Celebrating a birthday, lockdown style

Birthday cake

Some ideas on making a lockdown birthday extra special

Like many others at the moment, we celebrated my husband’s 30th birthday in lockdown. When lockdown first started (let’s not discuss how long ago!), I never imagined we’d still be in the same situation and celebrating his birthday without our family and friends around us. We tend to spend birthdays all together and, with four family birthdays in May, it’s always a month full of fun! But birthdays this year have been very different for lots of people and I’m sure you’ve all been finding creative ways to make the most of what we have right now. In case you’re struggling to think of lockdown approved ways to celebrate, I’ve included some of the things that worked for us below.

1. Decorations

I got in there early with ordering decorations online. I wanted to make sure I could fill our tiny apartment with banners and balloons. Growing up, my mum always went OTT on birthday decorations and it’s something I’ve inherited from her. The more balloons, the better!

Pretty Little Party Shop has a good selection of decorations, especially if it’s a milestone birthday. I went for the iridescent milestone birthday bunting and got some cute candles from there too. I also got some “Happy 30th Birthday” balloons from Amazon. The night before his birthday, my husband was banned from the lounge so that I could spend the evening turning it into a birthday grotto!

2. Birthday Breakfast

The plan was to have a lovely birthday breakfast of french toast with fresh berries, freshly brewed coffee and some champagne (it was his 30th after all!) But time ran away with us and we didn’t get round to having breakfast at all. Generally I’m not very good at this but, with a lockdown birthday, I’d definitely say try to go with the flow! I’m saving the ingredients for a nice weekend breakfast instead.

3. Bake their favourite cake

You can’t have a birthday without cake! In our house, cake flavour is always at the request of the birthday boy or girl and this time the request was pretty simple – a Victoria Sponge. I decided to change it up a bit and made a marshmallow buttercream, which was insane! SO MUCH SUGAR! We baked the cake together on the morning of his birthday so it became a bit of birthday activity too. Look out for the cake recipe coming to Half Baked soon.

Birthday cake

4. Presents

I like to buy experiences for birthday presents, we love going away and seeing new places and birthdays feel like the perfect excuse to do that. Also, it means I get to enjoy the present too! But lockdown had other ideas this year so, with a weekend of glamping in the Lake District on hold, I had to come up with a few new ideas. I focused on things that we can do and use in lockdown – Harry Potter Dobble (if you’ve not played this, buy it immediately), a new coffee grinder (for that coffee addiction I’ve been talking about) and some new art to put on the wall. I also came up with “30 things to do while you’re 30”, which helped us to focus on all the fun things we can do when this is all over!

5. Video messages from family & friends

A surprise video full of birthday messages from family and friends was a great way to make sure my husband felt all the love on his birthday. I messaged everyone a week or so before and asked them to film a birthday message. The creativity was incredible! Some of our friends were dressed in full haz-mat suits, Emily and her boyfriend wrote a really cute poem and another friend recorded her message while on her cycle home from work (don’t try this at home!). Soph and her housemate did their message in hilarious broken Italian, wearing chefs hats and drinking negronis. There was even a message from our friends’ cat and dog! 

Once I had everyone’s messages, I edited them all together in iMovie. It was just a case of dragging and dropping, so easy!

6. Cocktails!

Our local gin bar, The Leafy Elephant, has been doing cocktail deliveries during lockdown. I’d seen them on Instagram and thought it was a great idea. They deliver a double shot of gin, tonic to match and some garnish to add. It’s a lovely way to make a cocktail evening at home feel even more special. We ordered them the day before as they weren’t open on his birthday and they kept perfectly in the fridge. We enjoyed them while soaking up the sunshine on the balcony. 

To top it off, we won The Leafy Elephant’s competition for the best photo shared from the weekend! We’re over the moon as they’ve given up £20 towards our next order. More gin coming soon!

7. Get some fresh air

With the weather so beautiful, we decided to pack a picnic and head for our local park. We took a picnic blanket, a little speaker, our Kindles and our new Harry Potter Dobble. We found a quiet spot in the shade and settled in for the afternoon. It was such a lovely way to enjoy the sun and get some fresh air. We even ended up playing catch with a ball my husband just happened to have in his backpack. So much fun!

8. Virtual drinks with friends

We finished the day off with some virtual drinks with friends. It made us miss them all even more but was lovely to see them and to catch up. We decided against a quiz this time (has anyone else got quiz fatigue?) and just had a chat instead, it was a lovely way to spend a birthday evening.

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