Last-minute Valentine’s Day ideas

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered

So it’s St. Valentine’s Day and what have you done to prepare for it? Nothing? Oh dear. No brownie points for you. A lot of anguish and sorrow could soon be directed your way. It is the 21st century and the recession is over - there are no more excuses now.

But don’t reach for the panic button just yet. Read on, for even the most ill-prepared individual will be able to benefit from this – our crafty list of last-minute Valentine’s Day plans that will prevent you from unnecessarily jeopardising your relationship.

Before we delve into our heart-shaped box of romantic possibilities, let us quickly confront the reasons that have led you to this miserable situation in the first place.

Clearly, as you are now dependent on this list in order to save your skin on this most hallowed day of love, you have, at the very least, an uneasy association with the concept of Valentine’s Day.

And rightly so - who needs to be allocated a solitary day, from the many available, to celebrate ardent feeling? Not I. Not you either.  

But the bad news is that all right-thinking people already know that, and somewhere deep down, they also know that at its root, Valentine’s Day is a nauseating mush of hateful over-commercialised pap. They know that, but plates will still get thrown if you don’t join in somehow.

So put aside your quibbles, brush your teeth, shine your shoes, sprinkle pink fluff in your hair, and prepare to put your judgements aside, as we open up a glittering fantasyland of perfect potential Valentine’s Day ideas.

1. Dinner - the safe option

Want to book a meal somewhere but not sure where? Head directly to a restaurant-booking website such as They have a dedicated Valentine’s Day section for London restaurants, which will allow you to make a quick, free booking without even having to lift up the telephone.

But is that enough? It is a particularly special date after all. If you can spare the minutes, make use of TripAdvisor to check out what people are saying about your chosen restaurant before you make the reservation. Then, once the reservation is made, find out what you can about the restaurant itself and the cuisine. Find out facts that will appeal to your partner. For instance, where in Scotland the salmon comes from, or who did the interior design? Which celebrities have dined there? What facetious remarks have been made about it by prominent restaurant critics?

2. Dinner - the unsafe option

Taking on the challenge of cooking for your partner is not to be entered into lightly on Valentine’s night. There are two key stumbling blocks that can derail this otherwise excellent idea. Firstly, if you are not in the habit of cooking much, then you may be out of practice. You do not want to find that at half past ten, your partner is looking bored, while you are panicking about whether you actually own enough hob-space to create a three-course meal.

Secondly, you may be a wizard in the kitchen - a commendable virtue, but one that can cook-up its own problems. You have a lot to live up to - can you beat that beef wellington from Wednesday? Can you match Monday’s meringue?

And don’t forget that you must spend a portion of your precious time acquiring the necessary groceries.

If you select the cooking-at-home option, don’t under any circumstances forget the booze. This one minor point can turn a fiasco into a memorable giggle-fest, or the perfectly executed meal a less merry one.

Luckily this year’s Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday so wild hangovers are unlikely to be career-threatening.

3. The going out option

Really, you’ve left it a bit late to be looking to go to the theatre or a concert in London. However, with luck on your side and steely determination you may get lucky. If that winning combination still fails to deliver, then head to where a purpose-made Valentine’s Day section will direct all tardy romantics to those shows that still have tickets remaining.

There is also the option to add dinner to the price of a show. Again, as you are unlikely to have been flaunting the fact that you have actually booked tickets to your partner, make up for it by researching the show and finding the details that will appeal to them.

4. The last-minute gift option

This option works best when teamed up with any of the other possibilities on the table. Cast your mind back - what does your partner like? What do they need? Maximise your time by utilising lunch breaks and any precious minutes after work in which to head to the shops.

In terms of gift ideas, there are loads of websites offering lists of the latest cosmetics/gadgets/jewellery available, but it’s too late for any of that, so don’t waste your time. You have to work with what is available in the shops near you. Take a deep breath, think of your partner, and spend 10 minutes considering what you can present them with that they will be sure to love. Those 10 minutes will be far better than 10 minutes spent clattering up and down the escalators at the nearest department store.

5. The creative option

For the true mavericks and the financially challenged, getting creative for Valentine’s Day is a sound option so long as you are talented and play to your strengths. Making a card may be a lunch-hour well-spent so long as you have a winning design in mind. Shops such as Paperchase make it easy to get creative as they sell blank coloured card and envelopes.  

Alternatively, if you’re a genuine word-smith, then get to work on a poem or song you can surprise your partner with. Use time spent commuting to hone your creation. To get started, have a look at “How to write a Valentine poem” on Wiki-how.

 6. Buy a cat

Yes, you read that correctly. The cat option is number six on our list, and we’re as surprised to see it as you are. The cattery at Battersea Dogs and Cats home is tonight offering the chance to snuggle up with a feline in their dedicated Cat Cuddle Booths (until 7.30pm). Entry is free and even includes a glass of bubbly! Visitors are encouraged to donate £2 for this over-18s only event.

7. The phone call option

In lists such as these, there is an innate understanding that the onus to provide, prepare and organise something to do on Valentine’s Day is down to one person. In reality, this is not the case. If you remain unconvinced as to what to do for Valentine’s Day, simply ring your partner and find out what they want to do. It’s Friday. You might not be the only one who wants to grab a takeaway and head on down to the local. However, if you are the only one, then do not under any circumstances consider it a suitable plan.

8. Flowers and chocolates

Flowers and chocolates get a bad rap as a solution to dealing with Valentine’s Day. That’s because they can seem like an easy way out of a sticky situation and require zero brain activity to think of buying. Everyone likes flowers and chocolates. But used inventively, flowers and chocolates are powerful tools. The trick is to use them in collaboration with other ideas on this list. Just as things hit a swooning romantic crescendo during pudding, BOOM, a box of champagne truffles. Get it?

9. Split up with your partner

For a memorable St. Valentine’s Day, why not give your significant other the push? At the very least it will be an unexpected move, and no doubt your decisiveness will put an end to any criticism that you’re “not spontaneous anymore”.

10. If you’re single

Well, if you’re single then you have a get-out-of-jail-free card for all of the above nonsense. Give yourself a pat on the back, stretch out on the sofa and listen to some lovely reggae. Aaah.

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