The Happy Cat Kids Blog


On 22nd April as the World celebrates the 51st annual Earth Day, here at Happy Cat Kids I want to do my little bit to support the cause too.


Now whilst I have the most incredible respect and admiration for those who campaign tirelessly to raise awareness of climate change or those living a zero waste or plastic-free lifestyle, I also know that this can sometimes feel intensely overwhelming. We can all too easily feel so confused and overwhelmed by the mammoth task that it can sometimes feel easier to bury our heads and do nothing or to feel that you just don't have the time or knowledge to constantly second-guess all your lifestyle and buying choices. Believe me, I have totally been there myself - I have definitely been someone who has thought: "I don't have time, I don't understand the implications of my choices so I'll leave it to someone who does", but in more recent years I have come round to the realisation that it doesn't matter if I don't fully understand how to make the very best choices for our environment in every moment, what matters is that I just do something!


So that is why I am asking you lovely supporters of Happy Cat Kids to join me this Earth Day in committing to just one small change.


Yes, it can be overwhelming to try and make all the right choices but just imagine, if everyone in the World changed just one thing for the better in terms of caring for our planet, what a difference that would make!


To get you started here are just a few examples of very small changes you could make:

  • Carry a re-usable water bottle with you to reduce your use of single-use plastic bottles

  • Plan your meals for the week to avoid too much food waste

  • Recycle as much of your household waste as you can

  • Switch to washable re-usable wipes for removing your make-up

  • Never leave the house without your shopping bags!

  • Check-out shampoo, conditioner, shower gel or deodorant bars (Lush do some fabulous ones!)

  • Consider buying pre-loved clothes

  • Switch to LED lightbulbs

  • Look for plastic alternatives when buying gifts

  • Wrap gifts in recyclable wrapping paper

Obviously, there are so many possibilities of things you can try, why not give one a go? So with that idea in mind, I wanted to share with you my top 5 eco-friendly toys available here at Happy Cat Kids. Maybe you will consider one of them as a replacement for a plastic toy? What's more, if you purchase your gift from me, I'll also gift-wrap it for free for you in fully-recyclable wrapping - win-win!!


So without further ado, here are my top 5 environmentally-friendly children's gifts:


5. Natural rubber and organic cotton soft toys from Tikiri

Not only are these little soft toys super cute and safe from birth but they also make great environmentally-friendly choices if you're looking for a baby gift. Tikiri (the wonderful Sri Lankan family business who make these toys) greatly reduce their carbon footprint by producing all their toys locally, in fact, their toys are all made from natural rubber produced 100% from their own plantations which have a strong focus on responsible farming and re-forestation. Natural rubber is a wonderful plastic-free choice for babies toys as it is non toxic, BPA free, Phthalate free and PVC free. As natural rubber is made from plants it means that these toys are bio-degradable so much better for our environment than plastic!


4. Wooden pots and pans set from Tenderleaf Toys

If you want to make one change for the better in terms of your kids' toys then I highly recommend switching up a couple of plastic toys that you would have bought for wooden ones! Wooden toys are so much longer-lasting and better for the environment, plus, let's face it, they look a lot nicer on your shelves too!!


This wooden pots and pans set from Tenderleaf Toys is a wonderful, versatile toy that kids will love when playing restaurants, kitchens, cafes, take-aways and all number of lovely role-play games and here's what's great about this from an environmental perspective:

  • All Tenderleaf wooden toys are made solely from reclaimed rubberwood, a by-product of the latex industry

  • For every reclaimed tree it uses, Mentari, the Tenderleaf factory in Indonesia, plants a new one, driving ahead the cycle of regeneration

  • Tender Leaf also supports Eden Projects here in the UK, who are now recognised as one of the most effective re-forestation projects on the planet. For every order placed with them, they plant 10 trees.

  • All toys are packaged in 100% recycled card


3. Viking Toys Ecoline Vehicles

I absolutely love these little vehicles from Viking Toys - from a distance, they may look like ordinary plastic toys but don't be fooled, these are in fact made 100% from sugar cane! One of the benefits of these vehicles is that they are super strong and durable avoiding the waste of a broken plastic toy being thrown out after a few plays! The sugar cane used to make this bio-plastic is 100% renewable - as the cane grows it binds more carbon dioxide than it emits during the extraction process. What's more, both the toys and the packaging are fully recyclable.


2. RecycleMe Craft Kits

These RecycleMe kits make wonderful gifts! Not only do they keep the kids occupied with some crafting fun, they also use up some of your household waste! Each kit contains everything you need to create fun craft projects, all you need to add is simple household recycling objects such as toilet rolls, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and milk cartons.


1.Keeleco Teddies

These Keeleco teddies are unbelievably soft, it is hard to believe that they are made 100% from recycled plastic bottles! But they really are - how cool is that!


These eco-friendly toys are manufactured and stuffed with 100% recycled polyester from plastic waste. What's more, traditional glass eyes have been replaced with cotton embroidered eyes and the Keel logo and hangtag are now formed from FSC card and attached to the toy with cotton, even the sew in label is recycled and all the toys are manufactured in an ICTI ethically audited factory! I also love that the entire Keeleco range is made up of endangered animals from all over the World, therefore also raising awareness of some beautiful animals who are at risk of extinction.


So, there you have it, my top 5 kids gifts for a more eco-friendly purchase. If you're interested in seeing more, we have a whole range of environmentally-friendly gifts which can be viewed here. This range includes items such as bamboo eating sets and tootbrushes, lunch bags made from recycled materials and of course a fab selection of wooden toys.


One final thought...


As you may be aware, here at Happy Cat Kids we have our own range of teething jewellery and accessories: Halia Rose. All the Halia Rose items are made from food-grade silicone so you may be wondering - is silicone an eco-friendly choice? The answer to this is unfortunately not a simple yes or no and probably requires an entire blog post of his own to cover this question properly, but I'll attempt to sum it up for you here!

The main difference between silicone and plastic is that most plastic is made from crude oil which is a non-renewable resource. Silicone is made from the natural product silica which is found in sand. Silica is much more abundant although obviously not totally unlimited. In order to make silicone, the silica has to be passed through hydrocarbons, so whilst the silica comes from sand - a plentiful resource, the hydrocarbons mostly come from non-renewable sources such as oil and natural gas. Therefore, the extraction process is more environmentally friendly that of plastic but is not fully renewable or biodegradable.


The main benefit of silicone over plastic is a health one. Food-grade silicone, unlike plastic, does not allow any toxins to leach into it's material making it an ideal choice for teething products due the absence of harmful chemicals and the durability of the material.


Silicone can be recycled but has to go to a specialist facility therefore most products will end-up being thrown away at the end of their life (although their useful life is a lot longer than that of plastic!) As they will not easily degrade they could fill up landfill although they are believed to be less dangerous to marine life because there is no risk of harmful plastic pieces being ingested.


In short, I believe that silicone is evidently better for the environment than plastic but not a 100% eco-conscious choice. However, this needs to be weighed up against the safety and durability benefits of silicone. As our Halia Rose products are designed for babies this ultimately out-weighed our choice of material.


So this Earth Day, I hope you will think about making one small change and when you are next purchasing a children's gift please consider one of these more eco-friendly choices.

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Here at Happy Cat Kids I'm pretty pleased with our lovely selection of baby gifts but I was asked this question by someone recently and it really got me thinking...



Baby showers are a slightly more recent tradition here in the UK but are becoming more and more commonplace now. In the States where they originated they can be pretty big business with expectant parents often having a full gift registry, much like you may do for a wedding, where the baby shower guests can purchase gifts already picked out by the expectant parents in advance! At a UK baby shower an expectant Mother may find it extremely useful to set up a wish list too but who in fact are the gifts for? Are you looking to treat your friend/relative to something for themselves that may help in late pregnancy or early motherhood or buy something practical or beautiful for the baby? Perhaps you want the mum-to-be to have something like a pregnancy massage or pedicure as a lovely treat before the chaos of early motherhood is upon them? Which gift is best? Well the simple answer, I believe, is all of the above!!


I think it really has to depend on what your relationship is with the expectant mother and how well you know them! For example, if the Mum-to-be is your oldest and most cherished friend or your sister perhaps then you just need to think about who they really are and what they might like - are they a super-organised person who has already bought everything and anything they could possibly need for the baby? In which case maybe you wish to treat them to something for themselves like a pregnancy massage, or due to current Covid restrictions, maybe some kind of online workshop of a hobby they would love but probably won't have time for once baby is here! Perhaps Mum-to-be has VERY particular taste in things and it would therefore be better to purchase a gift voucher so that she can choose something to her own taste and style.


You could purchase a nice gift set for Mum & baby, like this lovely set that includes some beautiful jewellery that are safe to be worn once the baby is at the 'putting everything in mouth' stage and a matching teether.


Speaking of gift sets, I highly recommend a gift box selection as a baby shower present because it's so nice to receive a lovely keepsake box that can be really useful for something like storing all the lovely new baby cards or mementos from the baby shower and then receiving a selection of lovely goodies inside the box can feel like such a treat! My favourite gift set is this animal themed box that comes complete with super cute baby socks, a handy silicone teether, a lovely little panda rattle and a beautiful fox nightlight.


A practical gift can often be a good idea for a baby shower too as there are no end of items that babies will need over the course of the next couple of years! Maybe think about some of the stages, i.e. teething or weaning.


Perhaps the Mum to be is very focused on the environment and/or looking for more natural products for their baby? In which case you may wish to consider natural rubber baby toys; natural rubber is a wonderful choice for baby toys at is a completely natural product; certified non toxic, fragrance free, BPA free, Phthalate free and PVC free making it a perfectly safe natural teething toy. We have a lovely range of natural rubber toys from Tikiri made in a beautiful family business in Sri Lanka, hand-painted with soy-based ink and including features in 100% organic cotton. Here are a few of my favourites: the dragon and unicorn rattles and bunny squeakers also come in beautifully presented (and fully recyclable) gift boxes.


Classic wooden toys make wonderful gifts for a baby shower as they are long-lasting, attractive toys that look lovely on shelves in nurseries when babies are little ready to be played with as they get a little older. We have such a great selection that it's really hard for me to pick just a few faves but I'll try my best!


If you are thinking about a nice gift for the Mum-to-be (which I think is a fabulous idea as they often get so much for the baby!) then some teething-safe silicone jewellery could be a great idea! That way she gets to still feel like she can add some stylish accessories to her outfit whilst at the same time feeling confident that it's safe for her baby to grab and chew the jewellery too as it is completely BPA and phthalate free and can be kept clean and hygienic in warm, soapy water or can be chucked in the dishwasher or steriliser! We have a large selection of necklaces in every colour of the rainbow and some great bangles too.


Another lovely idea for a baby shower gift is an heirloom/keepsake toy! For example a beautiful rag doll or hand-crocheted toy, it makes a lovely decorative item in baby's room, then becomes a cherished companion that will be loved and then put away to be passed down to the next generation!


A little note here about baby showers during the current Covid restrictions! Obviously right now these kinds of parties can't happen exactly the way we'd like but people have risen to the challenge and got inventive! I have seen some great examples of outdoor, socially-distanced baby showers, beautiful virtual parties held over zoom (or your platform of choice!) and even baby showers where each guest has a time slot to meet with the Mum-to-be so they are never more than one-on-one! Whatever the current restrictions are, people find wonderful ways to work with them! And if you wish to give a gift but cannot meet up in person then it's important to select your present in good time so that it can be sent to the recipient ready for the virtual event.

Here at Happy Cat Kids whilst any Covid restrictions remain I continue to offer free gift-wrapping in environmentally-friendly recyclable wrapping! I'll even hand-write a gift tag and send it directly to the Mum-to-be for you.










So, in summary, in answer to the question - are baby shower gifts for Mum or baby, I truly believe the answer is either, neither or both! A lovely little gift for the baby is always going to be appreciated, but sometimes a Mum-to-be may be may be really chuffed to receive a little treat for herself and maybe you can get a little something for both of them, but let's not not forget that ultimately a baby shower is really just a chance for a Mum-to-be to celebrate her impending motherhood with her closest friends and family so she will cherish you being there to celebrate with her above any gift that you may buy!


If you'd like even more inspiration, I'd also recommend you check out this Instagram reel where I reveal my 5 top gifts for babies!

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Valentine's Day - a day of romance and intimate candlelit dinners yes?!? Well probably not this year!! Stuck at home in lockdown with all your kids traipsing around the house demanding snacks may not seem like the most romantic environment but it is what it is right and if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!! So with that in mind, I thought I come up with a few ways for you to enjoy the day this year at home with the kids!


  1. Get the kids involved decorating the house! You're stuck indoors, you may as well get crafty with the kids and make the house look cute! Here's a few simple ideas:

Salt Dough Hearts - if the kids are partial to a bit of playdough then use this simple recipe to make some salt dough which you can then roll out and cut into hearts, cook in the oven then paint as artistically as you like!



You will need:-

  • 250g Plain flour

  • 125g Table salt

  • 125ml Water

Method:-


1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.


2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until it comes together into a ball.


3. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, roll it out and cut it into hearts. You could even make a hole in the top of the hearts so they can be hung up.


4. Put your finished items on the lined baking sheet and bake for 3 hrs or until solid.


5. Leave to cool and then paint. You could even decorate with glitter too if you're feeling brave!!


Valentines Themed Colouring Sheets - Colouring-in can be such a calming activity for adults and children so why not colour pretty valentine's pictures which you can use to decorate the house when you've finished. There are so many lovely ones you can do, simply type Valentine's colouring pages into Google, print off your favourites and get colouring! I've even created my very own Happy Cat Kids colouring sheet which you can download for free here:

live. laugh. love
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PDF • 68KB

Table Centrepiece - The lovely Nikki Golding will be doing a live make-along on her Insta page on Friday 12th Feb showing you how to make a simple Valentine's centrepiece so I'll definitely be tuning in for that! Make sure you're following Nikki here so you can have a go at making one too!


2. If your kids are old enough - bribe them with a movie night/sleepover in one of their rooms, ply them with snacks and then have the downstairs of the house a kid-free zone for the evening!!


3. If you have younger kids and lucky enough to have ones that actually go to bed then lucky you - get them to bed and enjoy your civilised adult evening!


4. If, like me, you have kids that won't go to bed and will want to be involved with everything then why not let them be the waiters! They could create their own restaurant, design a menu, take your orders and maybe even cook/bake something for you to eat if you're brave enough to allow this! Perhaps there could be a dress code for the 'restaurant' to force you out of your PJs and maybe even slap on some make-up!


5. Get your kids to host a Valentine's quiz! Let's face it we've all become quiz experts over this last year so why not ask your kids to write a Mr & Mrs style quiz for you and partner to find out who knows who the most! They will love channelling their inner Alexander Armstrong!!


6. If all of the above just sounds like a little bit too much effort then just chuck on your PJs, grab the whole family under the duvet, order in a pizza and snuggle up with a movie!!



Happy Valentine's All!!



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