Who says Valentines Day has to just be about celebrating romantic love? When you start to investigate the origin and history of February 14th you find lots of stories about a man called Saint Valentine who was martyred. But not just one of them, quite a few, the Catholic church alone recognises at least three saints called Valentine or Valentinus.
Then you have tales from the Roman times of a man called Valentine who was killed for trying to help Christians escape from prison, and before his death he apparently sent a card to a young girl he had fallen in love with, and simply signed it "from your Valentine". There are also Christian stories and Pagan stories, and let's be honest, we have no idea what is the truth.
In my younger years I considered Valentine's day to be an exciting time, one when I might receive beautiful flowers, a meaningful card and I'd dress up for a night out. After 25 years with my husband I'm no longer seeking for him to spend our well-earned money on tokens and over-priced flowers. We often go out together and I'd rather do it at times when the rest of the world isn't out, showing how much they love each other.
So with this is mind I started to wonder why I couldn't celebrate Valentine's Day with all my family, with those I love most, but maybe not in a romantic way.
Before Christmas I worked with an online retailer CoolStuff.com and I really enjoyed perusing their site as they have so may great products at good prices. When they contacted me again about reviewing some items for Valentines Day, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to create my valentine's day for the whole family.
They have a massive selection of items suitable for Valentine's Day, all the classics that you could want if were were looking to create a romantic night in, or maybe a sexy one. I had to chuckle at some of the items available, such as Fifty Days of Play or the less risque 52 Weeks of Romance. Those certainly wouldn't be appropriate as whole family activities.
I decided that we will have a movie night, with great snacks and some pampering treatments. It took me a while to come up with a film we would all enjoy but in the end I went for Pitch Perfect 3, followed by Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation and we'll all be having pizza as we watch.
I also found some excellent products to use as part of our night so let me share with you the items we'll be using for our family Valentine's night celebration -
Cinema Light Box
This is currently £17.49, which I think is a really reasonable price as it is a great size (30 x 23 x 5.5 cm) and has 72 letters, numbers and symbols you can use. We have generally found there is enough of every letter so far, although there is only one Z, and this is a source of great disappointment to one of my girls! lol
I will use the light box to create a Valentine's welcome sign, so that when the kids return home from school, they'll know it is a special night, and I'll be using it ongoing to announce films that we'll be watching together, inspirational quotes or things I want to remind the family of. You'll need 6 AA batteries to use the light box and it gives off a really good glow.
Lékué Chocolate Fondue Set
My kids all love chocolate fountains but personally I think they're a bit of a faff and really hard to clean after use, so I love this chocolate fondue set, which is so simple to use and doesn't have to be plugged in. All you have to do is fill the bottom of the bowl with water to the fill line, then put the silicon inner in and fill the three compartments (or less if you don't need so much) with broken chocolate (white, milk or dark) and place it in the microwave to heat and melt the chocolate.
This is definitely something an adult has to do or carefully monitor as the water gets really hot and the bowl will need to be carried by its handles. Due to the hot water in the bowl, the chocolate stays liquid for around an hour and you can all have so much fun dipping in whatever yummies you feel like. You'll see we had fruit, marshmallows, nuts, popcorn and biscuits, but you can use anything you fancy. You get four little fondue forks, but personally I liked to use my fingers best as you could dip to the right depth and not lose your treat fully into the chocolate.
The set is £24.99, which feels like quite a lot for what is effectively a bowl with a silicon inner but actually it worked so well and the kids loved it so much that I think it is well worth the money, and it will be such fun when we have friends round. I think it will create a real talking point.
Jelly Belly Beans Gift Box - 20 Flavours
As a family we've always loved Jelly Belly jellybeans. I think it is is clever the way you can combine 2-5 flavours and create a different flavour sensation in your mouth. CoolStuff sell these in boxes of 10, 20 or 50 flavours, and they come packaged beautifully, with a key to the flavours in the lid so you can ensure you get just the flavour you fancy.
The 20 flavour box has 250grams of jellybeans and retails for £11.99. We'll really enjoy them as part of our evening and any left over to sit on the coffee table and tempt us for the next few days. Also, if you're a little more adventurous you can get a variety of the Bean Boozled games and sets from CoolStuff. These are where you have both delicious and disgusting flavours of jelly beans and you play for which you get to eat.
Collapsible Foot bath from Zenkuru®
From a child I've enjoyed a foot soak and it is something I seem to have passed on to my kids too. Normally it is just a washing up bowl with warm water and some soap, but now we have the Zenkuru foot bath we've gone up in the world. We can use the settings for heat and bubbles and adjust it to each of our likes, and I also added a little essential oil to mine to give a wonderful aroma and to soothe my tired feet.
The foot bath is collapsible, which is super clever, as it means it is easy to store behind the sofa (its also 10cm deep when collapsed) when not in use. You'll need an EU to UK plug adaptor, but that was just 99p and the foot bath itself is £27.99. We all really like it and even JJ has had a go, the only thing to mention is to be careful not to lean on it, as you could end up sending the water pouring out over the carpet like I did one time, when it collapsed on one side!
So what do you think? Would you consider having a Valentine's Day celebration that includes the whole family?
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Disclosure: I received the light box, foot bath, jelly beans and fondue set free of charge for the purpose of writing this post and an honest review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.