I once knew a man who, for Valentine’s Day, bought his very serious girlfriend a Thorntons chocolate gorilla and a fairly offensive novelty mug (chipped and all; price tag still on). It didn’t land too well, a bit like Tom Hanks’s role in Elvis, or that Adam Driver film with the dinosaurs. However, permitting you avoid the clichés (and disasters), you’ll find that 14 February actually has the capacity to be extremely pleasant – but, in contrast to my old-friend’s approach, that means putting at least a modicum of thought into it all.
To set you on the right path, we’ve rounded up a collection of top-tier gifts that steer clear of the tired ideas – heavy necklaces; average set-menu dinners; even more average poetry you’ve considered bestowing upon the poor woman – and, instead, actually hit the mark. So, for a successful occasion, this is what to get your girlfriend, long-term partner or wife for Valentine’s Day…
Seek out some singular jewellery
All that glitters is not gold. Earrings and necklaces have, of course, forced their way to the fore of the Valentine’s market, but there are other gleaming accessories (or, at least, more artistic takes on these time-old styles) that are much more elegant and far less hackneyed.
Perhaps consider some serious timekeeping by Longines, whose Mini DolceVita is defined by its rectangular case and border of diamond clusters. Tasaki’s ring, done out in yellow-gold, has an artisanal slant thanks to its horn design that melds the sharp with the smooth. GJ favourite Blackacre’s Honeysuckle earrings are also worth note, as their upwards taper offers a nice alternative to hoops and studs.
Longines Mini DolceVita
Tasaki Danger Horn Plus Ring
Blackacre Honeysuckle Earrings
Avoid the box of chocolates
Not that such a present is necessarily bad. Actually, whack almost anything into a pretty enough presentation box and it’ll boost those ‘thoughtful’ credentials a fair bit. But, with a box of Godivas being so commonplace, we’d recommend the below shelf items to stick a bow on instead.
A pretty good place to start is Nyetimber’s Tillington Single Vineyard 2014, which mixes chardonnay with pinot noir, creating an irresistible fragrance of raspberries and wild strawberries. To sip over a few occasions, Moth’s Valentines Gift Bundle showcases a slew of vibrant canned cocktails, including a Margarita, a French 75, and an Espresso Martini (ideal for when needing a late-night boost). For really easy drinking, reach for the Rosé Cider, by Maison Sassy – the 18 varieties of apples not only provide a sweet-tart flavour, but they also give the liquid its rich pink hue.
Nyetimber Tillington Single Vineyard 2014
Moth: Valentines Gift Bundle
Maison Sassy Rosé Cider
Flowers may be pretty, but they don’t last long
Flowers, of course, are lovely when you present them in full bloom. But, there’s something fairly gutting about a wilting bouquet. Instead, we’d opt for an item that’s equally easy on the eye, but has a higher chance of making it to March.
For this, look to London Terrariums, which has a range of ‘self-sustaining eco-systems’ – we quite like The Large Dome, which will perk up your better-half’s home office. Bloom & Wild’s The Citrus Tree – a 40cm-tall Meyer lemon tree that ripens across 6 to 12 weeks – offers a taste of the West Coast during this grey winter. Or, for something with even more longevity (teach a man to fish etc.), then consider a course at the Judith Blacklock Flower School, famed for its classes in both conventional and contemporary floral design.
London Terrariums The Large Dome
Bloom & Wild The Citrus Tree
Judith Blacklock Flower School
The failsafe, timeless options
Of course, you could eschew all the sentimental gift-giving trends and, instead, buy her something that dovetails functionality, style and longevity – the things that are immune to cyclical fashion and fluctuating trends.
Created by Mulberry, this satchel is compact, pearl-white in looks and pared-back enough to work through the decades. Given we’re fully into Alpine season, perhaps a pair of shades for the après ski might do the trick – this boxy, bio-acetate pair by Jimmy Fairly is ideal for both the chalet and summertime. And, to give planning a degree of elegance, look to Smythson and, in particular, the brand’s crossgrain calf leather organiser.
Mulberry Small Pimlico Satchel
Jimmy Fairly The Chase Sunglasses
Smythson Bond Organiser
If you plump for a perfume, reach for the top end
That same friend of mine also bought his girlfriend a pretty toxic spritz from the local Savers. There’s not much more to expand on, but you get the idea that if you’re going to buy a scent, it should be fairly premium.
Storied maker Floris’s Bouquet de La Reine is pretty gentle on the nose, with its hits of blackcurrant buds, violet leaf, soft, fresh peaches and vanilla. Incredibly left-field in design, with its sculptural frosted-glass vessel, Amaffi’s Maracoca blends the zing of yuzu with the sweetness of jasmine and the spiciness of frangipani. For the neutral, Blanche, courtesy of Byredo, smells like fresh laundry drying in the wind.
And, for yourself? These are the best watches under £1,000…
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