We love a picnic! Outside eating, surrounded by nature, food on the go without screaming in cafe’s? Bring it on! However, a few weeks ago, we have had amazingly nice weather, for the UK, and we accidentally did a full week of picnics. The first day was a fluke, the second convenience, by the third day, the challenge was on! Would we still like picnics by the end of the week?
The week started ordinarily enough for us, realising at breakfast that we low on supplies for meals and realising I needed to go to the supermarket, today!
As usual, it took longer than it should to get out of the house, thanks to two toddlers, both running in opposite directions while I was trying to get them dressed (yes, mine do that too!)
By the time we finally arrived at the supermarket, it was almost 12, my girls were getting hungry, so we did our usual. We went straight to the fresh aisle to put a packet of Quorn cocktail sausages in the trolley, and snaffle a couple out for them to eat. The check-out folks are used to me now, with half eaten and sometimes empty packets of things on the conveyor belt. Hey, it saves them screaming the supermarket down 😉
So by the time the trolley was filled and we had paid, it was after 1:30, I knew we wouldn’t make it home in time for them to eat, and as it was such nice weather I didn’t want to sit in the supermarket café and miss the sunshine. So I grabbed a couple of pre packed Sainsbury’s sandwiches, vegetable sushi and pasta (and of course a slice of carrot cake for Mama!) with a couple of drinks, and headed to the car with my girlies to load up the shopping.
Often when we leave the supermarket with lunch, we will all sit in the front of the car and eat it together, which is exactly what H said she wanted to do. But I had a better idea. I had a new picnic bag which was already in the car, so I loaded it with our lunch, and we drove to a local park. Grabbed the bag and picnic rug, (which lives in the back of the car permanently) and went to find a nice quiet corner.
We had a fabulous time, eating and running around. Both of my toddlers wore themselves out running around, watching the tractor cut the grass on the running field, and spying all the different coloured dogs walking by. Nap on the way home, great play time in the garden in the late afternoon. It was a pretty perfect day, even after the late start and grocery shopping.
The weather was glorious again! It’s rare to get two nice days in a row, so today, I threw some fresh pasta, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and sliced spinach in a tub, along with a few snacks and drinks, and we head out to the zoo.
At the beginning of the year, we joined our local zoo (Blackpool Zoo) so can now visit whenever we like at no extra cost, especially if we take a picnic with us.
Most weeks I will throw a few things to eat in a bag or pick something up on the way, we’ll choose 1 or 2 animals to see (thanks Aimee for that tip) and we’ll go and sit with someone to eat our picnic.
Animals make for a great view when we’re eating. The animals provide a great distraction for my girls from running around too much, and they will actually sit and eat their food (although occasionally getting up to chase away a seagull or pigeon)
We didn’t need to take any accesories to keep them occupied this time though, the animals provide enough entertainment.
Incredibly the weather was still glorious, so today we had a garden picnic. I just made a normal kind of lunch but took it outside onto the lawn, on small tables.
Less mess inside, more fun outside, and extra fresh air too!!
We had fusilli pasta with chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped spinach and feta cheese. This is great for taking on picnics as it travels so well. Just cook the pasta until al-dente throw in the chopped cherry tomatoes, spinach and feta whilst the pasta is still hot. Drizzle with a little olive oil, maybe a little pesto too or a scattering of tarragon. Then simply put in a picnic box and head out. By the time you reach your destination, the tomatoes have cooked a little, the cheese has softened just slightly and the flavours have melded . I also made some mini flat breads with dips. My two loved the large jug of water and took great delight in refilling their cups, or at least trying to.
We use the Sistema Quaddie* lunch box as you can see on Tuesday’s photo above. A large compartment in the bottom for in our case pasta. Then 3 separate compartments on top for accompaniments.
Another glorious day, and today we went to visit my Mama! She was in the field by their house, planting hanging baskets and pots for the summer. We took a pull along trailer and some sandpit tools with us too, thinking they could join in with the fun.
We sat by Grandma’s table on our picnic rug, watching her plant and eating. She got to watch her Grandchildren play while we were eating, quiet and still(ish) for once too!!!
After lunch, my girls played with soil, piles of grass and even got to help to plant a couple of flower pots up. They loved it so much!
And then as it was such a hot day, Grandad brought us some pudding. A tin of peaches and a tub of ice cream. Utterly delicious! They were intrigued but soon realised it was delicious.
We were back in the garden today, this time for a bowl of gnocchi with mushrooms and pesto. This is a favourite meal of ours anyway, but eaten outside they really enjoyed it and every piece was devoured. The added bonus is the kitchen floor staying clean too. When the weather is good, we always try to eat spaghetti with tomato sauce outside too, and often naked!
What if it’s raining and you still feel the need to picnic?
Do you now want a picnic but the weather isn’t up to it? Why not have a carpet picnic?
Make their food (we made sandwiches with veg sticks and a few pasta shapes), lay out your picnic rug in the room of your choosing, we chose the lounge. Lay out the picnic and add teddies and favourite snuggly toys to sit on the blanket too.
You can even lay out extra plates and cups for the teddies!
Have you got a favourite picnic food? Please share it below in the comments.