The gentleman’s guide to getting it right this Valentine’s Day

Like it or not, if you’re in a relationship, you’re going to have to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Every girl, no matter what she says, wants to be pampered on Valentine’s Day. This dreaded (for some) day comes but once a year and, in theory, is all about sacrifice and selflessness. When I was at school, we had this ‘tradition’ that every Valentine’s Day the boys could spend £1 on a red rose that would be sent to a girl of their choice – either anonymously or with a note attached. As you can imagine, this pretty much just turned into a popularity contest and ended up getting very competitive between the girls.

The point of this story is not to make you feel sorry for those who ended up with none, but to place emphasis on the fact that – shock horror – girls want (and like) attention. Your girlfriend wants attention, especially on Valentine’s Day: the one day of the year that she’ll actually get to brag to her friends without them laughing at her and – although this sounds hideously superficial – she wants to be able to show off about what you got her or where you took her. No pressure, though. Of course there are varying degrees of what you should do, particularly depending on how long you’ve actually been together for. For this list, we’re imagining that you’ve been together long enough to warrant you spending Valentine’s Day together (trust us, if you’ve been together for a month, she’s not expecting you to spend the day together).

Buy her flowers

This seems fairly simple and painfully obvious, we’re surprised at how many men out there think that flowers are a waste of money because, and I quote, “they die”. I feel pretty strongly about this one because yes, flowers die, but they also look amazing and will make your girlfriend incredibly happy, even if they do only last a few days. Just don’t get them sent to her office, whatever you do. Here’s where to start…


(Photo: Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart)

Take her out

Again, this is obvious, but you need to wine and dine her. Whether that means taking her out to dinner or for breakfast, you need to do something to show that you’ve at least thought about it. You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds taking her to the city’s most exclusive restaurants, but you do need to put some effort in.


(Photo from Tumblr)

Surprise her

Every girl loves a surprise, especially when she knows better than to expect anything from you. Whether that means whisking her away for the weekend (more on that later), giving her a present that you know that she’ll love and appreciate or just bringing her breakfast in bed. Make her feel loved, gentlemen. It’s Valentine’s Day, after all.


(Photo by Hanna Hillier, styled by Holly Macnaghten)

Get her something she actually wants

There’s no point in spending money, time and effort on a nice present or dinner if she isn’t actually going to like what you’ve got her. It’s imperative that you actually think about what she’s going to like and appreciate. Take note: she’ll be dropping hints a few months before, so be sure to listen out.


(Photo: Peerless Closet)

Take her away

While this might seem like an extravagant option, it’s worth doing. It’s the middle of February, Christmas is long gone and summer is miles off, so you’ll benefit from a holiday, too. It doesn’t matter if you take her for a weekend in the Cotswolds or whisk her away to Paris – it’s the thought that really counts on this one.

Sunset in Oia, Santorini. Here is my version of the sunset shot in Oia. This is a blend of 3 shots, 1.3 to 20 seconds, processed as follows: 1) Reduce noice on all 3 raws. 2) Create HRD in Photomatix 3) Blend using Exposure Fusion, sliders set to produce the most natural looking image while still showing some detail in the very dark areas. 4) PS smart sharpen. 5) PS burn the bottom 6) Nik Brilliance and warming 7) Nik Indian summer to warm th elights, masked to not affect the rest. 8) Nik sunlight, brushed over the buildings to add more light 9) Nik Glamour Glow to remove detail in the dark areas. 10) Detailed curves lightening pn windmills. 11) Dodge buildings that were too dark.

Make her feel good

This is a no brainer, gents. Your girlfriend needs to feel good, especially on Valentine’s Day. Compliment her, take her to dinner, buy her champagne, fly her half way across the word – hell, tell her you love her if you really want to. There doesn’t need to be a huge price tag on it and you don’t have to shower her with gifts all day long, but I promise that it will pay off in the long term for you to just put a little bit of thought into the day.

The final note: every single relationship is different, but the point is that you should know your relationship and your girlfriend well enough to know what will impress her and what won’t. It’s one day, gentlemen. Get it right.

Editorial images shot by Hanna Hillier, styled by Holly Macnaghten.

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