Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Perfect Picnic

Hopefully summer is well on its way and one of my favourite things to do when the weather is nice is to take a picnic to the park, countryside or beach. So I thought I would do a top tips checklist of the things to think about when planning for a picnic, so one can enjoy the occasion with ease and style! I find that John Lewis has a great selection of items at great prices, so I have chosen some lovely products from them to give an idea of the best!

First, make sure you have the right bag or bags for all of your items. I like to have a cooler bag to keep everything fresh and chilled and a backpack is the easiest and most convenient to carry.  This Joules picnic backpack is perfect for four people, with plastic and metal cutlery and glasses, a bottle cooler and even a copping board and wine opener! There is loads of space in the second compartment for food. Another top tip is to freeze bottled water, place in the bottle cooler section and this will help keep the food chilled and save on space.  Otherwise, try to find slimline ice packs.

Next, make sure you pack the right food! Keep it simple; anything too fiddly gets a little annoying and difficult to eat (especially if it's a little windy).  I find that finger food works best - sandwiches cut into quarters are always good, but there's sausage rolls, scotch eggs, cold chicken legs - all sorts of goodies that can be just taken out of the packaging and eaten. However, I always pack a few homemade salads, quiches or tarts and fruit and vegetable crudities and transport them in tupperware.  Pudding-wise, I tend to avoid anything chocolate based due to melting, but biscuits and cake always go down a treat!

Returning to packaging, it's definitely worth investing in some good tubs to transport homemade food.  I would be tempted to go the whole mile and get this fabulous tiffin box, which looks stunning, is sturdy and will hold all sorts.

However, for something smaller that will fit in the bag, these Sistema Klip It containers are great. They come in all sizes and colours, clip shut securely and are designed to fit together for space saving perfection.

Next, what to sit on? A great picnic blanket is certainly needed and I love this checked fleece rug. It's soft wool on one side and waterproof on the other and rolls up securely and small for comfort and practicality.

However, blankets aren't for everyone so I also tend to bring some foldable chairs.  This 'House by John Lewis' beach chair is great as it folds up and is lightweight, so can be easily transported.  It's also great value for money at just £15.

Other things to remember are napkins and/or paper towels which keep everyone and everything clean and tidy and also help if there are any spills. I also ensure I have several plastic carrier bags to put all the rubbish in at the end. There's nothing worse than leaving a place in a mess following a picnic. Final top tip, if there is nowhere to place the rubbish, take it home!

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