V Day; Inspiration For Boycotting And Celebrating St Valentine’s
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
February 14th can be viewed in many ways; an extra anniversary for lovey-dovey couples, a commercialised black hole for money, a reason to clear the schedule and spend time with your other half, a reminder to all those that are single that they are still single, an extra date to remember to buy a gift… I could continue, but I think you get the picture; it’s just one of those marmite occasions and your feelings on the subject probably depend on your relationship status.
As you may already have guessed, I fall into the more cynical St Valentine’s camp, though I by no means begrudge couples who choose to make an occasion of it and splash out on dinner, prosecco and gifts. So, whether you are in the pro-Valentine camp or with me on the slightly grumpier side of the water, this Grow Talk endeavours to offer you inspiration for celebrating or boycotting this lovey-dovey day.
Whether you are celebrating on the day itself (14th of Feb for those who need reminding) or adjusting the date to fit in with your lifestyle, here are a few ideas to mark the special occasion.
Speed Tasting with South West Wine School
An event for singles or couples, guests can enjoy the stunning views from Kingston Estate whilst supping on a selection of wine from the top wine regions of the world chosen by experts in the industry. In partnership with Pi Society, this event will offer singles the chance to swap speed dating for speed tasting, moving around the tables and meeting other singles whilst enjoying plenty of wine.
Classic Cinema Date
It’s a classic for a reason; cosying up to your date, partner or spouse in a dark room with a movie and a handful of popcorn is timeless. Check out your local listings to see what’s on and for those feeling truly romantic, Exeter Picturehouse are putting on a Valentine screening of Dirty Dancing.
Spa, Fizz or Dinner?
Exeter Golf and Country Club are set to come up trumps this year, offering a range of Valentines’ treats including a spa day, fizz afternoon tea or a romantic meal.
If a romantic meal sounds just tight, The Terrace have arranged a tantalising menu for an evening of romance at a very reasonable price; two courses for £20pp or three courses for £25pp. Valentine’s specials include saddle of venison, thyme and star anise roasted duck breast and an 8oz sirloin steak.
Want to try something completely new? Hanlon’s Brewery have teamed up with La Cantina and are opening their Beer Factory and Kitchen on the 14th of Feb. From the sneak peek photos, a cosy fairy light setting can be expected along with a menu that champions local produce and, of course, Hanlon’s own award-winning beer.
Boycott the Big Spend
If you want to celebrate Valentine’s but don’t want to blow all of your money before payday, why not try…
Takeaway for Two
This has become a tradition for me and my husband; neither of us want to splash all of our paycheck mid-month and we don’t particularly fancy dining out surrounded by swooning couples. So, every year, we make the incredibly difficult decision; Chinese, Indian or pizza? Then we can happily pig out in the comfort of our own home with some ciders.
Dine in for Two
Plenty of supermarkets, from Tesco to Marks and Spencer’s, have cottoned on to the fact that not everyone wants to spend all of their wages on a Valentine’s dinner and drinks. Enter the Dine In For Two package; food and booze for two at a fraction of the prices restaurants will be charging. Again, you can enjoy from the comfort of you home and have a lie down between courses if necessary. This one is also a great option for singles; pig out and eat for two or freeze the second portion.
Food is Love
This is something my sister and her boyfriend opt for each Valentine’s; cooking a special meal together. The pre-requisite, of course, is that you need to enjoy cooking and that you can’t be a control freak who only cooks solo. Other options in theses cases would of course be cooking for your spouse or partner, rather than cooking with. Rather than just cooking up the quickest or cheapest option, V Day can give you the opportunity to try something new, to cook multiple courses and, one of the best parts of cooking, ‘sample’ the food and drink involved in your meal as you go along.
Yes, it’s February, it is entirely the wrong time of year in the UK for an outdoor picnic. Luckily, that doesn’t stop you from preparing (or buying) traditional (or fancy) picnic fare, spreading out a blanket or rug on the carpet and scattering it with cushions and uncorking a bottle of something tasty. You could put on mood music or a movie, or simply enjoy each other’s company. Picnics are inherently romantic and it doesn’t really matter if they are outdoor or in; they act as a great opportunity to cwtch up to your loved on.
It’s Netflix Time!
Good old Netflix has got you covered this Valentine’s with a whole category dedicated to the subject. So if the purse strings are feeling a little strained and eating out or going to the cinema is out of the question, then you and your other half can snuggle up to all of the romantic mush that Netflix has to offer.
Pull your duvet over your head and pretend it isn’t happening
The above is a fairly good fail-safe solution, but it isn’t the only way to boycott the day.
It’s a Day About Love, After All…
…so spend it with your loved ones; pets, friends, relatives, or, quite simply, yourself! It doesn’t have to be an occasion or an obligation to spend money, instead regard it as a reminder to Skype your siblings or have a cuppa with your parents or take your dog out on a special walk.
Make a Donation
If you take the line of thought that Valentine’s has become overly commercial and just another day of the year where shops and companies are trying to turn a profit, then opt out. Instead, you could donate what you would have spent on a gift or night out to a charity of your choice.
If you don’t want to make a monetary donation, you could donate your time instead; volunteer for a local charity or offer your trade services. Take a trip to your parents’ house and help out with that long overdue DIY job or techy issues. Or if you’re feeling truly brave and selfless, offer to babysit for a couple that rarely gets a night out and give them a lovely Valentine’s.
Throw an Anti-Valentine’s Party
You are not the only person out there who is cynical about Valetine’s; in fact there are plenty of us, whether single or in a relationship. So, get together and throw a party and laugh at the smushiness of the occasion. You could have a theme, like famous couples that didn’t work out, or ban everything pink, red and heart-shaped.
Freshly Single and Ready to Mingle?
If you’ve just come out of a relationship, Valentine’s is a great day to enjoy something that your ex hated. It might be a type of food or a particular movie, maybe it’s a type of music or a certain activity. Whatever it might be, take the chance to enjoy it and celebrate being out of a relationship that wasn’t working.
Hit the Gym
If you’re not feeling Valentine’s, it can leave you a little low and as exercise releases endorphins, hitting the gym, the pool or an exercise class could be the best thing for you. Chances are, it’ll be fairly quiet with lots of the usual exercise fiends otherwise engaged so seize the opportunity to try out that class that’s always fully-booked.
If none of those take your fancy, then it’s back to Plan A; pull the duvet up over your head, order all of the food, stick Netflix on and let yourself go wherever the feeling is taking you.