Last of the summer time

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Summer seems to go by far too quickly in the UK and here in Birmingham, with no trips abroad to help me escape the city, I have to get a little creative when it comes to enjoying the little sunshine that we do get. The husband and I went for a lazy summer picnic at the weekend as it was sunny, dry and warm. We don’t have a garden so can’t barbecue at home and picnics are a lovely way to while away a few hours outdoors.

We picked up a picnic* from Paul in Grand Central and headed to Winterbourne House and Gardens as it’s not far away from where we live and they have lovely grounds where we can quietly picnic without any interruptions.

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I wore a summer dress of course, as I am fast running out of opportunities to do so. This lovely black maxi* is from iClothing and has a gorgeous tie detail on the back and a split on the front. And it’s in my favourite colour for clothing – black.

The dress is lovely and lightweight so it doesn’t feel restrictive when moving about. And I love the ruffle detail on the straps too as this makes for a flattering neckline. Being 5 ft 4 and this dress not being designed for a petite fit, I did have to shorten the hem on this dress, but it was easy enough to do myself. It does still come up a little small though so it you are between sizes, I would suggest that you size up.

I paired it with some nude chunky heels* because when wearing a maxi dress, heels are a must for me. Being petite is a challenge with full-length skirts and dresses but I adore them and find them really flattering to wear so have built up a small collection of them. It’s easier to walk on grass with wedges or a chunky heel than a stiletto so these are the best heel option for unknown terrain when out and about.

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In our picnic, we had vegan sandwiches which were a tasty combination of layered grilled peppers, carrots and onions, with carrot hummus and spinach in a beetroot studded baguette. I had a raspberry meringue and Mr Ting had a rhubarb tart as there aren’t any vegan pastry options at Paul. I wish there were! This was all packed into a lovely cool bag along with a couple of bottles of soft drinks, some cutlery and a disposable paper tablecloth. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the vegan sandwich was and would happily have this as a lunch even if not on a picnic.

We are still actively reducing our meat and fish consumption where we can so knowing that Paul offers a vegan sandwich is good. But one option is not enough. I hope that Paul extends their vegan offering in the near future so that I can explore more of their food offering.

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Winterbourne House and Gardens turned out to be a lovely place to spend a few hours away from the city centre. There are benches dotted around the gardens so there are plenty of places to stop for a read or some food, though we opted to sit on the grass on a picnic blanket because it felt more relaxing. We were careful to pack away all our litter afterwards and as much of the packaging that we were using was recyclable, we took it home to sort.

We are making some plans to make the most of the last of the summer sunshine. I’m not ready to put away my sunglasses just yet! These lovely shades are from Oliver Bonas and I’ve only just found them. Mind you, sunglasses are useful during the autumn and winter months anyhow due to the sun being lower so I don’t feel that these will be packed away just yet.

If you fancy a summer picnic too, then it’s worth asking at your local branch of Paul. With hampers for either two (£20) or four people (£38), which include the handy cool bag, it’s a case of picking up the picnic and just heading straight out to enjoy them somewhere lovely. And whilst you’re at it, make the most of your summer wardrobe whilst the autumn chill holds off for a little while longer.

*PR sample. See my full disclaimer below.

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