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Working From Home Tips

Well, the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. The UK has been on lockdown now for just over 2 weeks and many of us are working from home. We're probably a bit late with this post, but better late than never right?

David and I spent 8 years running the business from home, so thought we could help by giving you our top tips. Of course, it's a whole different ball game if you have children (and no childcare!). If any of you are struggling to adapt, and finding working from home tricky, we hope these tips help.

⭐️Get dressed - As tempting as it might be to stay in your pyjamas, you will be more productive if you are dressed for work. By all means wear casuals, but keep pj's for bed. It's important to differentiate between work and bedtime.

⭐️Wear shoes - I know that sounds odd, but it's a good way to differentiate between work time and home time. Once the shoes come off at the end of the day, it's time to relax.

⭐️Have a designated work space - Try and have a work space away from where you usually relax. Sit at a table if possible. If your only option is on the sofa, sit the opposite end to where you would usually sit and don't put on the TV - it'll be too much of a distraction.

⭐️Work near a window - If possible, try and sit near a window to work. The sunlight will be a natural mood enhancer and help brain function.

⭐️Take a proper lunch break - Now, we're as guilty as anyone for not doing this, but it helps so much. Just taking the time out to go and prepare food is sometimes enough of a break, but try and sit and eat away from your computer if you can (again guilty!) and even better, sit in your back garden or even your doorstep, if the sun is shining, to get some vitamin D. 

⭐️Remove distractions - We know we need to connect with our friends and family more than ever right now, but unless your job involves social media, avoid it. It's far too easy to get lost in the scroll and before you know it you've spent an hour looking at memes. Don't have Facebook or Instagram tabs open on your computer and set your phone to silent. Instead of being alerted to the fact you have a message, you will be able to check your phone at a convenient time.

⭐️Take breaks - We're lucky that we have a little dog who let's us know when he needs letting out and in doing so gets us away from our desks for a couple of minutes. If you're starting to get brain fog, go and make a drink or spend 5 minutes in the garden (or in an open doorway or near an open window). 

⭐️Combine housework with breaks - Bit of a weird one, but if you're working from home it's important for 'home' to feel organised too. If you have a load of washing to do, pop it in the machine before starting work. When it's finished, have a break to peg it out on the washing line (or clothes horse if it's in a different room to where you are working). You'll get to have a break, get some fresh air and also feel better knowing that you you've tackled some housework.

 

Now, all of these things go out of the window a little if you have littles to look after too!

David and I have only just started to get into the swing of working from home and looking after a three year old. We're now taking it in turns to work alternate days*. One of us will work while the other looks after our son. Yes, it means we're working half the hours we usually do, but having a full day to get your head down and get work done is so important. It's equally as important to us to have that quality time with our little boy.

(*also working during his nap times and sometimes when he's asleep at night... or with him sat on my lap while he watches Blippi, Paw Patrol or Shimmer and Shine...!).

If you are struggling, please remember, we're not just working from home - we're trying to work from home during a global pandemic - there is a HUGE difference.

I hope you find at least one of these tips helpful. If you have any tips for working with a little one, we'd love to hear them! Please leave a comment below if you have any suggestions.

Much love and stay safe.

Tx

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Celebrating World Book Day

Celebrating World Book Day

One of the greatest's joys to share with the little ones in your life is the joy of reading and here at The Drifting Bear we love nothing more than snuggling down with a good book! This World Book Day (5th March) we will be picking out some of our favourite stories to enjoy throughout the day.

Sharing a story with children of any age is such a great way to promote learning, play and imagination... also, who doesn't enjoy putting on a silly voice?!

Our love of books naturally lead to the creation of two of our favourite cushion designs for children, our Bedtime Story Bear Cushion and the Child's Story Book Cushion. They celebrate that special time of day when you pick out a book, snuggle up close and let the magic of storytelling unfold.

Whether your tastes are more old school (some classic Dr Suess rhymes) or modern (there's no such thing as a Gruffalo... right?), we would urge everyone to find a spare 5 minutes in their hectic day to settle down and share a good book.

What are your favourite books to read to your little ones? Let us know below so we can check them out.

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International Women's Day

International Women's Day

On 8th March we celebrate International Women’s Day, a date that has become more celebrated in recent years, and deservedly so.

Last year we had the honour of taking part in a collaboration between The Princes Trust and Not On The High Street as part of their Women Supporting Women Campaign.  During this collaboration we created a blanket design with an empowering feminist message…"Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them".  It is a quote that has resonated with us ever since so we did not want to let this year’s International Women’s Day pass without highlighting its importance again.  This year we have taken those powerful words and created a bold and beautiful print to highlight them, we hope you like it and find it as uplifting to look at as we do!

Although the statistics suggest that opportunities for women are improving it is still worrying to us to hear that, last year, approximately 388,000 women were not in employment, education or training. 

It can be difficult to know how best to help personally when faced with such statistics but here at Drifting Bear HQ we do our best in our day to day lives by ensuring that we reach out to colleagues, friends and family in the most inclusive way possible.

Our own workforce is made up of some super talented and inspiring women and we love supporting other businesses who also promote equal opportunities within their workplaces, both small and large, locally and internationally.  

Happy International Women's Day to all the strong women out there and to the men who support and lift them up.

 

 

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February - Tree Update

February - Tree Update

Thanks to all our loved up customers who placed orders with us this Valentine's Day we have been able to share the love by planting lots more trees!

This month the trees donated from your orders will be planted in Ethiopia an area that is facing great challenges due to environmental degradation.  Taking place on communal lands and around homesteads the planting of these trees will be tied to sustainable business for the local community: fruit and coffee production beekeeping and animal fattening. Community cooperatives will be the primary implementers of the project while school clubs will be established to engage in the tree plantation to learn by doing.

As always we would like to thank everyone who has placed an order with us and helped us to continue with this work that we feel so passionately about.

Wishing you a very happy February... keep spreading the love. x

Tanya David and all at The Drifting Bear Co.⁠

* Image courtesy of 'One Tree Planted'

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The BEST vegan pancakes!

Now, I want to start with a disclaimer - We are not vegan, but we know how cutting down on meat and dairy consumption is one of the biggest (and maybe easiest) ways to help combat climate change. We have reduced our intake of meat dramatically in the last year and often eat vegetarian or vegan meals together as a family. Saying goodbye to cheese and finding the perfect milk replacement for David's beloved cup of tea is proving a little difficult, but every little helps right?

One of my favourite planet friendly recipes is for these vegan pancakes, adapted from a recipe by 'Yoga girl' Rachel Brathen. You can find the original recipe here.

I like to serve mine with either stewed berries or blueberries and maple syrup. A dollop of coconut yogurt makes them extra delicious!

So, this pancake day, why not ditch the diary and try these little fellas? Let us know if you do!

Best Vegan Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

3/4 tbsp baking powder

sprinkle of salt

1 cup non dairy milk (I like to use Koko milk)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Valencian orange essence (you can sub this for any flavour you like! Original recipe called for vanilla, which also tastes great)

1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Vegan margarine or oil for frying (I like to use Flora buttery, but coconut oil works well and adds flavour)

Suggested toppings - 

Fresh or stewed fruit, maple syrup or coconut yoghurt

 

Method:

* Add all pancake ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk together to form a smooth batter. 

* On a medium heat, add around a teaspoon of margarine in a large frying pan until melted.

* Use a ladle to add the batter to the pan to make three small pancakes. 

* Allow the pancakes to cook for a couple of minutes and watch for bubbles to appear on the top. Once the batter looks dry on top, check the underneath to see if they are browned. If so, use a spatula to flip them over.

* Cook for another few minutes until browned on both sides.

* Remove from the pan and stack to keep warm until ready to serve.

* Cook remaining batter in batches until you have the desired number of pancakes. Reserve remaining batter in the fridge and use within 2 days. 

* Serve pancakes with your favourite toppings and enjoy!

 

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January - Tree update

January - Tree update

As we say hello to a new decade we continue our commitment to doing the best we can for our planet from our little corner of Devon!

In 2020 we will continue to update you with where your trees are being planted at the end of each month.  For January we decided to help Australia after the terrible fires recently.  Our trees will not be planted until the fires have subsided and the soil is ready, to ensure that the restoration of important wildlife habitats is as successful as possible after such devastation.

As you may have seen on our social media, this is quite a personal one for us having visited this beautiful country.  We are so pleased to be able to start a new year afresh by contributing trees to a part of the world we know and love.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year from everyone at The Drifting Bear Co.⁠

 

* Image courtesy of 'One Tree Planted'

 

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Plastic Free

Plastic Free

Plastic is a big issue for us (especially living by the sea). Learning that plastic is getting into the water we drink and the food we eat made us realise it was time to take action.

Since 2018 we’ve been reducing the amount of plastic we buy at home and also trying to eliminate plastic from our business.

Here’s what we’ve done -

At home

♻️ swapped hand gel and shower gel for bars of soap

♻️ swapped to shampoo and conditioner bars

♻️ swapped to bamboo toothbrushes

♻️ invested in a bamboo safety razor

♻️ make our own 'zero waste' dry shampoo 

♻️ use reusable sanitary items

♻️ use reusable fabric wipes or biodegradable wipes for our son

♻️ use biodegradable nappies (and potty trained early to get him out of them)

♻️ use fabric make up remover wipes and coconut oil

♻️ refill washing up liquid, fabric conditioner and antibacterial spray, rather than buying new

♻️ get milk delivered in returnable glass bottles

♻️ buy bread from a local bakery and request a paper bag

♻️ buy loose vegetables from local green grocer (or only buy loose veg in the large supermarkets)

♻️ always opt for items packed in paper or card rather than plastic at the supermarkets (oats, pasta etc)

♻️ go to 'zero waste' shops with our own containers to fill

♻️ always carry a reusable bag

♻️ use a reusable coffee cup when having a take away coffee

♻️ use reusable water bottles

♻️ invested in a 'Guppy bag' to wash clothes made of man made fibres

♻️ try to avoid buying clothes made from man made fibres

♻️ requested second hand gifts and no new plastic toys for our son (I'll write another blog about this!)

♻️ stopped buying gifts made from or covered in plastic

♻️ use recyclable wrapping paper and paper washi tape rather than plastic tape.

♻️ swapped to biodegradable poop bags for Sydney

♻️ buy dog food in paper bags

♻️ stopped buying dog treats and keep a jar with carrot pieces in the fridge instead

♻️ replaced doggy dental sticks in plastic packaging to alternatives in cardboard boxes


At work

♻️ swapped our plastic ended tubes for 100% cardboard tubes

♻️ swapped bubble lined bags to padded ‘Jiffy Green’ bags, made completely of paper / card

♻️ our cellophane sleeves have always been biodegradable ✨

♻️ replaced plastic postal bags for all our cushions and blankets to carbon neutral, compostable bags made from sugar cane

♻️ we've managed to get our cushion supplier to offer 100% organic cotton, rather than man made fabrics. They needed to invest in new machinery, so this was a huge win!

♻️ swapped our packing tape to paper tape

♻️ replaced organza gift bags with reusable cotton bags

♻️ swapped bubble wrap to biodegradable bubble wrap. We’ll be swapping to corrugated card in the office after current stock runs out.

♻️ reduced the number of branded stickers we use on packaging (the backing paper can’t be recycled)

♻️ use twine to tie our Royal Mail sacks rather that plastic zip ties

♻️ requested no plastic packaging when ordering with suppliers

♻️ managed to get our frame suppliers to trial plastic free packaging 

♻️ subscribed to ‘Who Gives a Crap’ toilet roll

♻️ replaced peak time staff treats from tubs of chocolates to plastic free, foil covered (and vegan!) chocolates

♻️ buy plastic free tea bags

 

We know we're not perfect, but we're doing what we can (the list is actually a lot longer than I thought it would be!). Hopefully we've given you some ideas of how you can easily reduce your plastic waste too.

If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment below, we'd love to hear them!

 

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December - Tree update

December - Tree update

Wow! What a year! Thank you everyone so much for your orders this year. It not only means so much to us, it also means we've been able to plant a huge number of trees to help this little old planet of ours.

For the past 12 months we have been working with reforestation partners to plant 1 tree for every single order we receive. Thanks to YOU we have planted thousands of trees in the places that need them most, including Rwanda, Kenya, Québec, Indonesia, India, Tanzania, Haiti and The Amazon Rainforest.

One of the images to haunt us from the year has been the fires in The Amazon, so we will be donating Decembers trees to help regenerate the rainforest.

Your custom means so much to us and its amazing to be able to give something back in this way.⁠

We wish you a happy and peaceful new year,

Tanya, David and all at The Drifting Bear Co.⁠

 

* Image courtesy of 'One Tree Planted'

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November - Tree update

November - Tree update

Guatemala has one of the most extensive and diverse forest systems in Central America. Its name is said to mean "land of the trees" in the Mayan-Toltec language. Sadly, the country is losing these precious forests at a rapid rate. Because of its topography, Guatemala is susceptible to landslides, floods and other natural disasters. However, the biggest driver of deforestation has been population growth and economic disparity. With more than one million hectares of land that could be harnessed for reforestation, planting tree here helps to bring back the healthy forests that have characterised the country since ancient times.⁠

Thank you for all your orders during November and helping us make a difference - it means so much to us!

* Image courtesy of 'One Tree Planted'

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October - Tree update

October - Tree update

For every order placed with us during October we are working with our partners to plant trees and expand Québec's forests, protecting them against urban sprawl, the timber industry, and resource development projects. This helps to ensure the forests remain strong, and also helps to educate the community on the importance of sustainable forest management in Québec.⁠

Did you know Québec forests are some of the most ecologically rich ecosystems on the planet? They are home to more than 225 species of bird, 50 species of tree, and 60 mammal species including moose, black bear, fox, and caribou.⁠

Thank you for your continued support helping us to take care of this planet of ours and the animals who live alongside us.

*Image courtesy of 'One Tree Planted'

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