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Unexpected gifts that say “I love you”

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, these are the alternative gift ideas that will surprise and delight your loved one, available from Chelsea’s premium brands and boutiques

8 February 2022

Hearts and flowers on February 14 are all well and good, but – in the immortal words of Miranda Priestly – they’re hardly groundbreaking. A gift for your Valentine isn’t just a token of affection; it’s a sign that you know this person on a deep and meaningful level. So, this year, why not exchange a gift that signifies that sentiment?

Some of the best gift ideas combine style and substance and endure far longer than a dozen red roses. A new bag is just such a memento, especially one as handsome and practical as Tod’s versatile linen-blend backpack with oodles of space and pockets. For her, there’s Gucci’s exquisite new Gucci Bamboo 1947 handbag, inspired by founder Guccio Gucci’s original design, which involved the talents of fellow Florentine artisans to incorporate lightweight bamboo into the handle.

If your significant other loves their creature comforts, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to indulge them. The Orelle knitted ‘Coatigan’ by The Fold is ideal for wearing around the house but elegant enough to throw on for a quick dash into town, while unisex cotton robes from The White Company bring a touch of the spa to you.

While you’re getting comfy at home, you could also bring out your competitive side (or that of your beloved) with a classic parlour game, such as Smythson’s portable leather backgammon set or the ornate wooden noughts and crosses kit from Brunello Cucinelli.

Of course, this isn’t to say that you should entirely eschew any kind of traditional Valentine’s gift. Jewellery tends to be a safe bet, and a well-chosen piece can show just how much you treasure your loved one – and know their taste better than anyone else.

Opt for statement pieces that are thoughtful and unique, such as Boodles’ celestial-inspired Luna earrings, or the Octo Finissimo timepiece by Bulgari, which takes its distinctive form from ancient Roman architecture. If a diamond ring isn’t on the cards this February, the jagged edges of Tiffany & Co.’s effortlessly cool ‘Knot’ ring is a contemporary symbol of unbreakable love.

Finally, they say that food is a way to a man’s heart. But surely fine drinking and dining is the way to secure anyone’s affections? Chocolates immediately spring to mind for Valentine’s Day, but how about some hand-decorated biscuits masquerading as sushi rolls instead (available from Harvey Nichols)? Similarly, instead of another bottle of fizz or red wine, we suggest a fine drop of 20-year-old Port purchased from local boutique Mother Vine.

Also on Pavilion Road is Bread Ahead, Chelsea’s artisan café bakery. Surprise your loved one with an e-learning voucher for one of Bread Ahead’s live workshops, which can help to sharpen their skills or teach them something completely new. Because as Swami Vivekananda once said, “the gift of knowledge is the highest gift in the world”.

Balenciaga Runner sneaker in black, green, blue and grey mesh and nylon, £825 
Boodles Luna pearl diamond rose gold earrings, £8,700  
Acqua di Parma Yuzu ​​Eau de Parfum 100ml, £201, Harvey Nichols  
Bread Ahead e-learning vouchers, starting from £25 
Brunello Cucinelli grained calfskin beauty case with double zipper in rum, £780  
Brunello Cucinelli walnut wood and Krion noughts and crosses set, £620
Gucci Bamboo 1947 mini top handle bag, £1,940 
Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Steel Silvered Dial, £10,000
Biscuiteers I Like the Way You Roll lemon iced letterbox biscuits, £24.95, Harvey Nichols 
Hermès La Legende de la Foret scarf 90, £370
Sandeman 20-year-old Tawny Port, £43.94, Mother Vine 
Smythson backgammon roll in Panama, £445 
The Fold Orelle knitted coatigan in dark champagne tweed, £445
The White Company unisex cotton classic robe, £60 
Tiffany & Co. Knot double row ring in yellow gold, £1,800 
Tod's backpack in canvas and leather, £1,600
Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon Light Up connected watch, from £2,690 

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