Parties - like most things - have not been the same since COVID-19 took over our lives. Normally there would be discos, trips to the bowling alley or even just a gathering of friends. And unless you were lucky enough to have your birthday in late July to October, you probably did not get to do any of these things. Perhaps instead you spent more time with your family, getting to watch movies or play games. But yet there is still something special about getting to celebrate your special day with people who you are normally surrounded by five days a week. Because of this, there has been a greater dependence on Zoom and Skype during lockdown.

One of the best party ideas I have heard of was quite simplistic in its set up and yet still rather ingenious: a themed Zoom party! For example, if you were celebrating Alice’s birthday there could be an Alice in Wonderland theme. This is also an opportunity to have some fun with the Zoom backgrounds, improve some arts and crafts skills, or to dig through the collection of dress up items at the back of your wardrobe. Though of course, something is still missing when socialising online instead of in person. There is the lack of physical connection that we used to experience when meeting up outside.

And so for some, having a two-person party on a walk is the idea of a perfect and enjoyable day. Some celebrations may just include putting your dog on a lead, picking up some poo bags and walking to meet a friend. Although very different from a traditional party, smaller and more intimate events like these have become something to look forward to for many in lockdown.

If we ever feel nostalgic and think back to the first lockdown, I’m sure the copious volumes of bread and cake we all made will come to mind. Some were beautiful creations, whilst others were less aesthetically pleasing but no doubt delicious. From this, baking competitions took place all over the country with the aim to improve our kitchen skills. Although these events still took place over Zoom, there was a certain party atmosphere that we’ve all been missing. Perhaps this was because everyone had their own baking to focus on, but interactions became more candid and the pressure to hold long, unending conversations disappeared. Everyone also got the added extra of eating their baked goods fresh out of the oven - as long as you didn’t burn it! Plus the party still had that competitive edge, and so becoming 'Best Baker' got you all the bragging rights.

As the one year anniversary since the beginning of the first lockdown on 23rd March draws near, we all will have celebrated our birthday in one way or another - albeit under unusual circumstances. But perhaps because of this, we will appreciate the time we get to spend with those we love even more, in all of the birthdays we have yet to celebrate.