A knew that she didn’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. After all, Valentine’s day wasn’t just for couples, but for everyone. Whether you were single on Valentine’s day, spending time with friends and family, or focusing on self-love, love wasn’t just romantic. A self-care Valentine’s day meant giving back to yourself, and showering yourself in adoration, affection, and affirmations. It was telling yourself that you deserved more. Your life was filled with meaning, and this national holiday was a chance to focus on self-growth, personal development, and self-reflection. After all, A had spent many years being single before she met her partner, and there was no shame in it.
And yet she was blissfully content with her partner of three years, the man of her dreams. Finally, she was in a non-toxic relationship, where her partner made her feel joyful, loved and wanted. He made her smile, he made her laugh; there was never a dull moment with D around. He knew the exact words to say to make the tears disappear, and would do anything to make her feel good. However, she didn’t define her happiness on being in a relationship. After all happiness was subjective, and she had been on a long journey of self-discovery, where she had fallen in love with herself. She spent so many years trapped in self-loathing, destruction, and disgust, that it took what seemed like a lifetime to turn back the trauma. But now, relationship or not, she had discovered mindful self-care habits that made her love herself in ways that she thought was impossible. At last, she was able to love herself in and out of a relationship. It had taken a long time, but she was finally at a place where she truly felt joy.
Which is why she wanted to create a self-care Valentine’s day gift guide, to show people that true love was about loving yourself first. After all, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else? Although A grew up thinking that ‘self-love’ was ego-centric, she realized that it was the most unselfish thing that she could do. Self-care helped her be a better partner, a better friend, and helped her be a more thoughtful person. She was able to give back to others, without feeling like she was burning the candle at both ends, and it felt good. Through meditation, yoga, affirmations, and mindfulness she had found a sense of purpose, and felt like she finally belonged as herself. She was always guilty of feeling like an imposter, and spent many years who she was, and how she came to be. But not any more.
Self-care was a huge part of her Valentine’s day experience as well. She wanted to teach her readers that a Valentine’s day gift for couples, friends, family, or even yourself, could be intentional and thoughtful. Valentine’s day could be a chance to connect with yourself mindfully, and challenge yourself mentally and physically. You would practice daily gratitude, thankful for what was good in your life. You had a job that you loved, and an amazing partner. Kittens that would become part of your family soon, and an amazing circle of friends. You yourself, were pretty fabulous, a creative with a tender heart, who lived, loved and laughed, as vivaciously as you lived your life. With Mynd Map, you would take part in a self-care and mindfulness challenge, allowing you to become the best version of yourself.
Better Me, a coaching app for nutrition, mental health, fitness, and wellbeing was a saviour too. A couldn’t think of a better companion for a self-care Valentine’s date, with an app that pushed you to succeed, and helped you celebrate the little things. There were the vegan meal plans, and the fitness workouts, the meditations and breathing sessions, and the daily reminders of encouragement. Like Mynd Map, it was a thoughtful gift that encouraged you to love all of you, the good, the bad, and the in-betweens. With self-love gifts to make you look, feel, and smell great, there was no shortage of last minute Valentine’s gifts to make you smile from ear to ear. Or, if you wanted to treat someone that you love, these self-care gifts are designed to make them burst with elation. And who dosen’t want that?
Thoughtful Self-Care Gifts For Valentine’s Day
A knew that people had their qualms about Valentine’s day, harping on about consumerism. But come on, it was the perfect day to practice self-care, and embrace yourself, insecurities and all. It was the chance to accept our flaws, and cherish them with love, and focus on getting comfortable in our own skin and body. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or identity, finding thoughtful Unisex gifts that empower you mentally and physically, is the best gift of all. A’s thoughtful gifts were from brands who were centered around self-care and love. Whether it was love for nature with Henry Bell Bird Care, or love for ourselves, with ‘No Longer Last On The List’, this Valentine’s day was 100% intentional.
A remembered a lifetime where she found affirmations, self-care and mindfulness to be hippy dippy. Why did she need it, she would question. The few times she had tried it, it didn’t work for her, and it made her feel uncomfortable, awkward, and restless. That was a few years ago now, and my, had her attitude changed. In the last two years, she had gone through a spiritual awakening, and found herself a changed woman. No longer did she sniff at meditation, and mindfulness, no longer was she narrow-minded. Instead, she was open to anything, and believed that it was important to give things a try. She found that when she went back to Meditation, Mindfulness, and Affirmations, that with practice, she was able to focus, and find inner peace. She blocked out the world around her, and found enlightenment.
Her need for personal development, and self-reflection, is what drew her to Mynd Map. Like her, they believed that it was important to boost your emotional, mental and physical health. From journals, to cards, and planners, their products were a roadmap, to a higher more intentional life. This self-care Valentine’s day was all about practicing mindfulness, and what could be better than their 30 day self-care and mindfulness challenge cards? Designed to support, help, and inspire you on your self-care journey, for A it felt revolutionairy. Why? Because she needed to be more mentally resilient, and as someone who was proudly sensitive and emotional, she needed to adopt self-care practices that helped her deal with obstacles in the best possible way.
Helping her to reduce stress and anxiety, the cards considered self-care practices that covered all the vital spectrums of life. From encouraging her to spend an hour in nature, to staying grounded, and living in the moment, there were reminders to help her lead an intentional life. Suffering from both anxiety and depression, often made her face a turbulence of emotions, so being reminded to stay grounded in the present, was so important. After all, A was often guilty of flitting between the past, and future, and would often fixate. The cards challenged her overthinking, and helped her priortize her mental health, and be thankful for the small, as well as the big things. It taught her to lead a healthier, more balanced life. Even if it was just 5 minutes each day, the challenge taught her that no problem was impossible to overcome. After all, issues were temporary, and she needed to be proactive, in order to address them.
The cards were beautiful too, individually hand illustrated to colour in, and unleash your creativity. Monochromatic cards, danced with riots of colours, greens, oranges, browns, and pinks, all the colours of the rainbow to your heart’s delight. There was even a bonus card that allowed her to celebrate her new positive and healthy habits, which she put as a motivating reminder on her kitchen fridge. After all, she was always hungry, so what could be a better location for her mindfulness cards? Whether they were placed on a vision board, on a bookshelf, fridge, table, or bedside table, the mindfulness cards would challenge your limiting beliefs, and help you adopt a positive, more realistic mindset. Above all, it would teach you to love yourself this self-care Valentine’s day
No Longer Last On The List
Visitors to A’s home were always bemused by her ‘self-described library’, a rustic bookshelf with over 1,000 books and counting. She used to have a lot more books, but there were books that were lost over the years, given to charity, or had found a better home. She was a self-confessed readaholic, and there was nothing that she found more relaxing, than curling up with a steamy historical fiction book. Preferably in a scalding hot bubble bath, with a candle or two, but you got the idea. However, A loved books that made her think too, and had recently acquired a taste for self-care and self-help books, that actually did what they said on the tin.
Which is where No Longer Last On The List by Jo Bevilacqua came in. An award-winning entrepreneur, who was a kick ass boss, mum, and doggy parent, Jo knew all too well what it was like to navigate the world. A self-growth book packed full of practical, mindset-changing activities, and inspirational messages, it encouraged A to ditch the things that no longer served her. It was about getting rid of the toxic influences in her life, and making room for what she truly loved. After all, happiness was a big part of A’s personal self-care Valentine’s day ritual. So what else could she do, but join Jo’s self-full revolution? After all, she needed to stop spiralling, and stay grounded in the moment.
Although she had severe anxiety, and that was easier said than done, she was determined, to make her way out of her current rut, and find inner peace. In the past she was guilty of putting herself last, but in 2022 she was all about putting herself first. She realized that she needed to show self-compassion, and not be so critical of herself. She was her own worst critic, and needed to be kinder to herself. After all, she was f**king fierce, and needed to believe in herself more. By encouraging her to find self-acceptance, ‘No Longer Last On The List’, allowed her to embrace who she was without no apologies. After all, she needed to stop doubting herself, and live the dream life that she had always dreamed of. So why not follow A’s lead, and take back your time with a thoughtful self-growth Valentine’s gift that embraces your worth?
By reading No Longer Last on the List, she realized that she mattered. Not only did it teach her to set boundaries, but it also encouraged her to ‘say no. A was a people pleaser, she always had been. While she was a lot more better at saying no, she often found that she was saying yes to things, even though it triggered her anxiety, and set off her depression. Jo taught her to say no, without feeling guilty and be mindful about what she needed and wanted. By doing this, she was able to filter out what she did and didn’t want in her life, and make room for happier, positive thoughts. After all, when she practiced self-love, she was able to give so much more of herself to others.
Henry Bell Bird Care
Growing up in the countryside meant that A had an affinity for the outdoors. Just ask D, A’s partner, who agreed that A was at her happiest when she was in nature. It was where she found inspiration, felt centered, and above all gave her a chance to connect with animals. Come rain or shine, you would find A petting stray cats, mischievous dogs, and listening intently as the green parrots chirped. Even when she moved to London six years ago, she still craved open green spaces. She loved East London, and the juxtaposition between art, culture, and food, and her area had that in spades. It also had that sub-urban environment that reminded her of back home, connected to marshes, wetland, parks, woodland and forests, that made an incredible walk all year round.
One of her favourite pastimes was feeding birds, and marvelling as they squawked thanks, before they flew away. There would be green ring-necked parakeets, with amber eyes, and red bills noisily announcing their arrival. Magpies, and Starlings too, chatting with cuddly pigeons that plodded along slowly. Even Robins would get in on the action, sparring with house sparrows for attention. So what could be more gratifiying than feeding glorious, gorgeous birds, for a contemplatitive self-care Valentine’s you won’t forget? Henry Bell, a leading animal and pet food supplier, have just the gift to make your birds sing.
Around since 1825, their quality feeding stations, feeders, and seeds, are the perfect gift for animal lovers like A who want to give back to nature. A had a small communal garden below her flat, and had installed Henry Bell’s feeding station, so that the birds could find their happy place. After all, she was only 5 minutes walk from a beautiful large green open space, where Parakeets thrived, and had often spied one near her house before. Stylish and sophisticated, the wild bird feeding station had plenty of hanging space, for feeders. This meant that A could attach an array of different feeds to her feathered friends, and watch them hustle with contentment. It really was the most wonderful feeling, and the Sterling Feeders, came in seed, fat ball, peanut or a sunflower heart.
A personally loved the sunflower hearts, which were bursting with energy and goodness. It was plant-based nutrition that would be loved by the garden birds that visited her home, and was high in protein too. The superior seed mix was another winner, perfect for wild birds who stopped by for a rest. The overall effect was stunning, the wild bird feeding station, decorated with sterling leaves, as a sparrow or two, gobbled hungrily at the sunflower hearts and wild bird food mix. There was an impish gleam in their eyes, it was clear that they would come back again. But A didn’t mind. Being around animals was her happy place after all.
Speaking of A’s happy place, BetterMe Health Coaching, and BetterMe Mental Health, were geniuses at boosting her wellbeing. Once upon a time A had terrible habits where she would completely neglect her self-care, and run herself into the ground. It wasn’t so much that she wasn’t working as much (she was), but it was more that A was eating better, living better, and being more mindful about her self-care. She often found it difficult to be consistient though, and found keeping up with her mental and physical health overwhelming. After all, where could you begin?
Well BetterMe had two apps that would challenge her physically, and mentally, making it ideal for a self-care Valentine’s activity and beyond. BetterMe Health Coaching had a holistic approach to health and fitness that anyone could use. From tailored meal plans, to tracking your steps, how much water you drank, and how many calories you had in a week, it was your one stop diary, for all things wellbeing. For A the most helpful part of the app, was its fitness plans which ranged from dance, to fitness at home, yoga, and pilates. Workouts ranged from 3-80 minutes, and A loved that it challenged her to get up and moving. After all, she spent many hours in front of the computer screen, and needed to be active.
Not only was excercising good for her physical health, but it helped her mentally too. It would help A destress, unwind, and work on her anxiety. It motivated her when she was depressed, and when she was anxious, it helped her to calm down. The calorie tracker was interesting too. She was never one to count calories, but it was an eye-opening insight into what she ate in a day, and how she could improve her diet, to eat healthier, more nourishing foods. The combination of encouraging her to move, being proactive about her diet, and balancing her body and mind, made BetterMe Health Coaching a great app for both A, and her partner. But what about BetterMe Mental Health, I hear you ask?
The biggest thing that she learned was to let go. To let go of harbouring resentments. To let go of limiting beliefs. To change her self-love language, and let go of unneccessary critiques that were self-destructive, and triggering. Most of all, she learned how to be her biggest champion, embracing her flaws, warts and all, without a care. With over 150 courses, she was able to become the most successful version of herself, whether that be personally, professionally, or even in her relationship. Why? Because meditation, mindful challenges, and deep breathing helped her increase her mood, boost productivity, and increase her satisfaction. It was especially helpful for when she was struggling to sleep, with deep breathing exercises, ambient noises, and calming mindfulness activities for a better night’s sleep.
Self-Love Gifts That Make You Look And Feel Good
To A, self-care wasn’t just about practicing intent, and living your best life, but it was about doing things that made you happy. It was about treating yourself just because you wanted to. It was about showing yourself, the adoration that you deserved since the moment you were born. Most of all it was learning to not feel guilty when spending money on ourselves, and acknowledging that we needed and wanted self-care Valentine’s day gifts for inner peace, love and happiness. From breathtaking vegan friendly Kimonos from Avalana, to incredibly cozy blanket hoodies, self-care just got a whole lot more feel good.
A was as extra as they came, and it was rare to see A, without wearing prints galore, elaborate head-dresses, and signature colourful looks. Not only did dressing up make her feel good, but psychologically it gave her a reason to get out of bed, and bring colour and light, into even the greyest of days. Dressing up was her superpower, and it made her feel invincible. She felt like she was deserving of love, and worthy of happiness, because she believed in self-love. Though self-care wasn’t typically centered around ‘dressing up’, to A, she held value in dressing up, putting makeup on, and feeling validated by her clothing.It wasn’t that she felt validated by what other people thought of her, but more about the way the clothing made her feel.
With that in mind, her attention turned to Avalana Design. A luxury interior and printed design legend, Avalana Simpson created incredible bedding, kimonos, and even cushions, that were breathtakingly gorgeous. A in particular was most drawn to her kimonos, that were vibrant, funky and fun. Versatile, the printed kimonos were just at home lounging on the sofa, as they were for a night out on Valentine’s day. Available in nine stunning hand-painted designs, it embraced Avalana’s love for bold botanicals, big cats, birds and exotic fauna. While A would normally gravitate towards the ‘Green Jaguar’ or the Cantaloupe Jaguar, A went for something different.
The Midnight Orient Kimono was a pleasant surprise, a vegan silk sensation fabric, that was completely animal product free. It was smooth to the touch, with a clean solid structure whose stretchy quality made it a joy to lounge in. Comfortable yet classy, eclectic, yet wearable, the Kimono made A feel oh so cozy in the best possible way. A soft, and lightweight fabric, it felt amazing on her skin, and the subtle drapes, curves and rolling falls in the fabric made the Kimono truly stand out. It had the ultimate wow factor, and A could picture booking herself a self-care Valentine’s beach holiday, as she sipped a Pina Colada poolside. The black and gold kimono paired beautifully with vintage metallic zig zag trousers, and a matching top, while the gold 60’s platform, lent a decidedly disco feel to the aesthetic. Being OTT as possible was A’s mantra, so she paired it with a pearl crown headband, black tassel earrings, and a vintage gold mini clasp clutch. The result? A self-care find that made her feel good at home, and out and about.
Dairy Phone Cases
One look at A’s blog, and you would fall deep into colour, blues, pinks, greens and reds, dominating the page. Prints were there too, polka dots, florals, geometric shapes galvanising, a colour wonderland, where maximalism ruled the roost. A found it hard to remember a time when she wasn’t ‘colourful’, and ever since she was able to buy her own clothes, her personal style was always ‘out there’. It wasn’t just the clothes that she wore. From her phone case, to her home, bags, and even kitchen cutlery, there was very little minimalism in every aspect of her life. Colours brought her joy, and when it came to self-care Valentine’s day rituals, nothing spoke to her as much as a colour sploosh.
So imagine her delight when she discovered ‘The Dairy‘, an Australian tech accessories brand, rooted in artistry? Buying a phone case might not have seemed the obvious form of self-care, but to A, who used her phone often, she loved having daily reminders of colour. Even when she was in the most minimalist of environments, the colour reminded her to be always her most authentic, colourful self. With the opportunity to personalize your own phone case (or laptop case), A opted to support talented artist designs instead. After all, she was an artist herself (a literary one if you will), and loved combining her graphic, bold photography style, with a piece of living art.
Many talented artists were on The Dairy, but A found Paula Mills, the most intriguing.One part founder of stationery and gift brand shop, Sweet William, one part creative illustrator and magical fairy, Paula Mill’s creations were bright, colourful and fun-tastic! With bold shades of colour these illustrated phone cases were sure to give A’s Samsung case a splash of personality. Feeling Light was A’s personal favourite, and the design she opted for both her phone case, and laptop sleeve. A cheerful phone case for the colour-obsessed, it had vibrant splashes of blues, yellows, pinks, orange and green. Topped with bold black monochromatic detailing, abstract shapes and splotches, it was a true work of art.
Feeling Adventorous was another stunning design from Paula. A phone case that sparked wanderlust, it had a bold mix of colours, lines, dots and shapes. Peaches, greens, pinks and blues, were juxtaposed with polka dots. The sister to Geometric Patterns, the two cases bore simularities, but were both striking in their own right. Speaking of Geometric Patterns, this was the case A was currently using. Bold, and abstract, it used warm yellows, vibrant pinks, and tinged teals, to create an unforgettable phone case. The striking geometric pattern print was the icing on the cake, and the effect was phenomenal. A felt like the phone cases, matched her colourful aesthetic, but there were also minimalist options for those who wanted subtle phone cases, for a self-care Valentine’s day pressie.
Comfy Blanket Hoodies
Lockdown had taught A (and most of the world) to embrace Hygee. After all, when the world was turning to chaos it made sense that we sought comfort. For A that meant living a more comfortable life, that was a little messier, and less poised than she was used to. It was about feeling good in tracksuits (colourful of course), lounging in slippers, and burrowing under blankets, especially in the winter months. Valentine’s day was no different; in lockdown, they couldn’t even celebrate in the traditional sense, let alone their anniversary. So they had to try something new, creating spa days at home, massage parlours, movie nights, and themed date nights.
A learned to host ‘self-care dates’ at home, whether that was for herself, virtually, or in person with her partner. Before being with D, she was the self-confessed queen of being extra ASF, but being with him taught her to be more comfortable with ‘easy living’. He was the epitome of casual, and she was an extra-fashionista, so finding that happy medium, made her feel more cozy during lockdown, and beyond. Where she would once wear extravagant outfits even at home, she was now comfortable wearing pyjamas, fluffy loungewear, and active wear. Of course her ‘comfy clothes’ were never minimalist, but comfort couture, became a huge part of A’s self-care Valentine’s day ritual. And now thanks to The Comfy, both her and her partner were going to be ‘comfy cozies’ together.
The Comfy Original, was a ‘wearable blanket’ that defined self-love, self-care, and happiness at its finest. Originally seen on Shark Tank, it was oversized, available in a range of colours, and vegan friendly. A felt like she was being hugged by a cloud, and it felt magical. With a high-low hem, meaning it is longer in the back for extra comfort and style, Comfy was exactly that. Ridicolously comfy, and utterly wearable. With a huge plush hood, that doubled up as a pillow, and a ginonormous pocket, that kept A’s hand’s warm, it was the perfect self-care Valentine’s day loungewear. For A the huge pocket meant she could even put her cinema snacks in there, and didn’t even need to put an extra blanket on top, to feel cozy. Oh, and to top it all off? The packaging was 100% recyclable making it an eco-friendly must have for your home and beyond.
As time went on, A realized that the media’s version of ‘self-care’, was white-washed. From TV ads, to social media, and traditional advertising, it would often highlight ‘white self-care’. Though A was white herself, she recognized that it was important to make a change, and choose self-care that was open to all. After all, it was important to support black-owned businesses centered around self-care, as well as businesses from other ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and identies, because it was important to be inclusive. Which is why this self-care Valentine’s day, she chose to support Rad Swan, a hair and accessory retailer founded by Freddie Harrel.
She had found that shopping for self-expression tools, whether that be grooming, makeup, or hair was often restricted, and biased. It was all about ‘white mental health’, ‘white feelings’ and ‘white self-care’. Though A was no expert on the subject, she firmly believed it was important to support brands that supported ‘inclusive self-care’. Which is where Rad Swan came in, celebrating black culture, self-expression and self-care. From Radkits, with natural black hair, and accessories, to merchandise like eye masks, scarves, and t-shirts, Radswan was an empowering brand, that had created a black hair movement. To support Rad Swan’s enterprise, A opted for the Radwan Scarf, a beautiful vegan silk scarf.
Made from poly silk, it was designed as an accessory to your shapeshifting experience. You could wear it to bed to help keep your hair healthy or style it day to day. A loved wearing it as a head-scarf, when she was having a ‘lazy hair day’, especially when it was due a wash. The red and pink hues, made her brown hair pop, and helped her style her hair, in a beautiful, yet minimalist way. It felt decidedly retro, and was equally as stunning as a necktie, as it was in her hair. Though traditionally used as a ‘hair wrap’, the scarf could be worn as a traditional scarf, as a bag accessory, and even as an exaggerated headbamd. An ideal self-care Valentine’s day gift for black hair, as well as people who wanted to start shopping more ‘inclusively’, Radswan was making waves.
Self-Care Valentine’s Gifts That Smell Good
A found that scent reinvigorated her senses, in a way that was almost indescrible. Lunches in Dishoom were met with fragrant spices lolling in curries, ladled over fluffy rice, while afternoon teas made her feel bubbly, jubilant, and calm. She didn’t know if it was just her, but scent, or rather fragrance helped her piece together memories. The scent of lavender, and ylang ylang, reminded her of rare spa days with massages, and facials, while pineapples harkened back to sipping Nikkita’s in Madeira. From food, to drink, to perfumes, she found that scent made her feel more positive. So what could be better, than fragrant self-care Valentine’s gifts that made you smell good?
There were times where A barely looked after herself, because she found self-care overwhelming. At the time she found it to be a burden, because she didn’t understand why it mattered. After all, she was ‘too busy for self-care’, or so she thought. She realised years on, that though she wasn’t always consistient with how she looked after herself, one thing she did, was focus on her self-care. Why? Because she mattered, her mental and physical health mattered, and priortizing self-love was important. Over time she found that self-care didn’t have to be grand, and out there. It could be something as simple as using a bath bomb, eating your favourite meal, or wearing your favourite perfume.
With Arran, Sense of Scotland, fragrance was an important part of their self-care ritual too. Cruelty-free, vegan perfumes made in Scotland, A loved Arran’s scents and how it captured ‘the beauty of nature’. After the Rain, was her current favourite perfume, because it reminded her of long woodland walks. With the sensual fragrance of rose petals, musk and floral citrus, mixed with the soft notes of Arran’s precious woods, it was a beautiful fragrance. Intensified and refined for a longer lasting fragrance, it was nostalgic too. They said that perfume captured memories, and to A it took her back into her past. Before she was an adult, a traumatized teen, who was hurting, and rebelling. Yet despite the trauma, one thing she had always loved was going on long walks. Everyday she would go with her friend, and her foster sister, walking in the fresh air. Come rain, snow, sun, or hail, she would be out there, always embracing nature.
Now, though she loved the outdoors, she didn’t walk as often as she used to. She could blame a hectic lifestyle, and rarely being home, but she knew that she needed to priortize this. All too often she was caught up in work, and before she knew it, the hours in the day were up, and the moon had reared its silvery head. Yet, Arran reminded her of that childhood nostalgia, which was infused with a new dream. Just this once, she wanted to forget about money, work, and responsibilities. Instead she wanted to live in the moment, with a fresh and floral fragrance, that was the ultimate self-care Valentine’s treat.
Perfume, or rather scent was so important to A, because it was associated with memories. Memories good or bad, had a lingering scent, but A chose to focus on the positive memories. It was known that her signature scent was often tropical, with pineapples, berries, and cream, that described her down to a T, but she loved sensual fragrances too. Heady, evocative, richly spiced scents that were seductive, and mysterious, that made her reclaim her inner sex kitten. At times, she craved calming, uplifting scents like vanilla, ylang ylang and lavender, that made her feel grounded, and centered. It showed that the perfume she chose, was often down to what mood she was in, or what she was hoping to convey.
Like she said, scent was an effective ritual when it came to self-care, especially on Valentine’s day. After all, she wasn’t wearing fragrances for others, but for herself. She wanted to feel good, look good, and be good. The scent she would choose would define her mood for that day, and put a spring in her step.It would conjure positivity, and give her a sense of individualism that she wouldn’t get anywhere else. Most of all it would enhance her mood, and make her feel ridicolously happy. Someone who knew a thing or two about the power of scent was Floral Street founder and clean beauty pioneer Michelle Feeney. Together with Master Perfumer Jérome Epinette, the star behind their multi award-winning, fine vegan fragrances, magic was formed.
An independent British brand that was sustainable, vegan, and cruelty-free, all their products were gender neutral. Aiming to be inclusive, the affordable luxury products ranged from candles, to fragrances, and even bath and body care. Floral Street, like A was a firm believer in inclusivity, and believed that scent was not gendered. The unisex scents ranged from dark and brooding, to playful, and fun, and had a range of fragrances to match your mood. For A, the Midnight Tulip Candle was a gorgeous self-care Valentine’s day present to herself. As someone who had got into candles, she loved candles that made her feel something. To A, the iconic black tulip formed the centerpiece of this scent, a darkly brooding blend to while away the night to. Amber, incense, and patchouli were elevated gloriously with lemon, saffron and powdery damask rose.
Handcrafted in the UK, the natural soy candles, weren’t just vegan, but embraced clean beauty. From the sustainable biodegradable packaging, to no nasties in the ingredients, it was stunning. The mood? It was understated yet unapologetic. A quiet, slow burner, that geared up in intensity. It was glamorous, wild, and enigmatic at times. Rich, spicy, and striking, the Midnight Tulip was just at home in the bedroom, as it was for when A meditated. The fragances were stunning too. The Discovery collection was the perfect chance to explore all Floral Street’s fragrances, and see what scent spoke to you the most. For A, she loved Ylang Ylang Expresso for nights out, Wild Vanilla Orchards for meditation and excercise, and Black Lotus for confidence, and self-expression. Wonderland Peony was a must too, a light and floral, fresh scent.
Self-Care Valentine’s Gifts For Bathtime
A was a self-confessed bathtime junkie. From bath bombs, to bath salts, she loved having me-time in the privacy of her bathroom. It helped her take time out for herself, and focus on her self-care in a way that felt natural and progressive. It wasn’t about counting how much time she needed to dedicate to self-care, but rather letting it flow naturally. All the products that she used as part of her Valentine’s season self-care ritual were cruelty-free of course, and from spa days, to scent journeys, bathtimes were underrated.
For the longest time, A had a bathtime ritual, where at least 2 times a week, she would soak, and feel all her worries melt away. While she loved the invigorating feel of a shower, a bath just felt different. Here she could unwind, and let her body just float away, reading a good historical fiction novel, where she couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. She’d pour bath soaks, and bath salts with abandon, sinking into bubbled water. The bath bombs would fizz dramatically, her bathroom shelf filled with enough products to last a lifetime. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, the bath was her safe place. The one place where she didn’t fixate on her body, and mind, where the walls didn’t feel like they were closing in on her.
She often found it hard to relax, and while bathtimes weren’t a miracle cure, they were healing. Part of her Valentine’s self-care ritual, was using the Do Not Disturb collection from Temple Spa. An award winning luxury skincare, and experiences brand, the six-piece spa gift set, was perfection. She needed to press pause, slow down, and unwind. So what could be better for a well deserved spa day at home than ‘Do Not Disturb’? A mélange of calming aromas, cashmere textures and botanicals borrowed from the Mediterranean garden, it helped A relax, restore and repose. The Quietude calming Aromotherapy Spray was A’s favourite from the collection, there was nothing quite like it. A chill out and sleep well mist, she sprayed it liberally in the bathroom. The cocooning blend of cedarwood, cypress, lavender, and vetiver wrapped her mind, body and soul in a blanket of serenity that felt inpenetrable.
Cruelty-free, vegan, and paraben free, the stress relieving products helped bring calm to A’s home. It didn’t matter how stressful her day was, Temple Spa was there to save the day. Drift Away was another self-care must have, a calming massage and bath oil, that worked wonders on her tense muscles. A had bad knots in her shoulders, upper, and lower back, and found this oil helped her muscles ‘loosen up’. With Geranium, Frankincense, and Chamomile to name a few, the oil transported her to the Mediterrenean. Also part of the collection was Duvet, a comforting body cream, Repose, a relaxing night cream, and BeCalm, a calming face mask for sensitive skin. The cutest part of all? The breathtaking packaging was beautifully presented, and there was even a dainty mini Do Not Disturb pillow, that A gave a big thumbs up to.
Speaking of home spas, Scentered‘s Home Spa TLC Set, helped soothe A’s physical and mental tension. As someone who suffered with neck, shoulder, and back pain, she had regular ‘DIY spa days at home’ to relieve her knots. With a mixture of Scolosis, bad posture, hypermobile joints and working from home, A’s back pain was getting increasingly worse. A found that when she had her ‘bad anxiety days’ the pain in her back would worsen, particularly mid-lower back, because that is where she held her stress tension. She also held it in her abdomen and stomach, as well as her chest.
She had back pain from her teen years, but it used to be just in her upper back, shoulders, and neck. Now it was her whole back, so she needed to up the measures for her self-care Valentine’s spa day. Which is where the TLC set came in. Containing a full size LOVE Aromotherapy Balm, a mini ESCAPE Aromotherapy Balm, and a LAVENDER Wheat Bag, it was the perfect trio for back pain. Of the three, the wheat bag was the most effective, filled with cleaned English wheat, and Lavender buds to help relieve A’s pains. The combination allowed A’s body to soften, relax, and let go of stressful moments. Though it took some practice, and depended on how anxious she was feeling, she considered anything a plus when it decreased her anxiety.
The Love Aromotherapy Balm was already a favourite in her self-care ritual, and allowed her to stop, inhale, and reset, with a warming and comforting blend. Helping her connect to herself when she needed soothing self-care, it made the perfect Valentine’s day wellbeing ritual. Applied to her wrist, neck and temples, she deeply inhaled and visualized the mind state she wanted to achieve in this moment. Then, when she had clarity, she would reset, and begin with ‘Escape’. Escape allowed her to transport herself to me-time, that had no purpose, no beginning or end. Just a quiet moment of solitude, where she let her thoughts freely wander, and give her body space to relax.
It was clear to see that A was passionate about cruelty-free beauty. After all, bathtimes were a big part of A’s self-care ritual, and she didn’t want to harm any animals in the process. Ever since she went cruelty-free 5 years ago, her eyes were opened to the ‘animal testing industry’, and the brutality that animals were subjected to. Given that she was already a vegetarian, it made sense for her to be more conscious about the products, and clothing she was wearing as well. Over time, she also became interested in the Green, and Clean Beauty movement, where brands would use natural ingredients, and at times were sustainable and eco-friendly too.
Olverum was one of those pioneers, whose bath oil was already a cult favourite in A’s bathroom cabinet. A multi-award winning green beauty brand, Olverum’s products were therapeutic, vegan and cruelty-free. With aromatic unisex fragrances, and uplifting natural essential oils, clean beauty never felt so magical. Trying something new, A would opt for their Firming Body Oil, an intensive body scultping treatment, with contouring botanicals like Grapefruit and Black Pepper for a tightening, and toning sensation. Though it was too early to tell, A used it after working out, and felt that it restored firmness to her skin. Suitable for all skin types the body oil was the ideal self-care Valentine’s treat for fitness, health, and beauty. The lightly energising fragrance felt invigorating on her skin, as she massaged it deeply into her target areas.
The Body Polish was another Valentine’s must have. Surprisingly it glided on smoothly like butter, and it felt glorious. The soufflé-feel dual-action exfoliator was designed to buff skin slowly, but effectively. Not only did it feel nourishing on her skin, but she felt it looked brighter, and less dull. With a combination of fermented Papaya, Bergamot Oil and Geranium oil, it helped purify the skin, and aid moisture rention. It was not abrasive like other scrubs she had tried, and left her skin glowing with renewed lustre. The two products combined, left her feeling like a new woman, every time she worked out. Though it was early days, A really felt like the body oil, and body polish were making a difference.
Angela Langford Skincare
Part of A’s bathtime routine, was looking after her skin, particularly when she was wearing makeup. A had oily, sensitive and ‘red-prone skin’, and had uneven skin texture, including scars, acne and hyperpigmentation. It was something she had been conscious about for a while, but her new Valentine’s day mantra, was teaching her how to embrace herself, more mindfully and intentionally. It was looking beyond skin deep, and accepting that she was made this way, and it was something that she couldn’t help. After all, not everyone could have perfect skin.
A brand that was helping A practice self-love this Valentine’s day was Angela Langford. A Masterchef finalist in 2014, Angela combined her love of cooking, and good skincare, to conjure up a personalized skincare brand. After all, one size does not fit all. For A, whose face was sensitive, and easily inflamed, the Bloom and Glow, was a radiance restoring face oil, infused with chia seed, and sea buckthorn. A’s recipe to getting gorgeous, glowing skin, she found it really was made for sensitive skin. Awarded 91% in blind testing by Good Housekeeping Institute, it was easy to see why Bloom and Glow was so popular.
Not only did it calm A’s inflamed skin, but it restored radiance, and even minimized some of A’s red patches, on her face. With high levels of essential acids, it was ideal to use after cleansing and toning. Or sometimes A liked to put a drop in her moisturiser in the morning, which helped even out her skin texture. Full of antioxidants, the smell was gorgeous, and sank into the skin beautifully. Though it was oily, it didn’t feel greasy. It was cruelty-free beauty that did exactly what it said on the bottle, and A definitely noticed improvement, even after a short amount of time.
If A knew the secret to nutritional, emotional and mental balance, she would probably be a lot less stressed and anxious than she already was. After all, could you imagine a world that was completely zen? A world where your needs mattered, where self-care was mandatory, where your happiness came first above all else. A knew from personal experience that investing in wellbeing was easier said than done, but it was important to try. Why? Because A knew that health was her biggest wealth in life. After all, feeling healthy emotionally, physically, mentally and socially, would make us far richer than material things like money.
As someone who used to neglect herself frequently, A knew that not taking care of herself, led to problems further down the line. Now that she was healthier, happier, and fitter than ever before, she realized that living a healthy lifestyle could bring so many positives to her life. This is why she supported Anatomē, who believed that nutritional, emotional and mental balance, was the secret to a happier life. A cool wellness brand, that offered supportive, mindful products to help its customers emotionally and physically, it was 100% cruelty-free. Harnessing the power of botanical plants, it used sustainably sourced ingredients, as well as Science and Evidence based compounds. Every product was meaningful, but the Pink Balance range was the best for a last minute Valentine’s treat.
Personifying self-love, good health, and pampering at home, Pink Balance was nothing short of incredible. A adored the Balance + Restore Bath Salts, but the Rejuvanating Body Scrub, and the Balance + Stability Oil Blend, were just as divine. The Himalayan bath salts though? Gorgina! Using luxurious, natural salts, and organic botanicals to help ground and centre the body and mind, it was ideal for A’s stressed out skin. Not only did it decompress her body, but the aromatic essential oils were incredibly fragrant, as she lay back and relaxed. After all, A wasn’t the only one who was guilty of rushing and doing too much at once. The bath salts helped her pause, and was the ultimate recovery ritual after a stressful day. Star anise, hibiscus, calendula and blue cornflower petals helped to lift her mood whilst geranium, black spruce and sandalwood relaxed and restored emotional balance.
Paired with the Rejuvanating Himalayan Salt Body Scrub, her skin felt fresher, smoother and more hydrated. The cane sugar naturally scrubbed her skin, while improving her circulation, and better blood flow. The bath salts of course left behind smooth, soft and glowing skin, sloughing away dead skin cells. Not only did the scrub help reduce pore blockages that led to breakouts, and blemishes, but it was ideal for all skin types. For A, who saw fragrance as important, the lemongrass, ginger, and orange really shone through. The Balance + Stability Oil was another incredible scent, which she used in her bath. Although it could be used on your sensory points, A preferred to add it into her bath, for ultimate relaxation. With an earthy blend of 25 essential oils, it helped anchor her body when she was anxious and restless. With Black Spruce and Patchouli, the terpene-rich oils were proven to reduce cortisol levels.
Self-Care Gifts For Grooming
Last but certainly not least was A’s grooming routine. Though A had her good and her bad days, she found grooming therapeutic. It was a vital part of her grooming routine, and helped her show love to her body, mind and soul. Whether she was shaving, taking care of her hair, moisturising her lips, or making her skin glow, grooming was just as important as bathtimes in A’s eyes. They often overlapped after all, and both self-care practices helped A shine.
When it came to impeccable grooming, Wilkinson Sword had A’s back everyday of the week. She was a big fan of their Wilkinson Sword Intuition 4 in 1 multi-zone trimmer, and had used many of their razors in the past. Shaving was a big part of A’s body hair removal routine, and she could always count on them to deliver razors that actually worked. All too often she had brought razors that had fallen apart the minute she had used them, despite spending a fortune on them. While A got her eyebrows, and lip threaded, the rest of her body was shaved, so she needed something good.
While the 4in1 was great for styling, when it came to good ol’ fashioned shaving, the Intuition Ultra Moisture Razor was impeccable. In a beautiful candy pink design, it was specifically tailored for people like A who had sensitive skin, and was tired of getting shaving bumps. A had used razors which had irritated A’s skin, and in some cases, even caused in-grown hairs, yet the moisture razor was a saviour. After all, she needed to look and feel her best this Valentine’s day, so she needed to have smooth and supple skin! With moisturising shea butter, which felt buttery smooth on A’s skin, it came with the option of either three, six, or nine razors at your disposal.
Not only did it have ultra thin blades for a close shave, but there was no need for shave gel either. It was a convenient razor that left her skin feeling amazing. It even had a pivoting head that closely followed the contours of her body, so that she did not miss any hairs. That was a bugbear that she often had with shaving, so it felt great that the razor was precise, easy to use, and didn’t irritate her skin. Rather than getting ingrown hairs, and a shaving rash, like she normally would, her skin felt smooth, and more hair-free than ever before. Granted the skin moisturising soap bar helped, but it was still a wonderful shaving experience, that left her Valentine’s season ready.
A might be considered ‘lucky’ in the hair department. She had thick, curly, wavy hair that was long, and to an outsider appeared to have ‘gorgeous locks’. Yet A’s hair was a nightmare to style, and got incredibly knotty, was often tangled, and at times fell out because of stress. Her hair wasn’t healthy by any means and was prone to knots, split ends, dry hair, and an oily scalp. She had countless grey hairs (she had them from a young age), and most days, had no idea what to do with her hair. She wasn’t a hair Queen by any accounts, and needed some desperate TLC. A had some hair trauma where she was scared of going to the hairdressers (long story), so cutting her hair was a no go, but she definitely needed to give it some self-love this Valentine’s day.
Hair Gain was here to help. Though people often used them for hair loss, the brand was also excellent at making hair healthier, thicker, and smoother. A needed something which would protect and replenish her hair, without drying it out. She had found some vegan products incredibly heavy on her hair, and wanted something lightweight that would make all her hair dreams come true. The Hair Gain Mask was a true saviour, a vegan mask that supported thicker and fuller hair like A’s. Hydrating and nourishing, it was formulated without alcohol, sulphates, silicon and parabens, which A greatly appreciated. Not only did it improve the overall condition of her hair, but used in conjunction with the Hair Gain Comb, it detangled knots without breaking her hair. The hair comb was a real treat too, gliding through A’s unruly locks with ease.
100% biodegradable, it was the perfect accessory to their Hair Gain Mask. Speaking of Hair Gain, their Gummies were amazing! Scientifically formulated to support healthy hair, it described itself as being the most advanced form of edible hair care. Containing clinically-tested AnaGain™ Pea Shoots, it tasted, and smelt delicious. Unlike other hair gummies A had tried before, these tasted good, and had no artificial flavours, colours or sweetners. With added support for collagen production, skin and nails, A found it made her hair less brittle, and appeared healthier. She could only imagine how much more her hair would improve with long-term use.
LipQ Liquorice Balm
A loved wearing beautiful, bold and vibrant lipsticks, but often found that the matte lipsticks were incredibly drying on her lips. Not only this, but prolonged wear, as well as exposure to the elements like rain, wind, and snow, left A’s lips thirsty for hydration. Her lips were often chapped, scabbed, and sometimes bleeding, which was never a comfortable feeling. This happened more in the Winter, but even so, she had to have a rigorous lip care routine. From exfoliating her lips, to using moisturizing balms, she tried her best to heal her lips, the natural way.
One balm that she found incredibly useful was LipQ’s Liquorice Balm from Skin Shop, which she had been using in the run up to Valentine’s season. Although it was tailored towards cold sores (which she seldom got), she found it incredibly soothing for her chapped lips. The concentrated extract of liquorice felt cooling on her lips, and was a super-smooth 100% natural hypoallergenic balm. Made in England, and cruelty-free, the balm was suitable for sensitive skin, and used glycyrrhizic acid to fight cold sores. The Glycyrrhizic acid specifically targeted the genes that were required to maintain the virus in its latent state by interfering with the production of special proteins that fed the infected cells.
Though A was using it for her dry lips, she could see why it was good for cold sores. Used daily liquorice has the ability to weaken the cold sore virus which lies dormant in the skin between outbreaks. It would not have negative side effectives, and acted as preventative protection against future outbreaks. A found that it really hydrated her lips, and reminded her of using Vaseline before she was cruelty-free. However, unlike Vaseline, the Liquorice Balm soaked into her lips without leaving them feeling greasy. Instead, her sores were soothed, her lips softened, and the loved the smell, which conjured up memories of calm. Now, it was a staple part of A’s lip care routine all year round, even beyond Valentine’s day. After all, trends may come and go, but A’s chapped lips were here to stay.
What did it mean to glow? To A glowing came from within, confidence, self-expression, and jubilance that made you look and feel good. A was all about the power of the ‘glow’ and felt that it helped her to feel empowered this Valentine’s day. While many associated ‘glowing’ with putting tanned on, to A it was a feeling. It was feeling like you were worthy, strong and powerful. It was an emotion that made you feel delirious with happiness. Most of all, it was a lifestyle, a self-care movement centered around self-love, enlightenment, and being wealthy in health.
Though much of A’s ‘glow’ was skin deep, she attributed it to the products that she used as part of her grooming routine. Sanctuary Spa in particular helped give her skin the self-love that it had always deserved. Though it was technically a self-care bath-time ritual, the Time To Glow Bath And Body Set, was undoubtably a grooming must have too. After all glowing skin, is healthy skin. Without it, A’s skin metabolism and circulation would suffer, and free radicals would attack her precious collagen and elastin. She couldn’t let that happen, she needed a healthy mind, body, and of course skin. Time to Glow was iconic, a set that buffed, treated, conditioned, cleansed and purified every inch of her skin. A vegan and cruelty-free gift set, it contained a body scrub, gold bath elixir, moisture miracel, glow mask and radiance tonic.
The 1 Minute Daily Glow Mask was A’s personal boo, stripping away dull skin, to reveal A’s inner glow. It was a brightening face mask, infused with a trio of Vitamin C super fruits. The antioxidant-rich formula used Kakadu Plum to balance the skin tone, minimising the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation for a more even complexion. Working to provide visible luminosity in just one minute, the mask even helped to create a smooth, refined and glowing visage. Paired with the Daily Glow Radiance Tonic, the duo was a Godsend. The tonic used a weightless formula that swept effortlessly over the face to improve tone and texture, without drying out A’s skin. With Witch Hazel and Vitamin B3 , the skin refining toner minimized the appearence of pores for a smoother finish.
Moving on to A’s shower, and bath routine, the body scrub was a beaut too. Not only did the sensuous scent of Patchouli, Sandalwood and Jasmine remain on the skin even 12 hours after use, but it was also Paraben and microbead free. The luxurious gel scrub was infused with natural pumice and essential oils, and like the rest of the range, made A glow internally, and externally. The power of the glow couldn’t be understated, and the Liquid Gold Bath Elixir had that in spades. The creamy formula was infused with a botanical blend of vital vitamins, which brightened and soothed A’s skin. The rose flower water was even anti-inflammatory, which clarified her skin. Speaking of hydration, the Wet Skin Moisture Miracle was just the ticket. Enriched with nourishing Apricot and Avocado Oils, the award-winning body lotion locked in moisture and hydration, whilst imparting a sensuous, floriental fragrance of Patchouli, Sandalwood and Jasmine.
What Would You Put In Your Self-Care Valentine’s Day Gift Guide?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by gifted products. I would love to know what self-care means to you, and what you would include as part of your self-care Valentine’s!