How To Picnic At Home

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5 SUPER-LAZY WAYS TO WELCOME SPRING – PART ONE
Picnicking within arm’s reach of the lounge room…
And so it has begun. Spring has sprung. The air is jasmine-scented and all things green are tipped with lime. It’s as though the world has taken to its winter self with a bottle of eco-friendly Ajax – there’s an air of rejuvenation everywhere. Almost.

Spring

O joy. Spring. Break out the balloons. 😉 Image sources from left: via ifaj.org, tomremodels.com and thelittleactivitychest.com

Me, I’m not so great with change.* In amongst all the bluster of cherry blossoms and the heady buzz of romance, you’ll find me clutching the cloak of winter like a well-rubbed blankie. The art of sloth is dear to my heart and winter provides the perfect excuse to surrender all activity and hunker down.**

* Understatement
** My apologies, Michelle Bridges.

picnic

Flowers, fresh produce, citrus cocktails – okay, the spring spirit IS a tad contagious. Image sources from left: via sfgirlbbay.com, elisarestea.com, and greenweddingshoes.com.

Yep. While the rest of the world is busy finding four leaf clovers and picking wild strawberries from the country verge, I’m struggling to exit the chrysalis. It takes a while before I’m ready to cast off winter and frolic on the beach like an advertisement for feminine products.

Bread boards and rustic looks

From left: Royal Doulton 1815 Wood Serving Board and Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled East Meets West Rectangular Platter, available online at Zanui. Centre image source: via homemagazine.is

Don’t get me wrong. I like spring: the new buds, Bambi, butterflies surfing the air, evenings spent sipping spring cocktails while the cicadas tune up, the latest harvest of hipsterchefs fresh from the cabbage patch, their it’s-so-good-you’d-trade-your-favourite-beret-for-just-a-taste-of-it fresh seasonal fare.

With so many new tastes to celebrate the warmer temps, tapas plates are a great way to display your spread, featuring the Gordon Ramsay by Royal Doulton Bread St 16 piece dinner set, available online at Zanui. Image source from left: via yuppiechef.com and sharedappetite.com

It’s just that a hint of warmth in the air is not likely to inspire in me much more than a stroll from my bedroom to the verandah. I’m not of the Bondi Icebergs’ mindset. I like to ease into things. So this year I’m spruiking a gentler response to the change of season.

Forget kites in the park and splitting the earth to plant your perennials – welcome in spring with a picnic at home.

Mason jars, soft throws, cushions, fresh floral accents. Indulge in a decor refresh and all the fruits of the season. Image source from left: via houzz.com and mikaelaruthblog.com.

WHEN?

A crisp spring morning delivers the perfect ambience for a picnic. Note: morning is used loosely in this case. Cultivating a closer relationship to noon is advised, even greeting the day mid-afternoon (this allows for the inclusion of bubbles or grape juice for adults in your spread).

Tiered cake stands are space-maximising for more treats. 🙂 Image source from left: via theappletree11.blogspot.com.au, monitouille.com, and elizabethannedesigns.com

SET THE SCENE

No picnic is complete without a picnic rug. Whether you’ve braved it out onto the lawn, or you’re parked on the verandah (or snuggled up in your living room), a rug marks the spot for pending decadence.

Exotically inclined? Set up camp on your kilim or hide rug. Turn up the boho heat and cultivate Parisian attitude with floor cushions, blankets and throws. It’s only spring after all – you gotta keep yourself cosy like.

Laying down a soft throw establishes that this meal is based around relaxation. Image source from left: via goldenafternoontearoom.blogspot.com, sodahead.com and greatbritishchefs.tumblr.com

DINNERWARE

Here’s where the benefits of being close to home really kick in. If you’re clumsy, we advise durable elegance (not an oxymoron), but otherwise the theme is go-to-town! Break out the crystal glassware and the fine bone china. Think luxe. Live it up in your living room! After all you’re only a step away from the kitchen (read dishwasher).

It’s a little bit romantic, if we do say so. Did someone say rose petals? This scene is practically begging for it.

From left: Maxwell & Williams Cashmere Regal Rose 16 piece dinner set – pink, Jasper Conran at Wedgwood Chinoiserie Green Round Platter 34cm, and Gordon Ramsay by Royal Doulton Serving Board 22 x 12cm, available online at Zanui.

THE NOSH

Pack a feed of figs, fromages – smoked and soft, grapes, semi-sun-dried toms, olives and dips with accompanying crusty baguettes. (Your local farmers’ markets is where it’s at). Serve it up on rustic cheeseboards and tapas plates. A medicinal shot of caffeine is a must. If only baristas did house calls… *sigh*

Hankering for something more substantial? A warm salad is the perfect answer to the winter/spring transition: Greek chicken, watermelon and fennel with lemon vinaigrette or a good ol’ salad Nicoise all do the trick. Then finish up with ricotta mousse and berries, salted chocolate, macaroons and caramelised macadamias.

There’s no such thing as too much food in a picnic feast that surfs the normal eating times. Images via theappletree11.blogspot.com.au

TIME TO BREAK THE HIBERNATION

That’s right. Step outside. Take your glass of Verve, tuck Ernest Hemingway under your wing and while away some hours in your hammock (why not?). Let the delicate perfume of citrus blossom and bergamot float over you courtesy of the maid’s most recent spring cleaning.

Don’t trust yourself to master the dark arts of hammock wrestling? Head straight to your bucket chair for some arvi respite. Tuck up your tootsies, take out paper and catch up on the news old-school style. A bit too smudgy? There’s only one thing for it – do as the Spaniards do and siesta.

It’s the definition of perfection, n’est-ce pas? No? Tell us how you like to celebrate spring.

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.