Being a group of mature adults we like to write secret messages on the bottom of our smoothie bottles and then giggle like children because we've used the word bottom and no-one has told us off. You might have discovered them for yourself, and had a wee chuckle when you did.
Well, we're thinking about adding some new messages to our bottles, and thought you'd like to have a go at writing one. We did the same thing a few years back, which is how Iain's 'trapped in bottle factory, send help' came to be on millions of our little bottles.
The rules are pretty simple - add your suggestion as a comment to this blog post, using no more than 40 characters (including spaces), and we'll pick our favourite (or favourites if there are lots of good ones) on Tuesday 10th January. Next thing you know, you're a published writer, and people around the country are chuckling at your words, throwing money at you and asking you to be godparent to their child and stuff. Such is the power of the hidden message.
We'll also send our favourite entries a shed load of smoothies, of course. Remember - 40 characters, winners picked on Tuesday, enter as many times as you like, guaranteed fortune and fame awaits.
Or should we say start, as for our first official bit of news for 2012, we are thrilled to announce that our new juice blends are now in the shops.
You can choose from our delicious apple and raspberry recipe or totally tasty tropical (sorry), depending on whether you need to be transported to a dappled orchard or a desert island.
You can find them in ASDA right now and in other shops very soon (we'll keep you posted as to where and when).
Given that at least one person you know will be on some sort of miserable cabbage maple syrup nothing beginning with C diet right now, why not cheer them up with a bit of sunshine in a carafe?
Or better still, give their eyes and ears a treat courtesy of a shady orange grove and the dulcet tones of Captain Jean Luc Picard.
Or even better still, if you fancy winning yourself a case of our new blends, just tell us your top 3 most ridiculous New Year's resolutions below and the 10 that make us laugh the most will each win a case of our new juice.
We'll pick the winners on Friday 20th January, so get your entries in.
This competition is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to Katie B, Kieran W, Karen G, Thom B, Yasna, Andi G, Bex, Kerri W, Samantha S and Steven Y. A box 'o' blends winging their way to you very soon.
We've had the bananaphone in Fruit Towers since Day 1 (even though it went walkies for a few years and was taken hostage along the way too). You can call it whenever you like to ask whatever you like and whilst you might not get the authority on Austrian dirndl techniques, you will always get an answer of some sort and someone jovial to chat to.
And interestingly, it turns out that bananas could end up being phones of the future, thanks to some smart folk over in Japan.
A couple of professors at the University of Tokyo have created a clever augmented reality that can make normal household gubbins into communication devices.
Pizza box into laptop. Pack of cards into an iPod.
Feedback Madagascar is one of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that we support.The project we support promotes yam farming with training on yam cultivation techniques, the creation of demonstration plots and household plantations. Working with twelve community forest management associations, over 250 people are already producing and yams are taking off.
Famous for providing the fuel for Usain Bolt’s sprinting successes, the yam is commonly confused as a sweet potato (they are un-related), they are similar in properties.
“Anyone for yams?”
The project is based around the Malagasy rainforest, where people are reliant on inadequate rice and cassava harvests; the cultivation of yams reduces the impact of the annual famine and dramatically ups people’s nutritional intake.
And yams are fun. To raise awareness of yams and their benefits, alongside rainforest conservation, there are now yam festivals. Associations take stands, organise competitions, cook offs, speeches and full-on carnival singing and dancing.
As part of the project, training on culinary techniques is included to make the most of the yam.
Here are 6 of their suggested recipes:
Here in Fruit Towers, we think they all sound delicious and the soup sounds like a great defence against winter.
If you fancy trying your hand at Yam Pudding, here is an embellished Western version:
800g grated uncooked yams
120g golden syrup
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
120g brown sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 160˚c
Grease baking dish (approx 8”x8”x2”)
Combine all ingredients
Bake until a knife comes out of mixture clean, approx 1 hour.
Serve warm with cream or ice cream
For more information on Feedback Madagascar, please visit our foundations page: www.innocentfoundation.org/ or their own website: www.feedbackmadagascar.org
A couple of weeks ago we ran a competition for ten lucky schools to win a blender* from us as part of our taste not waste campaign, and we're delighted to announce that the following schools will be receiving their prizes in the new year: Trotts Hill Primary and Nursery School, Stevenage, Littledean C of E School, Gloucestershire, All Saints School, Putney Common, Rudyard Kipling Primary School, Brighton, Belvedere Infant School, Kent, The Acorns Centre Short Stay School, Lancashire, Courtlands School Widey Lane, Plymouth, Emmbrook Junior School, Wokingham, Dorothy Goodman School, Leicestershire and New York Primary School, North Shields.
Thanks to everyone who entered. It really wasn't easy picking the winners at all.