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Now that autumn is well and truly here (I can’t even begin to count the number of Pumpkin Spice Lattes I’ve enjoyed so far) it’s also the start of cold and flu season. Colds and sore throats are something I suffer from regularly – I pretty much just need to see someone sneeze to catch it, so I’ve been on the look out for sore throat cures which will keep me going all winter.

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My favourite throat sweets have to be Grether’s Pastilles – an old school formula beloved my vocal stars throughout the decades – it’s rumoured that even Arianna Grande is a fan. I first stumbled into the pastilles a few years back on holiday in the US, and I’ve had a tin knocking around ever since.

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Available in a range of flavours, I’ve been absolutely loving the redcurrant and blackcurrant varieties – they’re deliciously fruity, and they really get rid of any scratchiness you might be feeling. Before heading into a meeting, I like to have one, so I don’t suffer with a dreaded case of dry mouth!

Grether’s Pastilles are priced at £7.49 per tin, and are available here.

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Happy weekend! I hope you’re spending it well! After a seriously busy few weeks, I’ve finally found a second to sit down, upload some pictures and finally get a post together. It’s Saturday, so obviously it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a bit of a treat, and I’ve become somewhat obsessed with Prestat Chocolate.

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Not only is Prestat Chocolate the best looking on the shelf but it’s got the Royal Warrant – so it has to be good! The newest offering from the company is their Ruby Chocolate – a creamy not-so-sweet alternative to milk chocolate, which is surprisingly moreish.

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The fruitiness of the ruby chocolate has been enhanced by Prestat, who have added almonds and cocoa nibs to the bar – and the result? A treat which you’ll be reaching for all evening. As you would expect from Prestat, the chocolate is sublime, and the addition of cocoa nibs and almonds are a delicious surprise!

Prestat Ruby Chocolate Cocoa Nib and Roasted Almonds is priced at £3.25 and is available here

dciDK239RJq352nXzqEU+A_thumb_28943Tomorrow, coffee mornings will be kicking off across the country, all for a fabulous cause – Macmillan Cancer Support. It’s the ninth year that M&S have linked up with the charity, and ‘The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ has turned into something of a cult event.

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If you’re looking to host your own coffee morning, M&S delivers the goods – you can get all the cakes you can imagine, all of which donate a portion of proceeds to Macmillan (including the limited edition Colin the Caterpillar) as well as mugs – so you can celebrate in style whilst doing some real good.

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To get in the mood, M&S have been taking Colin on a bit of a road trip – so we thought we’d join in the fun! Starting off at St. Andrews’ famous Old Course, Colin made it to the famous Swilcan Bridge, before heading through to Dundee.

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In case you haven’t heard, Dundee has become quite the spot to visit thanks to the V&A opening, and a whole lot of investment in the city. It’s also the site of M&S’ first store in Scotland, which opened 100 years ago! They’re even hosting the first of M&S’ Taste Trail events, which celebrate the fabulous Scottish producers you can find in-store!

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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.

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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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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

 

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