Thirty is not what it used to be. A pair of cosy slippers might have once been a well received 30th birthday gift, but these days, you’re more likely to be met with expressions of mirth, or at worst, an eye roll paired with an uncomfortable silence.
As middle age recedes thanks to our collective elongated adolescence, shifting social attitudes and the sorry state of the housing market, many 30yos are enjoying the freedom of not settling down while being in the prime of their lives.
Wiser than in your twenties, but still with plenty to learn, turning 30 remains a major life landmark that calls for a bells-and-whistles blowout. And, naturally, with any major celebration comes presents. But not just any gifts - reaching 30 deserves something special.
Whether it’s new kit for a much-loved hobby or the latest tech that’ll streamline their day, there are plenty of ideas to thrill the birthday boy or girl.
Not sure where to start? Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve rifled through the shelves of the internet to bring you the nicest, coolest gift to give friends and family marking their third decade.
From fun experiences that should equip them with new skills to chic barware with which to toast the good times, we’ve rounded up our top picks below.
See our favourite ideas
Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker 4.7L OP100UK
Take their budding culinary skills to Masterchef levels with a clever kitchen gadget. Ninja's machine is a one-pot shot of genius, and can do everything from slow cook to pressure cook, air fry, steam, bake/roast - even sear and sauté. Even if they're not the keenest cook, this machine, where in most cases all you need to do is sling the ingredients into the main pot, will make them relish home cooking. Best of all, it's on sale right now - use the savings on fancy wrapping paper.
£149.99 | Ninja *On sale from £169.99
Fortnum & Mason The Birthday Hamper
There's nothing like a hamper to shower someone special with treats. Fortnum & Mason has the best, boujiest selection going, with options for chocoholics, foodies and boozehounds, all delivered in a covetable F&M wicker hamper (which as a bonus gift, they can use as social status-affirming storage). Options start at £75 for a Tea Basket up to £2,500 for the Extraordinary Drinks Hamper. The crowd-pleaser? Fortnum's has thought of all things birthday in the five-piece Birthday Hamper, which comes in at £100, so ideal if you and some others are looking to club together for a thoroughly spoiling gift.
Edge of Ember Jewellery
For the jewellery magpie who’s been hankering for timeless everyday elegance, we present enviable treasure in the form of Edge of Ember. The ethical jewellery brand centres around making fine pieces that you can wear for any occasion, and it uses sustainable lab-grown diamonds in its Conscious Design collection. Fans include INTHEFROW’s Victoria Magrath, who has collaborated on a holiday-inspired Paradise collection that’ll have them dreaming of faraway lands. Try the initial and birthstone necklaces for a birthday gift to remember.
Diamonds for less? See our favourite places to buy the sparkling rocks online
Patch Plants The Unkillable Houseplants Set
Houseplant sales surged in lockdown, and the trend to fill our homes with greenery shows no sign of wilting. If your friend loves nothing more than nurturing their plant baby, add another to the mix with a doorstep delivery from one of the city’s best suppliers. Patch Plants has an incredible array of varieties, as well as bundles like The Unkillable Set - handy for well-meaning amateur gardeners with an unfortunate habit of killing their plants. This squad can withstand pretty much anything. Add pots for an additional cost if you’re feeling flush.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera with Built-In Flash & Hand Strap, Sky Blue
The instant gratification of an instant camera shows no sign of dissipating, especially with the mania for all things 90s. Help them capture special memories with the retro-look Instax Mini 11, which has an auto-brightness adjust feature and works well, even when light is scarce. It comes in a choice of other pastel shades as well as black and white.
SUNDAY RILEY Superstars Kit Vol. 2
Good friends care about each other’s skin. Revive your pal’s skincare routine with this gift set from Sunday Riley, a beauty ed favourite. It contains four 15ml bottles of the brand’s hero products; Good Genes, a glycolic acid treatment; C.E.O, a vitamin C serum for brightening; A+, a high dose retinoid serum; and Auto Correct, a miracle brightening and depuffing cream for their peepers. Presented in a pretty pink iridescent box, just add a bow to make it ready for birthday gifting.
Calhoun & Co. Good at Naps Woven Throw Blanket
Help them nap in style with this statement blanket, available at Urban Outfitters. Perfect for the friend who loves nothing more than a quick cat-nap, the jacquard throw is made from soft cotton and sports a reversible design, emblazoned with the words 'Good At Naps'.
Kalinko Strand Rattan Ice Bucket in Teal
When you get to a certain age, homewares begin to overtake fashion in shopping. For homey things with heart, look to Kalinko, which sells an incredibly chic collection of recycled glassware, rattan pieces and soft furnishings handmade in Burma by the country’s artisans. Our money’s on this hotel-worthy ice bucket, wrapped in a handsome dark green rattan it’s ideal for keeping the birthday bubbles cool for up to 12 hours. It comes with a matching pair of ice tongs too.
Wacom Intuos S, Bluetooth Pen Tablet
One for drawing hobbyists, this tablet will help take their art to the next level. Simply use the stylus to draw on the pad and using the wonder of Bluetooth, their image will appear on their laptop, allowing them to create more professional images. As well as sketching, it allows you to retouch images and comes with a free three month trial to educational software so they can get the most out of their new gadget.
Taste Cocktails Espresso Martini Cocktail Kit
Coffee lovers will adore this Taste Cocktails kit, which has everything they need to whip up killer Espresso Martinis from the comfort of their own home. Each one is made to order with enough ingredients to make seven serves. As well as bottles of vodka, they will find a bottle of coffee liqueur, hazelnut liqueur, amaretto and a recipe card to make modern variations. Cheers!
Girl Visual Lucky You Art Print
Whether they own their place or they're in a houseshare, a great print can do wonders in livening up their walls. Fy has a massive selection spanning colours and themes. We're into this fun take on the Queen from a pack of cards that channels Lady Luck into their space. Add a frame to complete the gift.
National Art Pass
With the capital’s centres of culture open once more, now’s the perfect time to treat your pal to an ArtPass that will let them check out the latest exhibitions and shows for free, or a much-reduced cost - up to 50 per cent off. It’s not just London-focused either; the card unlocks museums and institutions across the country with an annual membership.