Sweet little treasures :: Happy Valentine's Day

So, I have a little pre-Valentine's confession for you.
I'm pretty crap at holidays. I'm one of those friends who's likely to wish you happy birthday during the month of your special day, because I forget I can look up the actual date itself on your Facebook page. I'm the daughter and the niece and the aunt and the sister who posts Christmas cards in January, if at all, and sends birthday gifts a month early or a month late. The wife who wrote her wedding vows the night before the wedding, in bed next to the husband writing his own wedding vows. 
(We were meant for each other, what can I say?)

Regardless of my hopelessness in certain holiday-tradition-based matters, I love my friends, and I love my family, and I think of them all the time. And I hope I can show my love at all the various scripted and unscripted times of year in random-food-and-wine-and-little-treasures kinds of ways. I like to think that sweet, unexpected gifts and moments are in fact the very best presents.

Here are some sweet little ideas for celebrating the people you love. All of them, because who wants to draw a line when it comes to love?
These are easy and inexpensive and thoughtful things, and all it'll take is a quick stop on the way home for ingredients and a few minutes in the kitchen.

And a cup of tea, for sustenance.
Happy Valentines Day!
Amanda xx

1. Tea and biscuits
Buy a large bag of organic loose-leaf tea - I used chamomile here, but you could just as easily choose green or black or chai or whatever. Package it into small cello or paper bags, close with a sticker or a ribbon and a little printed note with instructions. Chamomile and green teas are particularly great as skin therapy, too! Tuck the tea into a small thrifted basket or tea cup with a handful of cumin lime cookies or shortbreads or lemon biscotti, and a love note (of course).

2. Handmade skin care
Skin care's a wonderful gift - fresh and pure and rich in antioxidants - but it's very jar- or bottle-dependent. Lip balms work best in small glass jars with screw-top lids, moisturising potions work best in dark jars with droppers. If you have easy access to those kinds of recepticles, then I've got two great recipes for you below. If not, jaffa moisturising bars require neither jars nor bottles, and can be served presented in cello or cloth bags. 
3. Other stuff
Who doesn't love getting a basket filled with homemade or personalised goodies? Vanilla extract, toasted muesli, a brand new body brush for the shower, or a new plant for the windowsill. Photo valentines of places or people you love ... even thrifted treasures that spoke to you of that certain person the moment you saw them. 
And yes, of course, you should take off work tomorrow and trawl thriftstores for treasure. 
I might see you there ...
Avocado, Chamomile + Calendula Face Potion
This is my new favourite morning and night all-over moisturiser. It's light, yet nourishing, and smells INCREDIBLE! Lightly floral, not overpowering. Both chamomile and calendula have anti-inflammatory properties that make them great for stressed-out skin.

Each potion requires:
1 small (20+mL) brown jar with dropper lid
3 tsp organic avocado oil
1 tsp vitamin E (out of a jar, or you can prick-and-squeeze capsules)
20 drops calendula essential oil
20 drops chamomile essential oil

*Try to use organic when you can.
What to do:
Pour everything into the jar, shake and wrap with a ribbon. Stored out of direct sunlight, in a cool-ish place, this'll last a month or two.

NOTE: Do not use essential oils during pregnancy or if you have a history of allergies. Always use your best judgement.

Jaffa Lip Balm
A derivation of the popular jaffa moisturising bars recipe, this is a slightly softer lip balm that will need to be dipped into when applied.

Each lip balm requires:
1 small glass jar with lid
2 Tbs raw cacao butter
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp avocado oil
1 tsp raw honey
1/4 tsp vitamin E (liquid, or squeezed from capsules)
3 drops sweet orange essential oil
*Use organic whenever possible

What to do:
Simply warm the cacao, olive oil, avocado oil and honey over low heat till just melted, then remove from heat and add the vitamin E and essential oil. Stir and pour into a lip-balm jar. Let it set on your counter or in the fridge till it's cool before using. Stored out of direct sun or heat, this will keep well for a month or two. Remember, it will re-liquify in warm cars, pockets or handbags, so keep the lip balm cool whenever possible and the lid on securely to prevent drippy accidents.


  1. It's ok--I for one am planning to hide in my house and do nothing whatever for Valentine's day. :) I'm super excited to try this lip balm--it sounds great!

  2. Lovely post Amanda and some wonderful gift ideas for those we love and care about.

  3. I love my christmas cards in January. Yes we are perfectly matched.

    Needless to say, Amanda's wedding vows sounded like they were painstakingly written and rewritten over several months. Mine on the other hand......

  4. @Robbie Ha! And we were *both* outshone by the poetry Daniel wrote for us for the day ... :)

  5. Lip Balm sounds great! Where do you buy your cacao butter from? Its so damn expensive at the organic supermarket.

  6. @Sherilyn @ Wholepromise They're out of stock of the larger quantities at the moment, but I usually buy mine direct from Loving Earth (http://www.lovingearth.net/products/2/raw-organic-cacao-butter)

    Awesomeness. Love that company :)


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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx