Meet Raakhee Stratton – Easy Peasy Greeny, from Leicester, UK
Follow Raakhee on Instagram - @easypeasygreeny
Meet an Eco Parent! This is the another post in our very special "Meet an Eco Parent" series, which gives you a chance to meet a parent from the UK who considers themselves an 'eco parent' or a 'green parent'; those parents who really think about sustainable impacts when raising their children, and are dedicated to their families and to the environment.
Thank you to Raakhee for answering these questions!
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m a UK based eco blogger. I started my blog in January 2020 after I went to the supermarket to buy a single lemon and the only option available to me was a plastic net bag with 4/5, which was more than I needed. It got me thinking about food and plastic waste. My blog started off as a bit of a hobby and it’s grown since then. I’m also studying to towards a BSc Environmental Science part-time with the Open University – at 43, it’s weird being a student again. I live with my partner and 7-year-old daughter, and we do what we can for the environment and I started my VA business seven years ago primarily because I didn’t want to miss my daughter growing up. I used to work in London leaving first thing in the morning and returning at 7;30pm where she would already be in bed just didn’t sit right with me. I get to do the school run and attend parents evening and I have a great relationship with her. I consider myself an imperfect environmentalist. Sustainable living looks different for everyone, especially when it comes to budget, availability, and trust in companies. I’m a huge believer in leaving any judgement at the door, we parents (especially Mums) are already hard on ourselves.
What does a day in your life look like?
The day starts off with me trying to whack the alarm clock because I need another hour of sleep! Once the school run is done, I make myself a cuppa (can’t function without a cup of tea) and have a look at my diary so I know what client tasks I have. Around mid-morning maybe put a wash load on which I hang up to dry (we don’t have a drier). After lunch, I will carry on with a little more client with any housework in between then and start working on some social media ideas for my blog; creating graphics and writing the text.
This takes me comfortably to the afternoon school pick up and once were home, we go through any homework (maths isn’t my strong point but I’m getting there).
I will start cooking dinner and my daughter will sit in the kitchen and tell me about what she learned that day and a general chit chat. Sometimes she will help me with the cooking, she loves helping in the kitchen and when she’s grating cheese, I have to keep an eye on her because she’s got a habit of eating it! I time dinner so it’s ready when my partner comes home, and we sit at the dining table eating dinner each talking about our day.
Once I clean up after dinner, it’s time for me to get my daughter ready for bed. We have snuggle time where we either listen to chapter of a book on Audible (we’re currently listening to Harry Potter) or I will read a book to her. This, by far, is my favourite part of the day. She will get into bed, read a book and about 30 mins or so later, she tells me it’s time for ‘snug as a bug in a rug’ where I will tuck her in and kiss her goodnight.
Dishwasher goes on and I make myself a cuppa and study for an hour or so before watching a bit of TV with my partner and then bedtime.
Would you describe yourself as an ‘eco parent’?
Yes, I am an eco-parent. I actively encourage my daughter to care about the environment – after all, she’s going to inherit it from us. I’m a huge advocate for teaching children to love and care for their environment. We go litter picking, I’ve taught her about recycling and food waste, why we turn off the taps and lights when we are not using it. She was over the moon when she got her climate hero green blue peter badge – a proud parent moment for us. I’ve been working on some digital download games/activities busy parents can purchase for their kids – there are some free ones too. When teaching kids about the environment, it needs to be fun, I find that kids learn better when it’s fun.
What is your top eco hack for babies / kids / family?
I have a few – take a refillable bottle out wherever you go and encourage your little ones to look out for water fountains. They will adopt that habit as the norm and do it automatically. Another one is buying toys/clothes second hand. You can really find some real gems at the fraction of the price when you shop second hand. When my daughter was a baby, the cot was second hand (my dad had my old one in the loft), a wooden changing tray that sat on top of the cot, a buggy travel system, a foldable baby walker, baby grows / clothes, bottle warmer, bottle steriliser, baby sleep rocker – and those are just the ones I can remember. We saved so much money. Once she no longer needed these things, I sold them on Facebook Marketplace so they found new homes.
Do you have any advice for parents hoping to avoid plastics (and other materials with toxins) in baby / family products?
Do your research. There is so much misinformation out there and don’t be too hard on yourself if you didn’t realise something, we are always learning. Greenwashing is a huge area and I talk/post regularly on it. Some companies are getting really good at making us think their product is good for the environment or made in sustainable way but they use buzzwords the often trip up us as consumers. Once you get your head around greenwashing, you’ll start spotting it.
Do you talk to other parents about your own sustainable choices?
I do, I talk about plastics quite a bit. Plastics aren’t the enemy; single use plastics are the enemy and this is something that we need to work towards eliminating. I talk a lot about safety razors because I think this is one area that can easily be changed to a sustainable option – plastic razors are made up of different materials and will just end up in landfill. I also talk about toxin free cleaning products, and I even have a recipe on my website for toilet cleaning bombs that are inexpensive to make, I’m in the process of trying out different eco-friendly products/recipes and will post ones that work for me. One thing I never do is judge someone. I don’t find it helpful, and it does the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Shaming someone is a massive no-no.
What is the biggest challenge that you face as an ‘eco’ parent?
The plastic that comes with toys – it’s so unnecessary. My daughter is the first granddaughter and first great granddaughter so, as you can imagine, she is gets loads from generous family members so Christmas time we have a huge sack full of plastic packaging mainly from toys. Another area I find challenging are clothes. They don’t last as long as they used to, some shops make and sell clothes that are so cheap, they’re not designed to last very long. I’ve been learning how to repair clothes and I’m not that bad, I’m always on the lookout for tips that I can use and share with others.
What are your favourite eco friendly baby / family products?
This one is probably more for parents. Buy yourself a thermal mug with a lid on it that you can use in the house. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve made myself a cup of tea that I’ve put it down because I got distracted with putting a wash load on or run the hoover around ‘quickly’ or school pick up and it’s stone cold by the time I remember I made myself a cuppa. It’s saved me from having to throw the tea away (reheating it isn’t the same) and saves me money from having to make more cups (plus more tea leaves, milk, sugar) – it all adds up.
Do you have any advice for parents who want to raise an ‘eco’ baby / child?
Having kids doesn’t come with a manual. The only thing we can do is our best. If you’re not sure of something, ask others for advice or do some research online. We have a lot of information at our fingertips. Try to buy second hand where you can. Having children is expensive and one way to help save money is second hand and as they get older, talk to them about the environment.
What is the best thing about being a parent?
Watching your children grow into little people with their own personalities and quirks. When they say something, you instantly know which parent it came from. Has being a parent changed you?
Most definitely! When you become a parent, everything is a danger. I will always remember when my daughter started crawling and she was fascinated with climbing the stairs – trying to encourage their curiosity without completely freaking out was a real juggling act. I was never one for the outdoors but since my daughter came along, I try to encourage outdoor activities, even if it’s running around in the garden rather than being couped up in the house with an iPad in her hands. I’m also really aware of what she eats, I have a lot more fruit in the house, if she’s hungry, she will grab something out of the fruit bowl – thankfully, she likes eating fruit and she’s not afraid to try new things.
How do you pass along advice for sustainable living to your family / child(ren)?
We have open discussions about something I’ve seen or something I want to try. Most of the time, they are happy to go along with it because I’m an eco-blogger. My partner knows that I do my research. When my daughter sees lots of litter in the park, she gets a little sad about it and encourages us to go litter picking. We can only do what we do.
Anything else you’d like say?
I love sharing what I know. As a busy mum, i keep so much information in my head that there’s not always space in our brains to take on more information. For me, parenting on any one day is like having 4,576 tabs open. I share what I know and try to keep in simple as possible. Because sustainable living looks different for everyone, one thing I always say on my social media and in my blogs is – Start Small, Do What You Can, Build From There.
Follow Raakhee on Instagram - @easypeasygreeny