Eat / Gift

Top Ten Accessories for a Perfect Picnic

Picnics are one of the best things about the sun coming out. OK, so eating outdoors can mean fending off wasps, ants and other bugs. You might get grass or sand in your food. But there’s something about breathing in fresh air as you eat, maybe mingling with the whiff of a BBQ (who says a picnic can’t also include a barbecue for the best of both worlds?) Having a picnic can make your sandwich seem so much more exciting, and people tend to be smilier when eating outdoors on a sunny day.

While you can simply grab your food and get outdoors, accessories can make your al fresco meal extra special. Any proper picnic requires the perfect tablecloth, like the one pictured above, this floral delight or this classic picnic rug (both from Cath Kidston)

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Then, of course, you need a picnic basket to carry your wares. This cute polka dot number is  insulated, and comes complete with four wine goblets, plates, cutlery, salt and pepper shakers, a corkscrew and a chopping board: a bargain at £29.99.

Or look to Cath Kidston for more floral loveliness – this one currently has 20 percent off making it £68.

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This four tier tiffin box (£23, John Lewis) is ideal to hold all your picnic salads and side dishes: coleslaw, potato salad, panzanella, tomato, onion and avocado salad, tortilla or whatever else you fancy (picnic recipes to follow as summer progresses).

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Keep your hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold with this vintage-style Beano flask (£16)

Add this Rob Ryan enamel mug if you want to share your thermos contents without passing round the thermos lid (though I think it’s kind of traditional to share, taking it in turns to drink)

Cocktails (or mocktails) will add glamour to your outdoor meal. This gorgeous cocktail kit may be pricey but it includes a cocktail shaker, two martini glasses, leather coasters and stirrers, and adds a ridiculous level of sophistication to your picnic. Make sure you remember to take ice. (For a cheaper option, the copper cocktail kit is only £14.99 – & don’t forget the glasses.)

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Should you wish to add a little heat to your picnic, this cute BBQ bucket (£8, Tesco) can be filled with coal and firelighters prior to setting off, and is easy to carry home once you’re done.

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When it comes to pretty lighting, fire balloons (aka sky lanterns) may be tempting but they can be really dangerous to wildlife as birds and animals can get hurt by the wires, and the lanterns can cause fires in haystacks. Instead, opt for candle bags (currently on sale at Partyrama, at £2 for 4) or make your own tealight holders.

No picnic is complete without music, and this Robert’s solar powered radio gives you classic style and entertainment in one, so you can dance the night away under the stars.

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