It's almost Valentine's Day, that controversial time of year where everyone gets their knickers in a twist.
"Valentine's Day should be EVERY day," critics exclaim. "It's just another excuse for businesses to capitalise off our hard-earned cash," others vent. "More ways to make single people FEEL BAD," singletons à la Bridget Jones wail.
Whether you love it or hate it, chances are at least one half of a couple is going to expect a token of appreciation come February 14. Putting your personal feelings aside, isn't it nice to make your partner feel appreciated every now and then? And before you say it - no, banter and breaking wind don't make them feel special every day.
For all you last-minute stragglers scrambling to get a gift together, hold your fire - before you resort to supermarket flowers, a bottle of mid-tier bubbly and a block of choc, check out this guide first. There's a range of options to give you inspiration and elevate your gift-giving game. So, you're welcome!
Glasshouse Fragrances' Triple Scented Soy Candles, starting from $25
Anyone can pick up a candle from Kmart, package it nicely and call it a day - but for the ultimate everyday luxury, no one does candles quite like Glasshouse Fragrances. Their array of stunning scents not only smell good enough to eat (Caramel Popcorn and Choc Tops or Marzipan and Cherries, anyone?) but they make a beautiful addition to any room. If your S/O has a nose for sugary scents, you can't go wrong with their bestseller, A Tahaa Affair - an ambrosial aroma of caramel, vanilla, coconut and pineapple. For those who prefer something more understated, consider Amber and Orchid (Rendezvous) or White Rose and Pearblossom (Flower Symphony). And for the man in your life, have his room smelling like a stroll through Dubai's perfume souk at dusk with Arabian Nights, a scent rich with saffron and white oud in a minimal white soy wax. For the ultimate candle connoisseur, consider supersizing their favourite scent with Glasshouse's 760g varieties ($109).
Ecosa Silk Pillowcases, starting from $85
If your lover appreciates a little luxury in their life, fire a cupid's arrow straight into the boudoir with irresistibly silky linen. Luxury linen and bedding brand Ecosa could well add a little something extra between the sheets with their dreamy pillow slips in stunning colourways. Treat your Valentine to a set of Ecosa's premium silk pillowcases and give them the gift of sweet, sweet slumber - hypoallergenic, breathable, and naturally thermoregulating, silk offers a number of benefits to promote improved sleep. Not only that, silk is one of the best-kept beauty secrets. Sleeping on silk is incredibly gentle on the hair and skin, preventing split ends - and preserving that Valentine's Day blow wave. If your special someone is environmentally conscious, they'll rest easy knowing that Ecosa pillowcases are eco-friendly, created from a natural, renewable and biodegradable resource. The best pillow talk likely happens on the finest pillowcases, after all.
Teva's All-Gender Pride Collection, starting from $110
Celebrate love this Valentine's Day with Teva's all-gender Pride Collection, a stunning curation of the brand's most popular sandals redesigned to commemorate LGBTQ+ Pride month. A champion of comfort and utilitarian style, Teva's collection offers the same classic silhouettes, but with a vibrant twist. So if your S/O adds some colour to your life, perhaps return the favour with a pair of standout rainbow-themed sandals to brighten their day. You can pick up a statement style with the Flatform Universal Stripe, or consider opting for the more understated Original Universal Pride - a classic white strappy shoe with a hint of metallic rainbow thread - available in both a slim and wide fit.
Kirrin Finch Gender-Inclusive Clothing
US-based brand Kirrin Finch flicks the middle finger to sartorial gender norms with its nonbinary, inclusive collection of clothing. Inspired by menswear, Kirrin Finch's range of clothing and accessories aim to validate gender expression and allow customers to be their authentic selves, with a focus on impeccable fit and tailoring. There truly is a fit for all folks, too - the brand offers a wide range of sizes from 0 to 24 (US). Perhaps pick up your partner a classic plaid flannel shirt, perfect for a casual date night - the design features nine buttons for a decreased gap near the chest area - or a dapper blazer expertly crafted in Italy from eco-friendly, recycled wool. You might be paying a premium for some of the products - and shipping from the US is always a bit of a blow to the bank account - but the payoff could be making your partner feel more comfortable in their clothing. If you want to source your garments locally, a number of New Zealand brands offer gender-fluid or genderless styles - think the androgynous aesthetics of Jimmy D, WORLD, or Zambesi - unisex pieces have been part of their fabric since day dot.
Skintopia Skin Treatments, starting from $90
Alternatively, you may like to treat your S/O to the gift of great skin this Valentine's Day at Skintopia, a series of stunning scientifically-based skin treatment salons in both Auckland and Wellington. The salons are not only equipped with the latest in products and technology, but knowledgeable, helpful and friendly staff eager to make a difference. For under $100, you could treat your partner to Skintopia's ProSkin 30 - a bespoke 30-minute treatment targeting key concerns in minimal time. For a more thorough and intensive service, consider opting for the ProSkin 60: this treatment includes facial massage and either microcurrent, hydrodermabrasion or LED light. And if your beau pesters for a back rub at every opportunity, perhaps give the gift you can't be arsed giving - the salon offers a relaxing 60-minute massage guaranteed to get them off your back.
Dyson's Valentine's Day Collection, starting from $649
If you're looking to splash some cash on your significant other this Valentine's Day, Dyson's limited edition Valentine's collection could be just the ticket. If your lady (or gent!) is a beauty buff or hairstyling enthusiast, this gift is sure to get you in the good books. The collection comprises a matching trio of styling tools, all in a beautiful red and nickel colourway - the Dyson Corrale straightener ($749), the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer ($649) and the Dyson Airwrap styler ($849). Dyson's technology, engineered to protect hair from extreme heat damage, offers a range of personalisable tools with precision-engineered attachments, variable heat settings and accompanying accessories. Alternatively, ghd offers a range of tools from hot brushes to hair curlers at more affordable price points - plus, turn up the heat with free personalisation when you buy a selected ghd straightener. In any case, your S/O will be looking hot for dinner.
Sex Toys, starting from $80
Giving gifts is great, but let's face it - it's a little bit better when it's also technically a gift to yourself. How about giving your S/O the gift of satisfaction with a stunning sex toy from Adult Toy Megastore (guaranteed to make this Valentine's Day one to remember). Share Satisfaction's Kama ($110), crowned 'Toy of the Year', combines internal and external stimulation, while the Castor C-ring ($102) - equipped with a double ring, stimulation pad and all the bells and whistles - is all you need to keep both you and your partner humming. Fellas, consider giving the gift that keeps on giving with a toy especially for the lady in your life - the true meaning of selfless generosity. Satisfyer's Satisfyer Pro 2 has quickly become a cult classic in the world of adult toys, and for good reason - it features innovative pressure wave stimulation that guarantees a good time. Alternatively, Share Satisfaction's Sutra boasts an entirely new form of suction stimulation likely to blow her mind. Plus, Adult Toy Megastore offers Afterpay - so you can split the payment up across a couple of paydays.
There really is something for everyone at Superette. Take a peek through their curated lists of impeccable clothing and accessories - from Alexander Wang to Balenciaga to Birkenstock and beyond - to find the perfect gift for that special someone. With jewellery starting at $30, pick from exquisite earrings or a plain signet pinky ring, or opt for a stylish Casetify phone case for a prezzie within budget parameters. If you've got cash to splash, Superette has an amazing selection of high-end purses and stunning sunglasses - talk about eye candy - spanning Gucci, Celine and Bottega Veneta. There's always great finds in the sale section too, with designer duds at discounted prices. I can only tell you so much - best go and have a look for yourself. Make sure to use the filters to organise products by price, popularity and product type to make life a little bit easier.