I don’t know about you dear readers, but I love a good picnic.
In my mind, the summer picnic is something akin to a scene from Downton Abbey, or a Room With a View. Beautiful weather, a picturesque landscape, elegant ladies relaxing on perfectly smooth blankets, holding parasols, and nibbling teeny, tiny finger sandwiches whilst being offered chilled drinks and fresh scones, topped with just the right amount of clotted cream and strawberry jam. The children, pristine, all dressed in white, run carefree through the long grass chasing butterflies, and the men lounge about, chatting and taking in the idyllic scenery… Halcyon days…
Unfortunately, as with most things, the reality is never much like the fantasy.
The last time we had a picnic, I was already sweating profusely before we’d even managed to sit down, having lifted, dragged and pulled something in the region of a half ton of ‘necessary’ picnic items to the only free spot we could find in the park; the one in direct scalding sun, and as far away from the car as possible.
Our blanket was too small, not that it mattered much, as a child spilled its drink all over it within five minutes of our arrival, so we ended up sitting in the grass, which caused an itch in places I would prefer not to mention. I had, of-course, also stupidly worn a short skirt, with the intention of getting some sun on my oh-so-white legs, so my pose was more of an attempt to preserve my modesty than one of comfort.
The food was all warm, damaged or melting from our ‘drive and drag’. The plastic bags I had carried everything in, meant most things arrived squashed; fillings had oozed out of the sandwiches, and the sugar was slipping off the iced fingers…. I hadn’t thought to bring any cutlery so the salads came home untouched, and although we did eat loads of it, somehow or another, my never-ending pot of hummus was still nearly full, and with no bin in near proximity, it had to be taken with the bag of leftovers and the vain hope that it would stay upright for the duration of the journey back home….
No amount of handy pocket-sized Kleenex could keep the muck off my children, and though they had left the house clean and tidy, they still managed to resemble street urchins approximately a nanosecond after we’d arrived, and inconveniently before any of our friends and their perfectly groomed children pitched up…. Great….
To top things off, an army of ants and other little crawling/flying friends decided to join our party, and I had also cleverly forgotten to bring any sun block with me, so by the time we dragged ourselves back home we were all filthy, burnt and itchy all over….
This year, however, I vow things will be different.
If you, like me, intend to brave the great British picnic, please prepare accordingly. Make a list of all the additional items you may need to take with you: wet wipes, a bin liner, disposable forks and other sundries.
There are also so many great items you can buy to prevent suffering a strained back whilst simultaneously keep things in the state they left your house in, when you reach your destination.
I love the John Lewis Croft collection bottle cool bag available from John Lewis and down to just £12 (from £20). It takes up to six bottles and keeps them chilled, and upright!
Marks & Spencer do a brilliant and space saving stacking jug and tumbler set for £15.00.
Sistema have a wonderful range of lunch boxes available in all sorts of colours and sizes, that will keep your sandwiches, and everything else in place and in shape. (You can also bring home leftovers in them!).
Houseology.com, (formerly known as Occa-Home), supply a lightweight picnic basket with cooler function, and at £18.00 it wont break the bank either!
Featured Image: Cath Kidston