That's not a picnic - this is a picnic!

I don't like sandwiches. No, that's not strictly true. I only like sandwiches if they are freshly made, in front of me, preferably by me. Yeah I know it's a bit weird.

I would have to be starving to buy and eat one of those sandwiches in a cardboard triangle- I mean, properly on the point of diabetic coma and desperate.  I'm not particularly fond of sandwiches even if I have made them if they have been wrapped and transported. This can make picnics awkward.

Over the years I have perfected picnics madmumof7-style and so when planning a day out  last week with FDIL (future daughter in law) her lovely mum and 6 of my 7 children, to save money (and for fun) we agreed on a picnic.

family picnic
picnic time!
A couple of days before I was ridiculously excited to find a large wicker picnic basket complete with plastic plates and cutlery for just £4 in my local charity shop. Obviously this needed to be combined with my less vintage-esque insulated picnic rucksack which also comes stocked with cutlery and plates etc as I've yet to find a picnic basket with enough plates etc for our large family!

Added to this was my trusty shopping trolley loaded with blankets bin bags and a large box of food I couldn't fit into the two picnic carriers!

Each family has its idea of what makes a picnic and it turned out that FDIL had bought along her favourite the makings of "picnic sandwiches" - bread and butter and crisps.

I was a bit embarrassed then to unload our bags. We had egg mayo sarnies- smelly but essential on a madmumof7 picnic as it's the one filling everyone eats! There was a jar of jam, butter and a tiger loaf, hummus, cucumber, grapes, those crisps in tubes, kettle chips, four types of dip, little cooked sausages, pink lemonade in a gorgeous bottle with one of those Grolsh-style caps, cartons of milkshake , pain chocolate, Penguin biscuits and orange Club biscuits and cupcakes made the day before by my eldest daughter.

post-picnic icecream-thanks W!
The menu will vary depending on what is on special offer in the supermarket when I'm shopping for the picnic. Sometimes there will be hard boiled eggs, ham, chicken drumsticks, pizza, pitta and tzaziki.... We have been known to take along a teapot and flask of hot water too!

Also in the bag usually will be bin bags, handwipes, joss sticks and a lighter (in fly/wasp season you poke the joss sticks into the ground and they will generally keep you fairly flying bug free!) and sting relief spray for nettle incidents or for the rare occasion a wasp braves the joss smoke and gets into a fight with one of the picnickers.

Unfortunately all of this preparedness means my picnics weigh a ton and generally have to be left in the car until required - luckily I have lots of helpers to carry the bags when we need them - and of course now my amazing shopper on wheels helps transport the food!

So that was our first picnic of the year - and if the weather forecast is right we will be enjoying lots more. So do you have any top tips for successful picnics, or any family traditions or favourite picnic food - I'd love to know - share in the comments below!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall