M&S’s Pan Fry Range Will Transform You Into a Super Summer Stir-Fry Chef, Plus New Street Food Wraps and Salads

Beef burrito £3.30 : Southern Fried ChiCKen £3

Beef burrito £3.30 : Southern Fried ChiCKen £3

A little bit of a mixed bag of what’s new from Marks and Spencer this month, as I like to show you what catches my eye in store from the new launches, as well as products I think are nifty. I’ve two ranges I want to tell you about, the first being found in the sandwich aisle.

Marks & Spencer’s ‘sandwich aisle’ is a bit of a misnomer, certainly an understatement, as my local Bloomfield Bangor store’s sarnie fridge is home to wraps, artisan sausage rolls, protein pots, quinoa salads, regular salads, vegan options of all of the previous, and more varieties of sushi than you can shake a chopstick at.

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The latest addition to their luncheon menu is a Street Food range. Inspired by food stalls in markets around the globe, the new items include some absolute flavour favourites like a Beef Burrito Wrap for £3.30, or Southern Fried Chicken for £3. There are also vegetarian options like the Veggie Falafel & Spinach Wrap with Feta Dressing £3, and a Veggie Samosa you could enjoy either hot or cold for lunch for £1.50.

Other Street Food sandwiches include Katsu Chicken £3, Chicken Vindaloo £3, and Hog Roast, which has a pork, sage & onion stuffing filling, for £2.80. Why I mention the stuffing is that with a little tweak at home (or your office desk!) by whipping out a jar of cranberry sauce, you could DIY a ‘Christmas in July Sandwich’.

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There are also some fresh recipes from this range if you like an M&S salad on your lunch break. Bang Bang Prawn Noodle Salad is a Vietnamese inspired dish with a spicy peanut & coconut dressing. There’s also an Indian Style Spiced Chicken Salad, Both are £4 each. Street Food also has a vegan option, the Roast Butternut & Tabbouleh Salad, for £3.50.

I also picked up a couple of their Super Waters, which are priced between £1.50 and £2 a bottle. I chose the Watermelon & Lime flavour infused with Protein & Collagen, and the Apple & Elderflower which has Vitamins C,B3,B5,B6 and B12.

Teriyaki Beef £4 : Fajita chicken £3

Teriyaki Beef £4 : Fajita chicken £3

Moving on from lunch, to dinner. I enjoy cooking, but I don’t often follow recipes, I’m very much a chef of two disciplines- 1. throw it all in the oven, or 2. throw it all in the pan. So when I was browsing the aisles of the Food Hall and spied this range, I’m not sure if it’s brand new, but I hadn’t noticed it before, and it’s right up my street.

The Pan Fry range has beef, chicken and lamb options for stir frying, which come complete with pre-cut veg and sauce and seasonings. All you need to do with the pack is follow the three or four step instructions on the labelling.

Tandoori lamb £6 : coconut & lime chicken £3.50

Tandoori lamb £6 : coconut & lime chicken £3.50

You can make a quick meal for two in minutes, and add the side of your choice. No washing and chopping veg, marinading meat, it’s all there ready to go. Ideal for busy folks, or those who just would like a hand in the kitchen.

Even better, they are really well priced. The Fajita Chicken pack is only £3, which you would struggle to find chicken, veg and seasoning for two for less than that yourself. The Teriyaki Beef costs £4, with the Coconut & Lime Chicken at £3.50, and the Tandoori Lamb Chops for £6.

A stir fry makes a great summer dinner, and with these M&S tricks up your sleeve, you’ll have more time to enjoy the sun and not be stuck in the kitchen.

#MyMarksFave The Hashtag You’ll See in Your M&S Store Pointing Out Celebs’, & Staff Members’ Favourite Christmas Treats - I Share Mine Too!

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There is one thing we know to be true about braving the busy stores these last two weeks of Christmas shopping, M&S is going to be crazy, but if you want the best treats, you gotta withstand the heat!

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M&S is home to the proper party food of Christmas. Please don’t be offended, other brands and supermarkets I blog with, but everyone knows, when it comes to your Boxing Day Buffet, your New Year’s Spread, Marks and Spencer party food is just like flying first class. Yes you could get a sausage roll elsewhere and it would make do, but why, when you could get a mini-kiev? Or Thai Fishcake? Or vegan burger even though you aren’t even vegan but want to be a bit fancy and try one?

That means M&S is busy - but you better believe your trip is worth it. 

Even better, right now M&S Party food is mix and match 4 items for the price of 3, which extends to desserts too, such as mini cupcakes. 

 While you’re browsing in store you may spot some little recommendation tags beside the price tags of some products, marked with “#MyMarksFave” These are dishes handpicked by a tester team of lucky celebs who got to try out the Christmas range and recommend their favourites from the selection.

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I picked up the Truffle Mayonnaise, which is recommended by Amanda Holden, and it’s only £2.50 a jar (very top photo). The M&S Cranberry is only £1 this week, so if you love that with your turkey you could stock up now. There’s also Turkey Gravy, ready to serve. 

My local Bloomfields, Bangor Store also has Paddy McGuinness’s #MyMarksFave which is the Santa Hat Profiteroles. They are £5 for a sharing size dessert portion and are very cute.  

You’ll also see recommendations made by staff members from your own M&S store on what they love to eat at home. 

The Christmas desserts from Marks and Spencer are always wonderful, so #MyMarksFave is in fact their desserts to order.  There are only two days left to place a Christmas Food To Order order, however, I always find with the dessert I book yearly, when I do go to collect it on Christmas Eve, they are also selling them in store on the day too, on the shelves. So if you are reading this after the 15th of December and it’s too late to book a dessert in store, or online, don’t despair, you can try in M&S the few days before Christmas, they usually have the fresh desserts then to buy.

Every Christmas Day I don’t have to cook, we are guests, so I bring a cake, and this is the fourth year I think I’ve ordered a cake from M&S. This year I’ve opted for the Salted Caramel Chocolate Log, it looks like a rooftop with a little Santa’s sleigh on top. So that’s #MyMarksFave

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Of course there are a wide range of other desserts to choose from to order (click any pic below to enlarge) as well as cheeses, and all the usual savoury Christmas food, and party food. Closing date is 15th Dec so be quick. 

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There is a very good range of party food in store now if you want to buy all your Christmas goodies now and avoid those crowds of the last week and last few days leading up to the 25th December. 

The dates on the party food will be short dated to go ‘out of date’ before Christmas, however, most of the party food can be frozen on date of purchase. Even the smoked salmon blinis can be frozen and then thawed out for the big day, so technically you could go and buy all your Christmas party food now while the shops are quite so crazy, freeze it, and be all ready for Christmas when it comes. 

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The party food range is as amazing as ever this year, with old favourites like the mini burgers, and additions like a vegan burger option. The Asian Chicken lollipop favourite is back, lots of kid friendly favourites like sausage rolls, pigs in blankets, and the mini pizza platter which my son will demolish I’m sure.

 

 

 

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There are plenty of vegetarian options, but I also spotted Wheat-Free party food this year for the first time (I think) so M&S really is catering to everyone this year. My Mum is a big fan of the Indian snack party food, and I love how delicate the new wok-toasted sweetcorn cones look in the 12 piece oriental vegetable selection.

All the party food shown here is priced at either £5, or £7, and are all part of the 4 for 3 deal. The Santa plates are also available from M&S from the Food Hall and are only £2, I thought they were so cute! 

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Finally, and forgive me if this is a total faux pas in a blog post about food, but after I was picking up the blog post items, I had to go buy two packs of M&S’s super adorable Christmas loo roll. It’s £2.50 for four, which is a great price, and it’s covered in little reindeers and Santas. I’m just a sucker for novelty and I couldn’t resist!

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. 

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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More Hot Cross Bun Varieties THAN EVER At Marks & Spencer This Easter- All Packs Two For £2.50: All The FLAVOURS Here

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Are you a classic hot cross bun fan? While I’m not a sultana or raisin gal, I do appreciate the Easter treat nowadays thanks to the wide range of Easter food fayre at Marks and Spencer. We popped along today and picked up the full selection of hot cross buns on offer, with packs being mix and match two for £2.50. There are various shapes and sizes as well as hot cross loaves, and wheat free varieties.

I also picked up some spreads to enjoy on the buns. Let’s dive in! 

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The Double Chocolate is by far my favourite, just lightly toasted with a little butter or margarine. It makes a quick and easy after school snack too. The larger sized Salted Caramel and chocolate hot cross buns (a few images down) are similar, and taste amazing with the chocolate hazelnut spread on them. The absolute to die for snack however, is one of them lightly toasted with the M&S Crunchy Peanut Butter with Maple & Pecan in the image below. It’s unreal. Youll be addicted to the stuff. It’s delicious on the Kentish Bramley Apple Hot Cross Buns too though, with the apple’s tang.

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The Luxury Hot Cross loaf is a great way to enjoy Easter in a packed lunch for school kids, and is included in the 2 for £2.50 deal.

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Don’t forget to check out the other adventurous fruity flavours of hot cross buns in the bakery department.

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This year there is even a Wheat Free variety of Hot Cross Bun.

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Marksies even have a recipe on their site if you fancy making a hot cross bun yourself

Next week, stayed tuned for Easter eggs, there are some very unique ones they have in store for kids and adults I haven’t seen anywhere else. 

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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Sweet Christmas Treats & Desserts, Including a Game of Thrones ‘Inspired’ Box of Chocolates, at M&S

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We have just about a week left to go, and Marks & Spencer still have some fantastic deals on, as well as brand new Christmas products fresh on the shelves. 

Whether you are looking for a last minute gift, party food, or a dessert for Christmas day, everything is now in store to choose from. 

One of the offers this week is this jolly little wobbling Santa biscuit tin filled with chocolate shortbread, for just £6. 

If you have a Game of Thrones fan who is a sweet tooth, I imagine these ‘Fire & Ice’ Chest of Drawers of chocolates would make a great stocking filler.

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There are lots of golden treasures to choose from amongst the chocolate gifts

I particularly love the golden cocktail shaker filled with mojito, Cosmopolitan & espresso martini sweets.

Thereis also a box of mini salted caramel pine cones, for £12.

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It’s definitely time to allow yourself to eat party food for no other reason than the time of year, and along with the savoury & chilled selections, it’s also 4 for 3 on the desserts in the Party Food Deal.

There are the cute Red Velvet Santa Hat Cupcakes, which are a return from last year, but also mini Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes too, which are equally adorable. There are tiny, gold star adorned Billionaire Shortbreads, and for your gluten free chums, Made Without Wheat chocolate Brownies. There are also mini mince pies.

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If you are looking for some last minute stocking fillers, there are little crafty bakery sets, like the Decorate Your Own Santa biscuits, and a Colour In Santa Game Pack complete with chocolates.

 

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There are also fun novelty sweet gifts for the grown ups, with games that could be fun for Christmas Day. There’s a Golf Game with Chocolate golf balls, a Hum That Tune game with a chocolate prize for the winner, plus chocolate football & skittle games. They are all mix and match 3 for 2.

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I’ve already ordered my M&S Christmas cake for the big day, and there are lots of show stopping desserts to chose from. The Penguin surprise cake will always be a winner with the kids, and adults can choose from various puddings, classic cakes, ice cream cakes and mousses.

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Lastly, a quick note on the gifts. I was in my local store today and a lot of the range is already 50% off, Including all M&S beauty gifts, and the glorious Zodiac themed presents of cushions, candles, paperweights and mugs. You might even want to treat yourself, with the cushions now reduced to £3.75 and mugs £4. Happy shopping! 

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Feed Your Paddington Mania in M&S Food Hall #LoveTheBear

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I think it’s fair to say that Marks & Spencer are the runaway winner of Best Christmas ad of 2017.  ‘Paddington & The Christmas Visitor’ has been viewed over 5.5 MILLION times, and it’s only mid-November.

M&S have been clever and have brought in lots of Paddington themed Food Hall items, so you can relive the magic at home.

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Smix has loved Paddington since our first visit to London in 2016, so he’s delighted with all the Paddington goodies on offer. You can stuff Christmas stockings with a pair of chocolate Paddington Boots (£2), or have his own special thick cut marmalade (£1.50)  on toast on Christmas morning.

There are paw print biscuits (£1.50) and a whole selection of mini treats like the Paddington Chocolate Lolly (£1.50) and tiny tin (£1). 

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There are even Paddington Marmalade Muffins, which would go down a treat with a cuppa while you read the book based on the Christmas ad. It’s available in stores priced £3, with £2 of every sale going to NSPCC Childline. We actually bought our copy last week, and they are waiting for more to come in stock at our local M&S. So if you can get your hands on a copy I would advise buying it ASAP!

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As well as the Food Hall delights, there is a whole range of Paddington themed cosies in the kids’ clothing department.  

Smix desperately wants the gorgeous onesie, but unfortunately it doesn’t go up to age ten. He insists he can squeeze himself into the age 6-7, but I think maybe the Paddington slippers might work out better for him! 

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Lastly, if you haven’t seen the advert and don’t know what the fuss is about, here it is. Joint the other 5.5m views and fall in love with a childhood classic all over again.