Lifestyle feature: Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost the earth

A hand-written love note is cheaper than a card and more personal
A hand-written love note is cheaper than a card and more personal

VALENTINE’S Day is once again here, but there’s no need to break the bank to treat the one you love.

Cheap dates are easier to achieve than you might think, simply opting for something more heartfelt than booking a weekend away is a good place to start.

This year the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, is holding an event (now sold out) called Valentine Stars, exploring the romantic sights of the night sky through the 18-tonne Victorian telescope, not without a glass of bubbly of course.

However, you don’t have to pay a penny or travel to Greenwich to get the same romantic experience. Your garden will do.

Grab a few blankets, make sure your loved one has a woollen hat and a scarf, make them a hot chocolate and gaze up at the night’s sky together.

Of course, not everyone’s idea of a good date is sitting outside on a cold February evening looking at the sky.

If that’s the case, a home-cooked meal and a few rom-com’s would be just as romantic.

I’m not talking the bog-standard chuck-in-the-oven dinner, however. Go all out. Try something new and go for more than one course.

A hearty homemade curry followed by individual lemon cheesecakes is bound to go down a treat with your loved one, especially if it’s a surprise.

Now I’m sure you’ve read all this thinking, very stereotypically, that it should be the men sorting all of this out for their significant others.

Well ladies, why not take a leaf out of Japan’s book and spoil your man for a change?

Japanese women, on Valentine’s Day, give their men fine chocolates to enjoy.

Known as ‘honmei-choko’, the sweet treats may even be homemade by the ladies of Japan to show their love and affection.

Homemade chocolates may be a bit of a stretch, but why not try writing your loved one a love letter or even going Danish and writing unsigned notes, known as Gaekkebrev, for your partner to figure out.

Love notes, poems and letters are a really romantic, and extremely cheap, way to tell your significant other how much you care.

The trick of leaving them around the house in places you know your partner will find them on Valentine’s morning may sound clichéed, but clichés can be romantic so it’s worth a try.

It doesn’t even have to be a lover you treat on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is more commonly known as Friend’s Day in Finland and Estonia and they use the day to buy gifts and cards for their friends.

Treating your friends may not be as romantic as treating your other half, but it’s a good excuse to treat someone who’s always looking out for you. And it means there’s no excuse for single people to feel left out.

Why not agree with your partner to treat your best friends this year rather than each other?

Maybe cook a meal and have a get-together with your closest friends.

If you’re like me and your Valentine isn’t as close as you’d like, there’s no reason you can’t still celebrate the day.

You could try a Skype date. Some people cook and eat together and even watch a movie together, but you could just set the evening aside for a good chat.

If you’re not into Skype, then maybe a romantic email rather than notes is the way to go.

Either way, there’s no reason to remortgage the house to woo your significant other this year.

Just aim to put a smile on their face and you’ll get it.