SPHERE's Guide to a Valentine's Night In

Words by
Sphere Editors

8th February 2024

SPHERE's guide to a Valentine's night in brings you a pocket-sized selection of easy-wins and recent recommendations for this February 14th. Whether devouring two Michelin-starred meals at your own dining table, losing yourself in a new novel fresh off the shelf or binging an unseen rom-com with a French martini in hand. 

Best for Kitchen Cocktails

Guide Valentine Night In - MOTH drinks
MOTH Valentines Gift Bundle, £20

For those lacking the confidence to hone their mixology flair, shaker and muddler in hand, this Valentine’s Day. Maybe stick to the canned cocktails. Only leaving you with the adding of a lime wedge or salt-rimming of a martini glass, MOTH are delivering love in the form of bubbles and booze with their Valentine’s Gift Bundle. Including six cocktail cans: two Margaritas, two Espresso Martinis, a French 75 and a Pina Colada. For the Palentines movie marathon or for a date night looking to escape the bustle of a bar.

You are correct, the idea of a cocktail in a can surely raises questions regarding quality. With MOTH we are happy to announce that they are far from your ordinary tinnies - ensuring the same alcoholic strength of a drink from behind a bar. Partnering with renowned spirit distillers, from the award-winning Tequila Enemigo to botanically rich Cornish gin from Tarquin’s. A seriously impressive cocktail classic is on the cards every time, without fail. All you need is a good set of clean glasses, a steady pouring hand and the ability to say cheers.

Order the MOTH Valentines Gift Bundle, £20, here

For those alternatively wanting to dress up and head to a secluded spot in the city this Valentine's, check out our recent article on 10 Most Romantic Bars in London this Winter.

Best for a DIY Dinner

Teaming up with a two Michelin-starred chef right in your own kitchen has never been easier with Made in Oldstead. The process is started up in Yorkshire. Packing all the ingredients for your freshly-sourced menu in a neat little package before sending it right to you, cooking instructions included of course. Made in Oldstead offer a range of dine-at-home experiences, whether you’re hosting a Valentines dinner with all your pals or (trying to) cook a classical candlelit dinner for two. Their six-course Valentine’s menu is led by a salt-aged beef wellington, where you only have to brush with a touch of egg yolk and pop in the oven. Finished with a delectable salted caramel cremeux to dig your spoon into. You'll be glad to know that all the tough bits are done by the pros, leaving all the fun of attempting quenelles and aesthetically drizzling jus across the plate to you.

Delve into all of Made in Oldstead’s current At-Home Dining Experiences here, including their Six-Course Beef Valentine’s Menu here. Available for nationwide delivery. 

Best for a Solo Valentines

If you have the luxury of spending Valentine’s night in on your own, writes Lisa Barnard, what better than to curl up with a tour de force in rom-com fiction? Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest novel “Romantic Comedy” lives up to its title. It’s a deliciously witty and touching page-turner; unlike a random date from an app, I guarantee that once you start it, you won’t want it to end. The book might also have been “When Noah Met Sally” or more apt “When Sally Met Noah”, since the novel unfolds largely through Sally’s unforgiving eyes.

Sally is a sketch writer on a weekly live comedy show “The Night Owls” (T.N.O.), unapologetically based on the US iconic TV sketch comedy “Saturday Night Live”.  Sally is a funny, acerbic divorcee in her 30s, well-versed in the school of cynicism, richly endowed in the talent department and poor in the  self-esteem one. It did not escape her notice that her male colleague and friend Danny, ‘blessed’ with mediocre looks and a short physique, has managed to start dating a hot, rich celebrity actress.

Guide Valentine Night In - Romantic Comedy
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (Penguin)

Sally pens a sketch ‘The Danny Horst Rule’: men from T.N.O. are able to date women way above their station in looks and status, but the reverse is not true for the women who work on the show. Enter Noah Brewster centre stage, venerable pop star and heart-throb , who is the celebrity host on the show that week. Despite Sally’s best intentions, the Danny Horst Rule is challenged.  An electrifying attraction sparks between Sally and Noah and the novel continues in a gripping rollercoaster of “Will they, Won’t they?”.

Even when the characters are banished to the isolation of COVID lock-down, the novel manages to keep its fast pace. What’s so clever about Sittenfeld is that she plunges the reader into the nitty gritty, behind-the-scenes details of her chosen area, imagined, embellished, utterly convincing and engrossing as it’s based on near-reality, embroidered to make it enthralling. I was so fascinated by the inner workings of  T.N.O., I started watching Saturday Night Life, having never watched it before, to keep the book living on and even consulted an American friend on which episodes to watch.

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld is available to purchase from Waterstones here

Best for the Binge Watch

Guide Valentine Night In - Smothered
Smothered, available on Now TV and Sky

For some, Valentine’s Day encourages you to come together and embark on a mission to binge the gushiest television you can find. Because, let’s be honest, its comforting. Whether that be running back to watch Hugh Grant desperately pursue a chic Julia Roberts on Portobello Road (for the hundredth time) or a group of old friends gathering on the sofa to share in the timeless struggles of Bridget Jones and her accidentally blue soup. Some things never get old. However, for those wanting a fresh and funny romantic watch this Valentine’s Day – we present Smothered.

The Sky Original series brings a unique approach to the hoarded genre. Following the story of Sammy (Danielle Vitalis) and Tom (Jon Pointing) who naturally happen upon one another in a bar. Striking the beginning of an agreed ‘no-questions asked’ and ‘time-limited’ fling. They then, of course, begin to fall in love. Yet, this unfurls as Sammy simultaneously discovers that Tom is a single parent to his daughter, Ellie. Inspired by producer Emma Lawson’s personal experiences with step-parenting, it drops the drama of a child in the middle of what would otherwise seem a relatively predictable romantic comedy.

Available to stream via Now TV and Sky. 

Head back to check out our Valentine's Gift Guides from last February:

Most Luxurious Valentine's Gifts for Her 2023 

Most Luxurious Valentine's Gifts for Him 2023