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

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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.