Lockdown birthdays: ideas to celebrate at home

Having a January birthday can be tough as it is, even without the impact of a global pandemic.

People generally don’t have any money after Christmas, it’s cold, the festive spirit has dissipated and everyone’s decided to give up booze or get on a fitness hype. Add lockdown into the mix and it can seem like a bit of an uphill struggle.

But hold that thought. The silver lining of not going out means that you potentially have more money to spend on the things you want to do, albeit at home. Plus, there’s absolutely no pressure to host a party or anything like that.

As ever, we urge you to spend that money with independent businesses across Greater Manchester.

So if you’re planning a birthday celebration over the next few weeks, for yourself or someone you live with or for someone you can’t see, here are some ideas for things to do, drink and eat – none of which involve a shit Zoom quiz.

Splash out on ingredients

The Easy Fish Co in Heaton Moor

If you’d normally go out for dinner on your birthday, how about putting that money towards buying some top quality ingredients to cook up at home?

Anything you buy from your local butchers, fishmongers, cheese shop and baker will be infinitely better than something you can find in a supermarket and make whatever you’re cooking feel extra special.

Treat yourself to top quality produce from the likes of The Butcher’s Quarter in the Northern Quarter and Frosts’ in Chorlton. Enjoy fresh fish from fishmongers like Out of the Blue in Chorlton, The Easy Fish Co in Heaton Moor and What’s the Catch in Urmston. And, build the cheeseboard of dreams from shops like The Cheese Hamlet in Didsbury, Chorlton Cheesemongers and The New Market Dairy in Altrincham.

If you don’t have a local butcher on your doorstep or simply want to get ingredients delivered to you, Meat Co Manchester’s meat boxes are a special treat. Top quality cuts of meat, delivered to your door. They’ve also created a meat and beer box in collaboration with Manchester brewer Marble which contains brisket, ox cheek and six cans of beer.

Let someone else do the cooking (or most of it)

Hawksmoor at home kits

If letting the food come to you is more your vibe, choose from an array of meal kits and takeaways on offer from Greater Manchester restaurants and traders.

For meal kits, diners can spoil themselves with extra special ones from the likes of Hawksmoor, WOOD and The French chef, Adam Reid.

And, if there are friends and family you’d like to celebrate with, you could all order the same kit, cook it up simultaneously and ‘eat’ together on a video call. It’ll likely be chaos, but it’ll almost definitely be funny.

If you’re planning a full day of eating and drinking, check out the Eat Well Mcr marketplace where you can order from a wealth of independent restaurants and food producers. Think Pollen bread, cheese boards, meal kits, scotch eggs, cakes, tarts and a whole load of booze. Plus, by ordering you’ll be helping to support Eat Well Mcr who feed vulnerable people across the city.

Equally, if you want to do zero cooking whatsoever, check out our lists of the best restaurants and traders doing takeaways, as well as our Veganuary guide if you’re after a plant-based birthday tea.

Birthday booze

Cocktails from Ducie Street Warehouse

Screw Dry January. It’s your birthday and you’ll silently weep into a cocktail if you want to.

Prestwich’s independent wine shop and bar, Grape to Grain are doing live online wine tastings. They are hosting wine tastings every Friday and Saturday throughout January and February, each with a slightly different theme.

A great birthday activity or as a present, Grape to Grain will deliver wines with paired cheeses to your door in measures of either 100ml, 500ml or full bottles. The wine bar delivers across Greater Manchester with free delivery within specific postcodes and £5 outside of those areas. More information here.

If you want to pretend you’re at an actual bar on your birthday, order some ready mixed cocktails, such as the new cocktail range from Ducie Street. They’ve got mixes like Braeburn & Oak Honey Old Fashioned and Negroni Magazzino.

Other great places to buy your booze in Greater Manchester:

Salut Wines, City Centre

Reserve Wines, Didsbury

Tiny’s Tipple, Chorlton

The Epicurean, Chorlton

Carringtons, Chorlton

Order a big ol’ cake

A vibrant bespoke cake from Bakeorama

Lockdown means that there’s none of this bringing your own cake to the office on your birthday. This year, you can order yourself a massive cake. Eat it in bed, in the bath, no one’s judging you here.

Bakeries are classed as essential shops and many places are doing large celebration cakes to order for delivery or collection.

From wacky, rainbow coloured cakes by Bakeorama to classic celebration cakes from Slattery in Whitefield. Order whatever you fancy and look forward to not sharing it.


A bouquet from Northern Flower

Waking up to flowers on your birthday can be pretty special way to start your day.

So, whether you’re ordering them for the person you live with, for someone you can’t see on their birthday, or just for yourself, there are independent florists in Manchester offering delivery services throughout lockdown.

Here are some of our favourites:

Northern Flower, Northern Quarter

Frog, Northern Quarter

Flourish, City Centre & Didsbury

Verdure Floral Design, MediaCity

Ixia Flowers, Urmston

Blossom Flowers, Chorlton

Robie Flowers, Prestwich

Are you celebrating a birthday in lockdown? Let us know how you’re celebrating.

Federal opens at Altrincham Market: serving coffee and Portuguese custard tarts

Federal Cafe Bar has opened a new coffee cart in Altrincham Market.

The Australian-style cafe and bar has long been a favourite for coffee, cocktails and brunch at its site in the Northern Quarter, which was followed by Federal’s second cafe on Deansgate which opened in 2019.

Now, the people of Altrincham are set to get a slice of Federal with the opening of their new coffee cart at the market.

The Federal coffee cart is on the corner of New Market Square

Located on the corner of New Market Square, Federal will be serving up a takeaway menu featuring coffee made with beans from Ozone Coffee Roasters.

Federal is also behind the Just Natas brand which opened in the Arndale Market last year, selling traditional Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts), which have been served at Federal since it opened.

The coffee cart will also be selling these now famous Portuguese custard tarts, along with other baked goods.

Those who live nearby can swing by and grab a delicious hot drink, a tart or some cake, while out doing some essential shopping, or on a daily walk.

It will serve coffee, Portuguese custard tarts and other baked goods

Federal’s coffee cart will be at the market every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 9am to 3pm.

The other Federal locations in the city centre are currently open for takeaways from 8am to 4pm daily.

For more information on all three sites, visit their Instagram page: instagram.com/federalcafebar.