Have a Picnic to remember this Summer Bank Holiday!
This month we have the summer bank holiday; the last bank holiday until Christmas in England. It’s a perfect opportunity to get your blankets and baskets out of the cupboards and get outside for a picnic. (Or if the British weather isn’t playing ball why not have an indoor one?)
Whether you opt for traditional picnic food or if you prefer something edgier here are ten ideas to create the perfect hamper of treats.
1 – Sandwich
No picnic is complete without a good ol’ sarnie. Whether you go for a classic sandwich or go for a bread less lettuce wrap, there are so many ideas out there. Here are just a few.
2 – Greek Salad
Healthy, quick and easily portable – a classic Greek salad makes an ideal packed lunch. Use the ripest tomatoes, Greek olive oil, beautiful olives, creamy feta and lovely herbs, perfect!
3 – Sausage Roll
Sausage rolls are infamous in Britain, making appearances at most parties, buffets and picnics. Follow this recipe for the perfect homemade pastry treat.
4 – Summer Pasta Salad
Step away from the traditional tomato and herb pasta salad and try this Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad. Adding chopped broccoli, grapes, pecans, and bacon to cooked pasta and tossing with a sweet and creamy mayonnaise dressing makes a delicious alternative.
5 – Chicken Drumsticks
Eat these affordable and tasty dishes the right way…with your hands! With so many options of spices and marinades available on the market you can make several to choose from to make a perfect picnic selection. Check this list out for 25 ideas!
6 – Strawberry Salsa stuffed Avocado
Try this refreshing summer recipe with a difference. Cool and creamy avocado halves stuffed with a fresh and summery strawberry salsa!
7 – Crisps
It wouldn’t be a picnic without a packet of crisps. These snacks are available in so many flavours, the only decision you need to make is which one to go for. My personal fave are the veg crisps, using parsnip, beetroot and sweet potato instead of white potato, making a great summer alternative.
8 – Scones and Clotted Cream
This British favourite makes a great addition to any picnic. Easy, tasty and traditional; the only problem you may encounter is disagreeing about whether the cream goes on first or if it is the jam. (Definitely cream on first!!!)
9 – Melon Pizza
If you want to keep your picnic healthy but still exciting, why not try this watermelon pizza. Refreshing, healthy and fun, this is an ideal picnic treat that can be enjoyed by everyone.
10 – Lemonade
Finally, what’s a picnic without a fresh drink to keep you hydrated? Sure you can go for water, but what says summer more than some refreshing homemade lemonade. Find the perfect Lemonade recipe here.
Whatever you have in your picnic, we hope you enjoy the long weekend.
Fancy making your coffee mornings just that little bit more exciting?
We have recipes and games all to make your coffee mornings a little more interesting, why not add raising money for charity into the morning and you will feel less guilt for eating the cakes!!!
No Coffee Morning would be complete without some sweet treats to tempt your guests with. Sure, you can make a Victoria sponge or chocolate brownies; but why not opt for something more adventurous with one of these mouth watering delights? With Great British Bake Off back on our screens, it’s the perfect excuse to crack out the cake tins and try something new!
Add a twist
Eyes down! Have a bingo night instead of a Coffee Morning. (Or combine the two!) With over three million people regularly playing bingo in the UK, you’re sure to get a full house.
Add a little excitement to your workplace Coffee Morning. Try your hand at speed typing, synchronised chair swivelling or fast letter franking. Who will be your Office Olympics Champion?
Wine tasting evening
One for the adults! Unleash the wine critic within by holding a wine tasting instead of a traditional Coffee Morning. You could draft in a local wine expert to help train your taste buds. Ask for a cheeky little donation from the tasters.
Have your colleagues, friends or family contribute their old paperbacks and hold a book sale at your Coffee Morning. Who knew all those old holiday page turners and unread classics gathering dust on your shelves could turn into cold hard cash?
Everyone loves a good ol’ raffle or even a traditional tombola. Whatever you decide to do, get people to donate to the prize fund by bringing in any unwanted gifts they may have at home. Then you can raise extra money on the day by selling raffle tickets. It’s win win!
Our dedicated furniture and equipment department can supply competitive prices for anything from towels and bed linen to care equipment and beds.
Make us your first stop – Whether you know the exact make and model you are after or need greater assistance on what to choose, we will give a no obligation quote on any item.
We work with a number of suppliers to bring you the best quality items for your businesses.
Our prices are competitive with a huge range of available suppliers to choose from.
Find out what else we can offer here. We can save you money on all your daily consumables including housekeeping. Check out our focus on housekeeping here – Still not sure? Read why you should look into using a buying consortium.
Give us a call on 01329 236821 to have a chat and let us know what it is you need!
Getting outside can make us healthier!
Most of us spend the majority of our time inside, sat under fluorescent lights and staring at computers or televisions. Even when we do go outside we are on our phones.
Yes in the Summer months we do spend more time outside; heading to the beach, having barbeques and doing some gardening. But too much time inside isn’t good for us and getting outside isn’t just about beaches and barbeques. Science shows that spending time in the great outdoors can actually make you healthier.
Here are our top 3;
It has a de-stressing effect
It has been proven that being outdoors has the ability to change the levels of the stress inducing hormone cortisol present in the human body. One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol than those who spent that time in the city. Even those working in offices with a window overlooking nature had lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction.
Spending time outside reduces inflammation
Increased levels of inflammation can create many problems for the body. Spending time in nature may be one way to help keep it in check. In one study elderly patients who had been sent on a weeklong trip into the forest showed reduced signs of inflammation as well as some indications that the time spent in the great outdoors had a positive effect on their hypertension.
Spending time outside lowers blood pressure
So if being outside has a de-stressing effect and can help reduce inflammation, it’s no surprise that outdoor time can also lower blood pressure. One intensive study of 280 participants in Japan found that along with lowering the levels of the stress hormone by more than 15 percent, a walk in the forest lowered average pulse by almost 4 percent and blood pressure by just over 2 percent.
The Elderly outside
The studies above talk of spending time in the forest, but we know it can be difficult for some people to even get outside, let alone go for a walk in the forest. Plus the Great British weather often means the chances of getting outside can be limited. So below we have some tips on how you can bring the benefits of the great outdoors to them. Whether it be an elderly person in your care or a family member. These ideas could have a positive effect on their lives.
Sit by an open window
If someone is house bound, try sitting them near an open window. As mentioned above, people who were able to look at nature from a window, had lower levels of cortisol. You could put a bird feeder nearby and they could do a spot of bird watching; all from the comfort of their home. A cosy seating area like below would a perfect spot for de-stressing.
Smell the roses
Science shows that you really should stop and smell the roses, as the smell of them promotes relaxation. Other flowers, like lavender and jasmine, can also lower anxiety and up your mood. Bring the flowers inside by creating beautiful bouquets of stress busting flowers for the house.
Short walks outdoors
Getting outside doesn’t have to involve a mammoth hike in the forest, it could simply be a walk in the garden, a walk to the local village or even just popping to the post box down the road. Short walks outside will still have a positive impact on the individual. Even if a wheelchair is needed, the benefits of getting outside are sure to be felt.
Everyone loves to think they are young at heart! So why not get the grandkids over to play. You don’t have to play chase or run after them. Seeing the joy of them playing in the garden, whilst you sit and watch is enough to boost the happy endorphins in our body.
Do you have any tips on how to make use of the great outdoors at home? Let us know! @collectivePurch
Top reasons we hear from people who think they don’t need us!
I have it all under control!
Doesn’t it make more business sense to focus all your attention on improving and growing your business, rather than wondering if milk from one supplier is cheaper than another? The world is constantly changing and you have to be focused to keep up. Businesses like you can open up a world of opportunities by being exposed to ideas and free help from people on the outside in the form of purchasing consortiums. We have a unique perspective on the markets that you may not have time to devote energy to. We have the relationships with the suppliers and have the time to make sure you are getting the best prices. This is our job after all!
I am very persuasive so I don’t need any help.
Being a tough negotiator is definitely a benefit. But no matter how tough and persuasive you are, it is difficult to improve your negotiating position if your company isn’t buying enough of a certain product or understands fully what product will work best. By joining us, you have the buying power of millions in all areas of supply. From dairy, grocery and frozen to furniture, care products and housekeeping. You are going to be accessing prices that maybe you could have only dreamed of. We on average save members 15% a year! Think what you could spend that on!
We are a large organisation; we have a huge influence when it comes to our prices.
Yes, large companies can have influence on suppliers. However it really only occurs in the areas where they are buying a lot of products or have a deep understanding of the product they are buying. Someone running a tea shop knows all about tea, cake and all other yummy things. But, do they know where to get the best price for the cleaning products, toilet rolls or even the paper used in the office? This is where we can help. We have a team experienced in a wide range of daily consumables as well as items that may be a one-off purchase. We have access to many suppliers, to make sure you are getting the best prices for all your supplies!
How difficult can buying be, anyway?
Milk is milk, and paper is paper isn’t it? Nope! All products have different variations. We will never offer a product that is lower quality that you are used to but, we can offer suggestions for alternatives that you may never have thought about. We have over 22 years’ experience in this industry and we are truly experts in getting the best prices for our members. You also have the added benefit of accessing our furniture and equipment department. Microwave broken? Need a fridge? We can source any item you need at great prices.
I don’t want to lose control of my spending.
Simple answer? You won’t! You are in complete control of your spending. We just facilitate getting best prices for you! You do the ordering, you control when deliveries are, you are given the choice of suppliers, in fact, the only difference you will notice is more money in your account! We also offer a service to monitor what you are spending on products, branded vs none branded and you can compare it month on month. We can also deal with any service issues on your behalf. As a member, you get given an account manager who you can contact with any problems.
Ok so how do I become a member?
Simple, email email@example.com or call the office on 01329 236821 and we will tell you how we can help.
Find out why Collective Purchasing is the right choice for your housekeeping needs and how we can reduce your costs by 15% to 30%.
The right supplier and product choice for you
Collective Purchasing have access to and knowledge of hundreds of different housekeeping products through long term relationships with a high number of trusted suppliers.
With Collective Purchasing you:
- Have access to branded products at a lower cost
- Can choose from a wide range of quality own brand products
- Have access to direct purchase deals with manufacturers which seriously reduce prices even further
- Can buy exceptional brands such as Diversey, Unilever, Ecolab and Proctor and Gamble at a much lower price. All these brands perform well but if you are buying outside of Collective Purchasing you will be paying too much!
- Will be able to capture your spending on One-Vision – our in-house developed software – meaning you can monitor the number of products purchased throughout the year.
- Have the ability to monitor your cost in use – The crucial calculation that measures your exact costs.
With so many housekeeping products being purchased there are always savings to be made!
- How old are your Dispensers? – More than three years old and you likely need an upgrade. Our wide range not only does a great job but look good too. They are also free on loan subject to contract.
- Paper products – toilet rolls, kitchen roll and blue roll priced too high can mean you are literally flushing money down the drain. Paper is a high cost for homes, ensuring the right price without lowering quality can help make sure there is less wastage.
- Laundry – washing machines and dryers are being used hours upon hours in homes every day. There are so many different detergents and auto dosing equipment on the market that there is no reason why every laundry shouldn’t achieve a fresh clean wash, no matter what resident type. We are able to bring you this choice, which otherwise could be limited.
- Chemicals for multi surfaces, floor, kitchen, bathrooms and so on must have the ability to control infection. We are able to source the best products for your needs at the best price.
Free housekeeping review
Ask us for a free housekeeping review today. We will review your housekeeping costs and provide you with a detailed report recommending how you can improve your cleaning regime, reduce cost and manage your budget more effectively – because let’s be honest, we are all looking at ways to save money, and Collective Purchasing can help!
Call today on 01329 236821
We look forward to hearing from you!
If January is the month to detox, then February is the month to eat!
Januaries highlights were Veganury and Dry January. Whereas in February we have Pancake day, Valentine’s day, Chinese New Year and even British Yorkshire pudding day! Plenty of foodie days to get your teeth into!
Whilst being healthy and not drinking is great, who can turn down a pancake (or three) or a romantic meal for two? Lucky for you we have the perfect ideas for you for this foodie month.
Yorkshire Pudding Day – 3rd February
The first Sunday in February has been given the fond title of British Yorkshire Pudding Day.
The Yorkshire pudding was traditionally made in a large tin, rather than the individual puddings that we are familiar with today. Often it was served before the main meal – which helped to fill hungry mouths so less meat needed to be served – particularly during hard times! The main ingredients for Yorkshire Pudding batter are, Eggs, Milk and Plain Flour; using lard instead of oil usually makes them tastier. They make a perfect accompaniment to everyone’s fave dish – The Sunday Roast!
Want to celebrate Yorkshire pudding day, in a different way? Check out these deliciously different recipes.
Cooking Yorkshire Puddings:
When cooking Yorkshire Puddings there are basically five things you have to remember:
1 – Never, ever, use self-raising flour or any kind of raising agent or baking powder; doing so will achieve flat, soggy puddings.
2 – Make sure the batter is of the right consistency, a little thicker than un-whipped double cream, and as smooth as possible.
3 – Make sure you have about 3mm (1/8 inch) of very hot fat in the bottom of the tin, as the fat begins to smoke, add the batter.
4 – Never, ever, open the oven door for the first 10 minutes of cooking time and after that, only enough to have a peek at what’s happening, if you really have to, the aim is to allow the puddings to rise and go brown without them collapsing.
5 – Enjoy them, with a thick gravy.
The day of love! Valentines is Wednesday 14th February and what better way to someone’s heart, than through their mouths! Start the day with breakfast in bed, make some classy cocktails, cook a romantic meal for your loved one and get in the mood! Orrrrr skip the romanticness and just eat lots of yummy food and chocolate!
Chinese New Year
The Chinese animal zodiac, is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes. Traditionally these zodiac animals were used to date the years. In order, the 12 animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. Each year is associated with a zodiac animal. 2018 is the year of the Dog. Chinese New Year (CNY) or ‘Spring Festival’ is China’s most important festival and holiday. The next CNY falls on Friday, February 4th, 2018. CNY is celebrated by a quarter of the world! Spring Festival is a major holiday in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, and in many of China’s neighbouring countries such as Singapore and South Korea. And it’s celebrated in the world’s many China towns.
In China, traditions and celebrations vary greatly across the country. In the North, Chinese dumplings are the must-eat food on Chinese New Year’s Eve, but south of the Yangtze River most people eat spring rolls or sticky rice cake.
The New Year’s Eve dinner is called ‘reunion dinner’, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together. Dishes with lucky meanings must be included in the dinner such as fish, dumplings, and spring rolls.
Some Chinese worship their ancestors before the reunion dinner, to show that they are putting their ancestors first.
What to Eat — Top Lucky Foods
Chinese people like eating, and they eat a lot during the Spring Festival. Food for the New Year emphasizes lucky symbolic meanings such as fish, which means ‘surplus’. These foods are served during the 16-day holiday season from the eve of CNY to the Lantern Festival. Click here for the top CNY desserts!
Veganism is a way of living that seeks to remove all forms of cruelty to animals for food or any other purpose. From accessories and clothing to makeup and bathroom items, animal products and products tested on animals are found in more places than you might expect. However, nowadays there are affordable and easily-sourced alternatives to just about everything. With over 22,000 products and services registered with the Vegan Trademark alone, living a vegan lifestyle has never been easier.
For the animals
Preventing the exploitation of animals is not the only reason for choosing this lifestyle, but for many, it remains the key factor in their decision to go vegan and stay vegan. Avoiding animal products is one of the most obvious ways you can take a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere.
For your health
More and more people are turning to a vegan diet for the health benefits: increased energy, younger looking skin and eternal youth are just some of the claims from enthusiastic plant eaters. Well, eternal youth might be a bit optimistic, but there are certainly many scientifically proven benefits to vegan living when compared to the average western diet.
For the environment
From recycling our household rubbish to cycling to work, we’re all aware of ways to live a greener life. One of the most effective things an individual can do to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products.
Just like veganism is the sustainable option when it comes to looking after our planet, plant-based living is also a more sustainable way of feeding the human family. A plant-based diet requires only one-third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet. Avoiding animal products is not just one of the simplest ways an individual can reduce the strain on food as well as other resources.
Veganuary is a charity inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. Why not try being vegan for a month whilst discovering a whole new world of taste and flavor. Before you do check out these myths….
So what do vegans eat?
The short answer – lots! – a vegan diet is diverse and includes all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses – all of which can be prepared in endless combinations that will guarantee you’re never bored. From curry to cake, pasties to pizzas, all your favourite things can be suitable for a vegan diet if they’re made with plant-based ingredients.
Check out these vegan recipes for ideas. We have chosen our two of our favourites from this website with the recipes below!!
Grilled pumpkin and black bean burger
An easy to make burger bursting with flavour.
1 tbsp canola oil
½ c diced red onion
½ c diced red pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1-15 oz can organic black beans
1 tsp kosher salt
2 minced chipotle peppers
¼ c fresh corn
3 tbsp pure pumpkin
1 c vegan Breadcrumbs
½ c chopped Pecan
Dice red onion and red pepper and minced garlic. Heat canola oil over medium heat then add garlic, onion, red pepper and corn and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place rinsed and dried black beans in a deep bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash about half the beans and leave half whole. Then add pumpkin, sautéed vegetable mixture, chipotle peppers, pecans, bread crumbs and cumin. Mix well until all ingredients are combined to desired consistency. Note, if the mixture is too dry you can add a little more pumpkin. Using hands, form into four large patties and refrigerate.
Heat the grill to a medium-high heat. Brush grill with canola oil then place the burgers on the grill. Cook for approx. 3-5 minutes on each side.
Remove and serve immediately on your favourite vegan roll. Top with avocado spread, freshly roasted tomato, caramelised onion or your favourite burger toppings. Enjoy!
Other toppings include watercress, chopped slaw, organic pea shoots, serve with sweet potato fries!
Salt and pepper to taste
These vegan berry muffins are simply divine! They are sweet and full of fresh berries. Serves 12.
160g hard coconut oil
3/4 cup medjool date paste (make it here)
1 tsp ground vanilla beans
2 flax eggs (2 tbs flaxseed meal + 5 tbs warm water)
1 3/4 cup self-raising flour
2/3 cup soy milk
1 cup mixed berries
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius and prepare a cupcake tin with 12 medium cupcake wrappers.
In a medium-sized bowl using electric beaters, beat coconut oil until smooth.
Add date paste and beat for 2 minutes or until well combined.
Then add vanilla beans and flax eggs and mix until smooth.
Add flour and soy milk and fold into mixture.
Pour batter into prepared cupcake cases.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes.
Ice if desired, and enjoy!
Want to find out more about the vegan lifestyle? Sign up to the free Vegan Pledge today. There are hundreds of thousands of vegans across the globe.
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!
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!
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!
Terracotta Christmas Tree
Clay pots make this Christmas tree decoration easy and fun, especially when topped with a bright red star.
Rice, socks and rubber bands are the keys to creating this adorable winter friend.
These cute jars will do all the talking. Start by coating Mason jars in glitter and then transform them into reindeers, snowmen and Santas.
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.
These easy, homemade version of the retro classic make delicious Christmas presents.
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.
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!
Since the summer we have been working on a gluten free month for collective purchasing. We spoke with many suppliers and brands who supply gluten free products and spoke with coeliac UK to gain some more insight into life without gluten. We were able to gain some great insight into how to cater for those with gluten allergies.
We opted for the month of October to be our ‘Collective Purchasing Does Gluten Free’ month, and wow what a success. We sent a select few of our members a pack in the post with the opportunity to win a hamper of goodies, all kindly donated. There was also some great information supplied by Coeliac UK and we had some product offers! We ran the campaign on twitter, offering one lucky winner a hamper of goodies from the following;
We had over 430 people enter the competition, and we ended up with so many products, we were able to give a runner up prize. So two very lucky twitter followers won so amazing gluten free products! You want to be in with a chance of winning in the future? Make sure you give us a follow!
Product of the week
Throughout the month of October all our products of the week were focused around gluten free, and whilst these are no longer available, keep an eye out for future product of the weeks on our twitter page!
We just want to thank everyone that was involved; and we look forward to doing more awareness months in the future. If you want to find out more about gluten free, check out this blog we wrote – you guessed it, in October!