Saturday, 28 May 2016

Botanical Blooms* and Planning the Perfect Picnic!

The transition from Winter to Spring and then again from Spring to Summer are my favourite times of year, especially in England. There's the strong scent of wisteria, the sound of ice-cream vans (you've got to love a 99 with a flake!), florals for Spring (#groundbreaking) and people are just generally happier. One of my favourite things upon the arrival of warmer weather is to have a picnic. I mean, who doesn't love a good picnic?! Whether it's at the park or in the comfort of your own home, there are plenty of ways to make picnics even more exciting than they already are. Here's how I would plan the perfect picnic, featuring a rather dreamy pair of D&G heels...

THE OUTFIT: 

Having a picnic doesn't necessarily mean having to wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, there are plenty of ways to dress up your outfit. For example, despite being 5'11", I love to wear heels, which is why hosting a picnic in your garden is a great idea! You spend most of your time sat down anyway and can take them off if you need to. Being in the comfort of your own home, or someone else's, is great because it means you can get changed into something comfier later in the day, or into your pyjamas if you're making a night of it. The heels I've featured below are Dolce & Gabbana and are available from FarFetch. They'd be the statement piece of any outfit and the daisy print is the perfect touch for Spring. Adding flowers to your hair is also a great idea. You don't need to buy a flower crown, flowers from your garden will do! Here's what I would wear and how I would transition my outfit from day to night. I've included both designer and high-street so there's something for everyone.


DAY:


EVENING/NIGHT:
Slippers: Accessorize

THE MAKE-UP:

Make-up wise, I'd go for something light and duey. You don't want to be constantly running inside to touch up your make-up, so make sure not to over-do it on the highlight and do use powder if you tend to get a bit oily. I'd use a lengthening mascara to really make my eyes pop, a gold eye-shadow blended out all over the lid, a nude lip and bronzer to achieve a summery look, but no contour. I also think it would be great idea to use some of the temporary gold and silver tattoos. You and your friends could even have a go at applying them to each other.


Bronzer & Highlight: Urban Decay Naked Flushed

THE SET-UP & DECOR: 

Picnics don't have to be expensive, it's all about using you're imagination & initiative and tracking down items in your house that you can use. The main thing you'll need is a tipi. You don't have to buy one (they're a bit pricey!) as they are pretty easy to make. All you'll need is a long stretch of fabric (available to buy on Amazon) or plenty of bed sheets and linen, and a pole to hold it up (think household objects like a mop or broom handle, the washing line...). It might take a while but just cast your minds back to when you used to make dens as children - that should inspire you! You obviously don't want to end up sitting on the cold, hard floor, so plenty of cosy blankets and fluffy cushions are definitely a must. Though I love the thought of cosying up under the blankets on the grass, some guests may not be keen on sitting on the floor, so some deck chairs, beanbags and a hammock might come in handy, if you feel like pushing the boat out. Old cardboard or shoe boxes and also books serve (no punt intended) as great surface areas too, or you could just use some food trays (you'll need somewhere to put the food!).  

I like to go all out when it comes to decor. Bunting, fairylights, candles... The more the better. I'd situate my tipi near a tree so that I could hang fairylights and paper decorations around the branches. The sound of leaves blowing in the breeze is always a nice added touch too - so relaxing! As it's now Spring, peonies are out in full force so I'd make sure they were on display for everyone to see. 

Shops such as Paperchase, Marks & Spencer, Next, John Lewis, Target, Etsy, NotOnTheHighStreet and Party Pieces have a great selection of items.

Hammock: One Kings Lane
Blanket: Barneys
Fairy Lights: New Look
Candle Holders: Kirkland's
Bunting: Etsy
Glass Jar: Paper Lanters
Cushions: Pillow Decor
Chalkboard: Amazon
Deck Chair: Amazon

THE FOOD:

What's a picnic without food? Though I'd love to serve food that I'd spent the past two days slaving away at, I'm just not that kind of person and, to be honest, I think it's far too stressful. I'm a firm believer in having everyone bring a dish (that way you get much more variety) or ordering in/buying it. If you do want to cook, then keep it simple: pizza, finger sandwiches, a few salads, crisps & dips, sausage rolls... The list is endless.You could even get the barbecue going and make hot dogs or sausages or perhaps buy all the ingredients and have everyone make their own pizzas. I always do a few treats like cupcakes or brownies (I swear by Nigella Lawson's recipe!) too, or cut up some fruit, melt some chocolate and have everyone make their own fruit skewers. 

For drinks, I like there to be a variety, so tend to serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Gatherings with friends are great because everyone tends to bring a drink and there's always enough left over for the next event! To keep them cool, I suggest buying a cool box or even a drink dispenser and filling it with ice. Nothing says Spring like a sparkling lemonade or Pimms! For an added touch, fruit ice is a great idea. Simply chop up some fruit, preferably berries, add water and freeze. You could always add a splash of cordial to make great ice lollies too.

Now that it's Spring, supermarkets have plenty of ready made, ready to serve picnic and finger food. Just make sure you remember the bare necessities; paper plates, cutlery (metal or plastic), paper cups (or glass bottles!), napkins (there's always that one person that spills their drink), straws, etc.


THE MUSIC:

For me, music really sets the scene and I always have a playlist on Spotify ready to go. I like to have upbeat music going in the day and then something a little more chilled during the evening, just so that everyone can wind down and reflect on the day. Crosley record players are a great idea, but a little bulky, so perhaps bluetooth speakers might work a little easier. And whether disposable or digital, don't forget to take heaps of photos!



DAY:                                          NIGHT:
                               Beyonc√© - Drunk in Love           Jhene Aiko feat. Kendrick Lamar - Stay Ready                                                Frank Ocean - Sweet Life                Lana Del Rey - West Coast
                Will Smith - Summertime                           Coldplay Atlas                       
Miguel feat. Travis Scott - Waves          Turning Page - Sleeping At La
Kanye West - No More Parties in L.A               River Flows Through You
Disclosure feat. Lorde - Magnets         Leon Bridges - River

GAMES & ENTERTAINMENT: 

Just in case music, taking photos and gossiping with friends isn't enough, I've put together a list of activities that always go down a treat. The Dolce & Gabbana heels would probably have to come off for this one... Believe it or not, hula-hooping is always a barrel of laughs. If you're not too competitive, try having a few competitions - though the last thing you want is someone storming off or getting annoyed (there's always one). A game of frisbee or badminton is always fun too. Well, badminton is for me but frisbee? Nope. I wasn't blessed with the best hand-eye coordination and would probably end up getting hit in the face or just missing it every time. If sports activities aren't really you're thing, then you might prefer a came of cards, such as Cards Against Humanity (not for those easily offended). A personal favourite activity would be sitting round a campfire (or barbecue!) and roasting marshmallows or making smores. There really is nothing better.


What would you wear to a picnic?
Is there anything you can think of for a picnic that I've forgotten?
Don't forget to check out FarFetch and their amazing D&G heels.
There are already a few pairs that I have my eyes on...
Let me know in the comments below!