Road test – Love is in the window display…

I’m about to say something that might be a little controversial, something that may rub people the wrong way… I hate Valentines Day!

It’s not an aversion to the commercial side of it all, in fact I usually love public holidays for this very (shallow) reason. I embrace and purchase each and every commercial extravagancy associated with them, even my dog has a Santa hat. But there’s something about those chocolate shaped love hearts and long stemmed roses that make me feel a little resentful. It may stem (hah) from my early years at an all girls high school, where every year the most popular girls were inundated with roses, human-sized animals and chocolates. Needless to say I was not one of those outdated classics. Trade the chocolate love hearts and embarrassing balloons for inventive gifts. This year Ciao takes the crass out of Valentines Day gifts with these fresh takes on classic gifts you’ll actually want to receive.


Yes, I admit flowers are lovely. Especially when they get delivered to your place of work where all your single colleagues can ‘enjoy’ them too…So lovely. But if you’re buying the typical bouquet of roses chances are they will be dead in a week, sitting on your kitchen table accumulating fruit flies and sparking fights about whose turn it is to take out the trash.

Instead, opt for a plant. My pick would be a Bonsai or a cactus. Try the Newtown Garden Market for a great selection. Nothing says I love you more than a spiky plant that flourishes in dry and arid habitats.

Newtown Garden Market
538 King Street, Newtown
9516 4044

A love letter

This tradition started as beautifully hand written letters, scrawled across parchments with quill ink pens professing love and admiration…now we pay someone else to do it. Skip the corny roses are red, violets are blue nonsense and check out artist Emily Mcdowell’s Incredibly awkward love cards. With hilarious messages that are perfect for any relationship.

Visit her website here:


Everybody loves chocolate but why not come up with something a little more inventive than a box of Lindts. Try the chocolate game called Instant Regret (pretty much sums up my last Valentine), a Russian roulette style game that replaces the bullets with chillis and the mafiosa with your friends or lovers. The box contains twelve chocolate bullets seated in individual compartments. But one of them contains a surprising hot chilli! The idea is to throw the twelve-sided dice to await the fate that lies for you in the corresponding compartment.  Play it with your loved-one this Valentines Day and make sure to capture their face when they bite the bullet!

You can find it at or make your own!

Naughty toys

Who needs edible underwear this Valentines Day when there is the ‘Orgasmatron’? No, it’s not what it sounds like. This clever and simple device is a head massager that will relax and send shivers down your spine. It’s all in the name really. Pick one up from Octopus Designs on King St.

Octopus Designs,
260 King St
9565 4688