Valentine’s Day: Seven stress-free ways to share the love with others in need

Valentine’s Day: Seven stress-free ways to share the love with others in need

On Thursday 14 February, people across the world will celebrate their own micro definitions of love in the name of Valentine’s Day.

Whether you’re planning to buy youself a M&S “love sausage” or Morrisons’ “Sweetheart Steak”, or marking the occasion a day earlier with female friends at the UK’s best Galentine’s Day events, there are plenty of ways to join in the festivities. 

However you choose to honour the day, let’s not forget that Valentine’s Day is a time for spreading love to significant others and strangers, alike, be it via a soppy card, a donation of money to charity, or showing support for a local social enterprise.

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With that in mind, here is our list of the best of stress-free, selfless ways to help others this Valentine’s Day.

Buy a bouquet of LGBTQ+ roses

Launched as part of Morrisons’ The Best range, the supermarket is currently selling Rainbow Roses in partnership with LGBTQ+ youth homeless charity The Albert Kennedy Trust.

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1/10 10) “Up Where We Belong (An Officer and A Gentleman, 1982)

1982 was a year of blockbuster movie songs and “Up Where We Belong” pipped “Eye of the Tiger” to Oscars glory. Buffy Sainte-Marie, Will Jennings and Jack Nitzsche wrote it for the Richard Gere movie An Officer and A Gentleman. It was sung as a duet after Jennifer Warnes suggested a collaboration with Joe Cocker. Warnes had been a fan of the late Cocker since her teenage years and said she cried out with joy when he accepted the invitation to work with her. Their version was a worldwide hit and also won a Golden Globe and a Grammy.

Rex

2/10 9) “The Way You Look Tonight” (Swing Time, 1936)

In Swing Time, Fred Astaire sings the gorgeous ballad “The Way You Look Tonight” to Ginger Rogers while she is washing her hair. The sentimental lyrics were written by the brilliant songwriter Dorothy Fields, whose credits include “A Fine Romance” and “The Sunny Side of the Street”. The song, with music composed by Jerome Kern, was up against some terrific competition in 1936 – beating “Pennies from Heaven” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to an award in its third year. Billie Holiday, with jazz maestro Teddy Wilson on piano, had a hit with “The Way You Look Tonight” that year and the song has since been recorded by hundreds of best-selling singers, including Frank Sinatra. “The Way You Look Tonight” is popular, romantic songwriting at its very best.

RKO Radio Pictures

3/10 8) “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” (Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, 1955)

Sammy Fain’s formal love ballads epitomised the style of movie music in the 1950s. Fain won the Academy award for best song twice – for “Secret Love”, from the 1953 Doris Day movie Calamity Jane and, two years later, with the title song for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing. Fain, a trained pianist, started out as song promoter in the 1920s and he was pragmatic about delivering the song studio bosses wanted for this William Holden movie. Fain and lyricist Paul Francis Webster constantly tinkered with the words in “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” to keep 20th Century-Fox happy. The song, performed by The Four Aces on the soundtrack, has remained a favourite of crooners, from Sinatra to Barry Manilow. The song has also been referenced in numerous modern films, including Grease and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

YouTube/20th Century Fox

4/10 7) “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” (The Lion King 1994)

In songwriting terms, it was essentially Elton John v Randy Newman in 1994. Newman was nominated for “Make Up Your Mind” for The Paper and John for three songs from The Lion King (his other nominations were for the songs “The Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata”). “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, co-written with Tim Rice, was a popular winner and the single sold 11 million copies.

5/10 6) “My Heart Will Go On” (Titanic, 1997)

Canadian Céline Dion’s power ballad “My Heart Will Go On”, the theme song to James Cameron’s hit film Titanic, has been bought more than 20 million times. “My Heart Will Go On” is the romantic ballad playing as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet embrace at the front of the ill-fated liner that crashed into a iceberg. Dion showed great technical skill coping with the tricky modulations of a song written by James Horner and Will Jennings, while the poignant tin-whistle playing is courtesy of Andrea Corr.

6/10 5) “Take My Breath Away” (Top Gun, 1986)

Top Gun was virtually completed when Tom Whitlock came up with the lyrics to “Take My Breath Away” as he was driving home from work and mulling on a melody Giorgio Moroder had composed. The agreed they had something good and made a demo to play for director Tony Scott. He called back Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis to shoot some new love scenes to go with the new song. “If you see those scenes, you’ll notice that they are lit differently and there are those gauzy curtains blowing around,” Whitlock told rediscoverthe80s.com “All of that was to disguise that some months had gone by and the actors didn’t look exactly the same.”
The songwriters picked Terri Nunn to sing the song, having worked with her new wave band Berlin previously. She nailed the song and “Take My Breath Away” became a global hit. The synthesisers on the track were played by Arthur Barrow, a veteran musician who had worked with The Doors and Frank Zappa.

7/10 4) “I Just Called to Say I Love You” (The Woman in Red, 1984)

In 1984, another year of popular movie title songs (“Ghostbusters” and “Footloose” were in the running), the Oscar went to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. Wonder said that he had the late John Lennon in mind for a song he claimed he had first thought of in 1976. “I had the melody and lyric for the chorus, and I imagined in my mind when hearing the chords that The Beatles were singing with me. And that idea and feeling is what inspired me to use the vocoder.” The song was written for the movie The Woman in Red, a mediocre comedy starring Gene Wilder. In 2018, singer-songwriter John Prine recorded a slow, stripped-down version of the song for Spotify Singles, in which he brings out the essential charm of a ballad some find too saccharine. Wonder’s winner was a particular favourite of the writer Maya Angelou

Rex

8/10 3) “Moon River” (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961)

In Blake Edwards’s film of the Truman Capote novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there is a scene in which the love interest Audrey Hepburn sits on the fire escape at a New York apartment and accompanies herself on guitar singing “Moon River”. The scene is charming and the waif-like Hepburn, staying in tune and doing her best with a singing voice that was thin and limited in range, delivers a moving version of a song written for her by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer.
Mancini later said that after the first preview screening of the film, the president of Paramount Pictures puffed a cigar and announced that the song had to be removed. “Over my dead body,” the usually mild-mannered Hepburn said. Although Paramount substituted her voice for an orchestral version on the soundtrack, her version caught the public imagination and more than a million copies of the sheet music were sold in the month after the film’s release.

Paramount/Kobal/Rex

9/10 2) “Mona Lisa” (Captain Carey, U.S.A, 1950)

The film noir Captain Carey, U.S.A, a tale of revenge set in the aftermath of the Second World War that starred Alan Ladd, is regarded now as a dated dud. Its theme tune “Mona Lisa”, sung by Ukrainian jazz trumpeter and bandleader Charlie Spivak, is the surviving glory of the film, however. It became a global hit when it was covered in 1950 by Nat King Cole. Ray Evans wrote the poignant lyrics – “Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa? /Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?” – and realised the song, comparing a lover to the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, would work as a showcase for Cole’s warm baritone voice. Cole’s splendid version was at No.1 for eight weeks. In the year it won, incidentally, “Mona Lisa” beat the Disney novelty song “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” from Cinderella.

Paramount

10/10 1) “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)

Although “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is not a straightforward love song, it is a ballad about hope and loving humanity itself, a song that co-writer Yip Harburg called an attempt to “create a rainbow world”, where the dreams you dare to dream really do come true. It was the song Ariana Grande picked to perform at the ‘One Love Manchester’ concert in 2017 for the victims of the terrorist attack. Remarkably, this 20th-century classic, whose melody was composed by Harold Arlen, was almost cut from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, because MGM were worried that the opening Kansas sequence was too long. Sixteen-year-old Judy Garland’s sublime version, orchestrated by Murray Cutter, wowed cinema-goers and the decision to leave it in was vindicated. Lady Gaga sings a brief section of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the Oscar-nominated movie A Star is Born.

Rex Features

1/10 10) “Up Where We Belong (An Officer and A Gentleman, 1982)

1982 was a year of blockbuster movie songs and “Up Where We Belong” pipped “Eye of the Tiger” to Oscars glory. Buffy Sainte-Marie, Will Jennings and Jack Nitzsche wrote it for the Richard Gere movie An Officer and A Gentleman. It was sung as a duet after Jennifer Warnes suggested a collaboration with Joe Cocker. Warnes had been a fan of the late Cocker since her teenage years and said she cried out with joy when he accepted the invitation to work with her. Their version was a worldwide hit and also won a Golden Globe and a Grammy.

Rex

2/10 9) “The Way You Look Tonight” (Swing Time, 1936)

In Swing Time, Fred Astaire sings the gorgeous ballad “The Way You Look Tonight” to Ginger Rogers while she is washing her hair. The sentimental lyrics were written by the brilliant songwriter Dorothy Fields, whose credits include “A Fine Romance” and “The Sunny Side of the Street”. The song, with music composed by Jerome Kern, was up against some terrific competition in 1936 – beating “Pennies from Heaven” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to an award in its third year. Billie Holiday, with jazz maestro Teddy Wilson on piano, had a hit with “The Way You Look Tonight” that year and the song has since been recorded by hundreds of best-selling singers, including Frank Sinatra. “The Way You Look Tonight” is popular, romantic songwriting at its very best.

RKO Radio Pictures

3/10 8) “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” (Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, 1955)

Sammy Fain’s formal love ballads epitomised the style of movie music in the 1950s. Fain won the Academy award for best song twice – for “Secret Love”, from the 1953 Doris Day movie Calamity Jane and, two years later, with the title song for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing. Fain, a trained pianist, started out as song promoter in the 1920s and he was pragmatic about delivering the song studio bosses wanted for this William Holden movie. Fain and lyricist Paul Francis Webster constantly tinkered with the words in “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” to keep 20th Century-Fox happy. The song, performed by The Four Aces on the soundtrack, has remained a favourite of crooners, from Sinatra to Barry Manilow. The song has also been referenced in numerous modern films, including Grease and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

YouTube/20th Century Fox

4/10 7) “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” (The Lion King 1994)

In songwriting terms, it was essentially Elton John v Randy Newman in 1994. Newman was nominated for “Make Up Your Mind” for The Paper and John for three songs from The Lion King (his other nominations were for the songs “The Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata”). “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, co-written with Tim Rice, was a popular winner and the single sold 11 million copies.

5/10 6) “My Heart Will Go On” (Titanic, 1997)

Canadian Céline Dion’s power ballad “My Heart Will Go On”, the theme song to James Cameron’s hit film Titanic, has been bought more than 20 million times. “My Heart Will Go On” is the romantic ballad playing as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet embrace at the front of the ill-fated liner that crashed into a iceberg. Dion showed great technical skill coping with the tricky modulations of a song written by James Horner and Will Jennings, while the poignant tin-whistle playing is courtesy of Andrea Corr.

6/10 5) “Take My Breath Away” (Top Gun, 1986)

Top Gun was virtually completed when Tom Whitlock came up with the lyrics to “Take My Breath Away” as he was driving home from work and mulling on a melody Giorgio Moroder had composed. The agreed they had something good and made a demo to play for director Tony Scott. He called back Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis to shoot some new love scenes to go with the new song. “If you see those scenes, you’ll notice that they are lit differently and there are those gauzy curtains blowing around,” Whitlock told rediscoverthe80s.com “All of that was to disguise that some months had gone by and the actors didn’t look exactly the same.”
The songwriters picked Terri Nunn to sing the song, having worked with her new wave band Berlin previously. She nailed the song and “Take My Breath Away” became a global hit. The synthesisers on the track were played by Arthur Barrow, a veteran musician who had worked with The Doors and Frank Zappa.

7/10 4) “I Just Called to Say I Love You” (The Woman in Red, 1984)

In 1984, another year of popular movie title songs (“Ghostbusters” and “Footloose” were in the running), the Oscar went to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. Wonder said that he had the late John Lennon in mind for a song he claimed he had first thought of in 1976. “I had the melody and lyric for the chorus, and I imagined in my mind when hearing the chords that The Beatles were singing with me. And that idea and feeling is what inspired me to use the vocoder.” The song was written for the movie The Woman in Red, a mediocre comedy starring Gene Wilder. In 2018, singer-songwriter John Prine recorded a slow, stripped-down version of the song for Spotify Singles, in which he brings out the essential charm of a ballad some find too saccharine. Wonder’s winner was a particular favourite of the writer Maya Angelou

Rex

8/10 3) “Moon River” (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961)

In Blake Edwards’s film of the Truman Capote novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there is a scene in which the love interest Audrey Hepburn sits on the fire escape at a New York apartment and accompanies herself on guitar singing “Moon River”. The scene is charming and the waif-like Hepburn, staying in tune and doing her best with a singing voice that was thin and limited in range, delivers a moving version of a song written for her by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer.
Mancini later said that after the first preview screening of the film, the president of Paramount Pictures puffed a cigar and announced that the song had to be removed. “Over my dead body,” the usually mild-mannered Hepburn said. Although Paramount substituted her voice for an orchestral version on the soundtrack, her version caught the public imagination and more than a million copies of the sheet music were sold in the month after the film’s release.

Paramount/Kobal/Rex

9/10 2) “Mona Lisa” (Captain Carey, U.S.A, 1950)

The film noir Captain Carey, U.S.A, a tale of revenge set in the aftermath of the Second World War that starred Alan Ladd, is regarded now as a dated dud. Its theme tune “Mona Lisa”, sung by Ukrainian jazz trumpeter and bandleader Charlie Spivak, is the surviving glory of the film, however. It became a global hit when it was covered in 1950 by Nat King Cole. Ray Evans wrote the poignant lyrics – “Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa? /Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?” – and realised the song, comparing a lover to the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, would work as a showcase for Cole’s warm baritone voice. Cole’s splendid version was at No.1 for eight weeks. In the year it won, incidentally, “Mona Lisa” beat the Disney novelty song “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” from Cinderella.

Paramount

10/10 1) “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)

Although “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is not a straightforward love song, it is a ballad about hope and loving humanity itself, a song that co-writer Yip Harburg called an attempt to “create a rainbow world”, where the dreams you dare to dream really do come true. It was the song Ariana Grande picked to perform at the ‘One Love Manchester’ concert in 2017 for the victims of the terrorist attack. Remarkably, this 20th-century classic, whose melody was composed by Harold Arlen, was almost cut from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, because MGM were worried that the opening Kansas sequence was too long. Sixteen-year-old Judy Garland’s sublime version, orchestrated by Murray Cutter, wowed cinema-goers and the decision to leave it in was vindicated. Lady Gaga sings a brief section of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the Oscar-nominated movie A Star is Born.

Rex Features

Each limited edition rose costs just £4, with 50p from each sale being donated to the charity, which provides homes and support to young people who identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

To find your local Morrisons, click here

Stock up on Ben & Jerry’s “Love is…” ice cream

Before you tuck into your favourite Cookie Dough or Caramel Chew-flavoured ice cream, you may be interested to know that Ben & Jerry’s has recently launched a brand new recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Better yet, the ice cream giant is donating a percentage of each tub (500ml) of its new “topped ice cream” sold to Refugee Action – a charity that provides advice and support to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

The new recipe, dubbed “Love Is…”, consists of buttery brown sugar ice cream and is topped off with pink chocolate hearts.

The company won’t reveal how much it is donating to the charity but promises it is a “considerable” amount. The  new flavour is currently on sale in UK supermarkets for £5.49. 

Find out more about the ice cream here

Visit a social enterprise

Whether it’s a first date or a toast to a decade-long relationship, Valentine’s Day is often viewed as a prime opportunity to book a table at a newly-opened restaurant that everyone (read: Instagram) has been raving about. 

This year, however, why not change things up and spend your date at a local social enterprise?

Grab a coffee and share a croissant with a loved one at London’s Redemption Roasters, which trains young ex-offenders in professional catering skills and helps them find work.

Alternatively, head down to Café From Crisis in the heart of Spitalfields, London which teaches kitchen crafts and barista skills to homeless members of the community.

Heading away for Valentine’s Day? Book a trip to Liverpool’s first dry bar and restaurant The Brink, which donates all its profits to fund support for members of the local community who have suffered through alcoholism and addiction.

Donate underwear

Instead of buying yourself (or a partner) lingerie this Valentine’s Day, donate a packet of new ladies’ or children’s pants to Scottish charity Smalls For All.

The organisation collects and distributes underwear to help women and children in Africa.

Underwear must be new but the charity also accepts “gently worn” bras which can be in any size, including sports and nursing bras. It collects underwear of all sizes but preferably for children ages 3-15 and ladies UK sizes 8-14.

You can also donate to the charity online or visit the organisation’s Amazon wish list of new pants.

Find out more information about how you can help the charity here.

Write a love note

Share the love this Valentine’s Day by raising funds for the British Heart Foundation.

Pop into your local BHF charity shop and pick up a Love Note for as little as £1. Unleash your inner Keats by writing a declaration of love in the card, which the organisation will then offer to display in the shop window until 14 February.

If love notes aren’t your thing, buy one of two badge designs from the charity for £1 which are inspired by the foundation’s promise to beat heartbreak forever from heart and circulatory diseases.

Find out more information here

Donate your favourite romance novels to charity

If you love nothing more than snuggling up with a romantic novel such as The Notebook, Me Before You or The Fault in Our Stars, it might be time to pass the love forward and donate your favourite romantic novels to your local charity shop.

Oxfam, the British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, Cancer Research UK are just a handful of charity shops needing books, new and used.

Recycle unwanted flowers

If you’re inundated by admirers this Valentine’s Day, bring joy to others by donating your floral bouquets to London-based florists Floral Angels.

The voluntary organisation recycles donated flowers from weddings, events, florists and retailers to restyle them into bouquets and arrangements to then be delivered to those in need in the local community.

Find out how to donate your flowers here.