This wasn’t quite the celebration I had in mind when I started planning my sisters 28th birthday. I don’t know when this little tradition of us arranging each others birthday became a thing, but over the last couple of years we have at least (or I have, more the fool am I) co organised each others celebrations. Pre-pandemic I had booked bottomless brunch at the Alchemist in Birmingham followed by Karaoke booth and cocktails ending up at Digbeth diner for dinner. It was a weekend we were all desperately looking forward to, we had not seen some of our friends for quite a long time so we were all excited to catch up over copious amounts of cocktails. We were supposed to go to Birmingham on the 21st, by Monday 16th we decided we should maybe, perhaps, probably, just in case start thinking of having a plan B in place just in case worst situation Birmingham wasn’t ‘open’. Monday 16th evening we didn’t really think that would be the case if we are honest, we strongly believed we would still be going, then fast forward to the Saturday and we were two days away from full lock down and our party of eleven went down to a party of four, three of which are family and our friend Niece.
I really wanted to make this birthday as good as I could for my sister, it was the first single birthday in four years but not only was it Pip’s birthday that weekend it was my Mum’s husbands birthday on the Friday, Mother’s Day on Sunday and my sister’s and my friend’s actual birthday on Monday 23rd, and Pip was going into work.
Pip’s birthday celebration didn’t resemble the original plan at all other than both included some smashed avo. We were lucky it took place before total lock down, I had ordered bottles of mini Prosecco originally for all the girls who were coming to Birmingham. Last minute I did a quick shop of balloons which I got from Waitrose, the ribbon on the balloons was old and already in the house. The cake I made myself, thankfully Pip taught me well.
On the Saturday I helped record her IGTV content and we went to my older sisters for food and drinks and plenty of dancing with our Nephew. On Sunday I helped her with all her new IKEA furniture, I thought a favour is as good as a party right??? Then we had take out Afternoon Tea from Winstanley House to celebrate Mother’s day which we ate in one of the fields at a distance from each other – how I like ALL family occasions to be.
Then on Monday I decorated the house, I cooked the basic millennial breakfast of avocado and egg with our friend Tiff before they went off to work. I baked her a cake on Monday night and nipped up the road for some fish and chips (the only place still open in Tiny Town). Thankfully wine seems to be in abundance in this house so that got us through it. We sat in the lounge with our make shift dinner with our Dad whilst watching Boris’ Lock down announcement LOL it was a birthday she definitely won’t forget for sure. I am putting it forward as a scene when the inevitable Netflix documentary comes out about it all.
These are the little things I did to try and make the best of a coronavirus filled birthday, so if you have any celebrations coming up for a friend and family you can still celebrate.
I do live with my sister so it made this all a little easier. If you are self isolating with that person you are in more luck than others but there are plenty of nice things you can do for those who you don’t live with and cannot see.
Get dressed up
It is hard enough to get dressed when you are working from home but its even harder when you know you are confined to your house for most of the day. If you are celebrating even if you are on your own I suggest putting your favourite outfit on, doing your hair and even putting a bit of make up. I know it feels a little wasteful but it will boost your mood just a tad. Dress as if you are going out for that birthday meal you had planned, it will make the evening feel more than a hungover dirty takeaway in your house.
Make a quiz or get some games
I love a quiz, pandemic or not a birthday needs a quiz. I know my sister loves playing card games like gin rummy etc so last minute I spotted these Gin Rummy drinking card games which are super cute so we had plenty of games to play. TikTok with my nephew kept us busy enough but having games means you get some time away from TV and the usual routine.
Post something small just to give them to open
If you are not seeing your friends and family on their birthday and occasions make sure you pop them something in the post. As far as I am aware the post office services are still running. It will make their birthday feel better by having something to open. I think card companies and flower deliveries such as Moonpig, Bloom and Wild etc are still taking orders just allow extra time! Buy gift vouchers instead of worrying about presents – especially if you can support a local brand or company who could do with the support as well.
Plan something good to eat
We had planned a last minute Monday night take out. We were hoping with the increase in restaurants turning to takeaways we would be ok but by Monday the Thai and Indian restaurants near us had closed leaving only Domino’s and a handful of Fish and chip shops open. We opted for fish and chips, which were delicious. I am not sure if any take outs are allowed to stay open now but plan an exciting meal even if you have to cook it yourself. You might need a few options just in case the supermarkets and deliveries don’t have your first choice in stock. If this weather continues and space allows take a picnic outside, its not very often we get the chance to enjoy a picnic.
Face time with friends
On Monday Fliss, Niece and I arranged a group Facetime with Pip so it felt like we were together. It was so nice to see their faces and felt like as a group of friends had made an effort for Pip to mark the day as something different to the rest. Remember face timing friends is so important every day.
Decorations and Theme
Decorate the house if you can! I was lucky that I had access to shops which sold these items. I got the balloons from Waitrose, which you inflate yourself. Our waitrose isn’t massive so most stores/ Ocado should have them in stock just remember to order in plenty of time. Again I am not sure about Amazon but Moonpig etc do have decorations. Fliss made me a birthday room last June which was one of my favourite parts of my birthday so I tried to recreate that and the balloons have stayed up since! If you are more creative than me (not hard at all) you can instate a theme to celebrate the day with everyone FaceTiming in dressed in that theme too!
Little touches don’t have to cost money they are just time and a little bit of thought. I am not that creative but if you are artistic draw something, if you can sing, sing something, if you can cook, cook something and drop it off for them if you can. It’s going back to basic to do something a little more meaningful.
Bake a cake
I know we are all short on money at the moment and the thought of queuing in the supermarket for a cake just sounds horrendous, so get creative. I am a terrible baker, I can do a banana loaf and that is about it, so it took some practice. One charcoaled cake went in the bin but I got there eventfully, worst case make some fairy cakes, it always feels a bit more like a birthday when there are candles to blow out.
Most of all just don’t worry too much, so many of us are experiencing this, hen dos, weddings and other big occasions are being cancelled so as frustrating as it is it is just temporary and the celebrations while resume when everyone is safe and well again. So stay at home, get a bit of fresh air everyone is short on money so don’t be ashamed to say you need to save to look after yourself and just remember there is hopefully never going to be a birthday like this again.