Valentine’s Day ideas 2021: spreading the love from home
Ideas and inspiration for spreading the love from home this Galentine’s and Valentine’s Day
Stripped of agendas and the flashy, performative elements which make couples and singles alike cringe at the thought of Valentine’s Day, this year’s homely edition has the potential to be a lot more authentic – and a chance for all of us to spread the love. So reclaim it, own it, and make it an opportunity to revel in the relationships you cherish most dearly – romantic, platonic or even with yourself.
If you’re looking for inspiration for making Galentine’s, Palentine's and Valentine’s Day at home feel special, read on.
Bloom & Wild
First things first, the gifting. A dozen roses might be clichéd, but there’s no reason to swerve flowers altogether – no one can argue with the fact they brighten up a home. Flowerbx’s Red Velvet Italian Ranunculus (from £105) are a sophisticated alternative to red roses and every bit as romantic. Meanwhile Bloom & Wild’s The Drew (£45) is a blush-hued, versatile bouquet marrying roses with the likes of eucalyptus, lilies, hypericum berries and more. Or, for a floral gift that will last long after the day itself, look to JamJar Flowers’ collection of pressed-flower prints.
Beyond the blooms, Biscuiteers and Bad Brownie are two Culture Whisper favourites when it comes to edible gifting, while you can’t go wrong with a hamper from the likes of Fortnum & Mason or Harvey Nichols. From the former, we’ve got our eye on the Lockdown Lovers’ Hamper (£175) with its medley of fine treats, while the latter’s Valentine’s Day Hamper (£100) will take care of your tipples and sustenance for the night.
Gifting to a friend? Happy Box is a favourite of ours for sending thoughtful, personalised packages – you can build your own bundle spanning beauty, gourmet treats, homeware, wellness and more.
Ambience is everything when it comes to setting the tone for a romantic night in – even if it’s yourself you’re serenading. We’re talking sweet and spicy candles, mood lighting, delicate spirals of fairy lights and a soundtrack to complete the atmosphere. (Spotify’s French jazz playlist is a classy, evocative go-to if you haven’t prepared your own.)
CW picks (clockwise from left): Regalo Scented Candle by Fornasetti, £155 – buy here; Aesop’s Catherine Oil Burner Blend, £25 – buy here; LuminaOfLondon Confetti Lights, £29.99 – buy here; Jo Malone Fragrance Layered Candle, £150 – buy here.
Raise a glass and a fork
Petersham Nurseries has launched dine-at-home boxes
Champagne somewhere swanky, cocktails hidden within a curtained speakeasy and candlelit dinners at a carefully chosen restaurant are all pleasures put on ice for now. But fortunately, many of the institutions which provided such joys have used this shuttered year to hone the craft of creating meal kits, or batching and bottling their cocktails, delivering these wares to our doors.
Among those with bespoke offerings this month is Petersham Nurseries, which has launched a Valentine’s Day dine-at-home box (serving two for £135), featuring the ingredients to recreate Petersham's Rose Bellini, a potted David Austin English shrub rose, a three-course dinner (featuring the sublime-sounding roasted duck with blood orange) and truffles to finish. Furthermore, the Richmond nursery will be selling British-grown bouquets for £55 over the Valentine’s Day weekend for those able to get there in person.
Another offering fusing flora and fodder is Covent Garden’s exceptional brunch spot, 26 Grains, which is offering a Valentine’s brunch box complete with Assembly coffee, porridge mix, Almond cacao crumble, a candle, and a Dot and the Dandelion mini bouquet of dried flowers, with the option to add the restaurant's signature Bloody Mary mix or a bottle of cava.
Big Mamma's signature Lemon Meringue Pie goes pink for Valentine's Day
Shifting the emphasis to Galentine’s Day, presenter and HOSTE founder Laura Jackson has launched a three-course meal kit for two (£55) featuring baked Camembert, beef short ribs (or a vegetarian Wellington), winter veg from Covent Garden, and Eton Mess with toasted hazelnuts and berry compote. Each box also comes with a 375ml bottle of Moët & Chandon’s Rosé Impérial, a Pink Blossom Love candle by Wax Atelier, and a playlist to help set the atmosphere.
Cahoots' Valentine's Day box
Then there’s the question of what to drink. Let’s be honest, unless you’re a mixologist (or were in a former life), cocktails are a faff to make at home, and things get especially complicated if you’re trying to coordinate timings with pals mixing theirs elsewhere. It’s good news, then, that several of London’s best bars including Swift, Coupette and Cahoots (pictured) have each developed a bespoke Valentine’s Day offering which can be delivered to your door.
Once gifts have been exchanged and glasses clinked, it’s time to turn your home into a cinema or theatre – two other lost treasures of the past year and beloved former date night options for Valentine’s Day. Netflix is providing a portal to our flirtier, fancy-free past with a host of romantic classics (Notting Hill, About Time, The Notebook and Bridget Jones’s Diary among them) and offering fresher titles too (welcome back, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You).
Streaming with your Galentines? We can’t think of a more appropriate offering this year than designer-cum-playwright Michelle Hudson’s new one-woman show Manimals (Wednesday 10 - Sunday 14 February), streaming via Greenwich Theatre, about the bizarre dating app trend of posing with exotic animals.
A touch of sentimentality
Oh Squirrel stationery
Whoever you’re celebrating with, remotely or in person, you’ll want to add your own touches to mark the occasion – be it sending a card, making affirmations about your friendship or addressing what you love about one another over a toast.
If you want to personalise a card or letter but art is not your thing, look to independent stationery brands Oh Squirrel (pictured) or Choosing Keeping, both of which offer stylish cards, decorative paper and a range of art materials. Or perhaps you’d rather play a puzzle or board game instead of watching a movie?
We needn’t write off Valentine’s Day this year, or think it’s not for us if we don’t have a partner to mark it with. After a year spent apart from those we hold dear, this is the year to embrace the day of love, and spread it far and wide.