Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.‘, said Oscar Wilde, by no means a stranger to the affairs of the heart.

For some, love remains a meaningless, over-hyped four-letter word – the forever muse of songwriters and novelists alike – whilst for others, it presents itself as a dealer of legal drugs, a reliable and steady source of their favourite neurochemicals – dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin – providing them with the warmest of feelings such as belonging, protection, and being in this world with a higher purpose than merely looking at one’s navel. I, for one, am a self-confessed member of the latter group.
Oxytocin, in particular – produced during physical contact such as kissing, cuddling, orgasm and, especially, childbirth – is scientifically proven to improve one’s opinion of ones soulmate’s physical appearance and therefore ward off any other potential mates, being indeed a very noble component of our chemistry, which works wonders on how said lover perceives us, but apparently has no effect whatsoever on other people. For all others, there is something commonly known as makeup.

Tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, a tribute to Saint Valentine of Rome – a poor soul, imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry – it’s the date when lovers profess their most romantic gestures, London’s restaurants are nearly impossible to book, and one has definitely to look the part.

Here’s how to do it with ease.

happy valentine's day

The Outfit

Being all about seduction, this is indeed the time to bring out the big guns whilst looking ladylike and proper, something so easily achieved by the likes of beauties such as Charlotte Rampling (seen below) and Catherine Deneuve and, I find, is what – alongside unique yet strikingly alluring features – sets women apart in the beauty department (it’s all too easy to look either vulgar or bland, but oh so very rare and enticing to be unexpected, undefinable, and all woman).


The Makeup

Keeping in mind the above muse, one’s goal is to be classic and somewhat edgy, a fail-proof bet where seduction is concerned. In terms of shades, by all means do forgo grey, and think in terms of crimsons and dark-red hues for nails and lips, and big, big smouldering, black smocky eyes with a hint of mistery and a dash of promise.

The Hair

Nothing looks sexier than flowy, bouncy hair – a sign of health, youth and fertility in females – but most of us have to deal with the realities of life, work, stress, and not having near as good nutrition as we would in an ideal world.
Viviscal supplements – recommended by doctors worldwide – work wonders, making hair grow as strong as a horse’s mane, and so does a good scalp massage given by your loved one, increasing both the blood flow to the follicles and the production of the aforementioned ‘love hormone’ (win-win situation).
For extra shape and bounciness without resorting to curling irons, nothing beats treating hair to a nourishing dry oil before bedtime, putting it up in an elegant chignon, and waking up to beautiful, screen-siren worthy waves.


The Scent

As scent is directly linked to memory and emotion, every individual responds to different olfactory stimuli, such as having a shown preference for floral or woody notes. That said, romance and seduction do have a scent, or better yet, a whole family of them readily available to be sniffed and grant your brain every single wish it desires. Meet the Orientals.
To get the drift on these wonders of the olfactory kingdom, one must transport oneself to dark and handsomely crafted surroundings, where everyone is polished to perfection, the mood is dark and suggestive, and sex pheromones are in overdrive. You wouldn’t dare ruining the mood with something innocent, girly, or too understated, opting instead to dress up your skin with a fragrance as appealing as your surroundings.
Amongst my favourite orientals would be Miller Harris’ Noix de Tubereuse and  Fleur Oriental, Roja Dove’s Enslaved, Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium, and – call me sentimental – one of the scents I grew up with, Loulou, by Cacharel.

The Science

The Movie

  • Atonement‘  (can a movie be more beautiful, or a love story as tragic?)

love letters of great men

The Literature

The Couples

The Soundtrack

As there are more songs about love than clouds in the London sky, this list could prove endless, but hopefully, you’ll be busy making your very own soundtrack… (wink, wink).
I’ll leave you with a beautiful love letter written by my favourite author – Henry Miller – to his lover, Anaïs Nin, exactly two years to the day before my father, a writer as well, was born.

Happy Valentine’s! xx

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

August 14, 1932 


Don’t expect me to be sane anymore. Don’t let’s be sensible. It was a marriage at Louveciennes—you can’t dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of blood, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous. Everything I do and say and think relates back to the marriage. I saw you as the mistress of your home, a Moor with a heavy face, a negress with a white body, eyes all over your skin, woman, woman, woman. I can’t see how I can go on living away from you—these intermissions are death. How did it seem to you when Hugo came back? Was I still there? I can’t picture you moving about with him as you did with me. Legs closed. Frailty. Sweet, treacherous acquiescence. Bird docility. You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old—you are a thousand years old.

Here I am back and still smouldering with passion, like wine smoking. Not a passion any longer for flesh, but a complete hunger for you, a devouring hunger. I read the paper about suicides and murders and I understand it all thoroughly. I feel murderous, suicidal. I feel somehow that it is a disgrace to do nothing, to just bide one’s time, to take it philosophically, to be sensible. Where has gone the time when men fought, killed, died for a glove, a glance, etc? (A victrola is playing that terrible aria from Madama Butterfly—”Some day he’ll come!”)

I still hear you singing in the kitchen—a sort of inharmonic, monotonous Cuban wail. I know you’re happy in the kitchen and the meal you’re cooking is the best meal we ever ate together. I know you would scald yourself and not complain. I feel the greatest peace and joy sitting in the dining room listening to you rustling about, your dress like the goddess Indra studded with a thousand eyes.

Anais, I only thought I loved you before; it was nothing like this certainty that’s in me now. Was all this so wonderful only because it was brief and stolen? Were we acting for each other, to each other? Was I less I, or more I, and you less or more you? Is it madness to believe that this could go on? When and where would the drab moments begin? I study you so much to discover the possible flaws, the weak points, the danger zones. I don’t find them—not any. That means I am in love, blind, blind. To be blind forever! (Now they’re singing “Heaven and Ocean” from La Gioconda.)

I picture you playing the records over and over—Hugo’s records. “Parlez moi d amour.” The double life, double taste, double joy and misery. How you must be furrowed and ploughed by it. I know all that, but I can’t do anything to prevent it. I wish indeed it were me who had to endure it. I know now your eyes are wide open. Certain things you will never believe anymore, certain gestures you will never repeat, certain sorrows, misgivings, you will never again experience. A kind of white criminal fervor in your tenderness and cruelty. Neither remorse nor vengeance, neither sorrow nor guilt. A living it out, with nothing to save you from the abysm but a high hope, a faith, a joy that you tasted, that you can repeat when you will. 

All morning I was at my notes, ferreting through my life records, wondering where to begin, how to make a start, seeing not just another book before me but a life of books. But I don’t begin. The walls are completely bare—I had taken everything down before going to meet you. It is as though I had made ready to leave for good. The spots on the walls stand out—where our heads rested. While it thunders and lightnings I lie on the bed and go through wild dreams. We’re in Seville and then in Fez and then in Capri and then in Havana. We’re journeying constantly, but there is always a machine and books, and your body is always close to me and the look in your eyes never changes. People are saying we will be miserable, we will regret, but we are happy, we are laughing always, we are singing. We are talking Spanish and French and Arabic and Turkish. We are admitted everywhere and they strew our path with flowers. 

I say this is a wild dream—but it is this dream I want to realize. Life and literature combined, love the dynamo, you with your chameleon’s soul giving me a thousand loves, being anchored always in no matter what storm, home wherever we are. In the mornings, continuing where we left off. Resurrection after resurrection. You asserting yourself, getting the rich varied life you desire; and the more you assert yourself the more you want me, need me. Your voice getting hoarser, deeper, your eyes blacker, your blood thicker, your body fuller. A voluptuous servility and tyrannical necessity. More cruel now than before—consciously, wilfully cruel. The insatiable delight of experience.


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