reviews

Back to school with Tesco

Yesterday I posted on Facebook:

“I cannot believe that The Big One will be a junior tomorrow!”

As an aside, I added “It IS tomorrow, isn’t it?”

We were all supposed to laugh and, perhaps, comment back that yes, indeed it is tomorrow and all said Mother of the Year awards were in fact awarded correctly to me. But no. My next door neighbour commented thus:

“It’s today. We’re leaving in 5 minutes.”

I admit it. I stared at the screen, willing a winking smiley icon to appear. It had to be a joke. It was 8am, I was sitting in my pyjamas and the toddler was lying on the sofa eating toast. The baby was in bed, The Big One was in bed and NOBODY had eaten, got dressed or brushed their teeth or anything. If you’re a parent with kids at school, you will understand the panic that ensued once I had dragged the Big One out of bed.

So we ran around the house for a few minutes until I decided to share my pain with Facebook once more, only to find a new comment stating simply:

“Only joking! It is tomorrow!”

And there was that winking smiley!

Ok, so he got me. But the reason he got me so badly was because I am a naturally un-organised person and if someone tells me school starts back on Monday and not Tuesday, I will believe they are right, even though I KNOW most schools will have a training day… This year though, I was determined not to be last minute with the school uniform.

Starting juniors is massive for us because The Big One’s school is split into two sites, so the junior school is a different building with a different head teacher and a different uniform. It’s like starting big school. It’s like the first day of school all over again. Added to that is the fact that The Big One’s junior school is the only one in the area that sports a vivid jade green jumper/cardigan that was only sold in  Tesco, so I knew that I needed to be quick with my order.

I ordered all of the Big One’s uniform online, which I have to say is preferable to traipsing around the shop with three reluctant children. I have to say though that the sizings were a little frustrating at this point. The Big One is a reasonably tall but slender child for her age and as she is about to turn 8, I was forced to choose between 7-8 years or 9-10 years. I would’ve liked to have had the option of 8-9 but I guess she will grow into the 9-10.

We ordered a jade green jumper with the school logo, two white polo shirts with the logo and two plain, two pairs of cycling shorts, two black skirts and three pairs of black tights. The plain items were delivered to store within four working days, which was excellent. The items with the logo took a little longer as they needed to be embroidered but because of this they were automatically delivered to the house free of charge. They arrived two weeks later and were perfect.

So what do you think? Smart enough for juniors?

My only gripe with the whole service came when ordering the items at the end. The computer repeatedly asked me for my club card number and since I don’t have one, I tried to skip this point a few times with no luck. Eventually, I pressed the back button and it went through fine! Another minor issue has nothing at all to do with the clothes or the service, which was excellent. I just wanted to note that I find it a little sad that Tesco is now the sole supplier of the school’s uniform.Undoubtedly, this is because they offered the best deal to the school for parents, but I can’t help feeling for the little uniform guy down the road. It would’ve been nice if he had been able to keep a few of his customers, but such is business I suppose.

 

*We were given a £30 voucher towards the Tesco school uniform, for purposes of this review. No further payment was received and all views are my own!

 

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Photo-Canvas: a review

I was recently asked whether I would like to review a canvas print from Photo-Canvas and I agreed straight away. I had the perfect picture in mind (taken by my very talented little sister) and I wanted something to fill a space on the wall. As a parent, what could be better than a picture of my beautiful children, eh?

So I gather that canvas prints aren’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea but I honestly struggle to see why they wouldn’t be. I love seeing favourite photos  enlarged and on the wall and having them on canvas really makes them stand out. What do you think?

Ordering from Photo-Canvas was easy. You simply need to choose the type of print you want and upload your photo. Next, you can personalise your print by choosing the size and the style. For example, I chose a colour wrap in white for my picture so that the photo really stood out from the wall. Once you’ve uploaded you can proceed to check-out, or save the picture for your next visit.

I ordered my print yesterday at around 9am. My beautifully packaged canvas arrived this morning at 11am and is now hanging proudly on my wall! Like I said, we’re big fans of canvas prints and all the more if ordering and receiving them is this easy!

If you would like to find out more or to order your own custom canvas print, visit the Photo-Canvas website.

 

*We received a canvas print free of charge for review purposes only. No further payments were made and all opinons are my own.

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Summer holiday survival? Fun and Frugal ebook review

Like many other parents this summer, I’ve got big plans which center around Keeping the kids Entertained. Yes, it deserves a title of its own. With three children all at such different stages of development, I’m well aware that they all need different types of stimulation. That requires me splitting myself into three pieces on an hourly basis over most weekends, so the summer holidays are already- at day two- looking a little daunting.

Before I begin, this is not a post where I moan about having the children around me all day for six weeks. I already have two of them around me all day every day as it is and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Having The Big One at home for the summer is a blessing and I want to make sure we spend our days being happy. That said, summer holidays can  be stressful and it’s a well known fact that a five month old can’t do all the same things as a two year old, who in turn can’t do all the same things as a seven year old. So…

The ‘I’m Bored!’ jar

I downloaded the rather fantastic Frugal and Fun- enjoying the school holidays the thrifty way ebook with a view to getting myself organised for the six weeks ahead. Ok, so I’m a little late to the game here. I was supposed to read this little gem a week before the holidays started as there is a chapter specifically on organisation. My first thought here was that I had failed at the first hurdle, but actually, one of the best things about this book is that the suggested tasks are all  so easy to accomplish. They are also suggestions, so I’ve decided not to do some of the tasks the authors recommend, although they are all very sensible ideas. One thing I have done though is to make some lists.

The Big One and I have written a list of 50 things we can do if we get bored. These have been placed into a jar marked ‘I’m Bored!’ and should the dreaded phrase be uttered, whatever is pulled from the jar has to be done. I can’t wait until she gets the tidy her bedroom one…

These are the other lists we’ve made:

three new places to visit

three new things to try

ten things we definitely want to do

We’ve also taken up the idea of a holiday planner, although we are working week by week. So far so good. But today has gone a little bit wrong.

Yesterday we started the holidays with a trip to the hospital for The Toddler’s blood tests. From there we went straight to the park to meet Minty and Grace and then to the cafe for lunch. From the cafe we whipped straight away to the pet shop and garden centre, where we stayed for two hours browsing and chatting. From the pet shop we ambled home for dinner and finished our day with a walk. Lovely. But like I said, today went a little wrong.

The planner said swimming but The Big One didn’t want to swim. Fair enough, playing with neighbours is just as good an activity but once she’d gone I realised why yesterday had gone so well. The Big One is an essential tool in keeping baby or toddler amused while the other is being tended to. A visit from Minty and Grace provided a brief respite in the chaos but the truth has to be said: today I let myself down.

I can’t potty train whilst breastfeeding a teething/ cranky baby. I can’t get either toddler or baby to nap whilst the other one is shrieking. I can’t leave the house for walks or drives because The Big One might come home and not know where I am. Where is my back up plan? Oh, that’s right. I don’t have one.

The next chapters in the e-book are dedicated to each week of the holidays. The first week is all about the Olympics and tomorrow we are having a craft morning to try out the ideas in the book. But before that, I’m going to read through the chapter on organisation again…

I will update you, dear reader, as we work our way through the book this summer. But before I sign off to sit in a dark room for a while, I thought I would leave you with this tip: take as many photos as you can this summer. Looking at the photographic evidence, it seems it hasn’t been such a write-off so far after all. We’ve made meatballs and jelly worms. We’ve played on swings and we’ve been laughing. Bring on tomorrow!

 

 

I did receive a copy of Fun and Frugal- enjoying the summer holidays the thrifty way for review purposes. However, I also paid for and downloaded a copy for my Kindle as it is such a fab book. And I don’t know how to add PDF files to my Kindle. But anyway, no other payment has been made and all thoughts are my own.

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Name it Labels: a review

I’ve always said that you need to  be organised when you have children but I’ve never actually managed to practice what I preach, if you know what I mean. Yes, yes it’s a really good idea to set out the breakfast things the night before, a packed changing bag is always ready to go anywhere and yes- labelling your child’s school clothes and water bottles is also a very good idea too. It’s just that being organised takes organisation and there always seems to be something else I need to do first…

In September The Big One is about to move up to the junior school so by now I know how important it is to label clothes. Let me tell you this from a teacher’s perspective- it’s really annoying when kids lose their jumpers and they didn’t have their name in the label. We’re not magicians, you know. You don’t label it, you lose it. And you didn’t hear this from me, but some parents even cross out names and write their own child’s instead. Honestly. Labelling with pen just doesn’t cut it sometimes. It’s a cut throat world and only Name it Labels will do… or something like that.

I agreed to review Name it Labels as I am determined to be organised this year. Ok, so I haven’t finished buying the uniform yet, but I’ve got some bits and those bits are now the proud owners of some very lovely labels indeed. Look:

drinks bottles
Welly boots
plastic cup
reading wallet

 

The Name it Labels website is really easy to navigate. You simply choose the type of sticker you want (I reviewed the self adhesive labels and the iron on clothes labels) and the design. Then you are given the option for colours and font type so that you can really personalise your labels. I chose camper vans for the toddler, Tracy Beaker for The Big One and princess tiaras for the baby.

The labels themselves come in separate plastic bags with instructions on the reverse. The self adhesive stickers can be used for water bottles, lunch boxes and shoes. When using with shoes, you can place a clear sheet over the top to prevent the labels being rubbed away- a very nice touch. The iron on labels also come with full instructions, plus a few practice labels to help you get the correct temperature of the iron before you start your labelling frenzy.

And it has been a labelling frenzy! The labels come in packs of 33 or 46 so there are more than enough to ensure no piece of clothing goes without. And for a labelling virgin like me, it really has been easy to do:

Step 1: place label on clothes and cover with paper (provided)

 

Step 2: press with iron for 10 seconds
Step 3: allow the paper to cool
Step 4: take off the paper
Step 5: finished!

So if you want to be organised this summer, I heartily recommend Name it Labels. It takes the hassle out of pen that gets washed away or scribbled over and it helps your child’s things stand out instantly. My experience has been that they are easy to order and use, long lasting, reasonably priced and fun for the kids. Now, if someone would like to come and pack my changing bag for me… everything is labelled and ready to use…

For more information,you can visit the Name it Labels website and follow them on Twitter at  @nameitlabels 

 

* I received some Name it Labels for review purposes only. No other payment was received and all opinions are my own.

p.s the labels are still on the welly boots even after days of torrential rain and feet being pulled in and out!

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