February 9th, 2012 | | permalink
My heart often skips a beat when my credit card statement arrives in the post, but I’d much rather get that feeling from receiving a love letter. Now Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, we’ve all got a good excuse to put pen to paper.
While I’m a big fan of modern technology, I think it’s a shame we’ve become so reliant on texting, social networking and emailing to convey our feelings to those we care about, because there’s a tenancy to rush things and they lack permanence. Whereas if you sit down to craft a letter, the chances are that you’ll take your time over it, it’s something that will be treasured – and it could even become a legacy…
For example, last summer while I was helping clear out my gran’s house, I found a box of wartime love letters from my grandad. It was the best kind of treasure I could’ve found. You see, I never got the chance to know my grandad, and when I was reading his letters to my gran, he suddenly came alive to me. I could vividly imagine him in his wartime posting in India with his pipe in one hand and pen in the other, dreaming of ‘his Iris’ back home in Somerset and jotting down how much he missed her.
So are you ready to put pen to paper and write a love letter? Here are my top tips…
1. Write from the heart, be thoughtful and be yourself.
2. Choose a lovely pen and some luxurious paper. My choice stationary haunts are Paperchase and Papyrus. Why not spritz the paper with your signature scent to remind your loved one of you? I must admit that my favourite Crabtree & Evelyn men’s fragrance is Nomad.
3. You could gather some friends together and throw a love letter writing party with tea, cake and romantic candles. If you’re based in London, the Letter Lounge is running a special event at the Andor Bureau on Sunday 12 February to encourage people to write love letters, so check it out.
4. For ideas, read Love Letters Of Great Men, which was inspired by the book that Carrie reads to Big in Sex And The City: The Movie, and includes the writing of Ludwig van Beethoven, Edgar Allan Poe and Vincent Van Gogh.
Happy scribing, readers!
Visit the previous Life, Lather & Luxuries blog posts if you’re after Alternative Valentine’s date ideas or want to Spread the love with crafty Valentine’s gifts.
January 25th, 2012 | | permalink
What are you up to this Valentine’s Day? If you’re toying with the idea of going out for a romantic meal, think again. Do you really want to be crammed into an overpriced restaurant with a so-so set menu and a waiter who is desperate to cart you off to make room for the next couple?
Thought not, so instead check out these alternative Valentine’s date ideas…
This might be some people’s idea of hell, but I love the thought of going on a Zorbing date. Not heard of Zorbing before? Well, you get into a big plastic orb (a bit like a hamster ball) and roll down a hill. Don’t worry – you’re strapped in and there’s room for two. It’ll certainly give your date some excitement, and the adrenaline rush is said to be incredible. I know this through watching daytime soap Doctors – the other week Karen the receptionist had a go at Zorbing and was like a new woman afterwards.
For something more relaxing, how about a spa date? Oh and any man who tells you that spas aren’t his thing either hasn’t been before or just hasn’t been to a good one. Wahanda are doing some fantastic Valentine’s spa deals at the moment. The New Leaf Spa at Clumber Park Hotel & Spa looks dreamy. They even have an out door hot tub – just imagine a starry nighttime dip with champagne and candles…
Book 14 February off work and head to the nearest beach for a day trip. Who care’s if it’s cold? Just wrap up in your favourite jumpers, go for a lovely walk on the beach and have some fish and chips. Simple dates are often the best ones. Who needs balloon rides and limousines? Although that would be nice too…
A week or so before V-Day, pin a map on a dartboard. It could be a local map or a world map, your call, your wallet. Ask your loved one to throw a dart to determine the destination of your date. The dartboard is just for added effect. If you don’t have one, just get him/her to close their eyes and randomly place a pin in the map. Next, book your romantic getaway – just throw again if you end up in the middle of the Atlantic! If you don’t have the cash for a mini break then why not cook a meal themed around your selected destination at home?
Few things are more romantic than being cooked a delicious and thoughtful homemade meal. There are some lovely Valentine’s Day menu ideas on the food section of the BBC website (I like the sound of Sophie Dahl’s menu). For an ambient setting, light candles around the room. I’d recommend trying out the new India Hicks Island Living Casuarina Scented Candle.
OK, so now you should have a good idea of how to impress that special someone this Valentine’s Day (if not then why not revist the comments left in our Valentine’s Post of last year for more examples of best & worst Valentine’s experiences!).
If you need to buy pressies just check out what’s on offer at Crabtree & Evelyn. The good news is there’s 30% off selected gifts. Enjoy!
January 16th, 2012 | | permalink
Valentine’s gift buying can be a minefield, and while you can throw money at the problem, fewer things show you care more than a thoughtful handmade gift. So get creative with these crafty Valentine’s gift ideas…
Toy with it
Just to clarify, I’m not a fan of receiving soft toys on Valentine’s Day, or any other day. However, I love the idea of this DIY Plushform Toy, which can be decorated with a variety of techniques, including spray-painting, brush painting and appliqué.
I should cocoa
You can’t go far wrong with delicious handmade chocolates on Valentine’s Day. I’m definitely going to try out this truffle recipe on the Joy Of Baking website. If you make chocolates, a nice touch would be to present them in a heart-shaped box, which you can purchase from a sugar craft shop or haberdashery and decorate yourself.
Why not make your loved one a personalised notebook? I like this idea for a homemade journal with a ‘10 things I love about you’ report card attached to the cover. Or, make a collage on the cover of the notebook of things that remind you of your relationship, like gig tickets, sweet wrappers, and photos. You could even scent the pages with your favourite Crabtree & Evelyn fragrance.
Sew you care
One of my missions this year is to master the art of embroidery, so I’m going to attend the Crafty Pint Valentine’s Embroidery workshop on 4 Feb with my crafty mate, T. We can’t wait to create some Valentine’s pressies. I’ll post some pictures of our endeavours!
Grow with it
If you or your loved one are green-fingered, a tree from www.tree2mydoor.com could be the perfect present. It’s much more thoughtful than the usual bunch of red roses, and a tree is sustainable. Yes, this gift has technically already been crafted by Mother Nature, but will still need plenty of TLC. My favourite is the Wild Cherry Tree because the blossom is so pretty. If you choose a green-fingered love token, the Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Hand Care Tin makes a perfect companion.
Will you be getting crafty for Valentine’s Day? Let us know about your efforts in the comments box below…