17th December 2008
Hello for the last time in 2008. Here are our favourite bits from the last 12 months. We hope you enjoy them and that you have a peaceful Christmas, wallowing in a deluxe bath of pine needle scented egg nog.
To kick off 2008, John the Fruitman gave us his predictions for the year. And with only a few days of the year left, we can confirm that the Queen is still on her throne, lemons didn’t get cheaper and Arsenal didn’t win the league. The moral of this tale is – trust John’s fruit but pay little heed to his soothsaying. In other news, Felicity and Carlos starred in our telly ads (well, giant cut outs of their heads did) and Ops Matt’s trousers went for a song on ebay. Relive January here.
Love was quite literally all around in February. Thousands of you gave our bottoms some love by entering our bottle bottom competition. Hundreds of budding designers gave our kids’ packaging some love by designing us some new ones. And to celebrate all that love flowing round, we made a no expenses spared love photo story, complete with professional models, exotic locations and some cheap flowers from the garage.
Back in March, Richard got interviewed for Country Life and it all went to his head a bit. He started dressing head-to-toe in yellow corduroy, riding a small pony into work and referring to his two bedroom flat in Shepherd’s Bush as ‘the manor’. He’s still refusing to give up the pony. In other news, Dan G gave a talk in Paris and impressed one lady so much that she suggested we all give him a ‘hug/pat/rub of some kind’ when we next saw him. Generous chap that he is, Dan kindly donated his belly to all and sundry as a lucky charm. So if you had an unlucky 2008, feel free to rub it again and see if he can really make your wishes come true.
You would’ve been hard pressed not to know it was our first AGM back in April. And not least because we had a whacking great big sign outside Fruit Towers saying just that. 100 of you came along to sit on beanbags, eat cupcakes, drink tea and ask lots of excellent questions. We even made an annual report, just to make it proper official and grown up. And in the middle of all that tea drinking, our Andrew D went off to Malawi with the innocent foundation.
May was pretty quiet all in all. Not much really happened. The odd dubious jar, Andrew saying sorry to his dad and this chap but not much else. So, here are the best links from May instead.
Crème that egg
Good dog, Jerry
Was June warm? Did the sun shine? Who cares? The Dutch police force started buying our drinks and all of Jeroen’s parking fines were erased. We also told you that over in the ‘Dam, the Old Bill are known as Bromsnorren (grumpy moustaches). This nickname came from the most famous Dutch policeman, Veldwachter Bromsnor, a moustachioed copper in a sixties TV show, who was quite grumpy. Just in case you’d forgotten.
July was all about Vikings. And posh cured salmon with bits of dill on top. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And caramel cheese. And A-ha. For those who missed the links to all those references, July was all about Norway, as that’s the month we launched our drinks there. The way to drink a smoothie in Norway is to neck it apparently. Mike was the man who came, saw and conquered the smoothie market there so we’d like to doff our horned caps to him once again and say 'bra jobba' (which is Norwegian for job well done). And in other news, our Linda met Mama Five Goats.
August was pretty quiet too. We had a little fete in a park, brought out a new juice and Stu became the poster boy for muesli.
After nine thrilling fruit filled years, we decided to have a go at veg and launched our veg pots. A culinary marvel containing three portions of veg, low in fat, ready in minutes – what’s not to like? In other September news, we also got our very own set of Hell’s Angels over in Gothenburg.
October was balmy. The much awaited Indian summer lasted all of one weekend, Dr. Shilpee’s weekly blog got into full swing, Will J entered the World Conker championships, buying smoothies proved better value than making them yourself and we got all autumnal with our mums’ recipes for hearty baked goods.
Remember, remember to knit for November. Well, thankfully lots of you did and we had our biggest Big Knit ever with 506,768 hats being knitted. Last week, the last behatted, bebobbled bottle was sold meaning a fat £253,384 cheque for Age Concern to help keep older people warm this winter. In other news, some guy from Honolulu became the most powerful man in the world ever.
Now, technically the year isn’t over yet, so it’s proving tricky for us to sum up December right now. So we’ve picked out the ten most watched links of the year, a bit like the twelve days of Christmas, except there’s only ten of them. Enjoy.
Japanese gameshow.Techno viking
Fix up, look sharp
The Hat factor
One big spud
A broccoli carol
10th December 2008
Hello, greetings and welcome. This week’s news is a mélange of festive cheer, flu fighting fodder and the finest links this side of Colchester, Essex. Please savour responsibly.
Festive cheer to warm the cockles of your hat
Great news this week. After much knitting, much behatting and much dithering over which hat to buy in store, we’re chuffed to announce that along with the good folk at Sainsbury’s, we’ve sold 500,000 behatted bottles as part of The Big Knit. This means that older people across the country will be having a toastier Christmas all round as Age Concern will soon be getting a nice, fat cheque for £250,000. Thanks again to everyone who knitted and everyone who bought a bottle with a hat on. Please take a well earned moment to bask in this email generated feel good glow.
Resting on your laurels is not a good thing. For starters, the leaves are prevented from getting enough sunlight, which hampers the process of photosynthesis. Bad science indeed. It also means that in more general terms, you don’t get round to improving stuff. So we’ve put our laurels through the paper shredder (it smelled like small lawnmowers) and have been busy working on making our strawberries & bananas recipe taste even better. Working out the optimum ripeness of a banana, blending olde worlde apples and just generally fiddling with fruit in our kitchen. We think it’s worked but then we would say that. So we’ll just plonk ourselves on the nearest mulberry bush for now and wait to hear what you think of our new improved recipe right here.
Natural health insurance
The signs of winter are there for all to see. People downing Lemsip chasers with their Pina Colada. Shopping centres clogged up with people skiving off work. And Dr. Shilpee’s red hat and coat combo. All these things are surefire indicators that it is officially cold outside. Since coldness begets colds, Dr. Shilps has a whole host of tips on how to stock up on handy stuff like zinc, vitamin C and selenium in a tasty manner, which doesn’t involve scavenging berries, eating frosty bark or licking local lampposts. The strange lady in the red hat WILL make you healthy. Oh yes.
Setting a bench mark
Flicking through last week’s Time Out, we spotted our Jess in the column about the people who have had benches in and around London dedicated to them. Jess has a bench dedicated to her in honour of her sterling work helping us organise Fruitstock over the years, and when she’s in London, you can often find her there, watching the world go by, straining to hear the faint aak-aak of the penguins in nearby London Zoo. She loves that crazy aak-aak sound.
Tower of teeth.
Green Christmas trees.
Cake or death.
3rd December 2008
Only 21 shopping days, 19 glasses of wine, 5 bowls of Twiglets and 3 drunken Santas sleeping in the bushes round the back of the car park to go before it’s Christmas. Makes you tired just thinking about it.
We’ve just made some adverts
All day yesterday we were taking photos of fruit and veg for our new ad campaign. We thought we'd show you the rough versions of our new ads as we'd love to see how you rate them. Vote for your favourite, or tell us that you think they're all rubbish and that we should do something with a dog dressed up as a sailor on a trapeze. Click here to contribute (the closing date for all comments is midnight on Thursday 4th December so be quick).
Oh what a year
Our final smoothie of the month for 2008 is upon us and what a year it’s been. February was fabulous, May was memorable, July jubilant and December is a corker. Our festive fruits and spices recipe is a true taste of Christmas (without having to bite Santa), plus you can heat it up for extra festive cheer. True, we didn’t get round to making 12 recipes this year, but a couple of them turned out to be pretty popular, so they stayed for a bit longer. We hope you’ve enjoyed 2008’s monthly magic – feel free to relive those special moments here (well, we say relive. Screen licking is not big or clever and may lead to mild static shocks.)
Oh what a night
Three days into December and party season is officially upon us. Time to don something that sparkles, get friendly with the canapés and then tell your boss that you have always thought he is rather attractive when he wears his dress down khakis. If you are looking to get in shape before it all kicks off, but you don’t have time to spend this Friday in a sauna, then fret not. Dr Shilps has some top tips to get you through the party season, looking as dewy eyed and bushy tailed as when you started and not coming out the other end resembling a pickled wizard. Glean Shilpee’s wisdom here.
Oh what’s a hippo doing in my loo?
Water. You know, the wet stuff that’s sometimes in your washing machine? Well, it turns out that we’re running short. 97% of the world's water is saline seawater and of the 3% that is useful freshwater, three quarters is locked up in ice. That leaves just 0.75% for drinking, watering crops and sharing with all the animals, plants and forests. All the more reason for us to be more responsible in how we use it. Last week, our Lou met up with one of Europe’s leading water specialists, Mr Stuart Orr from the WWF, who is helping us refine our water strategy so that we use water as sustainably as possible in every bit of our business. Lou’s top tips for saving water are not to leave the tap running when brushing your teeth and to consider popping a hippo in your loo. She’s doing an MSc in Earth Resources – she knows what she’s on about.
Oh what a prize
Very well done to Simon who won our caption competition. His coconut quip had us rolling around on the floor for six long minutes.
Squid with elbows.
Huge hula hoop.