Celebrating Valentine’s Day creatively can be a challenge when faced with commercial clichés, budget constraints and busy schedules. To make finding the right gift for this special day a little easier, first think about the way you and your partner prefer to receive and express love – your primary “love languages”.
Our creative solutions are based on Gary Chapman’s best-selling book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, which lists the five love languages as: acts of service, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation and gifts.
||For a romantic act of service, present breakfast in bed on Valentine’s Day morning. Be creative with food: here we’ve selected heart-shaped pastries, crème fraiche and strawberries. |
On window sill: Carlton Ware jug POA and German clock $58, both from Willow-May; flowers from Nina & Co; on bed: ‘Chelsea’ floral quilt (queen size) $429, Reynolds and Young gold silk kimono $199, ‘Tuffy’ rose coral cushion $69.50 and ‘Dream Cotton’ Linens & More pillowcases $75 pair, all from Harrowset Hall; Designers Guild (The Royal Collection) ‘Charlotte’ floral cushion POA from Icon Textiles; ‘A Silk Story’ pillowcases $89.50 each, ‘Arcanum’ turquoise cushion $89 and ‘Pareela’ cream comforter $149, all from Harrowset Hall; ‘Impressions’ white platter and mug POA from French Country; turquoise and gold tea set for two $25 from Willow-May; heart-shaped pastries POA from Pyrénées the French Delicatessen; napkins, silverware and card stylist’s own.
||Set the scene and heighten expectation by decorating your gate or door with a symbol of love and words of affection.|
Fabric heart stylist’s own.
Diamonds and other delights
||There’s a treasure trove of gorgeous things available for the woman who adores gifts, so pamper her with all things luxurious, sparkly and scented.|
At back: ‘Tara Hall’ silk embroidered scarf $99 from Harrowset Hall; Zoffany ‘Manchu’ wallpaper from the Fleurs Rococo Collection POA from Icon Textiles; on privately owned dresser from left: ‘Royal Winton’ gold trough $125 from Willow-May; flowers by Nina & Co; pink and gold tea cup and saucer POA from Willow-May; ‘Sarah Grey’ pink pearls $148 from China Blue; MOR Peony Flower eau de parfum $79 from Willow-May; scatter crystals stylist’s own; tall crystal perfume bottle $99 and Voluspa White Jasmine Sambac candle $129, both from China Blue; vintage gold and turquoise brooch $7 and MOR Cornucopia eau de parfum $79, both from Willow-May; round crystal perfume bottle $52 from China Blue; round pearl and diamante brooch $12 from Willow-May; glass candle stand $10 and Voluspa ‘Pagoda’ candle $45 from China Blue; turquoise and pearl bracelet $25 from Willow-May; ‘Zsiska’ bangle $112 from China Blue; MOR Italian Blood Orange soap bar $24.95 from Willow-May; Geodesis boxed scented candle $59.90 from China Blue; on top of books: ‘Dalgarno Vintage Eccentric’ rose brooch by Christine Robson $55 and vintage needle case $58, both from Salvage; books (all by Jane Austen): Northanger Abbey and Persuasion $10, Emma $10 and Pride and Prejudice $6, all from Hard to Find Books; butterfly brooch stylist’s own; silk chemise $95 from Harrowset Hall.
||Entice your loved one with an enchanting rendezvous. Create an emotional oasis by taking some of your furniture outside and building a romantic outdoor room. This is a great solution if you have small children (and no babysitter) or you’re on a tight budget. After dark, make the garden sparkle with candles or fairy lights – the perfect setting for deep conversation and tactile romance.|
Heart-shaped iron hanging planter $65 from China Blue; Louis XV-style settee privately owned; ‘Bianca Lorenne’ scarlet cushion $149, silk floral cushion $69.50, ‘Royal Wool’ aqua mohair throw $229, brocade gold/duck-egg cushion $95, all from Harrowset Hall; vintage family portrait $58 from Willow-May; ‘Tara Hall’ silk embroidered scarf $99 from Harrowset Hall; on ground at right: ‘Tuffy’ rose coral cushion $69.50 and ‘Winkler’ scarlet woven throw $165, both from Harrowset Hall; books: Victorian Poetry by EK Brown $15, Shelley’s Poetical Works $8.80 and John Keats’ Poetical Works $8, all from Hard to Find Books; on grass under settee: tray and glasses stylist’s own; glass cake stand with cover $43 from China Blue; Strawberry & Champagne and Lemon Curd & Strawberry Cheesecake chocolates $29 for a box of 12, all from Decadence; glass ice bucket POA from French Country.
Read through old love letters together to relive and recapture past memories. Or put pen to paper and write a new letter expressing your continuing appreciation and love for your partner. An inexpensive idea is to look for heart-shaped forms in nature on which to write words of endearment – here we used stones collected from the shores of Lake Taupo.
Vintage-style letters stylist’s own.
Sealed with a kiss
||Words are a lasting memento of your affection. Here we’ve made a memory book incorporating words of encouragement, poetry and tokens of shared experiences: make yours |
as serious or whimsical as you like.
Memory book and dresser privately owned; turquoise and pearl bracelet $25 and German clock $58, both from Willow-May.
China Blue (09) 625 2500
Christine Robson (09) 812 8607
Decadence Chocolates 0800 000 447
French Country Collections (09) 376 6440
Hard to Find Books (09) 634 4340
Harrowset Hall (09) 524 4452
Icon Textiles (09) 302 1652
Pyrénées the French Delicatessen (09) 846 8561
Salvage (09) 630 4054
Willow-May (09) 835 4511
Toys for boys
[image to come]
For the reader or collector, books new or old are sure to please and Hard to Find Books has a fantastic range in-store and online. They stock quality second-hand books, collectable first editions and charming copies of favourite classics. Gadget gurus are well catered for at Noel Leeming: great ideas include the TomTom Navigational System (no more arguments over directions!), iPods to exercise with and universal remotes (goodbye to all that clutter). A special food or drink provides a sensory treat, so pay a visit to a food specialist or fine liquor store. For the man who needs quality time, organise a special outing together, such as tickets for a train journey (deliver the tickets on a toy train for fun), a night out at a comedy show, a hot-air balloon ride or dinner for two.
Retro record cabinet $500 from Willow-May; Thomas the Tank Engine Lights & Sounds ‘James’ train $47 from Mainly Toys; on cabinet from left: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson $6, The Air Patrol by Herbert Strang $30, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville $4.50, The Compleat Angler by Walton and Cotton $6 and Nineteen Eighty-Four – The Facsimile by George Orwell (standing open) $60, all from Hard to Find Books; ‘Mas Portel’ porcino oil 250ml $19.90, The Fine Cheese Company charcoal crackers $13.70, Harvey & Sons genmaicha green tea $17.90, Lafitte Bloc de Foie Gras de Canard $69.40, Giuliano Tartufi White Truffle Butter $21.30, Valrhona Caraibe Chocolate Gift Tin $19.90, all from Sabato; Chocolate Wheels Belgian chocolates $1.50 each from Pyrénées the French Delicatessen; Johnny Walker Gold Label Whisky $159.99 from Liquor King; ‘Giusti Premio’ balsamic vinegar 500ml $21.40 from Sabato; Philips 7 in 1 remote $69.99, iPod Nano Chromatic 8GB in silver and blue $249, Bose iPod digital music system $499.99 and TomTom Go720 Car Navigation System $649, all from Noel Leeming; Nikko Radio Control Ferrari $43 from Mainly Toys; cards made by stylist.
Stockists:Liquor King, Greenlane (09) 639 0066
Mainly Toys (09) 6318
Noel Leeming, Lynn Mall (09) 827 5651
Sabato (09) 630 8751
Nina & Co, Auckland (09)376 5812
Gilded Lily, Auckland www.gildedlily.co.nz
Story: Susan Elijas and Sarah James
Photographs: Kelley Eady Loveridge
Stylist: Susan Elijas and Sarah James