I have a chequered Valentine’s Day history.
There have been some absolute shockers.
Like my date at a fancy French restaurant where the woman at the next table screeched with outrage every time a French delicacy was served – from oysters to coddled eggs to rare steak. She was so incensed about everything being “f@#king raw’ that I feared she might deck the chef at any moment.
Then there was Valentine’s Day 2014, when my husband got the keys to his bachelor pad after announcing that he was leaving me.
Break out the violins and long-stemmed roses.
There was also the agonizing February 14 when miscarried my Mirena. A Mirena is a plastic anchor-shaped thingy that is commonly used for birth control – in my case it was a failed attempt to mitigate my lady plumbing problems.
There is nothing romantic about miscarrying a Mirena.
For Valentine’s Day 2022 I decided to focus on self care. I went to the beautician and requested red shellac on my toenails, plus a brow shape and lash tint.
Everything was going so well until the beautician suggested I dye my eyebrows, which are getting a little on the grey side.
I flinched and said no.
A friend had done hers for the first time the previous week – at home, with mustache dye – and botched it, blackening half her face as well.
That should have been enough of a warning sign. However, while disaster often seeks me out, I sometimes go looking for it.
So I changed my mind and agreed to get them dyed, emphasising that I wanted them LIGHT brown. Very light brown.
They are VERY NOT light brown.
It looks like there are two big, black caterpillars crawling across my forehead.
And that would be fine if I was raven-haired Emily in Paris. But I am red-haired Alana in suburbia.
You probably think I’m exaggerating, but the youngest literally almost cried laughing when I picked her up from work.
My beauty misstep was particularly unfortunate because …
I was having a romantic Valentine’s dinner and sleepover with DD in the city that night.
Grub eyebrows did not fit with the agenda, but I was stuck with them.
When DD picked me up he looked at me slightly strangely. I asked if he noticed anything different about me and he tentatively said: “More make-up?”
God bless him, he didn’t really notice, but once I confessed what I’d done he agreed they were a bit dark. So he took me to Mecca Cosmetica in the city and bought me a dark MAC lipstick to balance them out.
Fortunately my black brows didn’t interfere with us having a fabulous date at O Bar, a restaurant on the 47th floor of Australia Square that slowly revolves to give you a 360 degree view of Sydney.
We posed for a selfie as we passed the Sydney Opera House for the second time … I’ve done a fair bit of photoshop to mitigate the brow horror.
It was actually the second time we’ve been to O Bar together. The first was a few months after we met and also the first time I revealed DD’s face on social media.
Seven years later, we settled into a banquette at O Bar for dinner, accompanied by pink bubbles and the most gorgeously ruby-hued Rockford Alicante Bouchet.
I ordered the most divine grilled scallops and wagyu beef, while DD ate crab and lamb.
Then we moved to the bar and settled into seats beside the window to sip some more bubbles as the sun set.
When night fell I took DD to a bar I discovered through Drinks Digest, called Old Mate’s Place.
If Diagon Alley had a whisky bar, it would look like Old Mate’s Place.
We sat in the booth pictured above. It was VERY cool, DD was most impressed.
DD’s a massive bourbon fan, so I bought him an Old Fashioned for Valentine’s Day.
Then we wandered back to our hotel feeling very lucky. We’re not normally Valentine’s Day people, but it was really nice to use the occasion as an excuse to treat ourselves to a night in the city.
Hopefully my eyebrows fade soon …
Song of the day: Steve Winwood “Higher love”