Valentine's Day... a meal for two in the utility room?

Looking for ideas on how to spend Valentine’s Day in lockdown? EIMEAR HUTCHINSON has some options
Valentine's Day... a meal for two in the utility room?

We should embrace Valentine's Day this year says Eimear, as we navigate lockdown. Picture: Stock

MY husband asked me recently what should we do for Valentine's Day (which surprised me too because I didn’t think we were into it, but there's nothing like a pandemic to mix things up!). I told him we should set up two chairs and a small table in the utility room and have dinner there for a change! 

We both laughed but it got me thinking, of all the years we should embrace Valentine's celebrations, it is this year. 

For everyone it has been a tough year, we have felt all the emotions and couples, like friends and family, have had to dig deep to rally those who felt the weight of the last year more than others. So, this Valentines Day is to be celebrated and I know we can barely leave our houses but if you are stuck for ideas here are some that might work for you.

PACK A PICNIC

Now I can’t predict the weather so this one may not be a runner but if it was a clear and crisp day it might be nice to get out for a walk within your 5km and bring a little picnic. It is the most simple idea but I feel like we are back to basics these last few months so why not pick a little spot on your favourite route, sit down, bring some snacks or go all out and bring champagne (if you can walk from home obviously!). Don’t underestimate the power of simply sitting back together, listening to the sounds surrounding you and taking it all in with a deep breath and a bit of cheese and crackers and it might make you smile at the memory when you pass that spot in the future.

The couple who cook together.... Picture: Stock
The couple who cook together.... Picture: Stock

COOK A SPECIAL MEAL

Do something different in terms of dinner – if you want to cook get some mad or luxurious ingredients to use that you wouldn’t normally use. You could go all out and cook a three course meal between you both – get one person to do the starter, the other might do the main course and I’ll let you fight it out among yourselves to see who does desert. 

If you have kids get them to do something so they can get involved, maybe desert can fall on their shoulders. 

Or get a takeaway from somewhere new or go with your favourite, whatever you do make it a treat!

COCKTAIL NIGHT

If you used to like cocktails in the previous version of your life then why not think of a few that you love and recreate them at home. You could also take a virtual class online. Myself and my husband are partial to an espresso martini and I love making them at home to try and mix it up a little. If cocktails aren’t your thing try a new wine. There are some great online wine delivery services that can deliver something a bit different to what you might be used to getting in the local supermarket or off licence. Or go mad altogether and break out a bottle of bubbly, that’s what I’ll be doing, oh sorry I mean WE will be doing, there is one sitting in the fridge since Christmas taunting me!

Turn off the TV and just spend some quality time together. Picture: Stock
Turn off the TV and just spend some quality time together. Picture: Stock

TURN OFF THE TV

It feels like Netflix has dominated every evening in every house across the country for the past few months and if that is the case in your house to try and differentiate the night from others see if you can find something else to do if even just for Valentines. We are big fans of board games with the children in this house and we love card games too, especially with the in-laws and a nice glass of whiskey in hand. Unfortunately, the in-laws can’t crash our Valentine's night this year but we can still enjoy a round of cards.

JUST THE TWO OF YOU

Maybe card games or board games are not your thing, but I am going to make a bold suggestion here and suggest that perhaps you could dedicate the evening you both – no TV, no phones, no distractions and just sit down beside each other and chat. Despite the last year being a strange one in terms of how the pace of our lives has changed for many of us, between working from home, homeschooling, cooking, exercising, our lives are in many cases no less busy. Except now, many of us have more to contend with, many of us have to mentally dig deep to get through the day or the week so there is an added layer of complexity that many of us never had.

TIME TO TALK

Take the time to talk if you don’t make a habit of it, and many of us don’t. It is all too easy to drift separate ways in the evening, one engrossed in a tv series and one engrossed in a phone and that is ok, some days we are mentally too exhausted to talk or maybe, with a house full of kids, you just need to switch off and not speak for a while. 

But make this Valentine's Day about each other, pure and simple, you may not fit in any grand romantic gestures but make time for each other. 

Everything outside of our front doors may seem utterly out of our control at the moment but how we make time for each other, how we talk and how we get on, that is all within our own control and worth celebrating.

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