I admit it. I am a romantic. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. I probably was born with a romantic spirit, but the films I watched growing up only exaggerated my romantic tendencies. As a small child I loved the films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I’d swoon (along with my mother) over the music, the dancing, the wardrobes and the romantic situations those actors encountered.
Later it was Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant. Remember the film “An Affair to Remember”? I loved it! Then Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly came along. These ladies would inspire me. They were the embodiment of grace and beauty. Their films made life seem beautiful – “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “High Society”, “To catch a thief” and so many more. I couldn’t wait to grow up, dress in elegant clothes and carry on in the romantic way these ladies operated in their films.
Of course the world changed. Most people don’t ‘dress up’ so much anymore. The world has gotten so casual, too casual if you ask me. (But I still love to ‘dress up’. Don’t you?) Simplicity seems to be the way of the world these days. Most people don’t want to fuss with special sets for life no matter how romantic they might be. Just too much trouble they say. (But I love to fuss every now and then and I hope you do too).
To help me live romantically I make it a point to take mental notes (or paper notes) whenever I’m reading a book or watching a film containing romantic ideas I might make my own. Special touches added to ordinary days can’t help but make life even more special. Some of these touches are truly simple and not much work at all, but I think even the ones that require extra effort are well worth the trouble for they break the monotony of daily life and create peak aesthetic experiences.
Being romantic means remembering that we are the heroines of our own lives and it’s therefore up to us to create the magical moments that make our heart sing.
Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of eighteen best-selling romance novels, and this book, “Living Romantically Every Day”, agrees with me completely. If you’re looking for a little romantic inspiration you’ll find it in one of her books. I was inspired to whip up one of Barbara’s romantic picnics, making it my own with just a little tweeking here and there.
Barbara suggested taking the picnic out into the country or out on the lawn. That’s a great idea when the weather is co-operating, but if it’s not, like today, why not create a picnic indoors? I decide to set the stage for my romantic picnic on our enclosed porch.
Step one was to iron a very pretty cloth to cover my table and add elegance as fine linen always does. I love a white tablecloth for dinner and my favorite restaurants always have them.
I know there are people today who wouldn’t think of using linen. Some people don’t even own an iron anymore, and others who do might use it to press a shirt or dress, but never bother to iron a tablecloth, especially one with a lot of cut-work like mine, cut-work that requires special attention. But I don’t mind the extra work. It’s for a great cause.
I love fresh flowers and buy them every week because flowers are just too beautiful and red roses seemed to be just what my table craved for this romantic indoor picnic.
Because dinner wouldn’t be served till after dark candles were a necessity. Where was that candelabra I used to place Liberace -style on top of the grand piano? Found it! Five candles would create just enough light for our indoor picnic, but not too much. So far so good.
Of course I needed some china and a floral pattern seemed just right for this picnic. I love this pattern and usually choose it for meals either on the porch or out on the patio.
And of course glasses would be needed. This special elegant romantic picnic required crystal. Many of us have all sorts of pretty things but use those things only for holidays or special events with guests. Well, this picnic was a special event and I did have a guest. The guest was my husband. But I’ve known elegant women, widows and other single ladies, who have gone through all this preparation just for themselves. Why not? The Loreal people have it right. We are worth it, aren’t we?
I added the flatware and the napkin to my table setting and it was all set.
It was my hope that Bill, my husband, would appreciate this setting created for our picnic dinner, and it was also my hope that the setting would bring out the Cary Grant in him, but even if it didn’t, I knew it would bring out the Grace Kelly in me.
Wouldn’t you feel a little different, a little more elegant, if you were about to have a meal at a table appointed with such care? Of course you would.
Though in the light of the late afternoon, this table, set beside the french doors of the porch
and the wall of windows with light streaming in didn’t look very romantic, the scene was to change once the sun went down, the moon came out, and the candles were lit.
Now to tell youabout the food I planned. To me the food was the least important ingredient for this romantic evening, but I was sure my husband would feel differently, so I followed some suggestions found in “Living Romantically Every Day”, Barbara Taylor Bradford’s book.
I whipped up a fruit salad.
And I made a dressing for a Salad Nicoise, a dressing composed of shallot, olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh parsley, dry mustard, salt and ground pepper.
Salad Nicoise is combination of baby red potatoes, green beans, English cucumber, tuna, eggs, tomato,and Nicoise olives.
Dessert would be a walnut tartlet. My husband arrived home from work and was happy to see that the champagne was chilled and a special evening was in store for him (and for me too!)
He poured the champagne and our romantic picnic began. It wasn’t long before the sun went down and the candelabra was lit. The music was playing and our porch was transformed into a most romantic setting for a lovely evening together, a special evening that we’ll remember for a long time… at least until I come up with another such event.
Romance isn’t really about champagne and candlelight, but it sure helps every now and then. When we take the time to create special settings, little surprises for those we love, and insert small gestures of beauty and kindness into our daily lives, we are able to live romantically every day and if you’re like me, a true romantic, this is the only way to live.