Written in collaboration with the Welsh Government to #KeepWalesSafe
It’s fast approaching the Easter break and you’re probably tired and frustrated of the current pandemic. It’s been over a year, and we all have lockdown fatigue, but the sun is on the horizon – both literally and figuratively, as here in Wales we’ve seen the numbers drop considerably from where they were at Christmas. This has allowed the Welsh Government to lift restrictions ahead of the Easter break. We can look forward to seeing more family and friends outdoors again in limited numbers – up to six people from two different households to socialise.
I’m desperate to see my close friends and family again, some of whom I haven’t seen in over a year, but it’s also so important to me that I not only keep myself and my immediate family safe, but that I keep everyone else safe too. I’ve been thinking about how I can celebrate Easter, create memories and be as safe as possible. I want to share with you my idea for a way to eat with friends or family members safely – an Easter picnic!
First I want to take the time to say how grateful I am to everyone around me during this pandemic, but especially frontline and essential workers who have been keeping us all safe as best they can. Now it’s our turn to #KeepWalesSafe and continue to follow the rules set out by the Welsh Government, to slowly open the country back and move forward into happier times.
If you’re anything like me, Easter dinner has always been some sort of traditional Sunday roast with all the trimmings. We usually do beef, or sometimes lamb, but otherwise, it’s very similar to a Christmas dinner. This is a lot of hassle for the cook (always me!), leaves a ridiculous pile of washing up and always has me tuckered out. Since it’s not yet safe to see family and friends indoors so I can’t invite anyone over to eat with us, I had an idea for a new family tradition – Easter picnics!
Wales has very variable weather, but you don’t need bright sunshine and clear skies to enjoy spending time and eating outdoors. If there’s something positive I’ve taken from the pandemic, it’s a renewed love of the outdoors, and the ability to appreciate spending time with my family in nature. An Easter picnic is just the perfect foodie delight for the current times – it’s easy to make, fun for the kids and can be done outdoors, meaning it’s safe for family and friends to have their own picnic next to you.
It’s so easy to spread a blanket each at a safe distance, but still have a chat and celebrate together, and since you’re packing cold foods, you can do it anywhere – in your garden or a friends garden, or out and about in a local park, even at the beach, somewhere nice that you can walk off that food baby after your feast, and the kids can run around endlessly burning off energy. As well as being delicious, finger food avoids any situations where you’re having to take the risks of sharing cutlery and crockery too!
Here are some food suggestions for packing an easy picnic the whole family will love:
- Sandwiches – if you want to make these extra Easter themed you can cut them into Easter shapes using a cookie cutter. This doesn’t need to create a lot of food waste – if you cut the pieces of bread before you butter and fill them, you can use the leftover bread pieces in the food processor as breadcrumbs, which you can even freeze for use later in recipes, or even make some bread pudding!
- Your kids favourite cold food that can be eaten easily with hands. Our family favourites are things like Scotch eggs (eggs are a natural Easter theme!), quiche and crisps.
- For sweet things, Easter themed desserts are quite easy – you can make cupcakes with eggs on theme or Easter themed characters, chocolate nests (which are super easy for the whole family to make), or whatever their favourite dessert is. For example I made these brownies and added extra mini eggs – anything you bake can have mini eggs or any other small chocolate eggs added to it for an Easter twist. It isn’t Easter without a few cheeky chocolate eggs!
Don’t stress too much about the food side of things. The joy of a picnic is that it’s easy food that the kids can eat as a buffet, so whatever is popular with the family (and your favourites too) will work well.
Any blanket will do as a dry place to eat, but I favour this brightly coloured picnic blanket with a waterproof back, ideal for when the grass is still a little bit damp, but really even just a towel will do if you don’t have a picnic blanket, and if it’s wet, pop a bin bag underneath it. You’ll have that ready to collect your rubbish in then, to take home with you.
To make it Easter themed and to create wonderful memories, you could add the following:
- Easter themed books to read before or after dinner, we’ve chosen “We’re going on an Egg Hunt” but I’ve put together some great Easter themed book options for you.
- Easter themed plates and cups, isn’t the one I used super cute?
- Easter crafts like bonnets to make or eggs to decorate
- A nature themed treasure hunt for the kids to complete after the picnic, for example find a flower, an acorn, spot birds or find a bug. You can print out a list tailored to the location and have clues.
- Easter Egg hunts are always fun as well, easier done in the garden than a public place but in a public park you could give out clues and locations to find, then hand over the egg as a reward.
- Fun Easter themed games to burn off that energy – like an egg and spoon race!
All of these things can be done outside – assuming the weather isn’t torrential (or even under a gazebo if it is). Seeing friends and family outside in small numbers is the ideal way to celebrate Easter together in a way that keeps Wales safe.
At the end of the day, when the kids are tucked up in bed, don’t forget to take some time for yourself too – maybe that’s a glass of wine and a good book, a long bubble bath, or for me, it’s time for a hot chocolate and some left over cake! You deserve it.