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Monday, 17 October 2016

Creating a #brightFuture for our children

Ever since the birth of my firstborn son back in 1988, I have tried to be the best person that I can possibly be (not always a successful mission, but I do my best). Children have a way of making you want to be the best version of yourself, providing a good role model for their future aspirations and leading them towards adulthood by example. Now, 28 years on, I have three, very successful grown-up children who make me proud everyday; two wonderful little ones who fill my heart with joy;  an adorable little grandson who has given me the most treasured gift of being a grandparent and a new baby granddaughter, who is due in a few weeks time. Over these years, I have endeavoured to do my best, hoping to make my little corner of the universe as happy, positive and productive as I possibly can. Life isn't always easy, and there have been plenty of ups and downs, but I know in my heart that I have always put my family first and foremost in every decision that I have ever made.

family


Becoming a parent and grandparent has also made me look at the world differently, seeing the bigger picture of how my choices impact our world. Things that we do now, can have a huge effect on the lives of future generations. How we choose to live our lives today can affect our children's tomorrows. This is a huge responsibility and something that I don't take lightly.

In a recent survey sponsored by Unilever, 90% of parents believed that if everyone takes a few small steps to improve the environment, then we can make the world a better place. Each and everyone of us is capable of changing a few aspects of our lives for the better to make a brighter future for our children. Trying to make environmentally friendly choices in everyday tasks, being mindful of our actions, looking at more sustainable ways of doing things and trying to help others are all positive steps.

As a family, we consider ourselves to be pretty green. We are all passionate vegetarians and eat a meat-free diet, which greatly reduces our impact on the environment. I make menu plans and shop for the week, ensuring that no food is thrown away. We are strong believers in recycling and re-using our waste where possible. We keep a close eye on our household's water and energy consumption, and make sure that we are not wasteful with resources.  The children have all been brought up to be respectful of what we have and from a young age have made positive steps such as turning off lights when leaving a room; turning the tap off when brushing teeth; putting plastic, glass and paper into the recycling containers and donating unwanted toys and clothes to charity shops. Every little positive step helps and you are never too young or too old to make a positive difference. 60% of parents surveyed said they were trying to live in a greener way at home, let's hope that one day everyone gets on board and does their bit for the environment.

Unilever have recently launched their #brightFuture initiative. Their new advert on TV is really moving, showing the things that the brand are doing to take positive steps towards making the future a better place. Domestos is helping children in developing countries get access to proper toilets with a commitment to help 25 million people by 2020. Persil has joined with UNICEF and helped 10 million children into education and Dove has made a positive impact on 19 million young people through its Self-Esteem Project. All incredibly worthy projects and a way for them to give something back to the global community. 482 million lives have been improved with projects positively impacting on health and hygiene in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Unilever and Britmums sent me some products from the brand to try, keeping in mind how they relate to the #brightFuture initiative and how they can contribute to a better way of living for my family.

Unilever


We are so lucky in the UK to have clean running water, good sanitation and hygienic living conditions. Domestos helps maintain clean spaces for our children, preventing the spread of disease and improving the quality of their lives. Domestos bleach is also a great product for upcycling old clothes! Tie dying tops or adding funky bleach streaks to jeans gives a new lease of life to old tired clothing and is a great way of re-using things that may otherwise end up in landfill.

Persil Non-Bio allows us to wash clothing using a low temperature, economy wash setting. This saves water and electricity, yet we can still be confident that our clothing will be clean. Persil encourages children to get outside to explore, play and learn, giving them a love and understanding of the great outdoors. Getting muddy is just part of the fun and something we don't need to stress about. Giving children freedom is so important to their wellbeing.

The Dove Self Esteem Project is helping young people to grow in confidence and builds self-esteem. 8 out of 10 girls have admitted to opting out of activities over concern for their body image. As a mum of three daughters, this is something that matters to me considerably. Self-image can limit a young person's potential. Dove believes that it is who you are that defines you, where confidence is the real source of beauty. Workshops, activities and online resources are encouraging girls to enjoy a positive relationship with how they look. My 14 year old daughter suffers with dry skin, so the Dove Derma Spa Goodness body lotion and nourishing shower wash is really good for her. If it makes her skin look and feel better, it can really help boost her body confidence. It is little things like using the right products that can make a big difference.

My wish for the future is that everyone accepts their own personal responsibility and tries their best to do things for the good of our planet and for each other. If we all come together, there is hope for our tomorrow. I want my own five children to contribute to their #brightFuture by doing the best they can and by being the best that they can. If we all do what we can and believe in the power of change, then maybe our future and our children's futures will be bright.


This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever.

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