Valentine's Day gifts: please, no bins

Valentine's Day has become another of those days where marketing folks try to convince us our beloved will be thrilled with a bin or a hacksaw. Well, having quizzed a range of folks it seems the old favourites continue to reign supreme: flowers, champagne and a dinner that isn't pasta and pesto. Which isn't to say some new thinking couldn't come into play...

By Coco Piras
Albert Moon Downloadable and printable art on Etsy

Red roses/tulips 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; however women don't feel men appreciate flowers in quite the same way. So why not give your chap a piece of art if his walls are bare? Pictured above: Love, an Albert Moon poster you can download and print for your beloved, or have it printed for you. From £4.50 

*Click on images in article for product info and to open in larger format 

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 or have a heart motif on them. 

We sent out a questionnaire asking people what would make their hearts sing on 14 February - and  conventionality wins the day. Bouquets of flowers or an orchid are always well-received by women it would seem, whether straight or gay; while scented candles and diffusers that have fragrances made from essential oils, not synthetic fragrances, are almost as popular. Women struggle with finding something appropriate for their menfolk and the men we questioned said it was the gesture that counted, but nice socks, artwork, something nice to eat/drink, and indeed to drink from, plus special toiletries would all be gratefully received.


If he/she lacks coffee spoons, the Amore coffee spoons Annabel James
You Are My Sunshine music box from the British Craft House, £16.50
Soywax scented candle, made in Yorkshire using essential oils, from £15.99 at Newshome Candles
Celebrate with gin in a glass meant for gin & tonic..gin balloon glasses, £30 for 4, LSA
British grown tulips by post from Smith & Munson, from £20 a tube
Miss Piggy bouquet, £80, by renowned florist Paula Pryke
Faux flowers can be very realistic and they have the eco merit of longevity - though do dust them re
For wonderful roses, albeit it quite a price, look to Flowerbx. Roses are grown in Holland.
The Phalaenopsis orchid remains super super popular.
Aftershave balm made from nice natural ingredients with a wonderful scent from Le Labo, £29
May your beloved never lose their glasses again..solid oak glasses stand

Men we voxpopped seemed keen on bottles of booze. So if your partner is a gin afficionado, why not treat him to a box of 4 gin balloons by LSA (£30) so your Valentine's Day aperitif can be that petit peu plus elegant?  

As mentioned, we quizzed 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 the UK or neighbouring Holland rather than Kenya (ask your florist where they source their flowers from).

We Brits have a mania for tulips so it's good to know you can order a tube of 20 tulips by post, grown by Lincs-based Smith & Munson - and their tulips are grown hydroponically, so very eco. Renowned florist Paula Pryke's Miss Piggy bouquet is spectacular and rather pricey at £80, but if your lady loves roses, it's the one to splash out on. For red roses Flowerbx are the go-to people. If you are on a budget, Waitrose has British grown tulips and orchids.

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. 


For the coffee loving twitcher..Bird & Wild coffee donates 6% of proceeds to the RSPB
Partner's a keen wild garden fan? Seedball's £12 Wildflower bags will go down well

Non-floral gifts

...but with a floral heart, then obviously perfumes, and for men, the aftershave balm from Le Labo will make monsieur smell divine. Le Labo scents are unusual and very lovely and their products are vegan and are paraben-free, phthalate-free and artificial colorant-free. 

For the cutlery drawer lacking teaspoons, the Annabel James' Amore set of four stainless steel teaspoons with a heart-shaped tip are that rare thing - useful AND romantic.

For romantic and fun, and possibly a bit cheesy, go for the You Are My Sunshine small wind up music box from The British Craft House, £16.50. The box is made from pine wood and measures 6x6x3.5cm. Or for a partner who's always losing their glasses, the MijMoj oak glasses stand from is a gift that will go on giving. Have it engraved with a loving message.. £29.95.

For wildmeadow-type gardeners, anything from Seedball will delight; for coffee lovers who also love the natural world, especially our fine-feathered friends, Bird & Wild donates 6 per cent of its sales to the RSPB.