It’s my birthday this Wednesday and I’ve come to terms with the fact I’ll be celebrating quarantine-style (just grateful to have my health at this point). According to a quick Google search, some 17 million people also share this special date, so I am guessing others are also staring down the prospect of a socially-distanced celebration. With all party/brunch/dinner plans on hold, I’ve been brainstorming some ways to make not leaving the house an exciting prospect; ways to connect with friends and family online as opposed to off. 26 feels like a good number (I’m turning 26) so please find 26 ideas to help make your birthday special, even in isolation. And Happy Birthday!

Image credit: Instagram/@nycbambi

Sleep in! If you’re working from home, treat yourself to a slow, easy morning. If you live with a friend or partner, demand they serve you your first coffee in bed (politely, of course).

Or get up early and go for a socially distanced walk – bonus points if you make the sun rise!

Indulge in birthday breakfast, quarantine style. I originally had plans to visit Sydney haunt Bills for a bowl of coffee and the infamous ricotta hotcakes, but alas, I will venture to Darlinghurst no more. Instead, I’m going to DIY. Thank You Bill Granger, for shARING YOUR HOTCAKE RECIPE WITH THE INTERNET.

OR have cake and Champagne for breakfast! Why the hell not?

Face time your family. Maybe you can all pop a bottle simultaneously.

Jump on House Party with your friends. Wear your best pyjamas for the occasion. 

Alternatively, try zoom-ing friends for a digital birthday coffee in the morning, Pilates workout or games night. 

If you’re not working, spend the day doing a VIRTUAL MUSEUM TOUR

Dress up! I’ve been looking at treating myself to silk, feather-trimmed pyjamas so I feel less swamp creature and more Cher Horowitz for my 26th lap around the sun. MAISON ESSENTIEL is a beautiful, female-owned label currently sitting in my cart.

Put on a red lip or a glittery eye. Pyjama beauty chic!

Dress down instead! My only gift this year is a new matching tracksuit from Lowes to supplement my WFH wardrobe. You can shop THE SAME ONE HERE.

On that note, I’ve eschewed fancy gifts this birthday because quite a few people close to me are no longer in the same financial position they were last month. Similarly, you might prefer a gift that gives back instead of the contents of your net-a-porter cart. Look at options like vouchers to spend at your favourite restaurants when they re-open, fresh produce from local suppliers, or local loungewear labels.

Order Gelato Messina for lunch. 

Bake a carrot cake – I’ve bookmarked THIS RECIPE by Ottolenghi.

Not into cake? Try baking birthday cookies. THIS CHOCOLATE CHIP RECIPE is one of the most famous on the internet.

Image credit: Instagram/@nycbambi

Cook your own birthday dinner. My favourite recipe right now is this PAPRIKA-RUBBED ROASTED CHICKEN by Alison Roman. It’s soft and juicy and pretty difficult to stuff up. Serve it with crusty sourdough (to mop up the juices) and a fresh green salad with lots of herbs. Save room for dessert.

Or order in. One of my favourite Sydney restaurants – Chin Chin – is doing takeout. Or pizza? Saganaki from apollo? Champagne and fried chicken is another dinner option. 

Use the good glasses and china, no matter what the meal is. 

Light the good candle. My favourite right now is Diptyque SANTAL. Bliss.

Watch an escapist movie after dinner. I love Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Overboard, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, The Wizard of Oz, Stand By Me, The Sweetest Thing, and Some Like It Hot. 

Have a bath. add all your best salts, oils and bubble mixtures. 

Put a face mask on, on indulge in a pair of Chanel UNDER-EYE SHEET MASKS (and take 17 photos for Instagram, naturally). 

Go to bed early. 

Or, stay up til the wee hours of the morning watching Gossip Girl re-runs.