Bao Buns & Their Best Burger Ever- M&S Food Hall Gears Up For Summer 2019, Let’s Check It Out!

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We had a few sunny days about a fortnight ago where many a dad around the country could be seen sneaking into the shed, and the squeaking wheels of BBQs could be heard being tested out to see if they were fit for the season, or if a brand new MAX GRILL DELUXE could be on the books for summer 2019.

But this week, and this morning especially, it’s fair to say that spring is definitely here to stay and there will be a few bbqs fired up for the first time this evening.

The change in the weather means a selection of the summer food has arrived in Marks & Spencer, including their Best Ever Burger, which is included in the 3 for £10 meat offer across sausages, burgers and various cuts of meats. Last summer M&S sold 4 million of these burgers!

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I picked up the new version of the Best Ever Burger which includes a cheesy melt. It’s a mix of moreish cheese, gherkin, tomato sauce and mustard. Sounds delicious. I will be trying everything from this blog post this week, so keep up to date on my Instagram to find out what I think.

I also spied The Grill Special Burger Sauce, which is only £1.50 and is an excellent Big Mac sauce alternative. The bread and bakery department has a wealth of delights when it comes to baps for your sausages and burgers. From the ordinary floury or sesame seed variety, to brioche buns and these flavoursome Fried Onion Burger ones which are £1.50 for four.

Another new product I’m really excited about, because I’ve tried them at Yo Sushi before and adored them, is the M&S Bao Buns (up top).  Now I can make them at home! It’s £2 for a pack of six buns, and you can then pack them with whatever meat and fillings you desire.

I picked up the Slow Cooked Mexican Pork Shoulder for £6, which would shred down really well and be a fab filling for the bao. With spring onions and a little spicy mayo it’ll be yummy! Watch out for my results on Instagram, most likely on Sunday. The bao buns are vegan and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, so get creative.

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When I was grabbing the Burgers I couldn’t help but notice another new product that tempted me, and even better was part of the 3 for £10 offer- doughless pizzas! My Bangor Marks and Spencer had both Margherita and the Spicy Pepperoni versions of the Meat’zza, and I’m very keen to try them out. Toppings are the best part of the pizza and now you can literally just get a whole pizza that’s just topping. Marks and Sparks, making dreams come true.

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They’ve also a selection of fresh salads in with nice mixes of vegetables which are more refreshing than your usual tomato and lettuce staple summer bbq salad. These make really super sides for bbqs along with their coleslaws and potato salads, and if you didn’t see my blog post earlier this year, M&S now have completely vegan versions of coleslaw and potato salad, so now you can have something for everyone in your extended family. 

The summer salads I chose to try were Chargrilled Courgette & Green Bean, because I grow courgettes so it was a must buy, Asparagus, Pea and Potato, and Roasted Aubergine & Sweet Potato. These salads are £3 each and there are many more to choose from. They also come with a little drizzle pot.

Also worth noting that apart from the salads, everything in this blog post is freezable, including the bao buns and burger buns. Very much looking forward to firing up the bbq on Sunday and trying everything out with my family. Hoping the weather holds until then. Remember to check my Instagram for my taste tests!

 

Ikea Sommar 2019 Bringing the Sunshine This Easter

£12.75 with Ikea Family Member Price £15 Regular

£12.75 with Ikea Family Member Price £15 Regular

We took an early morning trip to Ikea this Easter Monday to pick up some Gardening bits and pieces. I ended up getting a couple of small house plants, colourful pots which were £1.25 each, and Smix got a mini aloe plant for his room.

I really wanted to get one of the Sommar 2019 picnic baskets, but couldn’t find one, and they said they were out of stock as it’s proving so popular and I can see why, it’s adorable! Hopefully I can find one next time I’m in store as I want to use it in the kitchen as storage as it’s so bright as cheerful.

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The rest of the Sommar Collection has napkins from 85p, and sets of six glasses for £3.40. There’s a cute little teapot for £7.65 and glass bottles with stoppers for £2.13, and smaller sizes too. You can also get some very snazzy trays for £2.98 and £1.70.

There are lots more products in the collection like plastic cups, cutlery etc you can use over the spring and summer for picnics and BBQs, or to use in your caravan. I also love the retro floral door mat (bottom right above), it’s all so 1970s’ retro cool.  

Accidental Encounters With The Extinction Rebellion: Our Easter 2019 London Trip

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You may be familiar here at The World of Kitsch with the little jaunts my son and I take over to London at least once a year, on my super-duper budgeting as featured in this previous blog post. I book Ryanair flights about six weeks out, and get a return trip to London for the pair of us all in for under £50, then I book an Easyhotel room for under £50, which means the bare bones of the overnight getaway costs less than a hundred for us both. 

The Easyhotel cheapest rooms that I book are basically a bed in a room the size of a bathroom, but we’ve stayed in their locations all over the city and each one has always been clean, safe, and we’ve found it satisfactory. When you are staying somewhere like London, when you are out the whole day and you really do only use the hotel for sleep, not to hang out in, somewhere like Easyhotel does the job.  

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Anyway, back to our trip this past week. I wasn’t really going to blog about it, as we didn’t do that much this time. We hadn’t made many plans, we’ve done most of the major tourist attractions for families on our previous visits, and on top of that, my health isn’t so great right now, so we had to pace ourselves. So we took it as a shopping holiday, and we also had School of Rock booked to go see at the Gillian Lynne Theatre the evening of our stay. Click any image below to enlarge.

Sunday night as we were packing at home before we left, my Dad phoned me, warning me that there were some crazy protests organised in the city for the next day, Monday, while we were there. Oxford Circus, Piccadilly, all the places we would be to shop, Hamleys of course, our first stop! I wasn’t too worried as I hadn’t seen anything online myself, I mostly thought it was probably something Dad had seen in The Daily Mail that would come to nothing...

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...2pm Monday we emerge from Oxford Circus tube station and the first thing I thing is, “wtf, is it Pride?” because number one, I see a giant hot pink boat, number two, there’s pumping rave music, and number three, there’s a man dressed as a centaur.

Looking at the Extinction Rebellion website, they closed Oxford Circus at around 11am, so we must have stumbled upon things near the beginning of what’s turning out to be a week long protest, so far. They’ve blocked bridges all over the city, roads, superglued themselves to trains and there have been hundreds of arrests. We were quite lucky that we were not disrupted by any of the protests the days we were there, and it was quite a sight to see Oxford Circus closed to traffic with hippies swarming all over dancing and doing yoga.

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As for our trip, we enjoyed School of Rock, explored the Tower of London and Tower Bridge (one thing we hadn’t gotten around to visiting), and shopped Covent Garden and Spitalfields Markets.  We had some great crêpes at Crêpe Affair and shopped for snazzy sunglasses.

Hoping to fit in a return trip in the summer, but would love some new places to visit next time we are there. Quirky cafes or unusual shops. We’ve visited all the major tourist attractions but are there any hidden gems? We have the cat cafe on the list for next year, as it’s over 12s only. 

Let me know on Instagram if you have any suggestions for us! 

 

Problems With Modern Life - GET REAL: Magda Archer’s New Poster Art Show Opens in Firstsite Colchester TODAY!

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Problems with Modern Life is a new poster exhibition by one of my favourite artists Magda Archer.

 

You may have seen me post her Post Brexit UK print on my Instagram this week, as I recently got around to purchasing a signed copy from Flying Leaps, and framing it handsomely with help from my Dad. It now hangs in my kitchen and brightens up my day more successfully than Brexit brightens up Britain’s financial forecasts. 

 

Anyway, back to Magda’s new show, which again are poster style works, in large formats. Archer’s kitsch artworks are both personal and socio-political, inspired by vintage advertising and British pop culture.

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With tongue-in-cheek captions and visual humour, the artworks at first appear cheerful, but upon reflection suggest deeper meanings, hinting at themes of consumerism, social media and current politics. There’s also touches of internet culture and memes.

The show is taking place in Firstsite Colchester, and opens today, Friday 5th June 2019. Entrance is free, the gallery is open from 10am until 5pm, 7 days a week. The show runs until 23rd June.

The Russian Store Has Over 450 Nesting Doll Designs - Doggies, Elvis, Nuns & ... Thomas the Tank Engine!

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I came across The Russian Store the same way I find a lot of my content recently, happy accidental scrolling on Instagram. The Russian Store is actually a U.S. store based in Arizona who travel to across the Atlantic several times a year to source the most interesting Russian crafts and collectibles.

Whilst they only ship within their native U.S. at present, I wanted to show their insane range of nesting dolls, as they have 461 designs! A good portion of my audience is based in the USA, so someone might see something that catches their eye.

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There are the traditional red and yellow Matryoshka design dolls, as well as unusual animal designs, and Russian rulers. I’m totally wowed by the sets of up to twenty stacking dolls that all fit inside each other so neatly.

They have nesting dolls with themes like Spider-Man and The Beatles, as well as dog breeds and Cupid (right). 

They hand-pick every item and verify its authenticity before presenting it online to their customers, with an 100% happiness guarantee. 

Have a browse of all 461 dolls on The Russian Store

The Beastie Boys & The Hollywood Hills- Hand Drawn Creative Art Print Sale

A3 Hollywood Bungalows print on Etsy £12

A3 Hollywood Bungalows print on Etsy £12

A lot of illustrator and art content this month, but I had to pop up a quick post when I spied Hand Drawn Creative is having a print sale. Neal McCullough is the super artist behind my blog’s logo, and right now his Etsy has a number of some of his most popular prints at a lower price. The Etsy prints are designed & hand-pulled in Neal’s studio in County Down.

 

On sale are the Hollywood Bungalows, Girl on a Motorcycle, Wonder Woman, Barcelona Lounge Chair, and Beastie Boys Lowrider prints.  There’s also a gallery of other snazzy prints to choose from, including a tribute to Bangor Maid, who used to make ice cream here in our shared hometown.

Neal’s wife Julie with the Lowrider 500x700mm print on Etsy £15

Neal’s wife Julie with the Lowrider 500x700mm print on Etsy £15

In addition, there’s a Hand Drawn Creative merch shop on Society6, who have 20% off art prints today. If you are reading this post a little later, you can usually grab a 30% off voucher code if it’s your first order on the site, by subscribing to their mailing list. 

 

The Society6 prints, some of which I’ve shown below, allow you to choose print dimensions, so you can pick a size to fit a space in your home you may have in mind. These are very high quality digital prints, from Hand Drawn Creative’s original work, and you can choose optional framing too.

 

Also available are a nice range of different items you can buy with Neal’s artwork adorning them, like travel mugs, throws and even t-shirts. 

 

Keep an eye on Neal’s Instagram for previews of new prints, art show tip offs and more. 

I Tried The New M&S Sushi Sandwich - Does It Sink or Swim?

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Supermarket sushi. Any connoisseur of proper traditional sushi, or even a fan of the Westernised take on the raw fish & sticky rice cuisine that you’d find in Yo Sushi, if you’ve ever grabbed a tiny tray of takeaway sushi from any of the big supermarket chains, it’s somewhat lacking.

Sushi is one of those foodstuffs that is best consumed freshly made. The elements of rice and fish are not simple to preserve over a matter of hours, never mind days, to get to a supermarket fridge and wait there to be bought. That’s why I have the theory to explain why most mass produced sushi ends up being so plain & tasteless. The very ingredients that make sushi’s flavours & textures so unique are stripped away in favour of a longer lasting product, to the detrimental outcome that, well, its inedible.

However there is one place where you can get takeaway sushi with your shopping, and it actually comes closer to the real deal, Marks & Spencer

Their sushi a few years ago was comparable to the other supermakets in the variety of rolls they were offering, but over time their chefs and food creation team must have put their attention on this little corner of the ‘sandwich fridge’, because the M&S range has been bolder with flavours and the reward is delicious.

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That brings us to the brand new 2019 launch of Sushi Sandwiches, a High-Street first for M&S. The sandwich-shaped sushi is known as ‘Onigirazu’ in Japan, originally designed for kids for ease of eating, but perfect for on-the-go lunches for adults too.

Right now there are two choices of this lunching phenomenon, Soy & Ginger Chicken, and Bacon & Avocado. There is no bread involved, the sandwich part is made from sticky rice held together with seaweed, as is traditional for rolls. A handier way to eat sushi on the go, without chopsticks or pieces falling out of your roll. You also get a dipping sauce. I tried the Soy & Ginger Chicken sandwich and loved it. The team in the M&S kitchen have made sure this can’t be classed as dull supermarket sushi by infusing flavour-packed ingredients and adding that typically missing ‘crunch’ with shredded beetroot.

The second launch comprises of two fancy new Dragon Rolls, Katsu Chicken or Firecracker Prawn. Each are packed with flavour, drizzled with either curry mayo or spicy mayo, and topped with onions and chives. These really impressed me, and came closest to my favourite Yo Sushi choices. In fact after trying the rolls for this blog, I’ve been back since at the weekend to buy them again. The spicy mayo on the Firecracker Prawn Dragon Roll is especially tasty.

The new sushi selections cost £4 each, and if your local M&S doesn’t stock sushi, you can always place an order of one of their sushi platters online to be delivered to your store.  There is a 38 piece platter on offer for £18 right now.

Mid Century Mania- Yumalum’s Eames’ Era Inspired Art Prints

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Etsy is a goldmine for finding wares for your cult niche or fandom. Mainstream brands wouldn’t invest the time and money in creating a line of t-shirts & phone cases for... say an obscure, but well-loved sci fi show that’s only been on for one season. However Etsy is the place where you are likely to find a designer as dedicated to that programme as you, with a little store of merch for you to peruse.

 

Some of Etsy’s finest artefacts can be the goods from talented illustrators who have prints with themes from Game of Thrones, to sports teams, to tributes to classic design like the store I’m featuring today- Yumalum.

 

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The illustrations are inspired by Eames, Herman Miller & Catherineholm. They are available in two sizes, A3 or a larger 50x70cm print. They would brighten up a kitchen or study and most designs come in more than one colourway to choose from.

Shop Yumalum’s Etsy store for all the prints here