Meal Times – A Family Affair | AD

*This is a collaborative post

We have always made sure that meal times in our house are as sociable and family orientated as possible. From when LP started weaning we would make sure that we would have meals around the table and involve her in meals as much as possible.

But, for our family, involving the children in meal times isn’t just about sitting together to eat – it’s about preparing meals together, deciding what to eat together and then really making the most of that time we have, sat around the table together.

Meal Times - A Family Affair { and Giveaway!}

Portmeirion asked me to share my top tips for meal times and it’s made me think so much about the times that the children are in the kitchen with me, the ways that we involve the children and how we make sure that dinner times are a highlight of our day.

Get the children involved in a meal plan

Each week I write a meal plan of what we’ll be eating that week. This includes all our evening meals and lunches when the children are at home and I always ask the children if there’s anything they’d like to eat next week. Often they’ll say pizza or pasta – staples in our home – or they’ll say something a bit different like toad in the hole, a stew or a picnic dinner. Inviting them to make choices for the whole family gives them a sense of responsibility and independence but also makes meal times so much more exciting for them.

Get the children in the kitchen

LP and Little Man are always much more excited about dinner when they help to make it. At 5 and nearly 7 they have been helping in the kitchen for a couple of years now and we always tailor the jobs to what we think they are capable of. They don’t cook yet but they cut up vegetables, put a salad together and mix batter for pancakes or Yorkshire puddings with their own baking set. Helping in the kitchen gets them excited about the finished meal but also gives them an insight into how much work goes into preparing their dinner – making them realise even more the waste if they end up not eating it.

Meal Times - A Family Affair { and Giveaway!}
Meal Times - A Family Affair { and Giveaway!}
Meal Times - A Family Affair { and Giveaway!}

Makes snacks more formal

LP and Little Man always used to eat on the go. They would snack whilst on the way somewhere or whilst distracted by the TV. We’ve found that they’re much more appreciative of snacks – and they’re enjoyed more – if they eat them at the table. This could be whilst we’re playing a game or whilst they’re making something but sitting down and eating rather than eating here, there and everywhere, definitely increases their snack satisfaction. Plus, it means I can make more exciting snacks – crackers with toppings on, a mix of crisps and nibbles or a simple fruit platter. Things that are colourful and that I know they’ll love.

Meal Times - A Family Affair { and Giveaway!}
Meal Times - A Family Affair { and Giveaway!}

Have dinner together

Even back when Dave used to work shifts I would make sure that I would have dinner at the same time as the children and if Dave was home he would eat dinner with us too. I didn’t want to get into the habit of having the children’s dinner and then our dinner later – I wanted to make sure that dinner was always family time. Having dinner together gives the children a chance to talk to us – and us to them – and makes sure that we have at least one time in every day where we all get together, catch up and enjoy each other’s company which I think will be so important as the children get older.

Make meals fun

As often as possible we try to make meals fun for the children. This may be something as simple as having dinner in the garden or going one step further by having a picnic for dinner. Other times we might make pizzas together or have our meals on the children’s favourite plates and bowls or make that normal meal into a face or animal shape for the children to laugh at. Making dinner fun doesn’t need to be going to a fancy restaurant or having a takeaway – it can be cost free and simple.

Meal Times - A Family Affair { and Giveaway!}

Getting the children involved in meal times has been such a focus of ours for the last few years and I really think we have built great foundations for the future. The children love choosing what to eat, helping to prepare the meals and even going shopping for ingredients. I hope, over time, that the children are able to build on this, cooking full meals for the family, gaining skills and enthusiasm that will last them a lifetime.

Meal Times - A Family Affair { and Giveaway!}

*This is a collaborative post



  1. Tracy Nixon
    July 16, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    I would love to win this for my toddler niece as she adores The Very Hungry caterpillar! Thank you x

  2. anthony harrington
    July 16, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    really love this hungry caterpillar prize, perfect for my little Grandson

  3. iain maciver
    July 16, 2018 / 10:34 pm

    hungry caterpillar

  4. Solange
    July 16, 2018 / 11:49 pm

    I love the Portmeirion The Very Hungry Caterpillar Shaped Party Plate.

  5. Sue McCarthy
    July 17, 2018 / 7:57 am

    I like the Royal Worcester Wrendale Pink Ladies Mug.

    Fab prize, love the Hungry Caterpillar.

  6. Margaret Clarkson
    July 17, 2018 / 11:06 am

    All their products are great but this Hungry Caterpillar ser is especially lovely.

  7. Andrea Fletcher
    July 17, 2018 / 5:23 pm

    I like the Water Garden set.

  8. Ruth Harwood
    July 18, 2018 / 5:40 am

    Love their designs, for my little one, though, the hungry catarpillar would be a big hit xx

  9. Susan B
    July 18, 2018 / 1:08 pm

    I love the Sara Miller London Piccadilly Posing Parrots Mug and the other mugs in the same range. However, the Very Hungry Caterpillar range is absolutely fabulous, too.

  10. Helen Moulden
    July 18, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    I like their very hungry caterpillar fruit platter!

  11. Katie
    July 18, 2018 / 5:22 pm

    Sara Miller London Piccadilly Feline Friends Mug

  12. Kim M
    July 18, 2018 / 6:25 pm

    Love the Sara Miller Chelsea Collection 3 Tier Cake Stand – beautiful x

  13. Rachel Butterworth
    July 18, 2018 / 9:16 pm

    I love the Botanic Garden Birds range.

  14. Samantha O'D
    July 19, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    The hungry caterpillar platter is the best!

  15. Sally Collingwood
    July 19, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    I love the Hungry Caterpillar mug!

    July 19, 2018 / 9:19 pm

    Royal Worcester Wrendale The Hare and the Bee Fine Bone China Mug

  17. Helen Stratton
    July 19, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    I love the Sarah Miller London Flamingo products.

  18. Michelle Smith
    July 19, 2018 / 11:07 pm

    The hungry caterpillar platter

  19. July 20, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    They do so much lovely stuff! I’m particularly liking the water garden range of tableware at the moment.

  20. gemma hendry
    July 20, 2018 / 4:00 pm

    the hungry caterpillar mug

  21. Maria blythin
    July 20, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    this hungry caterpillar set is my fav i have the little teddy of him already in my kitchen x

  22. cheryl hadfield
    July 21, 2018 / 11:21 am

    I love the hungry caterpillar set, my daughters favourite book

  23. Lorna Ledger
    July 22, 2018 / 2:36 pm

    Love The Wrendale range, all the beautiful animals!

  24. Lydia Joy
    July 22, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    My favourite is actually this set! I think it’s adorable and love that it features such an iconic character.

  25. Jules Eley
    July 26, 2018 / 5:39 pm

    The Water Garden set is just lovely!

  26. Debbie Finnerty
    July 28, 2018 / 5:03 pm

    I would really like to win this for me lol I love TVHC it’s a fave from my childhood. Great giveaway x

  27. Claire Woods
    July 29, 2018 / 12:47 pm

    Portmeirion Westerly Yellow 4 Piece Set

  28. Becky Yeomans
    July 31, 2018 / 6:45 am

    I like the Portmeirion The Very Hungry Caterpillar Melamine Sectional Tray!

  29. amy bondoc
    July 31, 2018 / 7:18 am

    the peppa pigset is very cute my niece would love it

  30. Sarah Mackay
    July 31, 2018 / 7:19 am

    I love the Westerley Grey pasta bowls , they are gorgeous.

  31. S Hughes
    July 31, 2018 / 8:01 am

    love Portmeirion

  32. Tracy Hanley
    July 31, 2018 / 8:56 am

    I just love the The Very Hungry Caterpillar Shaped Party Plate

  33. Vikki Sanderson
    July 31, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    The big serving dish from the Exotic Botanic Garden collection is my favourite Portmeirion piece because it’s what my grandma used to serve us roasties in for Sunday dinner.

  34. Rich Tyler
    August 1, 2018 / 9:23 am

    hungry caterpillar platter!

  35. Ashley Phillips
    August 1, 2018 / 6:51 pm

    I absolutely adore the ‘water garden’ set of 4 mugs (think I know what’s going on my Christmas list)

  36. Alison Johnson
    August 1, 2018 / 10:51 pm

    I love the Crazy Daisy designs

  37. Alica
    August 1, 2018 / 10:58 pm

    I love their Crazy Daisy design sets 🙂

  38. Laura Jones
    August 2, 2018 / 12:41 pm

    I do like the range of crockery and would love to win this for my grandson olly

    August 3, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    The Botanic garden reed sunflower diffuser

  40. Lynn Neal
    August 5, 2018 / 9:38 am

    I love the very hungry caterpillar collection because we enjoy sharing the book with our grandchildren!

  41. Pam Francis Gregory
    August 5, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    Sophie Conran For Portmeirion White Large Casserole

  42. Jayne Townson
    August 5, 2018 / 3:21 pm

    Thanks for this lovely giveaway. I love the pretty, Sara Miller London for Portmeirion Chelsea Collection Cake Plates Set of 4.

  43. paula cheadle
    August 6, 2018 / 12:56 am

    the Peppa pig collection

  44. kris mc
    August 7, 2018 / 10:40 am

    I like the fruit platter best

  45. Charlotte G
    August 7, 2018 / 9:46 pm

    My favourite is this set! My son loves the Hungry Caterpillar and we read the book at least 3 times a week

  46. Karen Barrett
    August 8, 2018 / 6:43 am

    Portmeirion Droplet White Wine Glasses Set Of 4

  47. Sheri Darby
    August 8, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    The Botanic Garden Birds range is really special

  48. Kim Neville
    August 8, 2018 / 3:04 pm

    my Favourite is the hungry caterpillar set

  49. Rebecca Whatmore (@0zzyhog)
    August 8, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    I like their botanial garden set also the water garden cake stand is nice.

  50. Patience Kinch
    August 9, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    My daughter would love this for her tea party that she always throws for Peppa pig…😍

  51. Yvonne
    August 9, 2018 / 1:56 pm

    I love the Hungry Caterpillar mug

  52. Terry Fuller
    August 9, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    My fave Portmeirion item was a chunky black “Signs of the Zodiac” mug from the late 1970s! My little Granddaughter would love the Hungry Caterpillar set !

  53. August 9, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    I adore the hungry caterpillar it has always been a favourite in our house

  54. Anthea Holloway
    August 10, 2018 / 10:52 am

    I love their Botanic Garden pattern and they produce some lovely sets in this.

  55. caroline kelly
    August 10, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    I love the platter with different sections

  56. Michaela Hannah
    August 10, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    I love the water garden jug – the pattern is so pretty

  57. Susan Willshee
    August 10, 2018 / 7:06 pm

    I’ve got a plant pot made by Portmeirion pottery that someone bought me for a wedding present over 30 years ago and I still use it every day. I’m not sure what ‘theme’ it was from but it’s brown with a cream leaf pattern on it

  58. Katie m
    August 10, 2018 / 7:41 pm

    I like the Sophie Conran for Portmeirion in Pink

  59. Sam Parkes
    August 10, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    Love the Crazy Daisy 12 piece set perfect for special occasions

  60. Lisa Wilkinson
    August 10, 2018 / 10:18 pm

    The Sara Miller London Flamingo Collection Melamine Dinner Plate Set of 4

  61. Joanne Matthews
    August 11, 2018 / 12:06 am

    I love their Botanical garden range, it’s my son’s third birthday and he is Hungry Caterpillar obsessed. I love the crockery, but must now source the mixing bowl so he can help me cook! Fab giveaway.

  62. Jules page
    August 11, 2018 / 7:30 am

    The hungry caterpillar

  63. kate tibbs
    August 11, 2018 / 8:24 am

    love the botanics range

  64. Astrid C
    August 11, 2018 / 8:40 am

    got to be this set, its awesome

  65. Pauline Dring
    August 11, 2018 / 11:00 am

    Portmeirion Westerly, with a hint of retro, is my favourite grown up range

  66. A.E. ADKINS
    August 11, 2018 / 2:03 pm

    Love the Very Hungry Caterpillar 3 Piece Set

  67. Jeanette Leighton
    August 11, 2018 / 3:20 pm

    Definitely the hungry Caterpillar set I would love to win for my boy charlie who has just turned 2

  68. ellie spider
    August 11, 2018 / 3:48 pm

    love the Royal Worcester Wrendale Birds of a Feather Mug

  69. Mel Brolly
    August 11, 2018 / 3:55 pm

    The Portmeirion Botanic Garden Flared Tankard 14oz Sweet William is a beautiful mug

  70. adrian price
    August 11, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    i love the look of the water garden set

  71. Tasha
    August 11, 2018 / 5:16 pm

    The hungry caterpillar mug

  72. Adrian Bold
    August 11, 2018 / 6:02 pm

    Sara Miller London Piccadilly Feline Friends Mug

  73. Harriet Leonard
    August 11, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    I love the Sophie Conran products. The pop of pastel is gorgeous x

  74. Fiona Johnstone
    August 11, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar range is really lovely. I love the Portmeirion Christmas Wish Village Mugs too. I like to have special things to bring out for Christmas

  75. Becky Duffy
    August 11, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    I love the very hungry caterpillar mug, it’s super!

  76. Dean T
    August 11, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    The ‘botanical’ range is very pretty so it is my fave, other than my old 1960s Portmeirion coffee set

    August 11, 2018 / 9:11 pm

    The Portmeirion Enchanted Tree Mug

  78. Natalie Crossan
    August 11, 2018 / 11:09 pm

    The hungry caterpillar mug

  79. Fiona jk42
    August 12, 2018 / 12:04 am

    I love the Wrendale series of mugs.

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