Dear Mummy, I’d like to introduce you to my friend ‘Spike’. He’s a Lazy Lizard. A beautiful handmade soft toy.
We’ve been on an adventure for some time now. He’s been with me taking my first steps through the bluebell woods of Micheldever in the Spring, jetting away on holidays to Gibraltar in the summer and getting his groove on at the Just So Festival, in fact we’ve been inseparable since we first met.
So where did he come from? A local company called Lazy Lizards based in Winchester, Hampshire.
However he was born the other side of the world in the fair-trade ‘Barefoot’ workshops in Sri Lanka. Which have been producing toys and textiles like him for over 40 years. Giving local women in rural communities the opportunity to create and make handmade items for a fair wage and training.
‘Barefoot’ was the brainchild of entrepreneur, Barbara Sansoni.
Sansoni textiles are inspired by the exotic land of Sri Lanka, much different to dreary England. That’s why they are so bright. They use Cibacron F/FN Swiss dyes which make their colourful yarns and fabrics.
All Barefoot products are made from cotton, silk or wool yarn. The dyes are safe and where stuffing is used, it comprises of kapok pulp. All fibres are natural and, therefore, biodegradable.
Barefoot products meet the standards required by EU and UK legislation and are safe for all ages from newborns upwards. That’s reassuring. They are also washable, which makes my mummy happy. Everything is produced in the villages and nothing is mass-produced. No child labour is used.
There are no factories and no production lines. This makes me happy, to think that my friend ‘Spike’ was born from someone else’s imagination and hand. He has an ethnicity, and a connection to this far away place, which one day I would hope to travel to.
Each toy has a unique personality and no two are the same. This is why Spike and I get on so well, as he’s slightly bonkers just like me.
Lazy Lizards in Winchester was established by Jules. She found Barefoot on her travels and wanted to share them with the world. Jules has been creating and trading in Barefoot products for some time and we’re glad we visited her site. I’m not the only one who has fallen in love with this quirky toy.
Jules has friends of her own too, Lemon and Lime – the frilled-neck lizard twins and Funky Unk – the bright red thorny devil. You can follow the adventures of Lazy Lizards on Twitter and Facebook.
I love my Lazy Lizard’s quirkiness and colours, the fact that he was handmade by talented people on the other side of the world. Spike is better travelled than me! Whenever we go on our adventures people always comment on how unusual he is.
He has been made so well, that when I pull at his legs and explore his quirky shapes and feet, he doesn’t look worn or tired.
He may not be the softest of creatures, but this adds to the appeal. His texture is almost natural and adds to the sensory experience of playing with a toy that isn’t the bog standard soft plush cuddly toy. This is what makes him stand out from the rest in my toy box and why I always reach for him first.
I hope to carry on with my adventures with Spike and you may see him crop up from time to time on my blog. He’s definitely one of the most colourful characters I’ve ever met on my travels so far!
There are so many of his friends looking for homes here in the UK, why don’t you see if you can give one of them a home this Christmas?