Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and whether you’re someone who goes in for all the lovey dovey, over the top romantic acts of consumerism or not, unless you’ve got a very understanding other half you are at least going to have to get them a card.
The cynics among you would argue that if you really love someone you don’t need one day to show them just how much, it should be something you do on a daily basis, and whilst I agree with that sentiment I also know that there aren’t many of us who do this. Life gets in the way doesn’t it, and so yes Valentine’s Day has become this major hyped up money grabbing thing, but ultimately it’s about making someone feel special and loved for at least that one day, and quite frankly I’m all for that!
So what to buy…?
It gets more and more difficult coming up with ideas, I mean cutesy teddy bears holding an ‘I love you’ heart are all well and good, but no one actually wants them, not if we’re being completely honest with ourselves. Then there’s the trusty chocolate box, surely you can’t go wrong with that? Well you can if your Valentine is vegan or has a food intolerance, how on earth do you find a selection that will tickle her tastebuds?
Well that’s where we come in, because we’ve gone and done all the hard work for you and not only sourced some fabulous gift ideas, but we’ve also tried them out as well. We’re good like that 😉
Bean & Pod Chocolates
How cute are these his and hers chocolates from UK chocolatiers Bean & Pod? Ummm super cute that’s what! Each box contains 7 hand crafted dark chocolates, and yes I know you might be thinking ‘What!?! Only 7?’, but it’s actually the perfect amount…that’s one for every day of the week (Ha! As if they’re going to last that long!)
The Strawberry Cream Hearts are the obvious choice for Valentine’s Day – dark chocolate bitterness cut through with a light pink creamy strawberry fondant in the centre – they are everything you could wish for in a Valentine choc. They are also certified as vegan, non-dairy and kosher, which as someone who is none of those things can often ring alarm bells in the taste department. However, I’ve got to say out of the many specialist chocolates I’ve tried, and trust me there are loads, these stack up really well. In fact if I were to do a blind taste test on these and another leading brand’s strawberry soft centred choccies I honestly don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference. And that’s a ginormous win from me!
Then there’s the Velvet Caramel Moments, hexagonal dark chocolate cases filled with sweet, smooth caramel and like the strawberry hearts, they are also vegan, non-dairy and kosher. You wouldn’t want too many of these as they are very sweet, and if I’m being really picky I’d prefer them if they were salted caramel, just to take the edge off the sweetness a little, but that’s just me. I see these ones working really well as an after dinner chocolate to enjoy with a coffee. In fact now there’s an idea for you, why not cook a romantic meal for your partner and serve these as petits fours at the end of the meal. Hey, these chocolates are darn tasty, why should you miss out on the eating part!
Born Wild Tea
Tea is a quintessential English tradition however it can sometimes still carry a bit of a fuddy duddy old lady vibe with it. Not so with this contemporary blend from Cotswold tea blenders Born Wild Tea, who have created this beautifully decadent Chocolate Strawberries herbal tea.
Now, I’ll 100% admit that I am not a tea drinker myself, but I am always on a mission to try and find one that I like, and if one that describes itself as a “gorgeous blend of rich cocoa peel, sweet strawberries, and a sprinkle of hibiscus blossoms” isn’t able to tip me on over into the tea drinking darkside, then dagnammit I may as well chuck my coat in now!
The packaging is spot on – modern, clean lines, see through so you know what you’re getting (always a bonus), and good looking enough to have out on display in your kitchen. And the smell…oh my the smell as you open the packet is just sublime. Imagine walking into an artisan chocolate shop that you just happened to stumble upon when wandering around the cobbled streets of some lovely market town, and that right there is the smell that hits you when you open the packet. In fact it smells and looks so good I legit had to stop myself from dipping my grubby mitts in and getting my snack on!
It’s loose tea so you’ll need to put it in an infuser or some ‘make your own’ tea bag sachets, but hey that would be a fab gift to go alongside the tea itself. It brews up to a lovely deep pink blush of a colour and the smell starts to veer more towards strawberry with a hint of creamy chocolate around the edges. And taste? Because tea drinker or no tea drinker, we all know the taste of tea is never as full on flavoursome as the scent would suggest. And this is no different. But actually that’s no bad thing, as the scent is pretty darn intense, and so when I tentatively sipped the tea I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I was enjoying it. Warming (obvs!), slightly bitter at first, but it leaves you with a luxuriously smooth chocolate taste in your mouth at the end….and dare I say it, I really liked it!
Present a cup of this to your loved one whilst serving her breakfast in bed on Valentine’s Day and you are going to score yourself some serious brownie points, hey bung a rose in a vase and pop a chocolate croissant on the side and you might even get lucky 😉
Courage Queen Book
What greater gift of love can there be than the gift of self love, and this book from Rachael Alexander offers a great walk through guide with various action points and activities to help give women the ‘grace, strength, dignity and courage to triumph over life’s adversities’, and heaven knows we could all do with a bit of that!
Rachael is a Behavioural Change Psychologist, so clearly knows her stuff, but what’s nice about this guide and what comes across so strongly in it is that she herself was that person who once based so much importance on the need for approval of others to the point of it becoming completely and utterly detrimental to her own happiness. Through her decision to make a change, she learnt various techniques and coping strategies to forge a life that is now strong, happy and courageous and she wants to share that with you.
Split into three parts: Self, Others, and Life, How To Be A Courage Queen guides you through activities such as rating your levels of self respect, writing down the people and situations which cause you grief and anxiety, and listing the positive influences in your life. And what I really love most about it is the continual messages of support and encouragement and the positive affirmations that feature throughout, helping motivate and remind you that you’re doing a good job. Plus the declarations whereby you are required to sign your name stating that you will do or not do something is quite frankly genius, if you can make yourself accountable then honestly you’re half way there! Wrap this gift up with some gorgeous stationery and a big old cuddle – she’s gonna need it!
Río Nuevo Chocolate
Yep more chocolate, but we reckon this one’s more suited to the lads, hey they like choccy based presents too ya know! I mean look at them, how sophisticated hotel chic does that packaging look!?!
Río Nuevo pride themselves on sourcing cocoa beans direct from farmers in Ecuador, meaning their bean to bar handcrafted chocolate is both ethical and super high quality delicious. Let’s face it, food that has come from a good and fair place is always gonna taste better than that which is mass produced in a factory and riddled with rubbish! Also suitable for vegans, we think this chocolate would make the perfect gentlemanly gift with a bottle of brandy on the side for good measure.
Vegan Massage Oils
All girlies love a good massage, but booking yourself in for one at the local beauty salon can start to get a bit costly after a while. Which is why we love this ‘All your kneads’ massage oil gift set from the natural healthy living web shop Naissance. The set includes three 100ml bottles: ‘Knotty but nice’ a blend of Ylang Ylang and Patchouli oils…the seductive, get you in the mood one, ‘No knead to stress’ a blend of Lavender and Chamomile oils…the relaxing, chill you out after a bath one, and ‘Work it out’ a blend of Ginger and Black Pepper… the spicy, who’s the daddy one.
All of the ingredients used in these massage oils are 100% natural and are therefore vegan friendly and cruelty free. I find that some scented massage oils can be a little overpowering, to the point of giving me a headache, which is obviously completely counterproductive. These however, aren’t too strong, they’ve got that balance just right of not too subtle, but not so strong it makes your nose bleed. The oil itself rubs in really well and a little goes a long, long way so this really is the gift that keeps on giving.
My personal fave is the ‘Knotty but nice’, and I’m still undecided about the ‘Work it out’ as it’s just a bit too cooking ingredient smell for my liking, but I reckon it would go down well with the men who are all up for a massage, but not so keen on smelling like a bunch of flowers.
It comes as a gift set, so all you’d need to do is tie a red ribbon around the box, stick on a label and limber up those knuckles. Our view? You ‘knead’ these in your life!
Lingerie Subscription Box
Now listen up girls, ‘cos if there’s one present you want to be dropping some big old hints at, it’s these stunning lingerie boxes from Empress Mimi. There’s a choice of 3 different boxes, with prices ranging from £24.95 for three pairs of underwear all the way up to £69.95 for an all singing, all dancing, nipple tassels and all box. You can also select whether to order a one off box or go for the 3, 6, or 12 month subscription option where you’ll get a beautiful surprise posted out to you on a regular basis – sure beats receiving household bills right!?!
Now the feminists among you may well argue that hang on surely receiving lingerie on Valentine’s Day is more of a gift to the men than it is for us women, and that it’s merely a sneaky ploy to get things going in the bedroom. And yes of course wearing such gorgeous lingerie as this whilst twirling those nipple tassels is likely to lead from one thing to another, but considering Empress Mimi is a company that’s been set up by women I’m pretty sure they’ve thought about the comfort factor as well as the sex factor!
So let’s talk pants…
There’s the saggy, washed out apple catchers sat at the bottom of the drawer that only come out at certain times of the month, the brightly coloured ‘lucky pants’ that you have to wear for certain events, the day to day white and black sets that are practical, comfortable and do the job, then there’s the silky, meow look at me I’m a sex kitten set of lingerie that also sits barely used at the bottom of your underwear drawer, only saved ‘for best’. Well, now is the time to shake things up a bit and liberate that lingerie, because life is too short to save things for best ladies!
Us ladies are the ones wearing it and so ultimately we want it to fit in all the right places, we want it to support in all the right places, we certainly don’t want to be hoiking it out of all our nooks and fannies and hey if it makes us feel like a combination of Wonder Woman powerful and Cat Woman sexy than that’s a big old Brucey bonus!
Buy this for the lady in your life if she’s a strong, empowered female who loves her body as much as you do. Oh and boys, one final tip for you…for your own sake please make sure you get her size right, cos I guarantee if you go too small we’ll think you’re trying to tell us something, go too big and we’ll think you think we’re fat. Basically, you can’t win so do yourself a favour and go and check her underwear drawer before you order!
Vegan Chocolate Selection
What do you buy a chocoholic vegan gal? Uh duh…ALL the vegan chocolate of course! And what’s gonna make life a darn sight easier? Yep, having it all in once place!
The Vegan Chocolate Shop is your one stop shop for vegan chocolate with all the fave vegan brands including Conscious, Ombar, The Raw Chocolate Co, Solkiki and heaps more. You choose the goodies and they’ll package them up and have them delivered to your home in a jiffy.
(L to R – Solkiki Maranon 60% Salted Caramel Dark Mylk, Ombar Goji Berry/Blueberry and Acai, the raw chocolate co. Chocolate Stem Ginger, Conscious love potion no. 9)
Why not order a selection and put together a vegan chocolate hamper for your partner? They’ll be impressed because you’ve put some thought into it and we all know that goes down well, plus you’ll have spent far less money than you would’ve done if you’d bought a whopping great pre-selected box of chocolates that’s more style than substance. Everyone’s a winner!
♥ HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! ♥
We’d love to hear what you’re going to buy for your Valentine this year…so get in touch!
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*All products gifted for review