V-day Fun…

Is it me or is Valentines day on steroids this year?

I happened to go shopping this weekend and everywhere I turned it seems the Valentines day factory had come to town. Not just chocolates and flowers and gifts but Valentines outfits and foods and everything.

I know lots of people hate it, and I must admit, Pete and I don’t really celebrate, settling for a card and usually a night in with some good food and wine, but I like Valentines day. I like the idea of spending time with the one you love and more than that I like the idea of little gestures and sweet surprises that make people smile, friend or stranger. (Last year I filled our living room with heart shaped balloons.)

So as is tradition I’ve rounded up a few V-day ideas that caught my eye. Most of them are food related admittedly and I might well make some valentines biscuits for work. Why not spread the love?

Lots of heart shaped love,

More Valentines ideas
Valentines florals
How meeting your other half has changed you

Florence’s Food: Triple Chocolate Cookies

Before I get into the meat chocolate of this post, I want to dedicate it to all of my blog friends. I wish I could have sent each and every one of you a handmade cookie in the post, but this recipe will have to do instead… big love to you all, especially the DFD crew 😉

Double Triple Chocolate Cookies, Hummingbird style. (Adapted)

Makes twelve.

50g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
200g white chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
170g soft light brown sugar or light muscovado sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
85g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
2 baking trays, lined with greaseproof paper

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3.

Put the butter and the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth.

Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in an electric mixer and beat until well mixed. Of course you can do this by hand. Pour in the chocolate mixture, beating on slowly until well combined.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a separate bowl, then stir into the chocolate mixture in 3 stages, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the remaining white chocolate until evenly dispersed.

Arrange 6 equal amounts (a large dollop) of cookie dough on each prepared baking tray. Make sure that the cookies are spaced out to allow for spreading while baking. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, checking regularly after 10 minutes. They are ready when the tops start to crack and look glossy. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

You can make this with purely dark chocolate if you like (as per the original recipe,) but I love white chocolate and it gives a creamy sweet touch to balance the bitterness of the dark chocolate.

Go on. Spoil someone…


PS. At the time of writing, it had escaped me that I would be posting this on the first day of Lent so apologies to any of you who are giving up chocolate until Easter. You have my deepest sympathies 😉

Spread the Valentine’s Love…

Valentine’s day is a little bit like Marmite. People either love it or hate it but that appears to be a uniquely British attitude propagated by a combination of stiff upper lip and abject scorn at those who want to wear their hearts on their sleeves. I definitely fall into the love it camp, although only when it’s done the right way. I don’t believe in celebrating your relationship once a year but everyday. I can take or leave the over priced restaurant tables and tacky black and red V-day paraphernalia, but for once I think our friends across the pond have got it right and I love the idea of celebrating all of those people you love and telling them so. My Mum often sends me parcels for Valentines day with cute presents and notes. I think it’s a shame we don’t embrace that side of it more.

Should the fancy take you, I’ve been collecting a selection of treats and DIY’s to inspire you. Even if you don’t make them, they’re pretty sweet for a Monday 🙂

Date Night Valentine Arrows // Valentines garland mailer DIY // DIY Heart gift wrap // Rock Sugar Cookies // Heart topped fruit tart // Sweet Pea Valentine gifts // Heart Tree installation // Chocolate Pomegranate tart // Make heart shaped cinnamon rolls // Pink lemonade cake.

So, now it’s over to you. Do you celebrate V-day with your beloved, or less traditionally with family and friends? I’d love to hear what you’re doing and if you’ve made anything. For us this year it’ll be some QT at home with M&S food 😉


Florence’s Florals: The V-Day Edition

This afternoon, it’s one of my favourite monthly posts, Becky Hay from Blossom is back with some most beautiful florals for V-day or in fact any other special day that takes yourfancy. Book mark it, forward it on to your loved one, or to anyone else who needs some gift giving/brownie point achieving advice. 🙂

In my world, February is a month dominated by St. Valentine, sadly not because my husband whisks me away to spend the month in Paris. It’s one week of the year in the shop when the pressure to get it right is immense. No other day comes close to instilling so much panic in men. What to purchase to convey the correct sentiment?

The red rose doesn’t reach my list of favourite flowers, and I know I’m not alone. The most popular Valentine bouquet at Blossom doesn’t include red roses, something I’m rather proud of my customers for! I’m not saying that the premium red roses aren’t very beautiful or romantic. They most definitely are, but they don’t suit everyone.

Whilst I’m sure that Rebecca will be taking care of some non-floral gifts for Valentine’s day, I thought I’d put a floral wish list together providing some alternatives to the red rose. Hopefully it will include a gift that you will find a little more individual. You could always forward a link to your significant others….there’s nothing like a little nudge in the right direction.

And if Valentine’s Day isn’t for you, please bear with me this month. You could always replace the ‘V’ word with ‘Birthday’ for the rest of the post. Regular service will resume in March.

For something truly British and seasonal:
This Limited Edition Green Velvet Luxury Valentine’s bouquet from the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall just shouts spring with some unusual ingredients.

One of my all-time favourite flowers….50 stems of Cornish Anemones grown and picked by Clowance nurseries – With their jewel tones and furry black centres, no flower is exactly the same.

For the keen cook:
A Kitchen Herb Bouquet from the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall will last for ages in a jug on the kitchen window sill or could be hung upside down to dry in a warm spot.

For the keen gardener:
A beautifully fragrant rose plant from David Austin. You do need a sunny spot in your garden for success with these. How about ‘Wollerton Old Hall’, ‘Eglantyne’, or ‘Gertrude Jekyll’?

A book on growing cut flowers, and a selection of seed packets of flowers with romantic names such as ‘love-in-the-mist’, ‘forget-me-not’, and ‘sweet pea’.

For the outdoor type:
A Snowdrop day out – these beautiful flowers carpet woodlands in February and offer the perfect backdrop for a romantic walk. Countryfile magazine has chosen their top 5 snowdrop gardens or find a garden near you using this guide.

For the very extravagant:
Not just one bouquet of scented garden roses, but a bouquet subscription from The Real Flower Company – There are some serious brownie points attached to this gift.

For the wo/man who almost forgot:
I beg you to not stop off at the petrol station on the way home but instead use The Good Florist Guide to find your nearest quality florist and call them directly. It’s more than likely they’ll be able to come to the rescue at the very last minute….we always do!

And finally, if my Valentine is reading, you know how much I love a snowdrop, or how about one of these…. ; )


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