October… the month of cozy warm jumpers, scary movies and far too many pumpkin spiced lattes from Starbucks. This month's list feels wholesome, especially as we lead up to Halloween. Head out pumpkin picking, have a go at making some Sloe Gin, visit some Royal locations or even sit back and watch (or re-watch) The Crown.. Season 5 is going to be a good one. Until next month ZENB’ers!
WHAT TO DO - Pumpkin Picking
Nothing says it's autumn and Halloween quite like the orange beauty of pumpkins.. Pumpkin picking is a perfect picturesque day out, whether it be with family or friends...
But do you know how to pick the perfect pumpkin? We have 5 ZENB tips for you to follow…
1. Check it's the right shade of orange
An all round deep orange is what you are looking for..
2. Give it a hard slap!
If your pumpkin sounds hollow when you give it a slap then it is good to go!
3. Puncture test
Push the outer shell with your fingernail, if it doesn't dent, then it's a good one.
4. Check for bruises
Pumpkins that have been dropped may have been bruised and have a softer outer shell. If the shell feels hard then it’s the one to pick.
5. Make sure it sits flat
For those carving in your spooky eyes and mouth, opt for one with a flat bottom, helps it stand up right.
Now you know what to look for, take a look at the best pumpkin farms to visit in the UK...
Click here to discover some of the best pumpkin patches to visit this Autumn…
WHERE TO GO? - Royal Locations
If you weren’t able to pay your respects while the queen was lying in state on her funeral procession, or even if you did, why not visit one of the many royal locations across the UK to spend some time in contemplation and reflection.
There are many homes and palaces including Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Llwynywermod, Carmarthenshire, Wales, Sandringham House, Norfolk, England.
There are also many places the queen enjoyed spending time, some more peaceful than others including Ascot Racecourse, the long walk, Windsor and The Western Isles, Scotland. Find inspiration here:
WHAT TO BUY? - A Reusable Coffee Cup
As the weather’s getting cooler, it’s handy to have a reusable coffee cup to take with you to help keep you warm on chilly days.
We’re definitely drinking more hot drinks in the ZENB Office! Reusables are also more efficient because not only do they last much longer, it also means they end up in landfills less frequently.
Most reusable cups are made of eco-friendly materials and do not have the plastic lining that single-use coffee cups have. Here’s our favourite at the moment, Circular Co, made from coffee cups themselves!
WHAT TO EAT - ALL NEW ZENB AGILE BOWLS!
Ditch that soggy sandwich and try our brand new ZENB Agile Bowls!
We are proud to announce the launch of six exciting new worldly flavours to our single serve pots of deliciousness.
Made with our 100% yellow pea Agile pasta, paired with vegetables, seasoning and topped off with extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top.
Quick and easy to prepare, simply peel back the lid, add boiling water and stir. Then don't forget to finish with a drizzle of olive oil.. Enjoy!
Click to get your hands on these pots of lunch time joy!
WHAT TO DRINK - Sloe Gin
This month is the perfect season to get out in the countryside and spot the Sloes in the hedgerows! (We’re poets and we don’t know it!)
These juicy blue fruits work great to make a simple sloe gin, it gets better the longer you leave it to steep with the berries, and the longer you leave it in the bottle. BBC Good Food has a simple recipe (tried and tested by the ZENB team), so get picking!
WHAT TO READ - Unreliable Memoirs/Always Unreliable: Clive James
November marks the third anniversary of the death of Australian polymath Clive James.
Unreliable memoirs is his three part coming of age tale that takes him from small boy in suburban Australia to married man in Cambridge, through a comedic tour de force of a young man coming to terms with himself and his failings across two countries and twenty years.
Its a tenuous link admittedly, but this month rather than the book du jour, it felt time to unleash one of our ALL TIME favourite reads in this list. And why take our word for it when you have reviews such as these:
"Of James's jokes it is hard to find anything adequate to say. They are so funny that you had better not read the book on a train, unless you are unselfconscious about shrieking and snorting in public. They are vivid, cumulative and full of surprises" The Observer
"Do not read this book in public. You will risk severe internal injuries from trying to suppress your laughter. What's worse, you can't put it down once started. Its addictive powers stun all normal decent resistance within seconds. Not to be missed" Sunday Times
"This is simply a wonderful book.
As someone who isn't a child of WW2, who isn't Oxbridge educated, who isn't a journalist or even Australian, there was so much to recognise of myself in this and it yields untold joy every time I regularly re-read it". (That's Ryan, he runs the website)
So, yeah, stuck for an entertaining read that is escapist whilst also strangely familiar - we would definitely recommend giving it a try!
WHAT TO LISTEN TO - Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers is an American singer-songwriter and record producer from Easton, Maryland.
You may remember her big break that came when her song "Alaska" was played to Pharrell Williams during a master class, since then Maggie has released two albums ‘ Heard in a Past Life’ in 2019 and her second album ‘Surrender’ in 2022 - think Fleetwood Mac meets Joni Mitchell in a bar late at night in New York… with that in mind catch Maggie in London on Thursday, 10 November at Alexandra Palace - see you there!
WHAT TO WATCH - The Crown
OK... Due to the recent royal upheavals we are probably all suffering from a bit of monarchy fatigue.
BUT HEAR US OUT....!
There's a new season of the crown coming up on Netflix.
Royalist or republican its a great show, admittedly to be treated as more soap opera than historical document it does provide a great insight into the internal mechanics of the royal family over the last 70 years and more than any of the wall to wall coverage we have been put through recently goes a great way to contextualising the queens reign.
With that new season on the horizon (coming November 9), October is a great opportunity to either try it for the first time or dive back in for that re-watch to make sure you're fully up to speed when it drops on Netflix.
As someone who dropped back in for a few eps to escape the wall to wall news coverage last month, the plot has been so dense over the last four series, its more than easy to lose track of what's happened to who BY who even though we have all lived through it!
Go in cold at your peril.
WHAT TO WEAR - A Sustainable Halloween Costume
It’s that time of the year again, where dressing up in “scary” costumes is allowed if not encouraged!
However, what about creating your own outfit with the most sustainably sourced and hand made way possible for this year’s Halloween?
There are plenty of blogs and sites out there that suggest great tips, we really like this one from Echohuman.co.uk.
Opt for a green Halloween if you can, we promise you it’ll still be a lot of fun!
If you are wondering what dinner to prep on the day, we suggest our very own ZENB SPOOK-ghetti in a scary sauce, perfect for the whole fam!
WHO TO FOLLOW - Glenn Kitson
For a perhaps quirky chuckle once in a while, it’s worth following Glenn Kitson.
A commercial film director, he’s recently dedicated his account to hilarious picture memes which tickled us a team recently.
They tend to be topical and rather tongue in cheek. Good for a lunchtime chuckle!