Love is in the air, do you feel it? Valentine’s Day is nearly here – but the question I always hear people asking is “what makes February 14 so special?”

I think it’s because Valentine’s is the one day a year when partners across the globe go all out to show their significant other how much love and devotion they have, now matter how often, or infrequently, they normally do it. In short, it’s our annual reminder to show the one we love that we love them.

Photo: Clyde Robinson

Photo: Clyde Robinson

We often celebrate Valentine’s Day at Waterside Shopping Centre with a survey and this year is no different!

Earlier last week, we spoke with 100 shoppers, half men and half women, asking how their significant other could really make their Valentine’s Day extra special this year. Nearly everyone mentioned something more personal than the standard box of chocolates or bouquet of roses.

Some of you may be saying “there are only a few days left!” – don’t panic! I’ve put together some ideas based on our survey results that will give you a bit of inspiration as you start planning the best way to your lover’s heart.

A Romantic Meal In

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants. This means it can be really difficult booking at the place and time you really want. Instead of making your way into the city centre, why not split dinner duty with your partner by drawing straws so that one of you makes the main meal and the other makes dessert?

Whatever you do, be sure to go all out with fancy plates, napkins and candles to create the perfect romantic ambiance!

Cheat Sheet:
Next’s ‘Home’ section has some fabulous items to make your romantic meal extra special. For under £40, you can pick up heart-shaped placemats, a tablecloth and even artificial flowers.

Pamper Your Partner

Nothing beats feeling like a king or queen, so why not spoil your spouse or partner? A spa day always goes down a treat, but if your budget won’t stretch that far, try thinking about how you can bring the luxury of a spa home with you. One idea is to make a pamper basket filled with bath bombs, bubble bath, herbal tea, lotions and oils, candles, a relaxing CD, a fresh white towel and maybe even a new robe or slippers. You could even go a bit further by spending some time researching massage techniques so you can really surprise them.

Cheat Sheet:
The Body Shop has loads of skincare and pamper products that come in a huge range of different scents for her – we love the Spa Of The World™ Tahitian Orchid Massage Oil. And for your guy, there’s a Hemp Head-To-Toe Body Care Set.

You can also pick-up a bath bomb and bubble bath for under £7 at Superdrug and some candles from New Look for £3 to create a relaxing bath experience. To top it off, Office has some comfy UGG slippers for your partner’s precious feet.

A Special Token Of Love

Nothing says love like a beautiful piece of jewellery to be treasured and worn for years to come – but before you rush out to the nearest shop to buy the shiniest piece within your budget, take a step back and think about your partner’s personal style. Is she an earring kind of girl or more likely to wear a bracelet? Will he ever actually wear that necklace or would a watch be better? Do they prefer the colour of silver or gold? Give these things a bit of thought and they’ll be sure to love your gift.

Cheat Sheet:
Guys: sneak off to Goldsmiths next time you’re in the city centre to take advantage of their 50% off sale (only on selected pieces). Or if you’re on a budget and looking for something a bit more fun, Claire’s has some cute and funky earrings for under £5.

For him, Lincoln Watch Clinic, Saltergate, has a magnificent Storm Men’s Dualon Brown Watch for £179.99.

Treat Them To The Scent Of Love

Who doesn’t love smelling beautiful? If your man or woman has a favourite fragrance, it might be worth having a look to see if they’re running low and are in need of a new bottle. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, spend some time in town testing some new scents in search of one that truly reflects the love of your life.

Cheat Sheet:
The Fragrance Shop currently has up to 50% off selected his and hers fragrances until Valentine’s Day. If you’re not sure where to start, pop in and speak with the team, who will be happy to help you find the perfect gift in your price range.

A Sexy Surprise

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a little spice, so why not cap your day of love and pampering off with one final treat? Whether it’s steaming things up with a cute little lingerie number or some other kind of cheeky surprise, a bit of extra TLC could go a long way in ending Valentine’s Day in the most memorable and fun way!

Cheat Sheet:
Next’s Red Cara Lace Push Up Plunge Bra could make for the perfect sexy surprise for your partner. And guys, Next also has a range of pants in all sorts of styles – from boxers to briefs. Why not surprise your valentine with a style they’re not used to seeing you in?

More importantly than anything else, Valentine’s Day is a chance to not only tell the special man or woman in your life that you love them, but to show them that love through action – from buying a thoughtful gift or making dinner to pampering and spoiling them rotten.

If you need a bit more inspiration to make this year’s big day a bit more special, stop in at the Waterside and have a chat with the staff working for any of our retailers – they are all always ready and willing to help!

Chantelle Henderson is a retail expert at the Waterside Shopping Centre in Lincoln.

Father’s Day: the perfect opportunity to show the superheroes in your life how much they truly mean to you. But like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day is one of those days that seem to sneak up and suddenly appear out of nowhere, catching many people unexpectedly and sending them on a mad dash to find the perfect gift.

A lot of people say that men are quite difficult to buy for, but we recently surveyed nearly 100 fathers in the centre who nearly all agreed that they’re not bothered about the price or type of gift they receive, and that it’s the thought that counts.

Every year, sons and daughters of all ages visit the centre, struggling to find the perfect gift for the dads in their life, so we thought we’d help by offering some advice for those still in need of a token of gratitude for Father’s Day.

Get them up-to-speed with technology

Most men love techy gifts they can play with when they have a bit of downtime at home or at work, especially if it’s a functional item that adds something to their everyday life. Why not look into a new phone, music player, camera, or, better yet, a gadget that can help him keep fit and healthy?

Waterside Shopping Cheat Sheet: 

  • Urbanears Plattan Headphones, £45 – Available from Stormfront
  • Sphero 2.O Robotic Ball, £99.95 – Available from Stormfront
  • Fit Bit Flex, £69.99 – Available from Stormfront

Treat him to something he might not treat himself to

Some dads are notorious for never updating their wardrobe, despite being in drastic need of new clothes. One idea this Father’s Day could be to find out his shirt and trouser sizes and treat him to a new outfit. Whether it’s jeans, t-shirts, sweaters or shorts – he’ll most definitely appreciate and wear whatever you get him for years to come!

Waterside Shopping Cheat Sheet:

  • Polo shirt, £14.99 – Available from New Look
  • Chino Shorts, £15 – Available from Next
  • Natural Linen, slim fit trousers, £24.99 – Available from H&M

Make a day of it

Why not dedicate a full day to spending time with your dad by taking him on a quest for new clothes, along with lunch? With the sun starting to peek out from the clouds more often, there are also plenty of events to enjoy throughout Lincoln, too – especially if he’s a history buff!

Waterside Shopping Cheat Sheet:

Take him for a walk around Lincoln as part of the Lincoln Charter Barons Trail featuring 25 masterfully-designed baron sculptures stationed around Lincoln through September. The trail will give you and your dad a chance to follow the trail of King John’s Barons through the city, while discovering their role in Magna Carta and collecting clues to exchange for a prize of chocolate gold coins.

Make him laugh

When in doubt, make him chuckle! Dads and granddads always appreciate a bit of subtle or not-so-subtle humour – so funny ties, superhero-themed clothing and other cheeky gag gifts are the perfect option if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift!

Waterside Shopping Cheat Sheet:

  • Five pack Superman Handkerchiefs, £15 – Available from Next
  • Marvel T-shirt, £22 – Available from Next
  • Hawaiian shirt, £14.99 – Available from H&M

Spruce him up

If your dad’s not one to splurge on himself, try treating him to a new blazer, fragrance or piece of jewellery. He may not use this type of gift all the time, but when a special occasion does come up, like a wedding, anniversary, reunion or meal out with mum, he’ll be ready and will have you to thank!

Waterside Shopping Cheat Sheet:

  • Blue Oxford Blazer, £54.99 – Available from New Look
  • Paco Rabanne Invictus Eau De Toilette 100ml Gift Set, £58 – Available from The Fragrance Shop
  • Maca Root Shave Cream, £8 – Available from The Body Shop

More important than anything else is to remember that Father’s Day is a chance to show the dads in your life how much you appreciate them and all that they do, so be sure to make them feel wonderful on their day by giving an unforgettable gift certain to make them grin. Struggling for ideas? Pop into Waterside and have a chat with the staff working for any of our retailers – they’re always keen to help!

Chantelle Henderson is a retail expert at the Waterside Shopping Centre in Lincoln.

Mother’s Day is the one day of the year that is specially dedicated to celebrating all of the wonderful things our mums have done for us over the years, and it’s our annual reminder to express our love and appreciation by saying “thank you”.

However, following a survey we conducted in the shopping centre, nowadays it’s just not good enough to give a box of chocolates and a card. These types of gifts can be interpreted, often rightfully so, as last-minute buys that have been bought ‘just because you had to’.

We asked 200 mothers who were shopping in the Waterside “what makes the perfect Mother’s Day gift?” and over 80% suggested a gift with more thought behind it, such as jewellery or a pamper session, would be preferred in comparison to the generic box of chocolates.

This is because most said it showed that time and effort had been spent thinking about what they would like and appreciate.

As Mother’s Day fast approaches, it’s understandable if panic may be beginning to set in because there isn’t much time left to plan a thoughtful and memorable gift.

To help, I’ve compiled a couple of ideas that, judging from our research, are sure to make your mum smile this Mother’s Day.

Cook her dinner

How many times have you come home to a lovely hot dinner prepared by your mum? Why not surprise her by cooking her favourite meal? Not only will she appreciate the effort you’ve put in, but she’ll also love that you’ve thought about what she likes to eat!

Cheat Sheet:
Head to Next to decorate the dining room with fancy tableware to really make it really special. You can pick up a stylish dinner set from £30, tablecloths from £16 and artificial flowers from £10.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Give her the night off

Our mums work hard to make us happy, so treat her to a pamper basket complete with bubble bath, candles and her favourite beauty products so she can truly relax and recharge.

Cheat Sheet:
The Body Shop has an array of pampering skincare products in a whole range of different scents – we love the Moringa collection. Stop by Next to pick up beautiful smelling candles like sweet jasmine from just £3.50 and finally treat her to some new comfy loungewear like a new cosy dressing gown from H&M.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Take her for a day out

Why not dedicate a full day to spending time with your mum? One fun option could be to treat her to lunch and a shopping spree – especially with there being loads of great items in stores right now.

Cheat Sheet:
Bring your mum along to our ‘To Fit or Not To Fit’ event on March 14 at the Waterside for a chance for both of you to win a free pair of shoes and to take advantage of the Mother’s Day sales that some of our retailers have on.

The Waterside Shopping Centre has now completed its £9 million redevelopment.

The Waterside Shopping Centre has now completed its £9 million redevelopment.

Find a gift she’ll love

If you’re short on time or don’t live close to your mum, think about buying a present that you know she will like. For example, treat her to her favourite designer fragrance or a piece of jewellery that reflects her style and taste.

Cheat Sheet:
The Fragrance Shop currently has up to 50% off selected perfumes until  March 15, or speak to the team at Goldsmiths who will be happy to find you the perfect gift in your price range.

Above all, Mother’s Day is a chance to really show your mum how much you care, so take the time to think about what will really make her smile. If you need a bit more inspiration, stop in at the Waterside and have a chat with the staff working for any of our retailers who are always ready and willing to help.

Chantelle Henderson is a retail expert at the Waterside Shopping Centre in Lincoln.

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