Ten pieces of inspiration for a memorable Valentine's gift

As much as we'll tell our friends that we're "not all that fussed" about Valentine's Day, as much as we'll scorn the card companies and restaurants for trying to piggyback on the annual celebration of romance, deep down we know that nothing quite beats putting a smile on the face of someone we love on February 14.

Above all it's an ideal time to prove to someone that after all these years, after all the good and bad, there is a mutual love which still stands strong as ever... Wipe the tears from your eye for a second and get focused, because if you really want to impress your other half this Valentine's Day, you're going to have to think long and hard about their gift.

Perhaps the best way to look at February 14 is as a good chance to prove your love or even just your fondness for someone. This could be your wife or husband of 20 years, a new partner or maybe even someone that's completely blind to your affection towards them. You never know, February 14 could be the start of something special.

The key is to be romantic without being too soppy - the last thing you want to see is a grimace when they open their gift. The following ideas should strike this delicate balance with precision.

1. A reminder of you... in a frame

Perfect for the girlfriend or boyfriend of almost a year, a small framed picture or similarly sized canvas print is a good way to kick things off. If you've been dating for at least six months then you must have built up a small bank of photos of yourselves enjoying some special times. Get searching for a printing and framing company and choose one that will definitely get your delivery there in time for the big day.

Holiday photos, humorous snaps and any of you two dressed up to the nines in preparation for a birthday meal or similar are all ideal for filling a small picture frame. This one's a real personal choice and, if you know your partner hasn't anything in their room to remind themselves of you, Valentine's Day could be the best time to provide exactly that.

2. Romantic break (or part of one)

OK, this one's a little more on the lavish side, but if money is no object, it could be the best surprise ever. Remember all those conversations you've had over where you'd next like to go on holiday? You'd better hope you can recall them, as you'll probably need to go through a few suggestions to find the most financially viable.

Double-check what your other half has planned for the next three-four months and pick a date which suits both parties best. You don't have to go the whole hog and pay for a week in the Bahamas - an extended weekend somewhere in Europe will more than suffice. Plus, if you know they definitely want to go there, you can easily get away with paying for their flight and agreeing to split the hotel bill once everything's been planned.

3. Experience

Money looking a little too tight for a holiday? Try taking a step down the ladder and looking for something you can both enjoy together. A day at the spa is probably the safest choice for an outing, but things like cooking courses and even joint bungee jumps could see you written into your partner's good books. Find a date which suits the pair of you and get planning. 

4. Smellies

Looking for something small to push you up to your agreed budget? Look no further than something fragrant to tip you just over the barrier. 

Don't forget that a good body lotion, bath bomb or fragrance benefits both sides of the relationship. Isn't it nicer to settle down for a night in when you're both smelling fresh as a daisy? The dressing gown, the DVD, the comfy sofa... a sweet, soothing smell? A bottle of up-market shower gel might be the best investment you'll ever make.

5. Personalised jewellery

Even men can pull off a piece of personalised jewellery so long as its romantic content isn't put in bold for all their friends to see. Sometimes love is best enjoyed in private and, when the going gets tough, rotating a bracelet to reveal a message from a loved one can get a tired mind through a tough day.

Engraved message bracelets usually come in at under £50 and are great for couples who don't mind a little baggage on their wrists. Looking to make your gift even cuter? Ask your partner what they'd like to put on your own bracelet and get it ordered as soon as they've put theirs on.

6. Nightwear

Not an acceptable thing to gift in front of the in-laws? Think again. Nightwear can be anything from a comfy pair of pyjamas to a new dressing gown for those frosty mornings. Of course, you could always go down the saucy route but there are plenty of other options to consider without having to resort to stretching pairs of underwear on a tour of the high street.

7. Sweet treats

Sweets can actually be as pleasant as their name suggests but only if you steer away from all the usual suspects at your local supermarket. Everyone loves Celebrations, Heroes and Lindor, but the chances are that your special someone loves a specific type of sweet that little bit more.

Why not head to your local olde English sweet shop and order a bag full of your partner's childhood favourite? Package this up in a clear bag and wrap with a coloured ribbon. You never know, they might even let you steal a couple.

8. Flowers (and vase)

If you're going to give flowers to your partner on any day of the year, make it February 14. You could also buy them a vase to put them in and make the gifting of flowers a regular thing - giving your partner a pick-me-up when they least expect it.

9. Plant

A plant, on the other hand, is more of a shared gift than a pleasant gesture. Buy your loved one a plant and promise to help them keep it alive. Who knows, this could be your first tentative step towards a vegetable patch.

10. Scrapbook

Finally, in amongst all your digital photos, tear-inducing emails and romantic texts, it's always good to have something tangible. Use Valentine's Day as day one for your catalogue of memories. Buy a fancy-looking scrapbook and think about where you can get your photos printed. Some sites will let you buy 100 prints at a time and let you redeem them when you like. This is probably the cheapest and most convenient way of filling your book.

 

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