For many of us the thoughts of long summer school holidays spent with family are to be welcomed as opportunities to build family memories. Long warm days, the smell of sunshine and freshly cut grass, and the feeling that life is passing by so slowly that time seems to hover. Days spent bonding, laughing together, taking a picnic to the seaside and chatting about previous holidays abroad.
So where do you make a start in planning this years escapes? The internet can come into it’s own when it comes to searching for local days out. Opening times are listed together with facilities provided. It is always a good idea to choose places where there is an opportunity for children to burn off a lot energy. Country houses open to the public often have a play park area plus plenty of room for picnics and impromptu games of family cricket or football. Get children a day or so earlier planning ideas for picnic menu. Ask them to help getting together balls, cricket bats, picnic blankets etc, encouraging some forward thinking which is a good life skill.
Ensure a small first aid pack is included with plasters, antihistamine for any unfortunate stings, paracetamol and of course, hand wipes and gel. Sun hats, sun screen and plenty of water should also be included. If any family pets are joining in as well, don’t forget their list too – snacks, water, leads, perhaps an extra sausage roll or two? A little bit of list making will make the whole trip flow a little better. Pack thing in several smaller bags rather than one massive bag and then allocate them out so everyone shares the load.
Endurance is a strong word at the best of times but I feel it is an appropriate one here. It goes without saying that they will have loads more energy than you and for you to enjoy your day out to the best considering a few factors might be a good idea. The day before your trip do not decide to embark on any house clearance or garden makeover the likes of Alan Titchmarch’s Garden Rescue Team would be proud of. Rest, take it easy so that you feel fab.
If you can, engineer games that the children can do with you over seeing, rather than you having to participate completely. If older children come along then allow them some safe freedom, making sure they know times to meet up and contact places to go to should they get lost. Try to encourage the family to take in their surroundings – maybe even consider putting any smart phones away! Freedom from their phones is good. It releases them from the pressures of their peers and allows freedom both mentally and physically. The worlds current trend to allow everyone’s private world to be on show and subsequently to be judged is quite frankly rubbish and the untold damage it does to society is immeasurable.
Take time to enjoy your trip. Let your mind wander, soak up the environment. Practice mindfulness and breathe deeply. Remember every moment in life is a once in a life time chance so make the best of it and thoroughly enjoy your day. It is perfectly fine to go off piste with your plan if that’s how the day is veering. Just don’t stress – there’s no one judging you and your family will be thoroughly enjoying themselves. As well as considering your mental health it will be necessary for you to consider your physical wellbeing.
Make sure you’ve packed some delicious goodies of your choice into the picnic, including some little luxuries such a seasonal fresh strawberries or griddled asparagus. Coucous salads are quick to whip up and can include a huge variety of flavour and fresh herbs to suit your individual taste. Keep hydrated with mineral waters flavoured with slices of lemon or cucumber and mint – easy to make up before leaving.
Invest in a glamorous sunhat, one with a large brim that will help shield your head from the sun and wear loose clothing. Linen is always a good shout and the slightly crumpled effect you often get from it all adds to the lazy hazy day type feeling. Treat yourself – you are important – don’t see yourself just as a child minder come entertainer. You are part of the team and you need to enjoy the day just as much as the rest of the group.
It goes without saying the important role of a well balanced diet of fruit and vegetables and a good lean source of protein but sometimes we all feel we need a bit of a pep up. Tiredness is a considerable factor when it comes to keeping up with the fit and young of today and to overcome any deficiencies it is well worth considering supplementing with the Bestlyfe Energy Slump bundle which contains three important nutrients: magnesium, vitamin B and iron – all vital to feeling full of energy. Couple this with the Active Lifestyle bundle containing Alpha Lipoic Acid which is an antioxidant and Co Enzyme Q10 for immune support and glucosamine to support joints and immunity.
DELICIOUS PICNIC RECIPES
Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable
2 large onions quarters
2 yellow and 2 red peppers deseeded and thickly sliced
4 medium courgettes scliced thickly
1 large aubergine cut into 1 inch chunks
2 fat garlic cloves crushed
3 tblsp olve oil
Roast the onion in oil for approximately 20 minutes until starting to soften. Add all the other ingredients and return to the oven and cook to your liking.
Remove from the oven, cool and refrigerate until needed.
This can be added to;-
Couscous with Herbs
Packet of couscous made to the instruction given on the packet.
Mixed fresh herb finely chopped to include basil, mint, coriander.
Combine the couscous and the herbs together and grate the zest of a lemon over the top and stir well.
Mixed antipasti – a selection of these can be purchased from the deli section of most supermarkets.
8oz softened butter Temp: 180C 160/Fan
8oz caster sugar
8oz self raising flour
4 large eggs beaten
4 tblspn raspberry jam
¼ pint double cream, whipped
Caster sugar for dusting
Grease and line 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.
Mix butter, sugar, eggs and flour and beat well and divide between the two tins.
Bake in a preheated oven for 25-20 mins until golden brown and springy to the touch.
Leave to cook for a few minutes in the tin and then turn out on to a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to cool completely.
Once cool, fill with jam and cream and dust the top with caster sugar