11 Feb 2013

Valentine’s Day… Are You A Believer?


February is well and truly here… I can’t quite believe that… it seems moments ago that we were talking tinsel and fairy lights…and now, we are quick stepping our way towards Valentine’s Day.

Shall we chat about amour and all things rouge in the coming days? Not as a tribute to one day in the long life of love but as a reason to air our thoughts on this very complex subject.

I have never really celebrated Valentine’s Day… not in the way my children do… It wasn’t on my calendar back in the day…  the 14th February did not have the importance nor the significance. I have a vague recollection of a few anonymous cards in my teenage years… enough, not to feel like a complete wallflower… but I don’t remember it being a big deal. I am not with someone who believes that love should be measured and qualified on one particular day… we just don’t do that… and yet I am married to the most loving, generous and oftentimes incredibly romantic man… I suppose that a couple who have been together longer than they haven’t should rejoice in their long and enduring relationship…  We do revel in our good fortune… for a love that is ongoing and long lasting is truly something to cherish… we acknowledge each other with tiny and grand gestures… we mark the moments often, but for whatever reason, not on Valentine’s Day. It is not a considered decision… it’s not because we have negative or anti feeling towards a day of hearts and flowers… it’s just the way it is… But…  perhaps this year is the year to rock the boat… shake things up a bit.. surprise him… show him the full Valentine’s treatment… for who wishes to be predictable… never me… and I can guarantee… he won’t be expecting it… Predictable is the cold shower of romance… the unexpected is where all the fun lies.

At the risk of igniting a few flames, I suspect the romantic nature of Valentine’s Day appeals much, much more to the girls than it does to the boys.. Women need the trappings of love in a more obvious way than men… yet we women would never deceive ourselves by thinking that men don’t need and don’t desire love… they are just programmed differently.

I am all for celebrating love… in any way… so whether it’s soft centred chocolates and long red roses… champagne and candlelight… a can’t-put-down novel where the tears and the sighs make it all yours… or the knowledge that you are ensconced in the love of someone very special… celebrating love can only be a great, great thing. For to be loved and to love is the greatest gift of all.

Valentine’s Day… Are you a believer? xv

My Top Ten Great Tales of Romance

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen… I try and re-read this every year

Jane Eye by Charlotte Bronte… who doesn’t fall in love with Mr Rochester

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger… *sigh*

The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks… who hasn’t shared a bucketload of tears over this one

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare… if only I could re-write the ending

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell… my all time great love

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden… the film and the book

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy… Russian drama at it’s finest

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough… an Australian epic of forbidden love

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje… more tears

image  manger.com


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Vicki Lee Johnston

I am an absolute romantic, as is my husband.
Valentine’s Day for me is for the new lovers – a chance to show their feelings in an overt way – or for secret admirers…
I think in the early days my husband felt compelled to buy something to show his love on the 14th but I kind of talked him out of it – there are enough dates in the calendar that require acknowledgement in a material way … so for this date we celebrate our love together and usually buy a rose bush for our home, or something special to celebrate our life together.
I prefer the sudden surprises out of the blue – the thoughtful gestures – and will leave the 14th to new love ….

Karen in CT

.. I’m pretty much alone the same lines as you …. sometimes, usually when it’s unexpected … it’s the day to day that counts … I usually buy cards for everyone, even the school cards for my co-workers … but this year, not so much. No reason, just not every year. Best wishes for your surprise.

Karen in CT


It is always good to be unpredictable..;)
But I must get back to sending cards… that’s fun…

Anita Rivera

I am so glad that your blog is always the first one to “pop” up on my blog list. To read your measured words is a huge delight for me; I enjoy reading and studying grammar and syntax and then BAMM!!!! comes the message. That is just how my grammar-loving brain works!

You write so well, Vicki. No wonder you have books out! But your message here is a beautiful one that gently glides on a deep sea of everlasting truth. Love is a subject that we all have a life-time to discover, to express in all of the arts. Today’s word from you is one to ponder because we too, being married now for almost 31 years (in March) MET on Valentines Day 33 years ago. It is almost however, as if “cupid” struck us on that day and injected us with a love that needs no specific date to celebrate. I am blessed to acknowledge that like you, we just live as much in love as we can – no special flowers, candy or romantic moment out of the ordinary for us. We just take each day and are grateful for it.

THAT FOOD BLOG, MANGER is delightful! And, I love her dog; he looks like a harlequin!

Grosses bises, Anita


That must be the best anniversary date of all Anita… :) Cupid ‘struck’ and ‘stuck’… adorable… :)


We don’t really do anything for Valentine’s Day either, not a conscious decision, but it seems unnecessary as we “celebrate” or love often. I would add “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton to the list above as I think it’s absolutely one of the most romantic, and greatest stories ever. Yes, it would be a surprise, and maybe a good one, if either of us did something for Valentine’s Day.

Garden, Home and Party

Apart from telling Mr. B, my husband of 40 years [omg], how happy I am being married to him [most of the time :-)] I’m not a huge “Valentine’s Day” person. I usually cook Mr. B something I know he’ll enjoy but we tend to celebrate the holiday with a dinner for a few close friends. Let us know what you do to mark the day.


It won’t be too exciting… I, like you… like to say the complimentary things… and surprise him when he least expects it… That probably should be on Thursday…;)

Veronica Roth

Oh my, that is a wonderfully romantic food blog. Good thing today is a holiday Monday and I can take my time and explore. Vicki, all those books are absolutely fantastic! I completely understand the buckets of tears…me too. :)


Just went out in the pouring rain to post my Valentine cards. I agree that love should be celebrated every day not just on Feb. 14th. I plan to have a special dinner out with my boyfriend and perhaps order dessert and not worry about the calories! Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone…


I had been on my own for so many years that Valentine’s Day became a time for me to spoil my children. Heart shaped cake, little cards, gifts with red ribbons. And now that I have found the man that my heart waited so long for – ha, he’s not really a Valentine Day kind of guy. He is romantic and shows his love and appreciation all the time, as I do with him.
Proof that real romance is more than just one day a year.

french cravings

I believe love should be expressed every day of the year, in the little things we do, however any excuse for a lovely dinner out sans kids is always a good idea. x Katie

P.S. I love, love, love your reading list. I think I’ll pull out my old copy of “Pride and Prejudice” and get to reading…


There were so many more I could have mentioned… I realised when I wrote the list how much I used to read… I am going to re-read them all if I can…and more… The truth is I do love a romance…:)


Hi Vicki, Thank you for this beautiful testament to an unfolding love story. Sending Valentine love to you…make it an unforgettable day!!

A Gift Wrapped Life

I never know how to answer this question. So I will say this…….you can have an incredibly romantic marriage without the Valentines Day hype. I think it is a sweet day, in fact I treat it more of a kid’s holiday, giving our son candy and treats. I tend to treat it as a fun thing, serious romance is attended to in other ways and it may include wearing those J. Crew earrings in your sidebar ad. They are my new favorites and I wear them every weekend. My husband has always had a habit of leaving me little surprise love notes, I have boxes of them from over the 42 years that we have been together. But………..hmmm, haven’t seen as many this year come to think of it. That won’t do. lol!
Hope you and David have a most romantic day, I know you will.

Peggy Braswell

I love your writing style. I adore Valentine’s day and always send little gifts to my children + cook a grand dinner for the hubby.
He usually brings me red roses(which I love). Happy Valentines day to everyone. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com


What a wonderful husband… I did send cards to my children… and they always knew they were from me… :)


I am such a believer! I met my husband on January 27 and 18 days later he gave me my first Valentine card and I still have it! He had counted up the hours, 432, the seconds, 25,920 and days….18! He was amazing then and 41 years later he still is! I love him dearly! I agree though romance should be a part of every day! Happy Valentines!

24/7 in France

Romance is shown in many ways, as a part of our daily life, from small gestures to an unexpected kiss from my loving, French husband – that being said, a token on Valentine’s Day does make the day special and even more romantic!

Heather in Arles

Vicki…I waited to come back today because…you REALLY gave me something to think about. I have been with my honey for nearly twelve years (I know, small compared to the years here but important for two independent nomads) and I have always put great expectations on him for Valentine’s Day, although he is French and honestly did not celebrate the holiday before having met me. I think that I wanted for him to make up for all of the Valentine’s that I was alone and there were many (I might have told you the story about once walking across NYC in a Nemo-style blizzard to buy myself an Elsa Peretti pendant at Tiffany’s). But he can’t. And really, I know he loves me. I don’t need trinkets or too expensive roses for him to prove it.
Thank you friend.
Gros Bisous,


No you don’t… you are in each other’s hearts and that is the best Valentine of all… :)


Jane Eyre is my all time favourite book. I loved Memoirs of a Geisha and read it in one sitting on a rainy Sydney day but never thought of it as a romantic book, I guess it is.

I wonder how many people have really read Pride & Prejudice. I think most people have watched the mini-series and pass it off as reading the book! I’ve never read it.


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