Valentine's Day

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Claire

Valentine’s day is a boring old minefield isn’t? If you’re single it feels like being jabbily asked about your marital status by old squiffy uncles for a fortnight, then the day itself is a steamy window of coupledom upon which to press your sad single nose.


Rebecca

As a single person, I very much understand Claire’s point here. As the first major themed day of 2019, it’s positively loomed. Imagine me as Bette Davis in ‘Baby Jane’, crossing off the days of January with my jowels scraping the floor. However, since Feb 1st rolled around, I can’t help but feel uplifted by the crepe hearts & pinky red hues & sodding cartoon hearts everywhere. I, in truth, am bloody loving VD! (that’s most definitely a Valentine’s Day acronym)


Claire

When coupled though, it’s a strange kabuki of pretending to be very very nonchalant about the day then being crestfallen when no fuss is made. Or demanding fuss, which will then mean all gestures are tinged with unsexy, unspontaneous obligation.


Rebecca

I hear this biiiig time.


Claire

All you can therefore really do is quietly hope that your partner will pull their finger out and get something organised - an uncomfortable position for us control freaks here at Trowel Towers.


Rebecca

Unless you’re anything like me, Claire, and have pre ordered yourself the biggest eff-off bouquet from your favourite florist to arrive on the day. Yes everyone, that is something I genuinely did towards the end of last month; I knew they would sell out, I thought I might get fomo, and so I arranged a gift for my future self and let me tell you - every time I remember I feel a flutter of excitement about it. Sue me.

The thing is though - after years of half-arsed cinema trips and finding wherever had a free table in Westfield, I’ve been really looking forward to spending February 14th on my own with my massive flowers, a glass of pinot noir and a luscious bath (Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Honey Bath, £37 to be precise). But now……..I’ve gone and gotten myself a date.

Great.

I’ve been on loads of these, but never on sodding Valentine’s Day when the balance is entirely thrown. Keep it casual a and you’re Brittany Murphy in Clueless amidst a sea of Alicia Silverstones. Too dressy and you might as well turn up in Vera Wang’s S/S bridal collection.

What to do when faced with such a dilemma? Well, I obviously asked my very own Yente the Matchmaker: Claire.


Claire

Anyway, I can't solve the issue of how to do Valentine’s day but I can give you my best advice for the only aspect of this under your complete control: what to wear on date night.


MAKEUP

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Claire

This is not the time for bright red gloss, glitter, or any other camp stuff that will migrate around your face after two glasses of Sancerre. You’re going for natural, but more Kew Gardens than Epping Forest. Keep your base dewy and touchable, but lock everything down with a primer and a setting spray (I would recommend The Ordinary high adherence silicone primer, £3.99 and L’Oreal Infallible fixing mist, £8.99).  

I’d then go for either bold eyes or lips (observing the tit or leg rule). I like that quite French thing of very nice skin, a bright lip and not much else, but up to you. I am in love with Chanel Lip Inks, £26.35 - they absolutely do not budge, but nor do they go all dry and crepey. Get one at the airport as a reward next time your Ryanair is delayed. Big smokey eyes are also great, of course, though I find they look amazing as I leave the house but when I go and look in the loo mirror after my starter I suddenly look like Danny the dealer. Perhaps your eyelids behave though.

Rebecca

I’ll take over at this point. Put your under eye concealer on first (in the evenings I use Bare Minerals complete coverage serum concealer, £23 but BEWARE: this is not a look for sunlight) before a smokey eye, or you’ll have smoky residue on your fingers and it will be a disaster.

The best palette for a smokey eye is the Charlotte Tilbury Sophisticate, £39. It’s of the brown tone, which suits everyone, and it’s all matte so there’s little danger of seeping in to drag territory if you’re a bit ham handed. Start by applying the top left as your base, top right is for the outer half of your lid, then bottom left is for the crease. For the final, darkest shade, I tend to pick some up in a cotton wool bud and smudge against the lash line as eyeliner.

Then absolutely go for it with the mascara of your choosing. If you’re asking mine is Max Factor Clump Defy False Lash Effect, £11.99 which honours every single word of its name.

Claire

I was absolutely not doing any of the above – just smearing on some kohl. Now I have been schooled. Smokey eye for all!!

OUTFIT

 Claire

My advice would be to go for an old friend of an outfit that you know you know looks nice and most importantly, is comfortable. We’ve all rushed around H&M with prickly armpits on our lunch break hoping to find something amazing for that evening, but new stuff is probably not the answer here. Lay out some options a couple of days before, so you have time to mull it all over. My school of thought is that ambivalence is the most powerful aphrodisiac, so if you are hesitating between two things, go for the more casual option. You want to look a bit effortless, ideally. Do feel free to show a bit of tit OR leg (the 'OR' is important). 

 

Rebecca

This was very hard to take, as ambivalent is not my forte but buying new things definitely is. However, Claire is right. 

I would like to contribute that layers are important. If you don’t like my cosy jumper you don’t deserve my strappy top with a bit of bra showing.

 

SHOES

Claire

Don’t go for mad stiletto heels because there is always a bloody walk involved on a date. Make sure you can do it wobble free. If you cannot descend a flight of stairs at a normal speed in your shoes then you are not allowed to wear them. 

Rebecca

I would LOVE to be the kind of woman that’s bold enough to go full sex bitch stiletto on a first date, wouldn’t you? But Claire’s right. So what you want is a nice boot (Chelsea, Doc Martin, you do you) or a posh trainer. Steer clear from brogues as it’s not who you really are and if they fall in love with you you’ll have to keep up the pretence of being organised, efficient and with your shit together for ages.


PERFUME

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Rebecca

You can never ever smell too good in general, let alone on a date.

Claire

I love a date night perfume, me. There’s loads of fragrance I own that I don’t really want to wear to work (I don’t feel very administrative in musk, somehow) - a date is just when to roll them out. I love Estee Lauder Youth Dew, from £25.50 (GO EASY JUST A DAB) and of course, trusty old POAL, £160. 

 

Rebecca

Claire once called Portrait of a Lady ‘POAL’ in front of me and I spent ages trying to find the perfume ‘Pole’ on google. But that’s what I’ll be spritzing yes. It’s not a groundbreaking alternative but I have rarely worn Chanel No5, £57, and not gotten what I wanted, if only because it imbues me with Marilyn Monroe confidence (let’s pretend she wasn’t actually really damaged).

I’m going to throw in something here, and it’s a scented body oil. Slique it on your boday after the shower and tell me you don’t feel like a big sexy snake. The Ren Moroccan Rose Otto ultra moisture body oil , £35, is made for this, and the scent clings to such that even if you forget to spritz your perfume in a fit of anxiety Ren’s got you literally covered. 

 

SECRETS

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Rebecca

It is very important to have a secret on a date. No, not that you’ve got 3 kids or already have a partner. Fun secrets, like that you’ve had a manicure earlier or that your lipstick is new. Don’t ever tell them. Enjoy that it’s yours. And for the ultimate secret just for you, I love lingerie from & Other Stories, Coco De Mer, and especially Dora Larson. I appreciate these brands do not specialise in proper sized boobs, but as a lifelong member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee this allows me to look down and see something I’d want to grab.


God speed everyone. Happy banging!

Rebecca Humphries