Avoid crowded restaurants with overpriced, uninspired set menus this Valentine's Day. Instead, create the perfect date night using these handy apps and tools. All that will be left for you to do is get romantic - and we're sure you don't need our help with that.
In a relationship: The big night in
Order a fancy takeaway and binge on series!
Since its launch in Johannesburg in September last year, UberEATS has become every yuppie's go-to for fast, reliable food delivery from restaurants that you'd usually have to schlep to yourself, including Momo Bauhaus, The Immigrant and Philly Cheesteak & Co. You pay only for your food and the cost of the Uber to get it to you, and the app is dead simple and intuitive to use. The service is now also available in Pretoria and is looking to expand to other South African cities soon.
Once you've got your grub, it's time to select a series or movie to watch on the couch - or in bed. South Africa's very own internet-TV service ShowMax offers over 20 000 movies and series, which you can stream on demand or download to watch offline (but don't forget to keep your data bundles topped up, just in case). Why not try the brand-new comedy series Hello Ladies, starring Stephen Merchant as a hopeless romantic who just can't get a date? Or the touching fantasy-romance The Time Traveller's Wife?
Married: Mom and Dad's night out
Book a babysitter, book a ride, and the world is your oyster (until 6am, when the kids wake up)!
There's no better reason to reconnect with your co-parent than Valentine's Day, even if you have long stopped giving each other gifts and cards on February 14th. Though you're a little more encumbered now than when you first met, technology is your ally here.
First, make sure you've got someone to look after your progeny. If you don't have reliable relatives nearby, try Urbansitter, an app that allows you to connect with your community's most trusted nannies and babysitters. And if Urbansitter isn't available in your area, try SA's Sitters4U site, which will give you an obligation-free quote for an au pair, and will help you to find the perfect person for your and your kids' needs.
Even if you won't be celebrating with champagne, use a car service to get you and your partner where you need to go, and home again. Uber is a well-used, speedy and incredibly easy-to-use app, and Taxify is a very good alternative because it only uses approved, accredited taxi services (currently only available in Johannesburg).
It's complicated: Not your first date, but you're not comfortable yet
Do something different!
Want to shake things up with the person you may or may not be officially dating? We recommend taking them to something completely out of the ordinary for Valentine's Day. Break the mould by inviting them to come with you to a music festival, an enlightening seminar, an out-of-this-world party or a race or yoga class. You'll find all of these experiences and more on Eventbrite, the app that notifies you of out-of-the-ordinary events happening in all of South Africa's major cities.
Download Eventbrite »
Single: On your first date
To make a good first impression, you can't go wrong with flowers and a quirky restaurant.
Zomato, the Food and Restaurant Finder app, will give you complete info on every restaurant in town, with scanned-in menus and opening hours, plus handy reviews from other people like yourself who have eaten there. So you can filter out the humdrum, and go for the extraordinary (from the hole-in-the-wall Italian place that overlooks a parking lot and a block of flats to that celebrity chef's new joint that only offers fermented food).
Netflorist has had a revamp, and is now a diverse gifting service that offers 7-day-a-week delivery, sometimes on the same day, if you get your order in early enough. You can choose from a nice bottle of tipple, personalised donuts, picnic baskets, jewellery, and, of course, plenty of posies and beautiful bouquets.
Download Zomato »
Without enough data on your phone, you won't be able to use these apps or services - so make sure to buy a data bundle before Valentine's Day on the My Vodacom App »