The Valentine’s Trap

I love Valentine’s Day. I guess, I’m just an old romantic, but I love the idea of love. It’s no coincidence that we got married on the 10th February. I would have got married on Valentine’s Day if I could have, if only it had fallen on a Saturday in 2007! In the early days when David and I met, we would always escape to Europe for a romantic getaway at Valentines. We hotfooted it to Paris, Prague, Budapest and Krakow (as you can see in later years, we didn’t just fall in love with each other, we also fell in love with Eastern Europe!) all in the name of love, and St. Valentine.

Valentine European Escapes

One thing I really liked about getting away was, that on the continent, there’s love, there’s Valentine’s, but it’s not in your face. We could still dine out at a regular restaurant on Valentine’s night without having to be seated a la sardine, eat off a naff set menu and pay twice the price than other nights. Card shops were not stripped bare although it was strangely comforting to see that rip off roses were still on sale.

Since we came down under, we’ve been scaling down the Valentine’s celebrations. One year, we went out to a really flash restaurant on our anniversary and celebrated Valentine’s at the same time. One year we escaped to the country for a double celebration, but that was when I found  THE lump, so the less said about that the better.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older, or just more cynical but Valentine’s is getting more commercialised every year! I was so disorganised I forgot to get David a card until Valentine’s Eve and when I got to the card shop, the whole row of shelving had been virtually stripped bare. I had to fight with fellow forgettors for the handful of cards that were left. Crazeeee!

So although I couldn’t get organised enough to post this before Valentine’s  Day 2013, think of it as advance preparation for February 14 2014!  Here are my top tips for the perfect Valentine’s.

1. Eating in is the new eating out

Why pay through the nose and get stuffed with all the other suckers on Valentine’s Night, when you can chillax at home with your beloved and eat whatever your hearts desire. We decided to eat at home and cook each other’s favourite dishes. I think the last time David cooked a main meal, the moon turned blue, so this was a real treat. You know it really meant  something. He came up trumps with this amazing Simple Chicken Pie. Don’t believe all that stuff you hear about food being the way to a man’s heart, it’s the way to a woman’s too!

Simple Chicken Pie

I made him his favourite dessert cake ever, Donna Hay’s Ultimate Chocolate Dessert Cake …in the Thermomix,  which I baked with love in a heart shaped tin. It’s dark, fudgy and very, very decadent. It really is a cake of love. He loved it which is what matter most!

Thermomix Donna Hay's Ultimate One-Bowl Chocolate Dessert Cake

Best of all, there was so much left over, that I took some to work the next day, which went down a treat. I love sharing the love.

2. Don’t buy a card, write a letter. 

I LOVE cards. I will send cards for any occasion. However, I noticed one of my Instagram friends, had a beautiful love letter from her beloved on Valentine’s. David and I are a right pair of slush puppies when we come to writing messages in our cards, and it got me  thinking, we could just write our sweet nothings on some lovely paper, which would save  us time and money at the card store, and mean  so much more. I’ve still got all the love letters my grandad wrote to my nana and they’re one of my most treasured possessions. There’s nothing better than a love letter.

3. Think outside of the box for gifts

Last year, I got  these cute little gift cards for random “love promises” on sale! I think they were supposed to be for Valentine’s but I just used them for David all year round at birthdays, Christmas and on random days… just because! Of course, I gave him one for Valentine’s too. I bought this set but you could just as easily make them yourself. Such a fun idea and then you can tailor make them to please his/her heart’s desires.

Great Valentine Gift Ideas

I am a sucker for a scratchy. It’s not expensive, it’s fun and you never know what you’re going to get. As it was, David struck lucky and won the princely sum of $7 (which may not be enough to take early retirement but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!)

Win some money and hearts this Valentines Day

If you can, make your own gifts. Craft something or bake something. It may not be the flashest of gifts,but it will be the most meaningful. Heart shaped baking is so in,  right now!

Cook with heart!

4. Share the love

Remember Valentine’s Day is all about the love, so share it around. It’s a great day to think about   the people you have in your life that you love, and that love you, and feel the love, baby!  I took some cake to work for my colleagues, and some of Carla’s Thermomix Cookies for my students, all heart shaped, of course!

Carla's Thermomix Cookies

And I had a special chat with my mum, and told her how much I love her, too. Love it large with all your loved ones, your friends, family and your beloved – they rock your world.

I like to think that Valentine’s Day is a day for love to be in the limelight. But remember, it’s only one day. There are another 364 days in the year to say “I love you,” to say it with flowers, to eat out and to love each other. If you love someone tell them. If you love someone, send them a message, write them a letter or give them a card. If you love someone suprise them with a special dinner (at home or away,) or their favourite thing. It’s the little things that mean a lot. Remember, love is all around, and, all-year round!