Tastes of the British Isles with Marks and Spencer

You can count on Marks and Spencer for some truly tasty food and when I first heard of their Tastes of the British Isles collection a couple of months ago I knew we were in for something special. I’m a true fan of British food, from the fabulous fruits to the earthy flavours there’s something so satisfying and wholesome about it all. Less wholesome were the sweet treats that Marks and Spencer kindly arranged for me to sample- but sweets are yet another thing that Britain does best!
I was super-duper excited when I saw liquorice catherine wheels in my bag of goodies as they always have been and probably always will be a favourite of mine. The manager in my nearest M&S said he preferred these to the original barratt’s ones and I would be tempted to agree- perfection! Also erring on the traditional side the fruity swirl lollipop put a smile on my face- who can resist the bright and beautiful lure of pure sugar?

On the less traditional side there were some new and exciting discoveries to be made. Strawberries and clotted cream fudge took me straight back to childhood holidays in Devon and the Rhubarb & Custard (made with freeze dried rhubarb, wheat crispies and custard flavoured white chocolate) might just be the greatest thing I’ve tasted this year. The Elderflower Raspberries were almost too pretty to eat but the sweet white chocolate and the sharpness of the freeze dried raspberries balanced beautifully with the delicate Elderflower flavour. The British Pudding sweets also deserve a special mention- lemon meringue and cherry bakewell flavoured sweets encase a cracknell centre that bring about all sorts of retro fabulous feelings.

I admit to being skeptical when I heard that Marks and Spencer had launched a rival to my beloved Marmite. Long time readers will know how devoted I am to the brown goo. Thankfully they end up being two entirely different products thanks to M&S’s addition of fruity notes to balance out the savoury overload so I can happily announce I love this product (created in collaboration with London Based Greenwich Meantime Brewery) without being disloyal to my first love.
Have you tried any of these products, what else do I need from the Tastes of the British Isles range? There’s so much more to it than what I’ve featured and I have no idea where to start…

Also, are you a lover or a hater? I’m not sure we can be friends if you can’t stand Marmite.


Magic and Sparkle with M&S

Have you seen the Marks and Spencer Christmas advert yet? You know, the one with the two fairies named Magic and Sparkle spreading good deeds around the country over the festive season. Last week I was invited to the M&S store at Cribbs Causeway, along with some other Bristol bloggers (plus my Mum and Best Friend) to enjoy a little Magic and Sparkle for ourselves…
We were treated to an evening of delights; some gorgeous Christmas decorations and gift ideas, a table full of delicious foods and beauty treats for all to enjoy as well as getting to feast our eyes on some of the most beautiful clothing collections that are in store now.
For me the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly discovering THE most brilliant hat of all time, in the form of the Christmas tree knit you can see above. At only £12 I think I’m going to have to cave in and buy this as I can roll it out year on year…
M&S have some truly lovely gifts in stock this year, they’ve been going from strength to strength each year with this one being perhaps it’s strongest yet. The clothing collections too are just so on point, walking through the store I saw oh so many pieces I really wanted to add to my wardrobe and the best of the bunch were hanging up on display for us bloggers to ogle.
A big thank you to Marks and Spencer for putting on a such a lovely event- it’s always a pleasure to catch up with some of my favourite blogging ladies and the Grayling PR girls are just the best.
Which fairy are you? I like to think of myself as a bit of Sparkle…


Best of British (part one)

It’s been a long time since I had a new addition to my tights collection that wasn’t plain black or nude. Tights used to be “my thing” but ever since I started working pretty much full time there has been less and less place for my crazy colours in my wardrobe during the week and at weekends I tend to find myself slobbing out in jeans and a jumper. Still, when Marks and Spencer offered to send me a couple of pairs from their “Best of British” collection (which celebrates British Design with some cracking pieces) I could hardly say no- the tights queen still resides in me somewhere!

Coat: Joy | Dress: A-Wear | Tights c/o Marks and Spencer | Boots c/o Duo | Necklace c/o Modern Vintage Style | Bag: Mulberry

I’ve not really managed to capture the pattern on the tights here but they are a truly gorgeous grey and black houndstooth which just so happen to be perfect for work. I paired them with this simple skater dress that I picked up a couple of years ago for just £5. I wish now I’d bought a couple as it just gets better with age, it has the perfect flattering fit and is the softest jersey I’ve ever worn. My trusty Duo boots finished the office attire, I’ve been living in this ever since they arrived and I get compliments all the time.
No outfit would be complete at the moment without my pink coat, it’s the redeeming feature of the colder weather and attracts a lot of attention. I’m hopeless at capturing what handbag I’m using on a daily basis but as I was out and about on a little (Christmas) shopping trip with my best friend and my Mum it seemed rude not to pop my Mulberry in to the pictures. I was so worried I would be too scared to use such an expensive bag, but actually I use it most days as it’s the perfect size for carrying around all my rubbish; on a cost-per-wear basis it’ll soon be practically free!
Lately I’ve been wearing this gorgeous necklace from Modern Vintage Style with everything. I love the unusual Smokey Quartz and the way it catches the light. The website is a fairly new find for me and I love everything they have on sale. With a gorgeous mix of vintage and handmade pieces there is something for everyone. My magpie eye has homed in on several more stunners to add to my collection.
This has turned in to quite a lengthy post as for once I have a lot to say about what I am wearing. I have another pair of these tights to style and feature in an up-coming post which I can’t wait to show you…dear tights, I’m sorry I neglected you for so long!

In the Morning Light

Last week gave us one of those rare mornings, where thanks to the change in the clocks the garden was bathed in golden sunshine at just 7:15 in the morning. Never one to waste an opportunity (and running early for work for once in my life) I set up my tripod and grabbed some photos of a dress I’ve been itching to share.

Clearly I hadn’t had quite enough coffee yet as upon reviewing the photos I was a little disappointed that things had come out a little blurry and I’d failed to get the settings quite right, live and learn eh?

Dress: Marks and Spencer | Boots: New Look | Bracelet: New Look

I first saw this dress in a preview e-mail of the A/W collection from M&S and fell in love with it, everything from the dusky blue colour to the delicately embellish collar screamed “buy me”. A trip in to town a few weeks later saw me fall further in love as the dress looked even more perfect in real life. I didn’t buy it that day though, for whatever reason and buyers remorse kicked in. A couple of weeks later I was back in town and saw the dress again, this time in the sale reduced from £35 to £22…looks like shopping karma strikes again! It might look super simple, and really it is, but this is such a lovely dress for this time of year and the collar means accessories can be kept to a minimum. I’m a big fan of a pretty collar and they don’t come much prettier than this!

I wasn’t really sure what shoes to pair with the colour of the dress if I’m honest, black seemed to harsh and my grey Zara ankle boots didn’t really work either. In the end I settled for these brown boots from New Look which I just can’t bring myself to get rid of, they are so very comfortable even if they aren’t the most attractive shoe in the world. The outfit still didn’t feel quite right though so if you have any shoe suggestions then do send them my way!

It’s bonfire night tonight and I am so tired after an event last night and an early start at work that any plans to go for a walk to watch other people’s displays have long since vanished- last year resulted in Ben and I playing with sparklers in the park, this year will be more of a cup of tea and glance out of the window type affair! I’m not massive fan of fireworks anyway, unless they are part of an organised display. I live in a really residential area where people insist on setting off industrial sized rockets- Mae is a cowering wreck for the days leading up to and days after the 5th of November and that makes me all kind of mad.

Are you off to any displays over the next few days? I can’t wait to see some photos…


Black ‘n Bright

I promised an outfit post featuring my brand new boots from the DUO event and here it is. They arrived almost two weeks ago now, so in true Laura style I am behind with my blogging but that gives more weight behind the declaration that these boots are awesome! The perfect fit and oh so comfortable they have barely left my feet. Even better is the fact they are water resistant, keeping my feet snug and dry on the increasingly damp walks to work.

Jumper: H&M | Skirt: Marks and Spencer | Boots c/o Duo

The Somerset boots just so happen to be the perfect partner to this skirt from M&S, a bargain at £25 (yeah, I was amazed by the price too!). I was drawn to the bright yellow/green colour which no longer seems to be available online and there is something quite 1960s about it. This has made a welcome addition to my work wear, and judging by the reaction of my colleagues it’s various colours might become our office uniform. I kept the top half of my outfit simple with a slouchy cropped knit from H&M, another bargain at £7.99 although I am on the lookout for a fine knitted polo neck to complete the retro vibes.
I can’t believe we’re now in to November, there is no denying the fact that Christmas is looming and things are going to be getting a lot colder…

what have you been adding to your work wardrobe lately? I also picked up a gorgeous dress in M&S the other week, one that I had been eyeing for a little while and I then found in the sale…watch out for that featuring on the blog soon. I can’t believe I so often overlook good old marks and sparks, they have some brilliant pieces at the moment, not least this epic Christmas jumper!