OUR PRECIOUS PORTMEIRION MOMENTS // + chance to win 4x family tickets to Portmeirion Village, worth £144 each!

Gorgeous tableware holding shot

Life is always hectic around here, but our renovations and all the ensuing chaos has resulted in 2018 being even MORE crazy than usual.

I’d forgotten how long it takes to unpack a house-load of boxes (answer: a really, really long time) but we’re getting there, slowly but surely, and the little jigsaw pieces of our lives are slotting back into place.

One of the most exciting changes has been finally getting the kitchen diner of my dreams, but with new equipment comes great responsibility, and I’ve had to up my cooking game. But I haven’t felt obliged – I’ve actually wanted to do more. The open-plan design means I don’t feel cut off from the rest of the family (which I used to resent) so it’s much more enjoyable to cook.

There are still a few things we need to sort out, one being a dining table, but we wanted to let the house settle around us for a while first and figure out how to best use the extra space. Luckily for us, this crazy-gorgeous weather has allowed us to use our outside table in the interim, and we’ve enjoyed some really lovely family meals together.

Which is something we’ve always lacked since the girls were born – our London flat had a tiny kitchen, and while this house had more space, it still wasn’t enough for us to squeeze in a dining table. It wasn’t so much of a big deal when the girls were really young, but now they’re nearly 8 and 10 we want to be able to have meals together, sitting around the table and catching up with each other’s lives, before they get so old that they’re always off with their friends.

So when the fabulous Portmeirion social team got in touch to see if I wanted to celebrate some ‘Portmeirion Moments’ (special moments, shared with loved ones), it couldn’t have come at a better time.

All this year they’re celebrating what would have been the 100th birthday of iconic ceramic designer Susan Williams-Ellis.

If the name sounds familiar, Susan was the daughter of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, the famous British architect who built his own Riviera-inspired Portmeirion Village, in Gwynned, North Wales (now owned by a charitable trust). Most famous for its candy-coloured buildings, this passion project took 50 years to complete and has become one of the UK’s most eccentric and beloved tourist attractions.

Once in charge of the souvenir shop, Susan saw the potential for something bigger, and in 1960 she opened the Portmeirion pottery, in Stoke-on-Trent. She spent her days commuting between the village and the factory, and in 1963 she put her ceramics, and the village that sold them, on the map when she launched her famous abstract design, Totem.

She quickly became one of Britain’s most highly-regarded ceramic designers. Inspired by her love of nature, Susan began creating an entirely new design and in 1972 Botanic Garden was launched.

This delightfully winsome range was first launched in 1972 and was patterned with flowers that all could have been plucked straight from an English country garden, including foxgloves, hyacinths, pansies, Dogwood roses, daisies and forget-me-nots. Each was exquisitely illustrated and looked as if it had been lifted straight from a botanical encyclopaedia, complete with hovering dragonflies and fluttering butterflies.

What truly set this apart was Susan’s decision to created dinner sets containing a mixture of designs. In a time when everything was perfectly matched, this was quite a revolutionary move and many buyers at the time told her it would be a flop. It’s safe to say Susan had the last laugh, as it’s now 46 years later and the Botanic Garden design remains one of Portmeirion’s most popular and recognised tableware ranges.

We had the pleasure of trying some of the gorgeous designs for our magical Mother’s Day afternoon tea last year, and I’ve been slightly obsessed with the range ever since. So, when I was invited to choose some more products to help create our Portmeirion Moments, I could not wait to have another browse.

A couple of clashing commitments had meant we’d decided to postpone Father’s Day, so it just made sense that our Portmeirion Moment would be a joint celebration of the end-(ish) of our renovations, our belated Daddy’s Day and my newfound enthusiasm for cooking (I mean, let’s face it – I’ve got a LOT of time to make up for!).

One thing I’ve always managed to cook reasonably well is lasagne. I started with that student lifesaver, the Dolmio meal kit, but then got adventurous and started making it from scratch and even adding my own little twists to the original recipe *cough* diced courgette and red peppers *cough*.

It’s now my ‘go-to’ dish and one of OH’s absolute favourites.

I found the perfect LASAGNE BAKING DISH decorated around the outside with Susan’s signature leaf border, and inside with Lathyrus Latifolius (that’s sweet peas to you and me).

I began layering the bolognese with the pasta sheets and bechamel sauce, topping it with mature cheddar and mozzarella and adding the final flourish – cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Then I popped the dish straight into the oven to bake for 50 minutes until the cheese was all lovely and bubbly on top.

The other great thing about these dishes (and, in fact, the entire range) is they’re freezer, oven, microwave AND dishwasher safe, so you can literally go from oven to table, and then freeze the leftovers!

Next, I found this SMALL LASAGNE DISH that I planned to use for baking bread (full disclosure – it was a packet bread mix… baby steps, people, baby steps!). I mixed the dough and let it rise, and then popped it in the oven to bake. Sure, it wasn’t 100% homemade, but I served it warm and smeared with butter and it was delicious and perfect for sopping up all those yummy bolognese juices.

Finally, I got my salad ingredients ready. I decided to go for a simple rocket and watercress salad, topped with fresh tomato and almond flakes and dressed with oil and balsamic vinegar. I tossed them all together in this 10-INCH SALAD BOWL, prettily decorated with a floral garland around the inner rim, and inside with lily-flowered azalea, and outside with pansies, daisies, blue primrose and trailing bindweed.

Not only does it look gorgeous but it can also double up as a mixing or bread bowl.

We all sat down outside to enjoy our family meal. OH and Big Sis devoured every bite and even Lil Sis – who sometimes feels like the pickiest eater on the planet – tried some bread and lasagne.

But the best part was just all sitting down together, having a laugh and catching up with each other’s lives. We have so little time with all four of us together, that we cherish every minute and make sure to appreciate every single one our Portmeirion Moments.

How would you like to visit the magical tourist village of Portmeirion?

I’ve teamed up with this delightfully quirky attraction to give you the chance to win one of FOUR family tickets (two adults and up to three children, aged 4-15 years) to Portmeirion Village, which can be redeemed up until the end of August.

What a fab way to spend the school holidays.  

Marvel at the Mediterranean feel of the village, explore the stunning sub-tropical grounds and then grab a gelato and wander along the sandy beaches of the Dwyryd Estuary. Don’t forget a visit to the souvenir shop before you leave. Get entering, and good luck! 

e: 23.59: 27/7/18 UK and ROI only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&Cs: prize is one of a total of 4x family tickets to the Portmeirion Tourist Village, each worth £144. Prize will be fulfilled after completion of the prize promotion; winner will be selected and notified within one month of the end date; promoter’s and winner’s details available on request; your details will not be passed on or used for any other purpose than which is outlined; winner will be selected at random via the Rafflecopter form.

34 Comments

  1. melanie stirling - July 21, 2018 reply

    I have wanted to visit Portmeirion for ages.I would love to see the Amis Reunis – The Stone Boat.

  2. Chris Andrews - July 21, 2018 reply

    What part of Portmeirion Village would you look forward to most?
    lt is our second home (almost) . . . .we are such frequent visitors. We love the beautifully laid out gardens.

  3. I’m mostly looking forward to the beautiful views.

  4. I love North Wales as my grandma (who is sadly no longer with us) is from there. I’d love to visit the beaches there.

  5. Catherine McAlinden - July 22, 2018 reply

    The views look stunning, but I suspect the kids would enjoy the ice cream most!

  6. Julia Linsley - July 23, 2018 reply

    The wonderful gardens !

  7. Terri Dudey - July 23, 2018 reply

    Would certainly be the views for me and I’m sure my 3 children would just love everything as it looks the perfect break xx

  8. Sheena Batey - July 23, 2018 reply

    The sandy beaches of the Dwyryd Estuary

  9. Alice Colling - July 25, 2018 reply

    I would love to visit, to see the views and experience the unique atmosphere.

  10. Karen Worrall - July 25, 2018 reply

    Love going to Portmerion. It’s so beautiful!

  11. Anthea Holloway - July 25, 2018 reply

    I would love to visit the beaches there and the little town itself.

  12. Emma Howard - July 25, 2018 reply

    I’ve never been to Portmeirion but have always wanted to go. I’d love to explore all of it and finish off with a gelato!

  13. Pauline Dring - July 26, 2018 reply

    The seaside bit, my son has been to Festival no 6 and he says the beach area is amazing

  14. Sue Bebbington - July 26, 2018 reply

    I would love to see the beauty of the village and take a wander down t9 the beach. It would be great to see where they actually filmed the famous series of The Prisoner

  15. The beaches

  16. I would love the Mediterranean feel to the actual village (without having to travel so far!)

  17. Wendy Smith - July 26, 2018 reply

    I would love to see the Central Piazza, with the amazing architecture, beautiful gardens and stunning views

  18. Tracey Hallmark - July 27, 2018 reply

    So difficult to choose when I really want to explore and enjoy it all, I’ll say the architecture as it’s such a unique village but I’d also love to see the exotic gardens, walk along the beautiful coastal paths and take in those breathtaking views. Thanks so much for the chance to win a family pass I’d so love to surprise my mum.

  19. Carolyn Ellston - July 27, 2018 reply

    I’ve heard so much about 5is place and have been wanting to go for ages. I have Welsh relatives that have all been, but not me. It looks amazing and I am just about old enough to remember The Prisoner!

  20. Lucy Barlow - July 27, 2018 reply

    The Sub Tropic Gardens sound lush!

  21. the sopund of sandy beaches would be amazing!

  22. Mary Heatley - July 27, 2018 reply

    Been on the to do list for ages.

  23. Portmeirion has been on the to do list for ages!

  24. Adrian Bold - July 27, 2018 reply

    I would love to visit Portmerion

  25. Would love to just explore the village, especially stopping for lunch ( that lasagne looks delicious!)

  26. Naomi Williams - July 27, 2018 reply

    The lovely gardens

  27. Maria Hackett - July 27, 2018 reply

    We visit Snowdonia few times a year but we have never been to Portmerion yet. We just booked our holiday for August in Llanwrst and would love this. Pictures look amazing and would love to experience ourselves. Thank you.

  28. All the locations from The Prisoner including the beach

  29. Allan Fullarton - July 27, 2018 reply

    The Sub Tropic Gardens are lovely.

  30. A.E. ADKINS - July 27, 2018 reply

    Never been (despite having close friends who once lived close by), would love to visit

  31. Sarah Austin - July 27, 2018 reply

    The gardens would be lovely to visit!

  32. Nicola John - July 27, 2018 reply

    I would love to wonder around and just take in the breath taking beauty of the place ….I think.it would be fun to get a little lost and go where the mood take us around the village

  33. Samantha Atherton - July 27, 2018 reply

    I’d be excited to wander round the gardens, I haven’t been since I was a little girl and would love to take my daughter.

  34. Michelle Corbett - July 27, 2018 reply

    My friend Charlotte has just come back from here and loved everything. She said about the history, beautiful scenery, shops etc and I’m dying to go there with my family. It definitely sounds a magical place to be ♥

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