A never thought that saying ‘I love you’, would come so naturally to her. She marvelled at the way it rolled off her tongue, oh so easily, syllables colliding. Three years later, her and her boo, had just moved into their first flat together, a miracle project. Red roses clutched by a spherical vase, lay triumphantly on the dining room table. It was a celebration of their eternal love, twin flames, and soulmates brought together by fate and destiny. A was never one who considered herself to be a romantic, but even she was swept up of the romance of their relationship, giggling into the early hours of the morning. Though she knew many found Valentine’s day cheesy, to A it couldn’t come around quickly enough. She had transformed from a ‘sourpuss, cynic, who questioned everything’ to a loved up maven, who would conjure fun Valentine’s day date ideas in the heart of winter. She was still the same wide eyed girl, who had come to London all these years ago, but she never thought she would find a love, quite like this. She wasn’t materialistic, true, but she thought there was something that was so magical about creating a Valentine’s Day gift for couples, who deserved love and light. She had found her Prince Charming, and couldn’t quite believe her eyes.
Not to s**t on anyone’s parade, but A couldn’t help but feel a smug satisfaction, at landing a partner like D. It was a big f**k you to all the exes that had treated her badly, that made her feel like she wasn’t enough, and didn’t deserve more. It was a middle finger to the bullies who had called her ugly, had told her she was unloveable, to the abusive, and toxic people who had been in her life, and put her through living hell. Though A would show her love and adoration all year round, Valentine’s day gave her a chance to show her beau, just how much he meant to her. She knew on a surface level, that Valentine’s Day was rooted in consumerism, a delicately woven marketing ad, to capitalize on love, and make it the event of the year. But she didn’t care, because to A it meant so much more. What was once a day filled with sadness, terror and loneliness, was a period where she felt elated, bubbles of joy escaping her lips.
But she wasn’t always part of the V-Day coupledom, and spent many years being single on Valentine’s Day. And that was OK, she had a lot of growing up to do, and needed to put herself first. She needed to grow and prosper as a person, to attract the kind of partner, that would make her heart sing with happiness. She didn’t base being happy solely on being in or out of a relationship, but it sure helped when she was in a non-toxic partnership. Even all these years later, it took some getting used to. As though she would still listen to the critics who begrudged her happiness, who claimed she was too weird, ugly, and not conventional enough to be loved. It was bulls**t then, she just didn’t know it yet.
This was the first Valentine’s Day, where she truly felt like she was worthy of love. She had transformed from an Anti-Valentinist, to a full on V-Day hugger, who enjoyed every romantic stereotype known to human kind. Whether it was a bouquet of flowers perched lovingly on her bed, a stunning food and drink hamper, or a trip to a spa, A craved romance, seduction, and love, like it was her most important meal of the day. A and D would clink glasses together, the morning sun strewn through gilded windows, pouring Sea Change prosecco Rose into dainty flutes. The bubbles went down their throats with the ease of a young un, throttling down a log flume, the same euphoric feeling.
Heart Shaped balloons from ‘Send Them Balloons’, were engraved with the words ‘ Happy Valentine’s day Ana xxx’. They floated by the window, overlooking the busy high street, where Camille Walala painted a rainbow of colour. Indigo blues, and peachy pinks, danced with firebrick red, and lilacs, while yellows sparred with monochromatic black, and white. She smiled happily, the balloons watching impishly, as they tucked into chocolate cupcakes, oozing messily down their chins. Crumbs went everywhere, A snorted, she was never the most daintiest eater, but she didn’t care. With D’s love, she felt happiness like she had never felt before. Surely this feeling would last forever, it was impossibly persistient.
It was a sentiment that echoed around her mind, as they shared a bubble bath together, beautiful rainbow bath bombs fizzing dreamily. Blue and purple hearts, conversed with purples, and magentas, while a spotted beauty, peeped out too, a feast for bath bombs in their home. From Hubble and Bubble, it paired beautifully with their new ‘Frisky’ candle from Osme Candles, seductively fragrant. The sweet innocence of the bath bombs, paired with the heady musk of ‘Frisky’ was an erotic combination, a recipe for a sweet lovers kiss. They laughed as soapy bubbles frothed around their lips, breathing in the scent of desire that permeated the air. Come rain or shine, A’s Valentine’s gift guide for couples would evoke provocative emotions.
There would be elation, thoughtfulness, and sentimentality, wrapped in a perfect bow. Hungry tummies would be filled with satisfaction, and thirsty mouths would be wetted with teasing. Experiences would create memories, and art would make people think. Colours swirling in a psychological tumble of emotion, reds, pinks, and blues, while music got couples up and dancing. There were the thoughtful gifts, and the souveniers. The meal times that were engulfed in sweet promises, and the date boxes that created dusky adventures. All together now, the couples would come together, another Valentine’s day past. But still the reminder of the ultimate Valentine’s day gift guide for couples lingered in the air, embracing love in its purest form.
Food And Drink For Couples
To A and D, food and drink was a huge part of their romantic rituals. They would go on date nights to bars, and restaurants, exploring London one night at a time. Ample nights were spent in Rule Zero and Loading, games bars that delivered on kitsch gaming sessions that would break all the rules. Sipping on Aperol Spritzes, they would play Exploding Kittens, Super Fight, and Joking Hazard, tears of laughter streaming down their faces. At home, the fun had just began, as they made their way through romantic food and drink. Vegan Indian meals from Mandira’s Kitchen, was blessed by the Gods themselves, washed down with ample prosecco that fizzed oh so happily…
Sea Change Prosecco Rose
There was something incredibly inviting about a glass of prosecco. The bubbles would tease you, lingering langorously, begging to be swallowed up by amorous tongues. Lighter, and sweeter than champagne, Sea Change Prosecco Rose, had a terrific twist on one of the worlds favourite wines. Bursting with gentle fruity flavours, and fine streaming bubbles, the vibrant fizz paired beautifully with chocolate truffles. A and D swilled the liquid in their hands, gazing into each other’s eyes. It was a beautiful moment, caught in the throes of love.
The prosecco was no ordinairy ‘lovers drink’. The ideal Valentine’s day gift for couples who were environmentally conscious, it helped to clean up the world’s oceans. As an animal lover, with an increased interest in sustainability, A was proud to support a brand that was keen to make a difference. To A romance was often rooted in change, and she loved that she had helped to fund grassroots, community-led marine conservation projects, all around the UK’s shores, and coasts. Supporting their fantastic charity partner, Sea-Changers, drinking an ample glass of Sea Change Prosecco Rose or two, would make marine life, and the oceans that much happier this Valentine’s day.
Unlike other wine brands, Sea Change also removed the unnecessary plastic wrap around the cork. They used renewable plant-based closures, and the paper for the labels came from certified sustainable forests. Partially made from grape waste, combined with the much needed donation to marine charities with every bottle sold, choosing Sea Change was a must. Turning the tide on plastic pollution, and the harmful effects on the ocean, and amazing wildlife, A felt proud knowing that she was supporting the greater good. After all, what could be more romantic than saving the planet?
With subtle summer fruit on the nose, that blended seamlessly with the elegance, balance and fine bubbles of a prosecco, it was a winning combination. But what was this delectable prosecco made from? Using Prosecco’s core grape variety Glera with Pinot Noir (one of the world’s most noble varietals) ensured that Sea Change was a mouthwatering drink. To A and D, it was a dessert drink, an aphrodisiac if you will. It made them bubble with excitement, the sweetness of the prosecco complementing the chocolate truffles, that were bursting with ganache. And yet the prosecco would be at home for starters, mains, and even prosecco tasting sessions as well. After all, a Valentine’s day gift for couples, should always be utterly equisite.
Virginia Hayward And Regency Hampers
A and D were planning a trip away, a staycation if you will, deep in the heart of the UK. They wanted a dreamy weekend away, where they could live, love and laugh, far from home. After all, it had been over a year since they had a staycation together, due to the pandemic, and it was well overdue. To celebrate A planned a surprise, she would treat them to incredible hampers, which they could enjoy in their luxury hotel. Why? Because they deserved a holiday, and what said holiday romance more than two beautiful food and drink hampers from Virginia Hayward and Regency Hampers?
On day one, the Virginia Hayward luxury hamper was up for inspection, swathed in orange tissue paper, that glistened in the morning light. She spread rose petals around the clean minimalist bedding, and lit candles, while her partner was in the bath, setting the mood. The smell of ylang ylang and vanilla wafted around the room dreamily, as she fell into a dreamy stupor. She could hardly wait and see what he would think. He was never one for material things, but given that the hamper contained some of his favourite ‘num nums’, she knew he would be pleased. His eyes widened like saucers, mesmerized by the feast that lay before him. The top layer seemed inviting enough, Yorkshire Crisps in a delectable Worcester sauce blend, Popcorn Shed Pecan Pie, and Reids oat crumbles with sweet salted caramel.
He was like a kid in a candy shop, bouncing back and forth between Grandma Wilds mini mature cheddar bites, and Cambrook caramelised sesame peanuts. It was like Christmas had come early, and he hardly knew where to start. From the chocolates by Linden Lady, that were handmade, to Highfield Chutney Real Ale and Marmalade Seville Orange, his mouth was watering. As for the Mighty Fine honeycomb dips? The salted caramel paired beautifully with the honeycomb crunch. There was drink too, a punchy Franklin and Sons elderflower lemonade, a spiced El Tosoro Malbec, and an El Tosoro Chardonnay, that was surprisingly full-bodied. What was his favourite, I hear you ask? Grandma Wilds mini bites in a mature cheddar flavour drove him wild, obsessed at how it paired with Highfield’s real ale chutney, in a moerish swipe.
On day two Regency Hamper had its chance to shine, a beautifully compact hamper wrapped neatly in a golden bow. The Valentine’s Day Downton Hamper, was a real treat, the Four Angels double chocolate cookies, on D’s to smash list. After all, cookies were his first love, and A had to accept that she always came second to cookies, especially when they tasted this darn good. The cheese wheels were a surprise too, Wainwrights Choice mature cheddar oh so creamy, and its ale and mustard cheddar a fragrant delight. A’s personal favourite? Caillero del Diabo Carbernet Sauvignon was gorgeous, with cassis and black cherry flavours. Paired with Mr Filberts chilli and lime peanuts, and juicy olives that A hastily scrambled together, it was heaven on a plate. Other highlights that A and D enjoyed together include Cottage Delight’s original strawberry Jam and orange marmalade spread onto thick farm bread, and Walkers Pure butter shortbread, that was ever so soft and crumbly.
A could hardly recall a world without Indian food, introduced to its culinary prowess from a very young age. She had Asian family, whose origins lay in Pakistan, introducing her to mouthwatering delights. Homemade Paratha would ooze with ghee, flaky-brown flatbread, stuffed with paneer, garlic and ginger. At the time, aged 10-14 she was not a vegetarian, and would sample Chicken Karahi, spiced with tomatoes, garlic, and all spice in an aromatic blend, washed down with mango lassi, a Punjabi-Indian classic.
There were fragrant dishes from India too: a beef keema, served with basmati rice, with a side of takda dhaal (one of A’s favourites now as a vegetarian). Chicken Birayani, amply ladled with cucumber raita, offsetting the spices that would tingle in her mouth. Of course, it had been 11 years since she had become a vegetarian, and she didn’t regret her decision one bit. After all Indian, Asian and Pakistani cuisine had plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes, while many restaurants veganised ‘meat classics’. So it should come as no surprise that A’s idea of a romantic Valentine’s day gift for couples, was centered around a gorgeous vegetarian-friendly Indian feast. But who would come to A and D’s rescue, and supply them with the Indian food of their dreams?
Mandira’s Kitchen, was up for the challenge, with new Veganuary dishes that A was bursting to try. There was A’s old favourite, the Enchorer Dalna, a vegan delicacy from Mandira’s grandma’s kitchen. Made with love, heart, and packed full of flavour, it used green jackfruit, that was high in protein and in fibre. The winner of the Great Taste Award 2019, it was liberally seasoned with tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Saucy, without being overpowering, it went beautifully with the Vegetable Biriyani. With fragrant basmati rice, cauliflower, carrots, beans and peas, it was gluten-free, and medium spiced.
One dish A, and D was surprised about, was the Vegan Keema Mattar, one of A’s favourites when she was not a vegetarian. It was the first time she had keema in over 11 years, and she was blown away. Using soya mince and cooked with fresh tomatoes, peas, and their own Garam Masala blend it was gorgeous. Washed down with a mango lassi, and served with Mandira’s pea patties, it was a winning combination. The vegan patties were pleasantly spiced and encased in a mashed potato casing. Mandira clearly knew how to create an incredible Valentine’s day feast, and its Lehsuni Dal was no exception. The steaming dal was made from split yellow lentils, lots of caramelised garlic for that sweetness and depth and fresh tomatoes to balance the flavours. The final touch? Lightly spiced Vegan Chicken Samosas, made from pea protein, lovingly ladled with tart tamarind chutney.
Bradfords Bakers, Send Them Cupcakes And Send Them Balloons
People said that romance was overrated, but A liked to heartily disagree. After all romance was what you made of it, and whether you were in a relationship or not, love was there. There was self-love, and platonic love, familial love, and best-friend love. Love for living, life, and laughter, and love for romance itself. To A, Valentine’s Day gave not just couples, but also friends, families, and even singletons a chance to show love, in the loveliest, purest form. One of A’s favourite Valentine’s gifts to receive, and give were chocolates, cupcakes, and balloons. After all, what could be more romantic than that?
Lo and behold Bradfords Bakers, had come to save the day, with their ‘Share the Love’ chocolate truffles, and strawberry collection. A heart shaped wooden tray was bursting with fresh strawberries, lovingly dipped in moerish Belgain chocolate. White chocolate strawberry truffles were there for a hurrah too, a large red bow cementing it as a strawberry banquet, that was perfection personfied. A and D fed each other strawberries with impish laughter, crumbs of chocolate around their happy mouths. Speaking of crumbs, Send Them Cupcakes wanted in on the action as well, presenting beautifully crafted red velvet and chocolate cupcakes that were INCREDIBLE. A and D’s personal favourite was the chocolate cupcakes, chocolate ganache perched atop a moist chocolate sponge. The red velvet was good too though, a cute fondant heart layered atop a red feast.
With cupcakes, truffles, and strawberries galore, what would be the cherry on the top? The tasty trio was rounded out by a personalized red hearts party bouquet, from Send Them Balloons, engraved beautifully. With three red heart-shaped balloons, it was the most magical Valentine’s day gift for couples, who were traditionalists at heart. Fully inflated with helium, it perched happily in the living room, overlooking the colourful high street below. It came to life at night, when they turned on their galaxy night projector, and they watched the balloons fully immerse themselves in a constellation of stars, nebulas, and the galaxy herself. It was a magical night, where they feasted under the stars, in the heart of their own living room.
Self Care For Couples
Self-care was underrated, and given the journey that both A and D had been on with their mental health, there was little wonder it meant so much to them. For A especially who suffered with chronic anxiety, and depression, having self-care wasn’t just indulging in me-time, but spending time with D too. She was not home a lot, and was often busy, so made sure that she always made time for her partner, even if it was something small. Whether it was a spa day using Hubble Bubble Bath Bombs, relaxing in bed, or igniting their passion with a candle, self-care was always a priority in their household.
Hubble And Bubble
Whenever A was anxious, stressed or tense (which was most days), she would comfort herself in the solace of a hot bubble bath. The bath would be foaming with elongated bubbles, the fragrance of calming lavender, gingseng, and bath salts perfuming the air. As she dipped a tentative toe in, she would tenderly cup a bath bomb in the water, marvelling as it fizzed in a rainbow of colours. As it disintigrated, she would put her head back, and breathe deeply, imagining a positive, more happier world.
For A and D, ‘spa days’ would be a big part of not only their love language, but also their self-care. It would be a chance to massage each other, and really feel what each other bodies were feeling. It gave them the opportunity to connect on an intimate level, and be closer than ever. Most of all, it helped each other relax, as they threw a plethora of bath goodies into their sacred bath. It was rare that they had the opportunity to take a bath together, but when they did, they revelled in it gloriously. So when A discovered Hubble and Bubble, and its vegan, cruelty-free box of bath bomb hearts, she knew that she was onto a winner.
With four breathtaking gradient bath bombs, romanticists, colour lovers, and minimalists were appeased with her breathtaking eco-friendly collection. There was a cobalt blue, and pink fuschia heart that was A’s personal favourite, a breathtaking riot of colour. A pretty and whimsical pink and white heart, gave cottagecore a run for its money, liberally dusted in golden yellow sprinkles. And who could forget the lilac and fuschia heart, crumbling into open waters? Even the minimalists were appeased, a grey heart, speckled with white, a stark contrast to the bolds and brights in the eco-friendly box. What’s more, A (who had moderately sensitive skin), found that the bath bombs were kind to her body, exfoliating her skin in the most gentlest way possible.
Given that A and D were trying to offset their impact on the environment, they were doubly pleased by the packaging. The boxes used recylable, biodegradable packaging, while the bath bombs came in organza bags. Even Hubble and Bubble’s soaps came in washed Jute bags, making them gift ready. So when it came to a Valentine’s day gift for couples, that brought them closer together, Hubble and Bubble were up there. Even if spa days weren’t your thing, noone could resist or deny the pull of the vegan bath bombs, that were begging to be plunged into delicious oblivion.
Over lockdown A had discovered an obsession for candles. It wasn’t just that they smelt good, and were aesthetically pleasing to look at, but they made her feel good too. They made her feel centered, grounded, and allowed her to acknowledge her surroundings. They helped her relax, find her purpose, and take time out of her day to meditate and live her life intentionally. Most of all it helped her emotionally connect with her partner, and mindfully be with him, in every sense of the word. All too often, she found that they went through the motions, and A was never one for rigid routine.
Instead, like the candles she lit, she wanted to be free, spontaneous, and live life in the moment. She wasn’t very good at that. Unlike her partner who was chilled, laid back, and went with the flow, she found it hard to adapt to change, or a life without structure. She needed to be more like her partner, and urged him to teach her his ways. She had always liked to be in control, but she had to realize that in a relationship it went both ways. Sometimes, she had to follow in his direction too. It wasn’t just her way or the high way. So when they had an arrival from Osme Candles, she knew that she wanted to try something different. After all, scent was one of the strongest memory triggers.
But who were OsmḗCandles? They were a British chandler specialising in hand-scented, hand poured sustainable candles, made in the UK. Eco-friendly, green, and socially responsible, even their packaging was made from recycled materials. Vegan-friendly, personalized, and expertly blended, it would be ‘Frisky’, that A would choose for Valentine’s day. Instead of taking the lead, like she normally would, she let her partner take control. He lit the red candle expertly, and dimmed the lights so that it glowed in the faded yellow light. Shutting the blinds, they were plummeted into candlelight darkness, the smell of frisky washing over them.
It was romantic, A would give him that, and it felt nice to not be the one in control for once. She felt the pressure lift off her shoulders, and the tension dissipitate from her lower back. The candle flickered invitingly, it was spritely and invigorating. It did what it said on the label, and melded beautifully with the red roses perched on the living room table, the young couple making out passionately. Its heady aroma got their blood circulating, as they devoured each other in honeyed kisses. It was provocative, yet meditative, erotic, yet sweet. The scent of Frisky, made their Valentine’s date night, that much more interesting. A perfumed adventure, it was hard to tell when night had ended, and day had begun…
The Mood Club
Self-reflection, growth, and personal development was always a huge part of any relationship. For A, she was a big communicator, and often voiced any concerns, gave praise, or spoke her mind honestly, because she always wanted to be transparent. After all, she grew up being repressed, often having to suppress her feelings, because she wasn’t taken seriously, and at times labelled a ‘drama queen’. Now, she was overly communicative, true, but she wanted to speak her mind freely, and fairly.
D on the other hand while chatty, and loud, wasn’t quite so vocal, and often found it hard to express the way that he felt. Like A, he would often use humour to cover up his issues, and feelings, and would laugh, so he wouldn’t have to deal with things that he felt uncomfortable with. A recognized why, and how he reacted to things, because she had done the same herself, but wanted to teach him to be more ‘comfortable with his emotions’. After all, if they were both open and honest, it would create the foundations for a better, healthier relationship. Which is where The Mood Club came in. Mood cards with 20 activities to encourage growth, development, self-reflection, and positivity, it would teach A and D to embrace positive habits in their relationship.
Like a plant, their relationship was worth cultivating, and they wanted daily reminders to enhance their connection, and boost their collective mood. From appreciation to play, to support, balance, and connetion the 5 areas to focus on helped them become stronger than ever. They were amazed that small, dailt steps could build into something powerful, and loved how the activities didn’t take much time. Despite the activities being short, it taught A and D to slow down, and appreciate each other, focusing on the positives in their relationship. It encouraged them to prioritize each other in a way that felt meaningful, without feeling like spending time together was a burden or a chore.
One of A’s favourite cards, read as follows: D0-sit together, and taking turns name one thing about your partner, that makes your life better’. It came with a handy tip, and even had a share section too, to make the most out of this meaningful activity. The tip invited the couple to think about each other’s special qualities, and the way they made each other feel, while sharing showed them how to demonstrate how those features or actions had a positive impact on their relationship. A told D, that his ability to make her laugh, even when she was depressed or anxious, helped her know that she was not alone. She understood that mental illness was hard to comprehend, but told him that she appreciated how much he tried to help be there for her. Even if he did not know what was going on, he would be there to make her smile and cheer her up.
Westlab Bath Salts
A and D’s love language was made up of love, light and happiness. D and A were similar in many ways, but when it came to being calm, A was the hyper-anxious one. D was the most calm, and chilled out person that she had ever met, and she felt endlessly blessed that he was hers. She regularly suffered with anxiety attacks, severe anxiety, and depression, and it made the world of difference having someone like D in her corner. After all, he was love personified. But what did this have to do with bath salts?
A was the one who introduced D to them. Enthuastically toting its many benefits, and how it was not only good for physical health, but mental health too. So who else but Westlab had bath salts that would help them connect, in an emotional bath? The Westlab Mindful Epsom Bath Salts with CBD Oil, were nothing short of extraordinairy. Together they would silence the outside world, turn the lights off, and embrace the darkness around them. All too often they were over stimulated, burnt out, and endlessly floating in a pit of fast-paced living. Here, they would slow down, the bath salts infused with CBD, for a truly spectacular soak. In the corridor they could hear A’s laptop playing relaxing, and meditative music, a score that was seemingly plucked from a spa.
100% natural, the Vegan blend of magnesium-rich Epsom and Himalayan Salts infused with Frankincense and Bergamot essential oils was a mesmerizing experience. D was never one for self-care rituals in the way that we traditionally saw them, but even he was enthralled. For A, it reminded her of being in a flotation tank, watching her troubles wash away. It was a cleansing, and purifying self-love ritual that A was all too happy to share with D. And boy did he feel a difference. His aching muscles revived, her anxiety simmering quietly in the background, another flare up cured. It was no miracle cure, but it sure felt like heaven.
Dr. Bronner’s Soap
Though A preferred baths, D’s self-love ritual was showers. He loved how purifying and cleansing showers felt, the rush of hot water pouring over his body. He used to take cold showers, glorying in its icy vision. But now, he preferred medium-warm showers, a chance to spend, even five minutes just focusing on his self-care. Together, a shower would be a relationship ritual, a chance to connect intimately, and deeply in water. They would profess their gratitudes towards each other, thankful for the opportunity to have such a loving relationship.
As the droplets pooled, and the hair on their heads matted, they’d let out a gurgled laugh, it was time to wash. A fished out Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Rose Soap Bar, and wrestled with its slippiness, giggling. Certified Fair Trade and made with organic oils, it was also vegan, and cruelty-free. Floral and fresh, with a hint of sweetness, the pure-Castille soap bar, felt silky smooth. They massaged each other, luxuriating in its lather, as it eased out some of the tension from their backs. It felt good to have this momemt to themselves, writing out love messages on their skin. It felt deeply symbolic, which seemed strange, yet somehow perfect.
The Veggie Awards 2021 finalist, the lathering soap was a godsend. Not only did they wash each other’s bodies, but it felt delectable on their faces, and hair too. For A, it melted her makeup away, without the skin irritation that she often got from harsh-chemical cleansers. Instead, this was soft as cream, a biodegradable soap, that was made in perfection. A beautiful practical Valentine’s day gift for couples, it was long-lasting, durable, and above all, a beautiful love ritual for couples.
Urtekram Body Lotion
Speaking of massages, it was one of A’s favourite ways to calm down. Being the anxious person that she was, her muscles often tensed up, particularly in her lower back, shoulders, chest, and stomach. When she had a massage, she found it released feel-good endorphins, and hormones. From dopamine, to serotonin, and oxytocin, it helped A reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Though the anxiety never fully went away, it helped A feel more balanced, centered and grounded. She not only loved receiving massages, but she also loved giving them as well. With a plethora of lotions, and potions, she would drive away the anxiety, with calming strokes.
D loved it when she gave him massages, and while his were most definitely superior to hers, he appreciated it all the same. She would channel her inner cat, and make biscuits, kneading his skin with Urtekram’s Soothing Lavender Body Lotion expertly. They would take turns massaging other, continuing the theme of a spa day at home. The glorious scent of lavender wafted under their noses, in a calming spritz. Hydrating, and nourishing, the lotion made their bodies feel like silk. It was a pampering feel-good massage, where lavender waltzed with shea butter, and aloe vera slipped into natural oils seductively. It wasn’t just good to look at, but it was ethical too. Certified organic by Ecocert, according to COSMOS Organic Standard, and with 100% natural origin, Urtekram’s body lotion was ideal for massages.
The vegan body lotion was slathered generously on naked skin, losing track of time, as fingers slid in and out of knots. Their shoulders once hunched melted. The tension held in anxiety pressure areas started to slow down. Most of all, the furrowed frowns that had lined their faces smoothed out, eyes fluttering shut. A could scarcely believe it, as she looked down, and caught D snoring softly. She smiled, she knew that massages were rewarding when received, but now she knew what it was like to give them too.
Amaku Tooth Tablets
Both A, and D had problems with their teeth, that they wanted to fix. For A, it was bleeding gums, crooked teeth, and plaque build up, that made her feel self-conscious. Old fillings needed to be replaced, and her teeth were sensitive. For D, while he had straight teeth, he wanted to get his teeth cleaned, yellowing and stains removed, and also had bleeding gums when he brushed his teeth. Sometimes toothpastes were filled with harmful chemicals that did more damage than good for their teeth, and they wanted to try something new and natural.
Lo and behold Amaku’s Tooth Tablets were here to save the day. It was unlike anything they had tried before. Though it seemed like an unusual gift for couples, for A and D, it was a great one. A brand new way of cleaning their teeth, the tablets harnessed the science driven perormance of nature’s finest ingredients to strengthen, protect, and whiten teeth. Though it was too early to tell, A did find that the pressed powder formula felt gentle on her sensitive teeth. With natural minerals, and Nano-hydroxyapatite, the tooth tablets were enhanced with the natural oils of citrus, anise and peppermint.
Regarded as the gold standard in Japan, Nano-hydroxyapatite was a hero ingredient, and alternative to fluoride. Advocating for strong teeth health, A’s teeth felt clean, as did D’s. It took some getting used to, but they both agreed they would continue trialling Amaku’s tooth tablets. After all, they both wanted whiter, more vibrant teeth, that was healthy too. Creating a ground-breaking oral care routine seemed easy with Amaku, and she couldn’t wait to see where the journey would take them.
It was rare for A and D, to get a day in bed together. Not just because A was busy, and not home a lot, but also because she was someone who found it hard to keep still. She was the type of girl who would fidget, feel cooped up if she was at home for long periods of time, and prefer to be outside of the house doing something. D on the other hand was a homebody, who loved spending time at home, and appreciated and enjoyed his creature comforts like his games. Yet despite this, they brought the best out in each other. A would encourage D to get up and moving, and try new things, while D taught A to slow down, live live more easily, and not always have to things the hard way.
So over the Valentine’s season A went out of her comfort zone, took time off, and scheduled a ‘bed day’. She found it hard to relax at first, especially when she was a creature of habit, but soon relaxation couldn’t come soon enough. They would have a duvet and cuddle day, thanks to Silverguard, and their Supima cotton bedding set, which was antimicroable and sustainable. The luxurious sateen range was vegan, eco-friendly, and protected the couple against bacteria, allowing them to have the most magical of rest days. They watched movies in bed, in snuggly PJ’s luxuriating in the cotton sheets. It felt plush, and luxurious, without being over-complicated, and A loved how it made them feel.
Made using a blend of Supima® and IONIC+ silver thread, the IONIC+ silver worked to prevent the growth of bacteria, making the bed environment a safer and cleaner place in between laundering.It was the perfect Valentine’s day gift for couples who wanted a relaxing day at home, without the worry. The bedding even tackled redness and skin irritations by eliminating the bacteria that can cause acne breakouts on the skin.
Given that A had oily, sensitive and spot prone skin, it was a relief knowing she could let her skin breathe, without worrying about breakouts. The bedding was even thermoregulating, as the single-ply Supima® allowed airflow and breathability. This was further enhanced by the thermoregulating properties of the silver, allowing for sleep at the ideal temperature, every night, all year round. From playing video games in bed, to cuddling, intimacy, falling asleep on each other, or even reading a book, Silverguard helped A and D, have the magical rest day of their dreams. With a matching towel set, designed to leave them feeling comfortable and safe, A and D could even have a spa day at home, that was stress-free.
For the longest time, flowers had held a special place in A’s heart. It came as no surprise given her Maderian heritage, where flowers were bountifil, in a rainbow of colours. Blue Agapanthus bloomed delicately, stretching its petals out langorously in the heat of the July sun. Meanwhile the Strelitzia Reginae Ait (Birds of Paradise) in all its glorious plumage, peeked out from sun-drenched bushes, delightfully colourful. Even in England there were flowers that made her heart sing: red roses a symbol of love, lavender the scent of home. Lillies tinged with poignancy, daffodils celebrating spring. And yet, she lived in London,where green spaces were fewer, and the pace of life faster. No longer was she in the countryside, surrounded by nature. Instead, there were high-rise buildings, emblazoned in glass.
Still, she wanted to capture that countryside, flower aesthetic, in her home. But how would she make that happen? Both A, and D had grown up in the countryside, and missed the flowers that would spring up on their aimless walks. So imagine their delight at Christow‘s artificial rose trees, available in white and pink. It looked exactly like the real thing, pre-potted to brighten their London flat. It might have seem strange to an outsider, but even faux flowers had a way of boosting self-care and mental health in the home. It was mood-boosting, beautiful to look at, and above all, a low-maintenance alternative to real trees.
Designed with a double-twisted trunk, with a decorative vine, lush polyester leaves, and pink or cream flowers, it was stunning. They would place them by A’s bookshelf, feeling their mood lifting at the flowers that were in various stages of bloom. It looked like they had real rose trees in their home, and their friends could hardly believe they weren’t. For A and D, who were not always home, having trees that took care of themselves, made them a pressure-free tree to have. Though they didn’t have a garden of their own, if they did want to put the tree outside, the leaves and flowers were protected from the sunlight. With UV-protection to safeguard from fading, the dense, bushy trees had an attractive finish.
Experiences For Couples
D would always laugh at A, who documented every moment, like photography was going out of style. It wasn’t just that she loved the way that ‘photos looked’, but what they represented. To A, photos captured memories, and made her remember the moments where she was at her happiest, and at her most fufilled. To D, it seemed like an alien concept, given that he hated taking photos with a passion, but even he would agree that photos made us feel. Whether it was experiences at restaurants, a vegan menu for A, a carnivores delight for D, a ride at Thorpe Park, hotel stays, immersive dining, or something new, A’s camera would follow them both, without a shadow of a doubt.
A loved the unconventional, and loved curating a Valentine’s Day gift for couples, that were a little different. There would be prosecco drinking in neon jacuzzi’s, and rampant ravishing of street food tacos. Giggling jumps into super soft hotel room beds, and trampolining competitions on the fly. From short breaks, adventure, pamper days, and dining out experiences for two, A loved trying new things. After all, variety was the spice of life, and she didn’t want to waste a single second feeling like there was regret. Which is why she and D loved Buyagift so much, their saviour when it came to personalized gifts for Valentine’s day. With 995 experiences across the UK, the Time Together Experience Box was a plethora of fun.
At times they were gourmet foodies, and at others they were adrenaline junkies. Sometimes they craved quiet reflection, and meditation, and at others they sought adventure, somewhere far from home. With the Time Together box, they could get theatre tickets to see Mamma Mia in one breath, and have afternoon tea, a cocktail, and the view from The Shard in the next. With so many endless possibilities it was hard to choose an experience. After all, with so much choice, how were they going to narrow it down? It would be a trip to the theatre, a beloved pastime for A. A’s favourite musicals included Kinky Boots, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Wicked, The Lion King, and The Book of Mormon, and she couldn’t wait to add another show to her list.
She had been dying to see Six the Musical, and thanks to Buyagift that dream had come true. As a self-confessed history fanatic, and a lover of the Tudors, she was dying to ‘lose her head’ over six, the musical. Critically acclaimed, Henry VIII’s six wives were able to take centre stage and remix history. No longer divorced or beheaded, the girls were bigger and better than ever, without Henry VIII looming down their neck. With songs by Toby Marlow, and Lucy Moss, A thought that Six made the ideal Valentine’s day gift for couples who loved celebrating big boss energy. With techno beats, power ballads, and jaw dropping anthems, it was catchy, witty, and history like they had never seen before.
Uplifting and fun, A and D loved how it brought history to life in the brightest and fun way possible. Though it wasn’t accurate, A didn’t care, and they found themselves crooning songs like ‘Get Down’, and ‘All You Want To Do’. Catchy, vibrant, and full of heart, they finished their evening with an aperitif in Mr Fogg’s Tavern on St Martin’s Lane. It would be an Aperol Spritz for A, clinking ice in a cylindar glass, while D opted for the ‘Punchy Personality’. Santa Teresa 1796 rum, was expertly blended with an Aperol aperitif, pink grapefruit juice, cloudy apple juice, fresh lemon juice and drizzled with ginger syrup. As they slurped the remnants of their cocktails, they reminisced happily over their theatre evening with glee. Today was a good day, that much they agreed.
Mr Whites, Leicester Square
A had been vegetarian for over 11 years, and not once did she have a vegetarian steak in a restaurant. That was until now. A could hardly believe it, a vegetarian steak ladled in garlic butter, and cooked to perfection. But where could such a novel antique be found? It was none other than Mr White’s in Leicester Square, an infamous steak house. It was the last place A expected to have a vegan steak, let alone a large vegetarian menu, but boy was she proven wrong. Marco Pierre White didn’t seem like the obvious choice for fronting a vegan movement, but since eating vegan and vegetarian food in lockdown, he wanted his restaurants to be more inclusive.
It showed too, with an exciting, innovative collaboration with Redefine Meat. A unique and sustainable vegan meat substitute start-up, it was rooted in Science, engineering, and AI. The healthy, and sustainable way to eat meat, Redefine had gone to painstaking measures to replicate the complete meat-eating experience, right down to the number of chews in every bite. From vegan beef flanks, to sausages, burgers, and even vegan lamb flank, Redefine meat was a new brand, that was taking the culinary world by storm. With Mr Whites hosting a plethora of Redefine delights including a vegetarian steak, gnocchi bolognese and a vegan pizza, it was the place to be this Valentine’s day.
But why was Mr White’s restaurant a good Valentine’s day gift for couples? Well for starters, it put vegan and vegetarian food on the map. Even in a restaurant where meat was the focus, the plant-based options still stole the show. They were just as flavourful, and meant that A could eat the same plant-based version of what D was eating, without feeling like she was missing out. With breathtaking climbing plants, snug couples booths, and vintage portraits, it felt cozy, homely, but decidedly boujee in the best possible way. They began with a vegan Redefine Ghocchi Bolognese and a Redefine Macaroni Cheese for their starters, washed down with a ginger mojito, and a strawberry mojito.
The Vegetarian Macaroni Cheese with Redefine Ragù Alla Bolognese was A’s personal favourite starter, while D preferred the Redefine Gnocchi Bolognese, with Redefine ragù, topped with fresh basil. Ironically A had ordered the Gnocchi, and D had ordered the Mac and Cheese, but both were incredibly moerish. A loved the creaminess of the bechemel sauce juxtaposed with the ragù, paired with her strawberry mojito, that was wonderfully punchy. D’s ginger mojito had a kick too, with Havana Club Spiced Rum, lime juice, fresh ginger, mint, and Hendricks Absinthe.
The mains were what they came for though. A had the Redefine Signature Steak with buttered leaf spinach, dressed in extra virgin olive oil, and vintage balsamico. Though the original had mushrooms, A ommited them due to an allergy. But she wasn’t missing out! The steak was swathed in garlic butter, in a melting pot of deliciousness, that went beautifully with the buttered spinach. Paired with thick, rustic and cripsy Koffman chips, A felt like she had died and gone to heaven. It wasn’t just that the steak tasted good, but before becoming a vegetarian, steak and chips was actually her favourite meal. It was the one thing that she missed the most as a vegetarian, and she felt blessed.
D too ommited the mushrooms with his Signature Fillet Steak, which was dressed with peppercorn sauce, served with buttered spinach and Koffman chips. He praised his steak, and thought the food was amazing but was pleasantly surprised by A’s steak. In fact, when A bit into it, she could hardly believe that it wasn’t vegan. The texture was the same, the taste was the same, and the look was pretty darn similar. Their stomachs were pooched from all their food, but there was one last treat, that they simply must have. Ordering another round of cocktails, they perused the dessert menu with an eagle eye. A chose the baked cheesecake, with fresh blueberries, and blueberry drizzle, while D went for the Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream. The brownie was perfectly baked, the sweetness offset by the lightness of the vanilla ice cream. The cheesecake was good too. Though A preferred traditional cheesecakes, the blueberries really helped lift the classic dessert. The meal at Mr Whites, was nothing short of perfection.
Art And Entertainment For Couples
It would be last, but certainly not least. When it came to a fun Valentine’s day gift for couples, art and entertainment were up there. A loved art, particularly hanging bright and colourful art prints in her home, and bringing it to life. D on the other hand was an adventure junkie, who craved visits to Thorpe Park, Cineworld, and Alton Towers. So how could she make both of their entertainment dreams come true? There would be fun at the cinema, watching the latest Spiderman film, and a trip to Thorpe Park, screaming hilariously on the rides. And when it all came to an end, there would be beautiful art to gaze into, watching the time slowly melt away.
A loved travelling, and could hardly believe that she hadn’t been abroad in three years. That was something that A and D shared in common, a love for travelling. Whether that was UK staycations, or travelling abroad, they loved exploring the world. A was perhaps the adventurer of the two. She loved trying new things, and immersing herself in new cultures, amazed by its beauty. She enjoyed solo, and partner travel, and especially loved travel where nature was at the forefront of its itinerary. So imagine A’s delight when she came across POCKETALK S, a voice and camera translator that worked in 130+ countries.
Supporting 82 languages, it had built in global data, and translated anywhere that you went. With an embedded SIM that offered free data for two year, it connected automatically, and was hassle free. With accurate two way translations, A found it was better than Google Translate. It even had access to local dialects, and slang, and was ideal for couples who loved to travel, and wanted to truly embrace the country, city, town or village that they were visiting. Small as a credit card, and weighing only 75 G it was also incredibly easy to carry around. With touch screen display, noise cancelling microphones, and powerful speakers, POCKETALK S was perfect on the go.
It even had the capacity to take photos of signs and menus in different languages. It would then have the translated text displayed on the large touchscreen, and read out for you. The 8 megapixel auto-focus camera could even read both printed, and handwritten texts. A and D had never witnessed anything like it. Sure they had both used Google Translate before, but it wasn’t always accurate. In A’s experience POCKETALK S was, and even came with a 30 day money back guarantee. In A’s opinion, travel was self-care, so having a pocket translator allowed them both to learn, educate each other, and be mindful about dialect, slang, and of course. It was in short, a perfect present.
STEALTH Gaming Station
Although A loved games, D was the gamer of the two. Sure A loved board games, card games, video games, and mobile games, but D was elite. After all, as he liked to remind her often, he was ranked 7th in game battles in the whole of Europe. For people like D, and A, gaming was a great way to let off steam, and forget about all their worries and strifes. It was a chance to unwind, have fun, and even be a little silly at times. Gaming was a form of escapism, something that the two of them knew oh so well.
So what could be a better self-care gift for couples than STEALTH’s Gaming Stations? The perfect gift for gamers of all ages, it was a one box solution which kept D’s gaming space neat and tidy. In a beautiful white colour, it had a premium headset, headset stand, and charging base. As an Xbox user, D loved that the charging dock stored and charged official Xbox controllers, and was especially impressed by the headset. Considering the incredibly affordable price point (£29.99 from Argos for Xbox One), the headset had excellent sound. With 40mm drivrers, a flexible mic with pop filter, and an adjustable padded headband, D’s high expectations were met.
Robust, STEALTH’s Gaming Stations had 2m premium braided charging cables, and rechargeable battery packs, that gave gamers the option to play, and charge all at the same time. Though it was great for couples who loved gaming, it was also a fantastic entertainment gift for solo players, who wanted to gift something a little different. Available in white for Xbox One, and black for Xbox Series S/X, the highly rated gaming station was one of a kind. After all, rated 4.7 out of 5, couldn’t be all bad, could it?
Though A was the more artistic of the two, even D appreciated great art. Why? Well he was going out with someone who happened to dress like a walking rainbow! From blues, to greens, yellows and reds, A was most at home in colour, and loved the way it made her feel. She felt like she was wearing art, and this translated into their home too. Slowly they were turning their flat into a colour wonderland, with mixed art media prints, portraits, canvases, photos and photos decorating their spacious living room.
But there was always room for more, and A being a maximalist craved another piece to add to their art collection. Their current theme was blue, one of their favourite colours, and they were looking for a piece that was slightly abstract, but still represented something that was important to them. Above all, it needed to be colourful, bold and unique. Which is where Wychwood Art came into play. A contemporary art gallery, with over 350 artists, all artworks were carefully hand-selected. But what would A and D choose? The Cat and Butterfly by Joanna Padfield would be the winning print, a vibrant linocut showing a cat playing with a butterfly on a bright summers day. A hand burnished two block linocut, the blue sky melted into yellow and pink gradients, as the cat played gently below.
It was equisite, though A wasn’t surprised given Jo’s previous art prints. An artist based in Rural Norfolk, it was clear that Jo’s work celebrated the natural world, nature, and the natural environment. Known for her signature use of bright vibrant colours, and bold eye-catching shapes and patterns, A was mesmerized by Jo’s talent. On down days she would gaze into the Cat and Butterfly, willing herself to be inside this calming scene. She would pose as the cat, impishly swiping at the air, where the butterfly flew past. She would spend hours treading the floral strewn meadows, weaving in and out of butterfly territory, until at least, she fell into a langorous slumber. Good night, sleep tight she said.
Vex Gift Card
They had come to the end of their Valentine’s day gift guide for couples, but they still had one more surprise up their sleeve. There would be something for everyone, that couples would enjoy regardless of taste. Something for the adventure seekers, and the gourmet foodies, the shopping enthusiasts, and the hobbymakers. Enter Voucher Express, whose VEX gift card helped couples discover over 150 brands. Ending the age-old dilemma of not quite knowing what gift to give, it helped indecisive couples, make better choices.
From fashion and home, to experience days, money off your weekly shop, or tickets to the cinema, there really was something for everyone. For A and D, they were stuck between four retailers: Cineworld, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, and Marks & Spencers. In the end it was Cineworld that won out, given that Thorpe Park was not open until Mid-March. After all, they had just completed a Marvel Marathon where they had watched every single film in the Marvel universe. Now, they could finally, after all these months watch Spider-Man: No Way Home, and tick it off their ‘to-watch list’. Headed down to their nearest Cineworld, they stocked up on sweet and salty popcorn, slushy drinks, and some good ol’ fashioned cinema snacks, their mouths agape as they watched the film.
Marvel films were always good, but without giving away anything, there was a reason why it was set to overtake Avatar at the Box Office. Poignant, well-written, and with a star studded cast including Tom Holland, Zendeya and Benedict Cumberbach, it was a movie for the ages. A thought it was hard to top Avengers: End Game, but Spiderman was pretty up there as being one of her favourite Marvel movies to date. Despite watching it in February, she was surprised that the cinema was still packed out for its movie screening. Then again, Marvel fans were pretty hard-core. She should know.
Is My Valentine’s Day Gift Guide For Couples Ticking Your Boxes?
Please note this is a collaborative post, but all thoughts are my own, and are not affected by monetary compensation. I would love to know what is your on Valentine’s Day gift guide for couples list, and whether I should add more to mine?