Treat Your Dad to A Taste Tour of Ireland at IndieFude.com

Indie Fude is your online deli destination for the top picks of independant Irish food products. They bring together award winning brands like Suki Tea, Abernethy Butter and Red Rooster Coffee in one place, allowing you to pick products separately, or put together a hamper or gift set. 

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Primarily an online store at www.indiefude.com , they can also be found at the new Bank Square Market every Thursday from 11am-8pm.

If you want to treat your Dad to some tastes of Ireland, Indie Fude have put together four gift collections for you to choose from. There is also an option to view products by region, so you can try the best of Ulster one month, and the best of Leinster another, a bit like a foodie tour without having to leave your home!

 I love the idea of the chocolate orange marmalade, and bacon jam, so I think I'll take advantage of their 10% off offer, when you sign up for their mailing list, and treat myself.

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The Sweetest Summer at Marks & Spencer.

Sweet treats and delicious delights now gracing the shelves of your nearest M&S.  

Rhubarb & Custard lollies £1.50 : British Pudding Sweets £1.10 : Fruit Chews £1.30

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Visit the bakery aisle for lots of new infused pancake and scone products. 

strawberry & cream pancakes £1.10 : macaroons £6

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Honeycomb £2

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Colourful biscuits for delightful picnics £1.50

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These perfect little parcels of sweeties for grown ups would make excellent gifts for teachers and classroom assistants at the end of term, starting at £3. 

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I also visited the huge Homeware department Sprucefield's M&S has. I could decorate my entire home with the contents of that store. 

Flamingo Tealight holder £12

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I badly want one of these water coolers, but who could hide one away inside a fridge? They come in several designs and cost £18. Summer is really here!

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A Very Dapper Father's Day at M&S

Father's Day this year is 21st June, so you've still got well over a week to shop for a gift, but I'm making it very easy for you with these ideas from Marks & Spencer. 

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Theres the usual socks and pants option of course, or aftershave.

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But I ventured to the Food Hall to peruse the gifts there. 

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Lots of ales, beers and fine whiskys to choose from. 

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Or splash out on champagne and Italian chocolates. 

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For little gift givers, or if you want to buy for Grandads too, these chocolate lollies are only £1.50 each. 

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These are my picks I chose for my own Dad. The whisky truffles come in a hard, leatherette case which would be handy for pencils, pens and the sort of knick knacks dads collect. 

Ships biscuits £3 : Whisky Truffels £5

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Allsorts £3 : Jerky £2.50

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Marmalade cheesecake £4.50 : Sweet tache £3

A perfect summer cheesecake for a family lunch on the Sunday. 

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And check out these super hipster Father's Day cards. 

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We Made Auntie Anne's Pretzels at Home, So How Did They Turn Out?

Smix & I are huge Auntie Anne's fans, from their pretzel wrapped cocktail sausages, to their classic cinnamon twist pretzel. We spotted them selling bake at home kits, so thought we should give it a go! 

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Resting the dough for 30 mins

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Not as pretty as store bought, but along the right lines. 

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Coated with butter and cinnamon sugar. 

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Result was a thumbs up. Tasted like the real thing. 

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Yummy Nummies: The New Creative Kitchen Craze From Japan.

Yummy Nummies are little kits for kids to make teeny tiny replicas of full size meals. You'll find them soon in the toy aisle starting at £6.99, rather than home baking, as they are for novelty value rather than being designed to replace a meal. And they are a lot of fun. We were sent the cookie and pizza sets to play with, and found them easy, entertaining and quite tasty too.

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We started with the cookie kit. Below shows everything that came in the pack. A very big plus is that you don't need to add anything else. Often I've promised to make buns from a kit with Michael, got home and realised the pack requires and egg, or milk and I'm all out. The only things you'll need that aren't in the pack are a pair of scissors, water and a microwave. Again a huge plus is you use a microwave to cook. No wasting energy and money heating the oven to bake six cookies. 

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You have packets of dough and chocolate chips and a little scoop. The instructions tell you how many scoops of dough powder to put into the little mixing tray (another plus- no bowls to wash up after!) and how many scoops of water. 

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We separated the dough mix into the baking tray ready for the microwave. Looking at the tray I thought, 'this is never going to work' especially as the cooking time was only 15 seconds in the microwave! 

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But, they came out like this. One minute to cool then we scooped them out. They were tiny but tasted spot on.  We had enough dough powder left to make three batches.

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Next up- mini pizzas! 

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Again everything is included. You just need scissors, water and a microwave. 

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Again the instructions are really easy for kids to follow, number of scoops of dough to a number of scoops of water. The pizza 'bases' go in for ten seconds. 

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Then you measure and mix the sauce, and whizz for a further five seconds, then sprinkle on cheese powder. They are so so tiny, but they do taste like their full size equivalent. 

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Great fun and an excellent treat toy for your budding baker or chef. The full range of Yummy Nummies will be on www.character-online.co.uk and www.toysrus.co.uk soon. The savoury kits include chicken nuggets, burger and fries and spaghetti & meatballs. Sweet treats are cupcakes, doughnuts, gummy goodies and a chocolate bar maker.  

I think I'd like to try the mini burger and fries. Yummy Nummies are super cute and easy, and not terribly messier either. A big thumbs up from Michael and me! 

They're Coming this Summer! Ravensburger Minion 3D Jigsaw.

I haven't put together a jigsaw puzzle in years, and I've never attempted a 3D one, so this was a fun review to do.  

The Minions from the Despicable Me series have their own movie coming out this summer, so the shops are due to be swamped in yellow Tic Tac shaped fellows in blue overalls. In fact EVEN Tic Tacs are bringing out limited edition banana sweets in celebration of their lookalikes.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ravensburger-Shaped-Minion-Puzzle-54-Piece/dp/B00TN1ENY6

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3D jigsaws come with numbered pieces which you put together in turn. It was a little fiddly but only took ten minutes for a puzzle this size. Would be a great present for a birthday boy or girl.

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Revisiting My Favourite Local Artist, Neal McCullough

I was putting together my little monthly column for The County Down Spectator today, a piece about summers past here in North Down. I came across this image, a retro ad for Bangor Maid ice cream, harking back to when there was a dairy in Bangor, my home town. It turned out the image was by Neal McCullough of www.handdrawncreative.co.uk the very illustrator who designed my blog's logo from scratch for me. 

The print is available online, and it's going on my birthday list for sure. 

Bangor Maid Print http://www.damnfineprint.com/bigcartel-item/

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More of Neal's work available at https://www.etsy.com/shop/handdrawncreative

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Vintage, Boxed Kerplunk Game

Today we are all testing our nerve with this vintage KerPlunk game. The attic at my parents' house is filled with toys from the 80s, but this one looks even older. 

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The toy I really want my dad to bring down, is my Fashion Wheel. I spent hours making my designs, even in my teenage years! What was your favourite game growing up?

Photo from www.ohmykitsch.com

Photo from www.ohmykitsch.com

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