12 February 2013

Fine wines. Gold and diamonds.  Red roses. Swiss chocolates.  If you are the male of the species and you haven’t considered buying your partner one of the above, or a close variation, you might be in trouble with the woman in your life.


But maybe you’re tired of the usual spin on Valentine’s Day?

Perhaps you’re alone.  No one to send you a card or red roses, and you’re sick of being left out?

Or maybe you just don’t like the commercial nature of the holiday?  After all, who in their right mind appreciates having to buy flowers at double the price they were the day before, or impromptu competitions with friends and workmates to see whose partner was more romantic?  If romantic really is the right word.  After all, what woman doesn’t long to be loved by a man with a full heart  – and an open wallet?

Studies show that far from being the romantic celebration it’s supposed to be, Valentine’s Day can be downright stressful.  The problem is the Charles Dickens syndrome, otherwise known as Great Expectations.  Expectations are something this day engenders, and as we all know, romance isn’t always made of the same ingredients as a Mills and Boon novel.

Why not re-define Valentine’s Day as a celebration of the love you feel for your other significant others – your family and friends.  Take Mom and Dad out for dinner, send your bestie a card to thank her for her loyalty throughout your numerous romantic disasters, or spend a few hours with a child you love to reinforce to them how special they are to you.  We shouldn’t need a special day to remember to thank the people we care for, and who care for us on a daily basis, but it’s easier to do so if we have Hallmark to remind us we should.

For those who want to be romantic and buy a gift, but are short on inspiration, the web offers a whole new dimension to the buying dilemma.  Check these out:

AOL Style offers a range of videos including Valentine’s Day Lingerie Buying Tips for Guys, which has already had over 11,000 views.

A Kiss Portrait Kit allows your lips to become fine art.  The kit comes complete with lip gloss and image sheets.  All you have to do is pucker and send the sheets off and hey presto, by return mail you have your own Andy Warhol-style art to hang in your living room.

A guitar plectrum for the rock star in your life, engraved with the words I Pick You.

Ladies, this might be one to buy yourself if the man in your life isn’t putting a ring on it.  At coffee break, everyone will gasp at the size of your bling. Fred and Friends 2 carat cup from Amazon.

For those that don’t drink champagne, how about a bottle of Diva Vodka? You can buy this online – just make sure you have a good limit on your credit card, as a bottle can cost up to a cool $1 million.

Of course, you might have more conservative tastes and be romantic, so maybe the traditional flowers and chocolates aren’t a bad idea.  Or for something more enduring, what about a book…a romantic novel?

I’ve written two romantic comedies about women who find themselves alone and re-define their lives, and I’d like to share one of these with you as a Valentine’s Day gift.  The book is called Transplanting Holly Oakwood and here’s a short blurb:

Finding her lover in bed with her best friend was the worst thing ever, but leaving London for Los Angeles pushed trouble to a whole new level.

Holly Oakwood’s cosy life is shattered when her boyfriend has an affair with her best friend. Determined to mend her broken heart by throwing herself into her career, but unable to hide her contempt for her new boss, she loses her job as well.

She lands a dream job in a Consulate in LA, but that’s when her troubles really begin. She struggles to settle, loneliness begins to bite, and everyone around her is thin and shallow. She loses her confidence, makes a fool of herself once too often, and her new boss hates her. Can she salvage anything from the train wreck of her new life, or should she return to England?

What ensues is a comically entertaining series of events that catapult Holly into new friendships, the promise of romance and the realization that home is where the heart is.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading this novel and that it will encourage you to make the most of any changes that happen in your own life.

My Valentine’s Day Gift to You – Transplanting Holly Oakwood

is available free as a Kindle download on Amazon on the 12-14th February inclusive.

As my heroine Holly found out, new opportunities  – and love – are everywhere around us.   My wish for you on Valentines Day is that like Holly, your minds and hearts are open to them.


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