London’s Most Beautiful Parks for a Summer Picnic

As the UK is on the roadmap out of lockdown, rule of six regulations are reintroduced and the sun is starting to shine. As we take advantage of finally being able to see friends and family outdoors again, it is important we choose the right spot to help maintain social distancing guidelines.

With 3,000 of London’s parks to choose from, researchers at Essential Living can tell you which of London’s parks are ideal for a summer picnic. Taking the Ordnance Survey list of biggest parks, the team have extracted the six largest within Greater London to reveal where you can relax and enjoy your long overdue catch up with the comfort of large space.

Here are London’s 6 largest parks:

Richmond Park, Greater London – 9.53km²

Image: Royal Parks

Richmond Park, situated in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, is the largest of London’s Royal Parks with an impressive size of 9.53km², meaning it may be the best place to go for social distancing. 

Essential Living has calculated that it could fit a whopping 684,788 visitors with everyone maintaining two metres between each other. 

Along with its wide open spaces, grasslands and deer herds, there is the Pen Ponds Cafe, located near Broomfield Hill. Serving a wide range of hot and cold snacks and beverages, you are spoilt for choice with bacon rolls and freshly brewed coffee followed by ice cream and biscotti.

Hainault Forest Country Park – 3.62km²

Hainault Forest Country Park is a Country Park located in Greater London. With 3.62km² of space this park is perfect for keeping your distance from others, whilst still enjoying its open space parklands, numerous public footpaths, Hainault Forest Golf Club and Fox Burrow Farm.

If you run out of snacks or refreshments, you can nip to Le Bistro Loco for some freshly ground coffee, locally baked patisseries and hot paninis and sandwiches, which you can enjoy in the spacious outdoor seating area. 

Bushy Park, Greater London – 3.45km²

Linked to Hampton Court Palace by the Longford River, Bushy Park is famed for its mix of waterways, gardens and grassland, and roaming herds of red and fallow deer. With 3.45km² of open space, maintaining social distancing isn’t an issue.

The Pheasantry Cafe refreshment point is located at the Diana Car Park, open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm in the winter. You can tuck into their traditional bacon rolls or a variety of sandwiches and hot dogs, whilst washing it down with a freshly brewed continental coffee or a nice refreshing fruit smoothie.

Hampstead Heath 3.16km²

Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most popular open spaces with beautiful countryside, located just four miles from Trafalgar Square, the heath has some of the best views and highest points in London for everyone to enjoy. 

Open from 9 am until dusk, the Golders Hill Park Refreshment House is ideal for a quick healthy lunch bite to eat, offering takeout soups, pasta pots and salads. Customers have also mentioned their great cappuccinos and comfortingly hot cups of tea for the perfect winter warmer. 

Wimbledon Common – 2.90km²

Wimbledon and Putney Commons are countryside escapes amidst the urban surroundings of Wimbledon, Putney and Kingston-upon-Thames. The Commons offers 1,140 acres of calm and tranquillity amid the urban surroundings of Wimbledon, providing an important home for wildlife and a place for visitors to relax and unwind. 

Next to the famous Windmill Museum, the Windmill Tearooms is the perfect pit-stop for a refreshing bite if you are on a relaxing summer stroll. They continued to provide for walkers despite lockdown, offering a choice of hot and cold drinks as well as their selection of homemade cakes, tray bakes and famous bread pudding.

Hampton Court Park – 2.59km²

Hampton Court Park is a walled royal park managed by the Historic Royal Palaces, lies between the gardens of Hampton Court Palace and Kingston upon Thames and Surbiton in south west London. Its beautiful open space is perfect for those socially distanced gatherings (up to 6 people only though, remember).

The Molesey Lock cafe situated by Hampton Court Bridge has a wonderful garden oasis, perfect for enjoying their freshly made sandwiches and wonderful pots of tea. Perfect for fulfilling the needs of passers-by on their long journey.


Press release originally published by Essential Living

Note: Methodology and Data Sources
Using the Ordnance Survey’s list of 100 biggest parks, we extracted the six largest parks within Greater London and calculated how many people could visit the park based on its size and also keeping two metres away from each other. This was calculated by multiplying the number of people that can fit in a 1km2 area whilst keeping 2 metres distance between them (71,856) by the area of each park.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/news/britains-100-biggest-parks 

The Wandering Mother Blog | Recipes

Recipe: Lemon Posset Creme Dessert Pots

This week I have been indulging myself in baking delicious desserts. I’ve gotten a little bored with baking and photographing cakes – too much browns and beiges I wanted to shoot something a little more fun and summery. I was looking back on the blog and came across this old favourite of mine. Well, it’s actually Daddy P’s favourite recipe and it’s been a while since I made it for him. Behold, my deliciously tangy but sweet lemon posset dessert pots!

The lemon posset creme pots tastes like a citrusy creme brûlée and the texture is similar to a rich chocolate pot. It’s velvety smooth and oh so delicious! A word of warning though – this dessert is very sweet so if you are watching the calories or don’t have a sweet tooth, it’s best to avoid this one. Daddy P likes his lemon pots super sweet so I normally use 100g but for the sake of the rest of us, 80g sugar is sweet enough. If you prefer even less sugar, us about 50-60g sugar with the recipe below for a tart lemon taste. That should get you salivating!

Even though this dessert is very sweet, the tangy lemon juice does offset some of that sweetness and creates a refreshing balance. Enjoy it with a black coffee and shortbread (here’s a recipe for both!), or sparkling elderflower and mint for the perfect summer accompaniment.

The Wandering Mother Blog Recipes
Try topping your lemon creme pots with lemon curd for tangy-ness!
The Wandering Mother Blog | Recipes for comfort cooking
A dollop of lemon curd adds an extra tang to the lemon creme!

Lemon Posset Creme Dessert Pots Recipe

This dessert is very quick and easy to make and follows a similar method to making custard. You can also swap the caster sugar for golden caster sugar or light brown sugar. Simply double up the measurements to yield 6 pots.

Time: prep – 5 mins, cooking – 15 mins, chilling – up to 4 hrs
Serving: 3 small dessert pots or ramekins

Ingredients:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 80g caster sugar (use 60g for less sweetness)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • x1 lemon (squeezed)
  • lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • optional – toppings for your pots ie. lemon curd, melted white chocolate or shavings, berry compote or crushed ginger biscuits

Method:

  1. Add the double cream, vanilla extract and caster sugar to a saucepan, preferably a heavy-based pan to prevent the cream boiling too fast or burning, and stir continuously on a medium/high heat with a whisk.
  2. When the cream looks starts bubbling from the sides of the pan, take the pan off the heat or reduce to a very low heat.
  3. Whilst stirring, add in the lemon zest and the freshly squeezed lemon juice. You’ll see the cream turning into a thick custard consistency.
  4. Stir briskly a bit more then leave to cool for around 5 mins before pouring or spooning into the tall ramekins or glass pots. If you don’t want to bite into any lemon zest, you could strain the mixture through a sieve as you pour into your pots. This also helps to remove any lumps from your lemon creme.
  5. Place in the fridge to cool for 4 hours (or overnight) then enjoy them alone or accompanied with some shortbread biscuits.
  6. OPTIONAL – you can add toppings to your lemon creme dessert like a dollop of lemon curd or white chocolate, crushed ginger biscuits or even a berry compote for a fruity twist.

If you give this recipe a try, let me know in the comments below. X

This post was first written and published on this blog in May 2015.

How to have a sizzlin’ summer party at home!

Summertime…

Good food.
Good people.
Good times.

We’re not going to let lockdown take away our summer completely are we?! With the sun shining away this week, why not get into the kitchen and cook up a mean treat for your family at home this summer. There’s no need to go away just yet and a summer party or mini-BBQ at home might be the best way to go. If you have a slightly bigger space and are seeing people in your social bubbles, you could even try to organise a mini-festival!

I took the kids to visit a friend in our social bubble this week and she has a massive outdoor communal garden where we were able to create a mini-retreat space for the kids. We had a pool so the kids could take a dip when it got too hot, a healthy picnic lunch, games for the kids to play and we ended the evening with kids yoga. It was an awesome day and we all had an amazing time!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family Lifestyle & Travel
Our Kiddo’s Retreat! / Instagram: @mannyngo_yoga

How to throw a sizzlin’ summer party…

Depending on how much effort you want to put in, you can still throw a decent party by doing the following:

  • setting the scene
  • save time by preparing easy to make food
  • get the music and drinks flowing
  • get out the party games
  • take photos to remember the day

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger
Credit: William Montout / Unsplash

Setting the scene: have a party theme

If you’re stuck for inspiration or your Google search is not you any justice, I’d highly suggest checking out Pinterest. It’s an amazing media platform where you’d find photos for absolutely anything. I usually like to do a brief search on Google before heading over to Pinterest to find examples of what my theme/concept is. There’s usually many variations and interpretations of “summer party idea” so try to be as specific as you can ie. ‘summer tropical party idea’ or ‘vintage summer party idea’.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger
This adorable citrus summer theme is perfect for garden parties / Photo Credit: Pinterest

Eco-Friendly Partyware

If you’re also going to be hosting for friends and family in your social bubbles, it might be easier to use disposable party-ware but forget all the plastic stuff. Party-ware has officially stepped up their game with recyclable, compostable and biodegradable disposables so it’s more friendly to the environment.

Swap your plates, cutlery and straws for these beauties. They look so pretty too! I’ve found a whole range on Party Delights and Amazon offers both square and round plates.

disposable-partyware-party-delights
Eco-friendly Partyware / Photo Credit: PartyDelights.co.uk

I’ve got my eye on a super-cute children’s 6pc bamboo set on Amazon- they’re easy to wash and nicer to use than plastic tableware which we have quite a few of now.. no more breaks and chips woop woop!

Save time by preparing easy to make food

pasta-pestoAs much as I love to cook, I actually hate preparing food for a party. I find it’s too time consuming and so much planning need to go into it. I’d simply rather buy something already made well than trying to DIY for the first time, or get a caterer in. However, there are a few simple dishes that I love making for a party which don’t require too much time, I’ll have to upload my own recipes for some of these but here’s my list of easy-to-make dishes:

Egg & Potato Salad
Here’s an awesome recipe from Foodie Crush

Homemade Coleslaw
This recipe by Inspired Taste is on-point with the red cabbage!

Chocolate Brownies
This BBC Good Food recipe is my all-time fave and forms the base of all my brownie creations. If brownies are too tricky for you, buy a pre-made mix like this one from the Bottled Baking Co.

Apple & Banana Bread Loaf
This recipe adapted from Melissa Hemsley’s version is simple and so tasty

Homemade Vegan Chickpea Burgers
This is my own recipe and I love it so much. It’s vegan-friendly too! No time to prep? PEP Kitchen‘s got you covered with ready made meals.

Need more recipe inspiration? Tesco have 10 quick BBQ recipes that are simple and easy to follow. They look super tasty too!

Summer Party theme
Photo Credit: Google

Get the music + drinks flowing

No party is a party without music. The easiest way is to connect your phone or electronic device to the speakers and you’ve got your own sound system. You can also play music straight from your TV if the speakers are loud enough. We have our own mini speaker that’s mega-powerful for its tiny size. Forget all those big name brands, the name you need to know is ANKER. My friend told me about this brand and I’ve not looked back since. I got my SoundCore bluetooth speaker for a third of the price I would’ve paid for a Sony speaker. Simply connect it to bluetooth on your phone and that’s it – music! On my phone I use Spotify and another music app to play YouTube videos so I can use my phone whilst the music plays.

Having a variety of drinks at your party is a good idea. We’re not drinkers in our house so I’m not sure what is the best one to choose but from what others have told me, summer alcoholic beverages are a treat, such as PIMMS, strawberry daiquiri cocktails, rum punch, sangria, and prosecco. Binary Botanical offer a range of gluten-free, vegan beers

If you’re T-Total like us, then these drinks might quench your thirst:

  • Alcohol-free alcohol – Kopparberg do an alcohol-free cider, Shloer is another great supermarket name and alternative to wine, Seedlip offer a premium range of alc-free botanical gins. For mocktail lovers, try Sipling cocktails which are alc-free and Outfox for a range of non-alc wines
  • lemonade and ginger beer are summer party staples – I love the shop bought stuff but if you want to get more involved, try making your own homemade version
  • summer fruit smoothies – The Honestly Good Smoothie Co. for ready-to-blend smoothie bags help cuts down prep time and saves on wastage
  • naturally spiced soft drinks – with choices like tamarind, ginger and sorrel, Carisips have got you sorted

Get out the party games

Party games are fun for everyone. Best children’s games include giant ring toss, giant snakes and ladders or connect-4. You can usually purchase these from Argos. Other kids games that only need a few or no props include:

  • team races – eg. relay race, egg and spoon race, sack race
  • hide & seek
  • scavenger hunt
  • charades
  • who am I (using post-its or sticky labels)

We nabbed a cheap plastic kids bowling set for £5 from a cheap store. If you want games that won’t cost a penny, Thifty Parent and Buzz Feed have a decent list of games you can play.

Take photos to remember the day

Take photos of the day to remember either on your phone, tablet or electronic device. Snapfish (10cm x 13cm) and SuperSnaps (6.7cm x 7.7cm) offer retro square prints that have that cool, polaroid picture effect to make your day really memorable. I’m still torn on getting an INSTAX square camera for Little Man’s birthday but that’s an extra splurge I don’t think I want to get into.

My Ipanema Wishlist For Summer

My Ipanema Wish List
Click here to see the full range at Ipanema.uk.com

Summer is approaching thick and fast! I need to start booking my pedicure appointments now to get my toes in tip-top condition and buy a good-quality pair of flip flops from my Ipanema Wish List for summer.

All those long winter months I have been very lazy and neglecting my feet. Apart from a seriously good pedicure, they also need some good-fitting sandals this year. Ever since my pregnancy the soles of my feet have become really dry and the back of the feet are hard and slightly cracking so a paraffin wax pedicure is definitely in order. I am also thinking of having CND Shellac gel on my toes this summer as they last much longer than normal polish. If you’re going abroad and to the beach, I’d highly recommend a gel polish because you will be able to dip your feet in the sea and the sand won’t be able to chip your polish!

I also can’t wear heels anymore since I have had LO so I think the easiest way to give my feet a good rest is to invest in some well-made summer footwear. No more cheap £4.00 flip flops from Primark that wear away within two weeks and leave my soles black from the friction. I’ve seen two pairs from the Ipanema official UK website that have taken my fancy; they are the Festival sandal and the Bella Platform.

My Ipanema Wish List
The Ipanema Festival Sandal (£20)

The Festival Sandal, £20 is incredibly stylish and would look great during the day or at night. The pretty gold chevron detail looks gorgeous and can be easily teamed up simple accessories and maxi dress for a casual style or dressed up with denim jeans for a night out.

The Bella Platform, £22 is perfect for adding some height to your look, platform sandals are also recommended if you (like me) walk with more pressure applied on the back of the foot. I love the Bella design as it’s simple but stylish and the added heel will provide my feet with some gentle relief and won’t wear away easily.

About The Company
The company originates from Brazil and all of the footwear is only produced by their own factories located in the North of Brazil. Each flip flop is made with Brazilian spirit and culture in mind hence the vibrant and colourful designs. Ipanema sandals are 100% recyclable and can only be bought in the UK by selected official stockist.

http://www.ipanema.uk.com/