Looking for ways to celebrate a lockdown birthday? Want to make a someone’s day special? Check out our creative ideas to treat your favourite person, and check out our pick of the best restaurant meal kits.
How to celebrate a lockdown birthday
Curate a personalised gin tasting
Treat your special person to a gin tasting via your favourite virtual meeting platform, or in person if they’re in your bubble. This is an idea that you can tailor depending on the person and experiences you share, so it’s a chance to be really thoughtful. If they’re your favourite travel companion, take a look at our gins from across the globe and organise a virtual tour. We’ve included anecdotes from the countries, as well as how the gins are served in their countries of origin, so you can go all out with garnishes. Or, stick closer to home and pick from some of our favourite small-batch British gins to organise a blind tasting. See if they can detect the floral from the spiced botanicals – you can even create little tasting notecards using personalised Papier notecards.
Recreate Dishoom’s brunch at home
Recreate Dishoom’s famous bacon naan rolls with its great-value brunch kit. This Indian restaurant group has thought of everything to deliver the ‘Bombay with love’ experience. The kit serves two, but there are three balls of dough, so you can practice with one to perfect the cooking technique. A dinky chai kit is also included, so you can make your own pot and fill your kitchen with fragrant spices. There’s even a curated playlist you can buy on CD or vinyl to truly recreate the vibe. £16 for two people, dishoom.com
Dial in to a virtual cheese tasting
Spruce up your cheese knowledge with themed virtual tastings from this small business nestled in the Yorkshire Dales. Pick your session of choice (goat’s cheese, cheese and cider, or blue cheese and port), and let expert cheesemonger Andy Swinscoe guide you through the selection of British cheeses delivered to your door (along with tasting sheets).
If you don’t fancy another Zoom session, take the tasting into your own hands. Buy an expertly curated themed box such as ‘A Taste of the Dales’, choose a bottle of wine, light some candles, pop on your favourite playlist and taste your way through the likes of creamy blue Stichelton, rich Tunworth camembert, and smooth, grassy Hebdon goat’s cheese (made in Yorkshire by Gillian and her 10 goats!). Dedicated cheese fans can sign up to the monthly cheese club subscription to support British cheese on a monthly basis. From £29 for two people, thecourtyarddairy.co.uk
Perform your own matcha tea ceremony
Treat someone who’s longing for adventure by recreating a traditional Japanese tea ceremony at home. Comins Tea, an independent fine tea merchant located in Dorset, has put together a beautiful gift set that includes everything you need to make the perfect bowl of vibrant, frothy matcha. A pouch of stone-ground matcha superior tea comes with a glazed matcha bowl, bamboo whisk and delicate scoop, all handmade in Japan by artisans. There’s a handy guide with tips for measuring, whisking and serving the matcha to ensure you get the best results. It’s a rich, energising and bittersweet treat. £85, cominstea.com
For a Friday night hoot, treat yourself and your partner or pal to an interactive cocktail evening courtesy of Shoreditch-based Mixology Events & TT Liquor. Join a top-class mixologist via Zoom as they teach you how to make five complex cocktails (elegant daiquiris, refreshing gimlets and tiki-style zombies, complete with flaming limes). Shaking and stirring techniques, perfect pairings and bartender tips are shared along the way. A box of perfect measures, garnishes and equipment is delivered in advance, so all you need is a selection of your favourite glassware, a knife and plenty of ice. Other attendees are also on camera (optional, of course), which lends itself to some serious Gogglebox-style fun, culminating in a create-your-own cocktail competition. An extremely fun virtual evening with some serious skills learnt for future lockdown cocktail nights. £120 for two people, mixologyevents.co.uk
Recreate a Betty’s Yorkshire afternoon tea
Treat yourself or your loved ones to afternoon tea from Yorkshire’s most renowned Swiss tearoom. This cream tea kit is a thoughtful, great-value way of perking up an afternoon at home. The pretty box is filled with hand-baked goodies, including a Yorkshire tea loaf, four fluffy sultana-studded scones, and a jar of strawberry preserve. Just add clotted cream or butter. Plus, the beautifully decorated box of 80 Betty’s Tea Room Blend teabags will keep you going for weeks. £16.50, bettys.co.uk
Deliver light-as-air lamingtons
These light-as-air cake cubes, inspired by traditional Australian coconut-laced lamingtons, come in a pretty pink box that can be delivered to your favourite person’s door to show them you’re thinking about them. Delicate sponge cakes are layered with soft cheese frosting, chocolate ganache and homemade raspberry jam. Our favourite flavour was tiramisu, with a layer of mascarpone doused in Mr Black coffee liqueur, covered in a decadent espresso and chocolate blanket. From £20 per box, radiolamington.com
Decorate your own cheesecakes
What better way to gather your pals (virtually!) to celebrate someone special than cheesecake. Pleesecakes’ Build Your Own at Home range includes a ready-to-rock base with premade filling, along with a cake board, ganache and plenty of signature decorations (choose from chocolate bars, pick ‘n’ mix and more). Or, for a ready-made gift, go for the bundle of six beautifully decorated mini cheesecakes, including flavours such as Oreo, salted caramel and mixed berry. A great shout for a friend with a celebration – you can get it delivered straight to them, wherever they live in the UK. From £28 per cheesecake, pleesecakes.com