Kids petition McDonalds to stop plastic toys in Happy Meals

Kid Activists Against Fast Food Plastic

Ella, 7 and Caitlin, 9 started a petition asking McDonalds and Burger King to stop giving away plastic toys with kids meals. With more than 342,000 signatures, it seems to have struck a chord. And feels impossibly fresh, like something that would never have happened when I was a kid. I looked forward to the free toy in my Happy Meal. I remember thinking how cool it was that Happy Meals were especially designed for kids. And to top it off for the price of a cheapy burger and fries you got a toy. I can still feel the excitement and joy the whole experience had on me.


We all want our children to do better than us– but can we think of progress as achievements that don’t step on people and our planet’s well being.

Not just that they went on to ask big, rich companies to not make toys from plastic at all. In this episode of BBC One’s War on Plastic the producers piled up the amount of toys that McDonalds gives away every five minutes across the UK– the quantity was enough to fill four flat bed trollers. Times that by 288, the number of 5 minutes in 24 hours, and that’s 1,152 flat bed trolleys. You can begin to see the problem.

And when they doorstopped McDonalds headquarter there’s a really uncomfortable moment when security ask them to leave the premises and the girls are visually distraught. In the end McDonalds took a meeting with the girls and have promised to dedicate time and money to making a plan to reduce their use of plastic.

What a super brave duo Ella and Caitin, it takes guts to stand up for what you believe in. And they seem to be a barometer for what kids are thinking today. I have 3 x nine year olds and 1 x eight year old in my kitchen as I type. When I told them I was writing this story, they unanimously without hesitation said this was a great idea. Within instants, they were logged into and signing their names to the petition.

While I totally salute the sister’s initiative and support less consumerism and plastic throwaway toys. I wonder if this is the root of the problem or if it goes deeper.

Education is one thing, access to non-biodegradable plastic is another, but as long as there are parents who don’t have wallets full of cash, there will be people making immediately gratifying choices. Like getting your kid a cheap plastic throwaway toy because it brings a moment of joy. Because sometimes you do it because it’s all you’ve got.

So if it’s not McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Poundland or imported from China no-name toxic toy… there will always be someone who sees a market opportunity.

And I think bringing a free toy to children who buy an inexpensive meal has in many ways been a massive achievement, that is has negative environmental repercussions today speaks more to the fact that we need to lift the world’s poor out of poverty. If we weren’t all so worried about keeping a roof over our head maybe we would have more time and space to develop ethical values that were inclusive and had global benefits.

UNICEF estimates half the world’s children (or 1.1 billion) live in poverty, which is extremely worrying.

What about building a society that doesn’t make basic wellbeing so hard to achieve, from the stats above we can see we are on our way. Luckily it’s not all bad news, there has been progress, the World Bank forecasted in 2015 that 702.1 million people were living in extreme poverty, down from 1.75 billion in 1990.

I think the next generation have got it covered. I predict that in the future, the next generations will invent a way to degenerate waste or make things disappear. Of course there’s bound to be a potential negative to this too but that’s nature isn’t it?– the yin and the yang.

Angkanaratt Chansri, co-founder and CEO of app 

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When is Smacking your Child okay?

Is it okay to hit your children? It’s amazing what I thought was a dead certain capital NO, is not 100% true in the UK. One of the last countries in Europe where it is legal to smack your child as reasonable punishment.

The debate here is less about the smack and more about the force exerted. To contextualise most adults remember being physically hurt in school by their teachers. It wasn’t until 1999 that Engalnd banned punishment in the independent school sector. (Americans insert shock emoji face here)

And there were appeals. The heads of a number of Christian fellowship independent schools appealed, at length, through various courts, for the ability of teachers to have delegated authority from parents to physically punish their children should they wish. (Americans insert shock emoji face here)

A BBC report from 2005 says the heads claimed that boys would be hit using “a thin, broad flat paddle to both buttocks simultaneously in a firm controlled manner”. Meanwhile, “girls could be strapped on the hand and then comforted by a member of staff and encouraged to pray”. As a foreigner in the UK that surprised me quite a bit. So now I hear parents can legal smack their kids as long as it’s not too hard. But who decides what hard is?

It’s not just tabloid newspapers like The Sun that say some people do not know what a reasonable punishment is. It’s also often the voice heard in parliament, that if we ban smacking we run the chances of living in a nanny state where we’re telling parents how to be. Things such as age and weight of the child must be taken into account with the amount of force that is being exerted.

The good news is that the subject is in the headlines again, Wales is first in line in an effort to ban smacking altogether.

Scotland is becoming the first country in the UK to ban all physical punishments on children. The new bill was set forward by John Finnie, Green MSP and Scottish government has confirmed that the proposal is now becoming a law. A vote will be held later this year, however, the bill is expected to be passed and become part of Scottish law.

Psychologists around the world say that smacking children can impact their mental health and encourage violent behaviour. Parent’s and carers are legally allowed to smack children lightly if it can be “reasonable punishment”, according to Children Act 2004. In many countries such as Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and Portugal have placed a ban on smacking children.

However, what will be the criminal offence or punishment set to parents who do smack their child?

Sweden in 1979, became the first country to ban any sort of physical punishment towards a child. This was the first step to making smacking illegal internationally. Today Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Aruba, Austria, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Pitcairn Islands, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, South Sudan, Spain, St. Maarten, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Sweden, Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Venezuela all have bans on smacking children.

In October, 2017 a 25-year-old father was charged for smacking his child on the bottom for breaking a plant pot. The father claims that smacking his child was a reasonable punishment, however due to bruising (bodily harm) the man was sent to court. The father did not enter any pleas.

There are plenty of other ways to discipline your child without having to smack them. An example could be setting simple rules, praising good behaviour, and allow children to have some choice in their on decisions so that they don’t feel controlled.

One of our favourite parenting experts suggest simple tricks, like putting your hand on your child’s shoulder to get their attention and developing great communication skills. Kids want to please their parents so it’s really worth reading and understanding the non-violent communication ideals by the amazing Dr. Laura Markham. Read her Aha Parenting blog here.

The times I have applied her tips have been major breakthroughs in my relationship with my daughter.

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How to help babies with sensitive skin

The trick seems to be to avoid soaps and moisturise. Here is a picture Suzanne Quinn’s twins, Jemima and Ethan. Little Jemima suffers from eczema (see pictures) and she has found the Elave Baby products very beneficial. 

So what’s the deal it seems that more and more baby’s have sensitive skin, is there something in the water? We spoke with Karen Johnston, an Elave Baby safe skincare adviser and she says yes.


Elave is giving away 3 x Packs, valued at £25.65 of Baby Products. Head over to our Facebook page to enter. See competition details below.

Two generations ago, only 3% of babies born developed eczema – today the figure is 25%.  What is going on – is there something in the water?

Medical experts say yes, there literally is, and baby skin is especially vulnerable to the many harsh chemicals to which we expose our skin.

Baby with eczema

As parents, we all want the very best for our children, but it is often difficult to decipher from all the packaging and labelling and marketing whether what we use is safe for delicate baby skin.

Many products are full of nasty synthetic ingredients, these can cause redness, itchiness and discomfort to delicate skin, resulting in red patches, typically on the face, inside of the arms and backs of the knees.

So we wanted to make a recommendation. Because we know how upsetting it can be. We found a product that actually helps and that is news in and of itself. Plus it’s is safe for sensitive babies, even for premature sensitive babies. We asked Karen from Elave Skincare to tell us what is going on.

Baby with eczema

“When skin is dry and damaged, its barrier function is reduced and a flare-up can happen at any time, anywhere on the body.

Common allergens such as animal hair, pollen, preservatives, sulfates, soaps etc in cosmetic products trigger allergic inflammatory action.  Dry skin is also more vulnerable to a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus.

Currently, there is no cure for eczema.  We don’t have a pill, vaccine, diet or supplementation that works to eradicate it.  However, we do have effective, safe methods which help to control eczema.”

Little Citizens, “So what can you do to protect vulnerable baby skin and prevent a mild attack of eczema becoming much worse?”

Karen Johnston, “A head to toe regime is essential. You can use all the moisturiser in the world, but if you’re shampooing and washing in soap and sulfates, your eczema will continue to wreak havoc.

Never wash with anything that contains soap, which strips the skin of its natural oils.  In normal skin these oils are replaced naturally within 5-6 hours, but in dry skin this may never happen leaving the skin dry and open to triggers.

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!  Do it three times daily with a heavy hitting cream with active ingredients like fractionated coconut oil that hydrate the skin barrier and are easy to apply.

Topical steroids have had a bad rap over the years, but dermatologists prescribe them as the primary treatment for eczema which is flared.  They are safe to use, as long as they are prescribed and monitored by medical staff.”

We are proud that Elave Baby products, which are produced in Co Louth, have won Approved By status from TinyLife and we are in our second year of partnership with this very busy charity, which supports premature babies and their families.

Elave babyl donates £1 from every Elave Baby Essentials pack sold to TinyLife to fund research and training programmes. The entire range of Elave Skincare products is available at local pharmacies, or online at and Amazon.

Elave Baby’s Ecocert certified natural and organic sensitive skincare range is free from common irritants like soap, sulfates, parabens, alcohol, scents, colours, formaldehyde, lanolin, MIs etc.”

Elave Skincare Prize

Elave Sensitive Skincare have gifted us three of their fabulous Baby Essentials packs to give away to our readers– to be in with a chance of winning one all you have to do is to like and share this post on Facebook with your friends.

****Winners will be announced on 2020 July 1st at midnight.

Made from the finest ingredients, and with the promise of absolute purity, Elave Baby offers gentle, effective protection for sensitive baby skin from birth. The paediatrician and dermatologist approved products are free from sulfates, SLES/SLS, parabens, perfume, formaldehyde, soap, alcohol and more.

The pack, valued at £25.65, contains: Sensitive Baby Bath (400ml), Sensitive Baby Lotion (250ml) and Sensitive Baby Shampoo (400ml) to gently cleanse delicate baby skin from newborn and protect it from dryness and flaking. All products are Ecocert and PETA approved.

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The 10 Coolest Suitcases for Holiday Travel

The Apple Watch and Microsoft Band use optical sensors to measure heart rate. The Jawbone Up3, which instead tracks your resting heart rate,  uses bioimpedance sensors and several electrodes to measure your skin’s resistance to a small amount of electrical current.

The Apple Watch and Microsoft Band use optical sensors to measure heart rate. The Jawbone Up3.

You can focus on things that are barriers or you can focus on scaling the wall or redefining the problem. Steve Jobs

The Apple Watch and Microsoft Band use optical sensors to measure heart rate. The Jawbone Up3, which instead tracks your resting heart rate,  uses bioimpedance sensors and several electrodes to measure your skin’s resistance to a small amount of electrical current.

Figures & Captions

Chasing the blonde dragon is still a genuine plight, because the grass is always. There’s a misguided notion that natural beauty products just don’t do the job as well as conventional creams and cleansers. While that may be the case for some, i’ve found that many natural products are even better than the drugstore brands.


The headphone wars have begun

Chasing the blonde dragon is still a genuine plight, because the grass is always. There’s a misguided notion that natural beauty products just don’t do the job as well as conventional creams and cleansers. While that may be the case for some, i’ve found that many natural products are even better than the drugstore brands.

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Video Post Format

The temperature in your bedroom is perfect. Your blackout curtains have been drawn shut. And you’ve just finished a cup of chamomile tea and novel that made you laugh out loud and forget about whatever was bothering you earlier in the day.

You’re just about ready to drift off, and suddenly the air conditioner kicks on. Or a car alarm screeches through the night air. Or your partner sneezes. Suddenly, you’re wide-awake again. Your brain responds to noises when you’re awake and asleep. But if the interruptions wake you up, that can keep you from getting the restful shuteye that you need.

When ambient noise is disrupting your sleep, white (or pink) noise can help to smooth out the rough edges. Imagine sitting next to a person who is loudly chewing gum in a library. Then imagine sitting next to that same person in a crowded bar. It’s the same chomping gum, but underneath the drone of a crowded place, you can’t even hear it anymore. White noise, whether it’s from a sound machine, a simple fan, or crowd noise helps to mask noise-related disruptions by creating a constant ambient sound that makes a “peak” noise, like a door slamming, less of a contrast. And that makes you less likely to be startled awake.

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