An Intentional Valentine's Day

Valentines, schmalentines?

Debenhams Chanel Gabrielle EDP

We've always been one of those couples who proclaim that we don't need a clichéd Hallmark-card day of flowers and chocolates to profess our love for each other. After all, love is shown in the little things, isn't it? A cup of tea brought to you in bed in the morning. A foot rub after a hard day. Taking the bins out, even.

But as time goes on, you realise that time has indeed gone on

It becomes apparent that although you express your love, and feel loved in return, you've not intentionally stopped to reflect on this, and appreciate it. James and I are often like passing ships in the night; working hard to pay the bills, parenting our three busy children, enjoying our separate hobbies and seeing our individual friends before flopping into bed exhausted at night, barely able to string a sentence together. Sometimes weeks can pass without us realising that we've not even snatched an hour on the sofa with Netflix together, or just sat and had a proper chat. You know, about things that don't revolve around who is doing which school pick up this week, or where Reuben's shin pads are, or who is on birthday party duty next.

As a couple, you need time to just be. To enjoy each other's company - without any distractions. If you've read this post, you'll know that one of my goals for 2018 was to build a stronger marriage and spend more time with my husband. I mean, he's my favourite person in the world - that's why I married him. Nobody has the ability to make me to roar with laughter like he does, or screw my face up in bewilderment with his random conversation topics (Japanese anime, sci-fi and strategic war games are never going to be my Mastermind topics, but I have learnt a great deal in a decade!). He looks smart and polished every day, but I truly don't always notice. 

We've tried date-nights-at-home in the past, but there have always been distractions. Children, laundry, the dishwasher... there's always something

So, yes, Valentine's Day may be commercial, but it is a timely reminder to be intentional and mark on the calendar that we are going to take some time out for ourselves, to be ourselves. As husband and wife. Because one day, these children of ours will fly the nest and it will be just the two of us again. A marriage is perpetually a work in progress, there is no "right, we've made it" point where you then shift your efforts elsewhere. Sometimes we need that little nudge to remind ourselves of this, don't we?

Valentine's Day 2018 falls on a Wednesday. We've pretty much used all our babysitting rations for the next few months with our recent trip to Berlin and the upcoming trip to Paris to run the marathon. Thinking outside the box, I've suggested to James that I meet him for lunch on that day but we make a 'proper date' of it. An hour or so away from work in a nice restaurant, with no phones {or children!}, to just enjoy each other's company. He will be looking all dapper anyway, in his suit for work, so I wanted to make sure I make an effort too and have picked up a new outfit to wear. I mean, I'll always be a trainer lovin' gal at heart but it always makes me feel special when I dress up a bit and slap on some red lippy (this one is my current favourite)!

James spritzed some Issey Miyake aftershave at the airport recently {side note: I tried the new Chanel perfume 'Gabrielle' and it is so light and sophisticated - have a sniff if you get the chance!}, so I think I will treat him to this on Valentine's Day this year. Contrived? Yes. But when is it not contrived to buy your partner aftershave or perfume?! There's a great selection of gifts for him and her on the dedicated Debenhams Valentine's Day section if you're struggling for ideas, or are after something a tad more original than my offer!

It seems so counterintuitive and decidedly unromantic to schedule in time together, but sometimes needs must, eh? I'm consciously making sure we have a date at least once a month, and for February, Valentine's Day seems as good a time as any. 

What have you got planned for Valentine's Day? Do you celebrate in a big way? Or are you more of a Valentine's grinch? I'd love to hear your stories!

Carly xo



* This post was written in collaboration with Debenhams. I was not asked to review any products and all opinions are my own but I have received remuneration for sharing their Valentine's Day campaign with you. I would never promote any company that I would not, or do not, use myself.