Picnics have always been a good idea, right? But just because the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are a little cooler, it doesn't mean we have to pack away our love of the outdoors - in fact, Autumn is a brilliant time of the year to arrange one before it gets really cold, so plan a date and get out there!
Here are three reasons an Autumn picnic is not to be missed, with a few tips to plan the perfect alfresco get together with friends or family...
1. THE SCENERY
As the leaves on the trees transition to shades of rust, orange and gold, it's a perfect time to surround yourself with the changing landscape and really appreciate the change of season. And as the temperatures are a little cooler, you're unlikely to encounter those unwanted visitors in the shape of wasps and mosquitos, who always tend to join a Summer picnic!
Have a think about your location in advance - a local park, woodland or a beach will all have a different vibe. And don't forget to keep an eye on the weather forecast!
2. SEASONAL FLAVOURS
Food that's in season always tastes better and has less impact on our environment too, win-win! Not all picnics have to be sausage rolls and sandwiches - wholesome, warm and comforting food and drinks will add a satisfying feel to your adventure and keep the chill away from the inside out.
Try using insulated food flasks for leftover stews, curries or soups (pre-heat as close to departure as possible), or put together bowls of delicious roasted vegetable salad or a frittata cut into bite sized pieces, tapas style.
For sweet treats, pre-warmed apple pies are always a favourite, or maybe pumpkin pie if that's your thing? (Wrap any containers in a tea towel or napkin for extra insulation and they can then be used to lay out the food).
And don't forget the drinks - flasks of steaming coffee, hot chocolate or mulled cider (or mulled apple juice) make a warming change to the usual summer drinks.
3. A GREAT EXCUSE FOR A GET TOGETHER!
After the Summer is over and the holidays are done, it's all too easy to get stuck back into the day-to-day work/eat/sleep/repeat. Why not round up a group of your favourite people and head out for a few hours in the great outdoors to make a change to the routine?
Style your chosen setting with beautiful rugs and blankets to keep you clean and cosy, bring a small wooden chopping board or two for food, to stand drinks on, or even a few candles if it's a sheltered site. Fairy lights (solar or battery) can add a beautiful feel if it's a late afternoon/evening get together.
Lastly, pack a bag for your rubbish, take a camera and some outdoor games and most importantly, have fun!