09/06/13 - The Perfect Summer Picnic

England has been having some shockingly nice weather recently - long hot days and warm lazy evenings, perfect for lounging in a deck chair or enjoying a Pimms in a beer garden.  But nothing says British summer-time quite like a picnic.  To me at least, it feels like one of the quaintest and most quintessentially English of summer pursuits...rivaled only by watching cricket and wearing tennis whites.  In my opinion, there is very little that can beat a good picnic.  And I'm not talking soggy sandwiches and crushed crisps with a carton of Ribena pulled out of a cool-bag in the middle of a crowded park with screaming children and wasps all around.  When I picnic, I picnic properly.

A picnic hamper is essential.  Not only is it the most efficient way to carry all your goodies without them getting squashed, it comes with everything you need to make the event a success - matching plates and cutlery, sometimes even a wine cooler.  And they look really cute and vintage.  Unfortunately, department stores make an absolute killing charging extortionate prices for picnic hampers, so maybe scout around some charity shops or boot sales for one in equally as good condition but at a fraction of the price.  I believe the one in these photos cost a grand total of £20.



Choose your food wisely, and pack it well.  After going all out and raiding the Tesco deli counter, we put everything in Tupperware which could realistically go in Tupperware.  This makes packing the hamper easier - more like playing Tetris than just squishing everything in - and the clearing up process much more manageable.  Also, we wanted this picnic to be a little more upmarket, so we ditched the cold sausage rolls and rapidly-warming shop-bought potato salad in favour of a Mediterranean loaf and various crackers with four different kinds of cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, smoked salmon and two types of chutney followed by mini Mississippi mud pies and physalis berries - I didn't really know what they were, but they were delicious!



Pick your spot carefully.  Whilst deciding where to have your picnic, it's important to consider things like human traffic, how many excitable dogs frequent the area, and the quality of the terrain.  There's nothing worse than settling down for your picnic and finding that the ground is uneven and uncomfortable.  In order to counter even the bumpiest of grass, don't forget a blanket or possibly even camping chairs, which we opted for due to the blanket we were using being covered in dog hair.  Our picnic spot was a gorgeous deserted field surrounded by trees with freshly-mown grass and a killer view of the river...but you can't be so lucky every time.


Clear up properly afterwards.  If you've packed your hamper efficiently, this shouldn't be difficult and it's such a simple thing to do out of common courtesy for the area in which you are eating and the other people around.  Also make sure you have the boring essentials such as suncream - an absolute must for me, considering I burn to a crisp at the first sign of sunshine - and a jumper for if the afternoon gets chilly.  Even the best picnic can be spoiled by forgetting something little which will end up with people getting grumpy.  

If you do end up a bit red (which we all did), slap on the after-sun and spend the rest of the day lazing around and bemoaning how deliciously full you are.  Or do what we did, and head home for an afternoon espresso and an intense Scrabble game.



All in all, a wonderful time was had by all and we ended the day a little pinker and feeling about a stone heavier than before, but very happy.  I personally think that eating al fresco makes everything taste better and it's one of the best ways to make the most of the gorgeous  weather before we descend back into the never-ending depths of autumn and winter.


Have you had your first picnic of the summer yet?  What's your favourite picnic treat?

6 comments:

  1. Wow this set looks absolutely amazing! I definitely wouldn't be that organised but now I really want one ;') xx

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    1. My friend bought it cheaply and insisted that we use it :P The extra effort was definitely worth it! xx

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  2. I think it was the company that made it really... :P

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  3. I am so jealous of your picnic basket! I want one now! <3

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    1. It's great, isn't it? If you ever come across a cheap one, it's definitely worth the investment! xx

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