It happened after one of my friends explained that she was being surprised by her husband with a romantic night of fun for Valentine's Day — and I felt an unfamiliar pang of envy.
It made me realise that regardless of whether you and your partner usually celebrate Valentine's Day or just write it off as a shameless commercial venture, the truth is that everyone likes to feel a little special and spoilt. And when you're coupled up on Valentine's Day and you get no love, your cup can quickly runneth over with loneliness and discontent.
So, in an effort to ramp up the romance and save our Valentine's Day from becoming just like every other day, I've researched a bunch of last-minute gift ideas that are sure to surprise and delight.
Image: Universal Pictures
The film is appropriately screening at Gold Class cinemas throughout the country this Saturday night, and you still have time to book the ultimate Valentine's Day package: It includes two tickets, champagne, dinner and a sweet tasting platter for dessert.
HotelQuickly generates real-time deals at a selection of local hotels, which can be booked just 24 to 48 hours in advance. The best part? The rates on the site are deeply discounted, giving you access to genuine last-minute stays that can literally be booked and paid for in 60 seconds or less. Log in to the app on Friday morning and, for around $100, you can find a nearby haunt to whisk your love away to for the ultimate romantic gesture.
Rented shoes, family crowds and deep-fried food: It may not sound like the most romantic way to spend Valentine's Day, but bowling definitely counts as one of the most fun. Pair a couple of games with a post-lane pizza date for a casual and inexpensive date to remember.
In a digital world, nothing cuts through quite like a handwritten love note — especially if you're in a long-term relationship — as lengthy romantic prose is generally the domain of freshly loved-up couples. Whatever your relationship status, pop some heartfelt thoughts onto paper and post the letter through Australia Post to give your lover the added bonus of receiving mail that isn't a bill. Just make sure it's in the mailbox by 5 p.m. Thursday.
Image: Edible Blooms
Nothing says "I love you" to the man in your life quite like beer, am I right? This adorable package comes with a plush bear, dozens of chocolates and a 710-millilitre bottle of Sol beer, but there are loads of other combinations of treats to choose from. Check out the delivery cut-offs to ensure delivery by the big day.
It's not for everyone: If your love has a fear of heights or closed spaces, then skip this idea in favour of something a little more earthbound. But if your partner is a bit of a thrill seeker, consider surprising them the morning of Valentine's Day with a champagne toast in the clouds. Packages, like this one in Sydney go for around $300 each and often include breakfast once you're back on solid ground.
Image: Virgin Airlines
It's too late to book a weekend away through Virgin's Mystery Breaks web portal, but you can call them on 13 15 16 to arrange a night or two at a surprise location, departing Saturday. Prices start at $435 per person for one night, through to $735 for a four-night package.
When all else fails — as in, all options have been exhausted or finances have been depleted — and you've still come up empty-handed, you can't go past an intimate picnic for two. Head to your local deli or supermarket, stock up on creamy cheeses, crackers, fruit and cakes, and then pack it all with a picnic blanket and a bottle of champagne. Delicious, thoughtful and a tiny bit decadent, it's the perfect way to celebrate your day together.
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