Valentines Day doesn't have to be a commercially driven exercise in all thing satin and tacky you know? I do believe it can be puttery and lovely...
* Never mind that you have been waking up next to him for twenty years, make sure you send your partners Valentine card by snail mail because there is nothing quite as lovely as getting a Valentine card in the post…
* Hang a heart shaped wreath on your front door and spread the love.
* Do as Chaucer recommended and seek out the love birds that are the traditional symbol of Valentines Day. Embroider a pair of love-birds on to a tea-towel, or start the ritual annual collection of something scrumptious decorated with a pair of Love Birds as a symbol of your own relationship.
* In the tradition of “Jack Valentine”, leave a tiny pile of sweets and present for each child in the house on the back door step…
* Send a lonely friend a Pal-entine…
* Spend the day before Valentines making your bedroom as heavenly as possible. (Even if there is only you who sleeps there!) Polish till it sparkles, pile the bed with pillows and cosy quilts, put one or two pretty little buds in vases on the bedsides, banish as much clutter as you possibly can and hang your prettiest bedtime clothes from a padded hanger on the wardrobe door.
* Make a huge “kitchen-sink” cookie, a-la Martha, and ice it with a message for your Valentine
* Long before Valentines Day was commandeered by the soppy Victorians and their fancy-schmancy deliriously decorated (but oh sooooo pretty!) cards, it was common to write love letters on Valentines Day and this is so much more Brocante methinks than joining the thronging masses in search of rose-sprinkled tat. So steal away an hour or three and write a chatty list of I love you’s and thank you’s and plans for tomorrow, then spray it with perfume, tie it with ribbon and post it to your loved one.
* * Sip Twinings delicious Rose Garden tea all day long…
* Take inspiration from the Welsh and start a collection of Valentines Day love spoons… these don’t have to be the traditionally carved wooden spoons, but could be a darling collection of vintage or artisan spoons just for you…
* Cover the breakfast table on Valentines Day with a cloth decorated in the most exuberant red roses you can find.
* Wear a locket around your neck with a picture of your loved ones inside.
* Arrange a date at a wine store and go together to choose a really special bottle of wine to be enjoyed over the simplest of cheese and cracker suppers on Valentines evening, as a lovely alternative to over-spending on a not so romantic over-priced meal in a restaurant.
* Thread laurel bay leaves onto wire and twist into a heart for the simplest, most understated of Valentine wreaths.
* Call in a duvet day and spend Valentines Day watching Dodsworth or An Affair to Remember.
* Buy a dictionary and highlight every word that describes your partner or how you feel about him or her. Wrap it up in layers of newspaper and tie it in a big red bow.
* Fill a vintage tin with memories and offer it to your partner as a gift on Valentines Day. Make it as attractive as possible and fill it with long forgotten love letters, photos of your first holiday or home, locks of your children’s hair, trinkets and menu’s you have kept from special dates and anything else that is meaningful to the two of you.
* Rent a DVD of the very first movie you ever watched together.
* Gloves have long been a symbol of love with the verse “If that from glove you take the letter G, then glove is love and that I send to thee”, so gift your babba’s new gloves on Valentines Day or treat yourself, in a scrumptiously silly ritual all of your own, to a new pair of frivolous housekeepers rubber gloves, just because you can. (Gloveables are gorgeous!)…
* Stitch His and Hers or Mr and Mr on to a pair of pillowcases, or seek out a vintage set on ebay and put them on the bed before you go to sleep on Valentines Day.
* Burn rose oil in the bathroom. Or mix 3 Tablespoons of honey with 3 drops of rose oil and three drops of vanilla essential oil and pour it under running water for the sweetest, most sensual bath.
* Buy a packet of confetti and sprinkle it over the breakfast table.
* Teach yourself the language of flowers and use it to symbolise your emotions when buying flowers for yourself. Isn’t there something intriguing about creating a private conversation with something so beautiful?
* Re-read Wuthering Heights – the greatest, most torrid love story ever told, and see what experience brings to the book this time around.
* Serve the kids red velvet cupcakes and ice cold milk on a tray for breakfast in bed on Valentines morning.
* Books are a traditional gift on Valentines Day. Seek out a vintage copy of your very favourite childhood story book, inscribe it with a thank-you to your Mum, and tie it up with ribbon for her. Valentines Day is utterly perfect for saying a million little thank-you’s.
* Sprinkle five bay leaves with rosewater and slip them under your pillow to bring love a-knocking at your door.
* Order a book full of the kind of accessible love poetry that will not scare the horses and leave it sitting on your bedside table, ready to dip in and out of or read out loud to your partner.
* Fill the kid’s coat pockets with Hershey kisses when they aren’t looking.
* Mix up a blend of romantic massage oil by combining 2 drops of rose oil with 3 drops of sandalwood and a single drop of black pepper oil into a a few drops of almond oil.
* Use heart shaped pastry cutters to create romantic fried eggs. Serve with tomato sauce and tell him it’s the food of love.
* Add a vintage Valentine themed apron to your collection.
* Use kids alphabet magnets to write “I love you” on the fridge.
* Create a little in-car picnic and go for a drive on Valentines Day. Often more meaningful conversation happens in the car than anywhere else.
* Drizzle a sour cream heart on to a bowl of tomato soup.
* We are all skilled at creating memory books for the kids but often neglect to document our relationships in any meaningful way. Splash out on a truly special photograph album, and starting at the very beginning of your relationship fill it full of photographs that tell the story of your partnership. Just you two, no kids or maiden Aunts. Just you two.
* Make rosewater jelly(or cheat like I do!) in little china tea cups, sprinkle with pistachio’s and eat from nursery sized spoons in bed with the tiniest tumblers full of sweet dessert wine.
* Pansys are said to speak of loving thoughts so buy a tray of pretty pink ones and leave them tied in ribbon on your friends doorsteps with a little Thank you for being my friend note attached.
* Establish a drawer to be reserved for your slinkiest, loveliest, prettiest underwear. Put really special items in vintage nightie cases, store your most precious perfume in with your underwear, tuck bundles of dried lavender amongst every layer, add a bundle of ribbon tied love letters and cards and make sure to line the drawer properly so delicate lace doesn’t snag on splintered wood. And there you have it, a scrumptious little nod to your most sensual self.