Birthday inspiration - how can you celebrate in style during lockdown?

Mum Sophie Ashford made daughter Ava's second birthday extra-special despite lockdown

Mum Sophie Ashford made daughter Ava's second birthday extra-special despite lockdown - Credit: Sophie Ashford

How can you make a birthday special in lockdown?  

Parties might be temporarily banned, but it’s still possible to give children – and adults too – a day to remember. Here are some ideas if you are looking for inspiration.

Sophie Ashford of Felixstowe said daughter Ava really enjoyed her second birthday, during the first lockdown last year.

Children celebrating a lockdown birthday

Ava celebrated with sister Amy and baby brother Zachary - Credit: Sophie Ashford

She said: “We had extra decorations, games at home, and just a quiet family day We just did family time, tuff tray crafts and a bigger birthday cake, which myself and my eldest, Amy, aged 11 now, made the night before. 

“We got her personalised banner from a little UK eBay shop.” 

Sophie added it was actually quite nice to have a fairly quiet birthday, as she had also just had a baby during lockdown,  Zachary.

Toddler with giant dinosaur

Thomas got a thrill when mum Jo's sister Rachel dressed up as a dinosaur for their socially-distanced exercise walk at Needham Lake in November - Credit: Jo Anderson

Jo Anderson's toddler son, Thomas, had an amazing treat on his third birthday in November when Jo's sister, Rachel, dressed up in a giant dinosaur costume to give him a surprise at Needham Lake.  

It certainly made a change to their daily exercise and surprised other walkers too during their socially-distanced walk.

Crazy golf birthday celebration

Donna Mullan used crazy golf for a special birthday celebration for her son during the first lockdown - Credit: Donna Mullan

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Donna Mullan also got creative with birthday celebrations. She said: "We had crazy golf set up for my son's June birthday last year in the first lockdown, and a summer fayre for my daughter's birthday in June also. We did a similar Christmas indoor fayre for my youngest son's sixth birthday in December."

An indoor fayre was a fun idea for Donna Mullan's daughter's birthday

An indoor fayre was a fun idea for Donna Mullan's daughter's birthday - Credit: Donna Mullan

Kelly Jean Sullivan found a special way to mark her daughter, Maddie Wilkinson’s, 16th birthday.

She said: “She had 16 gifts all in individual coloured gift bags. All bags had a heartfelt quote on.” 

Birthday balloons and 16 gifts all in individual coloured gift bags

Special celebrations for Maddie Wilkinson's 16th birthday with 16 gifts all in individual coloured gift bags - Credit: Kelly Jean Sullivan

Katie Versey and her husband, Jamie, from Felixstowe, dreamed up unusual ways to celebrate each other's birthdays in lockdown.

Katie said: "Jamie turned 50 in April during the first lockdown. I made a video of all our family and close friends wishing him a happy birthday. I also managed to get a few 'celebs' to do it also.

"Jamie is a big fan of the TV show Neighbours, and I managed to get Alan Fletcher (Dr Karl Kennedy) and Jason Donovan (Scott Robinson) to participate.

"I also used the website Cameo, where you pay for personalised messages from celebs, to get Ewan Mackintosh (The Office UK) and Scott Major (Lucas Fitzgerald, Neighbours). Jamie absolutely loved it!"

An afternoon tea was delivered to Katie Versey's  home from The Crescent Cafe, Felixstowe

An afternoon tea was delivered to Katie Versey's home from The Crescent Cafe, Felixstowe, after husband Jamie Versey ordered it to celebrate her birthday - Credit: Katie Versey

She added: "For my birthday, my husband had afternoon tea delivered to our home from The Crescent Cafe, Felixstowe, a fairly new business who do extremely lovely food."

Businesses offering unusual celebration ideas

Bubblin Tubs Hot Tub Hire, Ipswich

Hiring a hot tub has become an increasingly popular way to celebrate birthdays in lockdown, not only for adults but for children too.

Cara Bruce of Ipswich said: "We hired a hot tub and it was fantastic. It made my daughter Hollie's seventh birthday. We have already booked our next birthday tub."

Two children celebrating a birthday in a hot tub

Hollie Bruce celebrating her seventh birthday in style with sister Chloe, in a hot tub from Bubblin Tubs Hot Tub Hire in Ipswich - Credit: Nathan Bruce

Another mum, Hayley, said: "Amelia had an amazing lockdown birthday, thanks to Bubblin Tubs hire. Amelia loves swimming and this was a perfect alternative in the comfort of our own home.

"We even had snow on her birthday and being outside in the lovely, warm hot tub made her day! It was a lovely treat for our family and a great way to celebrate our little girl's birthday at home.” 

Owner Andy Scotland said: "The business is run by myself and my friend, Carl. We started in May and have just become busier and busier since.

"We have found that a large percentage of our customers are parents who are currently home schooling and using us a means to give their children a treat during this time. We also do a lot of birthdays and anniversaries."

For more details, search for Bubblin Tubs Hot Tub Hire on Facebook.

Lucy's Princess Parties,  Needham Market

It might be impossible to organise a real-live character party at the moment, but Zoom parties are providing a lockdown alternative - while video messages from a "princess" are another way to make a little girl's birthday special.

Owner Lucy Roper usually provides characters such as princesses and fairies to go along to real-life parties, but has adapted to the current situation.

Children photographed taking part in a Zoom party

A Zoom party means a number of children can join in - as with this event from Lucy's Princess Parties - Credit: Lucy's Princess Parties

She said: "We have started doing Zoom parties with lots of children taking part. They last about 40 minutes and there are party games as well."

She added that video messages from a princess were also proving popular, and these can be personalised with details about the birthday child. 

For more information, search for Lucy's Princess Parties on Facebook. 

A video message from a princess character

Having a video message from a princess character is an unusual idea for lockdown birthdays - Credit: Lucy's Princess Parties

Balloonfetti Creations, Ipswich 

If you’re looking for balloons with a difference, Balloonfetti Creations delivers bespoke balloons for all occasions and is delivering in the Ipswich area.

Its balloon creations include 34-inch giant helium number balloons, balloon columns in both single and double numbers, and personalised bubble balloons. 

Recent orders during lockdown include Gaming Controller Balloons and confetti bubble balloons. 

For more details, visit @balloonfetticreations on Facebook. 

The Cake Garden by AKL, Ipswich

Cupcakes have become increasingly popular during lockdown as an alternative to traditional birthday or celebration cakes.

This bakery offers hand-piped cupcake bouquets, with collection or delivery available. Tulips, roses and chrysanthemums are among the unusual cupcake designs, or you can choose a box of more traditional cupcakes.

To find out more, visit @thecakegardenbyakl  on Facebook.

Peanut Parties, Wickham Market, near Woodbridge

Fan and Richard Johnson opened up their business last year, catering for children’s parties - but had a quick rethink just a few weeks later when lockdown kicked in. 

A space-themed birthday cake from Peanut Parties

A space-themed birthday cake from Peanut Parties, who are delivering cakes for lockdown birthdays - Credit: Peanut Parties

Their deliveries include afternoon teas and birthday cakes, with the option of mini cakes, to make birthdays special even when parties are impossible.

Cakes and teas can be delivered to loved ones with a personalised note. For more details, visit @peanutparties on Facebook. 

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