Christmas Bundles For Your Home At Our Lifestyle Shop

[*SPONSORED POST] You heard about the Christmas Sale over at Our Lifestyle Shop, and the time is finally here for you to cart your favourite green products at more than 25% off! The private sale will run from 24th to 29th November, before it opens to the public, so shop away before the bundles run out!

**Don’t forget, you will need the code christmas to access the Christmas Sale**

Here are the Christmas bundles available:

  1. SAVE $10 when you purchase 1x KONK 1 Auto Flying Insect Killer Twin Pack (retail: $199.00) and get 1x add-on refill for only $32 instead of $42.
  2. SAVE $20 when you purchase 1x KONK 1 Auto Flying Insect Killer Twin Pack (retail: $199.00) and get 1x add-on GES PLUS for only $50 instead of $79.90.
  3. SAVE 25% when you purchase a bundle of 1x GES PLUS and 1x KONK I HH at $91.43 (usual price: $121.90)
  4. SAVE 25% when you purchase a bundle of 1x safeHANDS 7oz Bundle Pack and 1x KONK I HH at $76.27 (usual price: $101.70)
  5. SAVE 25% when you purchase a bundle of 1x safeHANDS 7oz Bundle Pack and 1x B-sanitized at $74.85 (usual price: $99.80)
  6. Save more than 25% when you purchase the Our Lifestyle Shop Starter Kit comprising 1x safeHANDS 7oz Bundle Pack, 1x B-sanitized and 1x KONK I HH at $99.60 (usual price: $141.60)

Run, don’t walk!

*No monetary compensation has been received. This post was written as part of the Ambassadors Program. I would also like to take this opportunity to notify all readers that I will no longer be taking on the role of an Ambassador to Our Lifestyle Shop come end of November 2015.

Christmas Sale at Our Lifestyle Shop: Enjoy More Than 25% Savings!

[*SPONSORED POST] The year is coming to an end! Whilst you zip around stores to search for perfect Christmas gifts for your loved ones, don’t forget to stock up on essentials for your home…because you are about to enjoy massive savings on your favourite green household products, such as the non-toxic Flying Insect Killer KONK I and its handheld version, safeHands alcohol-free hand sanitiser and  clogged-drain-buster GES PLUS from Our Lifestyle Shop!

Look out for upcoming announcements on the Christmas bundles available AND the code to enjoy savings during the private sale that will run from 24 to 29 November 2015. It’s the perfect opportunity to stock up or try out the products at great prices before the sale opens to public!

Just in case you miss the updates on the blog, do get on the mailing list to receive the reminders for when the private sale starts!

 *No monetary compensation has been received. This post was written as part of the Ambassadors Program.

Kiddy Packs: Party Favours, Sorted

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[SPONSORED POST*] So. The angels from Kiddy Packs descended and gave us much needed help with the party favours for F’s 3rd birthday party. I AM EXTREMELY THANKFUL FOR THAT. We had 29 kids over for the party, 25 above the age of 1 and 4 under the age of 1. I was struggling to keep my children alive amidst chores, cooking, and party planning, let alone sort out decent party favours for our pint-sized guests! Kiddy Packs took all that stress off!

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Samantha, owner of Kiddy Packs, made it much too simple for me. All I had to do was pick out what I wanted, and she would have them packed and delivered to my specifications! I didn’t keep to the party theme when it came to choosing the favours; I was more concerned about getting things that the kids would love and use, ones that are age-appropriate as well, given that we have some babies in our midst. Samantha was very accommodating and let me pick out two different types of favours to cater for kids of different ages. Knowing that most of the children love Peppa Pig, I thought the Peppa Pig Sticker Pack, which includes 1 booklet of 200 (!!) stickers, 2 colouring pages and a set of 3 markers, would be a real crowd-pleaser! F was thoroughly enamoured with the sticker pack even though she isn’t familiar with Peppa Pig; I mean 200 stickers, for crying out loud! The sticker pack was of excellent quality too, nothing like the nonsense I have bought for cheaps on a certain mass-purchase site (those don’t last and they annoy the hell out of me). As for the younger ones, I thought some sensory play might be good and I got them a Maraca and Finger Puppet each! Turned out that I made a faaaaab choice because F, at a grand old age of three, loved them too, so I guess those are good toys to grow into!201510 Faith's 3rd Birthday 15 201510 Faith's 3rd Birthday 16Missy, it’s a Maraca, not a microphone…(F obviously doesn’t care because she loves to sing and would turn anything into a mic!)

I am very particular when it comes to aesthetics, so I turned into a ribbon Nazi and asked Samantha if she could deck the packs out in blue and yellow bows, and she obliged! I’m relieved that she doesn’t dress the favours in tacky packaging; there is no way I would allow that at any of my parties…I would fight to the last breath..okay, don’t mind me going off-tangent there.

Anyway, the packs were promptly delivered on the day that I requested and they arrived in perfect condition! They looked good on the dessert table and were well-received by the kids, according to the parents, and I am glad that Kiddy Packs extended the invitation to review to us! I wouldn’t have known of such a service otherwise, and would have wound up getting crap for the kids, yet again, this year, so…thank you, Kiddy Packs!

You can shop online at Kiddy Packs.

*I was gifted 29 packs of party favours for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

Life’s A Beach When You Are Three!

So. After the crippling everything-also-DIY party we held for F’s second birthday, I was put off by the idea of having another party for years to come, not until she was old enough anyway (the word ‘enough’ being very loosely defined, as it really depends on how her old folks are feeling – likely to be sleep-deprived – a week prior to her birthday). The only thing I wanted to do was to make her a birthday cake, as I would like to keep to our family tradition of having homemade birthday cakes for as long as the kids and husband would want them.

Then, I made the mistake of asking F what she would like for her birthday cake.

(Of course I did. How else did I end up with a party?! ASKING FOR IT, I WAS.)

“Mama, I want (an) Olaf cake!”

Somehow, that got me looking for cake designs on the web, and somehow, I had my eyes set on one that I thought would thrill F to bits. Somehow, I thought, “Hmm, that cake wouldn’t look nice if it was made to serve only a few people, and somehow, that got me thinking about how F hardly gets to be with her friends outside of school, and how this would be the perfect opportunity for her to have some fun with them….YOU GET THE GIST.

We ended up having a party the size of three playdates.

I wasn’t particularly keen on doing up a full-blown Frozen-themed party. F loves Olaf but not to the extent of wanting everything Elsa-Anna on her bedspread, schoolbag and water bottle (thank gaaawwd). Instead, I had the theme worked out from the cake design, and came up with something simple to execute, neutral, yet fun and colourful for a three-year-old.

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Now, when times are good, we all know that LIFE’S A BEACH (as opposed to the other B word)! Birthdays are happy occasions so ocean blues and buttery yellows, spell a summer, poolside party, yes? F loves to spend time in the pool, and so do most of her friends, Life’s A Beach was just begging to be themed this year!

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The cake was naturally the most challenging bit of the party preps. F had asked for an Olaf cake, and I knew I had to get it right. I am no cake artist and was really quite nervous about pulling this one off, so I made sure to start working on the cake two days before the party. Red velvet has always been my go-to flavour for a cake that boasts a moist and tender crumb even after a few days, and the cream cheese frosting recipe that I am so partial to holds up well in the heat without being cloying. I am completely unfamiliar with how fondant works and was worried that it might melt in the heat, so I fashioned an Olaf cake topper out of jumping clay a few weeks before the party, you know, just in case Mama fails and winds up getting one shipped from who-knows-where. It’s a win-win, really, because F gets to keep and play with the figurine, and it is non-toxic. Of course, it wouldn’t be a party on the beach for Olaf without a nautical deck chair, coconuts to sip on, seashells, flip flops, a beach ball, float and a cute umbrella, and I was delighted to hunt down some miniature toys on Amazon for the cake. A simple bunting made out of construction paper, twine and gold-striped straws and some blue and yellow skinny candles later, the cake was complete and really quite fun to look at! I would say this is the toughest cake design I’ve had to execute to-date (it took a while to nail the look of the waves crashing on the shore) (Disclaimer: I take absolutely zero credit in the idea because I simply looked up the designs online and did whatever I could to make the cake look as decent as possible).

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Now that my hands are full with two kids, I didn’t have much time to do up a full dessert table. I cheated by making some dark chocolate tofu mousse topped with choc feuilletine, salted caramel sauce and strawberries. I did go overboard with the 64% Manjari and the chocolate tofu mousse ended up tasting a little too acidic and…weird (sorry, my party guests). I should have stuck to the yuzu-flavoured version I tested out a couple of days before the party…oh well.

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The dessert table wouldn’t be complete without THE easel that we lugged back from Perth when F was 3 months old. We have put it to very good use for all of her birthday parties thus far and we plan to get even more mileage out of it! In fact, I get so nostalgic about the themes I scribble on that I don’t erase them until the next party comes around..there are two sides to the easel…so yeap, I literally *just* erased F’s first birthday party theme on one side to make space for her 3rd birthday!

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We aren’t fantastic party planners and are definitely not the creative sort; I was rather worried that the kids might get bored at the party especially if they choose not to splash around in the pool, so I thought it best to get something (ANYTHING) to entertain them. I freaked a little two days to the party, having nary a brilliant idea on what to do for the kids to have some fun, so I settled on…a piñata. I sent M out to hunt for one that doesn’t bear any resemblance to human beings, animals and cartoon characters because I don’t want the kids to be traumatised by the eventual mutilation, and I thought this would be akin to looking for a needle in a haystack but…look what he found! A BEACH SLIPPER, ALMOST in our party colours, no less! M picked up some sweets from our childhood – haw biscuits, White Rabbit milk candies, etc (oops, couldn’t stay away from giving snacks, could we, but we wouldn’t resist the idea of showing the kids the candies of yesteryear) – and balloons, and stuffed the slipper with it. We found a sturdy tree with a resilient-looking branch, hung the piñata and the rest was history. The kids had fun getting the goodies out of the beach slipper with the aid of their papas, and scrambled to pick up their prizes when the beach slipper was done-done.

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Being time-starved and all, I was really glad that we had some help with the rest of the party preps. One of the things i really struggled with in the previous parties was party favours! I mean, I didn’t know what to get for kids of different ages and wound up getting snacks and useless knick knacks. (YES, I AM ‘THAT TERRIBLE PARENT’) This year, I am no longer every parent’s worst nightmare, thanks to Kiddy Packs who gifted us with all of the party favours this year! They have a selection of good-quality favours to choose from for children of all ages, and best of all, they pack them up beautifully in brown paper packages (MY FAVOURITE, no tacky packaging, please!), can customise the wording on the label and the colours of the ribbons to your needs, and they deliver! I will reveal the favours we chose in the next post but no prizes for guessing the colours we picked!
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I also purchased some honeycomb balls in white and the most stunning shades of yellows and blues from Most Wonderfully Made, after a very lengthy consultation with the ever-patient S who owns the store, strung them up on garlands, and hung the latter up around the poolside area. I loved that the garlands added lots of cheer to the party, and the best part was the honeycomb balls are reusable because I fanned them out and held the ends together with paper clips instead of using the double-sided tape adhered on them!

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I put up a simple backdrop for the dessert table too, using pinwheel fans of different designs  that I bought from Most Wonderfully Made and another vendor (silly me, I should have gotten both from Most Wonderfully Made because they do have more than one design for the fans). I was really quite pleased with how the backdrop turned out with different shades of yellows and blues. The varying styles and sizes of the pinwheel fans made the backdrop pop!
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Had to take another family photo when Mr. E woke up from his nap!

It is truly a party to remember because E is finally here to join us for our celebrations (I was pregnant, unbeknownst to our friends, when F had her 2nd birthday party). F is also a lot more conscious about what goes on, now that she is three years old. She loves the cake to bits and often talks about it, and it makes me happy that she is thrilled. She has also come to associate the function room with ‘Mama, we sing Happy Birthday inside the room, okay?’, and that’s pretty hilarious. Our guests were such lovely friends to have over, ever gracious about the lack of fancy entertainment or a particularly acidic chocolate tofu mousse, and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves! Well…I guess we might have a 4th birthday party after all; the husband said no because it can be pretty tiring to put a party together, but…never say never!

Clean Where The Sun Doesn’t Shine With GES PLUS: Day 5

[SPONSORED POST*] SO. You might have read about the test I planned to put GES PLUS to. For those who haven’t quite caught up with what GES PLUS does: it clears and maintains a plumbing system by releasing millions of live, non-pathogenic and non-toxic, beneficial bacteria that turn grease and oil wastes into harmless carbon dioxide and water. It also contains a powerful odour counteractant that eliminates odours stemming from blocked drains.

I tested the product out by pouring about half a cap full of GES PLUS into each drain and leaving it to do its work overnight for 5 consecutive days, and did the same thereafter once a week to maintain the plumbing system. Here are our results, which are mighty satisfying! You will see why after you look at the difference between the drains on Day 1 and on Day 5.

 Pre-treatment on Day 1 (left) vs Post-treatment on Day 5 (right)

GES PLUS has helped remove the disgusting slime coating the walls of the pipe! If you are wondering why the slime further up the pipe hasn’t been removed, it’s because I couldn’t get the GES PLUS level to go any higher up even with a larger volume added and I suppose that’s to do with the differential pressure in the pipes of the drain.

I am pretty impressed by how GES PLUS worked to remove the buildup in the drain. I can’t comment on its effectiveness in odour control or increasing the flow rate in slow-flowing drains because I don’t experience any of these problems with our plumbing system, but…JUST LOOK AT THE SLIME. IT’S GONE!

If you would like to give GES PLUS a shot, take 5% off the original price of $79.90 by entering the code ‘thepleasuremonger’ at checkout. The code is valid until 31 October 2015.

For more updates on GES PLUS and other eco-friendly products, follow Our Lifestyle Shop on FacebookTwitter and hop over to the online store to join the mailing list.

*I was gifted one bottle of GES PLUS for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services, as ambassador to Our Lifestyle Shop.

Clean Where The Sun Doesn’t Shine With GES PLUS: Day 1

[SPONSORED POST*] When we were living in London between 2007 and 2011, the drains in our flat often clogged up and were terribly slow-flowing. Back then, we turned to chemicals to clear the blockages, ones that were so harsh that they burned my skin if I should even spill some on myself. It was painful, whenever it happened, and I should have learnt my lesson and used eco-friendly, less harsh alternatives, but we were students then and too poor to afford anything more than a two-quid bottle of what-feels-like-strong-acid-on-my-skin.

Ever since we became parents, we switched to using eco-friendly household cleaning products as much as our budgets would allow us, including floor detergents, hand soaps and insecticides.   For a long time now, I have neglected the drains in our home as we haven’t noticed any changes in the flow rates or smells coming up from the gutters. Out of sight, out of mind, you know what they say. We are very fortunate to be reminded of the eco-friendly alternatives that we can use for different parts of our home, as I am ambassador to Our Lifestyle Shop which stocks a range of products that I am happy to include in our arsenal against germs, insects and yucky things. This time, we have been sent a bottle of GES PLUS to naturally clear blocked drains and maintain the plumbing system, and of course, I was suddenly reminded of how awful clogs can get from our experience in London. So even though we don’t get bad smells or slow-flowing drains at the moment, that doesn’t mean that the drains are a-okay.

Day 1: Before treatment with GES PLUS

I opened up the drains in our bathrooms and kitchen to take a peek after receiving GES PLUS, and true enough, they were disgusting! Just look at the build-up in one of the drains! The sight of it was so revolting that I wanted to hurl and I washed my hands no less than five times after opening the drains. BLEURGH.

I finally have some time at home after battling endless rounds of illnesses and going on a holiday recently, so it’s time to put GES PLUS to test. It is touted to naturally get rid of fats, oils and grease, you know, stuff that come off our bodies and dirty dishes into the drains, by releasing millions of live, non-pathogenic and non-toxic, beneficial bacteria that turn grease and oil wastes into harmless carbon dioxide and water. It also contains a powerful odour counteractant that eliminates odours stemming from blocked drains. I am eager to see if GES PLUS does clear up the disgusting buildup in the drains!

The plan is simple. I will test the product out by pouring about half a cap full of GES PLUS into each drain and leaving it to do its work overnight for 5 consecutive days. And I do the same thereafter once a week to maintain the plumbing system. Hopefully we will see some results after 5 days! I’ll be reporting the results then in another post, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you are keen to try GES PLUS out, take 5% off the original price of $79.90 by entering the code ‘thepleasuremonger’ at checkout. The code is valid until 31 October 2015.

For more updates on GES PLUS and other eco-friendly products, follow Our Lifestyle Shop on Facebook, Twitter and hop over to the online store to join the mailing list.

*I was gifted one bottle of GES PLUS for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services, as ambassador to Our Lifestyle Shop.

Babywearing: Review on K’Tan Active

[SPONSORED POST*] When F was born, I was the most clueless first-time mother around. I didn’t know anything about the importance of establishing routines (the horror), early bedtimes (where have I been?!) and what-have-you, and I certainly didn’t know that one could wear a baby.

Noob, right? I know.

I was first introduced to the world of babywearing by three lovely friends – Y, Y and P – who came bearing gifts and an arsenal of knowledge on slings, soft structured carriers, wraps and pouches. I was exhausted, frazzled and completely overwhelmed by an 8 week-old who didn’t sleep unless she was held in my arm, so you can imagine how grateful I was (still am!) to the three ladies.

Eager to try the different ways out, I put whatever I could get my hands on to the test. The pouch was difficult to manoeuvre for me as F seemed squashed in the cradle position; no matter what I did, I couldn’t get her chin away from her chest and that made me very nervous. The wrap, whilst highly adaptable to a growing baby and very versatile in terms of carrying styles, was much too intimidating; I didn’t attempt it until I gave birth to my son, E. I was most comfortable with slinging F in the kangaroo position, one that she loved and one that I struggled least with until she was ready for the soft structured carrier when she turned 5-6 months old. I didn’t stop babywearing until F was much too heavy for my swollen frame to bear when I was pregnant again.

Now that E is all small and squishy and warm in my arms, I am back on the babywearing track. I scoured the web for beautiful and practical options and I now have 3 slings, 1 wrap and 3 soft-structured carriers (but SSCs are too big for infants so I didn’t use them until recently) to play with. I am no noob when it comes to slings and bought a third one only because it comes in such a beautiful weave. But the wrap, oh that wrap…I love its lightweight fabric and how it offers even distribution of weight on my shoulders and lower back. You see, there is a particularly noxious point somewhere across my shoulders now, having borne the weight of a growing child for most hours of the day (and night) with poor postures for the past three years, and a wrap offers much relief now that I am babywearing again. Also, one can adjust the wrap to suit the favoured carrying styles well as the sizes of the wearer and baby!

There is a problem though. Actually…two. I don’t wear nursing clothes as I find that nursing wear tends to be expensive and unflattering, and the openings are much too restrictive for baby to get a good latch without having his or her face buried in fabric; I end up wearing normal tops and using a nursing cover instead. As you can imagine, nursing with normal tops whilst being bandaged with a wrap is a challenge, especially when I am out alone with my baby. It is difficult to thread my top back down to my waist through the ties from the wrap whilst cradling a squirmy baby in one arm (a baby with not-so-great neck control at the moment, if I might add). As such, I only use the wrap when someone heads out with me, so I can hand E to whoever whilst I cover myself up again after nursing. And the second problem? It is tough to try and re-tie the wrap if you can’t free up your arms. (Perhaps I should have invested in nursing tops because…I LOVE this wrap to bits!)

Of course, I am being a total noob again because there exists a wrap that does not requiring any fumbling of sorts, and I only realised this when my friend, S used it and again when Happy Coast Kids contacted me to try out the K’Tan.

It is basically a wrap that you purchase based on your clothing size, and it supposedly hugs your baby right, as a well-adjusted wrap does, without the need to fumble with knots and what-not! I jumped at the opportunity to try it out as it seemed to fulfill most of characteristics that I want – convenience, support on both shoulders, lightweight, breathable fabric – in a carrier. There are a few models to choose from, based on your needs. I picked the K’Tan Active as it blocks over 90% of UVA and UVB rays, and I figured this was a plus given that we get a lot of sun during our outings with the kids and even in our very brightly lit home. I did make the boo-boo of picking S instead of XS; word to the wise, make sure you select your true size (I went a size larger as I normally like loose-fitting clothes, but with the K’Tan, you would need it to fit you quite snugly for your baby to be worn safely)! Once I had the size sorted and made sure there wasn’t excess fabric around E when I put him in the K’Tan, I put the carrier to the test.

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For starters, it was easy as hell to prep myself with the K’Tan. I simply had to make sure my arms and head were looped through correctly; this is as easy as putting on your T-shirt. Popping E into the K’Tan was not a problem too; I am used to propping his knees up and drawing his feet up to his bum before putting him in a kangaroo position in the sling. This is no different, he was snug in the pre-set loops of the K’Tan in no time. Taking him out to nurse posed no challenge whatsoever, as there are no knots or tied loops to fumble with; I only had to pull the two sides of the fabric down to his bum and pop him back out of the wrap, and I could lift my top up to nurse him easily before making myself decent and putting him back in the K’Tan without help. The K’Tan is certainly a very user-friendly carrier! Just check out the videos here on the various positions one can easily put a baby in!

E remains relatively cool in the K’Tan as the fabric wicks away moisture and breathes; that’s a bonus as it can get really hot with the weather in Singapore. E also seems comfortable in the K’Tan as he didn’t struggle in it and slept rather quickly whenever I put him in it. Ten points for sleepy dust!

Whilst the K’Tan distributes the weight evenly between my two shoulders, I did find that if I carried E in it for more than a few hours, my middle and lower back would start to ache. I do tend to ache eventually after hours of babywearing, so perhaps this has to do with my longstanding back problem as I was thrown off a horse a few years ago and I failed to take care of my back after I became a mother. The other issue that I had with the K’Tan was how someone of a different size wouldn’t be able to use my carrier. My husband is really tall and wider than I am, so I would have to get two K’Tan carriers if he wants to carry E this way too. This wouldn’t be the case for the sling (M doesn’t like to use a sling), a wrap (M finds it too troublesome) and an SSC (which can run a tad large for E’s petite frame, but we can easily solve that problem with a simple gadget we found).

Based on my usage of the K’Tan over the past few months, I would say that it is perfect for solo outings with the baby as I don’t need an extra pair of hands whilst popping E in and out of the carrier. It is also wonderful for when babies are still too small for soft structured carriers (which I am a huge fan of) and a lifesaver for parents who aren’t adept with the sling and wraps. Simply put, it is completely fuss-free! The material is great for our weather and the fact that the K’Tan Active blocks out UV rays is such a bonus as I do not apply sunscreen on my kids until they turn(ed) 6 months old. This came in really handy as we head outdoors with F pretty often and I certainly don’t want E to burn in the sun! Personally, I would keep outings in the K’Tan to just 2-3 hours as my back starts to ache after that; this isn’t really an issue though because I don’t head out with E for longer than that when I am alone with him. I would recommend the K’Tan as the perfect carrier for babywearing noobs and parents to infants especially (to be used with care and according to instructions, of course)! Now that E is almost five months old, I have switched to using SSCs that I can share with M, but I have seen parents carting their kids around in a K’Tan even after the kids’ first birthdays, and that says a lot about its longevity! As long as one gets the right size, it does take A LOT of stress out of fumbling with knots and pieces of fabric when trying to wear a baby. I do wish the K’Tan carriers come in more attractive designs locally; wider ranges are available internationally, so perhaps this is something Happy Coast Kids can look into bringing in!

*I was gifted one K’Tan Active in Black in size XS (sans shipping). No additional monetary compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

You may shop for the K’Tan on Happy Coast Kids!