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A while ago, we chatted with the Handpicked Collection about superiority in gift selection. With the 16th Best Day of the Year* for Lovers speedily approaching, comedian Sally Phillips gives us her take on what she’d really love for Cupid’s calendar moment…

Valentine’s Day. The day I try hardest not to look like a gerbil (difficulty level five) approaches. I take five online ‘How Romantic Are You?’ tests and do not score highly. This is a shock. I pride myself on being the 12th least emotionally stunted comedian in the country and (arguably) the second most romantic after Jack Dee. True, it has never occurred to me to leave my husband an ‘I-love-you-have-a-great-day’ post-it note under the toilet seat but surely ‘You are spiritless and dead’ (MySpace) is over-stating it?

I like the dinner and compliments side of Valentine’s Day, it’s the thoughtful extras that stress me out. I have experienced few things more frightening than being led blindfold by a fruitcake Valentine into a dimly lit room full of balloons. I would genuinely prefer to come home to a bed with ‘I drown squirrels’ spelled out on it in Refreshers than one strewn with rose petals. Producing anything more complicated than a heart-shaped fried egg on Valentine’s Day should be a sackable offence. Fortunately my husband agrees. He’s still hard to buy for. What to get for an amateur arsonist who is terrified of dog poo and whose favourite film is Mrs Doubtfire? I did find combustible false breasts with wire bristles for Christmas.

I hope I don’t get roses again.

How to receive roses graciously: Lesson One

Receiving roses graciously is so hard the University of Ham is now offering it as a degree course so what follows is a very simplistic overview. Say “ohTHANKYOUtheyaresoBEAUTIFUL!” with meaning, inhale deeply and pretend they smell of something. You must not then leave them in the sink – unwrap them immediately and attempt to hack the bottom section of the stems off at an angle with your kitchen scissors. Although this will be akin to cutting an Action Man’s leg off with a Twix you must persist as whipping out bread knives and shears etc will make you look unfeminine and scare your Valentine. As will screaming ‘s**t me’ when the thorns get stuck in your thumbs.

Do not hammer the stems with a meat mallet in front of your Valentine for the same reason, also because it kills the flowers. NB If your roses do not come with rosefood you CANNOT, it turns out, make your own by tipping caster sugar into the water instead, though this is a fun way to grow Quorn. Try to put your roses in something classy, like a vase or spaghetti jar. Using a decapitated Matey bottle may seem ungrateful.

If you are still excited about your evening after all that then you may be experiencing lurrrve and will probably get distracted and forget to put any water in and your roses will wizen. Oh well. Thank God I don’t live in America where Valentining is such a serious business people who score twos on ‘How Romantic Are You?’ quizzes are left in swamps to be eaten by alligators.

My husband and I may never do Valentine’s on a pink horse, pockets jammed with doves but deep down we’re very romantic. Maybe very deep down and maybe romantic in the way a homophobe may, deep down, one day, turn out to be gay…but we’re up for the 14th. We like each other. We have a copy of the Handpicked Collection catalogue. And we can tango.

* Anniversary (1), Christmas (2), Enjoyable family/friend birthdays (3, 4, 5, 6), Bringing baby home from hospital (7), Baby sleeps through night (8), Give baby lemon (9), Baby says ‘Mama’ (10) and ‘Dada’ (11) for first time, Tadpoling day (12), Duvet day (13), Bier festival (14), Sporting events (15).

If you’re still stuck for ideas, grab a last-minute Mr & Mrs Smith Get a Room! e-voucher – printable in a flash and ready for Sunday.

Or check out our collection of hotels with availability on Valentine’s Day.

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