Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is all about hearts and flowers, sweet nothings and quite possibly a fabulous night out.

Except that after close to a year of lockdowns, working from home and restricted movement, the thought of spending yet another night indoors with your other-half might not be making you feel too romantic.

Relationships have felt the burden of the pandemic, and if an early night these days means comfy jim jams, a quiet bath and a book, Valentine’s Day 2021 is going to need a bit of help…

Make an effort

With a large number of us working from home, there has been no need to dress for the office, and more of us are falling out of bed and straight into the computer chair, which is bad for our health and wellbeing, and if you’ve got children to home school and care for too, the last thing you probably feel like is pretending you are in the first flush of romance.

But give it a go. Pretend you are heading out and get all dressed up – use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to make an effort for each other.

Foodie fun 

With lockdown trapping us indoors, there is no chance of that romantic dinner for two in a posh diner, but there is nothing stopping you from getting creative in the kitchen and making a special meal. Why not share the workload, and turn up the heat in the kitchen together?

Or, if that sounds like too much hard work after a day sat on zoom calls or juggling spreadsheets and ankle-biters, pick up the phone and order a takeaway – you deserve it, and of course you’ll be helping to support local businesses during these challenging times.

Fancy a film?

If it’s a musical that you fancy, turn to page 55 for five of our favourites, but really, there are dozens of smoochy cinema hits out there; When Harry Met Sally, The Notebook, Sleepless in Seattle, Valentine’s Day, Love Actually and so many more.  Just pick a fave. Or, if he doesn’t fancy a slushy rom-com and you want a bit more action, hell yeah, go for Rocky. It’ll pack a punch!

Say it with flowers

Isn’t that what they used to say? It still applies today. Everyone loves petal-power, and on February 14 a doorstep delivery of a single stem (or a dozen) will tell someone you are thinking of them. It is worth bearing in mind that some companies are no longer offering Valentine flowers during these difficult times, so get organised nice and early.

While nothing will quite beat cuddling up on the sofa, there are still lots of ways to make Valentine’s special even if you can’t be with your partner…

Send a card

Take some time to write your feelings down the traditional way. A little love token received through the letterbox will be certain to lift their spirits. It’s a simple way to say ‘Hey, I love you’ and while retailers have been forced to close their doors, you can still pick up a card from a supermarket or send one using one of the many online retailers. And you know what would be even better? Sending them a letter…

Do the film thing

Yep, we mentioned it earlier, but you can still enjoy some movie magic even if you can’t be together, by streaming a shared choice at the same time…

FaceTime is happening

Technology can nark us, but when it comes to keeping us connected it has truly come into its own over the past year, and spending a little screen time with your favourite person is a no-brainer. Perhaps you are working shifts, or occupying different time zones and won’t even be able to do that. Don’t sweat it; send them a selfie or a video message instead.

And however you spend this Valentine’s Day, remember that for all the extravagant gestures you can make, a good old fashioned hug (or virtual one) will mean most of all.

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