Valentine’s Day may well be the day we celebrate love but it’s probably not one of the best loved days of the year. Let’s face it, buying the same box of chocolates or bunch of flowers every year isn’t our idea of a good time.

If you just haven’t a clue what to buy for the one you love, here are some ideas to get you out of your love rut and earn you a few brownie points – and who knows what else – come the 14th. Even better, you’ll be supporting some great small local businesses. What’s not to love?

1Bon Bon Chocolates

Let’s face it. Chocolate is everyone’s go to Valentines gift and, although your significant other may be partial to the odd Lindt truffle now and again, the artisanal treats at Bon Bon made with the finest ingredients will change the game. It’s the only chocolatier in Manchester to sell handmade chocolates that are produced on the premises. The infused flavour combinations like stilton and caramel or coconut and lemongrass are sure to put a smile on the face of any chocolate lover. The only problem with these chocolates is that they look and taste so good they probably won’t last very long.

9 John St, Manchester M4 1EQ

2Lissom and Muster

This place has modern and aesthetic down to a T. They have plenty of grooming supplies that will give the man in your life more than a few reasons to ditch those Bic disposable razors. If he likes to maintain perfectly trimmed facial hair a la David Beckham, then the Deerskin Manicure Kit might make for the perfect gift. Other gift ideas include bespoke cufflinks, Ajoto pens, and some very snazzy leather goods.

Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard St, Manchester M4 7JB

3Soapy J

Soapy J has gift ideas aplenty. The ever changing range of products will help you get your hands on some unique soapy gifts that can’t be found anywhere else. There’s all kinds of handmade goodness with soaps and bath melts that look good enough to eat. They’re all vegan – but don’t go eating them – and gift wrapped and are sure to amp up anyone’s Sunday night bath session.

Second Floor, Afflecks, 52 Church Street, Manchester M4 1PW

4Oi Polloi

If your true love is a fan of men’s clobber, Oi Polloi may be just the ticket. One of the places to go for dapper young Mancunians, this crisp and exclusive menswear shop stocks classics like Adidas Originals, YMC and Birkenstock, plus lots in between.

63 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1LQ

5House of Bystander

This might be a little out of town in the quirky suburb of Chorltonville, but frankly, if you’re after an independent gift that’ll leave a lasting impression, it’s the place to go. How do you fancy having personalised prints of you and your loved one framed and ready for gifting? Create a one of a kind present with a unique piece of artwork that includes his or her favourite colour, their name, their favourite drink or the place where you first met and sparks flew. Who says romance is dead?

38 Beech Rd, Manchester M21 9EL

6Richard Goodall Gallery

For all your non-mainstream art work, there really is no better place in town. This gallery offers art aplenty by both new and establish artists. If you fancy getting your loved one a slightly more unusual gift, why not check out the limited edition prints, music and movie posters or vintage photography. The shop is infused with a healthy dose of Mancunian and they’ve previously exhibited work by the likes of Ronnie Wood, Leonard Cohen and Anton Corbijn so you can be sure you’ll find something for any art lover.

59 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA

7Flourish Flowers

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like flowers. The two go together like Posh and Becks, but if you want to really amp up your floral gift game, Flourish is there to help. The stall mixes flowers and art to create some of the freshest and most beautiful bouquets that Manchester has to offer. They’re a cut above the rest as they buy from straight from growers all over the world so you can be sure your purchases support locals, too. They’re offering a Valentine’s boutique that includes 12 red roses, cuttings of willow and fresh eucalyptus for £15. I mean, you can’t say fairer than that.

8A Tib St, Manchester M4 1PQ

8Franny and Filer

If you’re on the hunt for a little bling for your bae (are we cool now?), the bespoke jewellery selection at Franny and Filer should do the trick. All of the collections are made in store which allows customers to see the techniques, skills and time spent creating each piece. It also gives you the chance to make the gift personal by requesting custom design services. This way you can be sure that your handmade Valentine’s gift can’t be found anywhere else. So, if you’re in the market for adorable trinkets, bracelets and bespoke necklaces, then this is the place for you.

70 Beech Rd, Manchester M21 9EG

9Piccadilly Records

There’s nothing like a spot of music to get you in the mood for this love-themed day. If your true love is a lover of vinyl then something from this independent record store might just seal the deal. The store carries a melange of different genres from indie, jazz, funk, house and everything in between. If the chocolates and flowers don’t woo your Valentine, there’s a good chance the right tunes will.

53 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR

10Kiku

Lingerie rarely fails as a Valentine’s Day gift and is guaranteed to please all parties involved. If you’re looking for something a little bit different from the raunchy lace and silk selections of Anne Summers, opt for some of the vintage pieces sold at Kiku. They stock brands like What Katie Did and Playful Promises and have plenty of one off pin-up style bras, French knickers and loungewear. Expect endless flirtation inspiration and plenty of sexy one off pieces that would be a brilliant addition to any woman’s wardrobe.

100 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LR

11Neon Creations

If you’re looking for a gift which lasts longer than a box of chocolates or a bunch of roses, Neon Creations have been creating custom neon lights for over 25 years. You’ve probably seen their signs in bars, clubs and restaurants across Manchester like Koffee Pot, Common and PLY. But they aren’t just used for commercial decoration. They make unique gifts, too, and have even been used in marriage proposals over the years. Domestic projects include light-up hearts with the names and initials of your choice – ideal for an unforgettable gift, keepsake and decoration.
www.neoncreations.co.uk

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