Living nature – Highland Cow – review

Arlo is a fan of all creatures great and small so when I met the team from Living World and had a chance to see their product range I knew he would be a fan and was so pleased when they invited us to review one of their animals.

Our highland cow arrived via special delivery in its own cardboard box which is cleverly designed to look just like an animal transportation crate which also conveniently doubles up as a carry case. Arlo could see his new little friend through the window and couldn’t wait to burst open the perforated edges on the door to greet him.

Inside the box the cow was packaged with a little straw (not too much so easily tidied away) and a booklet which is described as an owners manual full of bright picture and illustrations which are great to explore. Our booklet was specific to farmyard related animals and showcased some other animals available from Living Nature.

One thing I’m delighted to be made aware of is this family -owned businesses commitment to sustainability. The Scotland based company fills its plush toys with 100% post consumer recycled plastic stuffing – and each toy comes with a little tag which tells you exactly how many plastic bottles were recycled in its manufacturing process.

It’s no surprises that the highland cow is a best seller – the attention to detail from Living Nature is again evident with the styling of each plush – they are finished with an air brushing technique to achieve this effect, and also use two tone fur which is most unusual. ’ve also noticed that the range showcases different animals beautifully with small details such as different eye shapes and colours to resemble each animal more closely. The fir on each animal feels different too, trimmed to make sure they really are as close as possible to real creatures and this detailing is something that animal lovers like Arlo pick up on.

Arlo enjoyed placing the cow carefully back in and out of the box and carrying it around to show his grandparents and then after a little while we realised amongst the fur was a little touch sensor in the left hoof which made a delightful moo. The Living Nature range is Available to order online now. If you’re purchasing an animal as a gift then you can upgrade your order to include things such as a subscription to National Geographic magazine.

How to dress sustainably in bamboo

We have been making adjustments to our lifestyle recently, based on Arlo’s love for nature and his new found responsibility for being eco – friendly. He has been learning about pollution at pre-school and we have also been learning about recycling too. I’m not going to pretend to be an earth mother, I still have a long way to go before I can claim that we are a sustainable family so right now my focus is on making as many small changes as we can.

This kind of decision requires taking a long hard look at the kind of lifestyle we lead and trying to figure out where we can make changes, and so we have switched to reusable straws, and water bottles. We have switched to a green energy company and we have planted flowers for bees and butterflies in the garden. These kinds of fun projects do contribute in a small way and help educate Arlo but when it comes down to it, focusing on the products we purchase and researching their manufacturing, packaging and general Green policies is a new way of thinking for us.

So alongside the food we eat and cleaning chemicals we use the one main thing we need to focus on is our clothing. This is a tough one for us because I have a diverse wardrobe. I will spend money on timeless classic pieces which will be worn many times but I also have “fast fashion” items of clothing which have a short lifespan and often come with questionable ethical manufacturing histories. From the very beginning with Arlo I started to fill up his wardrobe and every time he out grew an age category I would spend hours sorting through clothes.

Back then on maternity pay it made sense to sell some of the better pieces of clothing he had which retained their value and donate the rest. I quickly learnt to shop around for clothing which was a better quality, when it comes to something as simple as a white baby vest, you can go through dozens in a week. You can buy packs of five for a couple of pounds from a fast fashion retailer, or you can shop around. I think by the time Arlo was around six months I learnt the value of organic cotton.

I also started to look at handmade clothing, I wanted him to have unique outfits and stand out from the crowd, but I also didn’t want to irritate his skin with polyester and cotton blends and I found that many small business owners established themselves because of similar needs and it made sense to shop with small business owners who had transparent manufacturing processes and who could provide high quality clothing. This is when I first learnt about bamboo textiles.

The added bonus now is that due to the rise in popularity of social media it’s easy to source clothing for children using hashtags on Instagram and there’s a market for resale of clothing with dozens of Facebook groups dedicated to parents who help extend the lifespan of children’s clothing. So all of this is great but where does it leave adults?

Over the last year I’ve learnt that I don’t really need to rely on fast fashion, I’ve been putting comfort to the top of my priorities whilst working from home, and with non essential retail closed for the best part of twelve months I’ve figured out which items in my wardrobe last longer, wash well and feel great too. I certainly don’t feel as though I need a new outfit for every single occasion and have learnt that it is worth investing in clothing which feels great to wear, not just because of the way it looks but because of the way it’s made.

Bamigo’s casual bamboo T-shirts have many features that distinguish them from other shirts. Alongside the subtle details and the unique composition of the fabric, you can expect the trademark quality and comfort you expect from Bamigo products. Excellent breathability and added length contribute to an unparalleled fit and feel. In short, you get comfort, softness and elegance all in a superior T-shirt with a relaxed fit.

This is just one more small conscious change that I can make as a consumer to make sure that my impact on the world has as small a carbon footprint as possible. There’s still a long way to go but it’s one small step at a time which counts in the long term, for Arlo and for all the other children who will inherit the world we leave behind.

Yours is the Earth – making changes to reduce waste

Arlo is absolutely obsessed with all things relating to the natural world. He could name a dozen animals before he could recognise colours and he continually surprises us now with amazing nature facts. Just yesterday on our way to the Safari Park he told me that ants were one of the strongest animals – I had to use google to fact check and he was right. Leaf cutter ants can carry up to fifty times their own body weight and so they are indeed one of the strongest animals in the world.

It’s little surprise therefore that Arlo is showing an interest in the environment at such a young age. His nursery already covers topics such as recycling, and cutting down plastic waste to save the worlds oceans. He is very conscious about such matters and when we are out and about he often notices “trash” and tells me all about how naughty it is to see discarded coffee cups, he is very careful about using the right bins and we love that so many tourist attractions now offer recycling and waste bins to patrons. Every time he points something out like this it makes me second guess my own actions. I’m a creature of habit but making an effort to change.

I know that we can’t change all that’s wrong in the world as individuals, but with Arlo’s lead I’ve started paying attention to the little things we can do to reduce the amount of waste we generate which in turn goes to having a small impact on the environment around us. One of the first switches we made was to re-useable water bottles. We are always out and about, and switching to a water bottle which we top up from home has stopped us from buying countless drinks, it also saves us money and my top tip to parents is to freeze a half full bottle on its side overnight, top up with fresh water and you’ll have a lovely cool drink to quench your thirst.

We now have a recycling bin and a normal waste bin which are collected weekly and I like to try and challenge myself to make sure that there’s as little as possible in the household waste bin. Of course we already keep all of our cardboard and all sorts of bits and bobs to use in our craft projects, even making up toys for our parrot. I was however dismayed to notice just how much rubbish is generated from the packaging of products which we buy.

Sam loved his home made egg box foraging toy which we filled with nuts and treats for him to find.

We have made lots of changes to the way we buy food this last year, choosing loose fruit and veg which isn’t packed in plastic and also visiting a local zero waste initiative to buy dry foods such as pasta and use our own reusable containers to bring it home. It’s great to see brands committing to helping consumers by eliminating plastic waste from production and manufacturing which in turn has a greater impact on the world.

Brands such as Nereus are taking on the challenge and partnering with a fabulous organisation called Plastic Bank – a Canadian organisation who are experts in their field. They have officially prevented 1 billion bottles of ocean plastic, by concentrating on Recycling and coming up with innovative and enterprising solutions to repurpose plastic which in turn has a direct impact on the communities in which they work. Plastic Bank’s Social Plastic® ecosystems result in improved access to employment, education, services, and technology for developing communities across the globe.

Once we cut down our waste at home drastically through our food packaging, it was also apparent just how many other ways we could make changes. We have switched to using more environmentally focused brands. It’s a big part of our decision making when it comes to being consumers, our washing tablets now come as a monthly subscription in cardboard packaging and some of our cleaning products now have reusable bottles which are topped up with sachets rather than utilising the dreaded single use plastic. I find myself browsing the environmental policies of all brands I’m interested in.

I even turned our attention to our toothbrushes last year and we made a switch to bamboo brushes which eliminates needless waste as they have to be discarded every three months. These are such small changes but goodness knows how many plastic toothbrushes are in landfill right now. I’ve gone through at least a hundred in my lifetime, but we all have to start somewhere.

Next time you’re putting the bins out take a look and see if there’s anything you could change, not just for yourself but for those who will inherit the world we leave behind.