Tuesday 31 March 2009


I was recently asked where I sourced the baskets I use sometimes in the gifts I make. My aim is always to keep costs to a minimum, so the usual high street stores are not always ideal for me.

The baskets in the first three pictures I bought from the 99p store. I first went to a hardware store and a party shop and in both I found the big baskets below for about £8-£9 each. I used these for the gift baskets that I made for my cousin's wedding (pictures here)

These are the kind that are just perfect for henna party gifts. As I am hoping my brother will get married this year, these will be perfect to create decorated trays of henna, indian sweets, bangles, chocolates, nuts and fruit to take to the bride on the night before the wedding insh'Allah. When I saw them in the 99p shop (I think the one in Barking in East London), I bought them and stashed them.

The following I bought about two years ago. I have used these each year to make Ramadan baskets for family and close friends and to takewhen invited to iftars during Ramadan.

The following I bought from a lady at Barleylands bootsale two years ago. I think there were 22 iofthe heart-shaped baskets in total and she sold them to me with the two sets of gold baskets below for £2 in total. These are the small baskets I have been using to make gifts of fairy cakes (pics here and here).

I have since found the same baskets on ebay also fairly cheaply (here and here are two examples).

I thought the gold baskets would be lovely to display something, they are made of gold wire with gold beads fixed at intervals. I think I might save these for a family wedding too, but I am not sure how I would use them yet.

The last basket is a little one Fashionista Sister bought when she worked at Selfridges as a student, it was an Easter treasure hunt basket reduced by about 75%, so with her staff discount it was very cheap. I got rid of the Easter stuff and used it to bring my fruit and veg in from the garden. I also took it with me when I went fruit picking so the children could fill it with fruit. At the moment it is under the kitchen sink and is being used to store seeds.

Monday 30 March 2009

Allies and Advocates

A few years ago I attended an amazing week-long course called Development for Black and Minority Ethnic Managers (aaah how I miss the small joys of the civil service). One of the facilitators was an incredibly charismatic lady called Lennie Egboma who introduced me to the idea of “Allies and Advocates”.

This is the idea that we meet with like minded people and assist each other in our chosen areas of career or interest by passing on information or contacts. The idea is a bit like networking, but taken a step further and it doesn’t just apply to work or career development.

So for example, when I got back from the seminar, I invited a group of women from my office to meet for lunch and discuss how we can help each other progress. This led to a whole hour of women complaining about how we are held back by racism and how positive thinking will not get us anywhere. It was good to get the whinging out of the way, it meant we could get and take action. We took details of each others qualifications and what we were looking for and shared our resources (vacancies we found, websites, contacts we knew) and inspired each other. Within six months all of us had moved to new jobs.

It taught me the real meaning of team-work, sharing and the benefits of networking. It also illustrated to me the way that people can resist helping each other due to an irrational fear that there is not enough out there for everyone. I had to convince people that sharing resources did not mean less for them but more for everyone (what is called the abundance mentality).

Yesterday, whilst clearing out some papers I came across my old green Allies and Advocate’s book. It made me think about how we already do this work through our communities: passing a vacancy to someone looking for work, telling someone in need about a friend with a room,

A wonderful example I have come across in the blogging world is on Sister Farhana’s and Umm Lazeena’s blogs about a community of new Muslim’s in Columbia who need assistance. Both of these sisters have passed the message on and bloggers are responding and passing this onto others that can help insh’Allah (hint hint – please do go on over and see what you can do).

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to dust my green book off and start working with the abundance mentality again – what can you do for others? What contacts do you have in the world of work, trade and community work? What services, products and opportunities are you aware of that can be passed on? Who are your Allies and Advocates?

Sunday 29 March 2009

Mud, Cushions and Crafts

Somehow ended up at Dunton again on Sunday morning despite knowing there would be mud everywhere. I was right. The sun was out and we still got covered in mud (my mother-in-law in her heeled sling-backs!!). Managed to pick up a few things though.

These cushion covers were £1 each.

I have been thinking about the colours for this room, but as usual a colour scheme seems to have emerged haphazard itself, I think I like it though (might mix it with electric blues and teals).

Also picked up craft magazines (originally priced between £7.99 and £3.50), some craft scissors (the kind that cut scalloped edges) and some hand-made paper and embellishments. I think all of that cost about £2.50.

My mother-in-law was with me and I could see her face going “why is she buying this junk”. I’m going to work my way through the magazines; then have fun chopping them to bits.

Friday 27 March 2009

Friday Treats

Found myself passing the new Poundland in East Ham so thought I would have a look. Managed to bag the following for the kids and myelf. The scrapbooks were big and quite good quality and 100 pages, so will keep the kids busy and also provide a place for all the pictures they bring home from school.

The stickers were excellent quality. Some I will be keeping for my crafts.

We were also invited to dinner by an aquaintance of my husbands. The lady of the house originally mistakenly thought we would be coming on Thursday so did the big cook-up only to realise we weren't aware. My husband, his usual tactful self, suggested they stick it all in the fridge and we'd come over the next day.

We usually take gifts of food when invited to dinner, either fruit or desserts. I suggested a cake from the supermarket and my husband suggested back that I make some. So I made these, although I managed to burn a tray whilst I was trying to multi-task (poorly) by chsnging the baby's nappy and getting the children dressed at the same time.

I arranged them inthe basket like last time, but didn't like these as much as last time.

Little Lady presented these to our host (I felt like a bit of a cheap-skate and wished we had bought some) who had cooked all over again. She told us that she had managed to fall on the bus that day (whilst trying to manage four kids, a pram and herself on a moving bus), hit her head on a metal pole and almost knock herself out.

With an aching head she still had to collect the kids from school, get them to madrassa (Quran school) and back and cook a big, lovely meal of Sindhi-style biryani, kebabs, achar gosht (lamb), chicken curry, salad and kheer for desert. I told her to go to the doctor as she was still not 100%.

Jummah Mubarak insh'Allah

Thursday 26 March 2009




Rhododhendron (I think - I can't even remember planting this)

Cucumbers, Jalapeno, Cayenne, Bell Peppers and Tomatoes (insh'Allah)

Action on Additives Cards or Hide the Rainbow Sweets

I have been becoming more aware over time of what goes into the food we consume, especially as I am now responsible for the diets of a whole family, including three who are too young to know any better.

I think it is in the peripheral consciousness of most parents that much of the food available is too processed with too many things that don’t sound very natural (Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate (or E435) anyone?). More and more research is indicating that some such foods affect the behaviour of children, even suggesting that they might have a role in causing ADHD or chronic problems such as asthma or eczema (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

I recently wrote off to a group called Action on Additives who are campaigning against the seven additives which they argue are amongst the most widely used and most damaging:

Tartrazine - E102 - artifical, yellow food colouring
Quinoline yellow - E104 - artifical, yellow food colouring
Sunset yellow - E110 - artifical, orange / yellow food colouring
Carmoisine - E122 - artifical, red food colouring
Ponceau 4R - E124 - artifical, red food colouring
Allura red - E129 - artifical red food colouring
Sodium benzoate - E211 - artifical preservative

They sent me a plastic card which lists the seven suspect additives to help me identify food that contains them when shopping.

In the main they are bright food colourings (mainly reds, yellows and bright blues). So rather than whip the card out every time I pick up an item at the supermarket, I thought it would be easier to have a general rule. No brightly coloured sweets, drinks or food for the babes. They are still allowed a little chocolate which is still full of sugar and fat, but at least I know what I am getting and it is not chemicals (preferably a bit of the good stuff, so I try to stop by a Thornton’s on the way home and pick these lollies up on a Friday).

So far this has been fairly easy to stick to, it’s just trying to get everyone to buy into this way of thinking (so far husband and sisters are on message, mum and brothers-in-law might need a bit more persistent reminding).

The thing that really gets me though is the fact that such things are allowed in our food. This is why I am pleased that groups like Action on Additives, Children's Food Campaign and Netmums.com are making a noise about this matter.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Cards for March

During quiet moments in the past few days (before this last busy week) I have been enjoying working on some cards to use in the coming year. As WHSmith's were clearing out sheets of sticky ribbon for 99p, I bought some to experiment with and quite liked the results. I also thought I would try decorating the envelope for some of the cards, by carrying on the theme/colours of the cards.

In this card sticking the gold rings peel-off on the envelope was a good use of the stickers because I probably would not have used them on a card (they come on the sheet with the "Wedding Congratulations" peel-off)

This one was a favourite. It has all the things I like: simplicity, good to look at, some bling and it's made from some fabric that was recycled from a wedding invitation. I have used this before here and still have a bit left which I would like to try to use in a different way again.

Feeling Blue

Just feeling very deflated and demotivated today. I don’t like being like this, so decided to see what I could do to cheer myself up.

Sneaked out of work and posted my book for the book swap (although now I can think of half a dozen others I might have sent instead)
Went to get a latte and pecan and maple syrup pastry for breakfast and came back with a sandwich, a mango smoothie and carrots.
Thought I would get myself some stationary (I lurve stationary), looked through all the notebooks and in the end decided I didn’t need another one. Felt good walking away.
Sat down and cleared most of my e-mail inbox out
Ate the amazing carrot cake my colleague bought me

Will sit down and work solid for the morning and clear outstanding work
Will make a to-do list and then work through it (pay for kids school photos, send off pension form, send off work contract…)
Will work on my green journal for a while and get some ideas on paper (my career and work journal, the purple journal is for creativity and ideas – it’s where I first recorded the idea of starting a blog)
Will call my husband and touch base (and maybe whinge a tiny bit)
Will sit and read "22 ways to cheer yourself up" and take my own advice

Most of all I need to sit here and reflect on all that Allah (SWT) has blessed me with and be grateful.

Monday 23 March 2009

Playing House

It was lovely to get another day off after the weekend. I usually spend all weekend skiving and planning to get things done, then getting to Sunday night and finding myself all hyped up to start opening cupboards and sorting through them, then give up when I realize I have to get to bed to get up early for work.

This weekend I spent lots of time doing “housey” stuff and I kind of enjoyed it:

Cleaning the house from top to bottom (whilst the children followed and undid everything as I went).
Washed all the linen and towels in the house
Making fairy cakes with extra sugar and butter for guests to have with tea
Making hubby and the in-laws a fry-up to go with tea (southern-style chips, potato coquettes, potato fritters and onion rings – guess who ate the most)
Putting a nice roast in the oven to slow-cook all afternoon to share with guests and in-laws in the evening.
Putting enough clothes away to find my bed again
Dug up rows to plant my peas and fine beans
Throwing the spinach seeds and spring onion seeds out
Taking the dwarf beans on my kitchen window shelf (which suddenly sprouted up seemingly overnight) and planting them out.

Although I have to say I am rather exhausted and the idea of cooking for eight at every meal for the foreseeable future is rather daunting at the moment, so I am off to get some sleep so I can get up early, get to work and spend a much more restful day there.

Sunday 22 March 2009

My First Swap

I have asked to join in with the swap Sister Farhana is arranging over at Sketched Soul. I have to send my favourite book to my swap partner, and on receiving the same from her, read it and send her a present which reflects the book she is sending me.

Firstly, trying to pick one favourite book is going to kill me. Secondly I just found out my swap partner is the wonderful Umm Nassim of Islamic Unit Studies which I am very happy about.

Now where on earth do I begin???

Thinking on Mothering Sunday

As it is Mothering Sunday in the UK, I have been thinking about the origin of this celebration and whether it was appropriate for me as a Muslim. A little research has yielded the following possibilities:

One explanation I came across was this:

Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, wife of Cronus and the Mother of the Gods and goddesses. In Rome Mother's Day-like festival was dedicated to the worship of Cybele, another mother goddess. Ceremonies in her honor began some 250 years before Christ was born. This Roman religious celebration was known as Hilaria and it lasted for three days. Some say the ceremonies in honor of Cybele were adopted by the early church to venerate the Mother of Christ, Mary. Others believe the Mother Church was substituted for mother goddess and custom began to dictate that a person visit the church of his/her baptism on this day. People attended the mother church of their parish, laden with offerings. (source)

This would make such celebration completely inappropriate for me as it feels like shirk (joining partners with God, which is completely forbidden in islam). Another explanation I came across was the following:

Children as young as eight or nine would leave home to learn their trade as an apprentice or to become servants in the homes of the wealthy. These children usually were in neighboring towns, but transportation was hard to come by and expensive. For most of the year they did not get to see their family. During Lent, before preparations for the Easter feasts required them to be busy and back at work, the young people would be allowed to return to their homes and families for a weekend. This became known as "going a-mothering." Children walked the roads picking spring wildflowers to give to their mothers when they arrived back at their homes. (source)

This still indicates that the day is linked to Easter and the Church (it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent rather than on a specific date).

In contrast to us, the American’s celebrate Mother’s Day in May. The day is considered to have originated as follows:

Julia Ward Howe called for an international Mother's Day celebrating peace and motherhood. Howe had nevertheless planted the seed that would blossom into what we know as Mother’s Day today. A West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis began to celebrate an adaptation of Howe’s holiday. In order to re-unite families and neighbors that had been divided between the Union and Confederate sides of the Civil War, the group held a Mother’s Friendship Day. [Following on from this] Anna M. Jarvis campaigned for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in remembrance of her mother and in honor of peace. By the time of Anna M. Jarvis's death, over 40 countries observed the Mother’s Day. (source)

The last explanation is one that seems very sweet and makes me think of formidable women of another time fighting for what they believe in. In any case, I got the following from the kids:

A daffodil from Little Man:

Much love from Little Lady:

Welcome Arrivals

After a grueling week of clearing out junk, doing up the house and various other activities including The Big Clean, The Big Shop and The Big Cook, it was lovely to welcome my mother-in-law and my youngest brother-in-law to our home. Despite being exhausted, they began as they meant to go on, with stories and jokes over a long dinner and everyone sitting up late into the night talking.

It was lovely to see my mother-in-law’s delight in every little thing her grandchildren did and my house really felt like a proper home alhamdulillah. As ever, she came bearing gifts for me. My sister-in-law picked out the first:

My father-in-law picked out this suit (insh'Allah he'll be joining us later in the year):

Little Lady also received enough presents to spoil her rotten and turn Little Man green. My sister-in-laws younger sister sews beautifully and made these:

I thought the last one was very funky. She also got the accessories to match:

This little tea set was also for her. I thought it was too adorable for the boys to get their hands on so it will be kept out of reach to play with when they sleeep.

Alhamdulillah, their coming has meant we are being blessed with family and guests visiting, so I am off to put the tea on and get the fairy cakes out of the oven.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Britain, Pakistan, Identity and Faith

Something I have always struggled with is my sense of identity. More amd more I recognise how strongly this affects the way I have lived my life and some of the decisions I have made. I got to thinking about it today during one of my marathon e-mail navel-gazing sessions with my bestest (who is also great at this).

My grandfather came to England in the 60’s from Jhelum in Pakistani Punjab and returned in the 80’s, my parents came here as teenagers and realise now that they could never go back despite their generation dreaming of and saving for the mansion in Pakistan. I was born here, but married a wonderful husband from Lahore in Pakistan; my three children were also born here. I wonder what that makes me? British? English? British-Pakistani? Pakistani? As a teenager I always wanted to be able to say I am British, but I was brought up by my family with much affection for Pakistan. At the same time, I have never, ever felt accepted as British. I have always viewed Anglo-Saxon or Celtic as an ethnicity, not English which pertains to a place not a race. Yet on monitoring forms for jobs or services the options given are British Asian or Pakistani with English automatically assumed to be for anyone that is white.

As a child and teenager I felt that it was my colour, clothing and strict home-life that would always set me apart and prevent me from being British, now I feel like it is my faith and hijab. I can assert that I am English through and through until I am blue in the face, but I find it impossible to ignore the vitriol that I find across the web (1, 2), the media (1, 2) and in life which tells me that I am NOT English, I don’t look English, I don’t even look like I can speak English. Continuous talk of British Muslims wanting special treatment, turning Britain into a shariah state, destroying the English way of life, being terrorists, being sympathetic to terrorists, being a fifth column within Britain.

At the same time, when I visit Pakistan, it’s so easy to go out without the slightest self-consciousness, without any awareness of your difference at all. On top of that there is the sweet assumption that you may have been born in Britain, but of course you are still Pakistani (after all your parents were, and you are Muslim and you speak the lingo…). It’s such an easy, uncomplicated, unquestioned acceptance that I have craved all my life and have never got here. Here I feel I have to prove myself all the time, when I am out with my children I catch myself speaking like a prim schoolmarm – “No darling, don’t touch, come here, hold it till we get to a bin” just to show that I am civilised and can speak English (and it has to better than the nice English lady yelling at her kids to “f***ing cam ‘ere ya li’le tinker – I just love Essex)

Truth be told, I have immense sympathy for Pakistan, much of my family is there, I love the place and it’s people and I am very aware of the immense sacrifice (and the realisation that the Muslim’s can never rely on another nation to act for their benefit) that went into it’s creation. At the same time I was born in East London. My childhood memories are of long rainy summers, Essex markets, fruit-picking in Kent and Saturday morning TV. I feel like I owe so much to this country: my education, my work, my freedom to practise Islam and wear hijab and a safe place to raise my children. I want to put something back insh’Allah through service to those around me, yet that desire is tempered by a strong feeling of rejection.

This is one thing I admire about America, once you are in that country you are American regardless of where you came from or your ethnicity – you are American through and through and are expected to be loyal to your country. I have picked this up again and again through news and the stories of immigrants, most recently in Donna Gherke-White’s book “The Face Behind the Veil” where a number of American Muslim women speak about how America has given them a chance at a new life and how they have been accepted as American’s and view themselves as American Muslimah’s without question.

One thing I love about Islam is that although it doesn’t expect you to deny your culture or nation, it makes them secondary to your faith. You become first and foremost Muslim, a part of one beautiful, diverse and global community of brothers and sisters. This thinking is something that people here seem to be taking a step further to create not a British-Asian or British-Arab identity, but a British Muslim one. I admire the efforts of wonderful sisters like Shelina Janmohamed, Sarah Joseph and Salma Yaqoob in attempting to forge a strong British Muslim identity through their writing, analysis and political action. Sometimes it feels though, as if you have to prove again and again that you are loyal to this country, that you are civilised, that you are sane even (and not a murderous fanatic deep down).

So many of the people who came here, came because they had strong links to this country, their country was once part of the British empire; their goods and labour serving the British, or their grandparents fought on front lines across the world being sent into battle first as canon fodder to spare the lives of English soldiers. I yearly watch the annual Remembrance Day service with tears in my eyes, but with a wish that the role of our elders had been acknowledged so that perhaps we might have been better accepted today.

The wonderful sister Sarah Joseph has this to say which heartens me:

I think British Muslims, and Muslims in the west, have to find answers. I also feel we have a responsibility to act as a bridge between two worlds. Those of us who were born here, or raised in British society, have a responsibility to explain Islam to the west and the west to the Muslim world.

I'm a person of faith and I believe a person of faith must be optimistic. I see young people who are involved at every level of British society - articulate, clever, inspirational individuals who feel strongly that they have to benefit this society and be part of Muslim society. I think that Muslims have the capacity to give a lot. As long as people start seeing Islam as part of the solution and not part of the problem they will go a long way.

Anglo-Saxon golden coin from time of King Offa of Mercia (757-796 AD). Issued in perfect Arabic Kufic script bearing Quranic verses referring to the fundamentals of the Islamic faith. Offa's coin is the first and the only dated coinage of the Anglo-Saxon period, bearing only the Islamic date 157 AH (774 AD), along with the name of King Offa. The next English dated coinage appeared 400 years later in the post-Norman period.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Book Review: Kunal Basu – Racists

I know we are often told that we should not judge a book by its cover, although often we are right to, but this one caught my attention immediately. I thought both the title and the cover were a little lacking in subtlety and my first thought was that this might be the case with the book. I suppose it worked in getting my interest though.

The novel is the story of an experiment by two eminent European scientists of the 1800’s to determine how racial superiority asserts itself. Two infants, one white one black are left with a mute nurse on a deserted island with instructions that no love or affection must be shown towards them and nothing is to be taught to them. The objective is not to prove that the white race is superior as this is assumed by all involved. The aim of the experiment is shown to be whether the white child will show its superiority by more advanced development as one scientist believes or by destroying the other child as the other scientist predicts.

The period that the book is set in witnessed the explosion of scientific thought and of the study of mankind. This is reflected in the book which is heavily laden with the scientific language and beliefs of that time: Phrenology, Craniology, the first inklings of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Running through the whole story is also a love story.

Something that also stood out for me was that not only is the book set in 1855, it feels as if it was written during that time also. The language is very formal and descriptive in a way that puts me in mind of classic literature such as that of Jane Austin or the Bronte’s.

Despite all of this, the word that comes to mind regarding this book is one I rarely use – boring. I struggled to finish and on finishing did not feel particularly moved or enlightened. Considering the subject matter I should have felt passionate about this book, instead I ended up feeling a little indifferent and depressed.

Monday 16 March 2009

A Bereaved Friend

I got a call early this morning from a friend who had found out last night that she had lost her mother. This is always devastating, but what was different for this sister was that she was here with her husband and small children, whereas her mother was in Pakistan.

This has always been a problem for the immigrant community here, when you lose someone you cannot get to them straight away. You have to arrange passports, tickets at short notice, visa’s if you have naturalised in the country you now live in, all in a state of utter desolation.

This is one reason why my family are very big on always keeping your passport current and also why they were keen when the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) card scheme came out which meant you could apply for a card that would replace a visa for ten years. As my parents have always said, you never know when you have to go in a hurry. When my grandmother passed away we were lucky to have passports and NADRA cards, so everyone packed and went to the airport and whoever could get a seat on a plane just went.

It’s difficult though being here, because when you are far from your loved ones you are distanced from the events leading up to the death: the illness, the last hours, the opportunity to say your goodbyes and ask for forgiveness, the washing of the body and often the burial. Because Muslims bury their dead at the earliest opportunity, often the family member that is abroad does not get the chance to reach his loved ones in time for the janaza (funeral) prayer and burial. This affects the grieving process because you can’t believe that the person has really left you, you still imagine them waiting for you in your childhood or family home when you go back.

This was the case with my friend. My husband is working with her husband to get his passport (which was with the Swiss embassy in preparation for a conference abroad) and tickets for today. Knowing she may be going during the day, my husband took me to see her before work and subhan’Allah she was so strong. She did not cry at all. I don’t think she believed it had really happened. She imagined her mum waiting for her in her parent’s home. She said she wanted to scream and let out all the pain and yet she was so dignified in her grief mash’Allah.

Many people try to hold back the burial so that their relatives abroad can get there in time to see their family member for the last time. My friend told her family to go ahead and bury her mother without her, thinking that it would cause difficulty for her mother in the next life to delay burial. She was strong enough to put her mother’s needs before her own mash’Allah and to let her faith guide her.

Insh’Allah dua’s are requested for this sister, and may Allah (SWT) bestow ease and patience on those of you who have endured the same experience.

Sunday 15 March 2009

Sharing Out The Loot

As it was Sunday and the booting fever is still upon us, we got the kids up early and made our way through Nevendon (okay), Dunton (way too busy and not great) and Barleylands (mine and the kids favourite)

Two work colleagues asked me to pick up some books/supplies for their children so most of these will go to them and another friend whose boys are my childrens' age.

Little Lady has been saving her change in her money box with the declaration she wants to get a laptop like her aunties have. I bought this one for £2 and then found another one for Little Man for the same price. It's pot luck with electronics, so I was releived when we got home and put batteries in and they both worked. I have been meaning to get the kids torches for ages and these cost 50p (their gran will be sharing their room when she gets here next week, so I wonder how long before their dad confiscates them for not letting her sleep).

I do like bags, but not so much handbags as book bags. The spotty one is for me, the ice-cream one for my colleague, the see-through one for Little Lady's dolls clothes and the gorgeous little white one is being stashed for special occassions. The cherry one stopped me in my tracks and is perfect for me to take my shoes or lunch to work.

I picked up this big load of colouring supplies for £1. I think I am going to enjoy sitting and sorting through these. They are to be split between my children and two friends children (there are a lot more than it looks like).

A few treats for myself. The lady with the mirror asked me to make an offer, Little Lady suggested £2 and the lady lowered to 50p which was sweet as the mirror and pouch are beautiful (the back of the mirror is also covered with the same beeds and mother-of-pearl buttons.

In all I spent about probably close to £20 on the above and ice-cream for the kids (they were very good even if they did desperately need everything they clapped eyes on). I think that's a good price for a lot of happy mums and kids insh'Allah (I know I'll be happy sitting checking if all these pens and pencils work).