The picnic season is well and truly back. There is no way of describing how happy this makes me. Going for our first picnic every spring really makes me feel like winter is well and truly out of the way and spring has taken over. It is my light at the end of the tunnel.
My seasonal allergies are at their worst at this time of the year and hay fever is also here to stay, but I could not care less: days are longer, birds are chirping everywhere, dull, brown woods get green, blue, yellow, vibrant. Colours are everywhere, boots get stored away and sandals come out of the cupboards, bulky winter coats are replaced with lightweight cardigans, long-sleeved jumpers get swapped with tank tops.
We had four picnics in the past week alone. I kid you not. I know a lot of people are not keen on picnics. They find it a bit of a faff to make food and then take it out instead of eating it here and there. They cringe at the thought of seating on the hard ground, trying to find a semi-comfortable way to sit and eat their lunch. They hate the idea of insects inviting themselves to the picnic. They see the mess, the chaos that comes with it all and the tidying up of all their gear afterwards.
I see picnics in a completely different light. Packing treats and foods everyone loves makes me feel happy. Thinking of a new salad I could put together and finding a small enough jar to keep a little bit of salad dressing makes me feel happy. Choosing a range of mismatched plates and cutlery makes me feel happy. Baking something special just for the occasion makes me feel happy. Picking our favourite picnic rug makes me feel happy. Emptying our picnic baskets of toys and junk they have been holding all year to finally use them for a picnic makes me feel happy. Picnics make me feel happy. Our first picnic of the year made me feel very happy indeed.
Enough of the ode to picnics, let’s talk about our picnics and the few gorgeous items from Notonthehighstreet.com I took with us. We had our first picnic as a family on Easter Sunday. I was having a break from work so I had plenty of time to faff and plan it with the children. I also used it as an opportunity to be creative and take nice photos before packing. These photos of push pops, macarons, mini milk bottles and straws are all part of my ‘homework’ for the online Makelight course focusing on food photography.
If you are into photography and are not yet familiar with Emily Quinton, check Makelight: it is a game-changer.
For our first picnic, we pulled all the stops. I know most people would go for a lamb roast with all the trimmings on Easter Sunday. I would choose a picnic over a roast any day. Since it was a special occasion and it was the very first picnic of the year for us, the children and I wanted to make it special.
I haven’t made macarons since Jumpy was diagnosed with nut allergies, but as a special treat, I bought some for Crevette and Beanie, who love them as much as I do. We also had some gorgeous push pops in three flavours: raspberry, mint chocolate and rum raisin. Most of the food was bought in M&S and assembled then kept in those great stainless steel containers by Green Tulip Ethical Living. I also packed veg and breadsticks to dip in houmous in the new snack box I bought on ‘Eats Amazing,’ my friend Grace’s online shop. We went for sandwiches, cocktail sausages (M&S’ are gluten-free) and salad for our main, followed by cereal bars, biscuits, cake and fruit.
I also took a large mug of freshly made coffee. How fancy is little shot I took for my Makelight project?
We settled for a hill from which we could spot some of the sights Beanie had been learning about at school: the London Eye, the Gherkin, Wembley Stadium. We could just make them out in the distance and Hubby had brought binoculars so we took it in turns to look for those sights.
I had also packed a few plastic eggs filled with little treats and the children loved their Easter egg hunt after lunch.
Afterwards, they opened the face paints the Easter Bunny had left at home, and we painted each other’s faces with more or less success. It was fun and they absolutely loved it. I did too. It started raining so we ran back to the car and that was the end of our first picnic.
After that first picnic, the children would ask for a picnic every single day. On Monday, they wanted a picnic. On Tuesday, they wanted a picnic. On Wednesday, the girls were getting annoyed we had not had another picnic, so on Thursday, we had a picnic straight after school. I had made dinner at home, so I only packed snacks and our picnic rug in my new favourite bag by Jane de Bono.
After a fair bit of silly toddler antics with my shiny new Tolly McRae blanket
and pretending to sleep on it for about 10 minutes, we managed to set up our picnic spot.
We laid our blanket near a play park and met with friends. We had a few treats and the children played with their friends, ate chocolate or cereal bars and drank juice whilst my friend Aimee and I were lying down on the blanket and chatting. Bliss…
Yesterday, the little ones and I met with our friend Anna and her children in our closest woods so we could have a picnic and take pictures of her new shoe collection. If you don’t have Cienta shoes yet, check them out: they are so so pretty and comfy! They are also washable, come in adult sizes and they smell of sweets.
Our lunch at home normally consists of a few bits and bobs thrown on a plate in a minute, but when picnics are concerned, I always love to go a bit over the top, so the girls and I made rainbow fruit kebabs for our dessert.
We also had salad, chocolate hazelnut balls, crisps and yoghurts.
Today, we had a picnic on our decking after a busy day out with friends.
We went fully gluten-free with our gorgeous Gluten Free Feast Hamper by The British Hamper Company. It was full of moreish treats like traditional Ginger Beer, artisan crisps, incredible beetroot chutney which turned goat’s cheese on toast into heaven on a plate, and gorgeous cake, biscuits and chocolate!
Have you had your first picnic of the year yet?
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Disclosure: Notonthehighstreet.com sent us some of the items mentioned above for the purpose of this blog post, but all photos and opinions are my own.