Valentine’s Day can be a naus if you’re single. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. While loved-up couples prepare to celebrate the day of romance with a special Date Night, you have the perfect opportunity to mark your single freedom, with a girls’ night out or an indulgent night in.
Whether you’re planning to mark Anti-Valentine’s Day with a big girls’ night on the town or a DIY get-together at home, here’s everything you need to celebrate properly with the real loves of your life.
Nothing can beat a day at a spa with the girls, escaping the February chills to catch up in the thermal suite before enjoying a restorative massage or pampering pedicure. You can go all out on a weekend away with an overnight stay at a beautiful spa retreat, to spend some real quality time with your best friends. Or just enjoy a relaxing day at a spa close by, with mini treatments, bubbling hot tubs and a long, lazy lunch.
Check out the best packages for girls’ spa days here.
It’s impossible to recreate the full spa experience – soaking in a hot tub before retreating to the sauna to soothe aching muscles – at home. But if you can’t get there, get some goodies from the luxury spa brands the professionals use and invite your girlfriends round for some at-home pampering. Treatments like massages are best left to the pros, but you can do your own manis and pedis. Create a luxury foot bath with a few drops of aromatic bath oil from spa favourites like Aromatherapy Associates or Espa. Then get yourselves polish from a professional brand like Jessica or OPI (don’t forget the base and top coats for a long-lasting finish), plus hand and foot creams to nourish skin and cuticles.
Night out: You may love to drink it, but know nothing about it beyond “I like this one but not that one.” A wine-tasting is a great way to understand your favourite tipple better – learning how it’s made or what to look for when you’re buying one. You’ll learn to swill and sniff the aromas like a pro. Many dedicated wine bars and merchants offer tasting packages. But if you don’t have anything nearby that offers that service, make do by heading to a bar with a good wine selection and ordering a variety that you wouldn’t normally drink, to see if there’s something you different you like.
Night in: Independent wine merchants are a great place to start if you’re looking to try some different wines. They’ll offer expertise and advice on wines from locations you’ve never heard of (think Georgian wine, anyone?), grape varieties you haven’t tried before, and work within whatever budget you’re looking to spend. Put together a case that includes a range, with dessert wines and sherries as well as your usual whites and reds.
If you can’t find a good indie merchant nearby, check out online retailers like Virgin Wines, which let you put together your own case and deliver it to your home. You’ll want to make a game out of it: do some blind tastings to guess which is which, or get everyone to rate each wine you’ve tried out of five, to find out which is the overall favourite at the end of the night. Don’t forget the cheese board.
Day out: When was the last time any of you had a proper cream tea? A decadent afternoon tea – complete with earl grey if you’re being virtuous, or champagne if you’re not – is the perfect treat for a day out with friends. That layered cake stand packed with sandwiches, elegant patisserie and, of course, a stack of golden scones accompanied with clotted cream and sweet jam. It’s also a brilliant complement to a spa day, so why not combine the two?
Day in: A DIY afternoon tea is a chance for everyone to get their hands dirty. Put each of your girlfriends in charge of a different dish, and get creative in the kitchen. For the afternoon tea essential, check out this easy recipe for fluffy scones (you’ll need butter, flour, sugar and eggs) to get you started. If you’re doing the preparation yourself, there’s no need to stick to classic finger sandwich fillings if you don’t want to; swap your cucumber for BLT.
For a range of teas, Whittard have some beautifully packaged boxes combining a host of different flavours, so you can sample something new. Or if you’re after something stronger, stick with the classic English theme and try out a cava from a British vineyard.
Night out: Mid-February is peak movie awards season, which means it’s the best time of year to catch the latest critically acclaimed dramas and the cream of the world’s acting talent on the silver screen. Up for nomination in the most categories at this year’s Oscars is The Shape Of Water, or check out Lady Bird, directed by the only woman up for the Best Director award, Greta Gerwig. Head down to your local cinema and load up on snacks.
Night in: This is your chance to indulge in some girlie classics that haven’t been on the big screen for years: think Thelma & Louise, Bridesmaids, Dirty Dancing, Breakfast at Tiffany’s… Get in your favourite cinema snacks (and at a fraction of the price), dim the lights, and settle in for a marathon of your favourite chick flicks.
Night out: If it’s a night out with your girlfriends that you’re after to mark V-Day, book yourselves into a karaoke booth. Yes, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Beyoncé might be cliche karaoke choices, but they’re classics for a reason. A few bars into All The Single Ladies and the nauseating romance of Valentine’s Day will be forgotten. Get glammed up, have a couple of cocktails to loosen the vocal chords, and start belting out your favourite female power ballads.
Night in: If even a private booth is still too out-in-the-open for you to comfortably perform your less than tuneful renditions of Destiny’s Child, why not keep it within the comfort of your own (or your friend’s) home? Set yourselves up a Youtube playlist of your favourite tunes with lyrics, stock the fridge with prosecco, and crank up the volume to croon those classics without fear of judgement – except possible the neighbours’.