Get Trick or Treat Prepared! 3 for 2 Halloween Party Food at M&S

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Two weeks until Halloween & my house is already decorated (to be honest Smix pulled everything out of the cupboard the first week of October). This week is a good time to buy your real pumpkin though, and Marks & Spencer has some interesting options. 

They have your traditional large pumpkin for £2, a smaller size, as shown in my photos which is £1.50, but they also have some gorgeous varieties you can use for displays in your home, or cooking if you are feeling adventurous, it is food after all. They’ve a Ghost Pumpkin, a bright white variety, and a Cinderella Pumpkin, which literally looks like a Disney style flatter, cute pumpkin, in a deeper orange. They are £3 each.

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There is also this fabulous Peter Pumpkin floral display which you can order and is available from the 23rd. If you are having a fancy Halloween party this would be the pumpkin to blow everyone away! 

The Halloween party treats are in store and everything is currently on offer 3 for 2.  There are lots of great snacks for a get together, as well as little favours to hand out to trick or treaters who could come to your door. 

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There are even these lovely little felt bags for trick or treat collecting for your own kids, and they are included in the 3 for 2 offer. There’s the Pumpkin and a Frankenstein’s Monster design.

There is a Halloween version of the ever popular Minibite Tubs, with ghostly sprinkles.  I also love that they’ve made a Decorate Your Own Biscuit Kit, so you can pick up this as a afternoon kitchen craft to do during the school break. Again it’s included in the 3 for 2.

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Marks and Spencer have also given Colin the Catepillar a makeover, in both his large cake size and mini roll size. *The cakes aren’t in my local Bangor Store yet, I imagine they will be in closer to Halloween week 

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There are lots of chocolate and jelly sweets and snacks, all priced between £1 and £3, all in the offer and perfect for your Halloween party. There are Halloween themed Colin Jellies and even Halloween Percy Pigs!

The Witches Fingers biscuits are a big recommended one from me, I had them last year and they’ve brought them back. They are £1.50 and they look spookily realistic, but taste amazing with a cuppa.

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 Chocolate Lollies £1.50 each  

Chocolate Lollies £1.50 each  

 Trick or Treat Bags £3

Trick or Treat Bags £3

Want The Most Majestic Pumpkin On The Block? Huge Pumpkin Beanbag From FieldCandy

FieldCandy are an English brand who digitally print photo-realistic beanbags, funky pillows and tents, which include many fun natural prints, as well as Beatles & Banksy themed collections.

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For Halloween they have released a very cool pumpkin beanbag, which can be used for lounging, as well as a massive spooky party prop for the season. The beanbags are polyester and waterproof, so can be placed in the garden for outdoor seating too. The Pumpkin costs £59.95 and you can buy it here.

Spookify Your Whole House This Year- Asda Has Halloween Duvets!

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Asda has been the best place to get fun Christmas duvet covers the past few years. They do fun, seasonal prints starting at £10 for singles, but also have the designs available in doubles and king size, and for the prices it’s affordable for something fun for a few weeks of the year. 

Well for 2018 they have launched a couple of prints to add to your calendar for the month of October, with some Halloween themed duvet covers in their George department online store

 

 

There are a couple of prints to choose from, but the Christmas prints are also in stock if you want to browse those too. 

There’s also a selection of Halloween props, but there are more to choose from in your local Asda store which will have a whole aisle, however unless you have a specific Asda Home store near you, online is the best bet for the duvet prints, but shipping is free if you do click and collect to your local, regular Asda store.

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Forest Feast Totally Nutty Halloween Competition - Win a Break to Lough Erne Resort Plus a Very Unusual Prize... #MakeMeAMonkeyNut

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Smix & I were dashing about this morning at 8.45am, him trying to clean his teeth while I simultaneously tried to do his hair, when I heard a knock on the door. When I ran down to open it, a very intriguing box was on the steps, because the top of it had wild, orange fuzz poking out of it. 

When I got home from the school run, I realised it will filled with wonderful nostalgia. Yes, MONKEY NUTS. I realise I’m already turning into my parents because the number of times I’ve begun lectures with, “when I was a child I didn’t even HAVE a computer in my house”, and I’m about to sound like I’m ancient again, but here I go. 

 Me being spooky in the 80s

Me being spooky in the 80s

1980s Halloween. There was no “Halloween aisle” in Tescos. Okay, that’s mostly because there was no Tesco in Northern Ireland, but there was maybe a small section with those plastic masks that cut your lips when the condensation built up behind them during the evening while you wore them, there was a witch hat. You had to make the rest of the costume out of bin bags. There were no decorations beyond a cardboard skeleton or witch.

There were no other Halloween home decorations up until around when Smix was born because I was still a total rockabilly type then and when TK Maxx got all the Halloween decorations in the first year, imported from American stores, who always DID decorate, I bought a tonne of it to decorate my new house. That was 2007. 

Anyway, this is supposed to be a blog about Forest Feast, so I’m almost getting there. Pumpkins- kids now, you don’t know how good you have it. Have you ever tried hollowing out a raw turnip with a spoon? That will build muscles on a seven year old. 

I’m guessing we didn’t have pumpkins because they are so hard to grow locally, and I have first hand experience of that this year. I had several huge pumpkin plants I grew inside a greenhouse, upward rather than along the soil. They flowered and I cross pollinated the plants by hand daily. In the end I managed to get one pumpkin to grow, which only took in mid-August, so it’s slightly smaller than a tennis ball right now. It’s also green. It might be ready for Halloween 2020.

So those Halloweens were more basic, but you had to DIY it more, you had to make your own decorations with your family, your own outfits, snacks, and wasn’t that a lot more fun? I certainly have so many fond memories of my childhood Halloweens, when they were less commercial, when it was about the simple little things, which finally brings me to- MONKEY NUTS! 

That’s the term for peanuts sold in shell, which for some reason was, and is a tip top Halloween treat. I remember every year my Dad would buy a big bag of them, and a big bag of mixed nuts in shell too. I would love the walnuts and brazils too, but found them so hard to  crack. Monkey Nuts, or Peanuts in Shell, which you can buy from Forest Feast either regular or Roasted, are very easy to crack. The shell is soft and you can break it with your hands usually.

For Halloween 2018, Forest Feast also has a 500g novelty bucket of Peanuts in Shell, smaller bags of Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Mixed Nuts. Completing the spooky selection shoppers can choose from share packs of Chocolate Peanuts, Chocolate & Yoghurt Raisins, Super Natural Mixed Nuts, and Frightfully Good Fruit & Nut. 

Forest Feast is a Northern Irish brand, based in Armagh, and you should find them in leading retailers, I know my local Spar & EuroSpar stocks their ranges.  

Now you have your nostalgic snack fix for the spookiest month ahead, how about winning a five-star weekend for two at the luxury Lough Erne Resort, and a very unique, nutty prize? Forest Feast have enlisted the incredible skills of the world’s ONLY monkey nut artist, Steve Casino, who will model you and a friend or family member in miniature, much like the little figures below. 

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The competition is easy to enter, and don’t worry, you don’t have to start whittling your own peanut shells! All you have to do is tag yourself and your friend on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #MakeMeAMonkeyNut The competition runs until Halloween, 31st October 2018.

If you want to follow Forest Feast on Instagram they are @forestfeast. For their Facebook click here. For Twitter it’s @forest_feast.

Here are some more examples of Steve Casino’s excellent work, please visit his Instagram and give him a follow, I have. All photos here are from his Instagram, click on any below to enlarge for a closer look. This is how your miniature you could look if you win the competition! He also does tiny Tic Tac art, and other amazing pop culture work. It’s great when you stumble upon some cool, unique art like that in such a random way like via our very own local Forest Feast!

A Look at What’s New for Autumn 2018 in Holywood’s Magical Toy Shop, Little Citizens Boutique - With an Exclusive Offer for World of Kitsch Readers

I’ve blogged about my favourite, local, independent toy store a few times before, but I was in Little Citizens Boutique in Holywood again last week, so I thought it was time for an update.

I just became an auntie for the second time, very exciting, and was buying a present. I always turn to Little Citizens first if I have a baby present or a gift for a child under the age of ten to buy, but more often than not I end up distracted by all the vintage and kitsch things I want to buy for myself. When I say vintage, everything is brand new, nothing is second hand, the selection of beautiful retro stylised gifts include Scandinavian inspired doll houses, kaleidoscopes and baby toys.

So what’s new for autumn 2018?  There’s the Moulin Roty range of dolls, jigsaws and play sets. The French brand, founded in 1972 is right at home in Little Citizens Boutique. There’s a teepee, a friendly lion plush, gorgeous baby toys, but these are my favourites from the range.

 Constance Tea Party Tin Tea Set  

Constance Tea Party Tin Tea Set  

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 Moulin Roty Wooden Garage £100

 

Also new for Autumn 2018 is Fair Trade brand Tegu Toys. They work with developing communities in Peru making these magnetic toys which are relaxing and fun to play with. You can make different shapes and models, allowing open-ended play. 

 

If you love what you see, the online store is packed with all the Holywood shop has, and even more. Little Citizens Boutique have very kindly given World of Kitsch readers 20% off purchases using the code KITSCHY20 to use online until the 1st Nov 2018 at midnight - click through to the Little Citizens Boutique Online Store here. Happy shopping!

A Look Back At Our Summer Visit to Portstewart Strand & Details of Their Free Half-Term Scavenger Hunt!

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A week into school and summer already feels like months ago, but in July we were jumping down the sand dunes on the North Coast at one of the National Trust’s beach properties, Portstewart Strand

 

We stay in Portstewart for a week every summer in a house there, quite close to the beach. The beach is free to walk down on to, so you can park on any of the surrounding streets and carry your beach supplies down with you, or you can pay £6.50 to drive your car down on to the sand and along as far as you want in front of the dunes to find a space to make your own. 

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 The beach is really popular for surfers,  and there’s always lots going on. The sand dunes are another great attraction, especially for kids who love to explore and jump down the slopes.

 

 

Even though the summer has ended, the beach is still great for autumn walks, and during half term there will be a whole week of free scavenger hunts, more details on the National Trust website here. 

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Candy Floss Flavour Grapes & Other Snazzy School Compliant Break Ideas From M&S, That Will Put You In Your Kids’ Good Books

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Remember in the 1980s when school break was a bag of Wotzits? Not the fancy organic, rolled oat, oven toasted baked ones of 2018, I mean the good, intense corn-snack 1987 ones, doused in pure E numbers. Nuclear orange, almost glowing. You’d be bouncing round the playground.

Well, maybe not, maybe that’s the haze of time and nostalgia, maybe E numbers weren’t that bad, but they are all gone now, and Jamie Oliver chased off the last remaining chicken nuggets, chocolate biscuits, crisps like he’s St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland.

I’m in danger of turning into a lecture on my thoughts on the Nanny State, so instead, shall we turn to the positive? 

 

I first tried the Candy Floss grapes when I was down in Dublin with the M&S Team at the beginning at the summer. You know me, I am a sucker for a novelty, especially when it comes to food, so one food that is supposed to taste like another is right up my street.

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The unusual grape is a result of crossing thousands of varieties until the perfect flavour of fruit is found. I’m sure you are sceptical and like me think, yeah I’m sure it tastes sugary, but not exactly like Candy Floss. BUT IT TASTES EXACTLY LIKE CANDY FLOSS.  

The grapes are grown in Spain and right now, in September, they are in season, so even if you aren’t picking them up for packed lunch boxes or breaks, they are worth a try. 

Punnets are pricy at £3 each, BUT, you will want to buy two because, M&S also have other unusual varieties of grape in store, also from Spanish climes.  

I picked up the Tutti Frutti variety, but there’s also Mango Flavoured grapes, Strawberry Flavoured grapes, and Muscat Flavoured grapes. The 2 for £4 offer also extends over other fruit in the department, so you don’t have to choose two grape punnets, but it’s hard to resist trying the exotic flavours. (Just a note, the Bangor Bloomfield Store didn’t have Strawberry grapes today, I’m not sure if they are out of season now, but I’ve seen them the past few weeks so it may just be my Store was sold out today). 

Candy Floss or Strawberry flavour grapes will go down really well for a break time snack, it’s like something Willy Wonka himself could have invented if Jamie Oliver started sugar-taxing his factory too heavily. (You can tell Jamie Oliver is the villain of this piece, can’t you)

Also in the fruit and veg department I found this very handy apple snack pack (above) for £1.50 Why handy? Well how many times do you empty a lunch box and there’s 3/4 of an apple in there? These apples are a better size for a child to eat, plus they won’t take up a whole lunch box. £1.50 for a week’s supply of apples is decent too.  

Not every kid loves them, but they are school compliant - raisin  £1.50 for 10 boxes. My son loved them when he was little but grew out of them. I think that happens with a lot of kids!

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My son’s school prefers if you don’t send in crisps, but popcorn is a good alternative. It’s lighter and healthier, lower in fat and often lower in calories, although that’s really only something us adults should be worrying about.

 

M&S do several different multipacks of popcorn. All have six bags for £2. The one I picked up has 2 bags each of Sweet, Salt, and Sweet & Salty mix. 

 

Remember when buying things like popcorn to check for nut allergy content, as sometimes fancy popcorn can have pecan or peanut if the variety has chocolate added.

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Pancakes are super break filler-uppers if you have a child who either doesn’t eat much before school, so ends up hungry around 10am, or if your kid is just a big eater anyway, going through a growth spurt and is starving all the time! 

 

They are something you don’t automatically think of for break, but my son’s school always suggest it on the healthy break note at the start of term and remind me, so I’m stealing their idea totally. Plain pancakes can be a bit of a bore, so why not make break a bit more interesting for them by sending them a fancy M&S one?  

 

There are Blueberry Pancakes, Raisin and Syrup Pancakes, Mandarin Orange Pancakes and Belgian Chocolate Pancakes. All packes are £2 or under.  

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Lastly, these Breakfast Biscuits come in packs of 6 with 2 biscuits in each for £2. Although they are suited to before school, I thought they would also be great for popping in a school bag for break for an older child say maybe from P5 and up, definitely for secondary school kids, for keeping their energy and brain power up through the morning. 

Check out all the current Marks and Spencer In Store Food Offers here. 

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.

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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

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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