There are many reasons people dislike Valentine's Day - the commercial aspect, the pressure to do something romantic and then the inevitable disappointment and whining if you don't. Then there are those who fully embrace it - surprise trips away, puppies, chocolates and more.
I know a lot of friends and family who feel the same as me. I don't want to get sucked into the whole concept and spend a boat load of money, but it would be nice to do something (and I'm always jealous when someone receives flowers to the office). Which is why I thought I would compile a list of date ideas that go against the usual grain, so if Valentine's is not really your thing take a look at this list and see if I can persuade you to do that something.
1. Sit under the stars - Lion King style
Have you ever actually sat under the stars since your teenage days? It's really quite nice! Even if you live in the city, drive for 30 minute or until you see the stars clearly. Take a blanket, lie on your backs, stargaze and discuss the meaning of life or just share your thoughts and memories.
Avoid work chat, and if you have kids try to talk about what life was like before them, what you can imagine they'll be when they grow older etc but avoid routine chat.
2. Eat your favourite holiday food
Think about your favourite holiday destination and create a picnic of treats from that particular place. This might involve a bit of forward planning if your favourite is somewhere far flung and terribly exotic, but if you happen to love France or Spain, think baguettes, brie, paella, cold meats etc. Print off any holiday photos you have and enjoy flicking through them together.
3. Organise a cinema night
Valentine's Day should not mean just spending time with just your beau. Make it a family affair or invite other couples - AND SINGLE FRIENDS - to a cinema night. If the weather is fine, host it outdoors and provide blankets and cinema snacks. Go for a classic rom-com you can find or go for an anti-Valentine's day theme with a gory slasher. You may not 'do Valentines' but you're guaranteed to feel happy and loved when surrounded by your loved ones.
4. Create your own room service menu
Not so much a date, but a great idea! Create and print out a little room service menu that has all your loved ones favourite breakfasts, snacks or indulgent foods on it. It need not be fancy, how about a toast menu with a selection of spreads? Serve on a tray and make them eat it in their room. You can take turns in the morning and the evening so you each enjoy the joy of food being brought to you!
This idea was taken from my article 12 fun and fabulous ideas for the ultimate staycation.
5. Go Geocaching around town - wellies not needed!
You might have heard it's all the rage at the moment, but think it's only for technology savvy people or those with a love of the great outdoors. Well you'd be wrong! If you can download apps to your phone then that's all you need to get going with this worldwide treasure hunt. You don't have to trek in the woods either, lots of 'locations' are hidden in and around towns, too. It makes an interesting date trying to work out the clues and it's a heck of a lot more fun that just sitting in your local pub.
6. Bottomless brunch
Brunch is the new breakfast, lunch and dinner date! So if you're a Londoner, go on a bottomless boozy brunch at your nearest location then spend the rest of the day in bed. It is a school night after all.
7. Borrow a doggy and have a 'play date'
Love dogs and share endless videos of them on Facebook but just can't commit to owning your own? Visit Borrow My Doggy and sign up to look after pets around your area. There are lots of dog owners who need someone to dog-sit on Valentine's Day and other occasions so make sure you check it out. You could also offer to dog-sit for a friend or family member so and your other half can spend the day with their furry friend. Magical.
Just don't surprise them with a rent-a-puppy because they might think it's theirs to keep. Oh the disappointment!
8. Go on a late night excursion and avoid the loved-up masses
If you don't like the idea of sitting in a restaurant with other couples, forced to celebrate this day or even be around loved up twosomes anywhere, enjoy a delicious early supper at home. Head out past dinner time when the majority will be at said restaurants or at home, and visit a late night exhibition, take a late night stroll (a classic movie moment) around the town or enjoy a round of pool, watch a gig or a late-night film.
9. Organise a BIG group meal with couples and singles
It might prove tricky with some restaurants who reserve the majority of covers for two, but try to organise a large dinner with all your friends including your single friends. There's no greater feeling for single friends to have awesome plans on Valentine's Day, and other VD-hating couples can rejoice in a fun evening with no pressure.
10. Head out to a karaoke bar and let your hair down
Grab your partner, dare them to sing a song in front of a whole bar of people and vice versa. Choose a sentimental' our song' or just your favourite anthem. A rebellious way to have fun on the evening without feeling like you're a Valentines sell-out.
11. Celebrate on an alternative day
If the idea of having to celebrate on the 14th is what makes you hate it, just switch the day! Choose a date that means something to you or is completely random. Do all the stuff you would like to do but resent having to on the day because Clintons tells you to.
12. Play mini golf
A childhood favourite, release your inner Tiger Woods and get yourselves down to the nearest mini golf course. If you're not naturally competitive, a round of mini golf will soon get you going. It's fun, cheap and the experts say it's good for your relationship.
Interested in more days out like this? Check out my 15 fun ways to spend long Summer nights.
13. DUVET DAY
Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday this year so take full advantage and make these plans: no plans. Yep, spend all day (or as much as you can bare) in bed, eat breakfast in bed, read the papers, watch TV, snuggle. If you've got kids, ask them not to disturb you in the morning or organise a day-sitter.
14. Build a blanket fort for adults
Escape reality, and all those other loved-up couples you hate, and build your own blanket fort complete with TV, book, magazines, snacks, cushions and Netflix. If you can't decide what to watch then use this amazing tool to find your perfect date film.
15. Go skydiving or something equally terrifying
Free falling from the sky at a great distance doesn't sound particularly romantic, but sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience is pretty unique. Find something you both want to do together (think bungee jump, white water rafting...) and make sure you get at least one photo to mark the day you did something amazing on that one Valentine's Day.
16. Spa day for extra brownie points
Want your other half to be happy but don't actually want to be part of it? Book a spa day! They'll absolutely love being pampered and it gives them something to brag about to their friends the next day. It also gets them out of the house if all you want to do is stay at home and slob out.
Spa day too expensive? Don't worry, I've also got 16 cheap & unusual Valentine's gift ideas up my sleeve.
17. Do a 3 course dinner...at different places
It's OK to want to go for a meal on Valentine's Day - you're not just another uninspired couple, you're hungry and need to eat! To add a bit of excitement to proceedings, how about enjoying a drink and starter in a bar, some posh nosh or quick bite for your main then finish with a late coffee/dessert.
What was your best Valentine's Day? Let me know in the comment section below