Ahh V day. A day of candied love hearts and awkward self-doubt over whether you’ve been going out for too long or too short a time to really celebrate it. Such a day of romance needs to be freed from it’s Hallmark trappings and we have just the guide to help you do it!
Below are our tips and tricks for having a Valentine’s Day full of actual romance, without tacky teddy bears and novelty underwear. They’re simple, environmentally friendly ideas to fill the day with expressions of thoughtfulness without having to go full eco-warrior and pose naked on a bed of roses - unless that’s what you’re both into.
Homemade is Hipster
You live in Dublin, you’re dating a hipster. It’s ok, we all need to experiment when we’re young. So, as you lovingly stroke their dip-dyed hair and whisper sweet nothings in their multiply-pierced ears, why not go vintage with your card.
Rather than giving them a cheap Tescos one, make your own. You can make amazing ones out of recycled paper and pressing your own wildflowers. It’s doubly cute and means that you can write an actually meaningful message for that special someone in your life.
Otherwise, if you were always the kid eating glue in primary school, Botanical Paper makes cards that you can plant into a wildflower seed, meaning that you’ve given them a card and flowers for the price of one, and without needing to leave any waste behind for them to burn when it ends badly!
A Rose By Any Other Origin
Cut flower bouquets are usually grown with use of heavy pesticides, often in countries in South America or Africa, places where the chemical regulations are lax and often poison the workers. The cost of the cliched romantic gesture of sending some of the roughly 100 million roses of a typical Valentine's Day produces some 9,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions before reaching a U.S. florist. Even the more local European flowers (typically grown in The Netherlands) result in more than five times as much environmental pollution as the African imports, due to the need to artificially heat and supply flowers year round.
Why hurt the planet and your finances by spending money on a bouquet of flowers that only lasts for a few days when you can give potted plants that can remind someone of how much you care for months?
Most florists offer pretty selections anyway but here’s our pick of the best in Dublin:
The Garden, South William Street
Ginkgo Florists, D4
Adonis Flowers, Iveagh Buildings
If you’re worried that your special someone will get so overwhelmed by thoughtfulness and tear up, but try and play it off as hay fever, depriving you your moment of relationship glory, go organic as often it is the heavy pesticides in flowers that most people have a reaction to rather than the pollen itself.
Show You Care More Than The Cliche
Chocolate and wine. If there’s a language for flowers, the language of chocolate and wine on Valentine’s day is ‘I panicked and put no thought into this.’ Don’t buy chocolate, for your relationship’s sake as well as the planet.
Instead, why not get organic wine instead of Tesco value and have a cute little baking date of sweet Valentine treats, like these heart-shaped Jam tarts, to put a little bit of adorableness back into letting yourself go once you’re safely in a relationship. You don’t even need to have a special someone to do this one, just get drunk on organic wine and bake your feelings!
The Best Things In Life Are Free
This holiday is always reduced to spending, but this year, instead of money why not spend time together?
The best way to beat the commercial binge of this day is to actually spend time outside, disconnected from the rest of the world and together for a while. Now, we know what you’re thinking, it’s Ireland, it’s February, the outside is deeply unpleasant. But, remember when you first fell in love as a teenager and you couldn’t sit inside with your crush and your family, this is the mood you can recreate. Spend the day somewhere in the outside world, take a walk on the wild side or have a flower overload in the National Botanic Gardens.
If you’re looking for something inside and a bit more special, the bloody bones of St. Valentine’s himself are in Dublin. If speaking to the big man himself isn’t going to help your relationship go the distance then nothing will.
But Sometimes They’re Not
Gift-giving on Valentine’s Day is the stuff of nightmares, what’s the right amount of caring without looking like a sap? We don’t know, nobody knows. But here are some ideas of varying commitment to the day to help you along.
If you want to start small, do something cute together like making your own beeswax candles so that you can make repeated references to 'lighting their fire' and 'having that spark' for the entire evening. It’s sweet, environmental and a bit different, what more could they want? You could even set the mood with a Romantic Spotify playlist and do the whole scene out of Ghost in miniature.
If you’re that person that buys lingerie. That person. Then the least you can do is get environmentally friendly sets so what when… sorry if… it all goes horribly wrong and your significant other pulls that face, (you know the one with the raised eyebrows and slightly pursed lips) then you can swiftly recover the romance by going into the environmental impacts of clothes fibres such as cotton, dyes and synthetics. It's what gets us going.
If you’re going all out and getting jewellery, go vintage, there are shops all over Ireland with unique pieces that don’t have the heavy ethical and environmental implications of buying stones like diamonds.
Otherwise, if your lover has been cooing over a few too many babies recently, getting that look in their eye, perhaps the time has come for a convenient distraction and displacement of those feelings. Why not adopt an animal for them with the WWF, where you can fund specific animals and see where your money goes in that region, usually in community involvement and funding for conservation areas.
Save Your Sausages For Later
Meat sweats are definitely unsexy. No one wants to walk away from a romantic meal so heavy and full that they just want to lie on a sofa and not move for the rest of the evening. Meat heavy diets have also been linked to bad breath so it’s definitely not the evening to be gnawing on a bit of steak. Instead, why not stock up on some much needed slow-releasing energy by eating vegetarian. Get some carbs into you with a bit of pasta instead to help you for the long night ahead….
Here’s a great list of vegetarians restaurants in Ireland or, if you want to woo them with your wifey skills, why not cook something at home with these romantic Valentine’s Day recipes.
All of this should help you channel your inner cupid and make your Valentine’s Day so sweet, thoughtful and Instagram worthy that all your friends will just be sitting there thinking about how cute you are. You’re just so sickeningly cute aren’t you?