By: Anthia Chng
Year after year, us ladies tend to get spoiled on Valentine’s Day – whether we’re treated to romantic dinners, lingerie or sparkly jewellery – but what about our chaps? While they’re probably not into February 14th enough to spend a bomb on their presents, there are heaps of cool, cute things you can lay on to make those lads feel appreciated. Read on for 13 fun, affordable and easy ways to get a little romance on here in Singapore.
Balloon avalanche surprise
As the name suggests, you’ll need around 20-30 balloons for this easy surprise. Secure them against the door with tape – and for extra brownie points, you could write or doodle cute messages on each balloon. The surprise comes when the door is opened from the other side and the balloons fall onto the ground, creating an ‘avalanche’ of bouncy fun.
Have joint portraits drawn
Portraits After Dark, a monthly event held on Fridays, features artists from the Organisation of Illustrators Council (OIC) gathering at the Red Dot Museum to draw portraits. Bring along your date to get couple portraits done – you get to choose your favourites and bring them home at $10 per piece. Register as a poser for free or bring out the budding artist in you and your partner by signing up as illustrators for a fee of $10 each.
Breakfast in bed
Everybody loves being woken up to the mouth-watering smell of a delicious, home-made breakfast making its way into the bedroom. And on Valentine’s day, it’s only appropriate to give your culinary creations a lil’ lovey-dovey flair. We recommend making the Egg in a Heart or some Lace Heart Pancakes. Best of all, these recipes take up less than 20 minutes to whip up.
Go prawn fishing
Prawn fishing, otherwise known as “prawning”, has gained plenty of popularity among Singaporeans over the years. With prices ranging from $12-$18 per hour, this pastime is pretty affordable considering you are provided with all the necessary equipment (fishing rod and bait). Make sure conversation is flowing, because there can be a wait between bites. After you’ve caught a decent haul, you could even have a mini barbecue at the prawning grounds itself.
Easy chocolate truffles
Chocolate has long been believed to be an aphrodisiac, but whether that’s true or total baloney, one thing’s for certain – they’re downright yummy. Spoil your better half with chocolates spiked with love (and alcohol) by making these handmade dark chocolate liqueur truffles. Not only is this perfect as a customised gift, you could also opt to team up with your loved one in the kitchen and enjoy the fruits of your labour together.
Picnic and kites at Marina Barrage
Who says Valentine’s Day is all about fancy restaurants? Surprise your sweetie with a proper picnic at the Green Roof of Marina Barrage in the late afternoon when it isn’t too hot. Apart from fresh air and a clear view of the sunset, this scenic spot is also great for flying kites. Pack some classy nibbles, drinks and a picnic mat, and you’re ready for a relaxing Valentine’s Day outing.
Soak up free music at the Esplanade
You won’t have to fork out a single cent to chill out at The Esplanade’s laidback Outdoor Theatre, which regularly plays host to live music gigs spanning all kinds of genres - from jazz to pop rock. Among its current schedule of acts, we recommend local singer-songwriter Inch Chua on 30 January and dream pop duo Ferry & Cherie Ko on 11 and 12 February. If you’re looking for some visual art, stop by the Jendela (Visual Arts Space) at Level 2 – its current exhibition, These Sacred Things, is a cool collection of local works.
Cycle around Pulau Ubin
For a fun-filled outdoor date, make a trip to the rustic island of Pulau Ubin to the north-east of Singapore. A mere 10-minute boat ride (only $2.50 for a one-way trip) from Changi Point Ferry Terminal, the small island is a great getaway for those seeking a short break from city life. Apart from joining a guided tour or cycling around Pulau Ubin, if time permits, check out the unique Chek Jawa – natural wetlands packed with birds and marine life. Oh and look out for boars!
Explore the Southern Islands
If you and your date have been to Ubin before, an alternative is to have a day trip to the Southern Islands of Singapore, namely St John’s Island, Lazarus Island and Kusu Island. Formerly known as a quarantine station for cholera patients in the late 19th century, St John’s Island is a quiet and scenic hideout, perfect for picnics and lazing around. For a seaside rendezvous, head to Lazarus Island, arguably the best beach across Singapore’s 63 islands. Beautiful beaches and lovely company should make for a decent day out.
Great for creative couples, Arteastiq‘s art jam sessions combines therapeutic painting with plenty of drinks. At $48 per person, you get a fun evening (you can even paint him, if you like!), plus you can present your masterpieces to one another as a gift at the end. You know, if you managed to capture his face at a handsome angle…
Romantic movie basket for staying in
If you’re both homebodies, or simply feeling reluctant to leave the comfort of your sofa, make the most of a night in with a movie basket consisting of items needed for a perfect date night indoors—a romance film, a blanket, snacks and wine. To make the gift even more special, include a box of the homemade truffles in the basket for a more personal touch.
Quirky, handy gifts
If in doubt, show your darling how thoughtful you are with a practical, yet fun gift this Valentine’s. There are plenty of cool online shops and quirky brands to choose from, such as HipVan, which is packed with stylish accessories. Or how about Keepcup, which has a cute range of colourful, customisable cups. (Psst…! Pay for your pressies with PayPal between 1-14 February and enjoy 10% off selected items by keying in PAYPAL10).
Visit a museum
If you love being surrounded by culture and the arts, this one’s for you. Besides being a refreshing change from regular date nights, museum-hopping is also an inexpensive (and sometimes free) way to spend some quality time with loved ones. Check out the immersive exhibition, SINGAPURA: 700 Years, at the National Museum of Singapore, where admission for Singaporeans and PRs is free. The Asian Civilisations Museum is also free for all visitors.