Love is all you need...

Love, love, love...

Valentines Day 2016

It conquers all and is the best medicine (or that may be laughter...); what ever it means to you, it is celebrated on February 14th every year. The un-official holiday of romance, which started out as a christian feast-day celebrating secret marriages, has transformed into a commercialized guilt-trip for lovers all over the world.

So do I love Valentines day? This may come as a surprise to you judging by the above picture, but no I don't! I do like it, but I never used to. As a kid, it was cute. I would send valentines to unwitting boys in my class which were met with an inevitable "ewwww". As an adolescent, it was a terrible reminder my awkwardness and how superficial our little school-subculture could be. My only high-school valentine was my friend from another school, who sent me a text asking me one year and did not actually see me at all on the day. 

My boyfriend is away on a guys-tip, which has unfortunately fallen over Valentines Day this year. This is of course, not a big deal. I have missed much more important occasions like our anniversary and birthdays when I was away! But it was hard not to feel left out as the day seemed to be more in-my-face compared to previous years. I work in the party section of a department store, so I was surrounded by roses, chocolates, teddy bears, heart-motifs, you name it! I even spent the majority of V-day inflating 100 red and white balloons, there was no escaping! 

I could finally understand how some people feel the pressure to shower their partner with gifts, and how alienated single people must feel! Between all the build-up and marketing, the flower vans on the side of the road all day and the radio DJ's playing only love songs...its tough out there if you're "alone"! This made me miss my boyfriend more and more, and made me feel annoyed that he didn't acknowledge the day with a gift or a card when I had sent both off with him in his suitcase two weeks before (sorry if you're reading this babe). Of course I came to my senses after my little pity-party. He doesn't need one day a year to show me he loves me, he does that in so many ways every day. It was purely the hype and marketing causing a problem, not him. To overcome this, I kept reading the adorable text he had sent me, looked forward to my evening plans and was cheered up by a good friend who surprised me with a rose and a balloon (Thank you @sarahtilleke01).

I added Sarah's rose and balloon to a flower arrangement from our garden.

To all the cynics out there, you don't need one day a year to show your significant other you love them, true. However I believe Valentines Day is the kick in the booty we all need to stop being complacent in our relationships. Take that trip you've been talking about, or carve out time to spend with each other you don't normally get because we're all so busy. Using the excuse "it's Valentines Day" is likely to free you from other obligations and make people leave you two love birds alone!

You don't have to focus on material items. Buying someone a teddy or an expensive flower arrangement doesn't prove that you love them. Sure its romantic! But when we're together, my boyfriend and I like to use the day to slow down, indulge and enjoy each other's company. Our first year together I whipped up some macrons, brownies and chocolate covered strawberries, he presented me with some malteasers and a small bunch of roses, and we spent the afternoon ice skating. Our second year, we packed a picnic and watched the giants roam around Perth City. All very low key, affordable and memorable.

The day doesn't have to solely be about romantic love either! What if everyone spread love all at once one day a year. I feel like if everyone just paused for a day and limited negativity and hate...maybe the world slowly become a better place. Sorry for my corny, new age twenty-something optimism...but maybe there's something to that?

On that note, here are some ideas on how to spend Valentines Day, whether you are single or taken. Loneliness should not be inflicted on anyone and I believe if you do one of these things, you will truly be joing in the spirit of the day.

Have a Galentines Day!
Get your gal-pals together a la Amy Poehler on February 13th or 14th and be each other's valentines! Do what my cousin Lauren and I did this year and stay home and have a girly night; eating comfort food, baking together, watching a chick-flick (fittingly we viewed Valentines Day which had many of our favorites in it...hello Julia Roberts and Taylor Swift!) and having a fun photo-shoot! You could even add in some pampering. Alternatively, get all dolled up and hit the town for a girls night out! This year I was more aware of the array of singles events happening, so if you are ready to mingle you can be pretty sure most of the people out that night will be too ;)

 Send Valentines
Whether its to your love, you mum or your single friend, everyone deserves to be shown that they are loved and appreciated. Especially if they don't have a special someone, it will be a nice surprise and really make their day! Get kids in on the act too, everything is cuter coming from them. Think of how happy Charlotte's daughter Lilly in Sex and the City made Carrie feel with her Cinderella-themed card. As much as I don't like forcing the idea of relationships on children, if you do have any in your life helping them send Valentines to their friend's will be a fun activity that will again, help spread positivity! Just make sure they keep it platonic (that's a can of worms for another post...).

Decorate your space in theme
Adding a little something special and romantic to your home or office will give you a new found sense of optimism and romance. I realized this while eating dinner with Lauren. The atmosphere from the balloon ribbon, the music, the lighting and flowers made what would have been a normal dinner into something special. You don't have to go all out with the hearts and the pink like we did, get creative! However in my opinion, flowers are a must! You may even want to dress up and add a bit more whimsy to your normal look. I chose a white dress on advice from Little Miss Mon Bon's Valentines post.

Spend the day with someone you love
This person may or may not be your sweetheart. Just concentrate on spending quality time with them and making memories.You may want to write them a note, give them a little something like chocolates or flowers, or give them a big something. We shouldn't need a reason to spoil each other and getting something they want or need when its not their birthday or Christmas would of course be very welcome, and shows how well you know them. But again, do not feel like gifts are an expectation! If you give but don't receive, do not dwell on it and be thankful for the happiness the day and the person has brought you.  

Treat Yo-Self!
Baby, you should love yourself every day of the year. But if V-day gives you all the bad feels, it is a good place to start. The standard at home spa night with your favorite movie will work wonders, or you could splash out on a massage, or your favorite indulgence (did I hear someone say $12 pint of gourmet ice cream?) or take yourself somewhere nice! Self-love and r&r help us recharge, especially when we are feeling down. 

Give Back
Volunteer or do something noble and worthy with your time. Go out into the world and give your time, or research and donate to a new cause. Special occasions are the best time to reflect and get involved in something you care about.

Thanks for reading, I hope you had a great Valentines Day whatever you got up to!
Love you lots, xox Eliseeey


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