Do it yourself - with love

Do it yourself - with love

Make something unique for your Valentine

Make a meal of it

Instead of taking your Valentine out for a meal, why not cook for them? You could invite them to your house, or - if your mum is likely to bring out the baby photos to embarrass you in front of your boy or girlfriend - take a packed lunch to school.

You don't have to be a kitchen genius. Nor does the food you make have to be fancy. Just by making an effort, and preparing something tasty that you know they love, you'll show how much you care.

Decorate their locker

If you have open shelves or pigeon holes at school, rather than lockers, fill your crush's spot with things that show how you feel. Think of homemade gifts, such as cards, fortune cookies with cute messages, heart-shaped biscuits and collages.

If you have lockers, decorate your intended's door instead - maybe slip the photoshopped image of you both in a heart into the locker, though, to avoid too much teasing.

Make a mix tape - well, USB stick

Instead of buying or downloading an album, take the time to fill a USB stick with a mix of your Valentine's favourite tunes, and some love songs to tell them exactly how you feel. People used to do this - but with cassette tapes - all the time in the 80s, and it's still a great gift.

Some not-too-sickly suggestions:
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
Better Together - Jack Johnson
Lean On Me - Bill Withers
Love Story - Taylor Swift
You're the One That I Want - Grease soundtrack
One - U2
No One - Alicia Keys
How You Remind Me - Nickelback
The Reason - Hoobastank
Crazy In Love - Beyonce
Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles
Praise You - Fat Boy Slim
Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars

Cup (cakes) of love

Make your Valentine some sweet treats. Cupcakes are great because you can ice them with personal messages. What's more, it's hard to find someone who doesn't love the perfectly sized, sugary snacks.

Cover vanilla cupcakes with red icing, or add a drop of food colouring to the cake mix and add white icing. If you don't have an oven, buy plain cakes and decorate them at home.

Ingredients

110g butter, softened at room temperature
110g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g self-raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk

For the icing:
140g butter, softened
280g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
Also: a few drops food colouring

Instructions

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

2 Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the vanilla extract. Add food colouring now if using in cakes.

3 Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon into the paper cases until they are half full.

4 Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

5 For the icing, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add food colouring now if using in icing.

6 Then add the remaining icing sugar with one tablespoon of milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes as desired.

Put together a picture book

If you've been dating your Valentine for a while, fill a small album with photos of you both. It's a great way to put your shared memories in one place. If you put them in chronological order, the book will be even more like the story of your relationship.

Grow your love

Make a Valentine's Day card that, if all goes well, will show how your feelings develop well after February 14.

1 Tear up some scrap paper, put in a blender, and just cover with water. Blend. Pour into a bowl, add some flower or herb seeds and mix gently.

2 Put a towel into a colander, and strain the wet paper. Lay the towel flat, flatten the mush into a rectangle, lay another towel on top and dry with a hairdryer or next to the dehumidifier overnight.

3 When dry, cut out flower or heart shapes and glue to a card. The shape can be planted, and will grow into beautiful plants.

Additional reporting by Karly Cox

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