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90 important things about the Queen

The Queen is 90 today. Here are ninety things you need to know about the Queen:

1. She refers to herself as 'Juan'

2. She puts a flag up every time she goes home

3. She's singlehandedly keeping the telegram industry in business

4. She puts up with Philip

5. She stops people from eating swans

6. She probably doesn't know who the Kardashians are

7. She has a signature wave

8. She's always on the money

9. She doesn't have a driving license but she still drives

10. She doesn't need a passport to travel

11. She can't be arrested. She is the law.

12. She drinks champagne every day before dinner

13. She has her own cash point in her basement

14. She is the world's most underrated lad

15. Her middle name is 'Regina'

16. She is the face that launced 1000* ships (*23 which is still a lot)

17. She made garden parties a thing

18. All of her dogs have funny names

19. She had a corgi named 'Dookie' as a child, proving she's a fan of Green Day's early records

20. She probably doesn't know that Zayn has left One Direction to embark on a solo career

21. She really put her stamp on the postal system

22. She has Cocker Spaniels called Bisto & Oxo

23. She sat through N-Dubz at the 2010 Royal Variety Performance without trying to leave once

24. She was given a sloth on her travels

25. She's never taken the sloth on a state visit

26. She needs to hire a more pro-sloth PR team

27. She photobombed that one time

28. It doesn't matter how far in advance she tries to book it off, she always has to work on Christmas Day

29. She's never had 6 wives

30. She's never beheaded any of them

31. She's never sent anyone to the Tower

32. She's not a violent sort of person

33. She thinks it would be foolish of us to not mention smoothies at least twice in this list

34. She definitely loves innocent smoothies

35. She's met Churchill, Kennedy, Hawking. Alexandra Burke. All the big names.

36. She's always dressed like she's ready to crash a wedding

37. She probably always goes for the 'speedy boarding' option

38. She's opened a lot of good bridges

39. She said 'annus horribilus' once which sounds sort of rude

40. She's probably never had a kebab after a night out

41. She has the power to create Lords. Appoint them, not magic them out of thin air.

42. She has an excellent grumpy face

43. She has an excellent happy face

44. She's the master of small talk

45. She is singlehandedly responsible for the periodic booms in the bunting industry

46. She technically owns all sturgeons, whales, porpoises and dolphins within 3 miles of UK shores. They are known as 'fishes royal'

47. She has a corgi called Monty

48. She has a corgi called Linnet

49. She used to have a Corgi called Susan. RIP Susan.

50. She's probably never assembled flat pack furniture

51. She looks good in an oil painting

52. She's keeping brooch makers in business

53. She probably uses the word 'poppycock'

54. During her reign there's been 12 prime ministers, 6 popes and about 27 Fast & Furious films

55. She was definitely landing a killer punch line when this photo was takenhttps://twitter.com/innocent/status/723092724618956802

56. She's sent more tweets than your grandmother ever has

57. When she shops, she shuts the place down

58. She's probably never described her relationship status as 'complicated' on Facebook

59. She has 2 birthdays. Just because she can

60. Pubs will be allowed to stay open 2 hours later on her official birthday in June

61. She probably doesn't know what Emojis are

62. She used ration coupons to buy the materials for her wedding dress in 1946

63. She's the only person who gets to sing 'God Save Me' during the National Anthem

64. She probably uses the word 'whoopsidaisies'

65. She's probably never played 'Cards Against Humanity'

66. She's one of the only people who can get away with referring to herself in the third person

67. She combined a Corgi and a Daschund to make Dorgis

68. She has a Dorgi called Vulcan

69. She has a Dorgi called Cider

70. She has a Dorgi called Candy

71. She has a Dorgi called Berry

72. She was definitely on the sherry when she came up those dog names

73. Gary Barlow organised her Diamond Jubilee party for some reason

74. JLS performed

75. So did Blue

76. So did Atomic Kitten

77. Grace Jones hula hooped for a while

78. On reflection, hiring a professional party planner would have been a good idea

79. She's probably never worn tracksuit bottoms

80. She's the only monarch with a ferris wheel capsule named after her

81. We get a day off when she does stuff

82. She pretended to jump out of a plane at the Olympics opening ceremony

83. She'll write you a letter if you live long enough

84. She's probably never had a microwave meal

85. She could shut parliament down. If she wanted to.

86. She's probably shouted "OFF WITH HIS HEAD" as a joke when somebody made fun of her

87. She's done a lot for pastel coloured overcoat/hat combos

88. She probably couldn't name any of the members of Blazin' Squad

89. She's so far reigned for 23,451 days - which is about as long as the battery life of the Nokia 3310

90. Today is only her unofficial birthday, so it probably isn't all that big of a deal. Forget we mentioned it.

the dark side of the orange

 

You might have heard us mention it once or twice, but we’re really picky about the fruit we use to make our drinks. It’s kind of like when you have people over for dinner and you only put out the best condiments and use your fancy napkins. We only ever include the finest quality fruit we can find, and the tastiest possible blend of that fruit. We’re also keen to use rare and unique varieties in our recipes to make sure that our drinks are that extra bit special (especially if we can get our hands on a variety that our drinkers have asked us to try out). So, taking all of these things into account, you’ll probably see why we decided to start using the rare and deliciously tangy blood orange in our latest recipe.

We certainly set ourselves a challenge as blood orange is a unique fruit, predominantly grown on the foothills of Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily.

Our Maria recently visited Sicily to learn more about our blood oranges, mainly to find out exactly how they are grown and make sure we’re only using the best quality blood oranges in our juice.

 

She found out that our blood oranges aren’t just growing at the foot of an active volcano because they like to live dangerously - the rich volcanic soil means that the trees get all of the special nutrients that they need to grow big and bountiful. The weather in the area is also really important because the oranges need sunshine and warmth during the day and cooler temperatures during the night to develop that rich, deep, bloody red that they’re famous for. Trees that are tucked up in the shade of the volcano grow to be a rich red, while the oranges that sit out in the Sicilian sun catching a few rays stay a much more orangey hue.

 

You can give our extra special volcanically grown blood oranges a try by picking one of these up at Waitrose. From the first sip, we can promise that you’ll be instantly transported to the foothills of Mount Etna. Not mid eruption, obviously. That wouldn’t be good.

the innocent sow & grow - week three growing update

Right now, in schools across the country, over 100,000 kids are taking part in the innocent sow & grow. Recently we checked in on a few of the schools as they got their growing going. Now that we’re a few weeks in, let’s see how they’re doing.

Some very impressive efforts from LFA Moorhead here. We can only assume they have two other pots growing, waiting to be added to the structure, to create some sort of plant pot pyramid. Maybe they’ll put it on waterskis and charge people to come and see it. Maybe not. Probably not.

 

Goodleigh Church of England have got some excellent looking beans on the way. Just look at those leaves. You can almost sense how soft they are. Like a velvet cloud after a long soak in the bath.

And again from Goodleigh Church of England. This is the sort of cress which would make tall people jealous. “Why aren’t I as tall, proportionally speaking, as this cress?” they would probably ask. Nobody knows the answer, tall people. You’ll just have to live with it.

Great stuff all round, we think. There are still ways to get involved with the innocent sow & grow. Head to our website for growing guides, activities and more updates from all the schools taking part.

kids draw hats, we make hats

The most recent Big Knit may have only ended a month ago but we already miss it. And, like a parent whose child has just moved out of the family home, we’re still looking for ways to talk about it any chance we get. 

This year we held a competition on our packs for kids to design their own Big Knit hats. The lucky winners get real-life versions of their designs for them to wear. They'll be the coolest kids in town (if that town is a town where knitted hats are cool).

Seeing as this combines both Big Knit hats and brilliant drawings by kids, it only makes sense that we’d dedicate a blog post to some of winners. 

Emily won us over with the details of her design. Any kid who knows a garter stitch from a fishtail stitch is okay by us.

 

And Kaiyah’s 'Cake Hat of Epicness' would make Mary Berry herself proud. It also makes us wonder whether there's ever been a similarly named showstopper on Bake Off. Probably not. Here's hoping it makes an appearance in the next series.

 

And Holly must have been paying attention during Penguin Awareness Day. We are happy to confirm that Polly here is definitely a penguin.

 

A massive thank you to everyone who entered. There were loads more winners but there's only so much we can show. For space reasons, that is. Not because they were unsuitable. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to look through our various computer folders of pictures of animals wearing Big Knit hats and try to think of some rubbish excuse to write about them soon.

the innocent sow & grow - growing update

Last week we sent out growing kits to over 3,000 schools across the country with the aim of helping over 100,000 school kids to discover the fun of growing their own veg. Pots, soil and seeds, everything you need (except from water, which seemed like a bit much to send through the post). A week or so in, we thought we’d check in to see how their growing is going.

Flamstead End Primary school above is going strong with some already impressive shoots of, we think, spinach. It could be peas. They’re fairly similar in the very early stages. Think of it like a cliffhanger, Jack Bauer himself couldn’t cope with this suspense.

And Shorne Church of England Primary School clearly have some sort of powers when it comes to cress growing. Probably not that useful a super power though. It probably wouldn’t get you into the X-Men. But when you need a garnish for an egg sandwich, you’ll be laughing.

There’s still plenty of ways to get involved with sow & grow. Head to the sow & grow website to find growing guides, activities and all the updates from the thousands of schools taking part.