Let's imagine for a moment that the annual occasions which help to punctuate our year were comparable to the various elements that help comprise your standard Catholic mass.
Christmas is – no prizes for guesses – the moment the priest tells you to go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
"We did it, lads. We made it. And now there's a roast at home!"
Halloween is the slow walk back to the pew after Communion – you haven't quite made it to Christmas, but you're almost there.
"Not long to go now, gang. Hold tight."
And Valentine's Day is the moment you're forced to shake hands with everyone around you.
"Jesus, are we still doing this? Sorry… sorry… and also with you."
You understand the sentiment behind it, you know you should probably embrace it, but Jesus Christ, it's awkward, it's unnecessary and it's something you tend to forget about until the bloke next to you shoves a meaty palm in your direction.
There's a common misperception that men are the ones who dismiss Valentine's Day as a moneymaking scam while us women dreamily trail our hands along shelves which are heaving under the weight of doe-eyes teddy bears, just hoping our other half will see fit to present us with one in February.
For Jaysus sake.
There are very few women I know who wouldn't, when presented with a soft toy clutching a satin loveheart, not immediately think "And where am I supposed to put the shaggin' thing?"
Common folklore would also have us believe that the single, ready-to-mingle Pringles among us actively loathe couples on Valentine's Day, but they're not the only ones.
The truth is, couples loathe couples on Valentine's Day.
Couples loathe everything on Valentine's Day, in fact.
The loathe the pressure, they loathe choosing cards, they loathe their attempts at sentimental prose, they loathe the fact they can't get a table at their favourite restaurant, and they really loathe being told that they're lucky they're in a relationship on February 14.
Because, really, what difference does it make? Single or taken, you still end up envying the couples who seem to do it… well… right.
Just picture it — while you're hissing at your other half across the table of your fourth favourite restaurant (pre-covid), your peripheral vision is drawn to a couple behaving exactly how they should be – in love.
While you're muttering that your other half doesn't have the decency to help you into your coat, you notice some bloke practically carrying his girlfriend's handbag.
And while you question your inability to eat without getting it all over yourself, you spot two gobshites practically feeding each other across the table.
Valentine's Day is little more than 24 hours which abruptly throws your relationship into the spotlight, and forces you to acknowledge its various shortcomings while you agonise over everyone else's strengths.
And if you're one of those couples that doesn't hate Valentine's Day, rest assured everyone hates you.
Dry shake all the ingredients for about 30 seconds. Add ice and shake again until cold. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with redcurrants.
Jawbox Small Batch Gin is available from all good licensed retailers including O’Briens Wines.
For many millennials (myself included) being single is something of a lifestyle necessity, based on our increasingly hectic work lives and social calendars.
While singledom is nothing to be ashamed of, Valentines Day can be a marker of time that leaves me thinking: 'Wow, another year alone.'
Now, I'm definitely not one to throw a pity party, but with almost two years having gone by since my last relationship, I do occasionally wonder if I'm a romance repellant.
Even though I choose to remain footloose and fancy free, the day that's in it can cause insecurities about the lack of success in my love life.
Yes work is going great, I have brunches scheduled every Sunday for the next six months and frankly my hair has never looked better, but where is future bae?
Seriously, what are they doing at this exact moment in time, and how very dare they enjoy their lives without me being in it yet?
No matter how great various other aspects of my life are going, Valentines Day never fails to make me ponder on all the faults of my past relationships, from the long term to the casual to those which started as a Bumble chat and never went any further.
Like, if I hadn't mentioned on the first date that I fancy Louis Theroux, would things have worked out?
If I hadn't caught my ex cheating, would we still be together with him taking various mistresses on the side?
These thoughts are dredged up from the graveyard filled with ghosts of ex's past, so rather than celebrating Valentines Day, it feels more like a mental funeral procession, dedicated specifically to mourning the loss of all my past encounters, good and bad.
And the most annoying part about all this is – I'm not upset in the slightest that I'm single. In fact, I can't even imagine where I would squeeze a romantic relationship in around work, pastimes and spending time with my friends and family.
However, when you're bombarded with images of designer tokens of love via social media all day, it's pretty hard not to wistfully consider what life would be like with a partner.
The problem with being single for so long, is that you become entirely self reliant – which definitely isn't a bad thing, but bare with me.
When you've been single for say, two or three years, or maybe you're someone who has never had a long-term relationship, you become accustomed to making all your decisions alone, plotting your social calendar without having to fit a partner in,
This has led to believe that while I may just be a romance repellant, it could also have a lot to do with the fact that it would take a pretty extraordinary person to come along, make me look up from my emails or G&T, and be like 'hey, there could be something here.'
So for the sake of not wanting to turn into a Moaning Myrtle every February 14, until extraordinary bae makes an appearance, I should probably consider appreciating the other loves of my life instead of moping after romantic love.
My sisters, my brother, my parents, my best friends, my work wives, my extended family and my cats (cliche alert) are all more than worth being put on a pedestal today, way above any amorous clinch.
So, rather than considering the mistakes of the past, I'll be focusing on the present this year, and making sure I reach out to the people who love me right now and not pining for the stranger who will in the future.
Most researchers seem to be pretty busy with conducting medical studies and making valuable scientific discoveries for society's gain, but this latest survey really takes it to the next level.
Bloom & Wildhave worked with London Metropolitan University to undergo an experiment to figure out when the 'love hormone', AKA oxytocin, is released.
The anti-anxiety and stress reducing hormone is pretty special, the chemicals are made when you're in love, and having some KICK-ASS sex. We heart it.
The study measured how the brain reacts to receiving certain gifts, and it's led to some pretty interesting, and useful, results. We're not hugely surprised at what topped the list, they're all unreal.
Research also suggests that people in the first three stages of love reported higher oxytocin levels that last for roughly six months to a year. At a chemical level, can presents recreate this high of lovestruck heartbeats?
Scientists reported that the subjects of the study showed an average increase of 73pg/ml in the hormone oxytocin after getting chocolates, and 62pg/ml after receiving flowers. Feeling loved comes in all shapes and sizes, it would seem.
The official top five items or experiences included on the list which trumped having sex were; chocolate winning the number one spot, then flowers, food, shopping and booking a holiday.
Receiving chocolate apparently creates a high increase in oxytocin the same rise in oxytocin comes from sex, so a quick nip down to Butlers could solve your stress issues.
Flowers can spark the same feeling as love, relationships and sexy times, and a study by Havas Worldwiderevealed that 57 percent of millennials think that food is better than sex. Damn.
Retail therapy also made the list, according to the experiment. The neurologist David Linden, in his book The Compass Of Pleasure, explains that the experience of shopping triggers dopamine circuitry in the brain's mesolimbic pathway.
In plain-old-English, the mesolimbic pathway is a key part of how we experience entertainment and happiness, so having a sneaky online shop at ASOS is good for you. Thank God we have a valid excuse to do this now…
Booking a holiday is better than having some intimate. alone time with a partner, according to research. 16% of Brits claim to support this, so those Aer Lingus January sales must have had people feelin' pretty damn euphoric.
Primark have released a special new collection to celebrate the autumn season, and it really allows your style to…bloom *winks*.
Who said roses can only be the theme of Valentine's Day? Primark are going above and beyond to prove that rose patterns can be worn at any time of the year, including Autum/Winter '19.
The rose print collection focuses on femininity, with soft frills, vibrant reds and bussy bow necklines. We can't think of anything better to fit into our autumn wardrobes, especially with these low prices.
First up, Primark's rose print full-length dress with a cinched waistline priced at just €25:
What a look. You'll be the centre of attention in any room with a bold colour choice like this one.
Next up- Primark's floral rose print blouse in deep red for only €15;
The frilled sleeves and shoulders really add to the chic vibes this blouse is giving off. The pussy bow neckline is an added feminine touch.
The next skirt has a colour change from the deep reds of the previous two items, if you want more of a springtime look;
Did you really think they'd only offer you one type of rose print blouse? Hell no.
Primark's petal blouse with cream colouring really makes the red pop in this final piece. From the frills on the shoulders and sleeves to the collarbone neckline; you really can't get more glamorous.
The whole collection has a maximum price of €25, so what are you waiting for? Stay rosy this autumn. The rose print range is out now in all Primark stores.
She captioned the first image; "My Valentine every single day." Too cute, Miley. You're both stunning.
The next image shows the happy couple embracing, with the caption; "Thank you for always bending down to hug me…I promise I will always meet you in the middle on my tippiest toes! I love you Valentine!"
There is a definite height difference, so we have mad respect for Liam for bending down. The bar is super low…
Women's Aidhave launched a new guide on safety orders for young women who are experiencing abuse in their relationships, due to new laws being introduced.
The legislation brought in at the beginning of this year allows women who are going through dating abuse to apply for Safety and Protection orders.
Women's Aid are instigating the guide on Valentine's Day as part of the #TooIntoYou campaign to emphasise the darker side of love.
60% of abuse starts before the age of 25. Today, on Valentine's Day, we launch our #TooIntoYou campaign for young women including a NEW GUIDE to Safety Orders – now available to people experiencing abuse in dating relationships. Check out the free guide https://t.co/5MKQmB8T9apic.twitter.com/YSmlMoOGZH
RTÉ's Can't Stop Dancing presenter Bláthnaid Treacy is also urging young women and men to "know the signs of dating abuse", especially because 60 percent of abuse in relationships begins before the age of 25.
Women's Aid are a national organisation which provides vital information and support to women experiencing dating abuse and domestic violence. Their #TooIntoYou campaign aims to spread much-needed awareness on the topic.
#TooIntoYou uses social media and poster advertising to strive for the spread of information from February 14 until March 8 (International Women's Day).
New laws brought in at the start of 2019 under the Domestic Violence Act 2018 allow women to apply for important Safety and Protection laws.
Today are calling attention to the darker side of relationships at this time that the #TooIntoYou campaign will have a high impact. We are asking – what part of love is abuse? If you are concerned about your relationship take our quiz and read the signs https://t.co/kLjf4jMVjXpic.twitter.com/Kwjo9WRBU7
However, the organisation believes that many young women are still in the dark about the change and how to get the necessary protection, which is why Women's Aid ae bringing in the 'Guide to Safety Orders in Dating Relationships' online today.
Spotting the 10 key danger signs of dating abuse and providing information to combat online stalking and digital abuse is of imperative importance for women in Ireland today.
Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid says:
"1 in 5 women in Ireland experience abuse in relationships and in a national survey on domestic abuse in Ireland, almost 60 percent of those who had experienced severe abuse in intimate relationships first experienced it when they were under the age of 25."
A ten year domestic homicide review was due to be published in February 2017.
NWCI tonight expressed serious concerns about the length of time which was elapsed since the review was announced. We urgently need the findings of this review to be published https://t.co/bs49KdNzkk
"A stark reminder of this risk is that 1 in every 2 women, aged between 18-25, killed in Ireland since 1996 were murdered by their boyfriends or exes," Martin concluded.
The campaign is being launched on Valentine's Day to highlight the hidden reality of many young women's relationships, despite the fact that today is traditionally associated with love and romance.
Martin's goal for today, is to ask the hard questions; "We are clearly asking – what part of love is abuse?" She spoke directly to victims and survivors; “You are not alone in feeling something isn't right with your relationship."
Visit the #TooIntoYou website here for more information, or call the Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline at 1800 341 900.
Ah, Galentine's Day. Our saviour from the horrors of Valentine's Day, AKA the only day of the year where showing love and men being romantic is socially acceptable.
Whether companies are using female friendships as a marketing tool or not is a WHOLE other discussion.
For now, we're just gonna bring Leslie Knope vibes for 2019's Galentine's Day, which falls the day before Valentine's Day, and celebrates the power of galpals.
Of course, you don't need to be single to celebrate the special day that is Galentine's; You can snatch all them sexy roses from your boo and high five your ladypals at the same time.
1. Channelling the OG Renaissance Romantics:
Happy #GalentinesDay everyone! Don't forget the real meaning of the holiday, which is not only about uplifting your best girlfriends but coming together as women to drown men and have great hair pic.twitter.com/A7g06btUtw
We absolutely ADORE Valentine's Day, not only because celebrating romance usually gives us an excuse to pamper ourselves, but because it's a wonderful time of the year for cosmetics shopping.
Why buy roses or chocolates when you can get the best beauty products around?
We've decided to curate a list of our top 12 makeup, skincare and cosmetic goods for this year's Valentine's Day; whether it's for a hot date, a dinner for the gals or even a cosy night in with Netflix and a furry friend.
From your favourite smouldering red lipstick to sparkling pink eye-shadows and rose-scented perfume; 'tis the season for LOVE in beauty-land.
1. Charlotte Tilbury 'Hot Lips' red lipstick in Carina's Love.
Inspired by Chinese actress Carina Lau, this bold and sexy red lippy inspires confidence in any woman who wears it. It's siren red and has light-diffusing pigments that create a luminous finish for a full-bodied effect.
In Chinese culture, the colour red is representative of good fortune and joy, so it's positively perfect for Valentine's Day, right?
There's a great reason why Charlotte Tilbury is a globally renowned brand, and their matte lipstick range stands by their statement of good-quality products for women.
The creamy formula, protection from UV damage and seamless finish are just three reasons why this lipstick makes our top 12. Enjoy it in all it's glory, gals.
2. L'Occitane Romantic Rose collection
For Valentine's Day, it's only too important to smell and feel your best. We've found the ideal scent for the eve: ROSE. French powerhouse brand L'Occitane have gifted us with a set, that we all both need and deserve.
The gorgeous and elegant fragrance set includes: Rose Eau de Toilette, Rose Shower Gel, Rose Body Lotion and Rose Hand Cream.
L'Oreal Paris Go Purple shampoo is priced at €8.95 from all major retailers now.
6. Dermalogica intensive moisture balance
Promising to deliver nourishment beyond the skin's surface, the Dermalogica intensive moisture balance cream is 100 percent professional grade.
It's vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free and uses NO artificial colours or flavouring; it's legit eco-friendly while clearing up all those dry skin worries. We'll take 10, please?
7. Rimmel London Wonder'Luxe mascara
Finally we have discovered the best clump-free mascara in town, with four oils to it's lash-loving Wonder collection.
For volumised, thick and full lashes, with maximum volume; Rimmel's your go-to product.
Rimmel has even infused argan oil into it's four-oil complex, as well as Maracuja oil, Marula oil and Camellia oil for conditioning and protection from hair splitting.
Argan oil is renowned for nourishing properties, so mascara won't have to damage those eyelashes anymore. Thank GAWD.
8. Sculpted by Aimee Connolly: The 4-in-1 lip liner pen
Why have one Valentine's Day lip liner when you could have four, stunning shades?
Grab yourself the Nude or the Pink edition, whichever you're in the mood for will light up your night. Each edition has four beautiful shades, from 'Buff', 'Bare', and 'Peach' to 'Rose', 'Blush' and 'Rouge', you're in for a treat.
Line the perfect pout with makeup guru Aimee Connolly, she's only gone and made the holy grail of lip liners.
9. Garnier Ultimate Blends almond crushshampoo and conditioner
Garnier Ultimate Blends are launching up to 98 percent natural origin haircare, and we could NOT be more excited about it.
Your hair will feel cleansed, nourished and weightless using their almond crush shampoo and conditioner, which is made with a blend of organic almond milk and agave sap.
The gentle formula is a complete game-changer; did we mention it's 100 percent vegan?
Garnier Ultimate Blends almond crush shampoo and conditioner are priced at €4.95 each and are available from all major retailers.
10. La Roche Posay Lipikar Cleansing Oil AP+
La Roche Posay have long been one of our go-to skincare brands, and their new cleansing oil for dry skin will save the day for those of you who are PLAGUED with this skin type.
It's a soap-free, paraben-free and alcohol-free pH neutral shower oil that gives your skin the lipids it needs to reconstruct the skin barrier,
Skin with atopic tendencies or extreme dryness will CRAVE this product, it also soothes that feeling of tightness many of us know and hate.
11. Anastasia Beverley Hills Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette
From white shades like 'Tempera' and 'Vermeer' to baby pink 'Bijon Fresco', bold raspberry 'Love Letter' and 'Venetian Red', even brown shades like 'Red Ochre' and 'Cyrprus Umber', we're dazzled by these Renaissance-inspired tones.
The range is gorgeous; this collection of matte and metallic eye-shadows is PERFECT for creating dazzling cosmetic effects this Valentine's Day.
Anastasia Beverley Hills always create the best products, which means they sell out fast. Grab yours now online from Cult Beauty to avoid disappointment.
12. Bioderma Sensibio Foaming Gel
Leading French brand Bioderma has introduced the new Sensibio foaming gel, and all we can say is: WOW.
The gel is specifically created to soothe and hydrate your skin to ensure it's free of trapped oil and impurities.
It's mild but cleansing active ingredients calm irritations and will leave your skin feeling squeaky clean just in time for your Valentine's Day make-up regime.
That concludes the round-up of our top 12 ultimate Valentine's Day beauty products: tried and tested.
You'll be getting a faster heartbeat and butterflies in your stomach just looking at these gems, let alone using them. They'll melt your heart, and self-love is all about treating yourselves, right?
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