Valentines schmallentines. Yup, that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.
I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.
Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers‘. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.
At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.
And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.
I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.
Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.
First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.
Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.
Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.
And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.
Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!
And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.
Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
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