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Weekly Vine

15th December Weekly Vine: This week find out about World’s oldest man, Family catch-ups, Old people for four-year-olds, Slippers& lots more!

World’s oldest man turns 113

The world’s oldest man has celebrated his 113th birthday in Spain after putting his long life down to a diet of home-grown vegetables and a daily glass of red wine.

blur, close-up, defocused

Francisco Nunez Olivera, who has four children, nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, began the day with his traditional sponge cake and glass of milk for breakfast before opening letters of congratulation from around the world. The widower’s daughter Maria Antonia, 82, was among those who spent the anniversary with him at his home in the village of Bienvenida in Badajoz, south-west Spain. Francisco, who has two siblings aged 97 and 93, became the world’s oldest man after the death of Polish-born Israeli Yisrael Kristal on August 11. Happy Birthday, Francisco!!!

Could this year’s Christmas catch-up reveal a member of your family has dementia?

Christmas is the time of the year for a catch up with relatives from all corners of the world. With many seeing loved ones for the first time in a while; changes can be drastic than if they were to see them every day.

adult, affection, baby

According to John Ramsay, the CEO of Shift 8; Christmas is the perfect time to see if a family member is suffering from dementia. His company is behind an interactive light game for people living with dementia. He has compiled a list of seven of the biggest signs of dementia to look out for when you see your relatives this Christmas. Memory loss, Movement, Hoarding, Mood swings, Difficulty with new environments, loss of language and finally slower movements. If you do spot any of these signs or are worried, speak to your doctor.

Old People’s Home for 4-Year-Olds returns for a Christmas special!

Old People’s Home for 4-Year-olds will be returning to our television screens once again for an hour-long Christmas special.

cinema, dark, display

The festive return will be shown on Monday 18 December at 9 pm. It will see residents at St Monica Trust and the nations favourite bunch of cheeky four-year-olds preparing for a fun-filled carol service. Channel 4’s commissioning editor for factual entertainment, Lucy Leveugle said; “With social isolation amongst the elderly such an issue, seeing the impact the children had on the older adults made not only for a heart-warming watch but had real-life legacy.” “We are delighted to be back at St Monica Trust to see how our contributors’ lives have changed and to highlight the very real issue of loneliness amongst the elderly at Christmas.” We can’t wait to see what the guys have been up to!

Slippers for Christmas can help prevent falls in elderly

Doctors at a Welsh hospital are urging people to buy well-fitted slippers as gifts for Christmas to prevent their loved ones from falling.

Red Ribbon on Brown Cardboard Box

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board hope their Slippers for Christmas campaign; now in its second year, could help save the NHS £2.3bn a year while raising awareness around falls prevention. Alun Morgan, assistant director of Therapies and Health Sciences said; “Many of us think that having problems with our balance and getting weaker is an inevitable part of ageing so along with a few wrinkles and grey hairs, the odd fall is to be expected as we get older. “But falls are preventable and are often a warning sign that something else is wrong. As well as unsuitable footwear or slippers, falls can also be caused by not drinking enough fluids, poor eyesight, urinary infections, poorly controlled blood pressure and medications.”

He continued: “Falls prevention is extremely important, as even a single fall can have significant consequences for that person. They can cause injuries, fractures, loss of confidence, hospital admissions and a loss of independence. “The reason for falls can be complex, but we can significantly reduce the risk of them occurring. It is so important to work on our strength and balance regularly as well as keep hydrated, have regular sight tests and medication reviews. Not to mention wearing appropriate footwear which can all help to prevent the risk of a fall.”

Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons


Many people are averse to beetroot having only experienced crinkle-cut slices steeped in overpowering vinegar. This is a shame because fresh beetroot has so much flavour, texture and colour. These properties make it a key ingredient in many fabulous salads. Fancy a treat? Why not try this chocolate beetroot cake!

Other News:

Care home boss on 2017 list of ‘100 Women to Watch’

Elderly spared Christmas home alone as care home welcomes them

Hundreds with dementia won’t be home for Christmas but needlessly stuck in hospital


Price spectrum:

↑ Sugar

↓ Rice

F&E Promo Corner:

 Wet floor signImage result for wet floor sign

The wet floor warning sign is a standard piece of cleaning equipment. It is used to warn people of wet floors, preventing them from slipping and falling such as where snow, ice or liquid is present

Call today for a quote 01329 236821

Lets get crafty!

Tis the season to be jolly….. and creative!

Christmas is a mere two weeks away. Its the time of the year when the decorations come out of the loft; you go shopping for the perfect gift and stress about how little time you have. How about this year, instead of going out into the hustle and bustle of the high street you create your own Christmas craft at home. You could make a unique decoration that you bring out every year or even a one of a kind gift for someone special – whatever you decide, your masterpiece will be a real showstopper!

Not sure what to make? We have compiled the perfect list of ideas. Take the pressure out of Christmas and get crafty with Collective Purchasing! These ideas are great to do together, young or old. So bake (or buy!) some cookies, pop on some Christmas music or a festive film and get your creative juices flowing!

art, artistic, arts and crafts




These decorations are simple yet fun to make. Simply paint some lolly sticks and glue them into snowflake shapes and hey presto! Instant chic decor!

awesome 54 Cheap and Creative DIY Christmas Decoration Ideas You Should Try for Your Home

Candy Wreath

With a load of acrylic candy canes, make this mouth-watering wreath to hang on your door. Santa will know just how to find you!

With a load of acrylic candy canes, make this mouth-watering wreath to hang on your door. Santa will know just how to find you! Get the tutorial at At the Picket Fence.

Terracotta Christmas Tree

Clay pots make this Christmas tree decoration easy and fun, especially when topped with a bright red star.

Clay pots make this Christmas tree decoration easy and fun, especially when topped with a bright red star. Get the tutorial at Life is a Lullaby.



Sock Snowman

Rice, socks and rubber bands are the keys to creating this adorable winter friend.

Rice, socks and rubber bands are the keys to creating this adorable winter friend. Get the tutorial at Ciao Mama.

Reindeer Jar

These cute jars will do all the talking. Start by coating Mason jars in glitter and then transform them into reindeers, snowmen and Santas.

These cute jars will do all the talking. Start by coating Mason jars in glitter and then transform them into reindeers, snowmen and Santas. Get the tutorial at Crazy Little Projects.

Sweet treats

None of these takes your fancy? Move on into the kitchen and give the gift of food! We all know the way to peoples heart is through their stomachs!!

Peanut butter fudge

This homemade fudge recipe makes an easy sweet treat or a stunning edible gift.

Peanut butter fudge

Peppermint Creams

These easy, homemade version of the retro classic make delicious Christmas presents.

Peppermint creams

Chocolate fridge cake

A no-bake cake that’s perfect for making with children. You can also pick and mix the fillings to suit your taste.

Chocolate fridge cake


Make sure you send us photos of your creations. If you need any stock in order to create these festive delights don’t forget to give us a call!


Weekly Vine

8th December Weekly Vine: This week find out about Pickle mince pies, Google, Biscuits, Penguins, Charcoal drink & lots more!

Savoury mince pie anyone?

Branston Pickle has created a range of cheese and pickle-filled mince pies, combining cheesy pastry with Branston pickle to put a savoury twist on a Christmas classic.

Cheese and pickle mince pies are here and we don't hate it

Whilst you may not be as sold as we are, the ingredients used to make them could convince you otherwise. Each mince pie has been ‘delicately handmade’ with prime cheddar, new potatoes, thyme and a ‘generous dollop of delicious Branston Pickle’. The pies have then been decorated with a festive star-shaped top, making them perfect for Christmas. Branston and Lily Vanilli have created the ultimate savoury Christmas snack to celebrate the beauty of the cheese and pickle combo – a classic food pairing loved by the nation.

Is Google bad for us? Time will tell!

Google could increase the risk of dementia, an expert has warned. Professor Frank Gunn-Moore believes people are ‘outsourcing their brain to the internet’ rather than using their memory to recall facts.

Black Samsung Tablet on Google Page

He says that we are performing  ‘experiment’ on ourselves as we increasingly rely on the internet for information rather than using our brains. He added: ‘It’s an experiment the human race is running and we will have to wait and see if it affects the rate of dementia in the future.’  Currently, dementia affects around 850,000 people in the UK, with one in 14 over 65s suffering from the condition. Maybe we should do some memory games this Christmas…. just in case!


Cracking open some fancy biscuits is a welcome treat over Christmas. However this year you might notice a hefty rise in prices.

Christmas Cookies

Research by The Grocer, based on data from Brandview, has found price rises of up to a third on own-label Christmas biscuits sold by supermarkets. It said five supermarkets had increased prices with shortbread and gingerbread the main victims. We have seen many other food increases this year due to the weak pound and Brexit. However, butter has seen even steeper rises. Data from European Commission showed that for the year to the end of October, butter prices had risen by 47% compared to last year. Although in recent weeks the price has fallen a bit! May have to stick to the nuts instead this year!

Pick up a penguin

5-year-old Pringle and 20-year-old Charlie, were given a warm welcome when they visited Madley Park House care home in Witney, Oxon, from a private zoo. Residents at the care home regularly enjoy visits from animals, including ‘pat dogs’; but were over the moon to find they’d be spending some much-needed TLC with the two penguins.

Pringle and Charlie the penguins visit a care home to cuddle elderly residents

Pringle and Charlie usually spend their days in a specially constructed accommodation at Heythrop Zoo, in nearby Chipping Norton. There, they have nest boxes which look like caves, and their own private beach and swimming pool. Studies have shown that caring for an animal has proven health benefits. With this in mind, elderly people at the home were given the chance to feed Pringle and Charlie and cuddle them on their laps. According to care quality directer Jo Blackburn, animals are often brought into the home, though these are usually dogs, rabbits and cats. So Pringle and Charlie’s visit was certainly unique.

Naughty or nice

Its that time of the year that we threaten the kids with gifts of charcoal unless they behave. Well, drinks brand Wow has now launched a new charcoal health drink – dark detox.

Wow adds activated charcoal beverage to its functional range

Three variants – lemon, lemon and mint, and raspberry – have gone on sale in Sainsbury’s with a recommended retail price of £2 for 250ml. Dark Detox is a blend of fresh cold-pressed juice, filtered water, and activated charcoal, which Wow says helps maintain a healthy digestive tract by removing toxins. So maybe this Christmas morning you can give the kids a fright and gift them a bottle of this!


Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons

With their glossy, leathery skin containing hundreds of seeds that sparkle in bright pinkish-red pulp and juice, there’s something very festive about pomegranates. Their attractive appearance and fragrant sweet-sharp juice add’s excitement to both sweet and savoury dishes. Try this pear and pomegranate strudel this festive period.


Other News:

Cadbury’s Christmas chocolate selection boxes have secretly SHRUNK… 

Around 17,000 elderly at risk as care home giant teeters on the brink

Elderly care home residents dress up for Christmas nativity play

Don’t lick the mixing bowl, food safety regulators warn


Price spectrum:

↑ Coconut Oil

↓ Cocoa Powder

F&E Promo Corner:

Fiesta Red & Gold 9″ Christmas Crackers


This box of 50 9″ festive crackers from Fiesta makes an essential party supply for any Christmas function, from lunchtime buffets to award ceremonies and candlelit dinners. The red and gold crackers are a simple, elegant addition to any festive table setting and each contains a joke, toy and paper hat. The toy may be a frog, car, moustache, comb or paperclip. The box of 50 contains 25 gold crackers and 25 red.

Call today for a quote 01329 236821

Weekly Vine

1st December Weekly Vine: This week find out about Salted Caramel, Pen Pals, Kelloggs, Cornwall Cheese, Codebreaker, Alzheimer’s drug & lots more!

Salted Caramel

Salted caramel was created in a mysterious sweet shop in Northern France more than three decades ago. However it now seems to be taking over the Western world.

caramel, close-up, dessert

Food scientists say this is because its near-addictive mix of sugar, fat and salt flavours presses all of the craving ‘want-more’ buttons in our subconscious brains. It’s been around since 1980, thanks to the inventive efforts of a French chocolatier called Henri Le Roux. But the food industry has only recently woken up to its potential. Success leads to excess, so our supermarket shelves now heave under the weight of salted caramel-flavoured products, from the obvious — such as chocolate, fudge, ice cream and milkshake — through to oddities such as coffee, vodka, tea, crisps, peanut spread, icing sugar and Greek yoghurt. With Christmas just around the corner, we’re sure we will be seeing some new and interesting concoctions. Mmmm salted caramel hot chocolate!

School children get elderly pen pals from local care homes

The younger generation is so consumed by technology, that they aren’t often far from their phone or tablets. Texting, snapchatting, Instagramming and facebooking, if it isn’t done on the phone – kids aren’t interested! So to see them putting pen to paper to write a letter is quite a novel thing.


analog, binder, blank

That’s exactly what a school in Kidderminster is doing. They have teamed up with two local care homes to launch a pen pal scheme. This not only benefits the kids but also the residents at the care home! Everyone loves getting some post, well apart from when it is a bill!! This is a great scheme, and really hope it takes off with other schools getting involved.

Bye Bye sugar!

Cereals giant Kellogg’s is set to cut the amount of sugar in its three top-selling children’s cereals by between 20% and 40% by the middle of next year.

bowl, breakfast, cereals

Coco Pops, Rice Krispies, and Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes are having the sugar reduced from their recipes. Kellogg’s are also stopping the sale of Ricicles and ending on-pack promotions aimed at children on Frosties. This move comes amid pressure on food firms to cut sugar levels to combat obesity. It plans to reduce the amount of sugar in Coco Pops from 30g per 100g to 17g – a 40% reduction. This is following a reduction of 14% earlier this year, meaning that from 2017 to 2018, it will have halved the sugar in Coco Pops. Sugar in Rice Krispies will be cut by 20% and in Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes it will be reduced by 30% per serving.

Cheesy winner

We have heard that cheese may be a superfood, we know there is a cheese festival. But did you know there are cheese awards! and the winner has been announced….

Close-up of Wine And Fruits

Forget Halloumi, brie or even an Italian obscure brand. Surprisingly, it’s British. Cornish Kern has been given the top accolade at 30th annual World Cheese Awards in London last week. The medium-hard buttery cheese which has caramel notes was given the trophy among 3,000 entries that were judged.  It was awarded 75 points out of a possible 80 by 16 judges and entries were made by 35 different countries. However, the makers have now had to suspend sales due to a massive influx of buyers! Looks like we may have to wait a little longer to test the best cheese in the world!

Code Breaker

Joanna Chorley, who is in her nineties, has finally been recognised 70 years after WWII for her work as a code breaker at Bletchley Park.

Joanna, who lives at Tewkesbury Fields Care Home in Gloucestershire, never received the badge and certificate that were awarded to the code breakers after the war; because when they were sent to her home, she had moved away and there was no forwarding address. However, when care home staff heard about her work during the war, they got in touch with GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters to ask for recognition of the contribution she made. Joanna was invited back to her workplace at Bletchley Park and was taken on a tour and presented with her commemorative badge and certificate by Jonathan Byrne, who administers the centre’s Roll of Honour. Better late than never hey! Read more here.

Alzheimer’s breakthrough

A breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug is edging scientists one step closer to a cure, new research suggests. Taken twice a day, a tablet, known as LMTX, significantly improves dementia sufferers’ brain injuries to the extent their MRI scans resemble those of healthy people after just nine months, a study found.

blue, blur, bright

LMTX, which is under investigation, also significantly improves patients’ abilities to carry out everyday tasks such as bathing and dressing, while also boosting their capabilities to correctly name objects and remember the date, the research adds.

The drug contains a chemical that dissolves protein ‘tangles’ in the brain that clump together to form plaques in the region associated with memory, according to its manufacturer TauRx Pharmaceuticals. Dissolving these tangles and preventing the formation of new plaques may slow or even halt memory loss in dementia sufferers, the pharma company adds.


Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons


Goose meat is richer and darker than turkey. It has a higher fat content, but a lot of the fat melts away during cooking. This leaves deliciously tasty and succulent meat.

Although not cheap, goose makes a wonderful treat for any special meal. In addition, the goose fat collected during cooking makes the best roast potatoes. Try this Christmas goose with root veg, sticky pears & bramble gravy this year instead of Turkey!


Other News:

Stephen Fry asks public to back research into ‘pernicious’ dementia

Ninety-three-year-old waxes care worker’s legs to fundraise for dementia dolls

Care homes: Public ‘pay unfair fees to plug £1bn shortfall’

 Price spectrum:

↑ Plaice

↓ Salmon

F&E Promo Corner:

Olympia Wire Toast Rack 6 Slice

Toast Rack


A durable heavy duty stainless steel toast rack, perfect for breakfast buffets in hotels and for use in restaurants and cafes.

Product features

  • Dimensions 135(H)x 155(W)x 80(D)mm
  • Material Stainless Steel

Call today for a quote 01329 236821

Weekly Vine

25th November Weekly Vine: This week find out about Royal Wedding Anniversary, Chocolate or Cheese, Healthy Puds, Black Friday, Stir it up Sunday & lots more!

Happy Wedding Anniversary M’aam

Residents around UK care homes have been fondly remembering the Queen and Prince Philip’s wedding day as the couple celebrated 70 years of marriage this week.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth

Many people paid tribute to the Queen and Prince Philip by sharing their own memories of that special day, seven decades ago. From watching the couple’s first appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to the fantastic street parties they held, a selection of care home residents thoughts and memories have been captured in a commemorative film.

Residents in Care UK homes nationwide have reminisced about where they were on November 20 1947 and recalled how the glorious scenes of that cold winter’s day in November took them away from the horrors of the Second World War as Britain adjusted to life post-war.  The celebrations this week mark the c70th wedding anniversary, making them the longest married British royal couple in history! Congratulations guys!

Chocolate or Cheese?

Cheese-loving Britons have narrowly beaten chocolate fans when it comes to choosing their favourite indulgent tasty treat, according to a new report.


Half of British consumers would rather give up chocolate than cheese. When asked if they had to “choose between never being able to eat cheese again or never being able to eat chocolate again,” cheese won the battle! 47% said they would give up cheese with 3% saying they didnt like either. When looking into the regional differences, it seems it is a nation divided. Consumers living in Scotland, West Midlands and the South East and East Anglia are the most likely to say they would give up chocolate. Meanwhile, the South West and Wales, London and the North East and North West were the only regions where consumers are more likely to give up cheese. What would you choose?

Healthy Puds

Bidfood has launched Better 4 Me, a brand new dessert range. It caters to the health-conscious consumer and the increasing demand for vegan and free-from food options.

The consumer trend for alternative diets is on the up. In fact, an estimated 542,000 people in the UK are now following a vegan diet, and the trend for free-from is continuing to grow (54% of the population bought a free-from product in the first three months of 2017!)

Better 4 Me features a selection of desserts under 300 calories (per portion), a range of vegan tarts and a gluten-free Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake, to satisfy diners who want to make healthy lifestyle choices but don’t want to miss out on a sweet treat.

Black Friday

A fairly new trend on the British shores Black Friday has swiftly become one of the biggest fixtures in the British shopping calendar.

architecture, building, commerce

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Black Friday has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S. since 1952! In Britain, it has only been on our calendars since 2010; when Amazon UK started offering deals on the day and other shops followed suit. It is the perfect day to start getting ready for Christmas, which is now just a month away!!

Stir it up Sunday

Talk of Christmas has been buzzing around the Collective office since way back in September! (what can I say. We LOVE Christmas!!) This Sunday (26th November) is officially known as Stir-up Sunday. So put on your apron, gather family or friends and make sure you’re prepared to make your best Christmas pudding yet.

Image result for christmas pudding free image

Stir it up Sunday is a tradition that dates back to Victorian times. The family would gather together to stir the Christmas pudding five weeks before Christmas. The opening words of the Book Of Common Prayer, read on this Sunday before Advent, are ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord’, so the tradition stands that this is the day to get stirring! Read more here.



Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons



This lean, game meat has a deep colour and rich flavour. It comes as a haunch, side, saddle or shoulder, filleted into a steak or made into sausage. It teams well with fruit, red wine, robust sauces and hard herbs. Much of the venison produced in the UK is from deer that roam freely; rather than being intensively farmed, resulting in superior meat. Good quality venison is tender, tasty and close textured, which means it’s easy to produce great results using simple recipes. Try this winter warmer from Nigella – Marinated Beef and Venison Casserole and let us know what you think of it!


Other News:

Stay safe in winter with these safety tips for the elderly 

Care home’s elderly record charity Christmas song

Budget 2017: ‘Seize opportunities’ Chancellor fails to mention social care

Experts urge use of salt alternative in food products 

 Price spectrum:

↑ Sugar

↓ Tea

F&E Promo Corner:

Amefa Integral Adapted Spoonamefa-integrale-adapted-spoon

Designed to make eating good food a more enjoyable experience for people with gripping difficulties. The Integral range from Amefa is made with classic cutlery shapes in mind.

Call today for a quote 01329 236821

Black Friday

What is Black Friday?

A fairly new trend on the British shores Black Friday has swiftly become one of the biggest fixtures in the British shopping calendar.

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). This Friday has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S. since 1952! In Britain, it has only been on our calendars since 2010 when Amazon UK started offering deals on the day and other shops followed suit.

architecture, building, commerce

Why is it called Black Friday?

There are many urban legends surrounding the name. One theory is that Black Friday is the day on which shops sell enough to become profitable for the year. When they get out of the red and into the black. The real origin seems to be the Philadelphia police force. They were so fed up with the issue of traffic jams caused by shoppers they christened the day Black Friday.

buildings, cars, city

Black Friday 2017

Black Friday this year is Friday 24th November and we have some fantastic offers starting today! (Why wait until Friday hey?) These deals are only available until 28th November. When placing an order make sure you quote Black Friday to receive your discount.


Image result for Black Friday free image


1. Buffalo Commercial Coffee Machine was £149.99 Now £133.99



Make great coffee for your customers with the Buffalo Commercial Filter Coffee Machine. Supplied with a dishwasher safe 1.8-litre glass jug, the independently controlled upper hotplate allows coffee to be kept warm whilst another jug dispenses for a constant supply – ideal for busy restaurants, halls, bars and bistros. Powerful and fast, this quality coffee maker can quietly dispense a 1.8-litre jug of coffee within five minutes, keeping queues down and maximising output. Additional jugs are available separately. Simple to use and clean.

2. Olympia Glass Water Bottles 0.5Ltr pack of 6 was £12.99 now £10.00

Olympia Glass Water Bottle with Stopper - 1Ltr (Box 6)

Glass bottles with swing-top stoppers, ideal for enhancing the service of soft drinks and water in restaurants or at home. Glasswasher safe.

3. Polar Double Chilled Drinks Dispenser was £579.99 now £515.82


From Polar refrigeration, this high-quality twin tank chilled drinks dispenser is the ideal solution for front of house use thanks to its large dual 12-litre capacity tanks and stylish good looks. Perfect for maximising impulse purchases of fruit juices, iced tea, lemonade and other cold drinks, the Polar dispenser uses a gentle stirring paddle to maintain the quality of the beverage – avoiding both frothing and oxidisation.

4. Plastic Straw Dispenser was £11.99 now £8.99

Drinking Straw Dispenser

Retro designed plastic straw dispenser, great for on the bar presentation for customers to easily help themselves to straws.


Email to claim these deals.

We can help you with all of your furniture and equipment needs. Call or email us today to see how we can help your business. 01329 236821

Stir Up Sunday

Talk of Christmas has been buzzing around the Collective office since way back in September! (what can I say. We LOVE Christmas!!) This Sunday (26th November) is officially known as Stir-up Sunday. So put on your apron, gather family or friends and make sure you’re prepared to make your best Christmas pudding yet.

What is Stir-up Sunday?

It is a tradition that dates back to Victorian times when the family would gather together to stir the Christmas pudding five weeks before Christmas. The opening words of the Book Of Common Prayer, read on this Sunday before Advent, are ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord’, so the tradition stands that this is the day to get stirring!

Image result for christmas pudding free image

Did you know…

  • Christmas puddings would traditionally contain 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples.
  • It is traditionally stirred (while making a wish) by each member of the family from East to West, to remember the Wise Men that visited Jesus in the Nativity Story.
  • The customary garnish of holly represented the crown of thorns.
  • Adding coins, to the pud was said to bring luck if you found them in your portion on Christmas Day.

Where does Christmas pudding come from?

There is speculation about the origins of Christmas pudding. It is said to have been mentioned first in 1858, in Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne, although its beginnings apparently go back hundreds of years.

In the Middle Ages, a Christmas porridge called Frumenty was popular and maybe a savoury ancestor of the Christmas pudding. The recipe evolved over the years into plum pudding. It contained dried fruits, eggs, breadcrumbs, and beers or spirits to increase its shelf life. In the 19th century, Prince Albert declared his love for the Christmas pudding. He made it fashionable and thus a Christmas staple was born.

Christmas pudding recipes

Easy Christmas pudding

7-cup Christmas pudding

A classic light spiced Christmas pudding – so simple you don’t even need any kitchen scales.

Classic Christmas pudding

Classic Christmas pudding

This is a plump pudding with history…

Chocoholic’s Christmas pudding

Chocoholic's Christmas pudding

A definite crowd pleaser – chocolate mousse hidden by a layer of chocolate sponge, covered with the best chocolate topping we’ve ever tasted.

Send us your pics of you stirring it up on Sunday! Once the Christmas puds have been made, does that mean we can play Christmas music in the office?


Weekly Vine

17th November Weekly Vine: This week find out about  Mushrooms, Public Coming Together, Nutella, Care Home Preventing a Lonely Christmas, & lots more!

Mushrooms can help prevent ageing

Eating five button mushrooms each day could reduce your risk of dementia, heart disease and cancer, scientists claim.

agriculture, cherry tomatoes, cooking

Researchers have found the fungi are rich in two antioxidants that fight ageing and bolster health. Ergothioneine and glutathione combat ‘free radicals’ – damaging molecules highly linked to dementia, multiple forms of cancer and even heart disease. And the new study shows, ‘without a doubt’, that mushrooms are the highest dietary source of the combination of antioxidants. Cooking mushrooms does not seem to significantly affect the compounds, Professor Beelman said in the journal Food Chemistry. So pop them in all your favourite dishes. Have them with pasta, curries, in an omelette or with your weekly fry up!

People pull together in the spirit of Christmas

A burglar who broke into a care home and stole cash from a Poppy Appeal fund meant for war veterans, and Christmas raffle prizes intended to treat residents has led to generous donations from as far away as Cairo.

A burglary at Byker Hall Care Home in Newcastle Upon Tyne shocked the home’s staff who was horrified to discover the home had been broken into while residents slept on 5 November.  The burglar took raffle prizes of bottles of wine, Smirnoff vodka, Grouse whisky, Gordon’s gin, Morgan Spice rum and a men’s watch set and grooming kit.

“Money raised from the care home’s Christmas raffle would have been spent on more day trips out and treats for our residents. But it’s the theft of veterans’ money that is so shocking. We only put out the charity box the week before. In response to the Poppy Appeal theft, Graham Richardson, the owner of the Gateshead-based pub Pelaw Inn is hosting a charity raffle on 26 November, with all proceeds going to the Royal British Legion. And since the burglary, which led to a review of the care home’s security, donations from far and wide have arrived for the care home’s Christmas raffle- just in time for its Christmas Fair on 9 December. From a bad situation, the public has shown great spirit. It really is the season of goodwill!

Nutella’s controversial recipe change sparks outrage

Fans of hazelnut spread Nutella have gone nuts after its manufacturer tampered with the tried-and-true recipe.

Image result for nutella free image

Nutella on toast, Nutella straight from the jar – there are countless ways you can eat it. But our Nutella days could be numbered as the popular spread has admitted to secretly changing the recipe. The new recipe has had an increase in powdered skimmed milk and sugar – making our favourite tub of gooey goodness that bit sweeter. A spokesperson for Ferrero told us: ‘There has been a minor fine-tuning of the Nutella recipe. The content of hazelnuts, cocoa, sugar and palm oil remains unchanged. An even nuttier decision from Nutella is to increase the cost. So not only is it now sweeter it costs more! Looks like I may just stick to good ol strawberry jam!



Christmas guests

The Christmas build-up is a time of excitement for many. However, for the thousands of older people living alone, it signals a countdown to the time of year when feelings of isolation and anxiety can be at their greatest.

As part of its annual Companionship at Christmas campaign, care homes belonging to Abbeyfield Society will open their doors for six weeks to provide overnight stays, meals and entertainment for people affected by loneliness, completely free of charge. With an estimated 500,000 older people expected to spend Christmas alone, Abbeyfield chief executive, David McCullough, said: “The Christmas build-up resonates with excitement and celebration for many of us, yet it’s a time when older people can feel at their most isolated and alone. Their usual clubs or activities close down for Christmas, relatives are dotted across the UK far away from them and feelings of bereavement for lost loved ones is amplified at a time when families traditionally come together. This is a great idea and we hope many people take advantage of this offer. We hate the thought of people being alone this Christmas.

Prosecco crisps are back in stores!

It may only be November but the festive fever has already hit supermarkets, with Christmas-themed products everywhere you look.

Image result for prosecco crisps

And for yet another year, one of the most controversial seasonal items is Prosecco-flavoured crisps, which have appeared in some stores including M&S and the Co-op. But while some customers are happy about their arrival in stores, others are appalled by the very unusual flavour. It’s not the first time Prosecco crisps have appeared in stores. Tesco has stocked Prosecco and Elderberry flavoured crisps in the past, while M&S has sold fizz-flavoured potato snacks for a few Christmases. But they always prove controversial and this year is no different. Are you going to try them?


Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons



Perfect for this time of the year! Chestnuts are higher in carbohydrates and lower in fat and protein than other nuts. They contain fibre, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese.

Try this recipe for an alternative way of using them Shanghainese Braised Chicken with Chestnuts



Other News:

Bill Gates invests $50m to alter the course of Alzheimer’s

Man who waited 100 years for first drink has care home diner named after him

Care home staff experience challenges of ageing with simulation suit

Britons ‘face expensive Christmas dinner’ as food price inflation soars




 Price spectrum:

↑ Raisins

↓ Peanuts

F&E Promo Corner:

Schneider Set of 3 Christmas Tree Cutters


These Christmas tree pastry cutters are made from stainless steel and provide a way of providing any baked products with a seasonal feel. These pastry cutters will ensure that your Christmas biscuits, cakes and pastries can capture the Christmas spirit instantly and help get your customers into the mood.

Call today for a quote 01329 236821

Stay safe in winter with these safety tips for the elderly

The clocks have gone back, the gritters have been on the road and love it or hate it we are only a few weeks away from Christmas; Winter is well and truly on the way! With the change of temperature comes the need to look out for those more vulnerable than us. Every winter, elderly people across the UK face illness and health complications due to problems linked to the cold weather. The biggest problem for many elderly people is not managing to stay warm enough.

Here are some tips to ensure you keep your elderly friends and family safe this winter.

Keeping Warm

Keeping elderly people warm is the most important thing to do during the winter months. As we grow older our metabolism slows down and so we are unable to heat our bodies as well as when we were younger. Ensure you have plenty of warm clothing and extra blankets for your elderly relative. Keep them stocked up with warm food and drinks and provide extra heat if they need it. This portable fan heater is perfect for warming you up quickly!

Fan heater to keep you warm


Get out and about!

Just because the weather is gloomy, you can still encourage the elderly to get out and about. In fact staying inside all the time can be boring and lead to health problems such as depression! Encourage them to go for walks, going to the shops or popping to their favourite tea room for a nice brew and a slice of cake! Just make sure they are wrapped up warm and that it is safe for them to go out; we don’t want them to slip on any ice!! The activity they do will not only keep them active and boost their mood but will help with circulation and therefore help to keep them toasty and warm! To keep them extra safe follow these tips on preventing fall in the elderly!



Wrap up warm!

Make sure your relative or friend is wrapped up nice and warm, inside and out! When heading outside layer clothes up, so that when you get back inside you can remove some of the layers. When inside have some blankets to hand to keep them cosy and snug. These Sleep-Knit thermal blankets are a lightweight blanket designed to provide excellent warmth to keep you nice and comfortable.

blankets to keep warm

Food glorious food!

A nutritional diet is important all year round. However, in the winter months, regular meals and snacks help keep the energy levels in the elderly up. Make sure you have plenty of warming style snacks for them to have alongside main meals. Toast, soups,  porridge and warm drinks are great choices to have. Maybe even treat them to a fancy hot chocolate with cream, marshmallows and sprinkles served with a warm fresh from the oven cookie! Here are some ways to ‘posh up’ your drinking chocolate!  Our fave has to be the mint white chocolate recipe!

white mint hot choc


Do you have any other tips that you would like to share? Let us know on twitter!

If you would like to buy any of the above products give us a call on 01329 236821 or email

The Weekly Vine

Weekly Vine

10th November Weekly Vine: This week find out about Milk on the rise, brisk walks, carbs are back, confusion at a care home, elderly A and E, & lots more!

‘Moo-rrisons’ raise the price of milk

Retail giant Morrisons has increased its price of a four-pint bottle from £1 to £1.10 due to rising costs. They are the first of the four major supermarkets to increase their prices.

 drink, food, glass

A Morrisons spokesperson said the supermarket tried to hold prices down but “needed to respond when there were ongoing cost pressures”. More supermarkets are likely to follow in its path. Its decision to up prices follows a continued period of reduced supply from dairies, that have also sent the price of butter higher. The wholesale price of butter has already gone up by 73 percent in the last year due to milk supply restrictions.  The price increase has been welcomed by the National Farmers’ Union dairy board chairman Michael Oakes. He said the price was closer to “reflecting the true cost of milk production”.


Just one brisk walk a week cuts the risk of early death by 70% in older women, study claims.

One brisk walk a week could cut an older woman’s risk of early death by 70 percent, according to new research.

alley, autumn, autumn colours

The new study suggests that more physical activity among females in retirement age could lead to a ‘big’ increase in life expectancy.  The latest research, conducted from 2011 to 2015, is among the first to investigate physical activity, measured using a wearable device like a Fitbit.

More than 17,700 women with an average age of 72 wore the activity monitoring device for seven days.  It was found that more moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity -such as brisk walking – was associated with roughly a 60 percent to 70 percent lower risk of death at the end of the study among the most active women, compared to the least active. With the colder weather approaching, there is no better time to wrap up warm and take advantage of our great British countryside!

The carb is back

Food trends are notably unpredictable,  disappearing just as fast as they appear. Each year certain food items are targeted for their benefit (or lack of!)

Ribbon Pastry Pasta on Fettuccini

Many foods have gone from being the enemy to being the best thing since sliced bread! This year’s comeback, according to a new study, is carbs. Many people in the recent years have perceived carbs as being the devil; a sure way to put on weight. However, the report, undertaken by Waitrose has found a surprising new trend. Brits of all ages, and not just Waitrose customers were questioned and it seems as though a growing hunger for quality pizza and artisan bread, as well as the rising popularity of exotic carbs like quinoa and bulgur wheat, are behind a carb rebirth. So there is no need to cut out carbs for a healthy lifestyle, bring on the pasta we say!

Harry who?

Meeting Harry Styles is a dream for many teenage girls. But for residents at a Warrington care home this week, they didn’t know who their famous bingo caller was!

As part of a BBC special, the former one direction star spent half-a-day at St Oswald’s House. He made quite an impression on the residents with one lady saying “I thought he was rather dishy”. Ria Percival, home manager, said: “It was a bit chaotic, but it was a great experience for all the residents and staff that took part. They thoroughly enjoyed the day and Harry and Nick’s company.”

Taking on the role of bingo-caller, it seemed there were no Harry Styles fans in the room. Bingo winners opted for a box of chocolate and shower gel whilst shunning his debut album. We think these residents will be the envy of their grandchildren though!!

NHS to open first A&E unit especially for elderly patients

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital plans to be the first hospital to open its first A&E unit for the sole use of elderly patients. This is due to widespread fears that the frail patients are waiting too long to be seen.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital announced the pioneering plans to stop the frail having to endure delayed stays

Beginning later this month; patients over the age of 80 will be sent directly to the hospital’s older people’s emergency department. They will be met by a team of consultants and nurses – similar to that of a traditional A&E, as well as geriatrics who specialise in looking after the elderly.

It is estimated that currently around 50, patients over the age of 80 require urgent help at the hospital’s A&E department each day. This move will help protect them from having to wait too long to be seen. We think this is a great idea and hope to see it roll out to further hospitals in the near future.

Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons



Resembling a lumpy pear, the ancient quince has become a bit of a forgotten fruit in recent times.  However, quince can be a delicious and distinctive addition to many dishes, both sweet and savoury. Why not try this Quince crumble tart recipe from BBC good food!

Quince crumble tart



Other News:

‘Harder than childbirth’ says woman cycling 75 miles for care workers

Walkers Classic flavours triumph in its ‘Choose me or Lose me’ campaign

A ‘revolution’ for the disabled and elderly

The doctor will FaceTime you now! 

 Price spectrum:

↑ Apple Juice concentrate

↓ Chicken

F&E Promo Corner:

Afternoon Tea Stand for Plates Up To 210mm



Afternoon tea is a great way to show off your baking skills. This frame is ideal for use with plates between 160 – 210mm. By changing the plate style, you can change the complete appearance of the setting.

Please note that plates are not included and can be purchased separately.

Product features

Dimensions 380(H) x 240(W) x 205(D)mm

3-tier stand

Holds plate up to 8.25″