If you have followed me here on my blog or youtube channels for a while, you will know how much I love to throw a shindig. Whether that’s to celebrate someone else’s big day or just the weather and being with friends, there is nothing I love more than putting energy into making it special. When the sunny weather draws in around this time of year here in the UK, the picnic blankets get washed, the hampers get pulled out of the attic and people congregate in fields and their gardens to eat, drink and be merry. We had a lovely bout of heat recently so I decided to throw a picnic, but not just any old picnic (it is me after all), I threw what I have decided to call “A picnic party”. I enlisted Poppy’s help and after a few flicks through my many pinterest boards, with shopping list in hand, we got to work on making it the most perfect picnic we could. Just a little tip here, but before planning any event or party, pinterest is the best place to go for inspiration, cute little DIYS and food ideas, so if you haven’t got an account, I would strongly urge you to get one for all your online scrapbooking needs. The reason I’ve decided to call this a Picnic Party is because it was actually a dusk/evening get together rather than it being in the middle of the day. I decided to do it at this time because I knew the sunset would feel so cosy and I wanted it to have the added touches like fairy lights, candles and throws too. It was also a great time for people to join after they’d finished work and that also meant dinner was sorted. You get the best of both worlds by inviting people around 5 – 6pm, the gorgeous summer light and the cosy sunset glow. The only bit we didn’t really think about was leaving in complete darkness with no torches (thank heavens for the torch on iPhones – that is, if you still have battery by this point).
There is no better place than your back garden, you have easy access to a toilet, electricity for charging your phone and a place to go if it all goes wrong or everyone get’s too cold. You also have the option of going to a field which is where you can get a bit more specific and it feels a little more like a picnic. I remember traipsing for what felt like miles with my friends and my picnic basket in hand, on the hottest day of the year in an attempt at finding the perfect spot. You can also go on the hunt for a good tree if you chose to do something similar to what we did. Stealing a parent or a friends garden that might be a bit bigger and better than yours is also a great alternative, you might just have to bat your eyelashes nicely or invite them down to join you in exchange! The location is completely up to you, the only thing I really wanted to make sure we had, was a good tree to sit underneath.
The Set Up
I decided to try and create a tree-pi (tree tipi) so I ordered 10 meters of plain white fabric from amazon. You can get this so cheap, and even play around with different colours and fabrics if you want to get a bit fancy. If the tree you’re choosing to sit beneath has quite a low, horizontal branch you might just be able to sling your fabric over that. However we couldn’t do that, so instead we used a hollow pole (it was actually part of a backdrop stand I had) and pushed some rope through it, creating something that hung neatly that we could then put our fabric over. Just be aware you could need someone tall to help you with this, or a step ladder. The other alternative you have is using a washing line from one tree to another and throwing fabric over that. It’s a little bit of trial and error and it feels as though you’re young again and trying to create the best den you’ve ever sat in. I then used clips around the back to ensure the fabric made a backdrop to the tree-pi rather than it feeling more exposed. I put blankets and throws down inside the tree-pi to create the floor, an empty cardboard box that we’d packed picnic essentials into created the table in the middle and I scattered cushions in there for added comfort.
Here is where you could stop, throw down your sandwiches and tuck in but I didn’t want to half-ass this job and my pinterest vision hadn’t quite been quenched. I ordered lots of paper decorations and using the step ladder we managed to hang some from the tree branches. I hung some bunting inside the tree-pi and added a star garland to the front too. We brought along some battery powered wire fairy lights (these come in so handy for so many things), some lanterns and a selection of candles too for when the evening started drawing in. We also bought a bunch of flowers and a handful of old food jars so we could make tiny flower arrangements which gave it a cute and personal touch. To further personalise the picnic, I also decorated a chalk board too! Decoration is definitely more of a personal choice and it really depends on the occasion. I like to make the effort regardless of how many people or the occasion, but pushing the boat out might just be more up your street if it’s someones birthday for example, and that’s totally fine too, I’m aware i’m probably the minority haha.
Here is the part I know you’re all the most excited about (if you’re reading this hungry that is). If you have a lot of time, or you want to be quite specific, you can prepare everything from home and bring it with you in Tupperware boxes. Poppy actually made two amazing salads and brought these with her, along with some incredibly delicious and very pretty elderflower ice lollies which she made over on her blog so be sure to check those out. I also put together some fruit kebabs which were SO EASY and looked so visually pleasing. We did a mixture of both make ourselves and buy in packets. There really is no right or wrong way. For a lot of people, a picnic isn’t a picnic without buying bags of crisps, punnets of fruit and sausage rolls from the supermarket. We went to Marks and Spencer where they have an amazing summer range of food at the moment (sounds like a spon…isn’t a spon). They have everything you could ever need and MORE. In fact, it’s pretty clear to see in the photos, we definitely over ordered but my fridge was really quite chuffed about that, so it’s fine. We made sure we had a selection of food that everyone would like. We did a cheese board, we had multiple types of salad, fruit and even a wobbly jelly surrounded by summery macarons. I think picnic food, besides a traditional summer BBQ, is my favourite! We also bought a selection of different drinks, both soft and alcoholic. If the weather was a little warmer, we might have even cracked out the pimms (not that I drink personally, but I know it’s a favourite among many people when the suns out). I also bought a plastic drink dispenser and filled it with still lemonade, lemons, lime, mint and ice and it went down a treat, whilst sitting looking pretty on the side.
Not that having your friends there isn’t entertaining enough but it’s nice to have the option of a couple of games. I took along a few “Guess the song” and “awkward questions” type card games and these went down well for an extra giggle. We also took a portable BlueTooth Speaker so we could listen to some Spotify playlists – I would say this is a picnic MUST HAVE as music really sets the scene. I also took my instant camera so we could take some photos but disposable ones would be fun too! Especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion.
The Bare Necessities
These are things that are essential in order for your picnic to run as smoothly as possible with no hiccups. Picnic Blankets are a pretty obvious one, but I can’t even tell you the amount of times i’ve had to sit on a coat at a picnic. Torches are essential if you’re planning an evening picnic as packing up to go home in the dark is a lot harder than you think it might be. Lighters/Matches in order to light your candles. Bin Bags for throwing away packaging or using to carry things home. Plastic Glasses for drinking out of – you could use glass ones, but they’re heavier, bulkier and more prone to smash causing you a massive hassle. Picnic Bakset is again a pretty obvious one but I wanted to say here that the best one I have ever had is my Fortnum & Mason one. Granted this is not the cheapest option, but it is the perfect size for everything and easy to carry. Cutlery (plastic or metal) – If you forget this you’re screwed! Serving Spoons is something i’ve forgotten a fair few times but you want something that people can use to spoon the food onto their plates. Serving Platters like wooden, slate or marble boards are handy for laying out the food, look good and are easy to wash afterwards rather than millions of small plates. Plates to eat the food from – I bought the cutest little tea plates from M&S! Throws/Wraps for evening chill – Everyone will love you for this one. Portable Phone Charger – We all know how much you’ll be snapchatting and tweeting about the occasion so it’s best you have some form of extra charge. Scissors – A MUST! 1 Sharp Knife for cutting cheese or other bits of food that require a bit more oomph. Little tip, wrap the sharp knife in a tea towel for safe transportation. Napkins! Wet Wipes for grubby hands. Straws for the drinks. Citronella Candles if it’s a particularly warm evening and you’re joined by any six legged friends with wings etc. Tupperware boxes to take home anything that might not get eaten!
I’m absolutely desperate to do this again already, it was one of the nicest evenings i’ve had so far this year and it was made extra special by being spent with friends. We ate, danced, chatted, drank and laughed. It was the perfect evening. The good thing about this being a picnic, is that you don’t have to splash out on all of this yourself and you can ask guests to bring food, blankets or anything I may have mentioned above in order to pull it all together nicely and successfully.
Hat – ASOS
Top – Boohoo
Skirt – ASOS (Similar here)
Choker – ASOS (Similar here)
Sandals – ASOS
Lips – Colourpop Bianca
Jumpsuit – Boohoo
Sandals – ASOS
Earrings – ASOS
LG Music Flow Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Coastal Wool Picnic Rug
Meri Meri Striped Party Straws
The Basics Large Pillar Candle, Ivory
Croft Collection Tealights
John Lewis The Basics Zigzag Weave Throw
Lexington Wool Check Throw
Florence Throw in Duck Egg
Kilner Jar Tankards
Garden Party Plates, Set of 4
Marks and Spencer:
Pom Poms & Fan Decorations: Party Pieces