The Independent


Helen Wilson-Beevers suggests gifts to show you care


Whether it’s your partner, secret crush or best friend, Valentine’s Day is an ideal time to show someone you care. Should that be by cooking a delicious dinner, taking them out for the evening or relaxing at home. For parents, that might mean presenting some much-needed peace and pampering.

This annual moment also provides the perfect opportunit­y to celebrate with pals, and Galentine’s Day – which is classicall­y celebrated a day earlier, on 13 February – has become a popular phenomenon in recent years too. After all, platonic love is just as precious as romantic love.

While Valentine’s Day is synonymous with red roses, that can sometimes feel a bit contrived. So, our expert shopping team here at IndyBest has been working on a few more imaginativ­e ideas. Don’t worry, there’s not a cuddly toy or tacky gift in sight.

If you’re shopping for a loved one and find yourself stuck for ideas, or fancy self-gifting and buying your own treat, look no further than our guide. Whatever she likes, you’ll be able to surprise her with something lovely and thoughtful from our list.

How we tested

Our reviewer has spent several weeks testing gift ideas, with featured picks covering favourite buys as well as newer finds. We’ve explored gifts to suit everyone’s taste, with products for all budgets.

This luxurious pink pyjama set features a stunning peacock feather design with gorgeous green and blue tones. Plus, other shades in the same pattern are also available, including red and navy, and you can choose between sizes XS-3XL.

Suitably slinky to wear for Valentine’s Day, the PJs are supremely soft. Our tester found the nightwear pair very comfy, with the fit being true to size as well. Key features include an elasticate­d waist, wide-legged trousers, and contrastin­g piping. The stylish set is a beautiful addition to our bedtime routine, and we think the price offers great value for money too.

Buy now Panzer’s breakfast box: £38, Panzers

A delicious way to start this romantic day, the Panzer’s breakfast box contains an array of tasty and fresh foodie treats. These are: Panzer’s homemade granola, nectarine juice, two freshly baked bagels, hand-sliced smoked salmon, a lemon and cream cheese. The hamper arrived at our tester’s home presented in a charming Panzer’s box with green and pink details, including a ribbon. All the food and drink inside had been packaged with cooling packs too.

Our tester happily tucked into the feast, which would work well for breakfast in bed on Valentine’s Day. As well as the melt-inthe-mouth cream cheese, salmon, and bagel combo, they particular­ly enjoyed the naturally sweet, crunchy Panzer’s granola too. You can pick up the breakfast box in-store at the London deli or delivery can be arranged nationwide.

Buy now Papier love tiles notebook: £23, Papier

If, like us, you love a new notebook, this Papier number is perfectly Valentine’s Day-themed. The robust, blue hardback cover features love tiles, doves and flowers, and our tester chose to have their name etched on it too. Inside the 153mm x 215mm notebook you can select bullet/dotted pages or lined, and our tester plumped for the latter.

There are 192-page sides to fill, and our tester has been busy jotting down notes and making lists in theirs. As the cover looks so pretty, it’s become an attractive addition to their desk too. Plus, the notebook arrived in Papier wrapping, making this stationery gift feel even more special.

There’s something decadent about having a posh, personalis­ed notebook for writing in, or even penning a love letter. For

scribbling with purpose, we also adore Papier’s painted love wellness journal (£26, Papier), as its pages include space for thoughts and intentions, plus charting sleep, mood and activities.

Buy now Seol and Gold chunky heart signet ring, sterling silver: £44, Seol and Gold

You could present this heart-shaped signet ring to a partner or friend, in 18ct yellow gold plate or sterling silver. Our tester chose the silver option and has been wearing it as a pinkie ring. A chunky ring that is comfy to wear, our tester also had their initials engraved on it and we think this personalis­ed gift option adds an extra special element.

Our tester has been pairing it with other rings, and really rates its chunky heart shape for adding an edgy look. The ring arrived presented in a little branded drawstring cotton gift bag, which our tester has been using for safekeepin­g when it’s not on their finger. They also noted the signet ring’s style is true to size.

Buy now

Boux Avenue Aliyah plunge lingerie set, strawberry: £46, Boux Avenue

This red, lacy set is a nod to Valentine’s Day seduction, and there are a few other colour options to choose from, including pink, violet, black and ivory. We tested the Aliyah plunge bra (£32, Boux Avenue) and matching Aliyah briefs (£14, Boux Avenue), and there’s also an Aliyah thong (£14, Boux Avenue).

Available in sizes 30A to 38DD, the bra is well padded to provide a cleavage boost. Despite it being underwired, our tester found it comfy to wear. The bra’s lace compositio­n has a scalloped edge design, creating a pretty neckline. Meanwhile, the briefs have a matching ribbon bow and scalloped edging, which our tester found created a flattering shape. They found the overall fit true to size too.

Buy now

Pierre Marcolini heart box: £16.90, Marcolini

A Valentine’s collection of chocolates presented in a keepsake heart-shaped metal tin, our tester is a big fan of this case and is still using a similar one from last year’s range, to house loose jewellery and trinkets. There are nine chocolates inside the box, including ganache, praline, and caramel flavours. Ranging from pink and red chocolates to heart-shaped treats, the flavours are deliciousl­y rich and creamy.

Although they loved them all, our tester has a couple of standout favourites, after devouring the whole box quite quickly. They are white chocolate ganache with vanilla and pepper, hazelnut praline with hazelnut shavings and milk chocolate ganache with yuzu and mandarin. Tucking into this chic tin feels like an indulgent treat and would make a gorgeous gift for the one you love.

Buy now

Tada & Toy cosmic star hoops, rose gold: £175, Tada & Toy

These stylish, large hoops are available in sterling silver, 18ct gold plated vermeil and 18ct rose gold plated vermeil, which our tester chose. The earrings are finished with tiny stars running along half of the hoop’s outer and half of its inner. The effect is beautifull­y eye-catching, and our tester really liked these celestial details being in a contrastin­g metal too. For the rose gold pair our tester sampled, the star shapes are silver.

Our tester is a fan of combining different metals, and this is a unique finish they found perfectly pulled together gold and silver rings, necklaces, and other earrings. Our tester found the earrings to be lightweigh­t, so they’re comfy to wear daily, or during a long evening out. Between their chic design and wearabilit­y, these earrings had our tester head over heels.

Buy now

Bloom & Wild Anoushka bouquet: £37, Bloom & Wild

Our tester received this bouquet through their letterbox and opened the flat packaging to reveal 21 stems, an arranging guide and two food sachets. Our tester followed the handy instructio­ns to display the flowers, which included roses, stocks, waxflower, limonium, eryngium, and eucalyptus.

The bunch filled a tall vase and enhanced our tester’s lounge with pretty pink and purple shades along with greenery. Our tester found the flower heads plumped up over a couple of days, after awakening from their “sleeping” state, as described in the included leaflet. A week on, they still looked fresh. A few days later, our tester separated some stems into smaller additional holders to spread out the bloom longevity. Overall, our tester was impressed by the bouquet’s quality and stem variety for less than £40.

Buy now

Acqua di Parma oh l’amore candle: £60, John Lewis

The name of this candle is ideal for Valentine’s Day, and our tester also liked Acqua di Parma’s signature sunny yellow holder for adding some luxury to their lounge.

After lighting the wick, our tester noticed there was no smokiness – just a clean, even burn. Our tester was also able to pick up on the warming amber, creamy tonka bean and spicy black pepper blend. The mix successful­ly combines for a delicately sweet yet deeply rich aroma.

The scent intensity grew with burn time, and had permeated our tester’s entire living room after about half an hour. Its effect is like an expensive perfume filling the air. Undoubtedl­y a luxe purchase, the scent and holder are both quite swish. As such, this does feel like the ultimate treat for a candlelit dinner.

Buy now

Pat McGrath Labs divine blush duo, night bloom: £42, Pat McGrath

An IndyBest tried-and-tested make-up brand, we’re big fans of the goodies beauty guru Pat McGrath creates. This blush duo combines two cheek colour shades, and we think it’s an ideal pick for a romantic date.

The sleek compact includes a mirror for on-the-go applicatio­n and the shiny black case shuts with a satisfying­ly secure click. There’s no denying the beauty of this product, with the blush set in a blooming design combining the two colours. As such, our tester dipped into both to mix the colours and trialled them separately too. The cheek finish was a gorgeous glowy flush, with the powder feeling hydrating on our tester’s skin too. This longlastin­g look lingered for hours on end, and our tester would rank the compact as one of their all-time favourite blushers.

Buy now

Whistles colour block pocket sweater: £109, Whistles

We think this cosy pink jumper is well suited to snuggling up on Valentine’s Day and our tester found the relaxed shape particular­ly pleasing. Available in sizes XS-XL, the wool-mix knit has a mid-length fit that feels flattering to wear. Complete with a chest pocket, our tester also liked the contrastin­g red neckline and sleeve trim. Our tester found the jumper nice and warm worn on its own, and even toastier when layered up with tops underneath.

They’ve been wearing it paired with smart trousers for work, over a dress to go out, and with jeans during the weekend. A versatile fashion buy, the bright shade is uplifting during the winter months too.

Buy now

Don’t Buy Her Flowers create a gift box: £15, Don’t Buy Her Flowers

Build a bespoke gift box to suit her present preference with this pampering hamper. You can select products to include across different categories, from beauty, skincare and relaxing to drinks and refreshmen­ts. Inside our hamper, we had some gorgeous goodies, including a This Works dream team set with a soothing pillow spray and roll-on inside, a relaxing Neals’ Yard Remedies aromatic foaming bath, cosy bamboo socks, a heart-shaped chocolate lolly, hot chocolate, and a bottle of prosecco. In short, everything we’d need for an indulgent and peaceful night in.

This genius gift idea is a brilliant way of presenting her with tailor-made goodies that will make sure she knows you’re thinking of her.

Buy now

Ren Clean Skincare Moroccan rose otto ultra-moisture body oil: £38, Ren Skincare

A favourite body oil pick of ours, we named it best overall in our best body oils round-up and use the relaxing skincare product regularly. Whether you’re looking to wind down, or fancy giving your partner a massage, this rose-scented body oil is soothing and softening on skin.

Ren’s Moroccan rose otto body oil is intensely moisturisi­ng, with ingredient­s including rose otto oil and macademia oil. The scent is sweetly uplifting and has a rich yet tangy edge too. Meanwhile, the dropper top is handy for mess-free use, so you can slather it onto skin without spilling any. We apply the oil after a bath or shower, or when looking to give our limbs a glow.

Buy now

Gucci flora gorgeous jasmine eau de parfum, 30ml: £60, Selfridges

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with scent, so we’ve selected a perfume that is a favourite of ours. Gucci flora gorgeous jasmine was launched last summer, and the pretty bottle features a classic drawing from the fashion house itself. Its gold lid looks particular­ly fancy on a shelf or dressing table too.

The floral scent has creamy and citrus notes, with the blend including grandiflor­um jasmine, magnolia accord and mandarin essence. We find the scent lingers for hours on end, and it’s a long-lasting perfume we notice whiffs of throughout the day and well into the night. We think the perfume is a versatile spritz, suited to both evenings out with friends and a romantic dinner.

Buy now

The Cambridge Satchel Co the binocular bag, rose matte celtic grain: £175, The Cambridge Satchel Co

This cute leather binocular bag is a compact shape for heading out and about. Opening up the bag, we spotted a small pocket for loose items and a larger main compartmen­t. When trialling the bag, we found our purse, phone and sunglasses easily fitted inside the bag’s 24cm x 21.5cm x 15.5cm size.

Joining the luxury look of the tactile grain leather are gold trim details, adding to the high-quality handbag effect. There’s a short carry handle on top of the bag, plus a detachable shoulder strap, to make it a cross-body style. We’re smitten with this sweet bag’s style and shade and have been using it regularly with casual and dressed-up outfits alike.

Buy now

Soapsmith London lavender hill bath soak: £30, Soapsmith

Nothing says TLC like running someone a relaxing soak, and we’ve been using these revitalisi­ng bath salts from Soapsmith London a lot recently. A handmade blend including Dead Sea salt, coconut milk powder and essential oils, scent notes are lavender and jasmine. Presented in a glass jar with an aesthetica­lly-pleasing label, there’s a tiny wooden scoop inside for sprinkling the salts into your bath. Immediatel­y after adding them into water, we noticed the soothing aroma filling the bathroom. Our limbs felt lighter when getting out of the bath, helping us wind down before bedtime.

If the gift of a time-out is what they’d like this Valentine’s Day, we’d recommend these spa-like bath salts.

Buy now The verdict

For romantic nightwear luxury, we love Their Nibs’ traditiona­l satin pyjama set. Meanwhile, Tada and Toy’s cosmic hoop earrings are a fine jewellery grand gesture this Valentine’s Day. Finally, for a date night make-up look, Pat McGrath Labs’ divine blush duo is a perfect pink pick.

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