Valentine's Day this year is just 48 hours after the 2021 Lunar New Year, so you might be in a rush to plan something sweet for that special someone. Don't worry, a simple picnic is always a great idea, and doesn't require much preparation to be perfect. We picked 3 perfect picnic ideas for your Valentine's Day this year and how to plan an eco-friendly picnic for 2.
3 top spots for an easy and eco-friendly Valentine picnic in Singapore
The traditional romantics: Tea and swings at the Botanic Gardens
Botanic Gardens isn't short of picnic-worthy spots, from the Palm Valley to the Eco Lake lawns. Our favourite has to be the Frangipani Garden where 12 garden swings are waiting for you to sway in the breeze, sheltered by the fragrant trees. If you don't mind the open space, make the most of the park's late-night openings hours and walk over to Palm Valley and Symphony Lake. Read a book, chat and relax until the night starts to fall and people make their way home to fully enjoy the starry sky. The park closes at midnight, so you're in no hurry to leave!
Toes in the sand: the Southern Islands
Go "abroad" for a day! Or at least, leave the island and head out from Marina South Pier via ferry to the Southern Islands for a mini getaway. It’s the closest you’ll get to a beach escape. Do check the ferry schedule to avoid missing the last trip back so you don't miss the rest of your planned date! There are shady spots under the trees all around the beach as well as picnic tables in the shade when you alight from the ferry at St John’s Island. Kusu Island is has more amenities with shelters, picnic tables and even barbecue pits! Remember that there are no bins on Lazarus Island so do plan to pack up what rubbish you bring in. Remember to bring your snorkelling gear for a cooling swim in the lagoons.
No place like home: your own terrace or yard!
Most of us don't have the luxury of a large terrace or backyard, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a home picnic! Sometimes, just changing every day by moving away from the dining table to enjoy a tent set up in the living room is enough to change the mood and with all the benefits of being at home! Keep your loved one busy with tasks in the afternoon while you set up an evening surprise picnic complete with scented candles for when you dim the lights. Bring out the romantic Netflix and wait for your significant other to open the door into a magical picnic night.
How to plan an eco-friendly picnic outing
Here are our 8 best picnic tips to make sure that your beautiful time out (or in) is not going to have any negative effect on the environment around you. This counts for a picnic at home too!
Bring out what you take in. Clean up your picnic area before you leave, and pick up what you brought in even if it's organic like food scraps. It can be dangerous to wildlife and attract pests.
Keep food to yourself! By that we mean to not share it with wildlife! Yes, the jungle fowl probably would enjoy a bit of your tart and the long-tailed macaques certainly hope to get their fingers into your barePack, but research shows that feeding wildlife is one of the key factors contributing to human-wildlife conflict in Singapore. Even feeding pigeons can result in local residents putting out poison to minimise populations, thus inadvertently endangering non-target species such as koels, orioles, sparrows, and starlings.
Don't buy new, or buy to last. If you don't have a picnic blanket, maybe you have a mat, extra-large beach towel, or a bed cover that you could use instead of buying new (especially if you rarely have picnics) or alternatively check in with your neighbours and friends if anyone can spare one for a day. Bring some cloth napkins wrapped in your picnic blanket. If you do want to buy a blanket, choose a sturdy cotton picnic blanket that is durable enough to last for years of use if you plan on purchasing one.
Use your fingers! There are plenty of finger foods that don't require cutlery. A few ideas: hard cheese slices and crackers, mini tarts, berries and grapes, dried fruits and nuts, vegetable crisps or freshly cut into sticks and thick dips. Sporks are handy space-saving options if you need some cutlery - jut pop them in your empty barePack once used to keep everything tidy.
Forget the "compostable" plastics. Not only are there conflicting claims about whether they are truly compostable, but they will also simply get incinerated in Singapore, or, could accidentally get picked up for recycling and contaminate the batch being recycled.
Use natural repellants and sunscreen, such as ones marked "reef-safe". There are many harmful chemicals in these traditional skin products that when exposed to the environment can cause harm due to their buildup. Luckily, more and more brands are swapping them for better options that do less damage.
Keep your picnic in view and safe. Not only to prevent unwanted visitors from joining the party without an invitation, but you wouldn't want things you've brought in from flying away. Especially if you are at the beach or by a lake where rubbish could easily end up in the water and prove impossible to recover.
Try a lazy picnic with barePack. If you're short of time to pack some special dishes or sweets for your picnic basket, we’ve got you covered. Add a barePack to go, either delivered to you via GrabFood, Deliveroo, or foodpanda that you can chill until you head out (or camp in!) or to go on your way to your Valentine destination. For instance, you can pick up some Matcha Croissants or teacakes and fresh juices from Common Man Stan before you board for the Southern Islands at Marina Pier. Da Paolo Gastronomia at Cluny Court is nestled right beside the main gate (the one at Botanic Garden MRT) and if you fancy something fresh and plan to walk in from the Tanglin gate, SaladStop! provides barePack at Tanglin Mall. The perfect plan to pack up some sweet and savoury foods for an ideal picnic! And best of all, you can drop off the empty barePacks on your way out!
What's your Valentine’s date like this year?