A H O M E M A D E V A L E N T I N E
When it comes to spending Valentine's Day at home this year, it's the little details that can make it truly special. No, you might not be able to sweep your loved one off to your favourite restaurant right now, but you can add a touch of your own homemade magic with a little planning and thinking outside of the usual Valentine's Day box.
So, we thought we'd share some inspiration from our favourite online experts who really know how to make the most of Valentine's Day at home; from indulgent double chocolate fondue recipes to the art of flower arranging. It's been a tough year, so why not treat your partner to a little bit of homemade magic that comes straight from the heart?
Cupcakes and sponges are the obvious choice for a baked Valentine's treat, so why not consider something a little more out of the ordinary?
B A K E Y O U R H E A R T O U T
Both beautiful and delicate in taste, @ennahs.cakes encourages even the newest of bakers to try their hand at some light, airy meringue-like French macarons. Crisp on the outside and smooth as cream on the inside, these little bubbles of heaven could make a heart warming desert or afternoon snack.
Or, perhaps you're feeling extra adventurous. Cake Pops are a new trend in artisan confectionary that look stunning and are simple to create at home. After baking a simple sponge cake, crumble the sponge into a bowl and mix in either chocolate hazzlenut spread, jam or cream cheese icing. Roll the thick mixture into balls, pop in a stick and now dip into melted chocolate to cover it. We particularly loved Ecuadorian @wayoyobakery's love heart creations on straws.
"Over time I realised I was drawn to dreamy, pastel, glowing London. Fairytale London. Floral London. I want to capture a magical version of London where archways constructed of blossoms pop up overnight; magnolia, cherry blossom, lilac and wisteria appear each Spring; and whole neighbourhoods exist of candy-coloured terraced houses."
S T E M S A N D S T A L K S
Of course, flowers are an essential element of Valentine's Day, but perhaps we can take the art of flower-giving further. Instead of simply presenting a bouquet, take the time to arrange the stems yourself in an artisan jug or vase. We were inspired by floral photographer Kathryn Holeywell of @wanderforawhile, who favours KLIMCHI's hobnail collection, particularly the pastel shades. We wondered how her love of exploring London has inspired her stunning yet simple flower arrangements;
Sometimes the best Valentine's gifts are the ones you can enjoy sharing as much as giving. So when we found Julie Van Rosendaal's white and dark chocolate fondue recipe on @DinnerWithJulie, we knew we had to indulge in its rich simplicity.
M E L T I N T H E M O U T H
180ml cup heavy (whipping) cream
125g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
125g white choclate, chopped
In a small saucepan, bring half the cream to a simmer; remove from the heat and stir in the dark chocolate. Repeat with the other half of the cream and the white chocolate. Transfer both batches into to a small chocolate fondue pot if you have one, otherwise serve it in a warmed bowl.
Serve by candle light with an array of fruit, cookies, popcorn, profiteroles or homemade marshmallows for dipping.
C H E E K Y B R E A K F A S T M O C K T A I L
First, make a strawberry syrup by boiling water, sugar, and fresh strawberries together until the liquid reduces to a thick syrup. Filter the syrup, but keep the macerated strawberries to one side for the moment. Combine the strawberry syrup with sparkling water or lemonade. Add a dash of lime juice and the macerated strawberries. Pour over the ice and served chilled.
Awakening a loved one with breakfast in bed is nothing new, but perhaps adding a fresh Strawberry Citrus Mocktail to the tray will bring a unique twist. We fell in love with @PlayPartyPlan's take on a sweet and zesty wake up call.
To add an extra touch of magic, freeze your ice cubes with a flower head or sprig of rosemary inside.