Valentine's Day In Colombo: YAMU's Guide To Gifts


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Gifts. Valentine's Day approaches and the pressure is on. Where can you find something cool, interesting and thoughtful that isn't from ODEL?

While the mainstream options aren't terrible - Shirohana does make some beautiful if expensive bouquets and ODEL, well, there's usually something amidst that mass of puppy print T-shirts and bling - they can be little bit boring. All of ODEL's wares have that distinct Otara-touched aura - you either know immediately where they're from or you've seen it all before. This doesn't make for the most exciting of presents - especially on that one day where everyone's vying to be extra thoughtful and unique.

So where to go? Colombo, while no Singapore or Malaysia, isn't quite the shopper's desert locals may perceive it to be; there are a few good options here and there, and the weeks running up to V'day needn't be spent booking frantic flights to the subcontinental shopper's Mecca.

Below we've made a list of some cool gifts from lesser known spots. Let's shop.

Antique Bling | Hewage & Sons Jewelers

Traditional Hair Pin

In the most unlikely place - a row of shabby kades on the turn off just before the Rowing Club, is the most magical little shop. Hewage’s Jewellers is the sort of shop you find in novels; a dark and slightly dusty treasure trove filled in this case quite literally with treasure. Ancient chests, cabinets, and cupboards crammed with gem-studded Kandyan hairpins, intricately worked bracelets, and heavy, opulent silver chains.

The selection is actually vast but the majority of the pieces are antique silver and filigree. You can pick up antique silver bracelets and rings for Rs 3000-5000 though of course you could also blow Rs. 75,000 on a eye-popping 100 year old sapphire hairpin.

Read our full review here.

Cupcake Bouquet | Deepika Kodikara

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Home baker Deepika Kodikara makes a variety of excellent desserts and what we think are Colombo's best brownies. But she also does something rather special - a cupcake bouquet. It's pretty and you can eat it? This winning combination of cupcakes and flowers is likely to go down pretty well on Valentines.

The price depends on the size and nature of the bouquet, but you can also buy your own and she'll put the cupcakes in for you. Not a bad gift to whip out on V' Day.

More details here.

Baked Treats | Munchkin

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Munchkin is another one of Colombo's home bakers, and one of your best options if buying baked treats on Valentines. With an elegant menu including fashionable french macarons - a sure winner - red velvet cupcakes and desserts, all of her stuff looks as good as it tastes. She's making special heart shaped cookies in honour of love day, but we'd recommend going with the macarons or red velvets - these are the luxurious, delicious little treats that literally everyone loves.

Read our full review here.

Puppies | ikman.lk

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There are potty trained Siberian Husky puppies for sale on ikman.lk. Seriously. This is probably the best gift in the world - but it does entail some planning. Still, Siberian Huskies. Ikman's got a whole list of adorable puppies waiting to be given a home. If buying one is a feasible option, this is your best.

But don't get the huskies, I want them.

Chocolate Making Class | Trekurious

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Trekurious is selling a rather expensive chocolate making class for Rs. 15,000 per person. While we do think this is a bit silly price wise, it might still be a fun date activity with a tasty conclusion. The class entails a three hour workshop and half a pound of chocolate per person.

The only downside is that it takes place on the 10th of Feb - four days before Valentines. Note that this is because the workshop is actually only intended for one half of the couple, ie. to make the chocolates to give their partner on Valentines Day. But what's the fun in making chocolate by yourself?

More details here.

Flowers | Silani Flora

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We've listed Silani Flora, but there are many flower shops on Dean's Road, near the ODEL roundabout. While these flower shops traditionally serve funerals (indeed, many Sri Lankan funeral homes are called florists), these are still flowers, and they're cheaper and afford you more freedom than the posher flower shops.

Seriously, Shirohana and the Bloom Room offer great arrangements, but the prices can be high, and the bouquets are often just too big. Sometimes it seems like the goal is to immobilize a girl by giving her so many flowers that she can't see over them.

Read our full review here.

General Nice Things | Casa Serena

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Sri Lanka has many arts and handicrafts shops with lovely goods, but most are priced at tourist levels. Casa Serena is a new shop (hidden in plain sight on Havelock Road) that's priced to own. They have a lovely array of cloth, paper and handmade goods plus a unique book collection, all at locally affordable prices.

You can get lovely shawls and textiles for under Rs. 2,000, and exquisite table cloths for Rs. 5,000. Upstairs there is what seems to be a personally curate book collection with books ranging from a Gandhi biography to Edgar Allen Poe poetry to the new Peter Kuruvita cookbook.

Read our full review here.
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