Skip to content

Guest blogger: Hélène Young

13 February 2011

Love is in the air

Love is in the air,
Valentines are all around,
Love is in the air,
And my heart begins to pound.
And I don’t know if it’s an illusion,
Don’t know if it can be true,
But it’s something that I must believe in,
And it’s there when I reach out for you.

(Apologies to John Paul Young…)

As a true-blue romantic, Valentine’s Day has always caused me some angst. Firstly, as a teenager, it was the breathless wait to see if a red envelope appeared in my letterbox with my name on it.

As a young adult it was agonizing over how to send one without being uncovered as the sender…

These days it’s the dilemma of indulging in something that has more to do with merchandising than love. The marketing departments of florists, chocolatiers, cuddly toy makers and card designers must work overtime.  No sooner have we drawn breath from Christmas than the stores start to fill with little red hearts (oh, and Easter eggs because a girl can never have too much chocolate, apparently!)

The rational half of my brain knows this is a way to make me spend money and therefore views it a little cynically, but…

I can’t help myself!

I smile at sentimental sonnets and cute pictures. I sigh over lush bunches of red roses, or exquisite single orchids. I almost drool over the delectable boxes of chocolate.  (Ok, ok, I DO drool…)

But there are many ways to show someone you care without the froth and bubble, and sometimes it can be a happy accident.

My wedding anniversary is the week before Valentine’s Day and my husband is not renowned for his evolved appreciation of romance, but he has scored the odd triumph over the years. The most memorable was our eighth anniversary when he came home with eight-dozen long-stem red roses. I ran out of vases, milk bottles and jars to hold them all. Our house smelt divine.

Being disarmingly honest, he did admit over a glass of champagne late in the evening that it was all in the timing. Turns out he’d arrived at the flower markets late because he forgot about the anniversary and the florist was getting rid of the day’s stock.

My husband jokingly asked, ‘How much for the whole box?’

‘Take ‘em. You can have the lot for fifty bucks,’ was the reply.

He pried his wallet open and parted with the entire contents, even being forced to raid the ashtray in the car for enough loose change to meet the price. Triumphant, he’d staggered home bearing a tatty cardboard box, unaware at that point that he’d even jagged eight dozen of the thorny little beauties. To another woman that may not have seemed romantic, but to me it was a big effort on his behalf. (Even if the Flower Gods had been forced to intervene!)

Romance is something so individual for each of us. You only have to open the pages of a romance novel to know there are many, many ways to bring romance into some one’s life – poems, gifts, breakfast in bed, sharing a moment of laughter, sharing a moment of sadness, holding hands in a shower of rain.

I have a friend whose husband handcrafted the most beautiful wrought iron candelabra for her as a gift, but he doesn’t see himself as a romantic! I sigh every time I think of it…

So, will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, posting a card or slipping one into someone’s letter box? Perhaps social networking has changed all that and you’ll be sending a cyber card instead or posting a message on FaceBook?

Share your story and you’ll go into the running to win a copy of my new release, SHATTERED SKY.

And from me to you tomorrow, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY  🙂


The competition has now closed. The winner of the book giveaway was Kaetrin.

  1. 15 February 2011 12:09 pm

    My husband isn’t romantic enough to my liking, which is the main reason I read and write romance. I’d love to receive roses, chocolates and even a toaster…But, to tell you the truth, I’d be more touched by receiving a card.

    • 15 February 2011 3:40 pm

      A beautiful card with a simple message is gorgeous isn’t it Carol!

      For me coming home from a few days away with work to find the house sparkling, the ironing done and a delicious dinner waiting is the ultimate ‘I love you!’ Now if I could just teach him how to use a whipper snipper he’d be perfect!! 🙂

  2. Bron permalink
    14 February 2011 9:11 pm

    My favourite Valentine’s Day present, although strictly in retrospect, was a toaster! At the time I was working at a ski resort in Canada and living in staff accommodation. The apartment was only very sparsely furnished and my housemates and I used to make toast on a bent metal coat hanger positioned over one of the hot plates before heading out for the day. I didn’t think anything of it – and wasn’t too interested in cooking anyway. But my ski instructor boyfriend was horrified at the morning antics – and, possibly, in the varying quality of the toast. So being as romantic as … well, a kitchen appliance … he decided to remedy the situation on Valentine’s Day and gave me a pop up toaster …. Mind you, while I was at university, another boyfriend gave me, as a birthday present, washing up utensils ie a dish drying rack and a scrubbing brush …. Both boys did score some marks for thoughtfulness , but they had other things going for them as well …

    • 14 February 2011 9:49 pm

      Oh Bron, I’m now picking myself up off the floor wiping the tears from my eyes. There’s a pattern there, I think?? Perhaps you go for a certain type of guy – intensely practical, happy to help out and not very subtle! I’m sure they had other attributes that compensated 😀

      And at least they went to the effort of finding something you needed!

  3. Aimee permalink
    14 February 2011 8:47 pm

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • 14 February 2011 9:46 pm

      And Happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Aimee! Hope you’re celebrating in style 🙂

  4. 13 February 2011 10:47 pm

    Hi Helene!
    Loved the roses story – reminds me of the first time my husband brought flowers home to me (it was a Friday night, and no special occasion). I was soooo touched. My mother-in-law, who was there at the time, was so impressed by her son – and then he told us what a score it was, getting the reception bouquet before it went in the bin. I got those flowers each Friday for about six weeks before the company decided to put a plant on the reception desk instead. I still smile when I think of it, and the effort DH went to. Up until now we’ve had a special Valentine’s Day dinner at home – candles, special meal, three kids trying to either blow out the candles or set the house on fire, but this year will be different. We’ll be going out for dinner to the local RSL – with the three kids, but no candles!

    • 13 February 2011 11:03 pm

      What a good story, Shannon. You have a very enterprising husband, and my husband is very impressed!

      Sounds like Valentine’s Day is a family affair in your place. Enjoy the RSL tomorrow – with the three kids!

  5. 13 February 2011 9:33 pm

    Hey Helene – For Valantines Day I’m off to Book Lovers Day at my local library where we all get to write our fav author’s name on a heart and hand it in the library. Guess who I’ll be writing????!!!! LOL
    I think for VD (oh, that;s not good!) I’ll be buying Easter eggs becasue bloody easter eggs are already in the supermarket. Te year is going to slip by soooooo fats. Hope you had a great book launch.

    • 13 February 2011 10:39 pm

      Hmmm, there are a few names I could put on a heart and hand to my librarian! Hope it’s one I know well, Jenn 🙂

      VD? That takes some of the gloss of Valentine’s day… But I know what you mean about Easter Eggs already! The only good thing is – they’re chocolate!! Never have too much of that.

      Thank you, we had a lovely night on Friday for the book launch, but somehow we didn’t drink as much champagne as last year… Very strange… At least it leaves some for me later!

  6. Barbara permalink
    13 February 2011 9:14 pm

    Hi Helene,
    My husband usually remember all the anniversaries and birthday…..not sure what we are doing tomorrow as we are away for a few days visiting my brother and his wife.


    • 13 February 2011 10:35 pm

      Barbara, you have a good man. Mine still needs a gentle nudge a couple of weeks out for anniversaries but he does remember birthdays. I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time with him and your family tomorrow.

  7. 13 February 2011 8:57 pm

    My husband brings me home flowers and always has. My daughter when she was two wanted to know why he hadn’t brought her some too, so every year he brings us both a bunch. On Valentine’s day last year she had a boyfriend who didn’t bother with anything. He didn’t last. This current boyfriend is so sweet, he plans weeks ahead. This is one that will last because my husband set a high standard.

    • 13 February 2011 10:34 pm

      How wonderful, Cathleen, that your daughter holds your husband up as a bench mark! Enjoy your beautiful flowers tomorrow and hope you have a lovely day with your man.

  8. Sue Z permalink
    13 February 2011 6:23 pm

    Hi Hélène

    We should treat every day as if it was Valentines Day. Start with a hug and a kiss and a truly heart felt
    “I love you” There can be no greater joy than seeing the smile in your partners eyes.

    Hope you all have a fantastic Valentines Day


    Sue Z

    • 13 February 2011 10:32 pm

      Oh Sue Z, that sounds like a wonderful idea. After all the carry on with Cyclone Yasi and my book launch this weekend I have to admit that I have failed to buy a card even for my hubbie so let’s hope he thinks the same as you… Hope you have a lovely day tomorrow!

  9. Helen permalink
    13 February 2011 5:59 pm


    My Hubby is not so romantic either but he never forgets birthdays or anniversaries or Valentines Day. I have the day off work so we have decided to take a drive down to Wollongong and have a nice lunch together. I have been out to lunch today with the Sydney Ladies from ARRA and we had a great day

    Have Fun
    Happy Valentines Day everyone

    • 13 February 2011 10:30 pm

      Helen, what a treat! A writerly lunch today and a relaxing lunch with your husband tomorrow. Enjoy the day and the drive to Woollongong. See you in May !

  10. Sandra Harris permalink
    13 February 2011 5:53 pm

    Hi Helene,

    My other half and I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. We’re more into the spontaneous gift and appreciation giving throughout the year. The other day I came home from work to find a red rose and beautiful little hand written note on my pillow. (He’d left for Sydney the same day). I guess my Valentine’s day present tomorrow is that he’s actually coming home tomorrow – a day early!!

    • 13 February 2011 10:28 pm

      Sandy, your man is such a sweetie! Enjoy your day tomorrow – hope you have a sunny day and a trip out on the bay!!

  11. Rosalie permalink
    13 February 2011 5:12 pm

    Hi Helene
    As it’s my husband’s birthday, that takes precedance for me, as I consider him to be very special. We’ve been married 34 years and love him dearly. Neither of us indulge in much of the commercial hooha and I’d much rather prepare him a special meal and bake a cake (gluten free so it’s a little more work, but worth it for him.) As we’re very busy and don’t have much time to stop, these days, having a meal together, with wine and candles is enough. We truly like spending time with each other. 🙂

    • 13 February 2011 10:27 pm

      Rosalie, that sounds like a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day! Have you got the ‘Marieke’s Chocolate Cake’ recipe? It’s made with almond meal and is to die for… And oh so romantic and decadent 🙂 Happy to supply if you’d like it.

      And Happy Birthday to your husband for tomorrow!

  12. ROBHAP permalink
    13 February 2011 3:35 pm

    I am a very romantic at heart, I suppose that’s why me (a guy) is writing Romantic Fiction.
    At work I used to leave small roses at different womens office desks. But the women never realised that it was me, so other guys I worked with would get the praise and recognitian.
    So my friends, HAPPY ST.VALENTINES DAY, to you all. robhap

    • 13 February 2011 10:24 pm

      Rob, that’s a lovely gesture but what a shame you didn’t get the kudos! Love the idea of a guy writing romance though 🙂 All the best with your writing!

  13. SNH permalink
    13 February 2011 2:14 pm

    And sorry for the triple post, but I already have more than one copy of Shattered Sky, so don’t go giving it to me!

    • 13 February 2011 10:42 pm

      You could always give it away as a pressie if you win 🙂 Spread the ‘love’?

  14. SNH permalink
    13 February 2011 2:12 pm

    Oh, I probably should have signed as ‘Zosia’ – whoops! Anyway, that’s me up there!

  15. SNH permalink
    13 February 2011 2:11 pm

    It’s hilarious how everyone wants their partners to be more romantic because I’M the one who is terrible with romance! I get embarrassed really easily by romantic gestures. When I write cards my message is never more than, “To so and so. From Zosia.”
    When I was at university there was a guy who was always leaving flowers and little presents at my door, and even making his own cards for birthdays and other special occasions. I hated it and felt terrible that all the efforts were wasted on me!

    • 13 February 2011 10:18 pm

      Lol, Zosia, I have an image of that poor man kneeling at your door with his pressies and you on the other side shaking your head in despair…

  16. 13 February 2011 1:08 pm

    Kaetrin, you’re right about the struggle being part of the charm. Chocolates left in the car is the other disaster…

  17. 13 February 2011 12:47 pm

    My husband doesn’t think he’s romantic and he really struggles with what to write in birthday, anniversary, Christmas and Valentine’s Day cards. He always manages to come up with something lovely but it’s the struggle that makes it extra special. Plus, there will be some pretty flowers coming my way tomorrow. (As long as he doesn’t leave them in the car for too long – which he did one anniversary…. but that’s another story!!).

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: