling over the tender meat. This was honestly so easy to prepare and a lot of fun to eat so rather than opting for your usual takeaway, why not try something a little different this year?
One thing I always ask for on Valentine’s Day is a new perfume, for me nothing makes you feel sexier than a new intoxicating scent (except maybe when your partner has one too!) For his and hers scents I headed for The Perfume Shop who recommended the new fragrance by Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal for him and So Scandal for her. Scandal has top notes of Clary Sage and a woody scent, it’s masculine but with heart notes of caramel that give it a sweeter scent that lingers for hours. The fragrance also comes in an eco friendly bottle that is designed to be refilled. The feminine fragrance has milky base notes and top notes of orange blossom as well as the signature woody scent that perfectly compliments the fragrance for men. A lovely option for couples.
For a more androgynous scent I was absolutely thrilled to discover Escentric 01 – The Story Edition by Escentric Molecules. So E Super is a molecule that hovers close to the skin to create an indefinable aura around the wearer, creating a blanket of secrecy. Escentric 01 focuses on Iso E Super at 65% of the fragrance compound in an abbreviated formula designed to maximise the molecule’s efflorescence. It also contains lime peel, hedione (green jasmine bud), orris, balsamic notes, and fresh musk. In other words this is designed for people who want to have a fragrance but don’t like fragrance. The stories of wearers are printed on each bottle, describing times their scent has been the topic of discussion or ways in which the fragrance has landed them in certain situations (a lot of marriages it would seem…). The smell is like no other, distinct and fresh, perfect for someone in your life who is perfectly unique.
Now on to a scent of a different kind, one that is designed to make you switch off from daily distractions and signal a moment where you can focus energy on yourself or nurture a deeper connection with your partner. Created to be used on the body, on linens or to infuse the air Espa’s Connection Pillow mist contains 8 natural essential oils, each renowned for their aphrodisiac properties. Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Jasmine combine to create a lovely aroma to set the mood for love or a cuddle before bed. A nice idea would be to spritz the room and invite your partner for a massage or just cover your favourite blanket and dressing gown then curl up on your own with a good glass of wine and a good film.
Have a partner who prefers to spend their time whittling away in the shed or garage? Well BiGDUG have a Valentine’s selection with just that in mind. I’ll start this by saying I think this is the only time I’ve received a sample of something that my partner has been genuinely excited about. The ultimate Valentine’s Mega Deal comes with two powder-coated steel shelves in a durable red finish (each shelf holds up to 175kg), a garage/shed workstation and ten red parts bins with labels for storing small items like screws and tools. Not only will they relish the challenge of putting all this together but no more will you be tripping over the broken Milet hoover that ‘can be a spare’, the leftover paints from every room in the house and the endless screwdriver sets that they keep getting for Christmas. Sturdy, tall and plenty of space for storing all your bits and bobs, give them a present they will use for years to come (and actually want) this Valentine’s day.
If you’re anything like me then you’ll know there’s nothing better than getting new beauty products to try out. But the best thing is bath products, you just cannot beat running a nice big bath and then using all your new lotions and potions and coming out smelling like a luxury spa. On one such occasion I was given the Liquid Yoga set from MIO as well as one of the best scrubs I’ve used in years the Heavenly Body Exfoliating Body Scrub with coconut and almond oil. With a vegan, cruelty free formula it’s a product I’d highly recommend for the feeling of real silky softness when you get out of the bath or shower. I’d also recommend the Glowing Skin Routine Duo with illuminating micro pearlescent particles, leaving skin with a healthy-looking and sun-kissed glow. Feel like a shining goddess on Valentine’s day with lovely and smooth, glowing skin all over.
It’s also nice to be able to share nice skincare products with your partner, ones that have neither a masculine or feminine scent and are just pleasant on the nose and feel fabulous on the skin. One of our favourites as a couple is ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s After the Rain Body Care Gift Set. The collection was Inspired by the founders’ desire to capture the unique, fresh scent of an Arran garden following a rainstorm. With a sensual fragrance of rose petals, musk and floral citrus, mixed with the soft notes of Arran’s precious woods the shower gel and moisturiser set is perfectly suited to everyone and great for couples to share. Presented in a lovely box, the design is proudly inspired by the Isle of Arran in Scotland, as well as being kind to the environment by being fully recyclable.
If all these sensual scents don’t get you in the mood then of course there is always wine and this Limited edition rosé from Marks & Spencer is a superb wine for pleasure. M de Minuty – M&S Limited Edition AOP Cotes de Provence 2021 Vintage is the perfect wine to enjoy this Valentine’s Day with its aromatic harmony of grenache and cinsault and intense aromas of orange peel and notes of peach. This rosé pairs beautifully with grilled meats, fresh vegetables, and fruit tarts or works well as an aperitif to kickstart St. Valentine’s celebrations.
Some couples choose not to celebrate on February 14th and others go all out to spoil their other half. But the day can be hard on singletons who long for a special gift or a bit of affection. So why not give it to yourself? Self love has never been more important as it has over the last two years when many of us were faced with isolation alone and had to enjoy our own company. You deserve a reward for all you’ve been through, treat yourself!
However you choose to celebrate and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, have a Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at The Bespoke Black Book X