Hi Gary, Personally,I've always used the same type of easel; the Box Easel. As I run Demonstration and Workshops around art groups in my area (Wigan / Manchester), it folds down to a manageable box with a carrying handle.
If you're looking for an easel, the best advice I could give is think about what you want, and what you want to paint; if you buy a cheap easel, then you may find that its not very stable, and it also depends if you want to stand or sit down to paint. If you want to sit down, then maybe one of the Table Top easels may be OK for you, and they are certainly stable.
As far as Palettes go, if you want to paint with Acrylics, the you could look at the Stay Wet Palette, but if you're starting out, then something like a large round plastic plate may be OK.
If you're using watercolour, I'd recommend the Geoff Kersey palette, which I use, as the wells are a good size and depth.
If you want more information regarding the above, then come back to me and we'll have a closer look at whats available and useful for you.
Good luck and very best wishes,
PA & RSC Wigan area