How are you making Valentine’s Day special in lockdown?
This year, whisking your other half away for a surprise weekend break is not an option.
Nor is going out for a meal at a restaurant. Indeed, many people will sadly have to make do with a video call rather than meeting up in person at all.
However, as with birthday celebrations, people are coming up with all kinds of creative ways to mark the occasion and let their loved one know how they feel.
It’s likely that most takeaway meals and gift delivery services will already be booked up – but here are some ideas for last-minute and truly personal ways to celebrate.
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Here are 15 ideas for ways to mark the occasion.
If you are together
Make your loved one breakfast in bed.
There’s something incredibly luxurious about this. You could get creative with heart-shaped toast or pancakes, or just make their favourite breakfast, especially if it is something they rarely have time to prepare.
Have a picnic in the garden – or the house
If you’ve left it too late to order a special afternoon tea delivery, you can put together some cakes, sandwiches and savouries and treat yourselves. Given the very cold weather in East Anglia this year, it may end up being a picnic in the house though!
Go for a romantic walk
Exercise still has to be near home, but in beautiful East Anglia there is almost bound to be somewhere close to home where you can go for a special walk, with just the two of you.
Arrange a movie night
Instead of just watching TV as normal, choose a film you are both keen to see, turn the lights down and have popcorn or special movie snacks, perhaps with a glass of wine, so that it’s more like the experience of going to the cinema.
Get crafty with cards
Children can join in with the Valentine theme by making their own cards or heart-themed pictures and collages.
There are also various online resources that you can use to create card designs and then print them out.
Put hearts in your windows
Children can also get involved in creating colourful hearts for Valentine’s Day and put them in your windows, as they have with rainbow pictures the hugely successful Rainbow Trail. You could also choose rainbow colours to carry on the theme.
Michelle Filby has put hearts in the windows of her home in Hellesdon, because she would normally mark the occasion as joint owner of The Coffee Shop, Wymondham, but this year it is closed due to lockdown, so she is doing this to help cheer up the local community instead.
She said: “We’ve seen people smiling at them as they pass by, but our window is a little way off the pavement.”
Bake a cake – or a cupcake
There are plenty of recipes online to try, including 10 different Valentine cupcakes on the BBC Good Food website.
Baking Valentine’s treats, including sweets and biscuits, is also a fun activity to mark the occasion with children.
Dress for dinner
If you’re at home all the time at the moment, it’s tempting to wear jeans or jogging bottoms seven days a week.
However, if you’re planning a romantic Valentine meal at home, whether it’s a takeaway or a home-cooked meal, you can make it even more special by bringing your best clothes out of the wardrobe for a change.
If you are apart
Make them a video
You probably have lot of video clips and photos on your phone of places you have been together with your loved one, so put a few of them together to make a special Valentine video.
This would be great to send instead of a card if you can’t be together on the day.
Book a video course
There are a huge range of courses currently available online, often free or cheap. Whatever interests you share, from wine tasting to cookery or karaoke, you will be able to find online resources to help you enjoy them together – or book your partner a course to pursue their own interests.
Get TV celebrities to send a greeting for you.
Some of Britain’s best-loved actors have filmed love poems and readings for Valentine’s Day to support theatre company Ink, based in Halesworth.
Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville, Bridgerton star Caroline Quentin and actress Juliet Stevenson are just a few of those taking part. For a donation of £10, you can select a special film which will be emailed to you on February 13 for you to forward onto your loved one. For more details, visit the Ink website.
Livestream a concert or show at the same time
If you are both music fans and would normally go out for the evening, you could watch some of your favourite music or a favourite show both at once.
Say it with flowers…
If you’ve left it too late to order a bouquet to be delivered, it may still be possible to click and collect this weekend.
Florists will be very busy over Valentine’s weekend, though, so check ahead via their website or social media or by calling.
…Or with hearts
Wigglywoo Craft Emporium in Ipswich is offering a hearts craft box including three craft projects, a heart rag wreath, a ragged heart garland and lavender hanging heart sewing kit, plus a pack of chocolate.
It’s possible to click and collect, or to order one for a slightly belated Valentine treat. Visit the Wigglywoo website.
Give a virtual charity gift
Some charities are taking up the increasingly popular idea of making virtual charity gifts which has caught on at Christmas.
ActionAid is offering the option of “giving” your loved one a beehive, piglet, blanket or goat, via their Gifts in Action website. You can print out a card from the site.
How are couples marking Valentine’s Day in lockdown?
Suffolk couple Georgia Cawston and her fiance Connor Cook would normally have a night out for Valentine’s Day.
That of course isn’t possible this year, but the two 24-year-olds, from Ipswich, are still making the day as special as they can.
Georgia said: “My fiancé and I live with my parents and purchased our first home at the end of last year which we’re currently renovating.
“So we’re dressing in nice clothes, taking a camping table and chairs down to the new messy house and ordering from Deliveroo.” She added it was within walking distance.
“We are looking forward to a quiet evening together even in the mess and dust of the new house still being renovated.” Georgia said fortunately the heating is working.
Georgia and Connor have had to postpone their wedding, which was originally planned for April last year.
Other couples are also finding ways to make the day special amid the current restrictions.
Sophie Kirk from Framlingham said she was looking forward to a pre-ordered Italian pizza and free garlic heart-shaped pizza bread from Poppies & Daisies in Stradbroke.
She said they would also be enjoying the hot tub in their garden and then watching a film at home.
Sam Trebbick said he was planning to celebrate with a meal and a ‘lockdown gig’.
“Brand New Heavies are being streamed live from The Jazz Cafe in Camden, one of my most missed places in the last 12 months.”
Jennifer Jarvis said she was planning “afternoon tea, organised by me, so the other half can cater for dinner. (He only cooks this once a year.)”
Wish Watkins said she would be marking Valentine’s Day “through FaceTime, as I have not seen my boyfriend in person since Christmas.”
Stephanie Hickson from Eye said: “This year we’re making it about our children and having a Valentine’s party for them.”
And Laura Hammond summed up the reality for many, saying: “Same as Valentine’s Day out of lockdown. Mushy card and carry on.”