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BRAND IN FOCUS // BATOKO


B A T O K O 

I recently came across Batoko whilst pointlessly scrolling  browsing through Instagram. The prints of the swimwear stopped me in my tracks – “James, holy moly, loooooook, these swimming costumes! They are so pretty – if only I’d seen them before holiday!”. Our big holiday may have been and gone, in a flash, but a swimsuit like one of these certainly wouldn’t be! I went on to look at the Batoko profile, first point of call – are they UK based? YES – Batoko were founded  off the North West Coast (as in, where we now reside… ish).  Before my second point of call (price), I was again, stopped in my scrolling tracks… these swimsuits are RUBBISH?! They’re actual RUBBISH!

No, no, it’s not what you think! They’re still epic swimming costumes… but even more-so now  that I know they’re made from ACTUAL RUBBISH that has been dished from our ocean. This brand are actively protecting our marine life. This isn’t just cool or ‘neat’, this is revolutionary.

Here is what Batoko say, in their own words:

Living by the sea, plastic pollution is something we witness everyday on our local beaches. Plastic bottles, bags, cups, straws, food wrappers, balloons, containers, toys, polystyrene, fishnets, ropes, textiles and micro-plastics. You can bet that every item of plastic you can think of is in the sea and with each tide comes a stark reminder of an issue that is otherwise out of sight, out of mind.  

“We create high quality swimsuits that are not only flattering and fun to wear, but are helping change the world for the better”.

Of the 300 million tons of plastic that’s produced globally each year, it’s estimated that less than 10% of this is recycled, with an astonishing 8 million tons of disposed plastic waste entering our oceans annually. The greatest issue with this is that plastic doesn’t degrade. Once we’ve made it, used it and binned it – it stays with us, breaking down into smaller toxic pieces that pollute our environment for generations.

The Batoko Mission

We’re part of a positive process that is attempting to clean up our oceans and help reduce the negative impact of plastic on the environment. We want to show that slowing down the production of new plastic materials in favour of using existing sustainable resources, is the way forward.

“All our swimwear is 100% recycled from plastic bottles, fishnets and post-consumer waste such as carpets and other textiles. Recycling helps reduce energy usage, reduce consumption of new raw materials and reduces air and water pollution (from land fills and marine waste)”.

Our swimsuits are printed digitally which is an ecological printing method designed to reduce water and waste. Our inks are free of harmful chemicals and we consciously print the designs onto the fabric after it’s been cut to minimise production waste. Our fabric is vegan, too!

Marine Conservation

We are a proud member of the UK’s leading marine charity – the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). The MCS work to ensure our seas are healthy, pollution free and protected. To date they have helped pass a number of government legislations such as the 5p plastic bag policy, gained protection for endangered Basking Sharks and secured 50 marine conservation zones in English waters. MCS organised beach cleans have also removed 6 million pieces of litter from UK shores. Each year a proportion of our profits made from our recycled swimwear go to supporting this amazing organisation, helping to ensure a healthier future for our oceans.

 

 

Conscious Fashion

Rather than adhere to the pressure of a disposable, fast-fashion culture, we are going against the grain; consciously keeping our collections small and introducing new designs at a slower and much more sustainable pace that’s kinder to the planet and the people that make them. This also allows us to focus on quality and the individuality of each swimsuit design, enabling us to tweak and improve along the way – ultimately putting the value back into clothing and keeping the Batoko spirit alive for years, not just a season.

The People

We work with an audited factory in China that takes necessary measures to avoid both environmental degradation, along with following and respecting the labour principles set out in the BSCI Code of Conduct which ensures a fair and safe working environment for all it’s workers. This ethical business behaviour ensures that all workers have increased awareness of both their labour rights and human rights, along with access to grievance mechanisms if they feel their rights are not being met. BSCI principles also include fair pay, no forced or bonded labour, no child labour or workers below the legal minimum age, decent working hours (observed by law), no discrimination and equal opportunities. We feel a great amount of responsibility to maintain a stable business relationship with our supplier, which is turn gives the factory a reason to invest in continuously improving it’s working conditions.

“We’re Rubbish. Literally”.

Sustainable Materials

We use recycled and sustainable materials wherever we can. For shipping, we use 100% recycled poly packaging from Eco Enclose. Eco enclose recycle their mail bags from post-consumer and post-industrial plastic waste, giving new life to material that has already been used rather than it ending up in landfill or in our oceans. They are the most minimal packaging option in terms of size and weight; lighter than their paper counterparts, so more energy efficient. We ensure that the mail bag fits to size with no excess space, essentially working as a protective sleeve for your swimsuit during transportation, nothing more. The mail bags have an extra strip which allows you to reuse the packaging. As they are recyclable, you can pop it in your recycling bin after you’ve finished using it to ensure that it get’s a another new life after use.

Join The Movement

Keep in the loop by following us on instagram or by joining our newsletter. We’re obsessed with our customers photos (or ‘postcards’), so don’t hesitate to tag us @batoko if you wanna show off your awesome new recycled swimsuit, we like to show you off too!

 

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I MEEEEEEEEAN!

How absolutely amazing is this? This is more than just a fad… a ‘fashion with a conscience’ trend, that we so often see in passing; that sadly doesn’t continue after the trend has frazzled out. This is something really quite major. And I’m so excited by this brand and its ethos. I just can’t quite believe how brilliant it is.

I briefly touched upon our recent horrific experience regarding global  sea-life during our trip to Florida. I wanted to do something for the better in support of our incredible oceans… well, I am completely aware that this is just a small step to ‘helping’ the cause, but its better than nothing, right? And such a brilliant step in the right direction.

Please do follow BATOKO across their socials:

Web: www.batoko.com

Instagram: @BATOKO

Facebook: /batokoswimwear

Twitter: @BatokoSwimwear

And without further ado, here are my Top 3 pieces from their online collection(s). Some pieces are in the SALE, so be quick!

Wild Cat batoko
WILD CAT SWIMMING COSTUME // WAS £40, NOW £30

 

 BATOKO BANANA LEAF
BANANA LEAF  SWIMMING COSTUME // £40

 

BATOKO Orca
ORCA PRINT SWIMMING COSTUME // £40

 

 

I want to finish this post by saying THANK YOU to the wonderful people at Batoko. Thank you for creating something so extraordinary, so special and so important.

Peace & love
C
✖✖✖


DISCLAIMER // This post is absolutely not sponsored By or affiliated WITH BATOKO, in any way shape or form, I just had to share how awestruck I am by thIS INCREDIBLE ETHICAL brand. Please check them ouT!

Web: www.batoko.com // Instagram: @BATOKO   // Facebook: /batokoswimwear // Twitter: @BatokoSwimwear

 

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The Big Feastival 2014.

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Well, I’ve been meaning to write up this post for a long while now! But, the usual happened… Lots going on with work, Eli running riot, holiday shopping, going on holiday (INCREDIBLE HOLIDAY – post to most certainly follow), more work and family time.

SO! Where do I begin?

We had the most amazing weekend at The Big Feastival and we were so sad when it came to an end! From start to finish – from the delicious food and drink we had the pleasure of tasting, actually watching and meeting our favourite Chef’s and of course, the absolutely incredible activities and performers for the kids. (I *even* loved the camping part too!). Quite literally, our perfect festival! We cannot wait until next year!

This post is most likely to be quite photo-heavy.

So here it goes!

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Our journey there (and back) was brilliant. No traffic and beautiful country roads as we travelled from our Essex-home to the Cotswolds. Eli slept a lot which was also great. We’d been up since 5am, so we hoped he’d sleep in the car to catch up. (We also could have done with sleeping en route too – we barely slept a wink for the excitement!)

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Our car was brilliant going across the fields – finally, proper off-roading in our off-roading car! It was raining and really quite chilly when we arrived on site, at Alex James’ farm.  We decided it best to hire a Mr Trolley, because as you can see, we did not travel light! I don’t know how we would have managed without it to be honest, lots and lots and lots of trips back and forth to the car I guess! Which, frankly, isn’t ideal with a toddler and drizzle! We hired the trolley when we arrived and again when we were packing up on the Sunday. We hired the trolley for the minimum time of 30 minutes. We weren’t far from the car so filling and emptying the trolley and returning it back to the Mr Trolley stand took no time at all! We located some flat land within the Family Campsite and set to work…

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Our wicked tent cost just £50 from Halfords! I honestly cannot recommend this tent enough. I’m not a camper, by any stretch of the imagination, (although after this trip, I might be a camper now!), but this tent was perfect! It took about 15 minutes to put up and about 10 minutes to take back down again (thanks to the help from Mr Eli of course!). It was sturdy and roomy inside; and it felt like really good quality. We’ve had a ‘pop-up’ tent previously (unfortunately, this tent is lost somewhere between France and Newcastle due to friends not returning it back to us, post-2008 Surf trip . They know we’re not happy about it…) and the new tent is by far a better product! I look forward to camping with this tent again.

We decided that we didn’t want to sleep on the floor of the tent – let’s be honest, we’re too old to be sleeping on the floor now. I also refused to sleep on a blow-up bed or with a sleeping bag. We purchased two very, very comfortable camp bed’s for a tenner each from eBay (brand new, inc postage!) and we took a long our Winter duvet as it tends to get very cold on a night, even in August. I suppose you could call us Glampers in respect of this. Eli also equally had his Glamping cap on with his Little Bird by Jools Oliver sheets and blankets in his travel cot.

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Never before have we been to a festival where there are food stalls on the camp site. The main ‘arena’ didn’t open until after 10, so the stalls were much-needed for our breakfast before you head into the main area. Of course, this isn’t any old food van on a campsite! This is a “Le Swine” van by Bruno Loubet! Also wanted to mention that on each campsite there are an amazing amount of loo’s, showers and an area to use a cooking stove should you wish. There were no camp fires allowed on the site, at all. I thought this was brilliant. I was of course worried about other people using gas around out tent due to there being several tragedies in the past few years, so this set me at ease. And how nice is it waking up and not smelling of fire?! Definitely made for a lovely camping experience.

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And… we’re in!

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We watched DJ BBQ for a wee while and then decided to head for some late-lunch!

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Mr Memoirs headed straight to the DJ BBQ stall where he ordered this incredible pulled pork burger! YUM!

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Me, being me, opted for Risotto… because that’s what you have when you arrive at a festival, right?

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We then spent some time at Adam Henson’s farm. Eli is a massive animal-lover so he was in his element being able to get up close and personal with all the lovely animals!

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We then caught Mr Levi Roots and his Reggae band.

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The Doom Bar tent by Sharps Brewery was particularly awesome, with its beach and secret tasting rooms! I had a lovely pint of IPA which tasted like honey.

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We’ve been going to festivals for over ten years now. But this festival was special. We had our beautiful, and well-behaved, little boy in tow – it literally could not have been any better!

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Dancing at the main stage!

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Having a drink with one of our favourite people, Mr Gennaro Contaldo. Last time we caught up with Gennaro, Eli was fast asleep and we were sat they didn’t meet properly. This time, Eli was more than awake!

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Time for the Hello Apparel to come out! This lovely sweater is available in store and online at Southwood Stores.

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Want to also do a massive shout-out to the ever-so-brilliant ladies from the Up All Hours tent. They provided a cosy, home-from-home environment in which you could change and feed your little one’s. I loved chatting to you both over the weekend! Thank you for making our festival experience a fresh and clean one! (And cheers for all the goodies you send us home with too!).  Up All Hours is a new parenting platform that connects, entertains and most importantly supports parents who are ‘Up All Hours’. sign up, here> Up All Hours.

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The Katsu curry from Yu Kyu was so good I had it TWICE over the course of the weekend.
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Crepes from Crêpe Lucette to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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It went A LOT higher and faster than I expected… and seemed to be never-ending!

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Only bumped into our favourite off of Countryfile! Mr Adam Henson!

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We went for ‘Number 5′ from Alex James’ Cheese Hub – and what a choice! It was so delicious and creamy – and went really well with our red wine back at the tent.

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I will have to do a blog post on everything Little Bird by Jools Oliver related – too much to talk about!

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One of our festival highlights was watching the lovely Justin Fletcher from CBeebies.

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I can’t bare these… but Mr Memoirs do love a Bloody Mary! He thoroughly enjoyed this one from Little Devil. It didn’t half have a kick to it!

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Well, this was dreamy! Amazing smoked short rib in a brioche bun with salsa and a fried egg. RIDICULOUSLY GOOD! It was the salsa that really did it for me. This was from the stunning Barbecoa van.

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Oh heck, it’s only David Loftus and Bruno Loubet!

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Chatting to David Loftus while we wait for Jamie and Jools to come from round the van!

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These two people, right there, are my favourite people. I adore Jamie and Jools (I know you’re all so sick of hearing this now!) but I do. We’re huge Jamie Oliver fans – every recipe we’ve ever cooked and in every Jamie restaurant we’ve ever dined, we’ve always eaten the most tasty food our tummies could muster. And Jools, well, Jools has given me the chance to dress my son in beautiful clothes that suit US as a family. Our son wears clothes that reflect him as a person and he looks so damn cool it’s untrue (not even being biased).  Oh, and while we’re on it…

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Speaking with Jools Oliver is probably the most star-struck I’ve ever been! (Even after meeting all those rockstars… and indeed the actual Queen!). She’s just beautiful, isn’t she?!

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We had a lovely Gin and Tonic while the boy slept, from the great guys over at Fever Tree. We love their soft drinks (mixers), they go amazingly well with Sipsmith Gin and Chase Vodka too!

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Watching Daisy Lowe bake (who knew she was doing that now?!) with her Mum Pearl Lowe and Danny Goffey standing infront of us.

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Seeing Jamie and Gennaro cook together in real life was an absolute pleasure. The relationship they both have is wonderful. They were so funny, informative and so full of passion.

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My path recently crossed with Alex James’ via work. I would have loved a chat and a proper photo with him but unfortunately his P.A wouldn’t let me. Such a shame! I took a #selfie irregardless, ha!

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We waited for what felt like hours for our pizza’s from Rossopomodoro – but when they arrived, my goodness, they were goooood! Worth the wait!

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Fat Boy Slim was incredible! We hadn’t intended on staying for the set from Norman Cook, but we got sucked in! Eli was fast asleep and the crowd was just so happy – the atmosphere was amazing!

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The next morning was our final day (booooooo). Mr Eli helped us pack up the tent so we could then go into the main arena and enjoy the rest of our last day at the festival.

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Eli and I had lovely bacon rolls and Mr Memoirs opted for Kedgeree from What The Dickens!

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Our first stop (and possibly my actual highlight of the festival!) was seeing the delightful Mr Bloom swoon. Eli was in absolute awe – he was so mesmerised, it was beautiful to watch him!

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Then we went to see Jamie and Adam Henson…

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…followed by Monica Galetti (who was surprisingly lovely in real life!)

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Then we spotted Mr Nathan Outlaw.

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After a final mooch around the site and a spot of lunch (yes, we went and had a Katsu Curry again) it was time to get the car packed up and drive home. We literally had the BEST weekend – we had the time of our lives, all of us. This is the perfect festival for a family – and of course, a foodie.

I must also take this opportunity to thank the brilliant folk over at Jamie’s Italian without whom we would not have had tickets The Big Feastival! We sadly missed out on the Early Bird tickets for the 2015 Big Feastival as it was while we were on holiday (we didn’t time that well did we!) but we will certainly be booking up when they’re available for general release.

MANY THANKS AGAIN BIG FEASTIVAL – YOU WERE EPIC!

MM.

 

 

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Mr Eli turns 2!

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I can hardly believe it. Our darling little boy turned 2 on Wednesday!

We had a wonderful day celebrating. We started off our day at 5:30am, (as we do most days!), we had lovely cuddles in bed before heading downstairs. We’d set the living room up the night before, ready for Eli to pounce bright and early the next day. We sauntered down the stairs and said a big “1, 2 3… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” as Eli entered the room. He stood completely still, mouth gaping, in utter shock! It was amazing. We must have stood there for a minute before he gathered that all these bright and exciting presents were actually for him! It was so sweet. He spent the entire morning overwhelmed, not quite sure where to look or where to run to next. It was amazing to see him opening presents this year, and even better when he realised what was actually beneath the wrapping paper. Just the best feeling in the world – I could have watched him all day,  as he was just enjoying EVERYTHING. He even blew out his candles himself this year! (I spent the day previous baking his cake – never have I ever been so stressed in the kitchen in all my life! Blog post on the cake to follow)

We went off to the Big Smoke a little later than anticipated due to the present-opening overload. The weather forecast was torrential rain for the day… but it was bright when we got to London Zoo; and swelteringly hot by mid-afternoon. We went to Colchester Zoo for Eli’s 1st birthday last year… think we may make a Zoo visit it an annual thing for Eli’s birthday as he absolutely LOVES the animals! To the extent that he cried when we would leave a section of the zoo to move onto the next area! His highlights were definitely the giraffe’s, hyena’s, goat’s (!!!) and all the different monkey’s (takes one to know one!).

We had a very full day at the zoo and Eli had TWO naps! TWO! We had a not-so-good experience at Strada in Camden and headed home – we didn’t get in until 10:30pm! Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!

Eli is the happiest little boy who loves adventure’s. It’s incredible seeing him grow – I never thought we’d actually be able to see it happening before our very eyes, but he is developing every single day. He completed our lives he arrived on 6th August 2012 and we couldn’t be prouder parents. Eli is quite literally magic.

Our precious boy, always ask questions – always be curious. We love you to the moon and the stars and back!

Here are some snaps from Eli’s 2nd birthday celebrations!

#MrEliTurns2

MM.

x

#MrEliTurns2

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So there we have it. As of 21.43 on 6th August, we have our very own 2 year old human!

 

 

 

 

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Mr Eli turns ONE!

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This was us, a little after 9:43pm on Monday 6th August 2012. I cannot believe our beautiful baby boy is now ONE! This year has just flown by. Mr Eli has been so so brave throughout all the challenges he’s faced – he’s the happiest little boy, with the cheekiest grin!

To celebrate his birthday yesterday, the three us of took a trip to Colchester Zoo. It was just brilliant. We had the BEST day! Colchester Zoo is just 45 minutes away from where we live; and after a recent trip to a farm we knew animals BIG animals would go down a treat with the birthday boy! He loved seeing the elephants, zebra’s, rhino’s and of course, all of the different types of tortoises! Can’t lie, OH and I enjoyed it thoroughly too. We made lots of “woah” and “ahh” noises throughout the day.

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Just a perfect way to spend the day reminiscing over Eli’s first year on the planet and how this bundle of joy has grown into such a handsome chap.

Happy very FIRST birthday Mr Eli. You’re our absolute world and we love you more than anything.

xxx

 

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Surprises from my best friends!

Table at Babylon restaurant, Kensington Roof Gardens.

On Saturday of last week (9th June), I was whisked off to Kensington for lunch with my best friends at Babylon, Kensington Roof Gardens. The restaurant and garden’s were absolutely amazing… there were real-life flamingo’s in the gardens! On the ROOF, in Kensington! Crazy!

When I arrived at the restaurant I called my friends and they came and met me at the reception and lead me to our table. They’d decked the table out with ‘Baby Shower’ banners and presents! What a lovely surprise!

I thought I’d share the lovely gifts that they got us 😀

Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.
Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.

 

We're massive fans of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", so this amazing box has taken pride of place in the nursery!

 

Lots of presents! Lots of essentials 🙂

 

Beautiful gifts from The Little White Company.

 

Absolutely adore this super-soft bunny rabbit and elephant rattle from The Little White Company!

MM.