Caribbean Food Week 20th – 26th August 2018

Caribbean Food Week 20th – 26th August 2018

@caribbeanfoodwk #CFW2018 #FlavaWithABeat

PCH Marketing & Admin Coordinator, Nikita Morgan, shares her experience and love of Caribbean food.

This week many will be celebrating Caribbean Food Week and all the exciting flavours and techniques of Caribbean cooking.

Some of our homes shared Caribbean food experiences during the recent Care Home Open Day back in April. Residents, staff and visitors were treated to Jamaican style pulled pork for lunch followed by some Reggae beats. This was part of the NAPA challenge 2018 – A food journey around the Commonwealth


Earlier this year I was lucky enough to travel to Jamaica and experience the very best food the Caribbean has to offer. The main dish of course being Jerk Chicken. Many mistake the meaning of ‘Jerk’ to be the sauce or flavour, however it actually refers to how the chicken is cooked. Usually in a steal drum BBQ over a pit of coals after marinating in a special blend of Jamaican spices. The most popular Jerk Chicken or Jerk Pork is usually served with rice or yam (grown on the island, very similar to potato).


When I visited the Blue Mountains, famous for its coffee plantations, I discovered it was also the best place to find the freshest banana’s I have ever tasted. They were more of an orange in comparison to the white/yellow we are used to in the UK. This was just one of the many wonderful fruits on offer grown on the island and all freshly picked that day. My particular favourite had to be the Jamaican Coconuts.


After a lot of trekking we came across the highly recommended Eits Café, popular not just for its famous visitors, stunning mountain views and resident hummingbirds, but also for it amazing locally sourced dishes. Eits short for ‘Europe in the Summer’ is a clever mix of European dishes and flavours tied in with traditional Jamaican cooking and tastes. The result is delicious. Even Levi Roots (famous Jamaican sauce creator) himself recommends the fresh okra and fried bammy (fish and flatbread). I tried a glorious shrimp pasta, crab cakes, plantains (cooking banana) and very generously doused rum cake. Of course finished off with a brew of Blue Mountain Coffee.


Jamaica has so many tasty and fresh foods to choose from and it is fun to re-create some of the dishes back home, especially for Caribbean Food Week. Another traditional Jamaican snack is the patty, similar to a pasty but filled with a unique Jamaican curry blend with chicken, beef or vegetables. The pastry is to die for and I have not come across a recipe to match this yet. So I may not have the Caribbean weather or Norman the Patty Man, but I did bring back some Jamaican spices which I will be using to ‘Jerk’ my chicken dishes this week!

National Allotment Week 2018

National Allotment Week 2018

This week we are celebrating National Allotment Week a week early as everyone is out enjoying the warmer weather.

Our homes have their own allotments on site which residents enjoy looking after. As we know most of our residents are keen gardeners and several owned their own allotment.

According to the Kings Fund “increasing people’s use of green spaces has been linked to long-term reductions in health problems as well as higher physical activity and increased self-rated mental health.” It seems appropriate to be sharing the statement from The Kings Fund during #NationalAllotmentWeek.

They have grown a variety of produce including potatoes, beans, courgettes, marrow, beautiful sweet peas and much more in the making. Once collected, the residents prepare the produce to be used in the kitchen for meals.

If you fancy helping our homes create more allotments or give a helping hand in tending to the gardens, then we would love to hear from you.

Guest Blog: Cornerways RM Debbie Flynn shares her career experience in the care industry.

Guest Blog: Cornerways RM Debbie Flynn shares her career experience in the care industry.

Have you thought about a career in care?  Our Manager of Cornerways, Debbie shares her journey as she progressed within Cornerways.

I had worked in retail and then an office based environment for many years and did not think I would be able to have a career in the care industry.

I had previously helped look after my grandad and I thought I could do a better job than the carers that we were paying were doing.

They were asking him if he wanted to do things instead of encouraging him, for example do you want a shave and not getting the hot soapy water and shaving things to prompt him.  As he was of the generation where he did not want to bother anyone and he would just say no I`m fine.

I was totally frustrated by this experience as we were paying for an hour of care a day and they were with him for less than 10 minutes.  It was this insight into the care industry that became my inspiration to make a change and a difference.

I stopped the carers we were paying for and supported the rest of the family to look after him properly.  After losing my Grandad I thought I would love to do this for a job, so I applied to Cornerways for a care assistant`s job.  I applied because I had a lot of common sense and the ability to communicate and listen which I feel are the main skills required as it is not rocket science.

The opportunities were available for me to progress quickly as I had the determination and focus.  I achieved my NVQ`s in social care, which led me to become a senior carer then team leader.  In June 2014 I was offered the position of Manager and accepted.

Since becoming manager I have continued my learning.  I still remember my Grandad and take special care of all my residents to ensure they have the care they deserve.

We are always looking for individuals who wish to start or progress their careers in the care industry.  As a company we offer a lot of training but you need to have the compassion and willingness to make the difference.

Current roles we are recruiting for include a Quality Assurance Manager, Registered Manager (Nursing), Registered Manager (Residential), Senior Care Assistant, Care Assistants and Domestic Assistants. If you or someone you know may be interested in applying for care work, please visit our Indeed Career Page

The importance of hydration

The importance of hydration

Hydration one of life’s essentials and yet in this summer heat are we all hydrated enough?

Our homes are aware of the risk of dehydration and actively encourage each other as well as residents to stay hydrated. A variety of drinks are available throughout the day, the activity staff are using their creative skills to create hydration themed events. In recent days homes have had “happy hour”, mocktail making and make your own smoothie.

Our kitchens are also helping to keep everyone hydrated by making and serving high fluid fluids. Some foods have included jelly and milk pudding, fruit platters, ice lollies and sorbets.

At our Manager’s meeting last week we enjoyed elderflower cordial made by Coppelia residents.

So whatever you are doing make sure you’re keeping well hydrated.

Changes in daily life at Bramble Down

Changes in daily life at Bramble Down

It’s always really positive when changes you make have a positive impact on resident’s day to day lives.  At Bramble Down our activities coordinator recently attended a course with NAPA.  NAPA is the National Activity Providers Association. There wish is to help every care and support setting to be full of life, love and laughter.

As a result of the NAPA course and discussions with residents at Bramble Down some changes have been made and others planned.  One of the first changes was the introduction of a mobile shop.  Residents provided a long list of items they wished to see within the shop rather than having to rely on others to get provisions for them.  A drinks trolley now is regularly seen visiting residents with their favourite tipples – currently gin, wine and beer are the most popular choices.


To add to the weekly Tai Chi classes we are pleased to be working with GFitness, a national company helping to provide health and fitness classes for those in care settings. The classes will change to reflect residents needs but will likely include strength & balance work, flexibility and mobility to name a few.

With the sun shining in recent weeks many residents have been making the use of the garden: relaxing in the sunshine, tending to the vegetable patch, playing games and enjoying the visiting ice cream parlour and an evening bbq.

The gentleman in the home have been enjoying the new pop-up barbers and everyone has appreciated the pampering including foot massages.

We look forward to making more changes and ensuring we provide exceptional care for each individual.

Picnic Week 2018

Picnic Week 2018

We are celebrating Picnic Week!

In the warmer months our residents enjoy taking part in picnic lunches in the gardens. Our homes have various spots with benches and tables to provide the perfect picnic spot. And on occasion residents may enjoy a picnic on a trip out to the seaside.
Putting together a picnic is great fun and something we all love to do when the sun is shining. It is also a great opportunity for our residents to join in social interactions in what may have been considered a family and friends summer tradition.

Top tips for a picnic:

Be prepared: Fill up your picnic hamper with all the essentials and the extras. Don’t forget the cheese and crackers for light nibbles and plenty of plates!

Let’s entertain: As well as lots of lovely food and drinks to choose from, packing some books, games and perhaps a music player would be great for those looking to relax.

Cover up: As the perfect picnic weather appears, it is important not to forget to apply sun protectors, such as creams or sprays and be prepared for insect bites or high pollen counts. Pack items which may provide shade and covers for food.

Keep it clean: Enjoy a great picnic and always leave the area as you found it!

Diabetes Week 2018

Diabetes Week 2018

Amongst our staff and residents we have a number of individuals living with diabetes.  These include those that are newly diagnosed as well as some who have lived with the condition for years.  This year’s focus of Diabetes Week is sharing top tips and encouraging more conversation regarding diabetes.

Diabetes UK website states that someone is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes.  With that in mind we thought we would share some information from their website which we found useful.

Knowing the facts, rather than relying on out of date or incorrect information.

Myth 1: People with diabetes cannot have sugar.  Having diabetes does not mean you have to have a sugar-free diet. However those with diabetes should follow a healthy balanced diet that is low in salt and sugar.

Myth 2: People with diabetes should eat ‘diabetic foods’.  Diabetic UK does not recommend individuals eat ‘diabetic’ foods, because they still affect your blood glucose levels and for some can give you diarrhoea.

We also believe their link to the “Evidence-based nutrition guidelines for the prevention and management of Diabetes for adults” is a useful resource.  The guidelines was to draw to together and formulate recommendations from all available evidence highlighting the importance of foods, rather than focusing on individual nutrients, wherever possible.

The guidelines recommend

  • An individualised approach to diet taking into consideration the person’s personal and cultural preferences
  • People eat more of certain foods such as vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, fish, nuts and pulses
  • People eat less red and processed meat, refined carbohydrates and sugar sweetened beverages.

Lastly with 12.3 million people in the UK currently at serious risk of developing Type 2 diabetes then it is worth visiting the Diabetes UK website for suggestions to prevent type 2.  These include maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, and being active.  They even have a risk tool test to “Know your risk” which you can complete in less than 3 minutes.  Many of our staff have recently attended Well Being training which included information on diabetes.

If you have any top tips then please share them with us and on diabetes UK website #TalkAboutDiabetes #DiabetesWeek

Volunteers Week

Volunteers Week

Happy #VolunteersWeek

We would like to encourage you to get involved with our homes. The volunteering opportunities are diverse and we could use your skills and talents to help others. It’s about giving your time, making friends, sharing hobbies/ interests and creating new experiences.

We welcome any suggestions but ideas could include helping a gardening club, help the knitting group, reading, accompanying residents on a trip or just come enjoy tea & cake and reminisce. We would love to have volunteers of any age as everyone plays a vital role in making connections, improving lives.

We believe volunteers would complement our staff and would have a big and positive impact on the quality of life for those in our homes. Research suggests that volunteering has health as well as social benefits. In addition it brings a sense of pride, satisfaction and knowledge of giving back to society.

We would love to hear from you if you are interested to know more, contact the home manager and arrange a visit to the home. We will need satisfactory enhanced DBS (free of charge) prior to starting and an understanding of what you’d like to do.

Bramble Down Gardening

Bramble Down Gardening

This week Bramble Down residents have been taking advantage of the nice weather and planting more of their vegetable patch.

So far a large variety of herbs have been planted. The fruit and vegetable plot has so far got:- tomatoes, parsnip, carrots, sprouts, cauliflower, red cabbage, rhubarb, courgettes, radishes, lettuce and potatoes. The kitchen is looking forward to the wonderful home grown fruit & vegetables.

We do wonder whether a friendly competition between our homes regarding the growth and yield of crops would be welcomed. Last year Bramble Down won various prizes at The Denbury Flower and Produce Show:

  • Brooking Trophy for the Floral Art Exhibit that most pleased the judges
  • First Prize for wedding arrangement
  • Second Prize for wedding arrangement
  • Third Prize for their Dundee Cake



National Walking Month 2018

National Walking Month 2018

The beginning of May marks the start of the Living Streets National Walking Month campaign to get the country active and walking every day.

As you may well know walking as an exercise has many benefits both physically and mentally. It can help manage your weight, reduce anxiety and stress, build strength, reduce congestion on the roads and help maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Our residents enjoy daily walks around the gardens or trips out to their local communities and days out with the Freedom Wheels and Oomph Wellness bus. Wherever and whenever possible our carers encourage our residents to enjoy a walk big or small. This helps in so many ways but most importantly it helps in keeping active and who doesn’t enjoy a nice stroll to either meet your neighbours or enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.

Join the online conversation using #walkthisway and discover fun and easy ways to enjoy new walking journeys. We have also included a few helpful links below to get started.