I wrote last month of the approaching joy/impending doom that is Valentine's Day, the one day of the year that men across Britain can legitimately bring flowers home without prompting suspicious looks and muttered comments of "flowers, eh? Why, hmmm? What exactly have you done that's SO BAD that you've brought me FLOWERS, eh? Eh?" (although less charitable wives/girlfriends may instead take the line of how it would be nice to receive flowers spontaneously at other times across the year...)
Anyway, if you're still looking for ideas, here are a few more.
For the Gentleman with Ample Wallet
As a man of means, you KNOW that any old flowers from the service station are simply not going to cut it. Since I suggested a bouquet from The Flower Lounge last month, an exciting development Has taken place - a little bit of local enterprise means that the lazy man-about-town can now order his Valentine's flowers AND cakes from the same place thanks to a collaboration between Flower Lounge and Airy Fairy Cupcakes. Eighty five of your English pounds will purchase a dozen beautiful roses and a dozen gift-wrapped cupcakes, a truly covetable gift. My only worry with this one is that some roving-eyed gentlemen may decide that no woman in the world can eat twelve cupcakes (although my husband might re-word this - he knows a women who would have a go but would then moan intolerably about feeling sick and it being everyone's fault except her own) and decide to sub-divide the gift between various ladyfolk. So if you get, say, three roses and three cupcakes, I suggest you question your other half VERY CAREFULLY.
For the Honest Man of Humble Means
A number of pubs and mid-price restaurants are offering sensible, good value menus this Valentine's. For example, The Fat Loaf, with restaurants in Didsbury and Ashton, is offering three courses for £25 per person (which I assume will generally be two, unless those in more progressive and open-minded relationships are thinking of booking.) Even better is the Sharing Menu at £35 per head - champagne cocktail, taster plate, chateaubriand, and a choice between an assiette of desserts or cheese. Delicious as this sounds, I see two potential flaws. Firstly, boys are greedy. And so am I. My husband is quick with a knife and fork and I have no wish to share my fillet steak with him. Secondly, I worry that a number of couples will argue over their final course - in my experience, boys like pudding and girls like cheese. Will The Fat Loaf take responsibility and offer compensation for any couples who physically come to blows over this? More details on their website (of the menu, not the compensation policy) if you're feeling brave.
For the Downright Tight or Just Plain Foolhardy
If you care little for your own personal health and safety, I would suggest that you refuse to take her out on Monday 14th, citing an aversion to over-priced commercialism as your reason, and instead take her to Giraffe the following day. Every Tuesday from 5pm all burgers are only a fiver; make her drink tap water and then walk home, and you're on to a winner - and think of all the money you'll save next year when you're single on Valentine's Day.