Birthday number 2 in lockdown. Restaurants are still closed, no celebration drinks or meals, it is ‘take outs’ only with a 7pm curfew. Last year I baked and slaved, this year I’m using leftover cake from a shoot and bought ‘ready to go’ party snacks and pre-mix drinks. I think I like this approach. This blog is dedicated to easy. Easy, fuss free parties, minimal clean ups and no ovens required. When you lean closer to 50 than 40, then all this starts to make sense. My top tips for a fun, easy birthday table and attitude that I wrote for Martha Stewart : [Ha]

Planning is not key – go to the Supermarket, you will be inspired by the specials and what’s available. I did not plan to use these fancy magenta ombre shaped [paper] plates, but there they were in the party and basic homeware isle for 3 Euros, it was only then that I planned to use them.

A theme is not necessary – I’ve done so may themes over the years, the theme here is just Supermarché chic – that’s French for chic Supermarket. The French like to turn things around like that, birthday cake is ‘cake of [the] birthday ‘- gâteau d’anniversaire. De-veined little cooked prawns, prawn crackers, herbed cream cheese wrapped in ham cuties on ombre plates – all kinda chic I think. The theme was only decided after the table was set up.

Dress up your tank top – add that old Zara jacket and a skirt and you are ready to go. Was I wearing UGGs? You bet I was. Nail varnish and lipstick? – visit make-up aisle, look for 60 sec quick dry varnish. Hair? – go for the messy but planned look. You don’t have to plan the hair, the make-up lets people think it is a complete look. Mascara with a heavy hand.

The cake/ le gâteau- Usually a big deal, we sing a song and light a candle for it. We layer and ice and buy cake toppers from Etsy. Now here is my pro tip – a loaf cake will do. Leave it naked, slice it up and fan it out on a fancy plate. I used a left over [half] cake from a shoot and it was perfect.

Fruit – nature’s gift, slice it and ‘ombre plate’ it or buy the fruit salad in cups and stack on a pretty cake stand. Jelly can work as well. You will always have the party people who want fruit, you know them, so that’s them covered. I sprinkled my melon with [cupcake] sprinkles.

Savoury – devilled eggs and crisps or prawn crackers, that’s all you really need. Yes, I know the eggs need cooking, but while you decant and plate, they boil away on their own, no effort required. Just scoop the yolks, mix with mayo and pipe or spoon back into the egg. My supermarché has the little prawns complete with the dipping sauce, that’s a winner. Olives and toothpicks, the backbone of any savoury section. I simply used my cream cheese ham bites as a base topped with an olived toothpick. There’s that done.

The table – diamond overlay is key. Create that special overlay to cover the tea stains on your white table cloth by placing a pretty smaller cloth on top with the corners forming diamond drama. A wall decoration is always nice, pin up a Supermarché Happy bday sign or use colourful balls like me.

Drinks – pre-mixes are genius. I used a mojito pre-mix, just add a lime and paper umbrella [and alcohol if you need]. Bring out the fancy glassware- here unfortunately you can’t take a shortcut – no shortcuts for the glassware and the mascara. Paper cups are a bad invention.

Well that was easy.