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Notes From The Cotswolds – Loving the romance, but hold the cliché… by Penny Parkes
2017/02/13  |  By:   |  Features  |  

There’s something about the tackiness of the traditional Valentine’s Day offerings that always sets my teeth on edge. You see, I’m all about the romance –the heartfelt and considerate gestures that show a person they are truly loved – but I don’t believe they should only happen once a year because Hallmark decrees it.

But while romantic gestures cost nothing and can often mean the world, I have to admit that there is also a place for spoiling that special someone in your life from time to time. The perfect gift, chosen with care, can say so much about the state of your relationship. Wilting carnations and gypsophila from the petrol station, not so much. How boring for the dashing and harried among us that Romance turns out to require time and consideration of your beloved, rather than cash.

For example, me? I love to receive flowers – who doesn’t? But could they please be white roses, not generic red? Or better yet, a beautiful burst of colour from some tulips in this greyest of months?

Maybe a chocolate or two? Absolutely. Sign me up. But could they please be those special Chocolate Brazils or Cocoa Beans I like, that only Hotel Chocolat can make? Just a little bag… And nothing pink – please God – I’m just not convinced that we really need pink chocolate in this world.

Something slinky for the bedroom? Don’t mind if I do – by happy coincidence, I did happen to notice the softest grey cashmere robe in the White Company the other day, if you’re feeling really flush. Scratchy, gaudy what-nots in optimistic sizing? I’m good, thanks.

But why wait for the 14th if you plan to surprise your Loved One? Who doesn’t like to feel loved and appreciated on any given day? (Be warned though: going late is tricky because it rather looks as though you’ve forgotten!)

All this pressure on one particular date! It’s so easy to see why the clichés are easy and convenient to fall back on.

Actually, while we’re on the subject of pressure, does this really have to be about love with a capital L? Two-some love is grand – we’d be literally lost without it – but there are so many people in my life that I utterly adore (even with their clothes on!) Can I maybe send them a note as well to say that I care? I’m working on the premise that I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘No, you shouldn’t have – I truly didn’t need to feel loved and supported today.’

And I imagine I won’t be alone in believing that Valentine’s day is a little like New Year’s Eve – the more hype and expectation there is, the more potential for disappointment. So perhaps this year, we should all make a pact to opt for simplicity, and take this February the 14th as the perfect excuse for devoting a whole day to telling all the people in our lives how much we love them. Surely that can only be a good thing?

with love from Larkford xx


Out of Practice by Penny Parkes is out now in paperback and eBook, Swept Away (a short story) is out now in eBook and Practice Makes Perfect, the brand new full length novel is out in June!



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