Six of the best Valentine's presents

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Indy Lifestyle Online
1Chocolate hearts Fill one of these wonderful chocolate hearts from Rococo with your own personalised gift and message. Here, we offer a serious proposal with Love Heart sweets and a diamond - who could resist? If you would prefer, Rococo will happily fill the heart for you with smaller heart-shaped chocolates, truffles, noisettes, etc. The empty heart-shaped chocolate for you to fill starts at pounds 6.95. Rococo, 321 King's Road, London SW3 5EP (0171-352 5857; mail-order available for less perishable items)

2Tickets for the Orient Express A trip through the Kent countryside might not seem all that romantic, but when you discover that it takes place on the Orient Express, complete with liveried stewards offering cocktails, followed by a five-course meal with champagne, wine and liqueurs, you might change your mind. There will be strolling musicians, and every woman will receive an orchid. The lunch train departs at 1.55pm returning at 3.45pm, and the dinner train departs at 7.30pm, returning at 11pm. The price is pounds 170 per person, and can be booked through Venice Simplon Orient Express on 0171-805 5100

3 Say it with spikes Ideal for that prickly relationship - a handsome cactus in a terracotta pot, safely restrained inside a slatted wooden box and delivered to your loved one with a personalised message. Or, for the more romantic, La Boite D'Amour - a crate packed with a flowering, miniature red rose bush, a bottle of champagne, and chocolate hearts. Both gifts provide a long-lasting reminder of your love and can be posted throughout the UK to reach your sweetheart with only 24 hours' notice. Say It With Spikes costs pounds 15, La Boite D'Amour costs pounds 40, plus pounds 7 postage and packing for both. Order from Ned Trier Gardens, 82 Wandsworth Bridge Road, London SW6 2TF (tel: 0171-371 0775, fax: 0171- 371 8324)

4 Victorian Valentines "Dearest, accept this humble offering to thee", "My heart is true, beating for you", "You are the jewel of my heart": if modern Valentine's cards can seem a bit coarse, you might prefer to give your true love a Victorian one. The early ones come on beautiful embossed paper, and the later ones have all sorts of little pop-up flaps and 3-D devices. From antique shops, or specialist dealers such as David Drummond at Pleasures of Past Times, 11 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London WC2N 4EZ (0171-836 1142) who also supplies Edwardian and Sixties cards

5 Heart-shaped biscuits If the way to your loved-one's heart is through their stomach, why not bake a batch of delicious heart-shaped biscuits. For a simple recipe that takes just 20 minutes, you will need 4oz butter, 4oz caster sugar, one egg, 8oz plain flour. Cream the butter and sugar, add the lightly beaten egg and mix well. Fold in the sieved flour until well mixed. Roll out dough to the thickness of two pennies. Cut out heart shapes with cutters, glaze with egg yolk or milk and place in a pre-heated oven (gas mark 5/375F) for 10 minutes or until golden brown. This is a basic recipe, and can be expanded with cinnamon or ginger to taste added to the flour. When cool, dip into melted chocolate, write personalised messages on them in icing, or paint them pink with food colouring. Cutters available from any good kitchenware store or from Divertimenti, 45-47 Wigmore Street, London W1H 9LE (0171-935 0689) at 45p each

6 A crate of passion fruit When your feelings are too explosive to put into words, indulge your loved one with a crate of fresh passion fruit. This will involve an early morning dash to your nearest fruit market or wholesaler's, but don't let that dampen your ardour. For a start, it's much cheaper. The crate pictured was bought at New Covent Garden in London for just pounds 6.50. Alternatively, if your feelings are less extravagant, head for Tesco where you can buy a single passion fruit for 49p. Eat them with your lover, spoonful by spoonful, until you in turn become the fruit of their heart's desire

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