The travel brochure featuring romantic city breaks left on the kitchen table, the Tiffany’s catalogue with marker penned circles around the diamond rings, the wishlist sent to all of your e-mail addresses in the middle of January… hints so subtle you’d be forgiven for missing them. But the bright red window displays of every shop from the florist to the British Heart Foundation? The cupids flying round the Google logo on your homepage? Those incessant adverts for personalise your own greetings cards? Why oh why are you frantically running round Tescos (or worse the local garage) come February 13th again this year?
In truth friends, I think the romance of the season is both lost and found in those supermarket shelves. See, the overwhelming sea of red and pink disposable crap, wilted flowers, foil wrapped chocolates and hyped up price tag whacked onto anything and everything heart shaped just sighs disappointed and unromantic, while I am left sounding like the Grinch who stole Valentines muttering about mass produced corporate plastic hallmark devoid of sentiment guilt tripped misery.
But on the other hand, a bit of creative thinking, last minute dashing and the overwhelming desire not to disappoint is entirely festive. A hand-tweaked offering with supermarket bought ingredients is just as lovely as that which contains only artisan produced homegrown ingredients.
So, being that V-day is already upon us, let me waste no more of your time, and instead offer up some last minute suggestions to fill your day with love:
1. supermarket sweet: grab a couple of selection boxes of chocolates, Roses, Quality St, Miniature Heroes, whatever you can find - then spend some time picking out your honey's favourites, re-wrap and present a box of hand-picked faves:
2. forecourt flowes: revive those leftover flowers by spritzing with water mixed with plant food and trimming the stems at an angle, if your buds are tightly wrapped place in lukewarm water in a warm and sunny spot to encourage them to unfurl; if your blooms are more on the wilted side, remove those wrinkled petals, cut the stems extra short and arrange in a shorter vase, allowing the sides of your chosen vessel to stop those fleurs drooping
3. off-license offerings: because, let's face it, even a seasoned Champagne drinker like myself will admit that after a glass or two, I wouldn't notice (or care) if it was Bolinger, Prosecco or Sainsburys own brand Cava. Whack the bottle in the freezer as soon as you get home, polish your best glasses and mix up a champagne cocktail. Add blackcurrant liquer to make a Kir Royale, orange juice for a Mimosa, a slice of tinned peach and a drop of the syrup to make a Bellini
4. a popcorn picnic: blanket, popcorn and at least one movie from those 'most romantic films of all times' lists and these printables from Eat Drink Chic - early night anyone?