This week, like a lot of couples, we celebrated Valentine’s Day together. We didn’t do anything particularly special except get each other a couple of gifts. When you live together and you have the opportunity to go out for dinner when you please, it seems less tempting to go out on a night specifically when bars and restaurants decide to whack up the prices, just because supposedly we should be going out for dinner together. Plus, when you have America to save for, things have to prioritise!
I wanted to just write a post just to chat. Give a sort of lifestyle update. It’s something I haven’t been able to do in a long time and I felt like my blog needed it. From all the product reviews, travel guides and different bits and pieces, I’ve felt restricted. I wanted to use Valentine’s Day to share some love to Alex and reflect on the past Valentine’s Days that we’ve celebrated.
A lot of people say you should show love everyday not just on valentine’s. Well, you can do both. We celebrate most weekends and we’re good to each other nearly all of the time. But we still celebrated. Just in our own little way. My blog was able to treat us both to lots of gifts, which you can have a nosy at on my Valentine’s Gift Guide.
On Valentine’s morning 2019, I woke up to the sound of Alex rustling in the living room, though I wasn’t really sure what he was doing. It was 7am and I wasn’t anywhere near ready to get up yet. When I eventually arose at 8, I found an elephant lego kit, 20 red roses, a jar of love sweets and a notebook with a letter inside. The notebook is to start planning a book. Something I keep talking about doing. There’s no better time to start it than now. So, here I am, February 14th 2019, I have written the first chapter of a book. Only time will tell if I finish it.
We were also really lucky to receive a map from mapiful of Manhattan, through pure coincidence, it arrived on Valentine’s Day. It couldn’t have been planned better! We did receive this as a press sample but without obligation to post it anywhere.
I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been one of those people who despises the day and all it stands for. Even when I didn’t have a Valentine, I still liked the idea of it. It is a nice way to celebrate love and relationships. I mean, I can see the whole but shouldn’t you be doing that everyday kind of thing, but isn’t that the same as everything? I wanted Christmas every day when I was younger, but it doesn’t mean it should be. The novelty soon wears off. It’s nice to have a set day where you sit back, reflect and share a gift of appreciation. This doesn’t mean you can act like trash the rest of the year though…
Alex and I are fairly well balanced. I think it’s why we work. I’m quite fiery and argumentative at times and Alex is so laid back that I’m sure he’s almost horizontal. Nothing fazes him and it just goes over his head. Me, on the other hand, I worry about every little tiny detail. Whether it’s someone not including me in some way, a dodgy look or a comment. I take it all in and over analyse everything. But, then there are ways that I just work better. I’m organised and proactive. Alex fits right in with the Spanish lifestyle, things can wait until mañana, or never… Whereas me, I have to do things now and quickly.
We’re pretty good at sharing out the apartment too. Some people are constantly complaining that their boyfriends aren’t doing enough around the house and when we moved my friends would say, “yeah but wait until you live together, he’ll drive you crazy when he doesn’t do…” But, he doesn’t. Alex cooks and I wash up. The rest of the housework, I usually do, but the little bits to finish off Alex does. Alex walks Rio for the majority of the walks. Big jobs, like clearing the washing machine filter and windows is strictly Alex’s territory, whereas hoovering, dusting and power-gliding are my jobs.
We make it work.
We don’t argue about money. If I want to buy something, I do. The same goes for Alex. We don’t keep tabs on who has what. Even though it’s definitely me who spends more. It evens out with gifts from the blog and the fact we earn the same each month. Well, in actual fact we never really argue, at all.
It’s our sixth Valentine’s this year, though really it’s our fifth. Our first one, we’d only just started speaking, I was in Spain and Alex was on some stag do somewhere. He asked me to be his Valentine by googling the first image on Google saying “be my valentine” in scrabble letters via Twitter. Well, I didn’t take much convincing. I don’t really think we can count that one as a true Valentine, even though we did go on our first date to the cinema the following Friday…
It’s funny, growing up I always wondered who and where I’d end up with. How many children. Pets? I sort of expected I’d end up in Spain or America. But, it’s always one of those, will I though, things. I used to wish I could zoom forward and look, like in the Christmas Carol where he gets to see his future. Just to see what happens. I’m happy with how mine is panning out.
In light of all the reflection, here is how we have spent the last Valentine’s Days together. Be prepared for some serious hair changes!
Valentine’s Day 2015
I had to scour the internet to find a very old blog that I used to run to find some more information on this one. I won’t bore you with the details or send the traffic over there because well, I would rather not! Basically, it was a fashion page where I would find dupes of celebrity outfits and post about my outfits of the day. Imagine me… fashion?! The girl who normally wears jeans and jumper?! I couldn’t keep up, which is why it didn’t last long!
Anyway, back in 2015, Alex booked us for a surprise trip away for the weekend. We stopped at a rustic hotel in the English countryside. He treated me to lots of Victoria’s Secret, which I was massively into at the time and we went down for a lovely steak meal. It was certainly the best Valentine’s I’d ever had… up until then.
Valentine’s Day 2016
I feel a little awful about this one, it took me to rummage through Facebook to actually find how we celebrated. It wasn’t that it was forgettable, it’s just that it wasn’t particularly... memorable? In 2016, we got engaged. Now, it wasn’t until Christmas time. 2016 was a crazy year in terms of travel, we headed off to Barcelona and Rome and spent the summer in Spain. So, with such a busy and fabulous year, Valentine’s Day didn’t really stand out. Any other year, it would have.
For Valentine’s itself, I was in Spain with my mum and we headed off to Altea, so the next day when I got back, Alex drove us to Cardiff for a night stay at Mermaid Quay. When we got to the hotel, he pulled out some flowers and a card and a speech. I’m not going to lie to you, I thought he was going to propose to me in a Travelodge in Cardiff. Instead, it was a promise ring. We went out for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, Las Iguanas, for fajitas and tried to see as much of the Welsh capital as it tipped it down of rain.
Valentine’s Day 2017
2017 was one of my all-time favourite Valentine’s Days. It was the one where we headed to Budapest. We stayed at the Lanchid 19 hotel in Buda and the views and the meal and everything about the few days away were just perfect. We were both working in a school at this time, so as Valentine’s fell on February half-term we were able to nab a few days away.
Valentine’s Day 2018
Amidst the craziness of being evicted from our apartment out of nowhere and finding ourselves struggling to get ourselves organised and funds together to move apartment, Valentine’s Day passed in a crazy haze. I remember crying on the sofa of our hollow shelled apartment thinking what a mistake Spain had been and why we’d bothered to uproot. It ended up being the change of everything and a brand new start. We moved into our new apartment, which is much bigger, nicer and cosier and never looked back. It wasn’t such a bad Valentine’s in hindsight, after all. We did have a meal out at Gino’s though, which is our favourite Italian restaurant here!
I’m very lucky to have found my someone. If you don’t have yours yet, there is somebody out there for you, you just haven’t discovered them yet, x
Happy Valentine’s 2019.
Here’s to many more,
Cover image and 2015 photos: Holly Photography
2018 image: Gohar Photography