Valentine’s Day - it’s origins were rather less romantic than some might think. The Romans began the trend with the festival of Lupercalia, which took place in mid February.This celebrated the arrival of spring with a sacrifice or two, and a general running around the hills striking women with the sacrificial skins to bring on fertility. This mayhem was replaced at the end of the 5th century when Lupercalia was replaced by St Valentine.
Of course the Victorians, who loved a card, gave it a spin and brought the mail to near collapse. Postal carriers benefited from a special meal allowance to give them the strength to keep up with demand.
It is a day that brings on panic and appreciation in equal doses. A day that makes the romantics cogitate on the many ways they can shower the object of their devotion with signs of affection and desire while the cynics or let’s just call them, the non romantics, hope that by just putting a pillow over their head the entire day will go away.
For romantics involved with non romantics, February 14th is going to be at best a disappointment. Nothing is worse than waiting for a ‘meaningful’ gesture of adoration to be handed the last of the garage bunches. Non romantics, can’t understand why this doesn’t cut it, and really, isn’t breakfast in bed is just a way to get crumbs in the sheets? Equally if you have spent the entire year creating a ‘memory’ box that charts your relationship, it goes without saying that a casual glance through the contents from an N.R will simply not do.
Lockdown may have created a middle way. N.Rs have a vague idea that something is expected, while at the same time experiencing huge relief that the Michelin star restaurants have closed their doors. The romantics sort of understand that this year things will be different, and expectations will have been lowered. Even the most demanding romantic understands that a full on day of treats is tricky. This doesn’t mean the day can or should be forgotten.
Anything that breaks up the ennui of the year is welcome, so here are some Indy stay home experiences, which should appeal to both parties.
Luxury food is a Valentine given. A romantic dinner should include chocolate, pink wines, a cocktail or two and something you would not normally eat mid week. Wrapping up is good. Think beef Wellington or a chicken breast encased in prosciutto. Most foods can be shaped into a heart, from a piece of toast to a jelly. A pack of alphabet cooky cutters really come into their own as you can write a meaningful message onto an apple tart.
The Indytute deluxe Valentine’s cream tea does the work for you. Tantalising, a bit tarty but fundamentally tasty. Of course the scones are heart shaped and you can feed each other morsels of salted brownie - or not. Non romantics please note, this tea is to be properly laid out. Do not just open the box and stuff it down.
Poetry and pancakes. These pancake kits are a gift to the senses, and come complete with the maple syrup and a bottle of gold Prosecco to sip while you mix. The box comes complete with a pocket book of poetry. Romantics be warned don’t read them out loud hoping to release an N.R’s inner Keats - it ain’t gonna happen. Just enjoy the battered deliciousness and the moment.
‘Discs of flat flour, transform into golden clouds
As this sweet delight feeds solace to my soul’
Music is the food of love, so learn the ukulele to-ge-ther. This unassuming little instrument opens you up to a world of possibilities. If you’ve never played a musical instrument, it comes as a joy to discover that now you can.This kit comes with a 90 minute tutorial from the Queen of Uke cabaret performer and musician, Tricity Vogue. By the end of the lesson you will have abandoned any inhibitions and be wondering if you could break onto YouTube. The couples that sing together, stay together…. Non romantics please remember to buy two ukuleles, you are now officially a duo. This is also entirely possible to do from different locations, giving you something to do other than sexting.
Lost wax casting. How romantic is that? The ancient art of creating a mould to make your own jewellery. Now you could get on down with a pair of cufflinks one cufflink each, matching pairs are so last year) or if you are both romantics you could use the day to design engagement rings. Rather a good lockdown proposal kit . If that doesn’t bring on tears, well I just don’t know. Everything you need comes in the box, as you learn how to carve into a tablet of wax. Memories made solid. You can choose between a pendant, a ring, cufflinks or earrings. You don’t have to go the whole hog. Non romantics take note - if you weren’t planning to propose go carefully. It is Valentine’s Day after all and a romantic can easily jump to conclusions.
Plan for the future. Escape the city in a classic Mini Cooper. What is it about these pocket rockets that’s so sexy. They are just the best fun on four wheels. Other drivers wave and honk, as you pass by. It has the feel good factor in spades. This is the start of your very own mini-adventure as you self-drive your beloved around the countryside . Think Surrey Hills or the Kent Downs. Non romantics will appreciate the way it handles on the corners, while romantics will be thinking of the rug on the back seat, and the foodie hamper in the boot. Non romantics must resist the urge to talk the torque, and attempt to notice the heavenly countryside locations.
Outdoorsy types couldn’t do better than go on a ‘Tour de Forage’ foraging experience gift. All the foods of love can be gathered for free as you cycle in a slow and dreamy way under the White Cliffs near Deal in Kent. Asparagus, shellfish and berries are just a part of wild foods waiting to be discovered on the seashore. The Wild Kitchen will be taking you out on this day experience, complete with a simply delicious lunch which includes botanical drinks and teas. You can bring your own tandem on this one, and the tour lasts all day or maybe make a weekend of it - tent for two? Now you can’t do this on the actual day - you have to wait until spring for stuff to actually grow, but there is nothing wrong with thinking about future plans. In fact a romantic will be absolutely thrilled to know that you are planning ahead, this takes on particular meaning if you’ve only met virtually.
Further reading: Best stay home experience gifts for Lockdown >>