Colin lifestyle with doughnut

Is there anything better than a slice of cake and a piping hot cup of tea? Certainly not much – but M&S have made enjoying an afternoon treat even more delightful with their range of cakes and donuts, all of which lend their support to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Colin the Caterpillar Side

As if cakes which support such a great cause weren’t awesome enough, next Friday, on September 28th, M&S will be helping Macmillan Cancer Support hold the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. For the ninth year running, offices, clubs, cafes and friends across the country will be getting together to host a whole lot of coffee mornings, all with one thing in mind – to raise as much money as possible for a fabulous cause.

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Whether your bakes deserve a spot in front of Paul and Pru, or you’d rather just pick up a special edition Colin the Caterpillar (a classic, you have to agree!) M&S alongside Macmillan are encouraging you to join the party.

Just make sure on the 28th, you enjoy something delicious whilst joining M&S in raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

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For me, September always marks the start of autumn. The mornings and nights are already getting darker, and I’ve been rather greedily looking out cashmere jumpers for the past fortnight. As much as I love a lazy summer, there isn’t anything quite as beautiful as a forest full of golden leaves. Another perk in the change of season? Longer nights mean more time to enjoy hot baths and good books, and really, is there anything more heavenly?!

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I’ve been loving Being by Sanctuary Spa’s Salted Caramel and Macademia Bona Bombs. Each pack holds ten mini bath bombs, so depending on how luxe you want your bath, you can add as many bombs as you want! Since I like mine smelling sweet – I tend to use three or four of the bombs per bath. The scent is super-sweet with hints of caramel and vanilla which feel perfect for this time of year! The bon bombs leave skin feeling soft and softly scented – they’re the perfect accompaniment to a great book, and a must-have for winter evenings!

Being by Sanctuary Spa salted caramel & macadamia bon bombs are priced at £12 and are available here (UK) and here (US)

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As hobbies go, blogging is a pretty fantastic one! Over the course of the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve been able to meet some incredible people, travel to some marvellous places, and try products which have literally been life-changing. Through all of this, there have been a few products which I’ve always kept on-hand. They’ve never been bettered, and as a result, I keep a stash of them on hand at all times.

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One of these Holy Grails, and possibly the first, is Clinique’s Take the Day Off Eye Makeup Remover. A dual formula, I pour a little of the formula on a cotton round, and not even the most waterproof of mascara formulas stand a chance. This cuts through every formula I’ve ever tried, and it’s incredibly gentle on skin and eyes too – there isn’t a hint of stinging or irritation – just super clean skin which is ready for a bit of moisturiser and bed!

Clinique Take the Day Off Eye Makeup Remover is priced at £17 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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Winter skin, I always feel, is the worst skin. However tempting it is to forgo the moisturiser each morning, my skin never feels better than when it’s treated well. Despite the fact that I’m going to be swaddled in knitwear from now until mid-April, I’ve been on the hunt for a great everyday option which leaves skin looking and feeling soft and smooth. My current cream of choice is Hempz Milk & Honey Herbal Body Moisturiser.

Packaged in plain,  quite utilitarian bottle, complete with pump, what this moisturiser lacks in glitz, it more than makes up in formula. Fortified with 100% Pure Natural Hemp Seed Oil, the cream itself is lightweight, and sinks into skin within a minute or two, meaning it’s great for morning use. When first applied, it does have quite a strong, sweet vanilla scent, but it dies down relatively quickly, so it doesn’t interfere with any perfumes I want to wear.

From the first time I used the moisturiser, I’ve seen a real improvement in my skin – it’s not greasy or sticky, instead skin is left feeling velvety soft, and super smooth. It tackles rough skin like an absolute pro, so elbows and knees are well taken care of – ideal if you’re looking to moisturise pre-fake tanner!

Hempz Milk & Honey Herbal Body Moisturiser is priced at £21.99 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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When a night begins with colour-changing gins, you know it’s going to be a great one! Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School (a spot I’ve been dying to explore) to celebrate M&S’ celebration of 100 years in Scotland. They opened their first store in Dundee back in 1918, and it’s fair to say that they haven’t stopped since!

The night was a celebration of all things Scotland – of course, we’re currently slap-bang in the middle of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, so the timing couldn’t have been better to find out, not only about M&S, but the fabulous Scottish suppliers they use too.

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Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was the lengths that M&S go to in their search for the best and most exciting products. Their colour changing gin (I tried the lavender and it was all kinds of delicious) comes from Edinburgh’s own Secret Herb Garden (they’re coming out with a Christmas blend which sounds delightful), whilst a majority of beef and lamb comes from Scotland too. As someone who tries to shop as small, and as responsibly as possible, it’s reassuring to hear that I can pop into my local M&S, and still support local suppliers.

To accompany the gin, we were spoiled with some delicious canapés – hot smoked salmon crowned seaweed crème fraîche on blinis, haggis came delicately breadcrumbed in panko, and onion and potato bhajis came piping hot and served with a punchy sauce.

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After some mingling, and perhaps a little more gin, we headed upstairs to the dining room, where tables were already furnished with slabs of Lochmuir smoked salmon. With a ripe and fruity Sancerre poured, we got to hear directly from the producer, about how he works with M&S, and warned that even more starters were to come!

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Which is where the most heavenly roasted scallop comes in – served in the shell with Langoustine Butter and a still-warm soda bread (made with Scottish stout) this was a real highlight of the meal. I’ve become such a fan of scallops recently, and last nights was among the best – delicately sweet, and still translucent, it perfectly demonstrated the quality of produce on offer from M&S.

Mains were equally delicious – after hearing from Scotbeef – who along with M&S champion traceability (every single piece of beef that M&S sells can be tracked back to the farm and animal it came from and is always British) we tucked into Rib of Beef, Black  Pudding and Ox Tail faggot and accompanying vegetables. Pretty much the perfect version of a Sunday lunch – I don’t think anyone left even a crumb of this. The meat was beautifully tender, and just melted in the mouth – it’s something I’m going to be (trying) to recreate this weekend for sure!

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As if all that wasn’t enough, when it was time for dessert – we were treated to two options – a beautiful Cranachan, filled with Scottish raspberries, oats, honey and of course, whisky, and an absolute dream of a cheeseboard.

With a chance to try Scottish Brie (creamy, and slightly firmer than the French) as well as a Scottish Red Cheddar and Strathdon Brie, it was the perfect note to end on. Positively stuffed full of the best of Scotland, we then got to pick our M&S favourites, (you can find similar choices around stores with staff picks) after a night filled with such amazing dishes, it was a seriously hard choice! What did I go for? I couldn’t resist Colin the Caterpillar!

Thank you so much to M&S for having me! It was absolutely fascinating to hear about the work they put into providing the very best products for customers, and it’s so lovely to hear their enthusiasm about Scotland! You can also find out more about M&S’ history at their upcoming Food Festivals which will be hitting the road:

  • 28 September, Dundee
  • 6 October, Edinburgh
  • 20 October, Aberdeen
  • 3 November, Inverness
  • 26 January, Glasgow