As Valentines Day approaches, what better excuse is there to 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 Valentines Day gift guide has something for all to enjoy. For more sexy options see our other guide!
I’m going to start with the most universal gift that literally anyone would want and it’s an experience from Red Letter Days. With such a huge variety of activities to choose from there is no chance your other half can turn their nose up at this gift! From hot air balloon rides, spa days, race track experiences or a lovely 3 course meal and glass of Prosecco for two at one of their favourite restaurants. I took my other half to Gaucho in Manchester and it was absolutely perfect, you just can’t go wrong with a good steak and glass of bubbly!
For this meal I had to wear my new Vendula bag from their new Flower Shop collection as it is very befitting of Valentines Day. The Flower Shop Pink Evening Bag is made of vegan leather and comes with a gorgeous pearl handle or a long adjustable strap so you can curry it as a handbag or over the shoulder. The flower details and lovely pink colours mean you will most certainly stand out in a crowd.
Maybe you’re not into fine dining and handbags and you’re more the adventurous type, how about a new pair of boots? I was asked to test out some durable boots from Heavenly Feet from their Vegan friendly style Avante range. I loved how snug the boots felt thanks to their teddy fur lining around the ankles and their incredibly comfy memory foam soles. They feel like slippers but have the durable, hard-wearing properties and thick soles with great grip that you need for long walks in the park with the dog or a good bar hopping session round the Northern Quarter.
If there’s one thing I always ask my partner for at Valentines and birthdays it’s perfume. It doesn’t matter how many I already have, I just love trying something different. Obviously some people like their own signature scent, but I’m always looking for the next exciting smell. Aspects Beauty sent me 2 to try and one for my partner. His in-depth review of Versace’s Eros is as follows: “Yeah it’s alright that, that’ll do.” Maybe a quote from Donatella herself would be better: “I envisioned an heroic, passionate man, almost a Greek God. The fragrance is made up of notes that express sensuality and power, an extreme force.” Well as my partner is half Greek Cypriot it’s very fitting!
I sampled ‘Gorgeous’ by Michael Kors, a lovely feminine fragrance full or sweet florals that’s fresh and flirty and Nishane’s ‘Hundred Silent Ways’ one of the most beautiful perfumes I’ve smelt in a long time. With mandarin and peach top notes, white jasmine in the heart and a base of vanilla, sandalwood and vetiver it is a fragrance that has already given me so many compliments whenever I wear it and feels incredibly luxurious to wear (and smell) throughout the day.
We’ve talked about going out to eat but for some couples there’s nothing more romantic than staying in and preparing a meal together. And if you’re alone this Valentines, (and what’s wrong with that?) then why not prepare yourself a feast of epic proportions using Yutaka Japanese range. From classic maki sushi rolls to traditional nigiri sushi you can be sure to find what you need to make authentic and delicious sushi at home. I was sent a box of things to try from sushi to miso soup but our absolute favourite was the Katsu curry sauce and panko breadcrumbs. You can make the most delicious and crispy chicken smothered in a thick, sweet and slightly spicy sauce that is so simple to make and fun to enjoy making together thanks to their easy to follow recipes.
You could of course go for the classic combination of flowers and chocolates, because let’s be honest you can’t go wrong with that. I was sent the most fabulous bouquet from Eflorist which came perfectly packaged and arrived as if freshly picked. Their Deluxe Romance Bouquet features deep red and cerise spray roses, red hypericum with burgundy carnation and foliage to complement. The aroma lasts for days and the amount of flowers you get is fantastic. For chocolates your other half (or yourself) only deserves the best, featuring only the finest and freshest ingredients, Soko’s Valentine’s Kisses are handcrafted using sumptuous fillings developed from exclusive recipes crafted to the highest of standards. Spark romance with their shiny lip shaped chocolates, my personal favourite was their Red lips with a passion fruit and salted caramel centre, encased in a white chocolate lip. Truly scrumptious!
Another great combination for Valentines is a bottle of bubbly and a fun game to play. If you’d like to surprise your partner with a bottle of something they might not have experienced before then why not try Boco by House Coren a Charmat method sparkling wine made in England. A delicious blend of 42% Reichenstiener, 29% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir with ultra fine bubbles and notes of peaches, pears and a hint of raspberry. I don’t need any encouragement to play a drinking game, however I did need to pressure my other half into playing Drunk Desires with me. A deck full of 28 ‘dirty’ cards and 22 ‘flirty’ cards, you take turns in drawing your choice of activity which may involve drinking or something a bit more playful. Of course after I pulled the ‘Flash your partner for 3 seconds’ card on the first go he was much more up for it!
Moving into the bedroom I have two items guaranteed to please. Look after your skin with ethical, allergy friendly underwear from independent brand Julie May whose selection of cotton and silk sets are both flattering and incredibly comfortable to wear for a few hours or a few minutes. We love the Passion Red Lace Organic Bralette and cotton silk briefs and the Morpho cotton and silk brief.
We also love that they are locally produced, completely sustainable and contain no synthetic materials, certainly a brand to watch. Douvalls sent a candle like no other to enjoy this Valentines day, the Organic Argan Skincare Candle, Forbidden Spices. Perfect to de-stress and pamper yourself or a loved one, it is scented with natural essential oils of ylang ylang, geranium, citrus fruits and balsam for a sensual calming scent that fills the room. The best part is that once you allow the candle to burn for 15-30 minutes, creating a pool of rich oil, you blow out the flame and allow it to cool before pouring the gently warmed oil over your (or their) body then massage deeply to intensively nourish and hydrate skin. A candle light massage? Don’t mind if I do! Then rinse off with a shower but be sure to use Douvall’s Destress and Revitalise Shower Spray for a spa-like experience in the comfort of your own home.
And last but not least, how about a ring? Don’t panic it doesn’t have to be an engagement ring, just a simple yet beautiful design that they’ll love like the Thomas Sabo Silver Zirconia Arrow Shimmering Pink Ring from Jewellery brand Acotis. This cocktail ring in open design is a must-have for romantic looks. Whether worn alone or in combination with other rings, in a stacking look (it actually looks lovely with my engagement ring), it’s a delicate piece of jewellery that perfectly rounds off any outfit. And for the man in your life, get him something warm, and soft to the touch, like a smart Jersey from Blake Mill. I chose the Black with Volcano Lux for my partner, who always opts for a classic (I say plain) look but with a tiny hint of colour or design. The subtle yet dramatic details on this warm top are perfect for an evening out or layered under a warm coat on a romantic stroll. I think my fella looks rather handsome in it anyway.
However you spend it and whomever you choose to spend it with, have a wonderful time this Valentines Day.