Valentine's Day is just under a week away. On one hand, it is a day where we celebrate love, affection and friendship; on the other hand, it is a day where businesses celebrate our consumerism (which, truth be told, leads to wastes, wastes and more wastes).
Now now now, I'm not here to be a buzzkill. I love love, Valentine's Day or Galentine's Day, and every other thing that comes with it (who can say no to chocolates and flowers). So, here are some top tips to celebrate it sustainably - who says you can't love and dote on your partner, and the planet at the same time?
1. Gift Flowers, Sustainably
Flowers are traditionally sent to express love and affection. This tradition stands the test of time, as gifting flowers continues to play a huge part in the celebration of Valentine's Day. However, the surge of demand for cut flowers leading up to Valentine's Day is incredibly... well... bad for the environment.
There are many alternatives to gifting flowers, including getting clippings from your own garden, purchasing them from eco-friendly florists, or gifting potted plants instead. Read our blogpost Gift Flowers, Sustainably, where we delve deeper into, well, gifting flowers sustainably!
2. Choose your Chocs
Did you know that cocoa production is linked to slavery, child labour and deforestation? In fact, palm oil and soy, commonly used to make the decadent chocolate that we all love, are two of the main drivers to deforestation.
Fret not, here is a list of chocolate companies that source their cocoa ethically, and also a list of retail outlets to find ethical chocolate. Below is also a list of chocolate that is palm oil free, prepared by Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Australia.
Here are 3 examples of Earth-loving chocolate brands:
- Alter Eco - Alter Eco uses high quality milk, and produces only organic, non-GMO foods. Most of its ingredients are certified Fairtrade, where possible. It is working its way towards being a carbon-negative company.
- Pana Organic - Pana Organic provides plant-based products, such as chocolate, ice cream. They source high quality, organic raw materials for its products, straight from their countries of origin, supporting ethical and sustainable sources of income for local workers.
- Loving Earth - Loving Earth is an ethically-driven company, that focuses on sustainability. All their chocolate are organic and plant-based, aka vegan!
3. Home-Cooked Date Night
Why not cook a romantic dinner for your partner, or better yet, learn a new fancy recipe together? It is not only personal, but also can be very lovely and romantic.
Here are some recipes you could try!
- Vegetarian/Vegan ~ Happy Kitchen's Ratatouille
- Vegan ~ Jamie Oliver's Vegan Mac N Cheese
- Vegan ~ Cookie and Kate's Vegan Lasagna
- Vegan ~ Nora Cook's Vegan Bolognese
- Vegan ~ Clean Green Simple's Vegan Souffle with Spinach and Artichoke
- Non-vegan ~ Sugar Salted's Roasted Potatoes with Rockets and Creamy Beets
- Non-vegan ~ Food Network's Risotto with Lemon and Shrimp
- Non-vegan ~ Food Network's Chicken Piccata
- Vegan ~ Minimalist Baker's Easy Vegan Cheesecake
- Vegan ~ The Minimalist Vegan's Vegan Berry Trifle
- Non-vegan with vegan alternative ~ Donna Hay's Apple Crumble (to make it vegan, just sub the butter for margarine)
- Non-vegan ~ Food Network's Cheesecake for Two
- Non-vegan ~ Food Network's Strawberry Trifle
4. Games Night
Grab your wine glasses and pull out your dusty old Jenga box and enjoy an intimate night of board games. Did you know that couples that play board games together release higher oxytocin levels, a hormone also referred to as "hugging hormone" or "love hormone".
Here is a list of games you can play with 2 players. Some can be played with more people if you decide to turn your Valentine's Day into a Galentine's Party (or Palentine's Party, to be all inclusive? 🤗).
- Jenga - We all know what this is. A game of steady-hands and slow breaths, where each player take turns pulling a block out of the tower and re-stacking the block without toppling the tower over.
- Uno Stacko - It is like Jenga, plus a lot more spice.
- Uno Slam - It is basically a normal Uno Card game with the element of time! Makes the game a lot more exciting. I played this as a kid, the game is quite old now and the countdown machine may not be sold anymore BUT there is another way you can still play it. Count down together out loud! Each player gets only 4-6 seconds to place a their cards down, if the cards are not placed by then, the player has to pick up 4 cards and the next player starts his or her turn. This is one of my favourite fast-paced card game.
- Twister - Why not take a blast to the past with your partner in a fun tangly game of twister?
- Ticket To Ride - a light strategy game where each player races to build out all the routes to connect their cities.
- Forbidden Island - a strategic cooperative game be Gamewright. It is an award winning game where players work together to capture sacred treasures from ruins on the island. It has multiple levels of difficulty, so you can adjust it as you please. It is also easy enough for children, yet challenging enough for adults.
- Tokaido - A competitive, yet relaxing strategy game where each player goes on a vacation in Japan. The player that collects the most points by experiencing the most on this vacation wins!
- Codenames Duet - A variation of Codenames, a party game, where both players work together, giving one-word clues to identify the agents on the table.
- 7 Wonders Duel - An intense strategy game where players compete to build civilisations and construct architectural buildings and wonders. It is a highly rated game. This game was designed specifically for 2 players, while the original game can be played by up to 7 players.
5. Day Out
As this year's Valentine's Day falls on a weekend, it presents a good opportunity to have a day out! Heading out and taking a stroll together not only helps you relax but, believe it or not, is a form of travelling. You and your partner will be able to share interesting sights and sounds, and build new experiences together.
Here are a few suggestions for your day out:
- Take a nice stroll in a park nearby, and see who pets the most dogs you see.
- Head down to the beach and go for a swim. Toss a frisbee around as well.
- Do a coastal walk or go for a trek in the reserves or national parks nearby.
- Cycle by the beach or a park, or maybe to your favourite bakery.
- Why not grab some food and have a nice romantic picnic while you're at it?
Whatever it is you and your partner decide to do, enjoy your Valentine's Day lovelies!