TV presenter Gregg Wallace proves life can be a bed of roses

Joe Pepler/PinPep
Life’s an actual bed of roses - hopefully with no thorns - for TV presenter Gregg Wallace.

Lying back amongst the petals, Gregg is photographed ahead of spreading the love this Valentine’s Day - by giving red roses away for free.

Gregg’s tongue-in-cheek photoshoot came as a study of 2,000 adults found 75 per cent feel the cost of courtship these days has sky-rocketed due to inflation, and researchers also found Valentine’s Day is nearly £100 more expensive than it was 10 years ago.

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Since a bouquet of flowers, meal for two, card, bottle of perfume and a box of chocolates would have set you back a total of £199 back then - now consumers can expect to fork out £281.

SMARTY Mobile, which commissioned the research, has joined forces with TV star Gregg Wallace to give away red roses to would-be romantics at Observation Point on Southbank at the Cost of Loving pop-up, from 12pm to 3pm on Sunday 11th February.

The research showed 90 per cent who are either in a relationship or currently dating, say prices for romantic gifts and treats like a night out, a bouquet of roses or just a box of chocolates have all risen.

And 72 per cent reckon these gift prices also surge right before Valentine’s Day - a passion killer that drains bank balances.

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Three in 10 (29 per cent) of those in a relationship used to spend more money on date nights, but now consider it more of an occasional treat, as over half (51 per cent) have less disposable income to spend on dating than ever before.

Photoshoot with TV personality proves life can be a bed of rosesPhotoshoot with TV personality proves life can be a bed of roses
Photoshoot with TV personality proves life can be a bed of roses | Joe Pepler/PinPep

Prime time for the romantics

Gregg Wallace said: “I’m a huge romantic and I take any opportunity to celebrate the people I love.

“A token of love is hugely important and no one should get ripped off on an occasion like Valentine’s Day. So I’m thrilled to be helping SMARTY Mobile tackle the cost of loving with free roses this weekend.”

When it comes to prices on gift items surging, just before Valentine’s Day, 76 per cent say it makes them feel fed up and 47 per cent agree the cost of roses is likely to put them off buying them at that time.

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For 53 per cent wanting to say ‘I love you’, buying gifts isn’t the only way, with 23 per cent of them saying they’d pen a poem to someone they liked - as it’s free.

Researchers discovered a dozen red roses via Interflora cost £44.99 a decade ago - but now they sell for £66.

A heart shaped box of Thornton’s Continental chocolates went for £19.99 in 2014, but the same box currently retails at £30 - and has shrunk in weight from 570g to 517g, indicating less chocolates for your money inside.

And a 100ml bottle of Chanel No. 5 eau de parfum cost £92 10 years ago, but now costs £123.

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A personalised ‘me to you’ Valentine’s Card, via Funkypigeon, started at £1.99 a decade past, but the equivalent now starts from £3.89 - both before postage.

And a three-course meal for two with a glass of prosecco each on Valentine's Day at Pizza Express now comes to £57.80 - having cost £39.90 in 2014.

Nearly half of those polled (48 per cent) won't be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, but those that are (36 per cent) will be spending time with their loved ones, sending a card or going out for dinner - spending an average of £48, an investment which 24 per cent say is more than they spent last year.

Gen Z - those born after 1996 - are the thriftiest lovers of all with 45 per cent putting money aside especially for Valentine’s Day.

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And 63 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, said they think businesses should keep the price of goods and services the same all year round.

Sayed Hajamaideen, head of brand and marketing from SMARTY mobile, which is committed to no annual price rises, said: “These days the ‘cost of loving’ seems to be higher than ever. Connecting with loved ones - through roses, a card, or even a phone call - shouldn’t cost extra just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

“Prices of many things these days have gone up, but when the cost of gifts, like flowers, spikes right before the most romantic day of the year - it takes the excitement and joy out of it.”

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