Picnics are a great recreational activity no matter what time of year it is. The focus of a picnic is food, which is always a good sign, and you can have a solo picnic, a picnic with friends or family or even a picnic date. The options and themes for your picnic are limitless, only tethered to reality by the extent you let your imagination take control. Why I love picnics so much is because they are just such a great activity to do with just about anyone, and you can have them basically wherever you want. The only problem with picnics is that they tend to be a bit finicky in certain regards, and what often happens is they spiral into overcomplicated, stressful events that become a nightmare. By the end of it, everyone wishes they’d just stayed behind and had a pizza. Let me tell you now though, that as much as there are quite a few worst-case scenarios, picnics don’t have to be a metaphorical thorn in your side that you try to avoid at all costs. With the right approach, a picnic can become a relaxing activity that you fall in love with, and that is what I’d like to prove to you today. For those who desperately want to enjoy a picnic, or have tried and the results weren’t quite what you wished, then you’ve come to the right place. Today I would like to share some tested tips and tricks on how to have the perfect picnic – I hope you enjoy!
Location is key
When it comes to having a fantastic picnic, the location is everything. Now, you can honestly have a picnic wherever and whenever you want, irrespective of season or weather, but those factors can influence where you choose to open up your blanket. Make sure that you select your location ahead of time, and check that it is the right place for having a picnic. During summer, any place is a great place to have a picnic. Parks, Zoos, Beaches, stops on a trip, even in your garden. You are only limited by how accessible those places are or by where you’d specifically like to set up. In winter, you can still go out and find a beautiful spot to enjoy the weak rays of sunshine, or, much like if it were raining, you can set up indoors and have a projector set up and turn it into a blanket and pillow indoor picnic. The only reason why the location is so important is that it sets the tone for the rest of the picnic, so wherever you decide you want to picnic, make sure it is the right place for you.
Choose the right ‘basket.’
Okay, I’m sure when a lot of people think about picnic baskets they think about beautiful little wicker baskets that have a red and white checkered handkerchief peaking over the edge. As picturesque as that may seem, that isn’t practically the kind of basket you’re going to want to use on a picnic. Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with using a wicker basket, but you need to think about what will be in your basket before you choose basket itself. If your menu has more refrigerated items that should ideally be kept cool, then perhaps you might consider using a cooler-bag instead of a basket? One thing you should also consider when preparing for your picnic is how easy it is to carry your ‘basket’ because that might help you determine what type of basket you need. If you are walking far, you certainly don’t want a heavy, easily breakable basket. When in doubt, pick the most practical option, and you shouldn’t go wrong.
Make your menu
Right. Choosing the right food items for your picnic is probably one of the most critical sets of choices you will need to make. This is because not all foods are suitable for a picnic. You need to think if they can be eaten easily when in a picnic environment, and, if so, how will you transport them to your location. The best kind of foods are usually finger foods – I’d try to avoid packing things that can get ruined or spilt easily (like soup or big cooked dishes because those are just asking to be destroyed). Any type of sandwich is usually a good idea and salads can also be good if they are appropriately packed. You can also bring things like chips and salsa, bread, cheeses, fruits, crisps, popcorn and sweets and desserts that are easy to pack and handle (such as cookies or cupcakes). Even pizza can make excellent picnic food. The truth is that you can pack whatever you want, but by packing things that are easy to transport and won’t get ruined easily you will end up saving yourself a lot of unnecessary stress and problems. You want it to be nice and easy, so think about that as you decide what food you want to bring.
Don’t forget the non-edibles
Yes, the food might be the main focus of the event, but you have to think about the things that go with the food. Your picnic will quite quickly turn into a disaster if you don’t remember the essentials that don’t happen to be edible. Remember to pack a blanket/towel or something to sit on at your picnic spot, and think about what you will be eating your food on. If you need plates, utensils or glasses, then don’t forget to pack those! You should also remember napkins because finger foods can get messy no matter how careful you are trying to be. You can’t eat the edibles if you don’t have the necessary non-edibles, so just because they aren’t delicious, doesn’t mean you should forget about them.
Don’t forget drinks
How could I forget to mention drinks? Picnicking is hard work, and it is vital to stay hydrated throughout the event, but choosing the right beverages can also be a bit of a conundrum. I’d highly recommend packing water no matter the occasion, and then whatever other drink you’d like. Lemonade tends to be quite a popular option, as well as iced tea or drinks of the more adult variety. I’d probably avoid packing fizzy drinks because those can get quite fizzed up as you make your way to the location and might end up being more of a problem than a refreshing sip of bubbly, sugary goodness. If you’d like to pack hot things, that is also very possible with the help of a thermos. Just don’t forget to make sure the lid is put on properly so that you don’t get a sudden leak all over your delicious food.
Pack it like a boss
Now that we’ve looked at what you can pack, we should probably discuss the ‘how’ aspect: How should you pack it? Well, Tupperware is always an excellent choice for most food items because it keeps the food fresh and prevents it from getting squished by other items in the basket. Tupperware is also easy to stack in whatever basket you choose to carry your food in. When it comes to packing the basket itself, I’d recommend putting the more solid items towards the bottom and then the more fragile ones on top (just so that you don’t end up with crushed sandwiches). It might also be a good idea to carry your drinks in a separate basket so that you don’t have to walk around with one ridiculously heavy basket where you could have divided the load into two. Again, when it comes to picnics, practicality will always be your best friend in ensuring success so be practical, and it will all work out.
Make what you can ahead of time
Last minute rushing to gather your picnic supplies is only going to cause you to stress, and you will most likely end up forgetting something in your haste to still leave the house on time. You can avoid this by doing what you can the day before. By this, I mean you can make certain food items the day before, you can pack things that don’t need to be refrigerated in the basket ahead of time, and you can set out what you need so that you don’t forget them on the day. You want to be enjoying your picnic, not sitting in anguish over the fact that you forgot a few things in your rush to leave because you were still making sandwiches. Try to do things ahead of time (I know I say this a lot, but see how applicable the advice is?) and you will save a lot of stress.
Think about logistics/practicality
I’ve failed to mention a few other things that are very important to make your picnic a success, but I haven’t forgotten about them. You should always pack sunscreen (and a hat and sunglasses but sunscreen at the very least) because you will nine times out of ten be sitting somewhere outside and even in winter, you can still get sunburnt. I’d rather not send you out on relaxing picnics only to have you all return with sun damage from too much vitamin D exposure. You should also remember to bring garbage bags, or at least think ahead about how you will clean up once the fun is done. My last piece of practical advice is to wear something comfortable – yes there is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice but you are going to be relaxing in some natural environment and don’t need to be wearing stilettos. Dress for comfort, and you’ll have a much nicer time.
Maybe some entertainment?
You’re out on your picnic, and now you are just sitting and soaking up the sun while nibbling on your well-prepared meal. Some people don’t mind sitting and enjoying the silence, but for others, this can be quite boring, so why not pack some entertainment? By this, I mean non-electronic entertainment. Bring that book or magazine you’ve been meaning to read or if you are going with friends or family then pack a deck of cards. It will be a fun way to add to the experience, and you could also make a lot of great memories this way. A picnic is for enjoyment, so you might as well take full advantage of this and have the best time you possibly can (without your laptop!).
Make an event of it
You’ve planned so much for this picnic and put so much effort into making it a success; you should, by all means, make an event of it. If you are having a picnic with friends or as a date, then turn it into a whole day activity and go somewhere nice that you can enjoy for more than just a few hours. You could even pick a location that is more than just grass, sun and trees like a zoo or park that has other entertainment options. Or, if you like this sort of thing, you could give your picnic a theme and have everything (a few games included) centred around that theme. You might as well make it a great event if you’ve put so much time and effort in – so make sure that it is something well worth remembering.
And there you have it! I hope that you have all enjoyed this blog post and it has proven to you that, with some foresight and planning, a picnic can be something to enjoy and not something to agonise over. I hope you are all now inspired to either head out into the world with baskets in hand or set up a pillow fort in the middle of your room and picnic inside your house. I’ve done both and been on many picnics, and I have loved every one of them. Fun fact, one of my first dates with my boyfriend was a picnic at a zoo, and we ate leftover pizza. I got chased by a chicken, but apart from that trauma, it was still a fantastic date. For my questions of the day:
- Did I miss out any tips for having the perfect picnic?
- Do you have a favourite picnic memory?
- Is there any specific topic you’d like to see covered here on Tall Blonde Tales?
Thank you all for reading and the continual love and support. I hope you all have enjoyable picnics and even more enjoyable weeks!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx