I thought I was one of the lucky ones who wouldn’t have to spend their birthday stuck in lockdown, and yet with the country shunted back into lockdown once more, here I am frantically trying to pull some kind of birthday celebration out of the bag so I don’t end up curled up on the sofa, watching another of Netflix’s cheesy rom-coms with a tub of ice cream and a large glass of vino on hand.
The pandemic really has taken the fun out of everything. My ideal birthday would start with a lazy morning, before heading out to a late lunch with friends and then heading to a gig at one of my favourite venues in Brighton (I live here by the way, so I’m a true Brightonian at heart, sorry London), gin and tonic in hand. Of course, with lockdown firmly in place for another two weeks, I’m having to swap my gigging session with old YouTube live gig videos.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s the first time my birthday has fallen on a Saturday since I was eighteen. Frustrated doesn’t even cut it.
In the hope of inspiring myself and others who have to live with the fact that their birthday will be spent stuck inside the same four walls they’ve been staring at since March, here are some ways to celebrate a lockdown birthday.
Book a virtual activity
Of course, we’d all rather be out with our friends in the real world rather than stuck in front of our computer screens virtually hanging out, but there are several companies who have helped to bring the party to you virtually.
For the wine lovers, The Wine Workshop has a host of virtual wine workshops running throughout lockdown 2.0 that you can get involved with. Every Friday, they’re doing virtual wine tastings with an expert over Zoom. The wine will be delivered to your door and you can enjoy a night of education and fine wine.
With Christmas also around the corner, combine your birthday with a sprinkle of festive spirit and take part in an online wreath making workshop. Shilpa Reddy Flower Design have moved their workshops online, helping you take part in a festive activity at home. Run by Shilpa and her team, you’ll be sent out a kit and guided through the steps to making a perfect wreath to adorn your front door. Or, make your own wreath at home with one of these DIY kits.
Organise a Zoom quiz night
I always said I wouldn’t be that person but here I am, finding myself trying to organise a family Zoom quiz to line up with my birthday celebrations. As much as I grew tired of them during lockdown number uno, I will always have a soft spot for them due to the endless hours of lockdown fun they gave out to. Plus, it’s the only thing I can guarantee my Grandma will know how to play…
If you’re fed up with the dreaded Zoom quiz, host a virtual games night and play a few from our alternative games selection.
Throw your own karaoke party
Lucky Voice have brought their legendary karaoke booths web-side to bring you hours of fun at home. Helping to add a splash of fun and laughter to your birthday lockdown nights, Lucky Voice have uploaded their 9,000+ song catalogue so you can sing at home. Organise a Zoom session with your friends, book a ‘booth’ online and get hilariously singing in front of your pals. To give you guys an extra slice of lockdown fun, we’ve teamed up with them to offer our readers 31 days of singing for free. All you have to do is use the code HANDBOOKSING to redeem. Just don’t blame us if your out of tune singing smashes some glasses…
Enjoy your favourite restaurant at home
While I’m sure we’d all much rather spend our birthday dining out with friends and loved ones at our favourite restaurants, that just simply can’t happen right now so make do with a classic birthday takeaway instead. Check out our guide to the best restaurants in London delivering to your doors right now or go a little rogue and sample one of these DIY restaurant meal kits.
A few of my favourite tried-and-tested DIY kits include Sketch’s Mmmm Vegetarian Menu which comprises a four-course meal devised by Sketch’s Executive Chef Frederic Don. Or for a birthday carb feast, try the Jameson x Homeslice Take & Bake kit, which includes everything you need to make a perfect Jameson, ginger ale and lime cocktail, plus two authentic 12” Homeslice pizzas. Yum.
Mix up your favourite cocktail
While we might all try to convince ourselves we’re pros when it comes to mixing up cocktails (my uni days of mixing vodka and squash are haunting distant memories), we can all do with a little helping hand and ease when it comes to cocktail making.
The latest addition to Bermondsey Street, The Last Talisman, has recently launched a cocktail delivery and pick-up service, bringing expertly crafted cocktails straight to your door. Choose from the likes of the Ghost Negroni; Temptress Tini; and Dynamite Daiquiri and level up your cocktail experience at home.
Lockdown Liquor & Co also do great mixed cocktails, ready to be enjoyed with a dash of ice and slice.
For other booze deliveries, check out our latest delivery guide.
Organise a virtual movie night
There’s nothing quite like a slumber party and at the top of that list is watching endless rom-coms and cheesy movies. Unless you live with a bunch of housemates, your best luck here is hosting one virtually. Both Disney+ and Netflix have Chrome plug-ins that allow you to host public and private rooms so you can watch together, while apart. Get in a few of your favourite snacks, drinks and goodies, and relive the slumber party, virtual style.
Pamper yourself spa-style
If your ideal birthday would see you getting a full body massage and facial from one of London’s leading spas, recreate the experience at home with a few simple steps.
From arming yourself with new comfies brought to you by a loved one to setting the mood with essential oils, make sure you take time to plan every step perfectly. Relax with ease and run yourself a steaming hot bath to help purify your pores. We love Soak Sunday’s selection of bath salts and body oils.