It's that time of year where once again we all split ourselves into one of two groups: The oh-so-in-love types who can't wait to spend Valentine's day with their loved ones, or the cynic, who pretends it doesn't even exist and passes it off as a marketing scam. Either way, here are our Valentine's Day Top Picks - enjoy!
Valentine's day is one of those times of the year where, even if subconsciously, we end up evaluating our love lives and passing judgement on those who are either really loved up or really single. At Idle, we like to think that Valentine's is just an excuse to eat great chocolate, have a glass or five or gin and do something you enjoy, like taking a trip to the 02 and walking along the top of it. Interested? Welcome to our Valentine's Day Top Picks, for the loved up and the 'lonely'.
Swish To Go Mouthwash
Rule one of a date: Always be prepared. For girls, this is usually having a lipstick and compact mirror in her bag, for men, a stick of chewing gum. However, most women don't actually want to meet a guy for a date whilst he is chewing away, so we went on a hunt for the perfect alternative.
Our first choice was Swish To Go, a quirky brand that creates mouthwash powders you can keep in your bag (or pocket) to use anytime, anywhere. Coming in three flavours of Zesty Lemon, Cool Mint and Mint Fresh, these mouthwashes should have you clean and clear in 10 seconds. So, how do they work? Coming in separate sachets, all you have to do is pop the Swish To Go powder in your mouth and 'swish'. The powder will turn into liquid almost straight away (yes, we tested this), creating a mouthwash that actually tastes and feels good - no lumps or bumps. After 10 seconds of vigorous swishing, you can swallow the body-friendly liquid allowing for a quick, subtle dispose of the mouthwash for fresh breath and a healthy mouth. If you can't swallow the idea of this (pardon the pun) you can still, of course, spit it out, but this sort of defies the point.
To stock up in time for Valentine's Day, head over to the Swish To Go website.
Eden Mill Love Gin
It's all very well putting some mouthwash in your mouth, but do you know what will go down even better? Gin.
A little bit (or a lot) of gin never hurt anyone, and we've been swayed by the notion of Valentine's Day with the promise of love... in a bottle. Eden Mill has their very own Love Gin, a light pink gin made with a blend of local botanicals including hibiscus and rose petals as well as exotic fruits from their St Andrews base in Scotland. Once diluted with a mixer, this gin releases sweet notes of vanilla and floral scents, making for the prettiest G&T you'll ever see. Why not consider adding a sweet, fruity mixer to this gin, or equally adding it in a cocktail to show off your drink-making skills to your loved one? (Rumour has it, the addition of frozen raspberries works an absolute treat).
If you want to go one step further than a bottle on the Eden Mill Love Gin, opt for the Eden Mill Love Gin Gift Box instead. This will give you a bottle of the Eden Mill Love Gin as well as two of the Eden Mill embossed tulip glasses. Why not go that one step further and grab yourself a couple of passes to their Gin Distillery tour. Don't live in Scotland? Well, there's your romantic Valentine's weekend trip sorted. You're welcome.
Head over to the Harvey Nichols website and drink up, now!
The Hummingbird Bakery
If cake makes the world go round, The Hummingbird Bakery is at centre. The Hummingbird Bakery has all of your Valentine's Day cake worries covered. Whether you're planning a romantic date for two, or you're going to some sad singles event, you can't feel down with a box of these by your side.
The Hummingbird Bakery creates all their freshly-baked cakes with an American-recipe style (basically, they're delicious). Offering a variety of goods from Cupcakes, Mini Cupcakes, Heart Shaped Layer Cakes or even a to-die-for Red Velvet Cheesecake, you will be so spoiled for choice and indulged that you won't even have time to mull-over your relationship status - best avoided, we think.
All of their cakes are perfectly decorated with everything pink and mushy. We highly recommend going for the 'I Love You Selection Box', where you'll receive six perfectly sized (and by this, we mean huge) cupcakes baked in the assorted flavours of Vanilla, Chocolate and Red Velvet with buttercream and cream cheese frostings. To get your hands on these, you can visit one of their seven bakeries in Soho, Spitalfields, Notting Hill, Islington, Richmond, South Kensington and Guildford OR you can order them online to appear straight to your or your loved ones' house.
Check out The Hummingbird Bakery website to order yours now.
Gifts For Her From Boots
You are not alone if you see Valentine's Day fast approaching with no idea of what you are going to get your loved one. If you're stuck on ideas, you've come to the right place. Boots is known for having everything women (and men) could ever want, so when it comes to Valentine's gifting, why would you need to go any further? We have picked out our two top gifts from Boots to give your lady this Valentine's...
No one ever said no to Gucci, and with their wide range of fragrances, you have plenty to pick from. Our Top Pick for Valentine's Day is Gucci Bloom - their light, floral Eau de Parfum (perfume, boys) which every girl will adore. Coming in the cutest of packaging, this fragrance smells like rich jasmine and white flowers - it's pretty and sexy. The official key-notes (smells) of the Gucci Bloom perfume are Rangoon Creeper, natural Tuberose absolute and Jasmine bud extract. We laughed at Rangoon Creeper too, however it is (sadly) not a sea monster who creeps around, but instead a perfectly pretty Chinese flower which smells simply incredible.
Check out Gucci Bloom on the Boots website.
GlamGlow Bubble Sheet Mask
This is a gift that will go hand-in-hand with Boot's Gucci Bloom perfume. Trending on Facebook, this face mask from GlamGlow got as much social media attention as a face mask can possibly get. The Bubblesheet Oxygenating Deep Cleanse Mask will make the perfect gift on the side for Valentine's, and as it's suitable for both men and women, why not get one for yourself, too? Couples who pamper together, stay together (so they say).
This face mask works by coating the entire face with it's Green Tea Teaoxi formula infused with bamboo charcoal. Once it's on the face, oxygenated microbubbles will start to appear which, once the mask is removed, you can massage further into your face before washing off. As you can see from the below picture, you will look hilarious, making this a fun and feel-good face mask for all the women (and men) out there who look after themselves without taking themselves too seriously. It's perfect.
Read more about the GlamGlow collection on the Boots website.
Green & Black's Praline Chocolates
Green & Black's are famous for their amazing chocolates. We didn't think it was possible to improve on perfect, yet here, they have. Green & Black's have released their new praline chocolates in milk and dark chocolate. Coming in separate milk and dark boxes, each praline is individually wrapped making them the perfect box to hold on to. With whole hazelnut centres, the classic Green & Black's chocolate tastes better than ever with the addition of the praline truffle filling. All of Green & Black's chocolates are made with ethically sourced cocoa which is what makes the taste so rich and more-ish.
If you're in a new relationship and are looking for a gift that says enough without saying too much, these Green & Black's Pralines are absolutely for you. We haven't been able to put the box down - we know she won't either.
Check out the whole Green & Black's range on their website.
Kissy Bang Bang Condoms
Kissy Bang Bang may just about be the funniest brand we have ever featured in our Top Picks, and after you have a browse of their website, we sure you'll find them just as humorous. Safety comes first, right guys? But instead of promoting boring safe sex to all of you, naturally, we're going to promote safe, funny sex instead.
Kissy Bang Bang is an in-house British (of course) company based in London. They encourage responsible sex in the best way possible - through creating funny condoms available at the click of a button. You can get condoms with phallic baguettes on them stating 'Eat My Baguette' or one with a pen saying 'My Pen Is Huge' (read between the lines). With no minimum order on their cheap, but quality, condoms, these make a great gift for someone you've been with for a while (a bit odd, if not).
If, like we suggested, you do go for the funny card with your long-term loved one this Valentine's Day, Kissy Bang Bang have the personalised gifts covered. You can put your own face on a condom. Yes, you heard. With a minimum order of five condoms, you can put a picture of yourself, your partner, both of you together or just about anything ever on the wrapper of their 'Design Your Own' condom. Nothing will make your true love smile more than these... if you get us.
Check out the range on the Kissy Bang Bang website.
In the wise words of our Sub-Editor, "all I'm getting for Valentine's day is fat".
Butterscotch Bakery has quickly climbed the ranks to become one of our favourite London haunts, and after trying out their cakes, it'll be yours, too. Valentine's Day has never tasted so good!
Based in West London, the Butterscotch Bakery has created a special range of their delicious baked goods that can be eaten in-store or delivered to your door. Only available for a limited time only, the Valentine's range includes cupcakes of Red Velvet, Raspberry Vanilla and Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle. Each of these cakes are 'Loveheart Message Cupcakes' which are stamped with a heart and phrases like 'Woman Crush Wednesday', 'Ma Bish' and 'Bae' on them. If none of these float your boat, you can personalise your cupcakes so they say whatever you want - best idea ever?
In addition to these amazing cakes, you can pick their 'Love potion Cupcakes', deliciously rich cupcakes with a heart pipette sticking out of them containing a choice of Raspberry Passionfruit, Baileys Square Mile Espresso or Magic Rum. If all of this isn't enough, you have to check out their 'Love Heart Message Brownies' which come in White Chocolate Strawberry Blondie or Sea Salt Caramel Brownie - both of which taste equally amazing. We couldn't pick which one of their cakes was our favourite, but we know we would adore receiving these as a gift (again, and again).
To visit their bakery or order your cakes online, visit the Butterscotch Bakery website.
Sushi Shop X Anne-Sophie Pic
On date night, there is no better food to eat than the type you can share with your loved one. However, we feel the whole Lady and the Tramp idea is a little outdated, so what else is there to eat that screams sophistication whilst tasting amazing and being easy to share? Sushi, obviously.
Enter Sushi Shop, a company where you can get exquisite sushi made to order or delivered to wherever you want, so if that's a Valentine's date, so be it. With four stores across London - Hampstead, Marylebone, Old Brompton and Notting Hill - you can click and collect your sushi order from the website or go there for your made to order sushi which is prepared in store by their 'sushi men'. Now, here's the exciting bit. Sushi Shop has just launched their collaboration with Anne-Sophie Pic, the only French female chef who has been rewarded an impressive three Michelin stars.
Having been in the industry for over 20 years, it's safe to say she knows what she is doing, and she does it very, very well. This is what makes this Sushi Shop x Anne-Sophie Pic collaboration so exciting - it's a sophisticated, innovative twist on the ordinary, turned extraordinary, and take our word for it when we tell you that her sushi is nothing short of just that. The Sushi Shop x Anne-Sophie Pic collaboration comes in the form of a limited edition sushi box, available to order for delivery on their website now for just £24.90 for 23 pieces (if you know sushi, you'll understand what great value this is for an accomplished chef). Her sushi box contains a range of different refined sushi in exciting favours of:
- 3 Sushi with yellow tail, sage and lemon balm pesto, smoked tea
- 8 Signature with tuna, green apple, dill and sobacha
- 6 California with goat cheese, matcha green tea and bergamot
- 6 Woodland maki with mushrooms, rose geranium and ginger
If you think this sounds good, wait until you try it. Your date will think you would have spent a fortune going all out on this one. It's a win-win.
Order your Sushi Shop x Anne-Sophie Pic sushi box on the Sushi Shop website.
Up At The O2
How about you raise the dating game this Valentine's Day? Does 52m high work for you?
This Valentine's Day, you can level up by taking your Valentine on an experience date on the O2. What is best-known as one of the most popular entertainment venues in London, The London O2 also doubles up as a once in a lifetime (or however many times) opportunity to experience London views like never before. While all the madness goes on inside the London O2, you can be on top of it.
So, how does it work? Up at The O2 is a public experience where you are able to travel up the structure to walk right on top of it to the centre. Here, you can witness the views from what was once the Millennium Dome on their viewing platform where you can take pictures galore. Your walk will be assisted by an instructor who will settle you into your provided climbing gear and take you and your group for the walk/climb of your life. Lasting roughly 90 minutes, with daytime, sunset and twilight climbs, this makes for the perfect date this Valentine's.
The O2 has made their Up at The O2 experience more romantic than ever with their new Valentine's package. Upon reaching the top of their climb, couples will be treated to a glass of Lanson Champagne whilst they absorb the spectacular view.
Find out more and book the best Valentine's date ever on the Up at The O2 website.
Bottega Rose Gold
No special occasion is right without a bottle of something, and no Valentine's Day is as good without a bottle of Bottega Rose Gold. This is, by far, the most romantic bottle you can get your hands on this Valentine's. The luxury Italian Sparkling Wine, made with the finest Pinot Noir grapes, comes in the prettiest bottle that every female will love.
This sparkling wine originates from the vines of the hills of Oltrepò Pavese, only a few miles away from Venice. All hand-grown and picked, the grapes are transformed into this incredible tasting wine - which we can officially vouch for - and bottled up this original bottle which is too pretty to throw away (so much so that it now sits on our desk). The Bottega Rose Gold can be enjoyed on its own or as a fancy addition to any cocktails.
The Bottega Rose Gold is available from Selfridges in either a single bottle or as a gift set. The gift set comes with one bottle of Bottega Rose Gold with two Bottega embossed flute glasses making for the perfect choice for Valentine's day.
Buy your Bottega Rose Gold on the Selfridges website now.
E&J Brandy - Apple
For those couples that want to taste something a bit different this Valentine's day, E&J Brandy have brought out a new variation of their much loved beverage. This new and exciting flavour uses the smooth taste of E&J Brandy that we've known to love but with a special added extra. They've mixed the iconic brandy with the tangy taste of refreshing apple. Each sip will give you that refreshing feeling of spring and give you all the feels ready for a good Valentines. This complimentary drink will calm the nerves and get the romance ready to rumble.
If you can't hack drinking this straight, there are an array of cocktails you can try it with, making this the perfect base for any good Valentine's day date. Because what better way to have fun, relax your nerves and get the date underway. The sweet, crisp, juicy apple flavour has a hint of vanilla, caramel and citrus added meaning this will make your taste buds dance as much as the butterfly's in your stomach will be. So for anyone that's looking for a different twist on the classic, this is the one for you.
If you fancy a taste of this apple indulgence, head to their website.
Gift Rebellion - Edible Blooms
Don't get us wrong, flowers are great, but sometimes they can be a little 'samey'. Flowers come and go all year round for all sorts of occasions which means receiving a bunch of flowers sometimes isn't actually the most romantic of gestures. So, naturally, we have gone on a hunt for an alternative to an average bunch of flowers for Valentine's day, and this hunt brought us right to the Gift Rebellion Edible Blooms.
Gift Rebellion is a brand that sells a whole load of gifting chocolate bouquets for all occasions. Yes, that's right... chocolate bouquets. Instead of a bunch of flowers, these are a bunch of chocolates which are made to look like flowers. You pick them, you eat them - it's as simple as that. Personally, we think the advantages of these totally outweighs that of real flowers, but each to their own. If you know your loved one would much rather have a bunch of these this Valentine's Day, you know where to go.
Browse the range and order your Edible Blooms now on the Gift Rebellion website.
On That Note
Whether you're a firm believer in treating your loved one on Valentine's Day or you think it's a marketing scam, these selections of our Valentine's top picks should get you through. From a bottle of gun and a whole box of incredible cupcakes to a trip to the top of The O2, there really is something here to cover everyone's relationship status.