Is there anything nicer than a picnic on a lovely English summer’s day?
This week is National Picnic Week – not that the girls or I need any encouragement for a little al fresco dining. We’re lucky to live near lots of stunning woodlands and reserves, and one of our favourite things to do is pack a picnic basket and head off to the nearby village green.
Our perfect hamper is filled with fruit and muffins and fresh baguettes stuffed with ham and salad, washed down with old-fashioned lemonade. Afterwards, the girls play football and take turns on the rope swing that hangs from a gnarled old tree branch.
This summer we’re looking forward to many more idyllic days like this, so I’ve compiled a list of our perfect picnic essentials:
• this Von Shef FOUR-PERSON PICNIC HAMPER is available from Domu, the garden and homewares site where you can pick up a huge range of goodies at surprisingly reasonable prices. This classic grey hamper includes everything you need for your day in the sun – knives, forks and spoons, crockery plates, plastic wine glasses, cotton napkins, salt & pepper shakers, a bottle opener and even a soft matching picnic blanket.
Every item is cleverly strapped inside the basket, meaning everything is protected and exactly it should be when you arrive at your picnic spot.
• forget paper plates that collapse under the weight of your food – these Sara Miller Portmeirion FLAMINGO PLATES are perfect for your picnic banquet. Made from lightweight melamine, they’re BPA-free and pretty much unbreakable. And how darn funky is that flamingo design? Afterwards, just throw them in the dishwasher to clean.
• I love this £35 woollen picnic blanket, which I picked up from the National Trust shop at Cliveden House (the luxury spa with the scandalous past). Machine washable and with a waterproof under-layer, these are woven in the UK from recycled wool, which means every single one is different.
We keep one rolled up in the boot of the car, so we always have it ready to go.
• protect your Brie from the summer heat with an insulated cool bag, like this reusable one from Marks & Spencer, for £12.50. Measuring 36×38 cms, this can be wiped clean and keeps your food and drink nicely chilled for up to five hours.
• these stackable moulds from Marks & Spencer, £12.50, allow you to create endless ice lollies to cool and quench on the hot summer days. Fill them with fruit juice, cordial or flavoured water, freeze and enjoy!
• if you prefer the fun of a picnic with none of the hassle, try ordering a ready-made box of al fresco goodies. Some companies, like Little Picnic Company, will deliver a box of freshly-made picnic food right to your door, while at Fortnum & Mason you can order a hamperling online, that you can collect in store en route to your picnic.
Now all we need is the sun… *crosses fingers*
• some samples were provided for the purpose of review