Category Archives: Back to School

Cutting the Back to School Cost with Poundland

I recently read a shocking news article that claims the average cost of sending a 4-16 year old back to school each September is costing on average of £186.  That’s almost £200 on uniform, shoes, sports kit, lunch bags and stationary.  WOW!  Obviously I try and do what I can to keep these costs down as much as I can.  Using discount supermarkets for the uniform basics has saved a lot as has our local Poundland which was our one stop shop for all of the kiddywinks stationery this year.

Back to School with Poundland

As ever, Poundland has a great range suitable for everyone from primary school pupils right up to university students.  There are some lovely co-ordinating ranges which include the brightly coloured Neon, Craft and Nu as well as some favourite characters such as Spiderman, The Lion Guard, The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dory.  Imogen loves the Neon range with its’ brightly coloured lipstick highlighters, lego shaped erasers and highly addictive maze pens.

Back to School with Poundland

We also found some great value branded stationery items on our recent trip to Poundland as well which included a 4 pack of Papermate Inkjoy ball pens which come in 4 different variations Black, Blue, Office or Fashion.  I use these for work and they usually cost me £3 for 8, so these were a great find.  Another bargain we found was the Helix Value Maths Set which contains a compass, 2 set squares, protractor, ruler, eraser, pencil and sharpener all for £1.  The cheapest I can find this elsewhere is double the price!

Back to School with Poundland

As every parent knows planning is a massive part of the academic year and diaries and wall planners play a massive part in making sure I don’t forget which friend I’m picking up from school, who has after school clubs and the next wretched cake sale!  Poundland have a great selection of these as well from pocket sized to A4, ones you can hang on the wall and weekly planners that you can stick on your fridge.  I love this photo calendar that I’m going to fill with pictures of the children and hang in the hall and this mint green diary that will live in my overstuffed handbag.

Back to School with Poundland Back to School with Poundland Poundland also have a great range of backpacks, lunchbags and drinks bottles featuring Avengers, Disney Princesses, Shopkins and Paw Patrol starting from as little as £2.  Cracking value and definitely worth checking out.  You can find your nearest Poundland here or you can now browse from the comfort of your own sofa at www.poundland.co.uk

Packing a Healthy Lunch with Capri-Sun

This #CapriSunSchool shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Joseph starts pre school in September and during the Summer holidays the whole family has been preparing him for the start of his school journey.  Imogen has told him all about each of the teaching staff, which ones are nice and which ones you need to be on your best behaviour for.  He’s been learning to dress himself, recognise his name (so that no one steal his snack!) and take himself to the toilet.  Having never been in any form of childcare environment it’s bound to come as a bit of a shock to him and unlike his big sister, who did half days, he’ll be attending for three full days and staying for lunch.

After seeing some amazing pictures on Instagram and Pinterest from fellow bloggers I was very keen to give Bento style lunches a try and have been stocking up on little picks, cookie and sandwich cutters and silicone cups for a while now.  Just like everything else, I was keen for Joseph to experience packed lunch before his first day at school so we headed to Tesco on a  #CollectiveBias shop to stock up on all things packed lunch.  Whilst there I discovered these little beauties that would give Joseph’s first Bento lunch the perfect theme, dinosaurs!

Dinosuar Snacks

Snacks sorted we also brought granary bread, ham, sliced cheese, fruit and yoghurts before we started looking for drinks to wash it all down with.  The choice of juice drinks for children is incredibly daunting taking up a full aisle of Tesco, there are fizzy drinks, real fruit juice drinks, ones with no added sugar and ones that feature a picture of everyone’s favourite cartoon pig!

Tesco Soft Drinks

In the end we opted for Capri-Sun, a fun, refreshing drink I remember from my childhood with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Capri-Sun

Back at home I set to making Joseph the best ever dinosaur lunch that any three year old could ever dream of, armed with cutters galore I whipped him up this.

Dinosaur Bento Lunch

Along with a crunchy apple, some chocolate dinosaur shaped biscuits and a Blackcurrant Capri-Sun, which sits incredibly neatly underneath the sandwich “belt” of his Mini Nude Food Movers lunchbox, it was ready for his judgement.

Dinosaur Bento LunchHis reaction was amazing, sitting down nicely to finish the entire thing and remembering his manners to give me a huge “Thanks Mum”.  Well done Joe!

Dinosaur Bento Lunch

Dinosaur Bento Lunch

 

 

Back to School Review Round Up

With less than two weeks until the kiddywinks head back to school are you prepared?  I’ve put together some of my best Back to School finds that should ease the last minute rush just a little.

Imogen and Joseph were each sent a rucksack from LamaLoLi.com, a website choc-a-bloc with branded and fully licensed clothing and accessories for the whole family, Imogen chose Disney Princess and Joseph Disney Planes.

LamaLoLi Rucksacks

Both of their chosen rucksacks have a 3D print effect on the front with Joseph’s featuring Dusty, Rochelle and Ripslinger and Imogen’s with Rapunzel and her Palace Pets horse Blondie.  From a practical point of view they have a grab handle and thick, padded straps to make even the heaviest load comfortable to carry.  At 28 x 23 x 10 cm they are the perfect size for lunch boxes leaving room for a waterproof too.

LamaLoLi Rucksack

There’s a great selection of bags of every style as well as pencil cases and some lovely stylish coats perfect for the Autumn and they can all be found on www.lamaloli.com

I was recently introduced to Smash’s Nude Food Movers on a trip to Sainsbury’s where I managed to bag a bargain with these Triple Snack Tubes at just 67p each!  I was amazed at the quality and genius design which are ideal for break time snacks as well as providing a solution to Imogen’s hummus problem.  Now she carries hummus in one, carrot and cucumber sticks in another and mini breadsticks in the third!

Nude Food Movers Triple Snack Pots

Being so impressed with the quality and design, I chose the Mini Rubbish Free Lunch Box for Joseph’s nursery lunch box.  It features two separate compartments, a sandwich “seatbelt” and two removable, leak proof pods.  We’ve been practising eating lunch from it this week and mightily impressed!

Nude Food Movers Mini Rubbish Free Lunch BoxNude Food Movers Mini Rubbish Free Lunch Box

You can see the entire Nude Food Movers online here www.nudefoodmovers.com.au/ and they are available in the bigger UK supermarkets.

Imogen is a lot like me and has always been obsessed with stationery, this year she has chosen the Butterfly range from Sainsbury’s to start the new school year with.  The matching range is huge and includes everything from calculators to notebooks.  Most of the Back to School stationery now has up to 70% off so make sure you check it out.

Butterfly metal tube pencil set alt £3.99Butterfly multi pocket pencil case

We’re also hoping to find stock of the obviously hugely popular pink satchel at Sainsbury’s before September because apparently the school’s green book bag simply just isn’t cool enough for school!

Pink Satchel

If you’re still on the hunt for school uniform then don’t forget to check out the TU range at Sainsbury’s and do it before 25th August as there’s is 25% ALL TU clothing and that’s a massive saving.  The full range of Sainsbury’s Back to School can be seen at www.sainsburys.co.uk/backtoschool

Back to School with Blacks

As well as the start of the new school year September also means the start of Autumn and that usually brings a downturn in the weather.  School runs become cold, wet and blustery and far less enjoyable.  Luckily Imogen will be prepared this year thanks to Blacks, the outdoor specialists, who sent her through a selection of goodies for the new school year.

Back to School with Blacks

Included in her package were a pair of Peter Storm Wellies, an Osprey Koby Daysack and a Peter Storm 3 in 1 Jacket. Imogen fell instantly in love with the wellies which are mainly purple with a pink trim and spots which apparently makes them very Disney Frozen and pleased her no end.  They have a nice tread on the outer sole to prevent from slipping and will be perfect for puddle jumping on the way home from school.

The Osprey Koby Daysack is just the right size for her and with it’s multitude of pockets, both inner and outer, it will be ideal for carrying her books and lunch to school.  It’s also waterproof with comfortable, padded straps and will be very handy for field trips where she has to be prepared for eventuality and that means a heavy bag!

Back to School with BlacksBack to School with Blacks

Lastly, the Peter Storm 3 in 1 Jacket has to be my favourite, currently on sale at just £25, it is every coat that your child will need for every season.  The jacket has a warm inner fleece with pockets that can either be worn by itself or zipped inside the waterproot outer shell.  The shell has a hood, which can be zipped away when not in use and can, of course, be used without the fleece.  It’s a great versatile jacket and worth every penny which is why I’ve already brought Joseph a blue one!

Back to School with BlacksBack to School with Blacks

To make sure your little one is prepared for all weathers this school year head over to www.blacks.co.uk.

Back “Tu” School with Sainsbury’s

Boys White 3pk Short Sleeved Shirt

Tu at Sainsbury’s are committed to making Back to School season easier for everyone.  They’re well aware that most school uniform is worn for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week and for 39 weeks of the year, so they’ve created durable, high quality uniform at incredible prices available in sizes 2-16 years.

To prove their durability they’ve put them to the test ensuring garments will withstand the daily wear and tear of school life. All have been wash tested making sure that colours stay true and bright and the cotton rich fabrics ensure that they keep their shape up to 100 washes.  Trousers, skirts and pinafores have been rub-tested up to 100,000 times to withstand hours of playground antics.  Tu’s Advanced Technology Cardigan also uses a special cotton rich blend knitwear, meaning reduced bobbling and shrinkage.

Unisex red sweater 2pack Unisex Sweatshirts from £4.00 for a two pack

Boys’ trousers are finished with a resin on the centrefold and pleats on woven skirts and pinafores are heat set to ensure creases look sharp after washing and wearing.  Packed shirts, including the new Bionic Shirt are all also non iron, which certainly will shrink my Sunday night ironing pile by at least half!

Boys Black 2 pack trousers  Boys Trousers from £6.00 for two pairs.

The new Bionic Shirts and Polo Shirts are made from 100% cotton making them breathable but they are also water and stain repellent, perfect for Joe’s start at nursery this year.  Talking of Joe’s start in nursery, the Tu range starts at age 2 which really has saved me a huge headache.  Although Joe is 3 and a half, he’s a little on the dinky side and wears size 2-3 or in some brands 18-24 months!  Sainsbury’s Back to School range also features button and zip free trousers and increased zip length on pinafores, making it easier for children to dress and undress themselves, saving precious time trying to get children out of the door in the morning rush.

Boys White 3pk Short Sleeved ShirtGirls Cap Sleeve Blouse Sainsbury's Pink Satchel -ú19.99Sainsbury's Pink Satchel -ú19.99

In the past I’ve bought all of Imogen’s school uniform from Sainsbury’s and I’ve never been disappointed. It’s a major purchase and is worn considerably more than any other item of clothing, even after numerous wears and washes there’s no bobbling or a single button or hem is out of place. School uniform that gets grown out of rather than worn out saves me a fortune and makes me one happy mum!

Back to School 2013

Back to School September 2013

The Tu Back to School range is available in over 500 stores nationwide now in sizes ranging from age 2 to 16 years. Packs of two uniforms start from as little as £13.50 and include a 2-pack of sweatshirts (from £4), a 2-pack of skirts/trousers (from £6) and a 3-pack of polo shirts (from £3.50). Sainsbury’s also have a huge range of Back to School stationery, lunch boxes and school bags that will suit every taste. Top of Imogen’s Back to School list is this Pink Satchel that she eyes up every time on the weekly shop!

Pink Satchel

To view the full Back to School range from Sainsburys as well as some pretty awesome packed lunches ideas check out www.sainsburys.co.uk/BackToSchool

Back to School ~ Matalan School Uniform Review

Yes, I know the kids haven’t even finished for the Summer yet but having tried to purchase plimsolls in the last few days of August one year I do try and be as organised as possible for September.  Usually most of my back to school shopping is done and dusted before August meaning that the rest of the Summer is ours to enjoy. Back to School In September Imogen will start her year last year as an infant in year 2 and Joseph will start at the school’s pre school 3 days a week.  Having spent time with their new teachers and in their new classrooms both are very excited and looking forward to what the new school year brings. Matalan recently gave us the chance to test out their school uniform and whilst I buy a lot of the kids clothes from there (Imogen is very partial to their applique t-shirts) I’ve never bought any school uniform there, so I was intrigued to see if the quality and value for money matched our usual uniform haunt.  I was sent a great selection of uniform for Imogen including short sleeve blouses, a pinafore, pleated skirt, a gingham summer dress, socks and shoes. Matalan School Uniform Imogen was rather taken by the Summer dress which is described as a “Flippy Gingham Dress” (£7.00), it has some lovely girly details like puff sleeves, a bow detail at the waist and a wonderfully full skirt, perfect for twirling! Matalan School Uniform For the start in September Imogen can create two different looks with the skirt and pinafore, both equally as smart.

Matalan School UniformMatalan school Uniform

Both are Teflon coated, to repel stains, and the box pleat skirt (£4.00) has an incredibly adjustable waist, ideal for Imogen as she’s tall and skinny.  The pinafore is double breasted with an empire waist and button detail.  They look great with the short sleeved blouses (£6-£8 for two) which, again, have some lovely details such as flower shaped buttons, scalloped collar and flower embroidery on the pocket.  These are 65% and 35% cotton designed to keep your child cool and also minimise ironing, that has to be good! Joseph was sent a three pack of polo shirts and a pair of trousers ready for his start in pre school. Matalan School Unifaorm The polo shirts are great value for money at just £4 for three!  They’re 100% cotton and really soft and a great fit on Joe.  Joe’s trousers (£5-£7) are pull on, so there are no zips or buttons to contend with, which will be really helpful when getting dressed and undressed for PE and taking himself to the toilet.  They are also Telfon coated and have an adjustable waist.  I got dinky three and a half year old Joe the smallest size available, age 3, and whilst they’re a little long at the moment I’m sure by September they’ll be a great fit. Matalan School Uniform Whilst I haven’t repeatidly washed the kiddywinks uniforms, every item has been through the wash at least once and pleats have stayed in place, nothing has shrunk and it all needs minimal ironing.  The quality is good with hard wearing fabric and some great little details.  Price wise Matalan is slightly cheaper than the supermarket we usually buy our school uniform from and with them stocking everything from lunch boxes to shoes and underwear Matalan really will be our one stop back to school shop this year!  The full Back to School range is available in store on online and can be viewed here www.matalan.co.uk/back-to-school

 

Floppets ~ Go “Wear” You Go

If your choice of Back to School shoes were Start Rite this year then you’ll know all about Floopets, as a free Floppet was given with every purchase from their school range.  I’ve already seen lots on shoes and bags in school playground.  If you have no idea what I’m on about then here’s a little bit more about them.

Floppets

Floppets took the US by storm and are now making waves here in the UK too!  They are cute collectable toys with a difference as they also allow children to personalise their belongings thanks to their clever Velcro loop.  There are different series in the range which include Petlets, Charmlets, Flopseas and Munchkin Monsters who all live in the magical island of Floptopia where they have their own name, habitat and treasure.

Imogen was sent a selection of Floppets to help prepare for Back to School, they included Armour who lives in the Petlet ranch with his hard shell keeping him save from the Munchkin Monsters and a cupcake and dragonfly from the Charmlets series.  She decided quickly that she would use them to keep her school satchel and lunch bag safe and wrapped then around their straps.

Floppets

Soon after though, she discovered that pretty much anything could have a Floppet attached and skipped around the house attaching them to her flip flops, pencils, pencil case, Barbie’s hair and even herself!

FloppetsPriced at £1.99, they’re great little pocket money toys that Imogen is now very eager to collect.  They’re a great Back to School accessory as well making lunch bags and book bags, which ALL look the same, easily recognisable.  To view the full collection and for your nearest stockists check out www.floppets.uk.com.

Walkers Mighty Lights Review

Imogen heads back to school this week and one of the things I’m not looking forward to is the daily packed lunch/school dinners discussion before bed.  She quite enjoys a school dinner but as she’s not a huge eater I really like to see what she has and hasn’t eaten.  It has nothing to do with the fact they fed her a boiled egg and peas once I swear!  As with most terms, she’ll quite possibly have a mixture of the two and, as always, I’ll do my best to try and make packed lunches healthy and exciting!

We’re a family of crisp lovers and Imogen would love nothing more than to find a bag of Walkers in her lunch bag everyday but I do worry about how healthy they are.  Walkers have come with a solution in the form of their new Mighty Lights, with 30% less fat than standard crisps and with the usually Walkers guarantee of no artificial colours or preservatives and no MSG.

Walkers sent us a lovely delivery of Mighty Lights to try out and it squashed my diet myths that less fat means less flavour!  They come in three tasty flavours Cheese and Onion, Lightly Salted and Roast Chicken.  They’re ridged which are Imogen’s personal favourites, neither she or I know why but they seem to hold a lot more flavour.  A bit like a crinkled chip being bale to hold more ketchup I suppose!

Joseph took an instant fancy to the Roast Chicken flavour and demanded them with his ham sandwich, whilst Imogen declared that Lightly Salted was the perfect match for hers.

Walkers Mighty Lights

I’m a strong believer in everything in moderation, so I’ll defiantly be popping a bag of Walker’s Mighty Lights into Imogen lunch box from time to time next term.

Walkers Mighty Lights

We were sent a sample of Walkers Mighty Lights for the purpose this review.  I am also being paid a fee, however this has not affected my opinions.

Back to School with Poundland #PoundandB2S

You may have noticed a bit of a theme on the blog recently as we, along with the rest of the country, prepare to send our little ones back to school.  Our latest challenge as Poundland Ambassadors was to kit Imogen out for her start in year one Poundland style!

We took our trip to our local store yesterday, and unfortunately got caught in the middle of a thunder storm, and I was amazed at what they had to offer.

Back to School with PoundlandThere’s a great range of stationary all at 3 for £1 and that includes everything from note books, poster paint, pens, pencils, felt tips pens and even sticky back plastic for covering books!

Back to School with Poundland

Continue reading

Clarks Back to School Review

Imogen and I were recently invited to our local Clarks store to pick out a pair to prepare her for the new school year.  Apart from sewing on name tags this is one of the last things I do and it seems that I am not alone in this as our local store is usually packed when we go.  Luckily I had made an online appointment so we beat the queue, I can’t recommend this service highly enough!

Imogen was met by the store manager who was to be our fitter.  Imogen (dressed as a ballerina for a party) measured in at an impressive 11f and we were shown which shoes were available in her size.  Prices for leather shoes start from £25 but although there’s two styles at this price both a pretty basic and somehow don’t look as sturdy as the rest of the range.  The top end at her size is £36 and honestly I don’t think this is bad at all, in fact it’s very reasonable when you consider that Imogen only had one pair of shoe school last year, Clarks of course! Continue reading

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