Saturday, 26 March 2011

How to Have the Perfect Picnic (or Parklife Part Deux)

I am a big fan of picnics. When the sun is shining what could be better than lazing in beautiful surroundings with wonderful food?
Probably the best picnics are had out in the countryside, undisturbed by others. When I lived in Yorkshire I used to go on walks recommended on nature trails and often used to picnic in meadows of wildflowers or by soothing waterfalls. Now that I live in London I don't miss out though, as this magnificent city has lots of gorgeous parks to choose from. My favourite has to be Hampstead Heath - it really is an escape from the bustling metropolis.

Here are my tips for a perfect picnic:

  • You need a big blanket, preferably a specific picnic one so the underside is waterproof. These can be bought quite cheaply at supermarkets
  • I love baskets and those gorgeous hampers with the plates and cutlery and even a little chopping board inside but any bag will do really. I often use those reusable supermarket bags. Cool bags are handy too if you want to keep things fresh and cool.
  • Plastic plates, cups and cutlery are handy to have but disposable ones are good too
  • Suncream and sunglasses
  • Napkins and baby wipes
  • Layers of clothing, in case it gets chilly when the sun goes behind the clouds
  • An mp3 player or guitar and a good book.
  • Sandwiches. You can pre-prepare, but I love nothing more than buying a crusty french baguette, pulling of hunks and smearing with butter and topping off with roughly chopped cheese, avocado and tomato. To take butter with you, use those little cubes you get in restaurants or put a blob into a small tupperware tub
  • Salad. I prepare a salad and put in a secure tub. My favourite salads include rocket, avocado, feta, toasted pine nuts, tomatoes, red peppers, cannelloni beans and tuna. Couscous is filling too as is sushi
  • Fruit; especially strawberries and melon - yum. Or peaches and cream.
  • Cupcakes or tarts
  • A bottle of water
  • Elderflower cordial is delicious
  • White wine or Prosecco
  • A plastic bag for all your rubbish

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