Sunday 14th Feb

How to have a happy valentine's day

As Valentine’s Day 2016 fast approaches, we’ve compiled the definitive guide to all things Valentine’s! From finding out why we celebrate Valentine’s Day in the UK (and some stats that make very interesting reading) to a checklist on avoiding being a Valentine’s Day procrastinator, you’ll find the lot in our Valentine’s Day Cheat Sheet.

As it falls on a Sunday this year, there are even more options for how to spend your day – read our tips for ideas on how to make it memorable whatever your budget, including menu inspiration if you’re thinking of staying at home and impressing in the kitchen.

Stuck for something special to give to that someone special? Our Valentine’s gift ideas will help you choose the perfect gift. And when it comes to your Valentine’s card, we’ve got great tips for making your own as well as a selection of famous Valentine’s quotes and love poems to make your message extra special.

Single on Valentine’s Day this year? Obviously your first instinct will be to bury your head in a big box of Thorntons chocolates and not surface until the 15th. But worry not – because we’ve put together a nifty guide on how you can still enjoy the day, including tips on how to get your friends and family involved (before burying your head in a big box of Thorntons chocolates and not surfacing until the 15th).

Ideas for Valentine's Day

What to do for Valentine’s Day

Whatever you plan to do for Valentine’s Day 2016, be sure to make it memorable. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – it might be a cliché but it really does ring true that it’s the thought that counts. Spending time together, no matter what you’re doing, is what makes any day special. Here’s our guide for things to do on Valentine’s Day to make it one to remember…

Re-enact your first date

When do we ever stop and take a moment to remember how we felt about each right at the start? Go to the same coffee shop, sit on the same bench in the park or just do something you used to do together. Butterflies time all over again.

Get your glad rags on

Book a table somewhere swanky and dress to impress. Dressing up makes the occasion feel extra special, and occasions where you both dress up smart are often rare. Treat yourselves to one night of luxury. And if you have kids, get a babysitter and maybe even a hotel room – it’s great to remember the people you were before you became Mum and Dad.

Go wild

Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, which opens up many more possibilities for fun Valentine’s dates. See how romance plays out in the animal kingdom with a day out at the zoo or at a wildlife park.

Chocolate treasure hunt

You can’t go wrong with chocolate when it comes to a Valentine’s present, so why not turn the entire day into one long sweet treat? Hide clues and chocolates around the house or at key places (e.g. your other half’s favourite café) to remind your Valentine of your sweetness all day long.

Lovebirds, take flight

Why not go one better than Valentine’s Day by making a weekend of it and heading off somewhere? You don’t have to go far – there are many stunning, romantic country houses in every county, where you’ll feel like a million dollars and like you’re a million miles away from the daily routine. Oh, and turn your phones off.

Cook dinner

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to wine and dine your loved one. There’s nothing anyone enjoys more than being taken care of – so light some candles and cook a nice dinner while your other half puts his or her feet up.

Baking a Valentine's Day cake

Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to try something new in the kitchen – and what better way to show you love someone than with a homemade Valentine’s cake or Valentine’s cupcakes?

From rich sponges to romantic Valentine’s cake decorations and sensational flavour combinations, a Valentine’s cake can really spice up your Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate is the most obvious addition for a romantic bake as chocolate is synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Why not top chocolate cupcakes with piped red roses? Or why not incorporate their favourite Thorntons chocolate onto a sumptuous chocolate cake?

Check out the triple-layered white chocolate cake finished with Thorntons chocolates and fresh fruit below. This show-stopping cake recipe was created by Luis Troyano from the 2014 series of ‘The Great British Bake-off’.

Or how about this decadent caramel chocolate cascade cake created by super-talented Thorntons enthusiast, Rachel? An amazing cake with a whopping four layers of sponge, coated in ganache and finished with Thorntons Continental chocolates…

Alternatively, why not try your hand at making a red velvet cake or red velvet cupcakes? These cakes include adding red food colouring or beetroot to a chocolate cake to give a striking red colour – perfect for Valentine’s Day. For an extra special touch, we recommend finishing with Thorntons chocolate and cream cheese icing!

If you like what you see above, view more of our delicious chocolate recipes.

Valentine's Gifts

Valentine's Gifts for Him

Again, follow the golden rule – it’s the thought that counts. A gift for the man in your life doesn’t have to be expensive. Making it personal makes it special.

If you’re on a budget, why not try a homemade music compilation or ‘love coupons’ (entitling the recipient to a home-cooked meal, a massage or whatever takes your fancy)? Two free but thoughtful gifts.

Or if you’re willing to splash out, a new watch or cufflinks can make a long-lasting gift that will keep on giving.

But what about the man who has everything? Well, Thorntons has lots of truly irresistible chocolate gift ideas and romantic gifts that will be sure to make him smile. Take a look at our great range of chocolate gifts. Chocolate is the most popular Valentine’s Day gift for good reason – show him how sweet you think he is with the sweetest treat of them all.

Valentine's Gifts for Her

Give her something she’ll really love this Valentine’s Day with a little luxury from Thorntons. Thorntons Valentine’s gifts are the perfect way to say ‘I love you’ – whether it’s our delicious milk, white and dark chocolates, our nutty pralines and truffles, or our unique Special Toffee. For an extra special gift, take a look at our Champagne and alcohol hampers with chocolates for a treat you can share together!

As well as chocolate, why not treat her to a bottle of her favourite perfume, some jewellery or a bottle of Champagne? You don’t have to go all out on Valentine’s Day but if you want to splash out, there are a wealth of luxury gifts available for your loved one. Our Luxury Champagne Hamper includes a bottle of Taittinger Champagne and melt-in-the-mouth Marc de Champagne truffles.

Or, for that hard-to-buy-for woman in your life, why not book her a relaxing spa day, name a star after her or book both of you in for dance classes (releasing your inner Latin lover!)? You could also buy a personalised print – featuring both of your names, the map coordinates of where you first met or even a montage of all of the things you love about her. Thoughtful and unique gifts such as these show that you really care about her and that you’ve thought outside the box!

But if you’re on a budget, there’s no need to worry – some of the best gifts are from the heart and needn’t cost a penny. Why not make a photo album or scrapbook and fill it with special moments you’ve shared?

Valentine's Flowers

Red roses are synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but we also offer arrangements with roses and other stunning flowers that can be tailored more to your loved one’s tastes. Each bouquet also comes with a box of their favourite Thorntons chocolates, making it the perfect Valentine’s Day combination.

Of course, we can prepare classic red roses in beautiful bouquets (with a heart shaped box of chocolates, naturally!) but we also have yellow and pink roses if you want something a bit different. Or how about one of our bouquets of roses combined with beautiful white lilies, or with red freesia and orange germini if you want to make a statement? Our Valentine’s bouquets make wonderful surprises to show your loved one you’re thinking of them – and with a range of delivery options, we can drop them right to their door or workplace.

Personalised Valentine's Gifts

For a unique Valentine’s gift, why not make it personal? It’s a great way to make your gesture extra special and show that it really comes from the heart.

Add a completely personal touch to your Valentine’s gift by giving your favourite framed photo, creating your own perfume or selecting a Thorntons personalised Valentine’s gift. You can have a bespoke message or a photo printed onto a personalised Continental box for the ultimate in unique gifts – or you can literally wish someone a Happy Valentine’s Day in chocolate with one of our hand-iced chocolate models or Alphabet Truffles.

Or for a huge collection of chocolate treats to really spoil that special someone, why not choose one of our luxurious personalised hampers?

Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine's Card Ideas

If you’re looking for a fantastic Valentine’s card to combine with a delicious box of Thorntons chocolates, we have a great range of Valentine’s cards on our website. Whether it’s for your spouse, partner, or someone you want to send to anonymously, we have the card for you (and more importantly, them!).

Or why not make a personalised Valentine’s card that’s extra special? Could be a collage made from photos of times you’ve spent together or even a classic Valentine’s poem. A touch of nostalgia maybe, with a photo of you two together – possibly one from the start of your relationship, from a memorable date or from an unforgettable holiday? Or how about a sketch? It’s the sort of thing that could only come from you and it’s sure to be appreciated (even if you’re not going to be troubling Picasso for his spot in the Louvre).

Alternatively, be thrifty yet thoughtful by using things you have to hand as embellishments – like cutting a heart from a map of where you first met. We really love this idea made from old postage stamps…

Funny Valentine's Cards

If it’s still early days for your relationship or you and your partner find conventional Valentine’s cards a bit too much, why not make a humorous card to tickle your Valentine? Simple yet funny Valentine’s cards can easily be made yourself with a blank card and some Sharpies – here are some simple verse ideas that we love…

Valentine's Day Quotes

Looking for something special to say or write this Valentine’s Day? If you’re stuck with what to write in your Valentine’s card, we’ve compiled a list of top Valentine’s Day quotes to share with your loved one and make them smile…

"Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." – Aristotle

"Where there is love there is life." – Gandhi

“So long as I can breathe or I can see, so long lives your love which gives life to me” – William Shakespeare

"I am weird, you are weird. Everyone in this world is weird. One day, two people come together in mutual weirdness and fall in love." – Dr Seuss

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other” – Audrey Hepburn

“Love is a promise; love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.” - John Lennon

“Love is a game that two can play and both win” – Eva Gabor

Or our outright winner (but we accept we may be a little biased)…

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." – Charles M Schulz

Valentine's Day Poems

The mere thought of attempting it sends many into a cold sweat. But you don’t have to be The Bard to touch someone with your words. If you can’t make it… well, poetic… just make it personal. Or make it funny. But do give it a go. Writing your own rhyme is a great way of showing someone that you care. And if at first you don’t succeed, steal. Here are a few snippets from some of our favourite poems by those far wiser and wordier than ourselves…

Love by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
Are all but ministers of Love,
And feeed his sacred flame."

Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley

“The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion; Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another's being mingle
Why not I with thine?"

I carry your heart with me by E. E. Cummings

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in
my heart) I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)"

Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight”

Another Valentine by Wendy Cope

“Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.
You know I’m yours and I know you are mine.
And saying that has made me feel romantic,
My dearest love, my darling valentine.”

I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke

“let me be your electric meter
I will not run out
let me be the electric heater
you get cold without”

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It's not just about romance

Being single on Valentine's Day

Okay, so you’ve not found that someone special to spend the day with yet. So what? The one thing you can still embrace is your independence. As we all know, better to wait than jump in too soon. Here’s our four-point guide to avoid feeling like Feb 14th is Single Awareness Day:

  1. You’re not alone.
    There are millions of other single people out there. Being single isn’t really a big deal – and you’re no worse off being single on Sunday 14th February than you are any other day of the year. Think of it less as a big party that you aren’t invited to and more of a chance to celebrate the lucky escapes you’ve made to date and the imminent arrival of Mr or Miss Right.
  2. Love your single status.
    Do you have any idea how many people will get a bad night’s sleep tonight courtesy of a knee in their back? Or snoring? Anyway, there are lots of other people you can spread the love with – whether it be a card for your mum or a small chocolate treat for a friend or family member.
  3. Treat yourself. (After all, it’s probably the only way you can be sure you’ll get a present you really love!) Could be a bottle of your favourite perfume. Or a box of your favourite chocolates. Or why not really push the boat out and get your hair done or book a spa day?
  4. Team up.
    Grab your single mates and show the couples how to hit town. If you want to really rub it in, go and have the time of your lives in a local restaurant and remind all those lovebirds that being independent can be just as much fun!

Kids just love an excuse to get the glue and paints out. And mums and dads just love anything their kids have made for them. So why not help your little one make something that’ll touch your loved one?

Handprint Heart

Handprints are a lovely way of capturing the age of little ones and make great keepsakes. What better for Valentine’s Day than this cute heart?

Origami Heart

Or how about a spot of origami? Hearts like this are simple to make and can be used to decorate presents, flower vases and the like.

Felt Heart Decorations

Using red or pink felt, these beautiful heart decorations make a lovely keepsake for children to give to a parent or grandparent.

Happy Valentine's Day, Friend

A bit of romance never goes amiss. But let’s not forget the other relationships that are important to us. This Valentine’s Day, why not focus on friendship and make an effort to value the people and relationships you might often take for granted?

In research done by the London School of Economics, when it came to the people who made participants the happiest, friends were top of the list as they increased a person’s happiness by 8.2%. So why not show your BFF how much they mean to you this Valentine’s Day with a homemade card or small gift?

Did you know that Valentine’s Day is a time to appreciate friends rather than a romantic occasion in some cultures? For example, Valentine’s Day in Finland is called Ystävänpäiv or ‘Friendship Day’, a day where you give cards and small gifts to your friends. And similarly in Estonia, Valentine’s Day is called Sõbrapäev, which has much the same meaning. Likewise, in Guatemala, Valentine’s Day is known as the ‘Day of Love and Friendship’ – and you leave your best mate out at your peril!

Valentine's Day Cheat Sheet

Ever wondered where Valentine’s Day started? Our cheat sheet has all the answers. We’ve also compiled a checklist to help you get organised this time around and included some interesting Valentine’s Day statistics.

When is Valentine's Day?

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many different ways worldwide and falls on 14th February each year. This is not a public holiday but traditionally, Valentine’s Day marks the start of Spring.

In Wales, some people celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day (the patron saint of Welsh lovers apparently – although we though that was Tom Jones) on 25th January. This can be instead of, or as well as, Valentine’s Day. Why wouldn’t you celebrate both, we say?!

How and when Valentine’s Day is celebrated differs between cultures. For example, in Brazil, the Dia dos Namorados (or ‘Lovers’ Day’) is celebrated on 12th June, where many single women perform rituals to find a good husband. This is not dissimilar to the UK, where such rituals have evolved to include swiping right.

And in China, it is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar – commemorating the day in a story dating back over 2,000 years on which two forbidden lovers, a cowherd and weaving maid, were allowed to be together.

What is the History of Valentine's Day?

Valentine’s Day, also known as St Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, has been celebrated in the UK for thousands of years. Nobody can state its origins for sure but the best guess is that it evolved from a Roman festival called Lupercalia, which took place in the middle of February to mark the arrival of spring. The festival included boys pulling girls’ names out of a box, and couples being paired off the following year – thought to be the precursor to today’s anonymous message sending.

This festival, it seems, later became a day of remembrance for the Roman priest St Valentine, who was martyred around this date in the year 270. Nobody is quite sure how the unlikely St Valentine became the patron saint of lovers – but then some things are best left unanswered!

Valentine’s Day continued to gently simmer away in this country, with the first written Valentine attributed by many historians to Charles, Duke of Orleans, who penned a note to his love in 1415 whilst imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt. The steady interest in the festival ramped up in the mid-19th Century, when it firmly ensconced itself as a British tradition.

A Valentine's Day Checklist

Despite Valentine’s shopping starting around 3 weeks before the big day, the biggest day for Valentine’s spending is 13th February. This makes Valentine’s Day a procrastinator’s delight! And with next-day delivery and gift-wrapping options available from from Thorntons, we have all you last-minute lovers covered. However, if you want to get ahead of the game and avoid any late panic, here’s our handy checklist for a stress-free Valentine’s day…

1

Plan ahead - Restaurants and hotels will be particularly busy on the evening of Valentine’s Day (especially as it falls on a Sunday this year). We recommend making bookings weeks in advance to secure the location you really want. If you need someone to look after the kids, make sure you’ve planned childcare.

2

Manage their expectations – If you’re planning to whisk your loved one away, make sure you give them a heads up. You may want to keep the location a surprise, but let them know dates and times, so they can get the time off work if need be and can pack the things they will need!

3

Preparation – If you’re planning to stay in and cook your loved one a meal, you might want to do a dry run a few weeks before 14th February to make sure you’re au fait with your menu. Then make sure you’ve bought all of the food and wine you may need for the evening so there’s no last minute panic when supermarkets close early on Sunday 14th February.

4

Card – We can often take loved ones for granted, so Valentine’s Day is a great way to tell someone exactly how you feel. Whether you buy a card or decide to make one that is more personal to your other half, make sure your message comes from the heart.

5

Flowers – Don’t leave it until the day and end up having to pick up an overpriced bunch of flowers from the petrol station. Order your flowers online and have them delivered to your loved one’s door.

6

Gifts – Avoid queues on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th February by ordering your gifts nice and early. Online shopping can take away the stress of shopping (and the queues on Valentine’s weekend!) and Thorntons.com purchases can be gift wrapped and are sent without an invoice, so they’re good to go!

Valentine's Day By Numbers

Here are ten Valentine’s Day stats that help cast a light on what February 14th means to us (and on what we like to give and receive).

Today, 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year worldwide.
In the US, 145 million cards are sent every Valentine's Day.
In the UK, 25 million cards are sent every Valentine's Day.
In the US, a total of $18.6 billion is spent for Valentine's Day, of which $1.6 billion is spent on chocolates.
In the UK, over £1.3 billion is spent on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts.
Around 10% of all marriage proposals happen on 14th Februrary, despite 88% of women believing that Valentine's Day isn't the best time to propose!
Lovers in London spend an average of £86.02 on Valentine's Day. That's more than anywhere else in the UK.
If you decide to ask your date out by text this year, you're not alone! Nearly 50% of men now ask women out by text.
However, 83% of women would prefer a handwritten letter or card.
Over 85% of women buy cards on Valentine's Day and almost 75% of men buy flowers on Valentine's Day alone.

With thanks...