A guest post for you today...
Is a home-cooked meal the definitive Valentine's date?
In a recent survey of UK men and women conducted by online fashion retailer isme.com, a whopping 9 in 10 of those asked said that their ideal Valentine’s date would be dinner. If you’re picturing a bustling French bistro or a sleek Japanese sushi bar, you’re in the majority: two thirds of women, and over half of the men questioned, agreed that a candlelit dinner in a romantic restaurant was their dream V-day date.
But for an increasing number of couples, dining at home has become the definitive treat. The more frugal and intimate alternative to a pricey restaurant meal has boomed throughout the recession, with supermarkets noting an increase in sales of dinner party food since the credit crunch hit Brits' pockets in 2009.
A three course meal costs an average of £20 in London, whereas the ingredients to whip up your own indulgent dinner come in at a fraction of the price. Perhaps it's also less stressful: with 4 in 10 men believing that booking a table for Valentine’s Day is their responsibility, it must be nice to suggest an alternative that requires less organisation.
But not having to book a table doesn't mean not having to think ahead. To make sure everything goes smoothly, it's worth doing most of the food prep in advance, minimising your time in the kitchen on the big night - whether that means pre-chopping vegetables or just opting for something that's quick and easy to cook, like pasta or a stir-fry.
There's no need to be intimidated by the kitchen if you're not a confident cook, however. Supermarkets often do deals on good quality ready meals around Valentine’s Day, and there’s nothing wrong with sticking to something simple and fuss-free. Make the evening special by thinking about the little details: create a sense of occasion by clearing the dining table of clutter and adjusting the lighting for a romantic ambience. For the sake of good old fashioned romance, a candle or two can’t hurt either.
9 in 10 women questioned in the survey said that anniversaries were more important to them than Valentine’s Day, but most of us still want to know that our other half cares on 14th February. Whether dining out or preparing a cosy home-cooked meal this Valentine's, be sure to plan ahead so you can show your loved one how much they mean to you - and if you're stuck for gift inspiration, take a look at the range of Valentine's Day gift ideas at isme.com.