Okay … you’ve got the picnic basket, the cooler box, plates, utensils, napkins, a bottle opener … “Sweetheart! Did you fill the ice trays in the fridge like I told you all week?”

Right then, the clan is ready to head for the park. It’s nice and close to home, the dogs can tag along and best of all, it’s FREE!

You’re a good number traipsing off to find a wonderful spot under the trees with dappled sunlight. Rope everyone in to help carry cushions, a few blankets, and a set of camping chairs for the older folks.

Choose a spread that all would enjoy. You needn’t be the only one to slave away at the chopping board either! Baguettes are a yummy and easy option and replace that fizzy cooldrink with a lovely homemade lemonade or iced tea. Just chuck some lemon slices and mint into the mix. It makes you look like you’ve got it together! Why not?

Pack a frisbee, fly that birthday kite that’s been gathering dust in the games room, kick a soccer ball the length of the park, let the little ones have a ball of a time on the swings, or pick your teams for an exciting game of action cricket. Lazy days!

When the time arrives to pack up, rope in all the youngsters to clean up every wrapper and packet before you head home and be continuously reminded of your promise that they can have two (maybe three?) hours of uninterrupted video gaming.

In the end, know that no matter how plentiful or sparse your picnic fare is, or when or where you throw open the blanket, nothing beats connection. Engage, keep the conversation sparkling, ditch resentments and worries in the bin, and simply bask in a rather special time!