Tis the season to dine al fresco – but when there are kids involved, there are a lot of things to remember. With a bit of help from our friends at Tesco Baby Club, here are a few pointers…
1. Food you can eat one-handed
A picnic with mum mates is not the time to show off your culinary prowess. You want stuff that’s fast and easy to eat should you have a baby on your boob/lap or a toddler who requires a lot of chasing. Plus you need food that your little ones can eat too, so you don’t need to pack separate grub for them to grab. Think chips and dips, fresh pastries, olives, berries and bite-sized portions of yumminess from the deli counter like onion bhajis, samosas, chicken skewers, mini quiches, scotch eggs… or if you're pushed for time, you can always just nip into Tesco Express and panic-buy everything. Yep, we’re starving now too, sorry about that.
2. Something to contain small children
With little people in tow, it’s not always as simple as whacking your trusty old picnic blanket on the ground and tucking in. A pop-up play tent is a great way to keep roving toddlers in one place, plus provides instant shade when it’s scorchio (so just the two days a year, then…). Also don’t forget to stash some entertainment in your hamper – depending on the age of your mini-entourage, bats and balls, bubbles and mini inflatables will all provide minutes of distraction: enough time for you to inhale a mini sausage roll, at least.
3. Booze, booze, booze
Drinking responsibly is a must… by which we mean decanting prosecco into plastic cups rather than swigging straight from the bottle. Being a mum needn't hold you back from the occasional opportunity for a spot of light daytime drinking – pre-made cans of Pimms and lemonade are gentle enough to be acceptable at 1pm, and you don’t even need to remember to pack the cups…
4. Proximity to toilets
If your mum massive involves a potty-training toddler, a pregnant pal or, indeed, just a gaggle of mums quaffing drinks, this is not the time to venture to the outback. Pick a practical spot close to essential life facilities… just not so close that they put you right off your hummus.
5. A contingency plan
It’s a sad reality of summer in the UK that the weather simply cannot be relied on to cooperate with your best-laid plans. Make sure your picnic destination of choice is close to a café, family friendly pub or just one of your mate’s houses, and all will be well in the world should it start pouring. Indoor picnics can be fun too!
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