My worst Valentine’s experience was when I sent a really good male friend of mine a Valentine’s card. I’d liked him for ages but as soon as I sent it I knew I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. He was living with my band-mates and they all guessed it was from me. So mortifying! Thankfully, he was lovely about it and is still a fab friend today. The experience is what inspired the opening scene of It Started With a Kiss when Romily tells Charlie she loves him. I sent the card from one of those online card websites and now every time their advert comes on TV I have to switch it off – eight years after the event!
Have you ever had a disastrous date on Valentine’s night?
No, thankfully, although I’ve had my fair share of disastrous dates at other times of the year…
If you were to receive a book as a Valentine’s Day present, what book would you like to receive?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
If you had unlimited funds to spend on Valentine’s night, what would you do?I would fly my Valentine to New York, hire the ice rink in Central Park, surround it with thousands of twinkle lights and place a table at the centre to have a gorgeous meal served to us by a waiter in top hat and tails!
If you could go on a double date with a famous couple, who would you pick and why?
I would choose Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer because I know a date with them would be kooky, outrageous and ridiculously fun.
Will you be having a ‘date night’ this Valentine’s?
We’re going to try to, especially as it will be Bob’s and my first married Valentine’s Day. No idea what we’ll do - we don’t tend to plan things - so will probably be snuggling up in front of a romantic movie with a nice meal. I don’t mind what we do as long as we’re together to be honest!
Other than your partner, who would your ideal Valentine's date be? You can choose anyone dead or alive.
Tom Hiddleston – because he’s gorgeous.
What’s the most romantic thing that someone’s ever done for you on Valentine’s Day?
Bob made me a ‘box of love’ – which I used in When I Fall in Love . He knew I hated Mondays because I used to only see him at weekends so Monday nights were my first without him. He wrote 52 reasons why he loved me dated for every Monday for a year so I would know he was thinking of me. And yes, the ‘I love you because of your Mum’s Sunday dinners’ and ‘I love the way your boobs wobble when you laugh’ were actual messages that I then quoted in When I Fall in Love!
Do you think Valentine’s Day has lost its magic now that it’s become commercialised?
No, not at all. I think it comes down to your attitude to it. If you look at the origins of St Valentine, you see he was someone who celebrated love and made it possible for other people to be together, so if that’s your focus and not how expensive a gift you give or get I don’t think it will ever stop being magical.
What tips would you give to us singletons for surviving the hype that is Valentine’s?
I was single (divorced) for quite a while before I met Bob and I used to spend Valentine’s Day doing things that made me feel happy. So I would buy myself a box of Thornton’s chocolates, or some new underwear, or a romantic movie (or probably all three), relish the joy of having the TV remote to myself and snuggle up in my PJs watching Richard Curtis films. I think it’s a day to spoil yourself if you’re single – I once sent flowers to myself because it felt like a really decadent thing to do. Who needs someone else when you’re treating yourself?
Complete these sentences:
Love is... a beautiful gift that should be treasured every day, not just Feb 14th.
My favourite film to watch on Valentine’s night would be... You’ve Got Mail – it’s the best!
My perfect Valentine’s date would be... being with my husband Bob.
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