How to picnic in comfort and style with John Lewis summery graphic banner in yellow and turquoise

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Picnics – heaven or hell?  In my experience the word picnic either makes folk jump for joy or run for the hills.

If you’re in the second camp, I do get it.  Why subject yourself to ants/grass/sand in your pants, soggy sandwiches and warm white wine?

It really, truly doesn’t have to be that way, though.  Whether you’re out in the countryside, at the beach or down the road in your local park, there are lots of ways to make picnics infinitely more pleasure than purgatory.

And to help me prove it, I’ve teamed up with John Lewis.  They’ve got absolutely everything you need for perfect picnics, and the most comfortable and stylish outdoor eating this summer.

Picnic in style & comfort this summer with John Lewis

John Lewis cooler bag - Fusion design in blue patterned stripes with red

Let’s start with the food and drink (vitally important – it is a picnic, after all).  The right cool bag will keep food deliciously fresh and drinks refreshingly cold.  Find the perfect one for you from the John Lewis selection, which ranges from individual lunch bags to handy backpacks, family totes to party size boxes on wheels.

My top style picks for the summer are the Fusion Cooler Tote Bag above, and the understated Croft Collection Picnic Tote Cooler Bag below.

John Lewis Cooler Bag from the Croft Collection

 

Colourful, practical picnicware

Next, the ideal picnicware.  Which means lightweight and unbreakable, but also stylish and a pleasure to eat off and drink from.

Here are my contemporary favourites from the current John Lewis picnicware range.  I particularly like the on point dark blue and white patterns of the Pacific range from Royal Doulton.  And you can see the whole range of John Lewis picnicware here.

Colourful John Lewis picnicware range with bamboo picnicware, stacking glasses and melamine cups

1.  Teal Fusion Plastic Jug | 2. Poolside Stacking Glasses | 3. Leon Bamboo Dinner Plates | 4. Orla Kiely Bamboo Bowl | 5. Joseph Joseph GoEat Portable Cutlery Set | 6. Poolside Bubble Plastic Tumbler | 7. Royal Doulton Pacific Melamine Tumblers

John Lewis Croft Collection Picnic Hamper for two people

Alternatively, the classic picnic hamper comes fully stocked with everything you need.  For a quick, convenient way to be picnic-ready this summer, here’s the Croft Collection 2-Person Luxury Wicker Picnic Hamper above.

Joules Picnic Rucksack for 4 people with floral designOr what about the Joules 4-Person Filled Floral Picnic Rucksack which includes a cheeseboard, salt and pepper shakers and corkscrew.  There’s an insulated section for food and drink and also a side attachment for keeping a wine bottle cool.  How organised is that?

S'well Drinking Bottle with blue ikat design
John Lewis S'well Drinking Bottle in black marble

The most stylish alternative to plastic bottles around, I couldn’t love these sleek, chic, vacuum sealed S’well Drinking Bottles more. Made from lightweight, high-grade stainless steel,  they keep drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours.

And thanks to their special, triple walled ThermaS’well™ technology the outsides of the bottles stay condensation-free.  So everything else in your bag doesn’t get all wet – bonus.  Also please note, the largest size will hold a full bottle of wine – double bonus!

 

John Lewis - Bee's Wrap reusable food wrapping sheetsAnother eco-friendly picnic must-have are these Bee’s Wrap Honeycomb Reusable Sandwich Wraps from Eddington. The natural antibacterial properties of beeswax help keep food fresh and they can be used again and again.  They’re fully biodegradable and compostable and even used several times a week will last roughly a year.

Picnic blankets, rugs & portable chairs

Comfort is king at picnics.  It doesn’t matter how delicious the food or convivial the company, it’s hard to enjoy either if your buttocks are numb and/or damp.  Ditto if your calf muscles are about to go into spasm.

Having to sit on the ground is usually the deal breaker for picnic-phobes.  So here are some practical picnic blankets, outdoor cushions and portable chairs for everyone’s picnicking comfort and pleasure this summer.

And the pick of the bunch?  The Fiam Fiesta Outdoor Soft Armchair is adjustable, lightweight and foldable.  Plus it’s the most comfortable outdoor chair I’ve ever sat in.  And I mean ever.

John Lewis picnic rugs and outdoor chairs for picnics

1. Lafuma R Clip Sunlounger | 2. Fusion Outdoor Picnic Festival Rug | 3. Wild Garden Outdoor Cushion | 4.  Joules Quilted Starfish Picnic Rug | 5. Birds and Palms Deckchair | 6. Reversible Showerproof Outdoor Cushion | 7. Joules Woven Check Picnic Rug | 8. Fiam Fiesta Soft Outdoor Armchair

Picnic-perfect portable barbeques

John Lewis LotusGrill portable barbeque in greenTo finish, here are my two favourite portable barbeques for picnics.  Or for anywhere at all, for that matter.  They’re durable and ideal for any small outdoor space so you can use them at home too.

If we didn’t already have a small barbeque, this is what I’d be buying this summer.  The neat, lightweight LotusGrill Smokeless Charcoal Grill BBQ, above, has a battery powered fan that heats the charcoal to cooking temperature in less than 5 minutes – brilliant!

Charcoal is enclosed in an internal container for smokeless cooking and double walls keep the exterior cool to the touch. It also comes with a handy carrying bag.

John Lewis Weber portable BBQAnd you can never go wrong with a Weber barbeque, can you?  The Weber Go Anywhere Charcoal Barbeque has a triple plated cooking grate, porcelain-enamelled lid and bowl, and it stands on fold-away legs to protect surfaces from heat damage.

So, there we have it – my top picnic choices for comfortable and pleasurable eating in the great outdoors.  To see more, you can find the entire John Lewis picnicware range here.

And don’t forget, there’s the very handy free Click & Collect service from John Lewis and Waitrose stores for orders over £30.  Also free home delivery for orders over £50.

I hope you found some useful ideas and that you have some absolutely brilliant picnics this summer – wherever you may be.

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