5 Fresh Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day | House and Leisure

5 Fresh Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

We’re hitting refresh on the usual Valentine’s Day kitsch with five gift ideas that celebrate love and support local artisans at the same time. Here are five fresh ways to celebrate Valentine's Day.

5 Fresh Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

1 Houseplants instead of roses

  hanging houseplant

Arguably, long-stemmed red roses on Valentine’s Day are a tad overplayed. While (other) fresh flowers are always welcome as a sweet-smelling token of love and appreciation, in a week or so their scent has gone south with their petals in pursuit. Shouldn’t a gift as a symbol of your love have a longer lifespan? Plants are the perfect alternative. We suggest a low-maintenance, water-wise hanging plant.

Cape Town-based botanical florist and design studio Opus has a signature range of hanging plants in a selection of indoor varieties, succulents and aloes. Another idea, if you’re in Joburg, is a floral subscription from online florist Botanicus. Get a bespoke arrangement delivered to your door weekly or fortnightly in colour palettes such as Mulberry & Ruby or Snow & Forest. As soon as one bunch begins to fade, fresh blooms arrive to take their place.

2. Local, handmade intimates

Nette Rose Lingerie

Local lingerie brand Nette Rose is here to remind you that it’s totally acceptable, even encouraged, to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for yourself. Founder and designer Meg Miller says, 'I have always had a passion for intimates…They were always bought just for me; I never grew up thinking it was for anyone else. You do it for yourself. Nette Rose is for the babes who know the power of dressing for themselves.' Browse delicate bralettes and knickers online and have them shipped worldwide. If you are buying for someone else, which can be tricky, it would be wise to go with a gift card.

3. Gorgeous artisanal chocolates

Alexander Avery Chocolates

Something sweet for your sweet is what Valentine’s Day is made of. This year, take the sophistication up a notch with gorgeous local chocolate brand Alexander Avery. Their chocolates have featured on the menus of local chefs Vanessa Marx and Liam Tomlin, and their petits fours were served at the launch party of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa last year. Indulge in bonbons or bars in flavours such as Fever Tea and Naartjie Jelly or Kalamansi Caramel. Each bite is a work of art.

4. Take a cooking course together

For some, eating out on Valentine’s Day might be for the strong of stomach. Why not skip the twee table decorations and chocolate fondants for a food experience that will reap benefits further than 14 February: a couples' cooking course. In Johannesburg, Wickedfood Cooking School is hosting Valentine’s cooking classes in the countryside on 11, 17 and 18 February. In Pretoria, Prue Leith chefs academy offers lessons for a three-course fine-dining Valentine’s Day menu with a wine pairing on 14, 15 and 16 February. In Cape Town, Ginger & Lime food studio in Fresnaye is celebrating Valentine’s week with Tantalizing Thai on 13 February and Back to Basics on 15 February. Stir Crazy catering and cooking school in Hout Bay is presenting a Valentine’s Day Couples' Course beginning with a complimentary glass of bubbles on arrival and finishing with vanilla panna cotta.

5. The gift of wine

homtini wine

It’s accepted wisdom to not judge a book by its cover but we’re going to let that slide this time and suggest a beautiful bottle of wine – or something stronger – as a great gift to elevate the table decor this Valentine’s Day. Go ahead and choose something with style. We’re taking inspiration from Fairview’s Homtini, an Italian blend wrapped in a label designed by local studio Jane Says. Head to Winefolk for easy online shopping.