Not sure what to buy your Brighton beau this Valentine’s Day? Claire Baujard, a Brighton girl who’s vowed to make 2018 the year she learns more about sustainability and be more mindul about waste and helping the planet in her everyday life, shares her 10 top tips for making the day devoted to love, a whole lot more meaningful:
Do you ever feel like Valentine’s day is more like a celebration of consumerism than romance? Let’s face it: the urge to buy a present for our significant others often leads to meaningless purchases, resulting in a vast amount of waste from gifts people don’t use or even need.
The truth is, you don’t need to spend lots of money – or any at all! – to show your love and dedication to your partner. Want to do things a bit differently this year? Here are 10 ideas for a more sustainable and meaningful Valentine’s day to help you show your partner that you really care, all while protecting the planet too.
Brighton being full of talented people, chances are you’ve probably got a special skill you could share with your significant other. How about writing them a song, cooking their favourite meal, knitting them a scarf, making a personalised card, a piece of jewellery or even your own marmalade?
If you’re not feeling that creative, you could go for a less ambitious project, like making your own zero-waste, organic granola. Simply pop in to Foodshed (in the Open Market) with your own jar (or buy one there) and fill it up with oats and a selection of your partner’s favourite nuts, seeds and dried fruits. All you have to do next is follow the recipe and serve over yoghurt for a yummy and healthy Valentine’s day breakfast.
Offer your services
Instead of buying a box of chocolates, how about offering your services to make your boyfriend or girlfriend’s life easier? If your partner is particularly busy or tired, you could offer to take on the housework for a month (what a treat!), give them a haircut or a massage, bring them breakfast in bed for a week or even finally put up those shelves or tidy the garden.
Make an effort
I’m sure you’re a fantastic person, but we all have little habits or flaws that can be irritating to our partners. I, for instance, am always late and get easily distracted, which means I can take ages to do the smallest of things. This year, I’m planning on making a special effort to be the best version of myself and show my boyfriend that I don’t really mean to drive him crazy. I’m hoping that the positive results will even encourage me to do it again and again, making this a gift for me too.
What about you? Are you constantly checking your phone when your partner is talking to you? Always nagging or biting your nails? Make a little effort to show them that you are taking their constructive criticism on board and that you’re willing to try harder for them.
Give the gift of learning
With so many courses available in Brighton, there’s no excuse not to open your mind to something new! Whether your partner is interested in bread making, guitar, taekwondo, sewing, tap dancing, singing, drawing, yoga, pottery, mosaic, photography, upholstering, kayaking or hoola hooping, offering them a voucher for a lesson or two could help them discover their passion or a new way to express their creativity. Try Evolution Arts or the Phoenix Centre for creative courses or do a simple Google search to find the class of your choice.
Make time for each other
Solid relationships aren’t built on diamond necklaces or luxury chocolate boxes. There’s no better way to show your significant other how much you care about them than by making time to be with them. Whether you choose to engage in a special activity, spend the day out in nature or simply stay at home and appreciate each other’s company around a home-cooked meal, take the time to make them feel special and loved.
Try something together
Add some spice to your life and create precious memories by doing something out of the ordinary. You could try a new type of cuisine, visit somewhere new in or around Brighton or learn something together (how about a salsa class?). Whatever you choose, doing something out of the ordinary is a sure way to make the day more memorable.
Instead of the traditional and short-lived roses, why not go for a potted plant this year? Did you know that most of the roses sold in the UK are flown over from Kenya and require 10 litres of fresh water each to reach their full size? With that in mind, indoor plants seem like a much more sustainable option. Plants make wonderful presents too: not only can they brighten up any room, they also purify the air, reduce stress levels and will last for as long as you take good care of them. What’s not to like?
Make the most of the Brighton food scene
I’m always amazed at the quality and the variety of food available in our glorious city. Archipelagos might just be my favourite place to eat in Brighton: delicious food, generous portions, friendly and welcoming staff, this place is a real gem! But there are tons of other amazing places to go out for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea or dinner.
Iydea, The Mock Turtle, Kouzina, Pelicano, Marmalade, Egg & Spoon, We Love Falafel, Coggings & Co., Sunbirds, Mange Tout, Little Bird Café, Very Italian Pizza and The Connaught are among my favourite spots to grab a bite in Brighton and Hove, but Cin Cin, Food for Friends, Compass Point Eatery, Semolina, New Club and Bus Stop are also on my list of places to try. Let me know if you have tried them!
Fancy doing something really different this Valentine’s day? How about volunteering at a local charity for a day? Head to Brighton and Hove Community Works’ website to find a list of volunteering opportunities available near you and refine them by interests or availability.
Do nothing at all
Finally, don’t forget that Valentine’s day is only one of 365 days on the calendar. You don’t have to celebrate your love for your partner on that special day. Being an attentive and caring partner every day of the year is the best gift you could ever give them. After all, when you’ve found the one, each day is Valentine’s day.