I did a little experiment on Saturday.

For two solid hours I did housework, which included vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, wiping down cupboards, cleaning the top of the stove and polishing furniture.

That along with a couple of trips down to the wheelie bin in the backyard clocked up a total of 2500 steps.

Not bad.

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I had lunch. Went to Jarks and the place was packed. Nice food and the service was great. Nothing was a problem for them and they were all smiles.

They even provided a stockcar out front for children to have a look at and climb into, I kid you not.

Anyway, I digress.

Watered and fed, I headed for the shops. By the time I got home, which was two hours later, I had done 5457 steps.

So 2500 for housework and 2957 for shopping.

I knew it all along but now I have proof - shopping is way better for you than housework.

You get more exercise and fresh air walking from shop to shop.

Although I have to admit my shopping was rather boring. It wasn't new shoes or perfume.

It was a couple of frying pans and a roasting dish.

If you have been anywhere near the shops lately, you can't miss the fact that it's Valentine's Day.

There are hearts and bows everywhere.

The Warehouse has a huge table covered in bunches of red roses and I'm sure there would have been a similar display of chocolate. I didn't go looking.

One place I went into had three - yes, just three - red roses for $30!

I might stand outside my house on Tuesday morning and sell my roses for $5 each.

Bargain.

Come to think of it, the neighbour has got an amazing rose garden. We could make a killing here.

It's the only way I'll get any roses. You-know-who is not a fan of Valentine's Day.

That's okay. However, if you happen to be a male reading this here's a little word of advice: Do not buy your wife or girlfriend anything to do with housework. No irons, vacuum cleaners, mops or brooms.

Also it might pay to stay away from kitchenware such as toasters and toasted sandwich makers.

If you are going to make the effort you might as well make it a romantic one.

It doesn't have to be flowers or chocolates.

Make a dinner date or go to the movies together.

Also a word of warning to single people who might be feeling a bit lonely.

Apparently there are scammers just waiting in front of keyboards for lonely hearts to log on and start looking for love.

Finding love online has become as common as finding it at any social engagement where there are actual people you can see and talk to.

I've heard some really happy stories about people finding love online.

I've also heard some stories about people being sucked into handing over money or, worse still, losing their heart to someone who is not even real.

Lonely people are vulnerable and who can blame them for wanting to believe that the person they are "talking to" online really likes them?

So if you know someone who will be lonely today call them, text them, meet them for coffee.

If you are lucky enough to have someone you love, make sure you tell them and give them a hug.

And for all you romantics, don't forget to share your love story with this paper.

- Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.