by Amanda Forester
*Note - after comment I have removed spoilers just in case you didn't watch Downton last night.
I'm late posting a blog today, but I got so caught up in Downton Abbey I could not tear myself away to write it. I've found clips of future episodes on you tube, but I will refrain! Ok, I will mostly refrain. Mostly I said!
Anyway, the point of this blog is not to talk of star crossed lovers, but of acknowledged ones. Married people. People in relationships. You see it is Valentine's Day Eve. In other words, time to PANIC!
If you have made your reservations, arranged the babysitter, and composed a sonnet to your love, you can stop reading now. I have nothing to offer you, now go away with your smug self. If, however, you are, like me, just opening your eyes to the grey light of a Monday morning with the hope that coffee, let's make that a double, will somehow chase away grogginess, only to find that tomorrow is Valentine's Day and you've done nothing to prepare, then read on!
If you are just now beginning to plan for Valentine's Day, you have every reason to be concerned. Hate to break it to you but you're not going to get a reservation now, not at any place that doesn't ask you if you want fries with your meal. Below are some ideas of last minute gifts that hopefully won't look like you stopped off at the gas and sip on the way home (beef jerky and a slurpy are not acceptable Valentine's Day offerings).
Confession: these are mainly targeted what men can do for the women in their lives, in particular what my husband can do for me (are you reading, honey?), but perhaps they can help you too:
1) Make a picnic at home. Let's face it... you dropped the ball on the whole reservation thing, and don't even start looking for a babysitter now. Even a 12-year-old will tell you she's been booked for a month. So you need to cover your mistake by making it appear that it was all part of your master plan. Of course she will be on to you, but she'll appreciate that you tried. Whether you make something at home or bring take out, put a little effort into the ambience. Put down a table cloth (it's kept on the second shelf in the linen closet) and light a candle (kept in that drawer you never open).
2) Give a card, but for heaven's sake don't just sign it. Write something in it. Say something about the vastness of your love, the beauty of her eyes, how you hope to wake up next to her every morning of your life, etc. If you draw a blank, pick up another card and copy the sentiment from it into your card. She will think you clever and I doubt you can go to jail for plagiarism (if I'm wrong I will deny all knowledge of this piece of advice).
3) Clean the house. Seriously. Start now. Dishes, laundry, vacuuming - it's all very sexy let me assure you. If she comes home to find you on your hands and knees buffing the floor, well let's just say you are well on your way to getting what you really want for Valentine's Day.
4) A boxed set of Downton Abbey. Ok, ok, maybe I'm being a little too specific. Well, can't hurt to put it out there. But now that I've mentioned it, a gift of something your love would like, something that tells your love that you know them will always be appreciated. My man in particular likes things that require extension cords and has warning labels.
5) Give the perfect gift: chocolate. You can buy it from an expensive chocolatier if you like, just make sure you bring home sufficinet quantities. Chocolate goes with everything and nothing is more likely to bring a smile to my... ahem I mean her face.
Hope this helps with the Valentine's Day conundrum. I hope your love life is not as complicated as the twisted (but oh so addictive) plot lines of Downton Abbey. I will not cheat and watch it on you tube, I will not cheat... um yeah, gotta go!