“ Brand: Marks & Spencer / Product Type: Mug „
When we got married last year, one thing that my husband and myself got quite a lot of was gift vouchers for various stores, from kind relatives and friends. One store that we got a few vouchers for was Marks and Spencer and as I do generally like their range of household items and furnishings, I was delighted to have the opportunity to shop in-store in a local branch. We ended up selecting a few items, and one of these was the set of four 'Stacking' mugs. The mugs were available in three alternative designs at the time of purchase if memory serves me right, but the ones that my husband and I selected were the red stripe and spot design. The particular design that I chose consists of two mugs of each design. Two of the mugs are striped, in a gorgeous bright red and cream design with horizontal stripes, and two of the mugs are spotty, which have tiny red polka dots on a cream background and contrast detail which is tiny cream polka dots on a red background. The cost of the mugs is £15, which is for the four mugs - all of which are hand painted - and the metal holder/rack, within which the mugs themselves can sit quite neatly and tidily. This is easy to achieve, given that each of the four mugs has a sort of built in 'step' inside the mug. This of course is an important part of the design, as it allows each of the mugs to sort of 'slot' into each other and stack together neatly, which of course is one of the main features of these particular mugs. I think that this makes them ideal for anybody who - like myself - has limited space available in their kitchen. I chose to do away with the metal rack/holder that comes with these mugs purely because I have a shortage of space in my kitchen and preferred to stack them in 'twos' inside a kitchen cabinet. I actually have two sets of these mugs in different designs, including the red stripe and spot design that I am reviewing here. All of the mugs - irrespective of which of the two sets they belong to - slot neatly together in my kitchen cupboard I must confess that I find the Marks and Spencer stacking mugs are very comfortable to use and they seem to hold quite a lot of liquid, which is ideal for me as I hate to have a 'cup' of tea and much prefer a mug... yes, I am greedy when it comes to hot drinks! I am not a particular fan of thin, delicate crockery I must admit... mainly because there's never enough room at the top of a delicate, thin, china mug for me to dunk a biscuit into my tea!! This is certainly not a problem with the Marks and Spencer stacking mugs, and I can happily dunk my biccies to my heart's content. I find that the mug is comfortable to hold, and it is not overly-cumbersome. Neither is the handle on the mug difficult to grip. All in all, I cannot fault the practical aspects of the mugs at all. Furthermore, I was pleased to find out that the Marks and Spencer stacking mugs were completely safe for use in both the dishwasher and the microwave. I personally do not have a dishwasher, but I do often microwave hot drinks and liquids, and it is reassuring to know that the mugs will handle this task easily. I should point out that the metal rack for the mugs to be housed in is made of chrome, and I did use it for a short while before I decided to store the cups in my cupboard and get rid of the stand. I found I had no problems with removing or replacing the stacking mugs into the stand. The mugs can be moved up the stand by their handle, to the top of the stand, and lifted free. I found that this was neither difficult nor time-consuming and I couldn't imagine many people having too much difficulty with it. The only negative point I have to make about these mugs is that there was no matching table wear available to buy. I would have been delighted to purchase matching plates, bowls, side plates or even a teapot or cups and saucers in the same design as the stacking mugs I purchased from Marks and Spencer but none were available. I found this was quite annoying and well, a bit strange. I have found that most other department stores have matching items available for mugs and crockery items and I felt a bit disappointed that such a large retailer as Marks and Spencer didn't have this on offer. It has meant that I have had to shop elsewhere for a teapot and other items in a similar design as my Marks and Spencer mugs, whereas I would have gladly bought the whole matching set, had such a thing been available! The mugs appear to be fairly robust and I have had no experience of them chipping easily or cracking. This can not be said of every hand-painted mug that i have ever owned, and was something of a surprise to me, although I am not complaining and am pleased that they seem to be able to withstand plenty of use... and the newest set of stacking mugs I own are used on a daily basis... result! The Stacking mugs are available in a variety of styles, designs and colours. I have two alternative sets already and am planning on purchasing a third set to replace some older mugs that I have at home. I have also bought two sets of the Marks and Spencer stacking mugs as engagement presents, as I think that they are a really lovely present and would suit most peoples' tastes... I think there is a colour scheme/style of stacking mug to suit every kitchen and I would highly recommend them! The stacking mugs are available to buy at Marks and Spencer stores nationwide, although I have found that not every store stocks all items, which is particularly the case with smaller stores, so it might be worth making a trip to a larger store or checking with your branch. There is also a website for Marks and Spencer and this can be found at www.marksandspencer.com.