Oh! we do like to be beside the seaside (or park, or garden or umm, living room (indoor picnics happen A LOT in our house)!) enjoying a lovingly prepared picnic of top-nosh scrumminess! I love, love, love browsing through lifestyle magazines (and quite frankly, even supermarket summer mags) with their beautiful picnic scenes … Fantasising – this could be me. This could be us. Our picnics could look like this. Everything looks so perfect. So co-ordinated. So very Cath Kidstonesque, Joules and Boden and I want some! I want the handmade cloudy lemonade being decanted from a frosted glass (glass!!!) jug into pretty glass bottles with stripy straws. I want the bunting. I want the pastel throws and squishy luxurious cushions. I want the homemade EVERYTHING!
In my experience however, what I usually get picnic-wise is last minute shop-bought EVERYTHING (we pretty much hot-foot it to Lidl or Aldi and grab anything vaguely picnicky); squash decanted in to a couple of old 1L water bottles; an angry wasp (or two); a confused bee (the yellow stripe in our picnic blanket is not a row of sunflowers confused bee), a random dog (not our own) peeing on the cool box; grumpy, hot,”I’m bored” (what?! the?! actual?!) children; and a localised weather event the forecasters forgot to mention (rain, wind, sand storm …).
However, even though my fantasy picnic has never materialised, I totally love our real version – low expectations help. As do:
– access to toilets
– ice-cream vans
– a football (my two boys + football = lots of random boys joining in and playing en masse)
– a wind-break (it will be windy, you may need shade (if you’re lucky) and a small child near you (not one of your own – even more annoyingly) will probably create a mini sand-storm effect by digging a hole right next to you and fling sand everywhere – brilliant – think of your wind-break as potential sand-flinging protection (note to self to invest in more wind-breaks))
– wet-wipes (not so good with sand but great for sticky situations!)
– layers (it will probably get cold at some point)
– more towels than you think you’ll need
– spare clothes (one child (not in swim wear) will insist on not getting in to the sea, river, pool … only to get in to the sea, river, pool … emerging 30 seconds later rocking the bedraggled drowned rat look).
And due to a serious case of every-child-in-our-house-likes-different-things and daily changes as to who eats what and who now doesn’t like this or that (ANNOYING), we’ve gone down the purely buffet-only picnic route, with the kids completely helping themselves (no pre-made sarnies or soggy egg rolls on our picnic blanket!) – that way everyone eats what they want (the only rules are that there must be some bread-type substance plus some form of protein and veg/fruit before any naughty stuff) – it works.
Happy picnicking days obviously!