Hannah Needham runs This is Your Kingdom with her partner Rebecca, a trusted place to share and discover lovely things to see and do in the UK. They are always on the look out for curious adventurous types to join their team of writers. Hannah lives in London with her husband James and spends her free time exploring the delights of the British Isles from hidden foodie hangouts on a remote Cornish peninsula to secret spots to go cloud-watching.
With spring finally here we’ve found ourselves day-dreaming about ways to spend those long happy sunny days ahead, such as leisurely bicycle rides across country meadows and long blustery walks on the beach. From grand adventures to simple pleasures and all the curious nooks in-between, we firmly believe there is no better way to spend a summer’s day than gathering friends and family together to indulge in a proper English picnic. With May Day bank holiday nearly upon us, and the sun’s hat firmly on – this seems the perfect time to share a few thoughts on how to make yours super special.
Pretty Pastel Picnic
When it comes to picnicking, preparation is key. No need to buy anything overly fancy, all that’s required is a bit of imagination and a few little accessories – less plastic, more vintage, and definitely not a sweaty ham sandwich in sight. Pop your (homemade) goodies in an old wicker picnic basket (this can also be used as a table once emptied) and store any (chilled) bottles in a cooler pack, taking ice if you possibly can – the ultimate picnic luxury. In our experience it’s definitely worth going to the effort of transporting proper plates, cutlery and glasses too. Elderflower fizz just isn’t the same supped from plastic. Rather than a picnic rug consider pack a vintage tablecloth with matching napkins and throw in a couple of striped wooden deckchairs, cushions and a warm blanket too, in case it gets chilly.
[1. Balloon photograph by LolasRoom 2. Small wicker picnic hamper by The Discerning Magpie 3. Pastel bowls by CrolAndCo 4. Paper party straws by ChambyandCor 5. Vintage jelly moulds by MyVintageStudio]
What to Take
Being outdoors tends to bring out a real sense of adventure so make sure you pack enough bits and bobs to keep everyone entertained. A camera is a must, perfect for recording happy memories and capturing any exciting discoveries you might make. A guide to nature is also a great source of delight – we’ve been known to spend hours looking up names of wild flowers and insects discovered during our adventures. Make sure you take along a little notebook too so you can record your finds. If you’re lucky enough to own a vintage bicycle be sure to pack this too as it’s a lovely way to explore the surrounding area. Alternatively, those feeling less energetic might like to spend the afternoon reading a Penguin classic under the shade of a tree or listening to Radio 4 on the Roberts radio.
[1. Brass binoculars by CollectCurios 2. Vintage Kodak camera by TLSOE 3. Screen printed notebook by finestimaginary 4. Penguin paperback by kipperbone 5. Vintage bicycle print by oohprettyshiny 6. Vintage book of British flora by HedgerowHome]
What to Wear
To ensure the ultimate leisurely day out, it is vital to dress accordingly. Shed those stiff winter layers in favour of something that encourages you to adopt an altogether more relaxed pace. There is something wonderfully whimsical about wearing a floaty summer dress, especially one with a billowing skirt made from soft vintage fabrics (Liberty’s our fave). Avoid looking overly twee by teaming this with a chunky necklace, distressed leather belt and over the shoulder satchel – perfect for keeping your necessities (especially your camera) within arms reach whilst cycling. As it’s May Day, a pretty flower garland for your hair is a must.