There’s much to enjoy about summer. Drinks by the river as the sun sets. Getting your legs out. Being fairly confident you won’t get rained on when you go out. Breaking out your summer wardrobe. One of the very best, though, is summer food. Gone are the heavy stews and slow roasts of winter, and out come fresher, livelier dishes perfect for eating outside with a glass of something chilled.
The Spirit of Summer range from M&S is a smorgasbord of everything you want to eat when the sun’s out. Whether it’s the barbecue perfection of a rack of pork ribs covered in a sticky-sweet pomegranate glaze, a big tray of Mediterranean-style pinchos that transport you to a Barcelona bar, or a red-lentil kofta that makes going vegetarian seem like an excellent prospect, it’s all food that makes you feel like you’re out in the Mediterranean sun, even when you haven’t left Zone 2.
To give you the perfect setting to try the Spirit of Summer range, we’ve teamed with M&S to host a series of outdoor film screenings. These will take place in London, Birmingham and Liverpool, where you can enjoy one of four classics under the stars. There’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, hit musical Mamma Mia!, ode to Italy Roman Holiday and knotty romance Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. While you watch, enjoy highlights from the Spirit of Summer range and a few sangrias. You’ll leave entertained, well-fed and feeling like you’ve just had a four-hour holiday on the continent.
20 July, London: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Everybody loves a Bill Murray movie, and this is an especially good one. Murray plays an eccentric oceanographer who has made it his life’s mission to exact revenge on the jaguar shark that killed his partner, although the jaguar shark may not actually even exist. This Wes Anderson hit also stars Cate Blanchett, Owen Wilson and Willem Dafoe, all having the absolute time of their lives. It is, as you’d expect from Wes Anderson, very quirky, extremely funny and, of course, enormously stylish.
27 July, London: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
An embarrassment of Oscar-winning riches leads the cast in this adaptation of Louis de Bernières’ best-selling novel, which is so drenched in tropical sun you’ll likely get a tan just watching it. Penélope Cruz is a woman living a happy, quiet life on a Greek island, but she messes it all up by falling in love with a soldier (Nicolas Cage) when her fisherman husband (Christian Bale) goes off to war. It’s all directed by John Madden, who won billions of awards for making Shakespeare In Love.
3 August, Birmingham: Mamma Mia!
Embrace the unapologetic campness of this mega-hit musical, which stormed the box office in 2008 and is now on its way to a sequel. Abba are absolute musical geniuses, and their biggest songs are used to tell a story of a young woman (Amanda Seyfried) trying to find out the identity of her father before she gets married. Seeing Meryl Streep belt out The Winner Takes It All is not something you forget in a hurry. It is absolute sun-soaked madness, up for a good time and insisting you come along with it.
10 August, Liverpool: Roman Holiday
This is an absolute stone-cold classic. Audrey Hepburn, in the role that won her an Oscar, plays a princess who is tired of her rarefied life and longs to experience what it’s like to be a normal person. She sneaks off for a day with a journalist (played by Gregory Peck) in one of the most delightful romances you will ever see. It is one of those films that is so filled with timeless moments that if even if you haven’t seen it before, you’ll still recognise key scenes because so many other films have tried to replicate them.