What do Jessica Alba, Selma Blair, Sarah Jessica Parker, Khloe Kardashian and Gwen Stefani all have in common? Exactly, they all share the same interest for Apple Park. I encountered this brand for the first time at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg. It was not because I knew that these celebrities love this brand (many brands their products to celebrities in the hope that they will be photographed with their products, for publicity purposes!), but because they immediately caught my attention. Very original, with an eye for detail and beautiful packaging. I fell in love with ‘Who The Owl’, but his little friends Cubby, Lamby, Monkey, Bunny and Ducky are adorable as well. Apple Park has a special and luxurious collection of plush and baby-children’s products which are produced using 100% organic cotton, and stuffed with natural fibers. Apple Park’s animal club are available as a cuddle-cloth, pacifier buddy and of course, as a cuddly creature. Unfortunately, they are not yet available on the Dutch market, but will be soon hopefully!
Life on the countryside is not always easy for women in countries far away from here. Men are often dominant in these communities, and on the countryside there is a shortage of nearly everything. Last year I went to the incredible Kenia to celebrate something with my family. There I could see with my own eyes what a good job the founders of Kenana Knitters do. 500 women learn to spin and knit and get a fair wage for it. Also medical care and training was taken care of. With this, they can increase their standards of living and that of their children. This also influences the entire community they live in. But most of all it is a social happening. I saw these women enjoy a chat while knitting these beautiful stuffed animals with their children playing around in the meantime.
Recently I received a press release from Renske de Gee about a similar initiative. Renske migrated to Thailand in 2010 and decided to start a business there. By the name of KiddyColors, she teaches women from Thailand and Burma to make gifts for children and baby showers. An example of the sort of gifts they make are these very nice decorations, which you can design yourself. The women work under good circumstances and get a fair pay. By doing this, the founder wants to make the life of these women a little brighter. Renske asked if we could give this some attention. I did not have to think twice about that!
Today I received a remarkable message. It is possible to get your child potty trained before the age of nine months. But how? Just with a simple trick: whistling! Swedish researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy monitored 47 Vietnamese babies and their mothers for two years. In Vietnam people start potty training their babies a lot earlier; directly after birth. From nine months old, diapers aren’t needed anymore. How different that is from the West where our children are only potty trained at an age of three or four. Our children are used to super absorbing diapers in which they do not feel it when they wet themselves and therefore do not feel the need to go potty. Score for the disposable diapers producers! Actually I visited two ladies of Kaatje Katoen for an interview, earlier today. They have been doing the promotion for trendy and washable diaper systems for years in The Netherlands. Children are potty trained faster with these, which saves a lot of money and it is better for the environment too, as research proves. They told me that sometimes parents do not even know how to get their children potty trained. It used to be more natural and easier to get your child potty trained… The consequences are evident in education; instead of teaching, teachers are walking up and down the toilets continuously to change toddlers. Absolutely ridiculous, right? In England and Belgium these washable diapers by Tots Bots are very trendy! So where are The Netherlands in this trend?