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#ValentinesDay: Love in the time of #DayZero

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Create a deliciously romantic atmosphere that appeals to all the senses.

Amid all the water worries, not everyone has remembered today is the Day of Love. For those who are on the back foot, here are five last-minute things to do to turn even the most ordinary, water-saving homes into a love nest. Whether you’re romancing a significant other, or just want to do something self-loving later, try these easy fixes.

Remove distractions and declutter

Old bills lying around, unpacked boxes, laundry: Get them out of sight. You don’t want anything hanging around that is going to get you thinking about everything else you have to do. Also, switch off: Your cellphone, your television set, your laptop. Ideally you should be focused only on each other, not on TV or other distractions. In the bathroom and kitchen, where there will be the most evidence of the drought crisis, pack away all things except the essentials. Your grey water bucket can be made to look pretty with material flowers, and what about filling your bath with big plastic hearts and balloons to make it a water-less feature.


Set the mood with sexy lighting as this can turn even a badly decorated room into a space for romance. No bright lights here. Put on the dimmers, or throw scarves over lampshades. Better still, ditch the lights altogether and go to town with candles, but remember to blow them out. You could also remove bright lightbulbs and replace them with coloured bulbs, depending on your theme for the night.

Intoxicating scents

Used correctly, scent can wake up the brain’s pleasure centres. Bring in scented flowers from outside, or make a drink with crushed mint and limes. Intoxicating smells can create a romantic atmosphere, but don’t go overboard. Subtle is the idea here.

After you have used wet wipes to wash away the day, use an amber, musk or vanilla-scented lotion on your legs for a subtle scent.

Go for finger food with visual appeal. Picture: Supplied

Think touch

Texture equals sensuality and takes a room from stark and cold to interesting and warm. It helps you “warm up the space while still having a real simple palette”, say Joanna Gaines, co-host of the US television show Fixer Upper (with her husband Chip). She also likes to hang baskets with faux florals or leaf wreaths on the walls to give them texture. Make your bed with ultra-soft sheets that make you want to feel them against your skin. Leave a few fun items on the bedside, such as long feathers and foodie delights. Anything the hand wants to reach out to and touch is a winner here. Try to find items with a story as this adds another layer.


Food should encapsulate all the elements above. It should not be too distracting, must have texture and a great aroma, and be good on the eye. Light finger foods are always a winner and can be served on foil wrapped around dishes to prevent washing up. Think waterless cooking, and if you do want to put something on the stove, do it all in one pot. You can draw a big heart on white recyclable paper plates on to which snacks can be placed. Have wet wipes on hand.

Have fun, whatever it is you get up to tonight. 

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