Spare us your comedy cards and twee teddy bears — Valentine’s Day is clichéd enough as it is. But, permitting you avoid the chocolate boxes and sidestep the red roses, you’ll find that February 14th actually has the capacity to be really quite pleasant. It’s a day where we prioritise kindness and affection, and the giving of gifts offers you the chance to show just how much you know and care for your significant other.
But that means putting a bit of thought in. A necklace here, or a lingerie set there may seem like a good gift at the time — but such presents are so overdone and unoriginal that they’ll probably do more harm to your relationship than good. Instead, to help you out this February, we’ve rounded up a collection of top-tier gifts that’ll ensure you steer clear of those clichés — at all and any costs. Take a look…
Seek out some alternative jewellery
Not all that glitters is jewellery. While rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces have forced their shiny selves to the fore of the Valentine’s market, there are other trinkets you could gift that are much more helpful — and much less cliché. First up, from Swiss stationer Caran d’Ache, comes the ‘Ecridor Lights’ pen; swathed in 18-carat gold and boasting a baguette-cut diamond ‘guillochage’.
Or, for something equally handy, why not invest in a luxury watch? There are few options finer than Chopard’s ‘Alpine Eagle Small’, with its bold blue dial and bezel encrusted with diamonds. Alternatively, if you’re looking forward to a trip away this summer, a pair of precious metal sunglasses could be the way to go. Forged from titanium and finished with gold, she’ll get more mileage from these Persol frames than she would from even the most extravagant pair of earrings.
Caran d’Ache Ecridor Lights Pen
Chopard Alpine Eagle Small
Persol ‘PO5004ST’ Sunglasses
Don’t do the classic box of chocolates
Not that boxes are bad. In fact, whack almost anything into a pretty enough presentation box and it’ll up those ‘thoughtful’ credentials considerably. Just don’t go for chocolates. The classic heart-shaped box of truffles is a praline-tinged platitude; so commonplace that it’s lost any sentimentality or romance. Instead, we’d recommend finding different foodstuffs to box up and gift her this Valentine’s.
Something like Krug’s Rosé ’25ème Édition’ — a sparkling option, and one of many different pink champagnes you should consider popping open on February 14th. Or, for any girlfriends or wives who clutch to their morning mugs, how about ‘The Coffee Lover’s Gift Box’ from Fortnum & Mason, complete with beans, Sandringham Coffee Truffles and an Espresso Daiquiri Cocktail? Alternatively, go for Gail’s Brownie Kit; a wholesome, wholehearted gift you can bake together.
Krug Rosé 25ème Édition
Fortnum & Mason ‘The Coffee Lover’s Gift Box’
Gail’s Brownie Kit
Flowers may be pretty, but they won’t last
Another cliché gift; and perhaps one of the worst. Flowers, of course, are lovely when you present them in full bloom. But there’s something so heart-rending about a wilting bouquet that we’d recommend skipping your annual trip to the florist this year. (If you do decide that a posy is the way to go, at least be a little more imaginative that the standard dozen red roses…)
Instead, we’d opt for something equally pretty — but with a higher chance of making it to March. Look to Patch Plants, which has a range of options available to be delivered — we like this Peace Lily. Or to London Terrariums, whose idiosyncratic ‘The Boiling Flask’ option will perk up your better half’s home study. There’s always dried flowers, too. From Bloom & Wild, this ‘The Sinéad’ bouquet is as colourful as the real thing — but will last forever.
Patch Plants Peace Lily
London Terrariums ‘The Boiling Flask’
Bloom & Wild ‘The Sinéad’ Dried Flowers
If you’re doing dinner, make it special
Most restaurants, come Valentine’s Day, will be bursting with middling violinists and public proposals. And, while going for dinner can be a wonderful gastronomic gift, it pays to make sure you avoid these cliché-ridden joints. Instead, look for something superlative — an establishment that goes so big and so bold that you’d never usually eat there.
Someplace like Fenchurch Restaurant, sitting pretty in 20 Fenchurch Street’s Sky Garden, and with a Valentine’s Day tasting menu featuring XL Scallops, Venison Wellington and Ruinart Rosé. Alternatively, St Pancras by Searcys boasts the longest Champagne bar in Europe, and offers its own aphrodisiac-drenched menu — think Asparagus Velouté and Pyefleet Rock Oysters. Or, for a more hands-on eating experience, and a chance to avoid the 14th itself, Sauce by The Langham are offering a ‘Master the Pasta’ cooking class on Thursday 17th.
Fenchurch Restaurant Tasting Menu
Sauce by The Langham ‘Master the Pasta’
St Pancras by Searcys ‘Bubble Menu’
Buy a gift that’ll make her life easier
Of course, you could buck all of the clichéd Valentine’s Day gift-giving trends — and actually buy her something useful. If she’s into music, or complains about her commute, KEF’s ‘Mu3’ headphones are the ideal present; with active noise cancellation, and ergonomic design and up to 24 hours battery time.
Similarly, a Polaroid camera is a thoughtful gift. Giving her the opportunity to make memories with you, it’s a pleasingly old-school bit of kit — and this ‘Now+’ model is compatible with the indispensable, utterly creative Polaroid mobile app. Alternatively, to go with that Fortnum’s coffee box above, this Joy Resolve alarm clock will ensure you can bring her a cup of coffee every morning in bed — even if you’re not there.
KEF Mu3 Headphones
Polaroid Now+ Instant Camera
Joy Resolve ‘Barisieur’ Alarm Clock
If you do go for perfumes, go for the best
Perhaps the only clichéd Valentine’s Day gift actually worth giving, nothing shows you know someone like picking out their signature scent. But, if you are going to plump for perfume this February 14th, ensure you go for the best. From Creed, this ‘Aventus For Her’ comes with a handcrafted Italian leather sleeve to accompany its aromas of pink pepper, rose and peach.
From Floris, ‘Cherry Blossom’ is a dainty, delicate scent perfect for spring. With zesty hints of citrus and a floral heart of peony, rose and osmathus, it’s hard to go wrong with a classic. Or, if you’re heading to Bicester Village for some Valentine’s Day shopping, why not pop into the Penhaligon’s boutique, where you’ll find the British brand’s uplifting ‘Luna’ fragrance at just a fraction of its original £144 price.
Creed ‘Aventus For Her'
Floris ‘Cherry Blossom’
Penhaligon’s ‘Luna’ at Bicester Village
Want more Valentine’s Day ideas? Here are the 14 best rosé champagnes for February 14th…
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