So, you’re going to have a picnic. The weather is (finally) warming up, summer is on its way and yes, it’s time to enjoy the simple pleasures of lunch al fresco. But we’re not talking about the old-fashioned picnics of your youth, where plastic tumblers were full of warm lemonade and everything was always a little bit soggy. No, we’re talking about a glow up picnic. We’re talking picnic 2.0. We’re talking tapas, dips, fancy sounding Italian ham and cocktails to make you go ooooh. But before you venture into the great outdoors with your egg and cress sarnies, here’s our pick (nic) of the five essential items to make your day out go as stylish as you.

1. Sunscreen

If you’re planning a picnic then let’s assume that you’ve already checked the weather. And, assuming that the sun will have his hat on, we suggest you pack a bottle of sunscreen. Nothing screams great British day out more than a bunch of sunburnt fools with red faces and T-shirt tan lines. Other than the obvious health issues - sunburn can cause skin cancer and encourages premature ageing - it just doesn’t look good. So if you want that golden glow, slap on the SPF. Yes, even in the U.K.

2. Hamper

There is no excuse to skimp on the hamper. You could just chuck everything into a Bag for Life but really? We suggest you invest in a picnic basket - wicker, naturally - to really make your devilled eggs feel more al fresco tapas than school journey. Good picnic hampers include all the essentials, from glassware to chopping boards and the essential corkscrew. There’s a plethora of choices out there - from luxury versions that beg to be filled with caviar and Champagne to budget versions that are fantastically practical. Whatever the budget, we guarantee you’ll be the envy of the park. 

3. Blanket

Whether you are roughing it at Camber Sands or picnicking in the grounds of Buckingham Palace (yes, it’s a thing), you’ll need a proper blanket. And by proper we mean: waterproof, comfortable and big enough to get your tupperware boxes and yourself on. We personally like big 2-metre square ones, but there’s a great selection for cosy couples too. We will always go for a tartan design, it’s traditional after all, but if you want to go left field (see what we did there?), then be our guest. 

4. Portable Barbecue

Nothing says summer picnic more than cooking over an open flame. But in the age of less waste and reuse, recycle, reduce, those disposable barbecues in the tinfoil wrapping are frowned upon. So, why not invest in a stylish portable barbecue and channel your inner caveperson? Grilling on the go encapsulates summer freedom, particularly if you don’t have an outdoor space to call your own. Opt for a smokeless on (or as near smokeless as possible) so you don’t annoy the neighbours.

5. Cocktails in a Can

Gin in a tin has come a long way in recent years. While the traditional canned cocktail might make you think of concoctions that were horribly sweet and/or full of preservatives, that’s not the case anymore. New brands such as BLOOM have updated the market with their luxury spirits, natural ingredients and unusual flavours. Balanced and bar-worthy, their range includes a London Dry classic G&T, a rose lemonade version and, our favourite, a passionfruit soda pour. There’s even a tasty, alcohol free raspberry version, for those who don’t want to compromise if they’re not drinking. These picnic-sized gins come in a 275mL serve and are perfect if you want to leave the shaker at home. Drink straight from the bottle for the full experience.

For quality spirits and pioneering brands, Neat & Shaken is the answer.

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