The sun is out, your local park is packed and you’re ready to mark your space. But have you got everything you need for the perfect afternoon in the sun? Check them off the list here…
As soon as the weather heats up, green spaces around the country are overflowing with picnics, Frisbee games and G&T-fuelled gatherings.
But from snacks to soundtracks, the perfect park weekender has a few necessary ingredients that you shouldn’t leave home without.
Whatever your summer vibe, here are 7 essentials every basket bag needs this summer.
1. Waterproof blanket
Sitting on the grass is fine for your lunch break, but an afternoon in the park needs something more comfortable.
Roll up this printed woven picnic rug to keep your dress clean and your picnic set-up Instagrammable. With its waterproof backing, you won’t get the dreaded damp bum and it even has its own carry case for a speedy exit if the weather takes a sudden turn.
2. Tactical snacks
No park trip is complete without snacks, but why not ditch the scotch eggs for nutritious nibbles that are as good for you as they are tasty?
Whether you eat them by the handful, make them into granola bars or add some crunch to your salad, almonds contain energising plant protein, magnesium, healthy fats and fibre.
Magnesium helps reduce tiredness, which is well called for after a day spent lazing in the sun.
There’s also the added bonus that they won’t melt into a goopy mess when faced with a bit of sun.
3. Statement cool bag
Because who’s bringing a parasol to the park? With no shade, a cool bag is essential for keeping your tinned gins, hummus and ice lollies cold.
Pick up a stylish one such as this John Lewis cooler and enjoy an ice-cold drink in the searing sunshine.
Everyone’s cool bag looking a bit samey? There’ll be no chance of a mix up with this on your picnic rug.
4. Waterproof portable speaker
Whether you’re into Lizzo or Lewis Capaldi, a Bluetooth portable speaker will soundtrack your summer without tethering your phone to it.
This JBL model will clip onto your bag, plus it boasts a battery life of 10 hours and a waterproof casing. Did someone say water fight?
5. Reusable water bottle
Speaking of water, an afternoon in the sun needs some serious hydration. And no, gin doesn’t count.
Fill up a litre bottle before you head out to avoid buying single-use plastic bottles from the corner shop.
Thrifty and eco-friendly? David Attenborough would be proud.
6. Sun cream
We don’t need to tell you that you should be stepping out with SPF every single day, but this message is vital in summer.
An afternoon in the park requires as much coverage as a beach break to Ibiza, so top up throughout the day with a high factor moisturising sun cream.
This one from La Roche-Posay is specially formulated for sun-sensitive skin, which means no more greasy, breakout-inducing cream smeared all over your face.
Double up your skincare through your snacks, too. Almonds contain B vitamins (niacin and riboflavin) and zinc, all of which contribute to the maintenance of normal skin.
They’re also packed with vitamin E (one 28g handful has 60% of your daily recommended amount), which may help to protect your skin from oxidative stress caused by UV rays from the sun.
7. A good read
If you’re parking solo, take the opportunity to catch up on your reading while you top up your tan.
Leafing through a book has also been shown to reduce stress levels by 68%, which means a good read is the perfect chill companion.
We raced through Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, about a heartbroken 26-year-old, her group chat and a series of unsatisfactory sexual encounters.
Make sure your park bag is complete with California Almonds