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Friday, 24 August 2018

Mama & Baby | Salam Sisters Review


Growing up in the era of barbie and bratz dolls I hardly saw any representation of people that looked like me or my family, forget hijabi dolls there were hardly any dolls or toys that represented people of colour, with different eye colours, types of hair and facial features. All the toys were very euro-centric.

Obviously as a child I didn't pick this up, but it did cause an underlying effect, that now when I reflect on it, is down to what we were exposed to as children. What I mean by that is, by only being exposed to very 'white' European dolls as well as the colourism that exists in our culture I grew up thinking or feeling like those dolls represented the ideal beauty standard.

I never felt comfortable giving my daughter a barbie not even for the reason I mentioned above, but because of how sexualised the dolls are. Why does a young child need a doll with accentuated womanly features and makeup? 

I could talk about these issues but that calls for another post entirely, I just wanted you to get the idea for why I was so excited when I came across the Salam Sisters dolls.


Salam Sisters is a group of 5 fun, loveable, culturally diverse dolls, each doll has different hobbies, interests and skills. They're not your average dolls, each one motivates your child to dream big, be ambitious, compassionate and follow their dreams. 

Choosing the doll I wanted for my daughter was not an easy task. The radiographer in me wanted to choose Nura who loves science, or Karima who loves sports and dreams of being an olympian (my daughter started playing football before she could walk) but I went for Yasmina because it's the one that looked most like her and representation is one of the main reasons I fell in love with these dolls. For me it was important to have a doll that looked like her to encourage self-confidence. I would love to have the whole collection for her one day so she can see the beauty of diversity in her toys as she does in the real world.

Yasmina arrived just in time for Eid, when I opened the box the excitement in her face made our hearts melt. She couldn't wait to take the doll out of the box and start exploring. After opening I saw how this doll was more than 'just a doll'.

Inside the box was the Yasmina doll wearing a removable pre-styled scarf and under-cap, a spare scarf to style your own, a hairbrush, activity book and an augmented reality play-mat.




They are aimed for children aged 3+ as there may be small parts, which pose a choking hazard, in this case the smallest thing was the shoes (which isn't that small), however, I have been supervising her play just to be on the safe side.

For now my daughter enjoys role playing with her doll, brushing the hair, putting on and removing the shoes and that's as far as it goes because she's only 16 months, when she understands a little bit more I will be introducing the book at play-mat to her.


The play-mat is pretty cool and the first time I've come across something like this. When you download the free Salam Sisters app, you can use the play mat to bring your doll to life through augmented reality.


If you want to your child to be able to make use of all the features that come with the doll I would recommend this for girls aged 5 and above, but younger children can still play with the doll, they just may not understand the concept completely.

When I originally posted about the dolls a few people messaged me saying they thought the dolls were too expensive, I was also skeptical to begin with when I first came across them but let me tell you the price is so worth it. Like I said they're not your average doll as they have so many dimensions to them, the doll itself, the accessories and how technology is incorporated into it via the app. It's like the statement piece of the toy collection.

My daughter loves trying to feed the doll and read with it (I think she thinks this is her new sibling)




The quality of the doll, the packaging, the illustrations and everything just shows how much thought, amazing craftsmanship and work went into this project and I commend the artist Peter Gould and his team for being able to execute this so well.

You can check out the rest of the dolls in the range and purchase your own by clicking here

Follow Salam Sisters on
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What do you think of these dolls? Drop a comment below!

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Mama & Baby | "Don't cuddle her too much, you'll spoil her"


Don't hold her too much, you'll spoil her

Don't look at her too much you'll give her nazr/ayn

Don't pick her up or go to her when she cries she needs to learn to be independent.

These are some of the things I've been hearing since my daughter was born. Yes as a newborn she spent most of the time in my arms, yes she cries sometimes when she can't see me, yes she still sleeps in our bed even though her cot-bed is right next to us, yes sometimes I cuddle her till she falls asleep. If that's what you call spoilt then yes, she is spoilt. But you know what I really don't care and I wouldn't have it any other way.

My daughter was born 7 weeks early and spent a whole month in hospital, I didn't get to hold her as soon as she was born and for a whole month I had to leave her on her own in the hospital every night. This may be the reason why my husband and I dote on her so much, why we don't like to let her 'cry it out', it brings back all of those memories seeing her in an incubator, struggling to breathe, feeding her through a nasogastric tube, spending our nights wondering if she's crying and what if the nurses are too busy to comfort her? That yearning to just be able to hold her and take her home.

I would say I'm a fair parent, I believe in discipline and saying no to a child when it's appropriate, I don't spoil her materialistically, I don't believe in giving her everything she wants, I don't believe in letting her run riot and not having any consideration for those around her. My husband on the other hand is the softie, yes she is a daddy's girl through and through. We both teach her which behaviours are appropriate and which behaviours are not. But I also don't believing in strict or harsh parenting, hitting them, letting babies cry it out or letting them get distressed to teach them a lesson.

Loving a child too much never hurt them, but not loving them enough is detrimental to their development and manifests itself in different ways in adulthood.

A baby cries because that is their way of communicating with us, children cry because it's the brains way of expressing themselves when they don't know how else to. Before a child can talk it's up to us to figure out the reason for why they are crying, are they hungry, tired, teething or just need a cuddle? When a child learns to talk it's up to us to diffuse the tantrum and then teach them to manage their emotions through words, this all takes time and if parenting teaches you anything it's patience.

Children don't be naughty just because they want to make you angry or annoyed, they're exploring their surroundings, pushing their boundaries, learning behaviour. The way you treat them at a young age, will shape who they are when they grow up.

Studies show that holding and cuddling your baby is actually essential for healthy development, it helps them regulate their body temperature, improve sleep patterns, encourages calmness, lowers anxiety and stress, reduces discomfort from teething and other issues and form a secure attachment.

Children who don't experience cuddling have been found to have lower levels of oxytocin and vasopressin the two hormones that play an important role in stress and social behaviours, this can lead to these children growing up and having difficulties in forming attachments in adulthood.

Showing your child love and affection and having a secure attachment doesn't cause your child to be less independent and clingy, in fact it helps them to be confident, less self conscious, more outgoing and adventurous.

I don't where this notion that loving a child too much spoils them but there is a big problem in the south asian community and particularly Bengali background, where showing love and affection to your children is almost unheard of but beating them into oblivion is good because it teaches them a lesson.

Parents rarely if ever show love and affection to their children at an age they can actually remember it. They do of course love us and show it in their own way and struggle their whole lives to make our lives more comfortable. But telling their child they love them, are proud of them, kissing them, hugging them or anything like that is not common.

Forget the expression of love and affection and lets talk about something even more detrimental to children's' mental health and well-being, parents taking their anger out on their child. So many mums beat their child, scream at them day and night because they're angry about something else. The number of times I've seen or heard parents taking that anger too far and physically beating a child over the most minor thing like tidying up. Children grow up to be adults who also find it hard to show affection and find it difficult to manage anger. They grow up resenting their parents (at least for a time), thinking their parents hate them or that they can never do anything right.

There are of course exceptions to this and not all parents were like this but more often than not this is what I hear from those around me growing up.

Islam teaches us to treat children fairly, to show them love and affection because this is what makes good human beings.
During the time of the Prophet pbuh some people who were not able to understand the power of expressing love to children wondered why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) played with children and took such an interest in them. Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) 
Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamimi was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Al-Bukhari)
Don't get me wrong I'm not the perfect parent. Sometimes I shout when my daughter pushes my buttons too much, sometimes I get annoyed when she whinges for what seems to me like no reason. But I hope and pray I never take my anger out on her, that I don't just shout at her without explaining what she has done wrong in a calm manner that I don't go overboard with the telling her off because I have other issues I'm dealing with that have nothing to do with her. I pray that I never dismiss her feelings and emotions, that I listen to her, never let her feel like I hate her or that she isn't loved and that I'm able to help mould her into a loving, compassionate and confident person inshaAllah.
The next time someone tells you that you're spoiling your child by holding them too much, throw caution to the wind and hold them tighter.

My child is mine so I will continue to cuddle too much, love too much, and if that's spoiling her, then I will spoil too much.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Beauty | Skincare for acne prone/problem skin


For a while now I've been dealing with crazy breakouts across my cheek and jawline, not sure if it's due to the heat or a change in my lifestyle but I've been on the hunt for something that will clear up my skin and prevent further breakouts.

I did a bit of research and reading on all those skincare words and abbreviations that I keep seeing on social media AHA, BHA, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Hyluronic Acid etc. I found that for blemish/acne prone skin I needed to use BHA and an example of this is salicylic acid, BHA works buy getting deep into the pores and clearing them out, this is great for clearing bumpy, acne prone, oily skin. AHA on the other hand like Gycolic Acid is great for normal to dry skin, it helps with sun damage as well as hydrating the skin and making it feel moisturised and plump.

I headed down to my local Boots and Superdrug to see what products I could find for my skin type and issues.

A combination of these three products have helped my skin a lot. I started off by using them twice a day everyday and after my spots had cleared a bit I ended up using them once a day or every other day.

The Boots Tea tree and Witch Hazel spot wand helped by nipping the problem in the bud, I applied it to the red painful spots which cleared by the next day usually. Now as soon as I feel a spot coming or as soon as I see it I apply it to reduce the redness and avoid it becoming a full blown out yucky pimple. I don't know the difference between the day and night sections but I use it accordingly.

The Nip & Fab acne rescue pads are aimed toward teens but I still bought them because I wanted to try these Nip & Fab pads. After cleansing and toning I wipe over my face with a pad on the exfoliant side. It helps to deeply cleanse the skin, clear the pores and the wasabi extract has antimicrobial properties which is perfect to prevent further breakouts.

Lastly I use the Vichy Laboratories Normaderm cream to hydrate my skin. It also contains salicylic acid which is the main ingredient for blemish prone skin.

Skincare is such a personal journey and not everything works for everyone so it's good to do a bit of research into different products and find what you really need.

What skincare products are you currently loving? I'm looking forward to trying out some more of the Nip & Fab range.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Holidaying with a BABY | Tips & Advice


Home sweet home...currently sitting in bed feeling sorry for myself because I have a cold! Hubby goes back to work tomorrow so what better time than now to write up my holiday post with tips and advice on traveling with a baby.

As an Eid gift for myself and my little bub, hubby booked us a 5 day trip to Istanbul literally 2 days after Eid. Safe to say we left packing to the last minute and I was panicking that we would forget something. Thanks to some of my Instagram followers I got some great tips on packing and traveling with a baby.

My daughter is now 14 months old so all the tips are more geared toward this age group.


It's definitely totally different traveling with a baby compared to traveling alone or as a couple. My best advice would be to just take it easy. I wanted to do so many things each day but we mostly managed to just do one thing each day before we all got super tired. Don't overstretch yourself, plan things but keep in mind you probably won't be able to stick to a schedule.

Now that I'm home I'm really proud of how it all went Alhamdulillah and I realise that I was more stressed and panicked by everything, babies are resilient and if you keep calm and prepared your baby will take it all in his/her stride!

Booking your holiday


Book Early morning/Late night flights

I booked our flight outbound and inbound as early morning flights (not on purpose), but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Our outbound flight was at 10:35 and inbound 07:45, we left super early to get to the airport so we had to pick the baby up and just leave even as she slept. She woke up when we got to the airport but alhamdulillah slept on the plane. On the way to Istanbul she slept during takeoff and woke up 45 minutes toward the end and on the way back she slept all the way through. I was really worried that she would get upset during take off and landing because of how the rise and drop in air pressure effects your ears. I had her milk, water and dummy ready so that the sucking would not effect her ears as much, but I really needn't worry so much because it really didn't phase her Alhamdulillah.

Book the right seats

Try to book the window seats. If the planes have it try to book seats with just 2 people. On our outbound flight the window seats with 3 people, a lady sat on the outside seat and it was hard to get in and out of the seats to get to the toilets especially when she fell asleep. Alhamdulillah on the inbound flight we managed to get seats with just 2 seats in the window row right at the back. Which made life so much easier.

Hotel

Research the hotel you'll be booking. Unfortunately I didn't realise that the hotel had quite a few steps at the front and this made it difficult to get in and out of the hotel with a stroller. Luckily the hotel had a small lift so we could get her up to the room.

Travel Insurance

I recommend taking out some travel insurance when you book your holiday, this will cover you should you have to cancel your tip last minute for any unforeseen situations or if you or your baby get sick abroad and need medical attention travel insurance will cover this

Print everything and take it with you for easy travel!

Packing


Pack baby clothes in freezer bags

This helpful tip came in really handy, we packed for 5 days and put the things she will need in zip lock bags. This made it easy for me and my husband who doesn't know how to choose clothes for her unless I tell him exactly what it looks like and exactly where to find it. This meant I had enough clothes for each day and the things that we didn't use comes back clean in the bag without getting mixed up with the used clothes.

If traveling to a hot country pack suitable clothes, a hoody/cardigan and a spare blanket in case it gets cold or just for the journey to and from the airport in the UK.

Laundry detergent

Another tip I was given was to put some baby laundry detergent in a small bottle so that we could wash her clothes in the hotel bathroom if it got dirty and needed to be cleaned straight away (poop/vomit), nobody wants to be paying to wash baby clothes.

Food

Make sure you pack enough snacks and food for your stay. We packed some Ella's kitchen smoothies and puddings because she is on solids and tends to eat what we do but if we can't find suitable food for her or she refuses the food we eat at least there is something that she recognises and will eat.

I also packed her favourite kiddylicious snacks which keep her occupied when she starts to get fussy.

Pack enough milk and water/juice for the journey, you may be asked to test it at the airport but we didn't have any problems with it at all.

If you know you might not be able to find milk near your hotel, it might be a good idea to pack some UHT or long life milk in your hold luggage.

We traveled with Turkish Airlines and they offered pureed jar baby food (Heinz), so if your baby eats jar food find out it the airline will give you some during the journey.

Entertainment

As I said before Alhamdulillah my daughter slept on the plane but just in case I packed her favourite books and stuffed toy. We also downloaded her favourite songs/nasheeds from Youtube so that it could be played offline if she got too bored.

Most airlines give small toys or activity packs on board to keep kids entertained and the little wooden toys from Turkish Airlines did help keep her occupied too.

Medication

Don't forget to pack some paracetamol, teething gel and other baby medication in case your little one falls ill on the journey or whilst on holiday. Always take the medication in the box that it comes in as they often check this in the airport

Don't forget the sunscreen (SPF 50) for your babies sensistive skin!

Remember to put all liquids in a clear plastic bag to make security checks at the airport a breeze.

Speaking of security checks, avoid wearing any metal on yourself or on your baby so that you can get through quick and easy.

Cabin luggage

Try to pack light when it comes to cabin luggage as you want to keep yourself as hands free as possible when boarding and leaving the plane. If you can just pack a large baby changing bag and leave the rest in your hold luggage.

Stroller

Folded stroller next to a standard cabin bag

This probably needs a whole post to itself but I'll talk a little bit about it here.

You will need a lightweight stroller that folds away easily

We bought the GB Pockitt + as you can see it folds down really tiny, even smaller than a standard cabin bag size, you can actually take this and put it in the overhead cabin bag storage or even stow it under the seat that's how small it is! It's the Guinness world record holder for the smallest stroller when folded.

Compared to our Mama's and Papa's Ocarro buggy its super small and super lightweight that even I can pick it up with one hand.

It's a bit fiddly to open and close to begin with and does take a lot of practice at the start, but the more you do it the easier it gets. It's not one that you can open or close with one hand whilst holding a baby so keep that in mind when traveling alone with a baby.


It's also not as comfy as our everyday buggy and I wish the seat was a bit more deep and not so sloped so her legs don't hang off as much, but for a travel pushchair it's pretty good.

Even when open, it takes up less space than our Ocarro so for that reason it's perfect for taking on holiday.

I recommend trialing your travel stroller for a few outings at home so that your baby gets used to sitting in it whilst abroad.

The sun canopy is pretty useless on this stroller so I had to add a muslin with some paper clips for when it got too bright.

Because it's a lightweight stroller and the way it's designed if you have a heavy bag or heavy things hanging on the handles, when your baby comes out it tends to tip back.

Smaller changing bag

Fool proof Husband proof organising
We also packed a smaller changing bag that was lighter. It didn't hold as much but I learnt to stop trying to take my whole house with me on day trips out. A smaller organised bag actually makes your life easier when out and about with  baby.

When you arrive 

When you get to the hotel ask the reception where you can get milk for your baby if your baby is on fresh milk. Luckily in Istanbul we found it super easy to get fresh and UHT milk from local stores.
If you're staying at a resort, the hotel may be able to supply you with milk for baby. This is one of the areas I was worried about but if worse comes to worse and you need milk at the airport or on the journey to the hotel, you can get milk from most restaurants, cafes and even McDonalds.

We've learnt so much from this trip and had a great time Alhamdulillah. If these tips were helpful or you have some helpful tips of your own let me know in the comments below.

My next post will be an Istanbul specific post telling you all our fav places to visit and eat!

All that's left to say is enjoy your holiday!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Eid Gift Guide 2018 - Promo codes & special offers

Salaam Salaam!

SubhanAllah a third of the way through Ramadan already, time really flies when you're having a good time. Before we know it all the festivities for Eid will begin.


To avoid a rush in the last 10 days leading up to Eid, the stress and racking your brain trying to find gifts for everyone in this post I'll be giving you ideas for some super cool gifts.

Some of the companies I mention in this post have been really kind and given me discount codes and special Eid offers to pass on to you all so that you can save some bucks (every little helps right?), some I have found by scouring the internet and others are companies I have used in the past and have loved their products/services too.

All promo codes are correct and valid at time of publishing. Some promo's are expiring soon, please check the website/social media of the company to check the expiry.

Categories:

For the Whole Family

The gifts that come in this category are universal, you can buy them for the whole family

For Him

Before I got married I used to find it really difficult to gift shop for men, like what can you get them apart from socks, a mug and a tie? Since getting married I've been really into finding different and thoughtful gifts for my husband... I hope the men in your life will enjoy the gifts that come in this category

For Her

This is the category I had lots of fun putting together because it's literally all of the things I would love in a gift...if my husband is reading this, take note...

For The Children

Growing up Eid was special because we got new clothes and met up with our extended family to eat some yummy food. We only have 2 celebrations in Islam and that is the 2 Eids, to make it extra special and exciting for your kids get them something that will not only make them happy in this life but will benefit them in the next too.

Muslim Hands- Olive Tree in Palestine

Website: Muslim Hands
Instagram: Muslim Hands

Hubby and I received this as a gift from my cousin for our anniversary and it honestly is the most thoughtful gift ever!


Planting an olive tree in Palestine in the name of your loved ones not only benefits them in the hereafter but helps sustain the livelihood of millions of Palestinians in generations to come.

The beautiful certificate is personalised with your loved ones name on it and comes with a really nice card. You could go that one step further like my cousin and put it in a frame to make a lovely Eid gift.


Category: For the Whole Family

Nuhr Home
Website: Nuhrhome.com
Instagram: Nuhr Home


Nuhr home are specialists in oud scented candles and reed diffusers, not only do they make your home smell amazing they look stunning and would be the perfect addition to any home.




Use promo code: 'Nuhr10' to receive 10% off your purchase.

Category: For Him, For Her

Bedouin Cafe by Shahwaani

Instagram: Bedouins Cafe


Specialising in luxury chocolate covered medjoul dates and strawberries this gift will look almost too good to eat!

The Luxury Eid spring/summer 18 boxes are only available to order before 1st June so you better hurry to get your hands on them.





Use promo code: 'eid ul fitr 18' to receive 10% off on all orders over £30.

Category: For Him, For Her, For the Whole Family

Muslim Sticker Company

Website: muslimstickers.com
Instagram: The Muslim Sticker Company

This is a a company I have used in the past, I highly recommend them for all your Eid decorations, wrapping as well as Eid cards and childrens gifts too.






Use promo code: 'EIDGIFT' to receive 20% off your order.

Category: For The Children


Mohuma Modesty House

Website: https://mohuma.com/
Instagram:  Mohuma Modesty House


Selling stunning hijabs, accessories and abaya's, you can't really go wrong with this. If you don't know what colour hijab she needs or what her favourite colour is, go for neutral colours like dusty pink, cream or nude. I'm especially loving the Arabic dial watch on their site too.





Use promo code: iHijabi20 for 20% off when you spend a minimum of £10.

Category: For Her

My Salah Mat

Website: mysalahmat.com
Instagram: My Salah Mat


If you haven't heard of My Salah Mat then you need to check out my previous posts which is a review of this amazing childrens interactive prayer mat. Teaching a child to pray in a fun and interactive way is priceless, this is the gift that keeps on giving.



 
Use promo code: 'ihijabi12' to receive 12% off your purchase.

Category: For The Children

Mr Sunnah- Beard Care

Website: mrsunnah.com
Instagram: Mr Sunnah Beard Care


When I first got married I bought my husband a beard care box that read 'To my beardy beloved' I thought the concept was so cool. And so started his obsession with beard care products. Since then he has bought tonnes of beard care oils, shampoo's, combs etc.

When I was looking for something similar I came across Sunnah Beard, they had really good reviews and people were raving about how good the oil smells so I thought I would include them in here.



 
At the moment they have 30% off only during Ramadan as well as a limited edition Eid gift set that costs only £11.50 with free shipping.

Category: For Him

Barakah Base

Instagram: Barakah Base

I don't know about you guys but hubby and I are pretty obsessed with the Turkish drama 'Ertugul' on Netflix. I was super excited when I found that they sell Ertugrul merchandise on their instagram page. From Kayi hats and flags to key rings and a really cool quiver set.




 
Use promo code: 'KayiEid' to receive free shipping on your order.

Category: For Him, (or even For Her, because the Kayi women were pretty awesome archers too)

Beauty Lodge- Ladies Only Spa Day

Website:thebeautylodgelondon.co.uk/
Instagram: The Beauty Lodge

Sometimes better than material gifts are experience days. A spa day with the girls makes the perfect gift for any occasion, even more special as an Eid gift to say thank you to the women in your lives for doing so much during Ramadan.

During my wedding period I was looking for a ladies only spa and I came across this one in Woodgreen, north London. From the facials, and hot stone massages to the jacuzzi with my cousins and sisters I have loved every single experience.



The Spa party package is for 2 or more people at £44 per person (can book for up to 8 people at a time). It includes 1 hour use of the spa and a 20-30 minute treatment. This is perfect for a ladies day at the spa to help you unwind and relax.



Category: For Her

The Body Shop

Website: The Body Shop Eid Box


The Body Shop always does really cute Ramadan and Eid advent calendars with mini and full size products. This year they have a countdown to Eid advent calendar with the following products inside
  • FULL SIZE Black Musk 30ml
  • White Musk Smoky Rose Shower Gel 60ml
  • Strawberry Body Lotion 60ml
  • Almond Hand Cream 30ml
  • Matte Lip Liquid Windsor Rose 8ml
  • Indian Night Jasmine Shower Gel 60ml
  • Brow Sculpt Medium Brown 2G
  • Vitamin E Day Cream 15ml
  • Strawberry Lip Juicer 4g
  • Black Eye Definer 1.1g
I just had to include them in this post because The Body Shop has partnered with International Alert to raise money for the Peace Play Project in Lebanon. Peace Play project helps children affected by conflict to heal through play. So that's 2 gifts in one.




Use promo code '14674' to receive 35% off anything on the Body Shop website, they also have free shipping on orders over £30

Category: For Her

Eid Party 

Website: eidparty.co.uk

I bought these cookie cutters because I think they'd make great gifts and its something you can do with the kids too.

Decorate and personalise them with icing, wrap in cellophane and tie a nice ribbon to make a super cute handmade gift.



Loads of bloggers and influencers have been given discount codes but I used the code 'HW10' to receive 10% off on my order.

Category: For the Whole Family 

Kube Publishing

Website: kubepublishing.com
Instagram: Kube Publishing

Kube publishing publish, distribute and sell lots of Islamic books, I have personally bought books for myself and my daughter (although not directly through kube publishing). They make the perfect gift for people who love reading and enjoy books, for children as well as adults.




Use promo code: 'ramadan25' to get 25% off this Ramadan (offer ends 17th June)

Category: For the Whole Family

Happy Shopping everyone, hope you found this post useful!