At the beginning of September, I had the joy of self-isolating while we awaited the results of a Covid test that I was almost 100% sure was going to come back negative. (It did, in case you were wondering) If you haven’t already heard the full story and would like to, let me know, but in a nutshell it was a long and tedious wait where I didn’t go to work, the kids didn’t go to school and most importantly, we didn’t get to leave the house!
You can probably imagine our joy and relief when the test results finally came back one sunny Saturday morning, just in time for us to attend The Secret Picnic, a local family event that we’d heard of through the girls’ school.
The Secret Picnic, organised by First Art, is a community event designed to provide opportunities for people to experience different cultural activities in their local area. I’d never heard of it before school sent out an invitation, but the idea of some quality time with my girls, along with the promise of magic shows, circus workshops and food was too good to miss.
Plus, did I mention it was all completely free?
On the morning of the picnic, we arrived at the top secret location (hence The Secret Picnic), where we all had a temperature check before being allowed on-site.
The staff maintained excellent social distancing while the guests queued up before being taken to their individual picnic blankets, complete with deck chairs, cushions and of course – the picnic basket. (Bonus points if you said that in a “Yogi Bear” voice)
During the picnic, we were treated to a wealth of entertainment. Our host for the day was loud, over-excitable dance instructor, Tracey (real name, Sarah Blanc) who did a fantastic job at getting everybody revved up and ready for a party. She led us all in some silly aerobics, dance competitions and even a .game of bingo.
Maynard Flipflap provided some great comic relief, involving circus routines and comedy skits. He was very amusing, even if we were a little scared of whatever antics he might get up to next.
Guests were also invited to take part in a couple of workshops. We all thoroughly enjoyed the magic show, performed by Alex Magic who made sure all of the children got a chance to participate in one trick or another. The highlight of the day, however, had to be the circus workshops where we were given a chance to practice some fun circus tricks. Freya really enjoyed showing off her skills with the juggling sticks, and I think we may have to buy Poppy a Diablo for Christmas. (Although she definitely won’t be playing with it in the house!)
I was particularly impressed with the contents of the picnic basket. There was a great selection of savory treats, including a range of sandwiches, pork pie, sausage rolls and crisps. There were also lots of different treats, cakes – even scones with jam! We loved tucking into our feast and even had some leftover to take home for Dad!
At the end of the picnic, once our tummies were full and we’d enjoyed all the activities, it was time to pack up and head home. Before we left we were all offered a free ice-cream (in return for completing a feedback form) and a goody bag filled with stationery and other treats for the kids.
We all had an absolutely lovely time at The Secret Picnic. It was a great family event and it was nice to feel you were part of the community. The girls had lots of fun and I think they really appreciated having my undivided attention for a few hours. We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes out for future First Art events in the area.