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good news in the world alert

It’s cold, it’s dark and everyone’s in a mood because it’s January. It’s not all bad though. We bring you good news from our friends in the Netherlands.

Staff at Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn are being trained to recognise signs of loneliness or self-neglect amongst their older customers and, with the help of specialist volunteers, offer them the support they might need.

Shop staff are uniquely placed to spot decline in the well-being of their customers, especially amongst the elderly, who may not have anyone around to check up on them.

The initiative started when an Albert Heijn worker noticed something unusual with one of her regulars. They’d lost weight, were buying less fresh food, and one day had to be taken home in an ambulance. Instead of doing nothing, she contacted the charity Royal Zorg who helped set up the campaign.

It can be all too easy to overlook the needs of those you don’t know, but this initiative just goes to show that armed only with a good idea, and a willingness to make things happen, it’s possible to do a bit of good for your fellow humans.

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The story of Thomas and Thirzah

A few weeks ago we sent out socks and Christmas cards to a few thousand of you out there in the real world. We didn’t have a reason beyond it being Christmas. It just felt like a nice thing to do. Loads of people then contacted us over Twitter and Facebook to say thank you. It was lovely. We were feeling all warm inside. Until Thirzah, that is.

Our Christmas was ruined. How could we have got it so wrong? ‘Thirzah’ isn’t even remotely similar to ‘Thomas’. All our hard work was for nothing. Yes, Thirzah seemed to take it well, but we knew that deep down she was disappointed with us.

And what about Thomas? Was he out there somewhere having an unexpected identity crisis? Would he wake up a few days before Christmas only to have his own sense of self shattered by an admin error? We spent the rest of the day worrying about Thomas, hoping that he was okay. Then, the next morning, he got in touch.

Thomas’s identity remained intact. We breathed a sigh of relief and introduced the two of them over Twitter. What started as a mistake we’ll never forgive ourselves for has become a beautiful meeting between strangers.

The next step here is obvious. Thomas and Thirzah will probably fall in love and we’d by lying if we said we’re not going to do everything in our power to make it happen. It’ll be one of the PR stories of the year. We’ll send flowers to Thirzah and accidentally sign ‘Thomas’ instead of ‘innocent’. We’ll arrange a big night out, invite them both under the pretence that loads of people will be there, and then leave them alone for the night in a fancy restaurant. Yes, there are ethical questions about toying with people’s emotions but we’ve seen romantic comedy films, we know how this works. It can’t fail. We can do this.

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meet the knitters - 2015 edition

We’ve already mentioned the Big Knit on the blog. A few times, in fact. It’s one of our favourite subjects. 

We love our knitters and every now and again you get in touch with pictures or stories that we want to spread further. So, now that this introduction is at the industry standard length, we’re going to share with you a few of the stories we've heard this year. 

Hilary and her 92-year-old mum, Lily, knitted over 300 hats for us this year. We’re pretty sure Lily might be one of our oldest knitters this year. A massive thanks to them (and that chick hat at the front is genius.

 

Katherine, on the other hand, is just four years old and possibly our youngest ever knitter. Her mum let us know that she'd managed to make 15 of her own Big Knit hats (with only a little bit of help). Thanks, Katherine (and Tiffany too, of course).

 

Stella found herself in hospital back in 2011 and took up knitting Big Knit hats as a way to keep herself busy. Since then, she’s made over 1,400 hats. That’s enough to fill an entire football stadium (albeit a miniature one). Cheers, Stella.

 

Jo has been involved with the Big Knit for years. She even started her own website entirely to help others take part. She’s very much a legend round these parts so we can’t say we were surprised to find out she’d made 1000 hats this year. We’ve said thank you to Jo many times over the year, and we’ve no trouble saying it again. Thanks, Jo.

 

Last week Rashmi got in touch with us via Twitter and Facebook with an amazing bit of news about her mum knitting over 1,000 hats for us. We retweeted it, obviously, and felt all warm as loads of strangers sent in messages of thanks and support. The internet can be a wonderful thing. Thanks, Rashmi’s mum. You're a knitting superstar (like Beyoncé but with knitting needles).

We love finding out more about our knitters. Please do drop us a line if you know of somebody amazing who you think should get a mention. Thank you again to everyone above, everyone who isn’t and everyone who will be in the future. You are all the best.

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Animals in Big Knit Hats 2: The hattening

We’ll come straight out with it. We’ve done this blog post before and, when the Big Knit hats start appearing on the shelves in February, we’ll almost certainly do it again. We’re not sorry. It’s animals in Big Knit hats. We’ll never be sorry. 

So here we go again. Five of our favourite animals in Big Knit hats. Because why not? 

1. 

Like a reflection caught by Cartier-Bresson, Yvonne’s tortoise Harry gazes into the eyes of her woollen twin. What thoughts are going through her head? Is it love? Confusion? A brief moment of wondering where the next lettuce leaf will come from? Sadly, we’ll never know. Unless our tortoise mind-reading machine works. We’ll know then. Fingers crossed.

2.

Nicole's pug, Archie, sitting bolt upright, his face looks almost surprised at the excellent framing of the picture. The hat sits in the foreground, Archie in the back, and yet the two fit together perfectly like Lego bricks meeting for the first time.

3.

Where others are more than happy to dress their animals in regular Big Knit hats, Fiona has decked hers out in one of our larger hats produced by Oliver Bonas. He turns towards the camera, almost daring you to ask him why he's wearing a hat. You know the answer already. It’s because he looks fabulous.

4.

We’re fairly sure Amy didn't send us a picture of a real dog but who cares? Just look at it. Small, cute, its glassy eyes managing to see something in you that’s usually reserved for only your closest loved ones. You find yourself wanting to tell it your secrets, to reveal the person you really are underneath all this modern-day artifice. A truly beautiful moment.

5.

Carrot in shot, check. Ears going in different directions, check. Big Knit hat somehow staying on, check. We have nothing more to say. Congratulations to @harrri, it’s the holy trinity of rabbit Big Knit pictures. 

So there we have it. Five more of our favourite animals in Big Knit hats. We'll see you again in February...

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how to win over your colleagues

There are few different sure-fire ways to become popular at work:

1.) Always volunteer for the tea round

2.) Notice when someone gets a new haircut/jumper/child

3.) Always have chewing gum at your desk

4.) Provide co-workers with unexpected free stuff

That last one works especially well and, as it happens, you can now sign up your whole office for a delivery of free super smoothies if you work in London, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester,Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, Nottingham or Leicester.

new innocent super smoothies 

Simply email seasonsfreetings@innocentdrinks.co.uk telling us where you work, and that glory and everlasting office popularity could be yours. And the corner office with the big window. Just saying.

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