The Valentine's Edit | AD

When you're in a long-term relationship, Valentine's day can get a tad 'samey'. It's immediately after January, the most financially draining month of the year, and if you live in the UK, it's usually grey and grim.

I honestly would prefer to stay in, watch a film and order a pizza - which is what we usually do, However, this year, we both felt that we should 'make an effort' to be more romantic and appreciative of each other. 

I'm going to be totally honest here, on a day-to-day basis, I don't always make sure that I have a full face of glam (who does?!), perfectly pruned hair, smooth, hairless skin. Those in-between days are *annoyingly* usually the days in which Jerome will want to go out on a date night, do something interesting, or, quite bluntly, have sex. It's not a problem for either parties, however, it doesn't make me feel 100% with regards to confidence and sexiness. 

Although  I'm not saying that you have to look trimmed and glamorous to feel confident, but these are the things which personally add to my self confidence. 

The weekend before Valentine's day, we were kindly invited to London to review a hotel and spa (blog post coming soon). I knew I had to plan outfits, plan plans and plan everything in-between (I love planning and organisation, by the way). This is a comprehensive list of things I used and thing I did in order to ensure a romance-filled weekend.

1. Wax, wax and more wax. 
I usually shave, but, when travelling, I like to wax beforehand. This is mainly because I can't be bothered to keep up with the maintenance of it all whilst travelling. Secondly, I have really dry skin and I tend to get very dehydrated whilst travelling (whether it's a train or an aeroplane). Shaving over skin which suffers from dehydration can cause shaving bumps, scaly skin and can lead to a patchy shave (the dry skin clogs the razor and so it's too blunt to trim hairs). Wax is the way forward; it hurts the first handful of times but it's one of those things that you can get used to and tolerate after a while. 

2. Water.
It's said that 43% of women with access to water don't drink enough of it, and I'm so guilty of this too. Not only does water help with dehydration and tiredness whilst travelling, it also gives your skin the nourishment that it needs. Drinking water can help to clear up your skin, make your skin feel bouncy and youthful and give you 'that glow'. Count this as your daily reminder to drink some water... now!

3. Capsule closet. 
Pick out clothes which are timeless and neutral and add in key pieces to change up each outfit. For example, I took a pair of black jeans, a pink coat, black boots and a cross body bag. I the changed up my outfits each day by wearing a different statement blouse. It's a good technique to use if you're packing lightly or you don't have many clothes! 

It can be tempting to splurge on a new Valentine's day outfit; I've been there done that, over it. It's a waste of money and most of the time it's a last minute decision and I end up feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious in it. This year, I purchased a pair of embroidered jeans, a Gucci-style belt and an oversized off-shoulder jumper via Mercari and I saved myself a small fortune. The total came in at under £20! 

For a pricing reference, I would usually shop from high street stores and spend £40 for a pair of jeans, £30 for a jumper and roughly £10 for a belt. This means that I've potentially saved up to £60.

If you don't know already know about Mercari, it's a well-established marketplace app in which verified people all over the world can sell their new and pre-loved items. From clothing and beauty to books and games consoles, Mercari has it all. I have been selling on Mercari for a while now; admittedly, I like to shop on the app more than I tend to sell (oops, I'm a spendy gal). If you want to check out what I'm selling on Mercari, you can download the app by clicking the links throughout this post (available on Apple Store and Google Play Store) and follow me by searching "shannonalxndra"). I'm adding more items to my profile on a weekly basis; make sure to follow me to grab yourself a bargain!

4. Money management.
Be realistic with your budget. Look at how much expendable money you have and plan accordingly. For example, if you can only realistically afford to spend £20, then don't book a table to Piccolino's. You can easily make the night romantic by buying a pizza, a bottle of wine and lighting a few candles with romantic music playing in the background (I recommend Ben Howard or The Lumineers).

5. Coupon queen.
Use websites such as vouchercloud or vouchercodes to look up local restaurant/bar offers. I usually stick to UNiDAYS, but if you're not a student, don't worry, there are plenty of offers and deals available - especially if you book in advance. My fave place for getting a good discount on food is Ask Italian. They do an incredible discount for students of 40% and if you sign up to their mailing list, you'll receive free fizz and exclusive offers throughout the year. 

6. Comfort is key. 
Don't compromise your comfort for an outfit or anything else. Whilst I appreciate that stepping out of your comfort zone is pretty essential to achieve anything in life, I don't think it applies in every scenario. For example, I don't feel comfortable in a bodycon dress due to self-confidence issues. I would rather wear a shift dress or a jumpsuit and feel 100x more myself than put myself in a bodycon dress and feel self-conscious and horrible about myself. I will occasionally wear a bodycon, but not on a date night when I want to feel my most confident self. 

7. Gifts.
Presents on Valentine's Day are the worst. They're either really generic (small tangent: remember in school when your boyfriend of two weeks would buy you the love heart box of Ferrero Rocher and a small 'Tatty Teddy' bear?! That was kinda cute) or really over the top and unnecessary. I would suggest that you and your partner make a mutual agreement to either have a small spending limit, or both chip in for the date night or the take-away. The two things that I really love to receive are: card and flowers; I wouldn't be heartbroken if I didn't receive either, though. Call it cheap, call it tight, but I'd rather spend my time with someone than spend my money on someone.

That's all for today! I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's day, whatever you're getting up to 

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This post was kindly sponsored by Mercari UK. All words remain unscripted and 100% honest. Links are not affiliate links.