Valentine’s Day Food And Wine Pairings To Impress

If you’re holding a Valentines Day party or saving some money with your own DIY Valentine, here’s what you need to know when it comes to matching the right food to the right wine.

Some wines and foods are a match made in heaven whilst others just never get on. But do you know which ones? With 14th February on the horizon, here some suggestions for Valentine’s Day food and wine pairings to impress.

 

 

If you are going to the trouble of preparing a special meal for the object of your affections, why not up the wow factor by choosing a great wine to accompany the food?

The wine buffs at independent wine specialists Roberson Wine have prepared this handy infographic which gives great suggestions to help you impress the object of your affections and explains the best Valentine’s Day food and wine pairings for a meal to remember.

At a push, most of us know that white wines go well with fish and chicken, whilst heavier reds are best paired with beef, game and more substantial dishes.

But what about curries, or dessert, or chocolate (yes really)!

The Husband and I tend to stick to red wine and our favourites include the Malbec and Pinot Noir grape varieties, as well as a full-bodied Rioja.

You can find more information about which wines to choose at Roberson’s handy blog – www.robersonwine.com/blog/, including their take on the new drinking guidelines.

My own view?  Drink responsibly with an eye on your health but enjoy the best quality of wine you can.

And if you need some dating advice to go with your food and wine, then check out my handy guide – Dating: 11 Ways To Tell They’re REALLY Into You. You can also find loads more tips on how not to do it in my problem page archives.

Valentine's Day food and wine pairings infographic

 

Valentine’s Day Is Not For Kids

I must confess to being a little unsettled by a trend which has appeared on my social media timelines over the last couple of years – Valentine’s gifts for children – even for kids of primary school age and younger.

Haven’t we just spent enough on them for Christmas?  It’s not too clear whether the idea behind this is for parents to indulge their children with more presents or whether they are designed for children to give to the object of their affections in school, ballet, Tae-Kwon-do or the football pitch.  Either way, it sounds like canny marketing to me.

How about ‘Valentine’s Day Activities’ for kids?    A chocolate making workshop? Heart decoupage?  Innocent crafting activity, or one filled with a particular resonance and implication?

And in the romance stakes, already competitive mums across the land are crossing their fingers that their offspring will come out of school clutching a sticky, chocolate smeared Valentine’s card or even a rose like a trophy.

The point is, of course, is that it’s romantic brownie points for the mother, and probably not a little confusion for the child. A cynic may say that this is the true result of giving Valentine’s gifts for children.

Can anything be done to halt the ever-increasing commercialism of every single ‘celebration’ in the calendar, including saints’ days?

Probably not.  But we don’t have to buy into it, particularly where our kids are concerned.

In the same way, we don’t need to encourage the ever-earlier sexualisation of our kids any more than their doubtless exposure to social media is already doing.

Lots of people don’t see the need for Valentine’s Day anyway.  If you love someone, they sensibly argue, why not tell them you love them on a daily basis.

Love is not proved by a bouquet of roses and pink champagne.  It’s those loving gestures which shore us up against the monotony – the headaches, the setbacks, the bills.

It’s the cup of tea in bed in the morning.  The pick-up from the railway station in the rain. The comforting hug when things go wrong.

It’s the same for our kids.  Why teach them to equate love with presents?  Anybody can buy a basket with a teddy, a reading book and a lolly.

But how many parents will tuck the child up and read the book to them at night?

Why, oh why, encourage young kids to equate their desirability with their looks – particularly girls – when their self-esteem at this age is so fragile?

I won’t deny I enjoy a bunch of flowers but whilst I appreciate their beauty, I also understand what they may, or may not mean.

That’s a skill honed from years of romantic experiences – both good and bad.

And those are experiences our kids may not be ready for – for a long time to come.

Let’s celebrate their ‘achievements’ in the areas that matter – education, manners, being a nice person, a good person.

Everything else can wait – including Valentine’s gifts for children.

Waiting For A Valentine’s Day Proposal? Questions To Ask YOURSELF

The Valentine’s Day proposal.  How many of us, I wonder, are waiting with bated breath to see if this might be the day they’ll propose.

Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, a January birthday have all gone by and nada.

Waiting for a Valentine's Day Proposal? 2 white roses

The problem is that you can rarely be entirely sure a proposal will be forthcoming particularly if you already live together.

Will you get a Valentine’s Day Proposal?

It’s bad enough wondering if they’ll remember to get you a Valentine’s Card but if you are expecting a marriage proposal then the whole day will be fraught with waiting and hoping and longing …. and potential disappointment.

So before you risk having to crawl miserably into bed nursing your dashed hopes of the dress, the ceremony, the doves, the champagne and the vintage car, it’s time for a little Valentine’s reality check.

Here’s what you need to ask yourself.

What is the real state of my relationship?

You can’t use Valentine’s Day or any other annual celebration as a sticking plaster for a relationship which just doesn’t work.

Receiving a bouquet of roses or a diamond may well signify intent but there’s many a step between popping into Interflora and writing your vows.

Have you been getting on?  Have there been arguments?  Are there fundamental things upon which you just don’t agree?

These are red flags for a long-term relationship.  Money, sex, children, religion, ambition, hobbies – all of these things can throw a spanner in the works of romantic happiness.

Check in with how you actually feel about your partner and ask yourself “if it wasn’t Valentine’s Day, how would I feel about my partner?”.  Do they make me happy?  Do I feel confident and loved when I’m with them? Do they boost my confidence and self esteem? Would they be the person I would turn to first in any emergency?

What do other people think about my relationship?

This probably matters more than you might think.  If your friends and family hate your partner then you really need to ask yourself why.  Obviously sometimes we are constrained by cultural or religious expectations to do the right thing but, generally, if everyone else hates your other half then it’s time to wonder if they might have a point.

Has marriage even been discussed?

In my weekly problem page, I often come across the issue of mismatched expectations.  The most memorable is a lady who had been with her man for 3 years and was asking how much longer she had to wait for a proposal. My question to her was “why have you waited so long to raise the subject with him”?!

This is still, I think, an enduring problem in long-term relationships where the couple live together.

There is no longer the impetus to marry for the sake of children or to conform to society’s expectations because the landscape of gender, sexuality and the way we relate and live have changed almost beyond recognition from our parents’ day.

I think marriage has to be firmly on the agenda pretty early on  – especially if you are both over 30 and want to have children.  I married at 41 and had my kids at 43 and 45 and wish I had done the whole lot at least 10 years’ earlier – but life’s not like that, is it?

You do need to be open and honest about what you want for your future, and clear about what commitment means to you.

Many of us want the big white wedding to have our ‘day’ but in lots of cases a ‘day’ is all it turns out to be, plus a debt of around £33,000 , the average cost of a UK wedding in 2017.

Making the wrong choice of partner could be very costly indeed – and that’s before the cost of divorce, not only in terms of money, but in terms of friendships and your social life.

Far easier to gently ask “do you see us getting married and having kids one day” than lugging stacks of bridal magazines home and sighing loudly every time a jewellery commercial comes on.

What if it’s not a “no” but a “not yet”?

This could leave you, like the lady from my problem page, in limbo for a very long time. You have to be clear in your own mind how long you are prepared to wait. If you do get a ‘not yet’, you have every right to ask what would need to happen for the time to be right.

Putting pressure on your partner will not work.  “When, then!” is not the right thing to ask.  You need to understand whether ‘not yet’ really means a future marriage or whether, frankly, you are being fobbed off.

There’s a big difference between “yeah, I suppose so at some point ” and “when I have finished studying my business course and we have saved up enough for a deposit on a flat”.

Most of us can tell when we are being fobbed off but acknowledging that means having to be honest with ourselves about whether this relationship is the one – and if you have had quite a few ‘the one’s’, it’s understandable that you may feel panicky at the thought of going back on the dating scene again.

What if your partner wants to propose in their own way, in their own time?

Lots of people hate being put under pressure.  Equally lots of men hate Valentine’s Day – the commercialism, the cost, the fakeness of many of those hearts and flowers.  If your partner is going to propose you can probably tell you know.  But you shouldn’t assume they’ll conform to your expectations and do the big Valentine’s proposal.

If they are talking about settling down with you, buying a home, having children, planning future holidays, commitment in general then that’s a good sign and a basis upon which to have a grown-up and honest conversation.

If they are muttering about Valentine’s being a load of crap, arriving home later and later and going out more often with their friends, then the signs aren’t good, are they?

If the big proposal doesn’t appear on Valentine’s Day, the worst thing you could do would be to have a major strop, start a row and end up splitting up because one of you said something unforgiveable and unleashed the floodgates of every little irritating thing they’ve ever done since you met them.

Which will just convince them, if there’s any doubt, that you weren’t the right person anyway.

Hold it together on Valentine’s Day

Your best strategy, if you’re hoping for a proposal, is to play it cool, calm and collected.  If you are going out make sure you look gorgeous.   Try to stay in the moment and enjoy your food, the location, the ambience.  Talk to your partner rather than scan the room for a lurking violinist!

If no proposal appears and you are hurt and upset then say you are feeling under the weather and have an early night – rather than start the relationship wrecking strop I mentioned earlier.

In the morning with a clear head you can then make plans to have the conversation you need to have with your partner.

There’s one last question you should ask yourself too.

Are my expectations realistic?

I often hear of people who after just a few short months are so overcome with love that they are ready to hear the “will you marry me” and run off into the sunset. For most of us that is much too short a time to decide whether someone is worth spending the rest of our life with.

For others, having enough money saved up and making sure that their friends and family like their other half really matter.

I suspect lots of engagements happen just to keep the other partner quiet after too much nagging about setting the date. And, as we all know, an engagement can be dragged out for years – anything to avoid actually setting the date.

Desperation isn’t attractive and even today, I think a bit of mystery and independence work wonders when you’re trying to snare the partner of your dreams.  What’s that antiquated expression?  “A man chases a woman until she catches him”.

If you haven’t been together long and haven’t even discussed marriage, then Valentine’s Day is most likely not going to be the day your big proposal happens.

But what if I’m asked and I don’t want to?

What if that proposal does turn up and you just don’t know how you feel?  Actually I think most of us have a very strong gut instinct which tells us exactly how we feel but we often ignore it.

It’s so tempting to put the ring on, accept the congratulations, start planning the big party but if it’s wrong, a wedding isn’t going to put it right.

If you are really not sure just say “that’s so lovely and I really care about you but I’d like a little more time for us to get to know each other (or spend time together) before we make such a big commitment”.

Be kind but above all – be honest!

I really hope you get the Valentine’s Day proposal you long for (if that’s what you truly want) but just remember, it’s how you partner treats you the other 364 days of the year that is the truest indicator of their love.

How To Guarantee Delivery Of Your Valentine’s Day Gifts

It’s that time of year again when the nation goes all romantic and even the coldest heart tends to thaw just a little.  Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and the high street stores are filled with an array of Valentine’s Day gifts – including heart-shaped chocolates, balloons, cuddly toys and cards with personal messages of affection.

 

What’s The Best Way To Send Your Valentine’s Day Gifts?

There is always that dilemma, though, of how best to deliver your token of affection.  Do you lurk outside their house and shove it through their letter box?  Do you place it awkwardly on their desk at work?

It’s easier if you are already in a relationship but if the object of your love is unaware of your feelings, you might not want to risk such an open declaration in person!

If you are in a relationship then, unfortunately, not all of us are able to spend the day with our significant other. Perhaps your sweetheart lives or works in another country or they may simply have to be away from home on the 14th February for reasons beyond their control.

Don’t let distance put a dampener on things though – there are still plenty of ways to show your Valentine that you really care but ensuring your love tokens arrive on time.

How to make sure your Valentine’s Day gifts arrive on time

If you’re sending something other than a card,  you can keep costs down and avoid the long Post Office queues by using a courier service.

Courier comparison site My Parcel Delivery will find a service that meets your unique requirements whilst still helping you to find the fastest and cheapest courier service available.

Parcels can be left at designated drop-off points or collected from your home or place of work when using trusted brands such as UPS and Parcelforce.

No matter where the gift is travelling to, all destinations are covered as there are a range of couriers able to deliver to Europe and the rest of the world.

Make sure your type of gift can be sent by courier

A little extra planning can go a long way when it comes to organising for a gift to be delivered. If you check out the list of restricted and prohibited items before you purchase anything, then you can be safe in the knowledge that the chosen item will be permitted to travel by courier as there are some products which couriers are not allowed to handle.

Consider Insuring High Value Items

If the item is something which is of high financial or sentimental value, then it might also be worth looking into compensation cover to give you that extra peace of mind.

Make Sure Your Gifts Are Packaged Correctly

Many people appreciate the love and attention that goes into a well-wrapped gift. Even if it is finished with a ribbon or placed in a handmade gift bag, it’s important that the gifts are packaged correctly to keep them safe and protected whilst on their journey.

Items can still remain wrapped in beautiful paper or covered with intricate bows, but they must be packaged in a parcel box strong enough to withstand transportation. This reiterates how important it is to choose the right courier, for example, a London courier that doesn’t provide expert packaging is likely to fail due to the high pace environment in a popular capital city.

I hope that you’ve gained some value from these delivery tips; they should certainly come in handy if you are sending Valentine’s Day gifts to someone a long way away.

Whoever you’re choosing to spend the special day with, I hope you have a lovely time and, just in case, here’s my helpful guide with lots of flirting tips.  If you’re cooking a special meal, you can also find advice on the best food and wine combinations to really impress too.

Here’s hoping Cupid’s Arrow hits the spot!

Win A Dozen Red Roses For Your Valentine

There is nothing like a dozen red roses to say “I love you” is there?  And I just such a prize to give away from Beards & Daisies – The Letterbox Florist guaranteed to melt the frostiest heart this Valentine’s Day.

Red roses in vase and box - Valentines Day Roses - motherdistracted.co.uk
Beautiful Valentines Day Roses From Beards & Daisies – The Letterbox Florist

Using Beards & Daisies couldn’t be easier.  You simply choose your flower box and select a delivery date. Their florist carefully packs your flowers and greetings card and the flowers are delivered straight to the recipient’s doormat.

There are currently 6 boxes to choose from, each one named after a bird:- the Hummingbird, the Nightingale, the Wren, the Dove, the Firecrest or the Skylark. Each box has a different combination of flowers and colour themes.

You can choose from a one-off box or a three month gift subscription – which would be an ideal Mothers’ Day gift too.  (This year Mothering Sunday falls on Sunday 6 March).

I was sent “The Hummingbird”  and this box is filled with Alstroemeria, Solidago, Wax Flower, Madiba and Hypericum.

Beards & Daisies Hummingbird - Letterbox Florist - motherdistracted.co.uk
The Hummingbird Arrangement 

Each box contains fresh, locally sourced flowers posted straight through your letterbox in a purpose designed, 2ft ventilated flower box. It’s as easy as receiving a letter and the flowers will be waiting on the recipients doormat when they get home!

Beards & Daisies - The Letterbox Florist - flower box - motherdistracted.co.uk
This is how the flowers arrive.

The flowers are lovingly packed in premium gift wrapping, including an A6 ‘A Little Note to Say’ greeting card with a hand written message, perfect for any occasion.

Beards & Daisies - The Letterbox Florist - Flower packaging - motherdistracted.co.uk
The flowers are beautifully packaged.

Beards & Daisies - The Letterbox Florist - Additional cards - motherdistracted.co.uk
Lovely additional touches to your flower box

As you can see, the box contains a card which explains which flowers you have received and, on the reverse, there are detailed instructions for both caring for, and arranging your flowers – a great help for those of us who tend to use the “plonk them in a vase” technique!

There is also a discount code to save 10% on your next order.

The Hummingbird box costs £25.99 for one box and £59.99 for a 3 month subscription (a saving of approx £18).

This includes free Royal Mail 1st class delivery in a ventilated box which fits through a standard letterbox.

Order by 4:00pm for free next day delivery.  Note that to ensure the freshest flowers, Beards & Daisies deliver Tuesday-Saturday.
Flower boxes are delivered to mainland UK only.
The recipient doesn’t have to wait in, it’s as easy as receiving a letter!
Protective packaging ensures flowers are delivered in perfect condition.
Signature gift wrapping is included with every flower box, together with a free A6 gift card ‘A little note to say’ with every flower box.

I found the flowers to be in great condition and they have added a lovely and much needed touch of spring to the house.  The quality of the Beards & Daisies box is excellent and would make a great gift.

Now, to my giveaway.

To win a beautiful dozen red roses for your Valentine (or to cheer yourself up!), just enter via the rafflecopter below.  Mainland UK entrants only.  The giveaway ends at 11:59 on Monday 8th February.  Terms and conditions, together with details of other Mother Distracted giveaways are on my Competitions page.

Note:  Beards & Daisies are only able to deliver to mainland UK. The winner will be required to respond with their details within 48 hours in order that their flowers can be received on Valentines Day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway