Firstly – thanks to everyone who shared my last blog, The Complete and Utter Horror of Valentine’s Day. It was my most shared blog yet – which is very exciting! Much love to all share-ees, and also to new readers. Welcome aboard, fellow fans of long, confusing sentences, much use of brackets and other nonsense.
To complement my previous musings on V-day, I have done some pre-Feb 14th reconnaissance work in small shops in Bedford. I am massively fond of these small independent shops, so I can forget that I don’t like the whole commercial opportunism of Valentine’s Day and just embrace it as a good excuse to support those little shops that make towns great. Let’s face it; Tescos don’t need any more of your money buying naff cards and ready meals (possibly complete with traces of horsemeat…) Shop local for your lover this Febuary!
(I do not mean that to sound like you should purchase a lover locally. I can’t condone that sort of behaviour. But if you do: buy them from a nice independent shop. Don’t go for a chain-store knock-off. )
First up: beautiful jewellery and lovely cake:
The good thing about shopping in a small boutique run by someone with lovely taste, is that you are already looking at a narrowed-down amount of options. They have weeded out all of the tat, which makes for much easier shopping. Pensieri is somewhere that has done just that, and has a wonderful range of jewellery (including the beautiful epanoui range, which I’ve mentioned before) and gifts perfect for Valentine’s Day. AND, as Pensieri is a cafe, you can shop and then have a nice cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a big slice of cake.
The two pieces of artwork here are by the very talented Anne-Marie Stijejla – who is basically an International Arty Superstar – so your Valentine’s gift could be legitimately considered an investment purchase!
Easy-peasy dinner for two:
If you love the idea of going for a nice meal on Valentine’s day dinner, but can’t be bothered with the faff of trying to book, get a babysitter, and then paying twice as much as you usually would for a dinner that they have inexplicably cut into heart shapes and decorated with rose petals – then try the home-cooked Valentine’s Day meal for two from Foods of Italy, the wonderful Italian Deli on Bower Street:
Starter: Caprese Tomato and Mozzerella Salad
Antipasti platter for two
Main: Home-made Lasgane
Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni with mixed leaf salad with Italian style dressing
Dessert: Tiramasu with fresh fruit
A bottle of Prosecco
All this for £24.99! And you don’t have to cook, do much washing up, or even move very far from the sofa. Just pre-book your order by the evening of 11th Feb – that’s Monday. For more info on Foods of Italy, and other local fooderies, have a read of The Bedford Network blog.
Buy some Art: So, as you may have gathered, I am a fan of buying art as a gift – even if it is just a postcard, (on my budget, this makes a lot of sense) and Valentine’s day is a good time to do just that. Why not call in to the Art Centre and grab yourself or your other half/bit on the side/ one of local Artist Charlotte Tenneson’s beautiful bird-themed lino-cuts. They are all very reasonable - between £30 and £60. Charlotte said that her hands are witness to the fact that the Japanese linocut tools she used are sharp and that, ” it took me some time to perfect the technique of carving lino!” The bleeding is worth it though. I really like them.
And also, the Art Centre is one of the best places in Bedford to buy nice cards. Ones that don’t say things like ’to my hunny bunny’. How could you not just send that back with a big red line through ‘hunny’ and a ‘please try harder’ comment underneath?? Or am I just really mean? Answers on a postcard, preferably a nice arty one I can frame, thank you.