Beautiful weather means one thing: It's time to breakout the picnic gear. Eating al fresco is truly one of summer's fleeting pleasures, so make the most of it by whipping up a feast and finding a grassy spot for an outing with the family. Don't have any gear? Here's what you need to get your picnic on its way.
1 Pack a pretty, comfy blanket
Make sure you pack something to sit and sprawl out on with your food. Sure, you can use that old sheet from the bottom of the linen closet, but if you want to add sophistication to your picnic, go for a pretty blanket. Comfort is a factor too, since it's summer and your bare legs will be on it. Go for something that's soft yet thick so errant twigs or grass don't poke through. This blue, ivory and camel plaid fringed blanket from Plum Gift Co. is perfect, available for purchase online. $79.95.
2 Go for a woven picnic basket
You don't want to disappoint Yogi Bear, do you? Baskets are a beautiful and functional way to cart around dinnerware and really feel like you're getting that authentic picnic-in-the-park experience. A woven basket in particular is always chic, but more importantly, this one is lightweight and easy to reach into. This basket from Williams-Sonoma (williams-sonoma.com) has an open compartment for your wine bottle or baguette. $49.95USD.
3 Bring dishes
When picking your picnic dishware, give a thought to what you'll be serving. If you're doing a potluck-type get-together, go for big dishes as picnickers will want to put a little of everything on a plate. Tapas-style meals mean you can bring small plates instead. And you certainly don't need all-new dishware: Bring your household dishes if adults will be at your picnic. However, if the kids are coming, bring unbreakables like cheap'n'chic plastic or melamine dishware. All-white dishes like this melamine set from Loblaws will look chic for years. From $1.99, loblaws.com for stores.
4 Don't forget the portable weather-resistant radio
Remember mom and dad's scratchy transistor radio? Get a light, stylish, weather-resistant version to bring with you to the park, no batteries needed. To get your groove on, any radio will do, but if you want to make an investment, this sturdy little Pal radio by Tivoli comes in conservative colours like black, and fun colours like red, pink, blue and other candy-like hues. It also boasts the best sound quality and reception going. Approximately $200, baybloorradio.com or cpused.com
5 Decide on the tableware you'll need
Cutlery may or may not be necessary; it depends on what you're serving (though our advice is to try to make something that doesn't require knives and forks). If you're bringing wine, then you'll need drinking glasses - it doesn't have to be stemware, tumblers are fine. However, if you're going with soft drinks and small water bottles, you won't need them. Also useful: a small cutting board and knife that come in handy for cutting cheese and bread. Moist towelettes are also handy for wiping hands before eating, and don't forget the package of pretty paper napkins! Shown: Syntes Konst 50-pack napkins from IKEA (ikea.ca), $2.99.
6 Fill up your cooler or mini-fridge
Unless it's red wine, you'll want to chill it. Bring more than one drink per person and lots of extra water. There are lots of options for keeping your drinks cold, from good old-fashioned Colemans to collapsible coolers. Or, get this new technology that'll have your pals oohing and ahhing...a cute mini-fridge on wheels! This Mobicool wheeled 18-litre fridge is available at Canadian Tire (canadiantire.ca), $149.99. Happy picnicking!