Valentine's Day gifts: no bins please

Valentine's Day gifts: no bins please

Valentine's Day has become another of those days where marketing folks try to convince us our loved one will be thrilled with a bin or a hacksaw. Well, having quizzed people out on the streets it would seem the old favourites reign supreme: flowers, champagne and a dinner that isn't pasta and pesto

Red roses are a winner

Red roses remain a sure-fire winner when it comes to men sending their ladies a love token. One gay woman we spoke to said she'd be happy with roses too, indeed any flowers including good faux ones, while a male couple said respectively a bottle of port and a bottle of Limoncello would be pleasing gifts from each other..... Pictured above: exquisite red roses from Flowerbx. 

Every year the stuff we're encouraged to believe would make great Valentine's Day presents becomes ever more ridiculous in its prosaicness - bins, laundry baskets, breadboards, long as they're red of course.

We decided to ask shoppers in Islington what, if anything, would make their heart sing on February 14th - and conventionality wins the day. Bouquets of flowers, roses in particular, or an orchid in a pot are always well-received by women it would seem, whether straight or gay, while men seemed keen on bottles of booze and they liked the idea of their partner cooking 'a nice dinner'. (Nice tended to mean that M&S deal where you dine in on steak and a gooey pudding for a tenner...)


You could give or request a piece of china - Villeroy & Boch's Anmut Flowers platter costs £72
A big bunch of tulips always brings a smile
The Phalaenopsis orchid remains super super popular. This one is from Flowerbx
If roses are too schmalzy how about giving (or asking for) an orange tree. They're easy to look after and yield pretty, albeit inedible miniature fruits
..Or how about a less well known Cymbidium orchid. Pic from Flowerbx
Faux flowers can be very realistic and they have the eco merit of longevity - though do dust them regularly. This centrepiece is from Bloom
A hand-tied bouquet from Bloom & Wild
Florrie plates from bluebellgray, set of 4 £38
Red roses with petals made from the pages of books available from US brand Eco Flower

Firstly we showed people on Upper Street in Islington a photo of an expensive red metal kitchen bin and asked if they'd be happy to give or receive it; they all said no. 

We then asked random people across the age spectrum 'what would you like from your partner for Valentine's Day?' and here are some responses:

'I want him to send me some flowers, a really big bouquet.'

'I don't know - she could cook me something nice.'

'Those nice orchids, two of them.' 

'A bottle of my favourite perfume and a card that he's written a romantic sentiment in as he's never romantic.'

'A bottle of champagne.'

'Flowers by Paula Pryke.'

'I need some cufflinks'.

'A huge bouquet of flowers'

'Well, I do need some more socks..but that's not very romantic is it.'

'I'll send my wife some flowers and she can make dinner.'

OK, so real flowers are good - but on the carbon footprint argument it's best to have flowers grown in neighbouring Holland rather than Kenya (ask your florist where they source their flowers from). There are florists who specialise in UK-grown flowers but there's not much in the way of blooms in the UK in February alas.

Think faux...not faux pas

Alternatively a good faux arrangement could go down well too because high quality faux flowers look tremendously realistic and they don't die. Check out brands such as Bloom, which makes its flowers in the UK, Abigail Aherne and Amaranthine Blooms. Obviously not all components of faux flowers are recyclable, but they last for a good 10 years or more with regular dusting. And if you're in the US, Eco Flower makes beautiful bouquets of flowers made from wood and the pages of books...very realistic and they'll probably outlast you.

For non-floral gifts but with a floral heart, obviously perfumes, but a pretty piece of china could just about pass as a personal romantic keepsake...Anmut Flowers by Villeroy & Boch is an exuberant design as is Florrie chinaware from bluebellgray.