How to Celebrate a Birthday in Lockdown

Birthdays: some love them, some hate them, some try to bypass them altogether. Whichever camp you fall into, I’m sure a birthday in lockdown will be one you won’t forget. For most, you might associate birthdays with parties, get-togethers, blowing out candles whilst your work colleagues awkwardly warble their way through Happy Birthday To You. But for Spring babies, celebrations have been muted and moved online. The postman is likely holding a few birthday cards hostage and you’ll feel the need to disinfect them and your hands after any land on your mat, eyeing them like unexploded grenades. Yes, it’s an odd time to have a birthday. HOWEVER, having just celebrated my father’s, my husband’s and my birthday all in lockdown, I’ve figured out some ways to make it special for a loved one or yourself.

Birthday Cake
We know the world is going bonkers right now for banana bread and if that floats your boat, then get baking for that birthday slice (or three). A chocolate cake was on my to-bake list and had been my intention for my birthday before my husband came home from a weekly M&S food shop bearing a Colin the Caterpillar – the staple office cake that is actually bloody delicious. With only two of us to fight over the feet, it was gone in a matter of days. For my husband, a March baby, I baked up a Lemon Drizzle with more sugar in the icing than in the cake itself – it was a hit. I kept the sugar fest flowing with some blueberry pancakes to kick off the day. Let’s be honest, food is the source of happiness right now. The sweeter the better.

Birthday Decorations
Digging through my present’s drawer, I uncovered some bunting that had never seen the light of day. It was a perfect way to spruce up the mantel piece. Whether you have a few rogue balloons you can blow up, can make your own bunting or simply make sure any cards get pride of place, make a little splash somewhere in your home for the occasion.

Treat Yo’Self
Whilst you might have to hold off the big party or celebratory plans, this is no time to be demure about treating yourself. And this doesn’t have to mean expensive online orders… It can be as simple as a guilt-free lie-in, a request for breakfast in bed, a luxurious soak in the bath or an I.O.U for a massage once lockdown is lifted. My present to myself was 1 kilo of pick’n’mix. Yes, you read that right, ONE WHOLE KILO OF SWEETS from Pick Yo Mix! Best £15 I’ve ever spent and happy that my greed supported a small business. 

Take Your Time
One thing I have always loved to do on my birthday is really take my time and enjoy getting ready. That means that no step is missed in a very indulgent morning beauty routine. From a face mask and hair mask before a steaming hot shower to exfoliating head to toe, a spot of body brushing and applying body lotion to my parched skin. Provide entertainment whilst you apply your make-up with a favourite podcast, audiobook or phone call to a friend. Making myself feel pampered and dressed up is a massive mental gamechanger in lockdown life so I say embrace the abandoned make-up bag and try to remember how you styled your hair before the messy bun moved in.

Birthday Food
We’ve touched on it already but meal-time really is the highlight of every single day for me. On my birthday, it’s even more a source of joy. Plan that weekly shop in advance and make sure you have every urge covered. I ensured I had my favourite coffee in the cupboard, fresh bread for a bacon butty in the morning, cake for lunch and steak for dinner. 

Zoom to the Party
Whatever app you choose (House Party, Zoom, WhatsApp), get your family and friends on multiple calls throughout the day to ring in those birthday wishes and renditions of happy birthday your ears could do without! Pop a bottle of bubbly with friends, make a Quiz Night of it or go all-out with a murder mystery evening if you’re into that sort of thing. I found myself on a long call with my immediate family being asked to open my presents ‘virtually’ – which meant picking a present off my parent’s coffee table by pointing at the screen and watching my mother unwrap it for me (having just wrapped it up herself before the call). She even went to the lengths of explaining how it felt before opening so I could hazard a guess at what laid beneath the wrapping paper. What dedication!

It’s a lockdown essential but on your birthday, even more so. There’s no waiting for 5o’clock somewhere. Get that Bucks Fizz on the breakfast tray or whatever tickles your fancy. Even I broke my abstinence with a mini bottle of Prosecco.

Document It.
A birthday in lockdown may not feel like something to celebrate given its anti-social implications, but it is a birthday to always remember. Capture it with photographs of the day – even if it’s you unwashed in your PJs for the 50th day running. Do it for posterity’s sake (and to show your grandkids).


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