This weather is insane, isn’t it? I hope you are all brown by now. Since all I want to do is be outdoors, preferably with a pork pie, I’ve put together my favourite picnic picks, including stylish stuff, recipes and my ultimate al-fresco beauty spots.
1. Woven jacquard dress in faded denim, £54.95 from Weird Fish
I have found you the perfect dress for summer, and it is Weird Fish’s pastel aztec-print denim dress. You’re welcome.
2. and 3. Hunter original boots, from £94.95 from Outdoor and Country
My obsession with Hunter wellingtons continues. Outdoor and Country stock myriad styles and colours, including the parma-violet and pillar-box red pairs shown above, which I love! Wear them to outdoor shindigs, festivals, to walk the dog or to jump in summer puddles.
4. Straw fedora, £15 from ASOS
Keep the sun off your face (or hide a terrible hair day) with this cheap and cheerful straw number. Fedoras suit absolutely everyone, FACT.
5. Four-person picnic basket, £45 from BHS
Pack your feast in this cheerful, roomy wicker basket, which comes complete with plates, glasses, cutlery and built-in cooler. It’s also half price at the moment – bargain!
6. Disco swimsuit, £38 from House of Fraser
My favourite outdoor eating sessions always involve a wild swim (oh, and a nap). Wear this bright and bold costume from the lovely selection of swimsuits at HOF under shorts and you’ll be ready to plunge into ponds at a moment’s notice.
Mason jar salad
It’s a bit hipster-on-pinterest, but making salads in sealable jars is actually fantastic for picnics. Add your ingredients in layers (I usually raid the fridge for cherry tomatoes, celery, spinach leaves, sunflower seeds, olives, capers and exciting cheeses). Make up a dressing of equal parts mustard, balsamic vinegar and good olive oil and shake it all up in the jar before serving. Easy peasy.
Smoked salmon and potato quiche
This fail-safe quiche is a doodle to make and tastes insanely good hot or cold.
Possibly the most refreshing thing you’ll ever partake of on a sultry summery day. To make three pints peel the zest from three lemons and cook with 250g sugar and 250mp water until the sugar has dissolved. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and add to the sugar syrup, then strain. Dilute with water to taste and add sprigs of mint. Chill and serve with more mint leaves.
You can always rely upon Delia to deliver the goods on puddings, and this squidgy, sticky parkin keeps really well if you don’t eat it all in one go (although that would be a travesty).
Isle of Skye: Pack a haggis scotch egg and some Iron Bru and head to the Fairy Pools at the foot of the Cuillin Ridge for a pre-lunch dip, or simply stroll along one of the myriad coastal paths that hug this incredible little island for panoramic views out to sea whilst you chow down.
Stackpole, Pembrokeshire: Spot tranquil swans amongst the lilypads on Bosherston lake and follow the footpath to the beach for a swim in the sea and a picnic amongst the grassy dunes.
Ashton Court, Bristol: I feel pretty jammy to have this glorious woodland a five-minute bike ride away from where I live. From an incredible forest, home to herds of deer, to manicured open spaces laid out around a beautiful egg-yolk coloured manor house, I can’t think of a nicer place to while away a summer’s day from a picnic blanket.
Derwentwater, Cumbria: Picnic on the iconic lake’s shore or catch a boat to St Herbert’s island (complete with hermit’s cell) and play at being in Famous Five. Lashings of ginger beer obligatory.
Bannow Beach, Wexford, Ireland: I used to ramble at this little-known beauty spot with my grandmother. Miles of springy heather are a haven for wild flowers and interesting bugs, and the beach itself is just miles and miles of empty sand and rolling sea.