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My insider tips for a lockdown birthday!

We had a very significant birthday in our house this week – the husband turned fifty.  This is my third family birthday in lockdown and I’m becoming rather expert on planning and executing a successful lockdown birthday celebration. I thought I’d share with you a few of my insider tips.

Firstly, Amazon is your friend.  Absolutely everything you could ever want, and indeed everything you would never want, is available.  Beware, however, it’s not just the birthday balloons that are inflated but many of the prices too. Also look carefully at the delivery dates.  I didn’t. The central cake decoration, a jaunty cricketer figurine intended to detract from the cake mess beneath, did not arrive on time and a closer look at the order details tells me that it is due at the start of August. I have no need for a cricketer figurine, however jaunty, in August.

Secondly, be careful what you ask your children to help with.  I asked boys numbers one and two to choose and customise birthday cards for their father. Not so wise. Suffice to say that the cards chosen were totally unsuitable bordering on offensive.  Another of their tasks was to blow up the balloons I’d bought in vast numbers and at vast expense.  Another monumental error. Boys just can’t stop themselves from over-inflating balloons, popping balloons, fighting with balloons and generally causing latex carnage.  The poor dog who was unfortunate enough to be shut in the room with the boys was so terrified that she was spotted desperately attempting to exit, on her hind legs with both front paws on the door handle, human-style.  I feel her pain. I’d feel the same shut in a room with boys one and two, even without the balloons.

Thirdly, don’t be over-ambitious in your cake-making. I was. I got click-happy – as is my wont with Amazon – and bought 5 and 0 cake moulds. How difficult can it be?  The answer is extremely.  As my daughter and I put beautifully-filled moulds in the oven, I smugly allowed myself a little daydream about applying for the next series of The Great British Bake Off.  Very premature.  Cakes made in number moulds do not willingly come out of their moulds. Fact.  After an intense battle, utterly furious, I threw the cakes, still stubbornly clinging to their moulds, into the bin. Another afternoon of my life I can never get back.

Despite these issues in the run-up to the birthday, the actual day was a triumph. Fuelled by champagne, a ban on the Xbox for the boys and a movie put together by me and my daughter of messages from the husband’s nearest and dearest  (guaranteed to elicit a tear) we actually had one of our happiest lockdown days so far. Roll on family birthday number four next month. I’ve got this nailed!

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