Perfect Picnics

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

As the weather warms up and the chilly days of the last few months (hopefully) become a distant memory, my thoughts turn to outdoor pursuits.

One of the advantages of Summer is you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep yourself entertained and have a wonderful day out.

This weekend we packed up our new picnic basket we’ve been sorting out for the last few months and headed out for the first proper Summer picnic of the year (I say first proper picnic, as in Winter we often take a flask of chilli and a big blanket to the park or the river, that counts as a picnic kind of, right?)

I love picnics, they’re the perfect excuse to laze around and enjoy the scenery in style, and all they cost is a quick trip to the supermarket. I thought I’d share a few tips for the perfect picnic, along with some pictures I took at the weekend. If you’re a Facebook or Twitter follower you might have seen a couple of these during the day!

How to Pack

Remember, whatever you take you’ll have to carry at some point! Even if you’re driving out to the countryside, eventually you’ll have to walk to a picnic spot. Don’t take more than one bag per person, if it doesn’t fit, leave it at home.

picnic basket

Make sure the contents of the bags are securely packed and wrapped so there are no breakages and spillages. Use linen napkins and blankets to protect china and glassware in transit.

What to Pack

Plastic might be practical, but china and glass feels much nicer once you’re there, and it’s not much heavier. Don’t take your best priceless family heirlooms though.

We took 2 bags on our picnic, a wicker basket and a cool bag. In the wicker basket were:

  • 2 tea cups and saucers
  • 2 small plates
  • A small teapot
  • 2 glasses
  • A folding cake stand
  • 2 small folding tartan blankets
  • 2 napkins
  • A knife and spoon
  • A piece of floral fabric

It wasn’t heavy to carry, and the blankets, napkins and fabric were more than sufficient for protecting china, and sitting on when we got to our destination.

What to Eat

Keep it simple. Especially if the weathers really hot you probably won’t want to stuff your face, and if you don’t eat it you have to lug it all back home again.

cream tea

We fancied a cream tea, so that’s what we took, you could replace that with some cup cakes and a few crisps or other nibbles.

Our cool bag contained:

  • 2 thermos flasks – 1 full of hot water for tea, one full of ice
  • A plastic bottle full of pimms and lemonade
  • 2 tupperware boxes of sandwiches
  • A pot of jam, a small pot of butter and some clotted cream
  • A tub of strawberries dipped in chocolate
  • 2 scones

This was plenty for 2 people. When planning your menu consider the practicalities of eating al fresco, a cream tea was just on the brink of manageable, but anything that needs too much on site preparation or falls apart when you pick it up is going to be irritating when you’re balancing a plate on your lap. Keep sandwiches delicate and cup cakes on a fairy cake scale. Take resealable containers to take home leftovers.

Other things to consider

Remember a Picnic is an outdoor activity! Sounds obvious, but outdoor activities need particular attention to outfit and other items you might want to take. A hat, sunglasses, and some kind of cover up like a scarf for your shoulders are essential if you don’t want to look like a lobster when you get home.

You might also want to consider some kind of entertainment. If you’re the sporty type then something like a ball or a frisbee (and count me out, thanks!) if not, books and music, but if you’re taking music then remember to be considerate of others in the area who might not appreciate your musical choices.

Other things to remember are sunscreen and a carrier bag that will make collecting and disposing of your rubbish much easier.

Now. Fingers crossed for more sunshine….

Scroll to the bottom for my outfit details, after all, alledgedly this is some kind of fashion blog or something?

❤ Dress - Vintage ❤ Hat - From a Boot Fair ❤ Shoes - Clarks via eBay ❤
❤ Sunglasses - Vintage ❤ Pearl earrings - eBay ❤ Pearl Necklace - Antique shop in Norwich ❤
14 Responses
  • Intrinsically Florrie
    May 25, 2010

    I love picnics!! So, very, much.
    My next one’s going to be Hello Kitty themed, so maybe not quite to elegant as yours!

    Florrie x

  • Lori Smith
    May 26, 2010

    What a lovely picnic! You have inspired me. That dress is *amazing* too 🙂

    • Retro Chick
      May 26, 2010

      That dress is my new most favourite dress ever!

      It came from a Charity Shop in Rochester.

  • Loulou
    May 26, 2010

    Retro Chick, you are an inspiration! I so loved your picnic article that I set about my usual lunchtime charity shop fuddle with renewed gusto, and fortune smiled on me. I found a vintage (50s?) picnic hamper, made just for two, complete with dinky floral china cups and saucers, matching blue thermos and lots of lovely bottles and boxes for treats. Sorry if this sounds like showing off (am not, honest guv!), but I just wanted to share the joy with someone who’ll understand. Roll on sunny afternoons x

    • Retro Chick
      May 26, 2010

      Oooh, no, that’s amazing! I see those all the time, but only in antiques shops where they’re about £50! I’ve never found one in a Charity Shop!


  • Maddy
    May 26, 2010

    Look at you in your pretty dress, hat and sunnies 🙂 I definitely agree with your tip to keep it simple when it comes to food. You look fab, as always!

  • fashion butter
    May 27, 2010

    that dress is gorgeous! looking beautiful

  • Lauren
    May 27, 2010

    Ah you look so lovely and summery! I want to go for a picnic now, you’ve inspired me!

  • PinkBow
    May 27, 2010

    now this is what i call a picnic! great shoot with the most perfect dress

  • jennine
    May 28, 2010

    there is nothing like picnicing in england… i think they invented it! one of my favorite things too for summer is night pickinicing tea candles work well to light up the place, and it’s nice on the warm summer nights. 🙂