‘Oh, please don’t throw the falafel…’

It’s the summer holidays.  The sun is shining.  This can only mean one thing.  Time for a picnic with the kids.  Sounds idyllic enough, right?  In reality, it’s about as fun as sticking cocktail sausages up your nose.

‘Let’s go for a picnic.’

This is the one of the most optimistic phrases in a mum’s vocabulary.

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been on a (disastrous) picnic with kids, each time you utter it, you feel liberated.  Because there’s nothing quite like a wholesome picnic for getting back to nature.  For letting your kids run free.  For drinking wine at the break of dawn.

Yes.  The memory is short.

No rules.

There’s another reason mums picnic.  Beyond the wine drinking.  Lazy parenting.

You see, a picnic hides a multitude of sins.  That you’d otherwise have to discipline, if you were at home.  Walking around eating?  Snacking on party rings before their sandwiches?  Carelessly spilling their juice?

You’ll tell them once not to do it, sure.  But there will be no follow through.  Because you just can’t be bothered.  They know this as much as you.

‘Relax,’ you say to yourself.  ‘We’re on a picnic.’

As you pour yourself another wine.

Tin foil picnics vs. posh picnics.

There are two types of picnics.  Tin foil picnics.  And posh picnics.

Tin foil picnics are what my kids are used to.  These will set you back approximately 37 pence and involve three day old bread, some jam, a rubbery old carrot and yes, you’ve guessed it, tin foil.  If they’re really lucky and I’m pushing the boat out, I’ll use a cutter to make the sandwiches into heart shapes.  My kids will be quite excited by these.

Until we meet our friends, that is.  Who have a posh picnic.

Posh picnics originate solely from M&S or Waitrose and cost anything upward of £40.  They include things like olives, tartlets and falafel.  There is not a scrap of tin foil to be seen.  Not a scrap.

My kids’ eyes will pop out of their heads.  And suddenly the heart sandwiches they were so looking forward to eating will lay discarded on the picnic rug alongside the unfortunate, phallic looking carrot dressed up in tin foil with nowhere to go.

There will be scornful looks from Beaver and Godivy before they utter that sentence every mum dreads, ‘Can I have some of that?’

No one likes a scrounger.

Posh picnic problems.

The truth is, seconds into the picnic, it doesn’t actually matter if you have a tin foil picnic or a posh picnic.

Because a couple of cocktail sausages down, all kids are ‘full’ and only want to do one of the following a) go for a wee b) find the pond and hover precariously by it or c) run in opposite directions.

At which point, every packet in the posh picnic has been opened.  But barely touched.  Strawberries have been decapitated and squashed into the rug by toddler feet.  The houmous has lost its lid and is now crusty from too much sunbathing.  And the only purpose the falafel serves is ammunition.

‘Oh, please don’t throw the falafel,’ you say, as one flies across the airwaves and hits you on the head.

Ironically, the heart shaped sandwiches and rubbery carrot remain perfectly in tact.

Posh or tin foil?  How do your picnics roll?  If, like me, you are on your 47th of the season, let me know what tips you’ve picked up.  Then pop over and join us at Surviving Life and Motherhood for other gems and general nonsense.

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