With the Wellington weather so up and down, my plans of giving a Wellington picnic guide went out the door in January. "Oh bother", I thought to myself. But we Wellingtonians are a resourceful bunch - I had a plan B up my sleeve...
It was time to revisit something that I’d been fond of as a little girl, made up by my mum on rainy days for restless children (code for "we were probably being a pain in the ass") - the Indoor Picnic. An indoor picnic is one of those things that sounds ridiculous unless you live in a city like Wellington. But when the weather is unpredictable as it is in this city, you really sometimes need a backup plan. Why not invite your friends over and instead of having a formal sit down brunch, lunch or drinks, call it an Indoor Picnic? It might even get trending on social media!
In all seriousness, it is really easy and SUPER fun to play around a bit with making the most of drizzly and misty skies, by warming up the house, making some tropical drinks, pulling out the party pieces and a large blanket and even chucking some cheeky rose in there for good measure! Why not give it a try sometime? I'd love it if you shared your indoor picnic photos with me by tagging me on Instagram, if you do decide to give it a while.
Here are the key tips I’d suggest if you want to try your hand at an indoor picnic this Autumn or Winter:
1. Think about a theme
A good idea can take you damn far. I love daydreaming about ideas, and so having a little party picnic was the perfect excuse to let my imagination run wild. I’m very inspired by things that I see on Instagram, like rose gold and marble, movies and TV shows that I love, English country styles, the seasons (hello, Winter!) and making the most of colour, colour, colour!
So what was my thinking behind the look/feel of this Indoor Picnic? Well, I’ve known my friend Maria since she was 13 - and all the way through, her favourite colour has always been PINK. Her personality fits this so well because she is warm and friendly and feminine - and makes a beautiful cake! I even had the shade in my head - it’s a soft pink, the colour of peony petals! A hot pink or very soft blush wouldn’t do.
So, I decided to make sure most things for the picnic were pink too, scattered with florals and bright gold and rose gold! Think about what your picnic is in honour of or what theme you'd like to design. If it is a tropical theme, why not go with palm tree prints, some flamingoes and fruity punch? Or if you want to make it minimalist, go all black and white, including the food! Really, your imagination is the limit.
2. Decide on the food & draaanks
Food can make or break a picnic. Usually, I get overexcited and buy waaaay too much food to eat. Because it was easter, and also none of us had a super sweet tooth at the moment (chocolate overload from Easter) so we decide to keep it simple. A cheese platter and grapes, some Hot Cross Buns and Whittakers Chocolate, with a delicious canister of lemon cordial and ice tea.
It is so easy to think you have to go out and buy a whole load of food - but really people tend to prefer picking at food at a picnic and would prefer not to be force fed. Plus, drinks like ice tea are really easy and cheap to make. Here is the recipe I used:
You Will Need:
6 ordinary tea bags
2 tbsp caster sugar
10 sprigs mint
300ml fresh orange juice
juice 1 lime
1⁄2 sliced Orange, mint leaves and ice to serve
Let's Do This:
Make the tea with 1.2 litres water and the sugar. Add mint to the pot and infuse for 10 mins. Strain and cool.
Pour into a jug, stir in the juices and serve with orange slices, mint and plenty of ice.
3. Work out who is coming!
Simplicity sometimes can be a beautiful thing. My house has the smallest front room in the world. On a busy night, we could maybe fit 10 people in. Honestly, you’d be lucky if you could swing a cat! My friend Maria had wanted to meet my friend Megan for a while so it seemed like the perfect excuse to bring two lovely friends together - and I decided to leave it at that! You might like to make your own rules and enjoy the company of one or two people, rather than inviting 10 - 15. Sometimes, it is nice to catch up properly, rather than feel the pressure of having to entertain like you’ve come out of Desperate Housewives (Oh yes - and Matt stayed for the party too)
4. Know where to spend and where to save
It’s amazing what you can find if you look for things online and borrow bits and pieces from friends! Seeing as I’m now a grown up - and because I wanted to make it extra special for my friend Maria who is getting married in October - I decided to pay a visit to a fav company of mine on Instagram, Parties Made Pretty? Have you seen their feed? It’s to DIE for - very rose gold, pink and glitter - sugar and spice and all things nice. Sounded right up my alley.
Parties Made Pretty offered to help throw this wee bash. Of course, I was VERY happy to jump on board. I decided the theme was going to be in line with Maria’s favourite colour - pink! I wanted to make it very floral, pretty and gold in order to combat the grey Wellington weather. After all, when I feel down and damp, I know it's time to pull out some bright colours and make a bit of a fuss of myself and my friends. It can really lift the spirits on a cloudy morning.
You really don’t have to spend too much. I love that Parties Made Pretty have heaps of really well-priced items that take your party from drab to fab seriously easily. They really know their stuff (move over Middleton’s Party Pieces Company). My personal favourite party pieces were the Zebra helium balloon, the inflated #YAY and the bunting which we put up on the ceiling. Even little details such as plates and pink heart balloons can make a real difference. Rather than just settling for what’s around at the Warehouse, check out what you can find if you search a bit further afield (also, cool fact - Parties Made Pretty is founded by a Wellingtonians and they’ve just opened their first Wellington Warehouse even though they already have one in Perth. Woooo!).
What We Got:
5. Get everyone involved!
The most fun is getting everyone stuck in, having a blast organising everything. We had heaps of laughs mucking around with helium, our inflatable Zebra friend and setting everything out super cute on the desk in my front lounge. Who says everything has to be ready and polished? Make your indoor party picnic about everyone, and just enjoy the fact that you don’t have to stress about leaving something important like the bottle opener at home - cos you already are home!
The main reason an Indoor Picnic is fun is that it’s capturing that dorky inner child and gives you a great excuse with your girlfriends. I love that Megan is a newer friend and Maria is an older one, but all together we just clicked and had a lol, talking about everything from weddings and friends to work. Having help from Parties Made Pretty really was so exciting and made the day really and truly festive. I'd certainly say that they'll be getting familiar with my shopping cart. Now if I can only find a way to break into their Warehouse...
It’s so much fun to do an indoor picnic. It made me forget Wellington’s disappointing and grey weather - and funnily enough by the time we’d forgotten about it, the sun was peeping through the clouds.