In 2023, we are all about putting our own needs first. Looking after ourselves often gets pushed to the bottom of our priority lists, so why not use Valentine’s day to get back on top of self care? Whether you’re single or not this Valentine’s day, all of these brands and products could help you take a moment for yourself.
Sage Flowers, from £25
Sage Flowers, located in Peckham, South London, is run by Iona and Romy, who are advocates for young female entrepreneurship, diversifying and decolonising floristry and sustainability. The two have been working with clients since 2018 to create original and exciting floral arrangements.
They offer a weekly bouquet delivery service, nationwide. All flowers are hand delivered straight from their studio and are always fresh, seasonal, and where possible, British. GAY TIMES absolutely loves Sage’s unique arrangements and love the ethos behind the brand. If you want to treat yourself to something classic with a bit of a difference this Valentine’s, we recommend their Lovers’ Rock arrangement.
Jecca Blac Red Touch Play Pot, £16.50
If you fancy treating yourself to something versatile this Valentine’s day, Jecca Blac’s Play Pots are for you. These cream pigments can be used on the eyes, lips and cheeks. Red Touch is a satin-finish red, perfect for giving you a bold lip, a warm flush to the cheeks, or a daring eye.
Jecca Blac’s mission is to have something for all beauty lovers, regardless of expression, gender, sexuality, ability, pronouns, shapes and sizes – which is exactly what we look for in a brand here at GAY TIMES.
MALIN+GOETZ Dark Rum perfume, from £82
MALIN+GOETZ combines trusted natural ingredients with advanced technology to create uncomplicated luxury skincare and fragrance for the modern, design-conscious individual. To everyone at MALIN+GOETZ, skin is skin. The brand is for all genders, skin types and tones. Leading with humanity and empathy, it drives positive, long-term sustainable impact within its communities. It has also partnered with the Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for young LGBTQ+ people.
For a bit more of a luxurious gift to yourself, MALIN+GOETZ Dark Rum eau de parfum is the perfect genderless scent. Both deliciously warm and fresh, this scent captures the essence of long days spent in the sun and late nights with your chosen family. With just a spritz, Dark Rum leaves a deep longing for all those places you’ve been – as well as those you’ve yet to visit.
Xula Calm + Clarity herbal blend, $68 (£57)
Calling all uterus-havers: Xula may just save your life on your next menstrual cycle. Developed with the guidance of expert herbalists and doctors, its herbal formulas provide comprehensive, full-body womb and cycle support by promoting easeful periods, PMS, Menopause hormonal balance, and overall wellness.
Be chill, focused and thriving this Valentine’s Day. Treat yourself to your new favourite clean yet clinical approach to managing daily distractions with organically-grown botanicals that target parasympathetic systems that are the source of feelings of anxiety. Get ready to stay on top of your game while maintaining a cool and calm interior.
TOAD Bakery, order cakes and pastries from £10
With an ever-changing menu, TOAD strives to use seasonal fresh ingredients as much as possible. However, you’ll always find a few classics on the counter, including croissants, chocolatines, cinnamon buns and sweet and savoury danishes. Their bread is all sourdough, long-fermented and made with UK-grown, sustainably-farmed grain.
You can either order ahead of time via its website, or just go straight in to pick out some sweet and/or savoury treats from the South London-based bakery, which is located on Camberwell High Street. Maybe a pastry is more your style than a box of chocolates.
Boy Smells candles, from $33 (£28)
There’s nothing more relaxing than lighting a scented candle and taking a long, hot bath. How about furnishing your bath-side with a luxe candle this Valentine’s? Boy Smells will elevate bathtime, packaged in pink and conceived beyond the gender binary. From routines to rituals, Boy Smells renews the personal care routine by creating rituals from the otherwise mundane experience. These are moments that can be experienced by all.
Boy Smells began as an experiment in candle-making in the Los Angeles kitchen of co-founders and partners Matthew Herman and David Kien. Founder-invented scents like Cinderose, a union of rose and smoke, and Gardener, a compilation of tomato vine and honeysuckle, wrap traditionally masculine scents in a prettier bouquet.
Soel + Gold Valentine’s collection, from £10
Seol originates from the Anglo-Saxon word for silver, Seolfor, originally used for sterling coins and, well, gold needs no introduction, but both bring double-tap worthy goods that won’t break the bank, with Seol + Gold’s more is more mantra. Seol + Gold caters for all vibes, from delicate 9ct gold flourishes to richly plated statement jewellery for layering.
Its Valentine’s collection offers statement signet rings, textured stacking chains and heart shaped pendants. With all of the items being gender neutral, the ring sizes ranging from E to Y and chain lengths 14-16” to 22-24”, there is something for everyone. Give the classic gift of jewellery to your most beloved (yourself) this year.
Carmen Liu lingerie Devotion satin tucking thong, £26 and satin bra, £33
Carmen Liu is a brand created with the LGBTQ+ community at heart and by a proud trans designer and Forbes-listed business entrepreneur. The lingerie brand is the UK’s first ever to design flattening and tucking underwear. Carmen Liu is here to support your individual journey in gender expression and to push social binaries of femininity to higher bounds.
Wearing underwear should not be a dreaded experience. Look stunning just for your own eyes this Valentine’s day with a gorgeous satin set. Providing luxurious, specifically designed products with your needs at the forefront, all products offer complete efficiency, keeping everything in place and secure, whilst highlighting your individual, flawless features.
Bellesa Boutique Air Vibe, £89 and Halo, £84
Single this Valentine’s? Fear not, Bellesa Boutique has the answer to all your needs. There is no doubt that Bellesa will have something for you, having an entire section dedicated to LGBTQ+ bodies, because sex toys know no gender and can be enjoyed by any body.
Everyone over at Bellesa Boutique believes that pleasure is our birthright, regardless of who we are inside and out, who we love, or how we experience our bliss. The woman-owned brand was founded to help people everywhere feel empowered by their sexuality by creating a community where pleasure is not only normalised, but truly celebrated. The brand is breaking the framework for what sexuality on the internet should look like, you decide how you want to embrace your own sexuality, on your own terms.
Gay’s The Word books, from £5
Gay’s The Word is the UK’s oldest LGBT bookshop and a touchstone for the broader LGBTQ+ community. The bookshop was set up in January 1979 by a group of gay socialists as a community space where all profits were funnelled back into the business. This ethos continues today with shelves bursting with literature and the space used for book and community events.
Treat yourself to a new book, whether it’s a romance novel like Tell Me Everything by Laura Kay, an intellectual piece of nonfiction, maybe Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez, or a beautiful collection of poems like 100 Queer Poems edited by Mary Jean Chan and Andrew McMillan. Nothing says ‘self love’ like taking some time for yourself with a book and a hot cup of tea.