What would you do for a lockdown birthday? This week, I celebrated my own. Normally, I drag the whole family off to visit something I’d like to see, whether that’s heading off for an egg hunt and maze exploration at the OTT Somerleyton, or driving to Framlingham Castle playing Ed Sheeran at full volume. My husband and I might even go for a rare meal out. I look forward to snapping up birthday freebies from loyalty schemes, but no chance of a Greggs ‘sweet treat’ when our local branch is shut.
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Here’s what we did instead for a birthday during lockdown.
Went for a country walk
Not wanting to break the tradition of imposing an outing on the whole family, I insisted on a country walk for our daily exercise. We often head along the Railway Walk in Hadleigh, but this time we went the whole couple of miles to the old Raydon Wood railway station and back. The sun shone, the bluebells were out, and (miraculously) the only person who complained was Otto the dog when we carried him part way to save his legs.
Sat in the sunshine
One of my favourite parts of my birthday was sitting outside in the sunshine while my husband took care of the cooking, and helped the children bake a birthday cake. I was even inspired to hack back an exploding hedge (previous examples here)
Turns out future me was very glad I added cheapo lemonade to a long distant supermarket delivery, so we could both recover with Pimms & lemonade.
Treated ourselves to a cream tea
Casting around for an alternative to a meal out, I spotted that Tiptrees, the local jam company, are delivering cream teas locally (info here). I went for the £22 option, with four fruit scones, four little post of strawberry jam, four slices of lemon drizzle cake, four slices of carrot cake, eight shortbread biscuits and I added four pots of clotted cream. Reckon that’s a good deal compared to a restaurant meal.
When it was delivered a few days after my actual birthday, I rustled up some sandwiches from the last of a loaf, dug out the cake stand, found some fizz and popped the kettle on. Then we all sat outside in the evening sunshine, enjoying a birthday tea. I even set aside four of the shortbread biscuits for us to enjoy the next day. Don’t think I’ve enjoyed a party tea so much since the days of Hula Hoops, sausages on sticks and iced gems.
Took part in a Zoom Murder Mystery call
No chance of a big birthday party during lockdown, but I was delighted when some friends organised a murder mystery game that just happened to be night before my birthday.
Normally everyone comes over to ours for the first May bank holiday weekend, but looks like that’s cancelled this year. So it was brilliant to see loads of them on the small screen, trying to figure out whodunnit.
Character sheets for ‘Murder on a Train‘ went flying round by email beforehand, and dressing up boxes were ransacked for appropriate costumes. I got away quite lightly as Miss Crimson, international spy, in a red dress and too much lipstick. My 10-year-old decided at the last minute to take part as Gilbert the butler, in his school trousers, a tie, and a too big white shirt and black jacket. We’re still trying to wash out the last of the hair wax.
Free Zoom calls have been such a blessing recently, for keeping in touch with friends, music lessons and fellow bloggers.
Nabbed the BBC Gardeners’ World 2 for 1 garden entry card
We couldn’t visit any gardens for my birthday this year, but I live in hope that lockdown will end eventually. So I spent some of the birthday money from my parents-in-law (many thanks!) on the May issue of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine. The May issue includes a year-long 2 for the price of 1 entry card to 461 gardens – surely some will reopen before then??
The magazine normally costs £5.45. But if you can’t get to a newsagent, you can order a copy online for £6.99 including postage, or pay an extra pound. and get six packets of seeds. I went for the £7.99 option, and it came with seeds supposedly worth £17.95. So now I have lots of colourful Johnsons/Sarah Raven flower seeds to sow, and some lettuce to grow in my mini Mothers’ Day greenhouse (link in ‘help with hobbies‘)
Updated post on where to buy cheap garden seeds
Now – over to you. What is your top frugal tip this week? What would you do for a lockdown birthday? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear.
Want more frugal inspiration? Do head over and join the Much More With Less #MoneySavingYear Facebook group, to share thrifty tips and support. It’s a private group so your comments won’t be splashed all over your friends’ Facebook feeds.