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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.   

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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.

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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. 

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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! 

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A Rainbow of Fresh, New, Quick & Easy Cook Dishes at M&S, and They Are 3 For £10 Right Now!

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I dare not speak the words healthy eating, as a blog post about such in January goes down about as well as if I had suggested eating your first born, but I’ll just whisper, the products featured in this post are from the M&S Balanced For You range, which does help if you are on a healthier lifestyle type thingy. 

 

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All the new products have the Eat Well sunflower symbol and are packed full of protein, good carbs, veggies, vitamins and a rainbow of delicious ingredients. New recipes include the Soy, honey and lime salmon, chipotle chicken, soy, ginger and lime chicken, tandoori chicken, and coconut and lemongrass chicken. They are extremely convenient for families and couples on the go as they can be quickly microwaved as an alternative to expensive takeaways, but still have the same fresh ingredients that other take home from supermarket microwave meals don’t have.

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If pasta is more your thing then there is a new macaroni on the block in the chicken, ham, macaroni and leek, which cooks in the oven. This joins the macaroni and cheese prawn Balanced For You which is one of my personal favourites and if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it (I picked one up when I picked up this batch of goodies).

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Remember all the ranges are 3 for £10 mix and match right now, so it’s a good time to try some new dishes and refresh some old favourites. The Veggie range, and Eat Well Range too.

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