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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Anita De Bauch's guide to Valentine's Day, for him, for her, for you.

Photographer: Phine Ka | Wardrobe: Fabulously Fetish | Skincare: Bareskin Beauty

I'm a full-time vintage glamour and nude model, I'm in a long-term relationship, and I love any excuse to celebrate something.

Sometimes I just celebrate the fact that I finished my emails early and there's something good on telly. I've just sort of become like that in my twenties :)

So, even though it can be almost as hideously crass and commercial as Christmas, but with added pressure to "be attractive", I do celebrate Valentine's Day every year, as long as I'm actually home and not on a shoot in some exotic country overseas.

Fun, romance, sexiness, closeness, feeling special- these things aren't restricted to Valentine's Day, but then why would anyone want to avoid them, either? Roll on, 14th February!

With this in mind, I've written my own little guide full of personal Valentine's Day tips for everyone, whether you're in a relationship or not. Enjoy!

For Him

Traditional gifts are perfectly acceptable as long as they are given thoughtfully- a silk tie he'll definitely love, a bottle of his aftershave, a DVD of his favourite porno (NOT a knock-off!). This isn't a day to try and mould him into something he isn't, so avoid cuff links if he wears button cuffs, tickets to an event he isn't interested in or a bottle of wine if he's a whisky drinker. Find something he'll enjoy receiving that you'll also enjoy giving.

Which brings us conveniently to the sex. Not that any man worth dating should be making negative judgements about you in the bedroom, but to make yourself feel even more sexy and secure in your skin, prep your body at home in a candlelit bathroom with a Spicy Spa Body Scrub followed by a high quality, intensive raw chocolate body butter.

Create an atmosphere in your boudoir that makes you feel sensual: soft lighting, incense (I find men seem to like Indian Nag Champa!), silk sheets, romantic music. I mean, do it right now! Don't wait until Valentine's Day! Get comfortable in that room alone as well as in company, so that it always feels natural to be relaxed and confident in there :)

If you're a girl dressing for your partner, wearing classic sexy lingerie that makes you feel great is always advised! The classics have stood the test of time for a reason; they are flattering to all women, regardless of age, body type or skin tone. Playful Promises do wonderful bra, suspender belt and knicker sets, as well as corsets and one-piece lingerie, which are super flattering for everyone, especially if you like to feel more "covered".
 Playful Promises bra set by Jim Nemer and suspender dress by CJ Chmiel.

Tip: wearing your knickers over your suspender belt is much more convenient for taking them off!

For Her

Now, there is a lot of nonsense out there about how women don't like traditional romantic gifts, usually perpetuated by companies trying to flog silly crap to worried people! Honestly, I don't know a woman who doesn't love being given roses or jewellery. There is a reason that these gift ideas have stood the test of time, too!

The key to success with any gift is to make it personal and thoughtful, and go for quality over quantity. One exquisite gift is infinitely better than an off-the-shelf selection from Boots or Tesco. Approach your local florist and get creative with them in designing the perfect bouquet for your darling instead of picking up a cheap posy from a supermarket. Similarly, instead of buying mass-produced jewellery, or showing off by buying expensive jewels, collaborate with an ethical artisan like Anathema Designs to create something beautiful and utterly unique :)

My personal favourite Anathema Designs jewellery- she does do fine, subtle pieces as well, but I like jewellery to be BIG :)
Photographer: Ian Cashman

On the other hand, a plastic statuette of a frog could be an ideal gift, if you know that your loved one happens to have a thing about plastic frogs! In this case, I would recommend balancing the idiosyncratic gift with a traditional romantic one like the roses or jewellery, and never ever buy a woman something practical for Valentine's Day!

If you'd like to surprise her with lingerie, check her lingerie drawer first. Read the labels to figure out what sizes to get and see what colours and styles she likes.

Valentine's Day isn't a good time to start springing new things on your partner- a lingerie "gift" that you kind of know she'll hate, or fetish items that she's never shown an interest in. Start small. Some beautiful fetish-friendly gifts for Valentine's Day could include retro lingerie, seamed silk stockings, a bespoke pair of skyscraper heels, a hardback erotic novel with a handwritten dedication, or some custom-made latex hair bows and flowers in pretty colours (generally, pastels work with blonde hair, jewel colours for brunettes and redheads, anything goes with jet black hair, and black goes with everything).

 Leather boots and suspender belt by Fabulously Fetish.
Photographer: Phine Ka

Tip: if you haven't figured out how your partner likes your facial fuzz yet, ask! Use the best raw shaving products you can find to make your skin look and feel kissable.

For You

Wearing Lady Allura's Latex, shot by 3 Elements
I've saved the best till last!

Whether you choose to date on Valentine's Day or not, you should take some time out to love yourself, for sure. I love getting Juliette Scarfe on board to take care of my body, inside and out, and buying myself any of the items listed above: latex, lingerie, jewellery, flowers, the works!

This year, I bought myself some scented beeswax candles, an exotic orchid with red heart-shaped flowers, and I'm even collaborating with Lady Allura's Latex to create a signature Anita De Bauch capsule collection. As an experienced rubber-wearer, I've always wanted to design latex that was of an elegant and beautiful quality, easy to wear and affordable, which is what this collection will be! at least we'll know what to buy next year ;)

Anita xx