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

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

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.

FullSizeRender.jpg

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!

FullSizeRender.jpg

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.

FullSizeRender.jpg


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.  

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

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.

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

A Trip to Dublin- M&S Summer Food Launch - Adventurous Eating Ahead! #MandSSummer

FullSizeRender.jpg

On Thursday I took a little trip to Dublin for the evening thanks to Marks & Spencer Ireland, who invited me to taste test some of the Summer 2018 Food Hall range which will be appearing in stores very soon.

Whilst it’s backwards it begin with dessert, the most ‘kitsch’ and unusual products I spotted were from those ranges, so let me share those first. 

The Ice Cream Toffees (below) are simply delicious, very sweet and very moreish.

FullSizeRender.jpg

The Sea Salt & Vinegar Caramels had to be the biggest ‘must try’ of the whole evening for me. I’d describe them as being like a salted caramel with a little bit of a kick. There’s definitely not a sour vinegar taste to them. Definitely one of those products I love M&S for, because I love trying new tastes and combinations and get so fed up of the same old pairings so anything crazy like this I always have to try out.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Ditto these, Milk Chocolate Truffles infused with Oak Matured Vintage Cider, but they get even more cool points by being packaged in miniature wooden barrels. These are perfect presents for cider connoisseurs, they are just terribly cute.  

FullSizeRender.jpg

Lots more from the Sweet Treats stand, the gourmet mallows are divine by the way, if you see them in store they are worth a try.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Onwards to The Grill. M&S have launched a great range of affordable meat with offers across many selections of cuts.

On the night we had choices of beef, steaks, vegetarian sausages (the sweet potato is my top choice from 2017 btw), and their ever popular burgers.   

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Their picnic ranges are sublime with plenty of veggie options including the little Beetroot & Mint, and Carrot & Pumpkin Seed Veggie Bites you see at the front below.

Of course the Deli Coleslaw and Potato Salads are the stuff of legends, but if you haven’t heard they also do other low calorie options like Beetroot & Pink Apple Slaw.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

We also has some lovely cocktails to try, but the kitsch option I have to show you is the Penny Cocktail which had a delicious British Strawberry Cream Soda mixer in it. 

Of course the mixer is a non-alcoholic lemonade, so watch out for that one in store for summer BBQ parties. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

I can’t wait to see everything start to arrive in my local M&S, there are so many tasty treats to pick up! The BBQ Grill items for this summer especially are going to be delicious. The beef was so tender it was as if it had been slow cooked for 48 hours. 

I’m hungry all over again! 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Sweet Potato Steaks & Edamame Burgers: Go Veggie This Weekend with 20% Off M&S New Range

FullSizeRender.jpg

I love a good veggie burger, and often pick them over regular burgers when eating out cause they are just so delicious. I make them at home too, but they are always the regular same tasting recipe wherever I buy them. 

Marks & Spencer has just launched a new Veggie Range, with products us meat eaters will be coveting, including three different fresh veggie burger varieties.  Lentil & Beetroot, Edamame Bean, and Sweetcorn & Chickpea.

I had the Lentil & Beetroot for lunch and they are incredible. I would challenge you to make them for someone who is anti-Veggie, and see if they even notice it’s not meat. The texture is spot on for a high quality beef burger. The only clue might be the Beetroot pink tinge!  

They've also launched some tempting falafel products, the beetroot variety looks so cool it’s almost worth buying for the Instagram-Factor.

FullSizeRender.jpg

It’s a great time to try the new products as the whole range has 20% off. Because the items are vegetable based and not meat, it means the packs of burgers are really great value, at £2.20 and up.

Another must-Instagram newbie is the Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Sausage.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Along with the meal ingredients range, they also have relaunched their veggie meal products like lasange, stroganoff, pasta bakes etc. Those can be found in the Ready meal aisle alongside the Asian takeaway dishes, whilst the other Veggie products are alongside the fresh and veg at the entrance of your local store. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

My other super hipster, impress your mates cool Veggie product to buy is the Sweet Potato Steak. I can’t wait to try everything out over the weekend.  

FullSizeRender.jpg

Lastly, don’t forget there are Veggie Percy Pigs, and a whole range of Veggie Colin the Caterpillar sweets.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Rustic Artisan Breads & Scrumptious Cheeses at M&S

IMG_4442.JPG

There’s a whole new range of rustic, British artisan breads in store at the M&S Bakery counter. Paired with their wide range of cheeses, they make for a homely comforting afternoon snack.

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_4444.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

M&S Spirit of Summer 2017 is In Store Now- 20% Off Meals, Deli & Salad Offers, Plus a Summer Meal Deal for £7

FullSizeRender.jpg

Spirit of Summer has arrived in store at  Marks & Spencer and there are a selection of offers to take advantage of to try the new dishes and meals.

The first is the £7 Summer Meal for Two. It's a main, a side and a salad, for two to share. There are chicken, fish and meat options, but I really found myself fancying the vegetarian offers. I chose the tomato & mozzarella stuffed peppers, above, but there were also very tasty looking stuffed aubergines. It was tricky to choose, which became the theme or selecting items for this blog post. There is a lot of fab new products on the shelves in the Spirit of Summer 2017 range, dishes and ingredients I haven't seen in supermarkets before even, so choosing is tricky, due to wanting to try everything at once!

After oven cooking and trying the mozzarella stuffed peppers, I HIGHLY recommend them. The pesto drizzle was heavenly. I'll be buying them again. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

So it's handy to be able to choose from the deli 3 for £7 deal, and the new Spirit of Summer deli dishes are included. There are also summer meat selections in the 3 for £10 offer and I had to try the new calamari with pomegranate dressing. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

The new summer deli items are from all over the world so there are a lot of exotic tastes to try. Last summer season the ranges seemed fixed in the Americas for flavours, but Spirit of Summer 2017 is all new, and already I'm loving the variety this year a lot more. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Another deal you can take advantage of right now is 20% off a wide range of the summer meals and desserts. This includes much of the range that doesn't fall under the deli or meat deals. For example the lamb flatbread was only £2.40 with the offer, which is a bargain for a fancy pizza for one. 

The new desserts I haven't investigated too much yet, but there are cakes, cupcakes and fridge desserts in the 20% off deal. The Valencian Orange & Almond cupcakes are a delight. I'm fond of anything with almond, and the flavours balance each other nicely. Perfect for afternoon tea.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Finally, the small square salads are 2 for £4 and there are a good half dozen new dishes to choose from. The feta, tomato and morello cherry salad was a must try for me. The green courgette salad was fresh and light and would make a great side for an early BBQ.

Let me know what Spirit of Summer treats you've tried this week, @rudedoodle on Twitter. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

M&S Balanced For You: A Refreshed Menu of Healthy Eating & its 3 for £10 Right Now

If you don't put on weight over Christmas, you haven't done the holiday season justice. The average person puts on half a stone, which can easily be shifted in January with careful watching of calories for a week or two. I never begin trying to lose this weight on January 1st. There are still so many left overs to indulge in, and boxes of sweets to work through. Once we get about two weeks into January and Smix is back at school, I can turn to losing the Christmas chub.

FullSizeRender.jpg

A nice way to do it is with simple calorie counting and the Marks and Spencer Eat Well ranges. You watch for the sunflower symbol and know those ranges, including all the fresh fruit and veg, is a good choice for healthy eating sessions.

I usually skip breakfast and just have coffee, but when I'm trying to lose weight I actually add in this extra meal. It helps get your metabolism working and stops snacking cravings later on. M&S have these snazzy little on the go porridge pots, shown above, for £1. You can also buy packs of sachets of porridges for £2.50

FullSizeRender.jpg

There are several healthy eating ranges at M&S. Count on Us is a low calorie range of typical meals made with less calories. Fuller Longer is a range of meals with ingredients specially picked to fill you up with good stuff.  

The range I chose from this week is Balanced for You. Again it focuses on keeping calories down, but also using great, healthier ingredients, so it's a bit of a mid way point between the previous two ranges. 

It also has a selection of fresh new dishes this January, and who can resist prawn & crab macaroni cheese? Hard to believe this can be used as 'diet food'.  

Lastly I chose Balanced for You for this post as the meals were all on 3 for £10 mix and match when I was in store on Monday. Means you can stock up on 6 meals to cover your whole week evening dinner for £20, taking one day a week off for dinner as a cheat meal. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

So porridge for breakfast, Balanced for You for dinner, but what for lunch. When you are watching your weight soups are a great way to fill up at lunch. M&S are kings of delicious soups, and again their range just happens to be on offer, buy one soup, get the other half price. The beetroot soup is my favourite,  but I'm keen to try the crab bisque. 

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

I'll let you know how my weight loss goes!