My 3 favourite romantic paintings were all painted within 10 years of each other. They can be a wonderful gift of love.
1) Chagall- The Birthday (1915)
This for me has always been the most romantic painting . I remember seeing it for the first time in school and the the way that Chagall represents his love for his future wife Bella is incredible. Love lifts them so their feet don't touch the ground and nothing else matters. We have this in pride of place on our bedroom wall.
2) Gustav Klimt- The Kiss (1907)
Sorry- pretty obvious but I had this on my wall for many years as a teenager. When you really look at the image and how the two images combine it's hard not to be struck by it's beauty. The intimacy of the male figure cradling the face of the female and the intensity of embellishment on their clothing makes it a winner for me.
3) Egon Schiele- The Embrace (1917)
Just like the Klimt, the proximity of the faces and intensity of the touch conveys a feeling of love. There is raw quality and a realness- another one we have in our home.
Giving your partner a sneaky wink can be a really romantic thing to do. It can be one of those things that is shared between the two of you, even in the company of a room full of others. Catching their gaze, sharing a smile or leaning towards them are all simple ways to share your connection when others are around. It definitely isn’t just for those at the start of their relationship, but is one of loads of simple ways of communicating so much more than words can say-and only the two of you understand what it means… ????
If you and your partner are lovers of wine (particularly red!) then a great present can be a nice bottle with a label that means something to you both. We recognise that alcohol isn’t a positive element in some people’s relationships, with others choosing not to drink, but for those who enjoy sharing a ‘favourite beverage’ it can be a great gift. To take it one step further a 2016 piece of research led by Kira Birditt PhD, at the University of Michigan’s institute for social research, went as far as to say that married couples get on with each other better and for longer when both partners enjoy a drink.
Kira told Reuters that the team wasn’t sure why alcohol had an effect, but it might feed into the theory that couples who do more together tend to be happier (no matter what the drink). That is certainly our experience. In our lives we are lucky that we want to do stuff together. That’s just how it is.
I put together a basket of little pressies recently for Valentines. Without doubt the the star of the show was a wine from Waitrose called Celeste. It reminded me of one of the songs we chose for our wedding ceremony by Coldplay ‘A sky full of stars’. We happily shared this for a couple of evenings.
On Saturday I found a second one which represented our first dance ‘Mirrorball’ by Elbow. The song is so special to us. The song became ours within a week of us meeting and we have the words on our bedroom wall. It represented everything about our first evening together, so finding that bottle was special to us both. Whatever it is, whether it’s a song, an object, a label or a photo, something that connects you both is great to look out for. Spoil each other and let the other person know you care and #celebratethefeeling together.
I spent many evenings as a child watching my parents have dancing lessons together. Plenty of huffing and puffing went on by me as I sat and watched. As I got older I thought it was a good thing to do with your partner, I just assumed I’d never find anyone who would want to. Until I reached 48. My new partner (now husband) quite fancied the idea when beginners’ classes were advertised near where we live, and we’ve not looked back. We took some private lessons for our wedding dance and it played a big part in making the day really special.
Like lots of things in life , starting something for the first time can be tough, dancing in particular can be an activity where a newcomer can feel quite exposed. My husband felt he would never be able to hear the timing in the music or remember where to put his feet without looking at them – but he did and now he admits to feeling on top of the world being able to enjoy really dancing with me. Our experience has been that if you join a beginners class you are taken from the first couple of steps to being able to hold your own on the dance floor. It truly is a magical thing you can enjoy together.
“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.” Martha Graham
I would agree with that… no-one really cares, but moving together and holding each other is a real gift. Like anything new it has it’s frustrations. After a long day on a Wednesday evening it can be hard to get in the car at 7.45 and head to the lesson. We are always glad we did. Why not give it a go. Next time we are in Paris we can’t wait to dance by the Seine – definitely one for the bucket list. Maybe see you there ??
Being romanced for most people is a wonderful thing. I think one of the most romantic, and perhaps brave, gestures is to send a a love poem that captures how you feel. My husband and I have spent time seeking out some great ones (along with my best friend Helen). Those of you who are confident enough with words can offer the ultimate gift of a handwritten poem. We’d love any of you to share these with us.
One thing we have struggled with is finding a good collection of love poems. Through our business ‘The I Love You Shop’ we are really looking forward to putting our own collection together. Too many of those on offer are filled with doom, gloom and heartache. Not an ideal romantic gift.
For now, one of my favorites is Christopher Marlow’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love published in 1599.
Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove, That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields, Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the Rocks, Seeing the Shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow Rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing Madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of Roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of Myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty Lambs we pull; Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold;
A belt of straw and Ivy buds, With Coral clasps and Amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me, and be my love.
The Shepherds’ Swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me, and be my love.