Fashion, food, lifestyle and culture in St Albans
So, what treats does St Albans hold in store for your purchasing pleasure this Valentine’s day..?
If you have yet to get your Valentine’s gifts sorted, then look no further than this list below. I have unearthed the best that St A has on offer. Our city is bursting, simply popping at the seams with Valentines gift potential.
Yes, I’ll be exploring some traditional classic gifts, but I’ll also be looking at some other options and thinking a little more outside that perfectly wrapped box.
My Valentine’s quest began in Raindrops on Roses, new gift shop extraordinaire. The centre table glowed at me like a love beacon, humming with romantic potential.
As an avid cook, I adored these Heart Shaped cooking dishes. Not hugely practical, agreed, but so lovely nonetheless and plus, I bet everything tastes better heart shaped, right?
I also spied this gorgeous Paris mug, which I just love. It’s a simple romantic trinket, which is all that Valentines has to be. No huge bells or whistles, just something lovely to mark the day.
But, my favourite pieces for Her in Raindrops on Roses, has to be the huge selection of beautiful framed prints. Typography and quotes galore sing from the walls with declarations of love and adoration. I once had the privilege of having my favourite quote immortalised in beautiful typography and to this day, it’s still one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. I look at it every day and love it. Get it right boys, and this could be a real winner.
Again, hugely reasonable at under £30, but unlike other gifts, this will last forever. It’s lovely, personal and intimate- it gives you the chance to say something that you might not be all that comfortable to say in person.
Chloe James too stocks some wonderful prints. These messages are bold and brash, but make a very clear point. They take a romantic declaration and unashamedly amp it up, which is entirely the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
I also developed a huge crush on this Bex Rox jewellery too in Chloe James. Love the muted gold with the woven ribbon, it’s bright and bold. It takes a classic Chanel motif and brings it right up to date with fresh colours and texture. This, is a very cool Valentine’s gift, smacking shmultz well and truly in the face.
Next, I dipped into the Village Arcade where I stumbled upon some real treats.
For the fashion savvy lady, this Vivienne Westwood purse in the Green Boutique is a real find and an absolute bargain. Great size for a purse and the soft green check is the perfect backdrop to the iconic gold emblem.
If purses and handbags are your ladies vice of choice then make your way down to the bottom of the Village Arcade to Carousel Handbags. This stunning blue and purple numbers are absolute gems. At under £70, it’s a well worth it treat. The colours are bang on trend and the shape is practical yet dainty. If I could send these bags a Valentine’s card, oh how I would.
Valentines wouldn’t be Valentines without a little sparkle. Whilst still pottering in the Village Arcade, I pit stopped at Petra Gems to peruse their shiny bits and bobs on offer.
I was immediately drawn to this delicate Vintage inspired ring. At £75 this ring is an absolute steal and you will most certainly get brownie points for having spent a lot more. But, be warned gents, if you present this ring, just as a simple love token and not as that ‘special ring,’ make sure that you remain firmly upright and standing. This would be a very bad moment to do up your shoe lace!
Romanced by my sparkly find, I continued in this vain to Eternity Jewellers on Hollywell Hill. Here I was enchanted even further by the fantasy gifts that ladies dream of receiving on Valentine’s morning.
My heart was stolen by this exquisite Topaz and diamond pendant and this Black Onyx Art Deco style ring. Simply devine. Even on the treat side of the price spectrum, both these pieces are in the sale and are great value for such beautiful pieces. However, proving that they cater for the whole price spectrum, this Vera Wang Love Knot compact mirror is now only £17.50 in the sale. This is a perfect Valentine’s token or snap it up for an upcoming birthday, either way, it is not to be missed.
My wildcard gift, is a foodie find. Now, we all know that Valentines is as much about food as it is about gifts? Yes? Well, cupcake aficionado Lucy from Heaven is a Cupcake, brings you both in a, literally, delicious ensemble.
That’s all well and good for her, but what about for him??
The Alternative Barbering Company, on George Street, has now flung open its cool and trendy doors to its Wet Shave Room. Lovingly crafted, this room is now equipped like a dream Sweeney Todd once had, and Sam and his band of delicious Barbers can show you how ‘Real men’ shave. Buy your chap a voucher for a 45 min Luxury Wet Shave or book him onto the course, so he can learn how to perfect the art himself. Retro and oh so sexy.
Carrying on the shaving theme, Raindrops on Roses now stocks an array of beautiful, and by beautiful I of course mean manly and strong, shaving products. Gorgeous wrapping aside, these tools of the trade and products make for great trinkets for Him.
Sitting snugly across the way from the shaving gubbins, I came across this little treat. It’s very different and perhaps not the most practical gift for the modern gadget loving guy, but for a traditional fellow, who appreciates old school manners this is a charming little love token.
If your man likes a tipple every now and again, then spoil him with a sensational treat from Tomoka, the new Spirit Boutique in Christopher’s place. Choose from a carefully selected library of luxury spirits or let the wonderful Roberto and Jass guide you to the perfect bottle of something special. Or choose something very special for the two of your to share.
On the ‘spoil him’ side of the spectrum for Him, in my eyes, you can do no better than a beautiful watch. Perhaps a little too big of a gift for Valentine’s day, but if the mood strikes you and your budget allows then think long and hard about the perfect watch for your man. It is something that he can keep forever, wear every day and is a lovely intimate symbol of your feelings. Whilst perusing the gems at Eternity Jewellers, Richard Cohen the owner, kindly shared with me some Vintage watches that he had procured for a specific client.
These watches are elegant and so sophisticated. Not for every man, but for the right man, this is the perfect gift. There are a few shops in town that stock watches for men and women, but if your interest is peaked by this Vintage option then I recommend popping in to pay Richard a visit. Too late in the day for Valentine’s Day, but for your Valentine perhaps something to keep in mind.
So that’s that, my epic Valentine’s spree for you. Wishing you much love and merriment tomorrow folks. I hope that you are all suitably spoiled and that your love is sufficiently validated.
p.s Beloved admirers please send all flowers, chocolates and miscellaneous Hampers and Love Baskets to …. Just kidding….no but seriously… no no just kidding 😉