M&S’s ‘Tastes of The British Isles’ Range Even Includes a Swanky Upgrade for Paddington Bear’s Marmalade Sandwiches!

 Rib Rack £6

Rib Rack £6

It may be a little drizzly today, but there are still two weeks left of the summer, which means we can still fit in a couple more bbqs, right? Or at least some indoor ones, using some of the great British-sourced produce from M&S

I called in store at their Bangor Bloomfield branch today to pick up some treats from the ‘Tastes of the British Isles’ range, sourced from farms across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, and stretching throughout the whole Food Hall. 

What first caught my eye was this tasty little rib rack that would suit friend of Marks & Spencer, Paddington Bear! He loves his marmalade sandwiches, and this is a marmalade glazed pork rib rack. Even Paddington can upgrade his dinner by shopping in Marks and Sparks!

There are lots of great deals on their meats right now too (check out all the offers here)  including 2 for £5 on selected sausages, and 3 for £10 mix and match across fish and meats. Selected beef joints are down from £15 to £10, ideal for Sunday dinner.

 Cheese Melt £3 : Coleslaw £1.50 

Cheese Melt £3 : Coleslaw £1.50 

Keeping in the chilled meats section I spied the rainbow of sausages! I’ll be taking this spread of food to Sunday lunch to share with my family so there will be something for everyone.

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

I’m a sucker for a novelty, so chose the Red Leicester & Smokehouse Ketchup Cheese Melt to try on the burgers.

 

The Skinny Slaw (above) I’ve tried before and it’s so good. Coleslaw is something I do avoid when I’m being healthy because it’s got so much mayo on it (says the person who just bought a slab of cheese) but this coleslaw is just as good and is so fresh and sweet. It looks pretty on a plate too. 

 £1 a pack

£1 a pack

 

 

M&S Cornish Cruncher cheese is one of my favourite cheeses, so these baps will be Super I’m sure. I’ll have to make sure I get one of the yellow ones on Sunday when we try them. I’ll be sharing my verdict on my Instagram.

 Blackcurrant Eclair £2.50

Blackcurrant Eclair £2.50

The ‘Tastes of the British Isles’ desserts are classics and very hard to choose from. There are Bakewell tarts, Crumbles, Eton Mess, Rhubarb and Custard, and much more. I picked a few to try and as you can see they are even beautiful to look at, never mind to taste.

I feel like I should be putting on and afternoon tea like one of the posh hotels with a tea set and a layered tray with all my pastries , they are that pretty.

 Fresh Strawberry Tart £3.60

Fresh Strawberry Tart £3.60

 Sticky Toffee Mini Cake £2

Sticky Toffee Mini Cake £2

FullSizeRender.jpg

Smix sneaked in a British Classic- a very chocolatey Fudge Cake. We actually buy this cake often, he loves it. It only costs £2.80 and you won’t find a more moist cake without making one yourself.

Long time readers will know I have a ‘thing’ for the scent of violet, and the taste of rose, so although the Lemon Rose Presse isn’t strictly Taste of British Isles, it is Summery, and I had to give it a whirl, it is GORGEOUS.

 

 Presse £2.20 : Jam £1.80 : Brittle £3.20

Presse £2.20 : Jam £1.80 : Brittle £3.20

Rhubarb, Raspberry & Rose Jam, one thing I love about M&S is that they make products that you can’t get in other supermarkets. I am the type of shopper that will always try the new flavour over the old favourite. In other words if I go into a shop to buy a bag of crisps and there’s a new flavour, I’m always going to buy that rather than the same old one. 

That’s why my Instagram is always flooded with weird and wonderful food products I’ve found in random little shops, or hauls from Euro  or Asian Supermarkets.

So I love that Marks and Spencer are always trying unusual products like Sea Salt and Vinegar Caramels this summer, like Beetroot and Apple Coleslaw Skinny Slaw. They currently have grapes that taste like a Candy Floss, Mango, and Strawberries on sale in the Bloomfield Bangor Store.

 Cheesecake £1.80 : Milkshake £1.30

Cheesecake £1.80 : Milkshake £1.30

Lastly, the ‘Tastes of the British Isles’ range reaches the takeaway section too, with sandwiches and rolls to choose from, as well as desserts. My favourite though is the Applewood Smoked Ginger Beer Gammon with Tangy Mustard Dip- how do M&S make everything sound so darn tasty even in the description?!

Their sausage rolls are pretty stellar too, I discovered that by accident one Christmas time when I got hooked.

So, I’ll keep you updated over on Instagram on Sunday on the feast including the Paddington-esque Marmalade ribs! Follow me on over!

 Sausage Roll £2 : Gammon £2.50

Sausage Roll £2 : Gammon £2.50

#MakeMineAMauds Ice Cream, Celebrating Five Gold Stars At This Year’s Great Taste Awards

FullSizeRender.jpg

Everyone from Northern Ireland knows it’s summer when they’ve had their first Pooh Bear’s Delight, Maud’s Ice Cream ‘poke’ of the year. The famous vanilla and honeycomb chunk flavour ice cream is one of Carrickfergus-based Maud’s best sellers, and one of the flavours to receive a gold star at this year’s Great Taste Awards, along side their newer Sea-Salted Caramel offering which also received a gold star.

 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Another of their gourmet flavours placed at the highest level with the top accolade of three gold stars, the absolutely delicious Salted Almond ice cream. I can verify to the deliciousness as Maud’s kindly dropped by with the award winning flavours for us to try this afternoon.  

I hadn’t tried the Salted Almond before, and all I can say is it’s very, very moreish! I tried it with a little toffee sauce and the sweetness really set off the salt flavour. The ice creams are made with fresh, whole milk and cream from the North Coast of Ireland, with ingredients sourced locally.

If you get a chance to try it at a Maud’s Cafe or stockist (you can check locations here) I would highly recommend it. 

You can find Maud’s on Twitter & Instagram @MaudsIcecreams  

IKEA Bring Back Iconic Products From The 50s, 70s & 80s -For a Limited Time Only

IMAGE.JPG

IKEA’s latest limited-edition collection embraces some of its most classic products including the LÖVBACKEN side table, which was their very first flat-pack product, way back in the 1950’s.

IMAGE.JPG

The collection will have three launch moments - August, October and December - each of which will re-introduce iconic IKEA products in the style and design of certain decades and bring fan-favourites bang up to date.

 


Other new products this month include the GAGNET armchair – the handmade product which was launched in 1958 when IKEA’s first store opened in Almhult, Sweden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

The famous POÄNG chair and KLIPPAN sofa also get a makeover in August, with new covers and accessories, a ‘hack’ for the classics.

In October, the ‘70s and ‘80s design trends return with the RÅANE armchair, which launched in 1983 and challenged the traditional design of the armchair with its mesh material finish. The KLIPPAN will get new covers in vivacious red, yellow and blue to match the rest of the launch’s style.

The final stage of the “Re-imagined Classics” collection launches in December with the minimalist ‘90s and ‘00s, mixing untreated, blonde Scandinavian woods with graphic patterns.

I have the retro side table myself in my lounge and it’s so stylish, I just love it. It’s a total classic. I’m looking forward to seeing the collection in Ikea Belfast over the coming months and maybe picking up a few of the pieces.

Vintage Rocks Unveils The Cactus Cottage Hair Parlour in South Belfast

FullSizeRender.jpg

When Clare Afshar started Vintage Rocks Hair Salon in 2009 in a little Avenue in South Belfast, she hoped, but she never dreamed of the success that would come her way as the business grew in size and prestige over the years. Word of mouth ‘marketing’ would swell her customer base month by month, as tales would be spun about the little, retro hair parlour near Forestside, creating the most stunning coloured barnets in Belfast, and bohemian curls to die for. (click any photo for a closer look)

Clare took on more stylists, trainees, and even an in-house makeup artist in the later years, as business kept booming. Clare and her team are known for beautiful, intricate wedding hair, weaving in fruit and flowers. They are kept busy all year long with weddings, and Clare loves making someone’s special day flow easily.

But as the books grew bigger, Clare felt that part of what made Vintage Rocks unique, was being lost- she wanted to scale things towards a private salon. 

Private salons are very common in bigger cities like London, L.A. and New York, and Clare can keep her client list and work to an appointment only schedule in the brand new salon she has had made especially for the relaunch. 

Introducing, The Cactus Cottage Hair Parlour. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Vintage Rocks was Belfast’s first vintage hair salon, and Clare will still specialise in those styles, along with coloured hair and curls. She uses beautiful products which are all cruelty free. 

All appointments are one-to-one, and whether Clare is working with someone who is young or old, she just loves making them feel wonderful when they leave the salon, and happy with their style.

Being a private salon allows a more ‘distilled’, exclusive Vintage Rocks experience, which is more true to the origins of the parlour and what Clare envisioned from the beginning, and what she wants going forward for the salon and her clients.

There’s a reason Vintage Rocks boomed in popularity so greatly, and why Clare is in such great demand. Personally, I have been going to Vintage Rocks since it opened in 2009, and I drive from Bangor, which is a good 90 minute round trip to get my hair done- but it’s worth it, and I wouldn’t go anywhere else; and of course I will be following Clare to the Cactus Cottage.

Find Vintage Rocks on Facebook. 

Vintage Rocks on Instagram

Phone 07565753900

click any photo of the salon below to enlarge

 

Karen Mabon’s New Scarf Collection Is Ultra Iconic - Partying Sausage Dogs

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

 

My favourite accessory designer is back with her new collection, with party sausage dogs, owls, and under-sea adventures adding to the family of silk scarf prints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time Karen Mabon adds glorious swimwear to her brand, and I love it.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

The purist in me loves Karen’s scarves the most though, and I adore to the core the ‘Fashion Scarf’ covered in dolled up fashion victims like me. I totally spy a leopard print coat and a stripy skirt.

 

 

It comes in two colours.

FullSizeRender.jpg

My other favourite from the new collection, probably my actual top favourite to be honest, is Shelf Life because it appeals to the collector in me. You’ve got your little teapot and leopard and sideboard and I just love it to bits.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Okay! Go visit Karen Mabon today, you get free UK shipping, the new collection is live, new scarves, swimwear, there’s cushions too, there will be umbrellas soon too (if you keep up to date with Instagram stories you get sneak peeks!)

 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Snazzy Picnic Week Lunch- Thanks, DELI-LITES!

FullSizeRender.jpg

The sunny weather has returned, just in time for Picnic Week! Northern Ireland’s own delicious sandwich, sub and salad range DELI-LITES popped by with a little picnic for me. 

Their newest food-to-go range includes dairy free, vegan and gluten free options, as well as superfood bespoké bowls, filling subs, and traditional much loved sandwiches. 

You can find DELI-LITES in Sainsburys, convenience stores and coffee shops across Northern Ireland. 

Belfast Chef Stephen Taylor-Winter Makes The Finals of M&S UK Wide Burger Competition

IMG_0775.JPG

Belfast-based chef, Stephen Taylor-Winter, and Chef in Residence for Gaggenau Ireland, has been selected by M&S as one of eight finalists in a UK wide burger competition.

This summer the retailer has launched its ‘Best Ever Burger’ and, to put it to the test, challenged top chefs across the country to create the ultimate burger topping recipe for their hometown, showcasing the very best regional flavours and produce.

IMG_0776.JPG

M&S’s Best Ever Burger features a mouth-watering combination of short rib, chuck steak and bone marrow for ultimate succulence, providing the base for Stephen’s creation. Taking inspiration from Belfast, Stephen’s recipe includes Young Buck Blue Cheese, which is the first raw milk cheese to be produced in the region, celeriac watercress and Northern Ireland’s infamous Hannan Guanciale, all topped with a punchy dressing of Dijon mustard, Horseradish sauce and Lakeshore Wholegrain mustard.

Stephen said: “Northern Ireland has amazing local produce and it’s been brilliant to put an Irish spin on M&S’s Best EverBurger. From Hannan’s Guanciale made in Ulster, to Young Buck Blue Cheese, I wanted this recipe to celebrate the breadth of produce in Northern Ireland, bringing together flavours for a knockout burger dish. I’m proud of our culinary heritage in the region and it’s been great to take part in a national challenge which has given this a fun and seasonal platform.”

Stephen was classically trained in France at Le Cordon Bleu and has worked in prestigious restaurants around the world. He has worked for all three Michelin star restaurants in Northern Ireland and has cooked for senior members of the Royal family. I wonder if the Queen enjoys a burger on the BBQ?

Marc Jacobs Twinkle Eau So Fresh Perfume Smells Like Parma Violets Sweets

IMG_0706.JPG

My search is over. I have literally blogged about this for almost a decade. I have hunted the Internet for a perfume that smells like Parma Violets and finally there is one that smells EXACTLY like them.

The newest Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh 75ml size is only £36.99 at The Perfume Shop  right now which is a massive saving. 

I happened to stop to test out their sample while passing their store this morning and couldn’t believe my search was finally over.