Find out if you know your partner well, as we set the mood for a well-planned candlelight dinner and open the world of apps that are designed to permeate your life with myriad hues and shades of love
Candles and Dinners
Candlelight dinner is a perfect foil for a romantic interlude this Valentine
Brand it trite or plain obvious, but there is something about a candlelight dinner that has an element of romance pegged on it. Whether that idea was spawned by chic flicks or by romantic novels that celebrate love with food spread on a table lit with the warm glow of candles, you cannot shake away the essence of romance that that image evokes.
But it is not simply only about arranging candles around the table. For an ambience that spells romance, whether it is an exclusive dinner with your partner or one with close friends/family, requires perfection that helps the evening to unfold with delicate moves.
Here is a quick guideline to get creative while setting the table:
Candles are, obviously, the most important feature of your proposed dinner plan. You could bring out the classic ornate stands passed on by your grandparents, opt for simple ones or even convert your beverage glasses into special candleholders. White or cream colours will easily blend with the décor of the room, but it is best to avoid scented candles or go for subtler aromas. If you have guests coming over, place individual tea lights, in the holder you have chosen, at each place setting. Your objective while placing or assessing the number of candles to use should be in creating the right ambience with the candle glow. You could complement the candles with dimmed out lights or only go for candlelight by placing enough in all the right places.
Give candles the company of fresh flowers to make your evening just right. With red roses symbolising all things love, it is best to pick a few stems from the neighbourhood supermarket, which is sure to stock up for the season of love. Place the vase where it can easily soak up the glow of the candle light; find a vase that complements your dinner set. Spreading a few petals around the candle stand could add to your décor element.
Ensure perfection by bringing out your fine dinnerware. A formal touch to the evening’s proceedings is a must to get it off on a right footing. Go all the way by arranging the cutlery around the tablemats in a way that is reminiscent of a fine dining outlet. Do not fret over cleaning or the effort involved in hauling your set out from its hibernation. It is for occasions like these that you picked it in the first place.
After all is said and done there is nothing better than music to hoist your evening up and sway you with its power. Select some romantic numbers and keep the volume low to make it seem like a natural backdrop for your evening. It would help to make a playlist of your (and your partner’s) favourite songs to keep the evening on a romantic tone. And while on music, it would do you and your partner a whole lot of good to either switch off your mobile phones or set the ringer tone to low.
Alright, it is only a dinner at home, but does that give you an excuse to sit down for your Valentine dinner in your house wear? Don’t let the venue take away your reason to dress up for the occasion. Dress up as if you are going out for a dinner at one of the fine dining outlets in the city. Add a dash of red in your ensemble to complement the day of love, or wear something that your partner likes. And, if your partner is up for a good time, go on, have a dress code for the evening.
Food may be the last thing on your mind on such a romantic day, but starters and appetisers are the key to any party, even a twosome dinner. If you don’t want to stress it out in the kitchen, order from your favourite restaurant or follow our recipe guide to put together a few interesting dishes that are apt for the day. For the main, stick to a simple menu with food cooked ahead or picked from the shop. Do not forget dessert, as it adds a semblance of perfection to any meal.
Love in the world of Apps
Give your love a tech boost with apps that are designed to get your relationship on the right footing
In the world of virtual romance, dating apps and online sites are becoming important, with many users finding their match and even consummating it with marriage. Here is a quick roundup of some interesting apps to inject your life with a neat dose of love.
‘Couple’ is a relationship app or the ‘app for two’, which helps you connect with your loved one through a private timeline. The app helps you share photos, plans, ideas and the like…it also allows you to find restaurants in the neighbourhood and even create a to-do list together.
‘Love Maps’ helps you to track whatever you may know about your partner’s inner world and experiences – from day to day events to the major hopes and dreams. The app is designed around the premise that the more you know about what’s important to your partner, the more likely your relationship will work.
On the lines of ‘Couple’ is the ‘Avocado’ app, which can set you up with your partner to send text messages, share photographs and anything that is important to the two of you. It has a built-in calendar for reminders of important dates and can offer virtual hugs if you are in a long distance relationship.
This paid app ($59 per month!) is designed to give you an insight into your own personality and help you find your right match. Based on your responses to an extensive questionnaire, the app will present potential matches that you can check out using secure messaging.
This is an iOS app, which offers daily questions for couples, focusing on their life. Partners can also share photos and posts on their private virtual walls.
Romeo To Go
‘Romeo To Go’, featuring tips for people who get nervous on dates and guidelines on conversation starters, is for those who need a little help in the romance department. What is more, it will also ping a romantic idea every day and suggest gifts for important occasions.
Based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, the Happy Habits app, an exclusive personal app, contains tools to create the conditions for happiness in your life. The toolkit includes a test to assess your happiness, audio guides for relaxing and creating happiness, a journal for affirmations, a ‘Happy To Do’ list, and graphs to keep track of your happiness levels.
‘Happy Now’ is another happiness app that will help you assess what it is that makes you happy, by correlating your mood, health, energy and overall vibe with the things you do. The app will track your feelings with your actions and, having recognised your patterns, will send affirmations and suggestions to get your happiness quota.
As the app name suggests, it is all about cherishing your love life by documenting the important dates and events. Whether it is your date nights, your to-do list, or secret desires, you can keep a track of all things that define your love life, which you can share with your partner.
This one is a video messaging app for couples that love to share things that they see and experience everyday. It could be a funny joke or something that you saw on your way to work; the app will help you strengthen your connection with each other.
Send with Love
Busy, but want to text your love? ‘Send with Love’ will allow you to store a host of text responses to send to your partner at any given time of the day. It includes texts like ‘I love you’ and the like to make things easier for you.
‘Love SMS is for all those poetically inclined. The app is a storehouse of love quotes, poems and stories that you could send to your partner.
Give your mood a perfect boost using ‘Mood Kit’, which will help you discover unhealthy thought patterns and behaviours and encourage you to give them up or at least shift them. It contains 200-plus mood enhancement activities with guides to identify and change stress-inducing thoughts and mood charts to keep track of your emotions.
Love will flow naturally when you are at peace with yourself. To achieve that peace, ‘Inner Balance’ uses a sensor to measures heart rate and changes in the rhythm of your heart when you are stressed. It also shows how your heart patterns change when you are calm, happy, grateful and relaxed and helps you use that information to learn more about your physical response to stress so you can spend more time experiencing happiness.