It’s no secret: I don’t love cooking. When I’m hungry I don’t want to cook; I want to eat RIGHT NOW. And when I’m not hungry I don’t want to think about food; I want to be otherwise engaged. That’s before we even get onto grocery shopping (scream face emoji).
And cooking for picky small Pink House Dwellers is even worse: I can spend an hour slaving over fish fingers and they STILL won’t eat them. (This might have something to do with the fact that fish fingers only take 15 minutes to cook. At least we have a smoke alarm.)
So when Marks & Spencer asked if I’d like to select/show off some of their stylish new summer range, with décor and tableware designed for outside living and eating, I said “Yes!” faster than I can ruin a roast.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the seven years I’ve been a food-prep-averse parent, it’s the power of the outside world to vastly improve the whole horrid business of making food for small people.
So this post is the perfect opportunity to show off my pick of the new M&S collection (all tableware and décor shown in these pics of The Pink House garden comes from M&S – for credits and click-through links see bottom of post) while I demonstrate 5 reasons why the oven-shy should feed kids outside…
1) No cooking required
Because when you’re having a picnic, pre-cooked beige foods become essential rather than guilt-inducing, even at dinner time. So get out those ready-to-eat sausage rolls, shop-cooked cocktail sausages and oven-free cheese sandwiches and you’re the parental answer to Jamie Oliver. Also, biscuits eaten outside are good for you – FACT. Ain't no #parentfail to see here.
2) Peppa loves picnics
And anything Peppa Pig does, children under 4 want to do too – voila: food-enthusiastic children. If you have muddy puddles in the vicinity this is a bonus, but probably best to keep the picnic at least three metres away from them (I’ve done the research so you don’t have to.)
3) Vegetables are exciting outside
This is most likely linked to the aforementioned Peppa scenario that renders any outdoor food instantly desirable to children: "Carrot sticks! Oh WOW!" I also discovered that veg-keenness reaches new levels when you place said veg on this pretty melamine cake stand.
4) Spillages are fun!
Inside, the 4yo Pink House Dweller can be relied upon to tip over his glass of water 33% of the time, I get annoyed about clearing up 90% of the time, and the glass smashes 45% of the time. But during our al fresco dinner, while drinking his water out of a sturdy (yet extremely attractive) green M&S tumbler, the 4yo did indeed drop it on the patio, but a) it survived unscathed, b) I wasn’t cross (“just refill it from the outside tap!” I chortled), and c) the spillage provided a mini paddling pool for between-bites fun times.
5) It’s a styling excuse
If you’re anything like me (I’ll wager you are, if you’re reading this), you’ll have a thing about styling and re-styling various corners of your home. Mantelpieces, shelves, bedside tables, coffee tables, window ledges, sofas…they all get regularly rearranged in The Pink House. To the point where I sometimes find myself wishing I had another room to fiddle with. With outdoor dining, the garden BECOMES that room. Now, I’m no gardener (if it involves actual dirt I’m not interested; plants wither when I come within three feet), but eating outside provides a garden decorating excuse – a cushion to sit on here (these diamond embroidered pink cushions contrast beautifully with the green grass and - see below - they’re equally fab in The Pink House Den too), a vase of flowers there. And who cares whether the kids appreciate it or not – this meal isn’t about them, after all…
Marks & Spencer CREDITS
- Peru Design Throw, £35
- Diamond Embroidered Cushion, £25
- Frida Melamine Cake Stand, £15
- Azure Crackle Effect Melamine Side Plate, £3.50
- Green Hayward Vase, £17.50
- Pink Picnic Optic Sorbet Dish, £3
- Green Picnic Optic Tumbler, £3
This post was sponsored by Marks & Spencer, but as always, all opinions are my own. If I don’t like something, I won’t write about it. If you’re a brand interested in working with The Pink House, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org