Getting your child into a routine when starting secondary school

Long gone are the days when my son was a little boy holding my hand on the walk to primary school.   This month he was back to school in the next stage of his school years as he headed to secondary school looking super smart in his blazer and tie.

school bag, chromebook, pencil case

It has meant a bit of a shake up to our daily routine though with slightly earlier mornings, although fortunately his Echo Dot wakes him up and then I hear him shouting “Alexa, be quiet!”.   He comes downstairs for breakfast before getting dressed and then we head out of the door to travel to school.

With timetables to follow, multiple teachers to get used to and and a new school to learn his way around, the days can be more stressful as he strives to be in the right place at the right time.  I’m so pleased to hear that he’s chatted to the majority of his new classmates in a bid to get to know them and make some new friends.

After school has been a bit tougher on him too.  Instead of getting home and chilling out, he now finds himself more tired after the challenging day of lessons but also has to consider finding time for some homework during the evenings.  I’ve tried to assist him without doing the work, just by guiding him on where to look for things, how to set things out and printing out things to help him, such as his language vocabulary and verbs that he has to learn.

Overall I am super proud of him – he has adapted to his new routine fantastically and certainly taken the challenge of a new school with high standards in his stride.  Everyday brings new little challenges, but with that other things become easier – he’s still mastering the art of getting his tie to the perfect length and remembering to pack his books the night before and not leaving them until the morning but he’ll get there.

Back to School essentials

With most children heading back to school this week, there are lots of things us parents need to think about in order to prepare for the new school term.  I have one child starting yr 3 and my youngest just starting school in foundation.

One thing they both need is school uniform and somewhere that has a comprehensive selection is F&F.  With a vast range available you can kit them out head to toe with uniform, bags and shoes.  You can read our full F&F review here.

f&fOnce you’ve got the uniform, comes the all important job of labeling clothes and other items and I found that My Nametags were perfect for this.  Stick on labels that can be added to labels inside clothes, or easily stick on pencil cases, in shoes or on lunch boxes, these have made labeling even easier for me this year!  Read more about my thoughts on My Nametags here.

nametags 2


As well as the everyday items, maybe your child has music lessons, something I know my daughter Miss M is keen to start this year.  This Wavy Stave Music Bag by Musicroom is perfect for carrying about music books and sheets.  The bag is well made, comes in different colours and is has a lovely musical design on the front.  There is a carry handle and a little see through section to slot in a name label for your child. The corners are reinforced to make this durable for carrying to and from school/music lessons as required.

music bag

Something we all dread but unfortunately it’s the reality of school life, is head lice!  I know throughout the year we get slips of paper home warning us of an outbreak and to check our childs hair.  Teangi have formulated a range of products containing one of my favourite antiseptic oils, Tea Tree.  I’ve long been a fan of Tea Tree and always have a bottle in the cupboard, it works wonders for blemishes and other lumps (ingrown hairs etc) and you see a reduction and less pain immediately.

Tea Tree is also a great head lice deterrent and Teangi have incorporated this into their shampoo and conditioner that’s gentle but contains 2% Tea Tree oil.  They’ve also added a special detangling agent to make combing easier.  I found the shampoo really easy to massage into the hair and it definitely left the hair feeling soft and manageable.  It does have the distinguishable tea tree fragrance, but it feels good knowing then when my children return to school, hopefully their heads won’t attract any of the dreaded lice!


Teangi also do a Tea Tree & Witch Hazel cream which is really useful for cuts and grazes, perfect for children’s knees and elbows which seem to get frequently grazed in the school playground or after school at the park.  I would love to try this as I love the power of Tea Tree and will be looking out for this as I’m sure it’s a great quality product along with the rest of the Teangi range!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the items in order to write the review.

Back to School Round Up Guide

With the new school term starting in September we all need to start thinking about back to school essentials.  With my son Mister B starting school for the first time he is rather nervous and unsure as to things ahead so I think it’s nice to do things to make him feel more comfortable and a bit more grown up now that he will be a school boy.

He’s a bit superhero fan so I think these Batman accessories will be great to give him encouragement to try his best at school.


batman 2The Batman duvet cover is the perfect accessory for his bedroom to encourage him to have an early night before school.  Hopefully he’ll want to go to bed rather than try to stay up!  This is a fabulous duvet cover with a full size batman on one side, with the Batman’s head being on the pillow.  This means that when Mister B is in bed it’ll look like he’s got Batman’s body.  I love that this cover is double sized with the reverse having lots of smaller flying Batman’s as per the one on the bottom right of the picture .

batman 3

The notepad and pencil case are both great quality. The pencil is ideal for putting just a couple of pens or pencils in to take to school in his book bag.  The note pad is hardback and spiral bound.  I like these pads for young children as they don’t need anything else to lean on, and the spirals mean the pages stay open.  This will be great for Mister B to practise his writing in.


Scentos are an exciting new range of kids stationery in which every item is scented!  Miss M who is 7 fell in love with this instantly.  She couldn’t wait to get stuck in writing a letter for mummy and making Nanny a birthday card with these.

scentosThe set is comprehensive and contains over 75 scented pieces all flavoured with fruity scents including blueberry, watermelon, grape, apple, orange and strawberry.  With the set consisting of pens, pencils, erasers, markers, paints etc there really is a great choice.  The highlight for Miss M was the two large size chunky markers that really captured her attention and the first she chose to use.  I also like this set because it contains 18 pieces of fruity designed paper and stickers which really add to the set and mean a child can use it all right away!

I envisage this set coming out when we have homework to do that involves drawing and craft and also other craft activities at home.  It certainly helps a child to be creative and I’m sure Miss M will pick a few pieces to add to her school pencil case and love showing her friends the different scents of the pencils and erasers!


Everyone needs a water bottle be it at school or at work and I have to say that this new Fill and Go Filter Water Bottle from Brita is perfect.  Although initially I was going to let Miss M try this in preparation for back to school, although after seeing it, I decided it is just the thing for my desk at work.  I’m not keen on tap water so prefer either bottled or filtered and this is perfect for on the go.  It is a refillable water bottle in which you insert a mini filter, and this filters the water as you drink it.

brita 2The bottle is slimline and stylish, I like the clear outer to the bottle.  It holds a total of 600ml and has been designed to fit into cup holders. There is an included straw which can be removed if you wish to use as a tip up bottle.

britaThe filters are recommended to be changed weekly and refills can be purchased although four are included with the purchase of the bottle.  I’m really loving this bottle and think its a great idea, and will appeal to people whether at school, college, work, gym or just out and about for the day.



Suckies fromt The Collective Dairy are a gourmet yoghurt brand that as well as selling tubs of yoghurt, have produced a range of live yoghurt pouches for children.  The fresh yoghurt contains no nasties, no colours, no artificial flavourings, no preservatives or pips and bits!  It comes in a choice of four flavours, Sassy Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Peach & Apricot.

suckiesThey come in 100g pouches and are designed for children of all ages, which means they are ideal for pack lunches and days out.  A top tip is to put these into the freezer so that by lunchtime at school the children have a cold yoghurt to eat rather than one that has gone a bit warm.  They have a screw top which I like as I know my children struggle with the tear across pouches, and it also means if they don’t want it all they can save a bit for later and replace the lid.

collectiveSo what did my children think of them?  Well they loved them!  In fact Miss M’s first words after drinking one was, “that was amazing, can I have another one please?”.  They particularly love the strawberry flavour as that has always been their favourite yoghurt flavour, but equally they loved the others and would be happy to drink any flavour again.


One thing I dread when the children are due back at school is the slip of paper that comes home on a regular basis warning me that a case of head lice has been found in the class and to be extra vigilant in checking my child’s hair.  This Protect & Go spray from Hedrin is the perfect solution.

WP_20150823_14_37_18_ProThis spray is great for my children as they hate the traditional head lice lotions and don’t enjoy me combing through their hair looking for lice.  With this spray you can use on either wet or dry hair at least twice a week to help prevent head lice.  The spray will disrupt the life cycle of lice and prevent infestations.  It has an orange and mango scent which although quite strong is pleasant and giving the kids a spray after shampooing is easy to do.  I’ll be using this week from the start of term in hope that we don’t see the dreaded lice this year.  I think for such an easy to use preventative it’s worth doing and saves any hassle in the long run.



All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the items in order to write the review.

Back to School Checklist

With the start of the school term looming in a few weeks, it’s time to start making sure you have everything ready that your child needs.  I’m always making various lists to ensure I’m ready but below is really handy checklist that you can print out and mark off as and when you have each item.  You can even get your child to help by ticking things off, and reminding you of things you need to get.

Click here to print the Back to school checklist

Back to school checklist PrintThis checklist has been created by

My Nametags School Uniform labels – Review

A must for school uniform is name labels, there’s nothing worse than not knowing which school cardigan is your child’s, just because you forgot to name it.  My Nametags have just the answer with these easy to use stick on labels.

nametags 3They have a good choice of designs, there is something for everyone, and they also have a fabulous new range of Hello Kitty designs

hkWe received a couple of the Hello Kitty designs to try and a pirate design for Mister B.  These stickers are really strong and can be stuck to lots of things such as lunchboxes,  pencil cases, books, rulers and most importantly labels in clothing!  This is really useful as it means they are so simple to apply, it literally takes a few minutes and you can have the entire set of school uniform labelled.  Being versatile is good too, meaning you just need one set of stickers for everything.

nametags 2One thing I think these will be great for are the insides of shoes, in particular plimsolls – I hate trying to write a childs name in biro inside, so these will be brilliant so each child can identify their own shoes.  The labels, although being stickers do feel and look really strong and durable.  They can be washed up to 60 degrees provided they have been stuck to the label and not the clothing itself.  I found these really easy to use and Miss M even enjoyed helping me label her items.  With 56 labels in each set there is plenty to personalise all your school items so why not give My Nametags a try?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the labels in order to write the review.

Back to school with F&F school uniform

Anyone with children will know that the summer holidays means purchasing school uniform ready for the start of the new school year in September.  With two children in primary school this September, a girl and a boy means I require two sets of uniform, therefore I want it to be good value to buy and also items that will last.  I also like something a bit different especially for girls rather than completely plain, and I have to say I’ve been very impressed with what F&F have to offer this year.

f&fAs you can see above both my children were very excited to try their uniform on and big sister Miss M was so proud of her little brother and thought he looked very smart!  F&F really do cover everything you need to get back to school from the basic uniform, to P.E. kit, shoes, bags and accessories.  We received a selection from both the girls and boys ranges to see what we thought.

f&f 2First off is Mister B who is due to start school in September, he was very excited and I think he looks super smart in his new uniform.  The red jumper is v neck and 100% cotton and looks great over the shirt.  I’ve given it a quick wash which has performed well and I’m sure this will last well when worn at school.  The grey trousers are what I expected but with the added bonus of a reinforced knee – this sounds like a godsend knowing we went through 4 pairs of general trousers through the knees over the last few months at home!

f&f 3The white shirts he tried are of excellent quality (excuse the pale blue tint – I must purchase some white vests for him before September!), they feel well made with strong seams and what really impressed me was the collar button.  The button is sewn onto the outside to make it look real, but actually inside there is velcro to do the top of the shirt up, making it super easy for little fingers to do.

f&f 5The school shoes are coated leather with a chunky sole to withstand wear and I think they look really smart.  They are also very easy to get on and off, with just one large velcro strap that Mister B really got to grips with.  The plimsolls are of a high quality to ones I’ve brought for my daughter previously and having a velcro tab across makes them easy to put on and you can adjust accordingly for a tight fit.  Mister B loved these and asked if he could wear them everyday!!   Unfortunately not, they are just for P.E.!!  I chose some patterned grey socks which were a bit nicer than the plain school selection and I have to say these don’t disappoint.  They are all really soft, making them very comfortable on the foot and something Mister B loved wearing.

f&f 4Miss M was thrilled with her new blouse, it has pretty flower buttons and and lovely embroidery on the pocket making it stand out a bit from other plainer blouses out there.  I like the curved collar and shaped sleeves.  There’s also flower buttons on the cardigan and a bow design on the pockets.  Miss M loves the pockets and finds them useful for things like a tissue, we often find a lot of cardigans don’t have pockets, so this one is perfect.

f&f 6I also like how the cardigan pocket bow detail matches the pocket on the white P.E. tops.  The P.E. tops also had a nice scallop around the sleeves and a slit up the sides making them look really stylish rather than your bog standard polo shirt.  The black girls P.E. shorts also proved really comfortable as Miss M has worn them to her gymnastics crash course this week and can’t wait to take them to school for P.E., one of her favourite lessons!

f&f 7Everyone needs a school bag and Miss M likes a backpack that she can put everything in, such as her cardigan, waterproof mac, lunch, pencil case and homework.  This Hello Kitty bag has been a big hit with her and she has used it everyday already on our day’s out or visiting friends etc. The bag has lovely padded sides and is a nice quality.  There is a pocket on the front and two handy carry handles on the top to use if it’s not on your back.  The only thing I’d like to have seen to improve it would be a drinks bottle pocket on one side as this would have been very useful.

f&f 8

Overall I am very pleased with both the quality and style of the school uniform range from F&F, and it is definitely a brand I’d go back to again.  The children are happy and feel comfortable in their pieces and I can’t wait for them to start wearing it all daily in September.  Have you got all your kids school uniform for September yet?   Be sure to check out F&F, some great value pieces!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the uniform in order to write the review.



Great Gizmos NICI Stationery for Kids – Review

Great Gizmos sell a wide range of children’s toys and gifts, and have a lovely selection from the brand NICI, of which we were sent a few items to try out.  I could immediately tell all the items are of a high quality, well made and look good so I was keen to get the children to try them out.

niciWe received a Timmy the sheep backpack, sloth pencil case, coloured pencil tin and child size scissors.

timmy - Copy timmy 2 - CopyThe Timmy backpack has been a huge success in both it’s softness and likeness to a cuddly toy as well as it’s usefulness as a bag.  Both my children loved this and decided to take turns each day in using it.  Miss M above is modelling it and you can see it’s a medium size bag and Timmy’s head lifts up to get inside.  It fastens with a strong magnetic button that keeps everything secure inside.  The straps are adjustable and are a lovely bright lime green colour.  The bag itself is exceptionally soft and my children loved cuddling it when they were out and about in place of a cuddly they would use at home.  This bag has been a hit with my two and has even been on it’s first trip to France and was great to carry a few useful items in.

nici 2The Sloth pencil case is lovely, one of the most luxurious pencil cases around.  It feels so soft to the touch and has a really cute sloth on the outsdie.  Inside the lid unrolls to reveal storage for a number of pens or pencils.  You then have the main zipped compartment with plenty of storage inside for all your other stationery items.

The scissors are cute with a wild animal theme and are sharp enough to cut well, but perfect for little fingers.  My little boy has made good use of these as he loves to cut his pictures out when he draws them.

nici 3I just love the coloured pencils in the Kangaroo tin, how I would have loved these as a child!  The ideal of them being double ended with two different colours in each pencil is fabulous and means you only have to carry half the amount of pencils around with you but still have all the colours!

I think the NICI range of stationery from Great Gizmos is lovely and made to a high standard.  They are a little pricier than other brands, but to be honest, you get what you pay for.  I’ll definitely keep an eye out for other NICI products as I’ve been really pleased with what we’ve tried out here.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the products in order to write the review.


Back to School Hair with Bathtime Buddies

With the new school term recently having started, it’s time to think about how best to look after, maintain and style the children’s hair for school.  Bathtime Buddies kindly sent me a bundle of goodies for the children to use and get us thinking about haircare.

bathtime buddies 1My children were very excited when they saw their goodies, Miss M absolutely loved her Disney princess towel and they were both eager for bathtime that evening.  I do think one of the important things with children is that they enjoy what they are doing and are motivated so by using appealing items and products in the bath it really helps.

Miss M has very thick, unruly curls that turn into matted tangles very easily.  Washing her hair is a bit of a challenge trying to tease them out by endlessly combing through using a tangle teasing brush.  Seeing the Disney Ariel shampoo and detangler that had arrived meant that she was in a good mood for hair washing that evening which is always a good start.

bathtime buddies 2The shampoos from Bathtime Buddies smell lovely and come in an easy to use squeezy bottle.  The children love squirting a blob out themselves into their hand and rubbing it into their hair.   Mister B’s hair is very short so it’s simply wash and go for him, no styling required.  When it’s a bit longer he does like to spike it up in the bath but he had it cut short a few weeks ago ready for back to school!

Miss M loves to wash her hair herself which I think is a great although I do have to do an extra condition and comb through to tease out those unruly tangles.  Due to her curls we are unable to brush her hair when dry so it’s hard to get her to style her own hair, its also a challenge trying to tie it up as hairbands don’t glide easily over her curls.

We’ve found for school the best styles are tied up, preferable in plaits.  If I’m short of time we do stick to a basic ponytail which is quick and lets her curls tumble down but becomes quite tangled at the end of the day.  Plaits are definitely the best way to keep hair tangle free and also keeps the hair a bit cleaner for longer.  We have several variations of plaits that we use from one bit chunky plait, to two separate plaits, one each side of the head.

bathtime buddies 6Miss M also likes her hair in one ponytail and then split that into two to create two plaits from one starting point but her current favourite style is fishtail plaits where you braid a smaller piece of hair across the plait each time rather than a whole section as shown below.

bathtime buddies 5My top tip for school haircare is to plait the hair when damp the night before.  You can then get away with leaving them in the morning and go straight to school or if you want a quick tidy up, they are easy to undo and quickly replait rather than having to drag the brush through and detangle again, not an easy job with Miss M’s curls!

If you want to find out more about back to school haircare and ideas then Bathtime Buddies are holding a “Back to School Haircare” twitter party on Thursday 18th September at 1pm!!  Make sure you are following them on twitter @bathtimebuddies

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received some Bathtime Buddies products in order to write the review.


Back to School with Sainsbury’s Arts and Crafts

With the summer holidays underway and two children to keep entertained, I’m also on the look out for things to do, whether it be days out, trips to the local park, or activities to keep the children occupied at home.  When Sainsbury’s offered to send us a selection of their Back to School stationary range including lots of art and craft goodies, I knew that would the perfect way to entertain my two when we are stuck at home or when it’s raining.

sainsburys 2With a selection of coloured card, tissue paper, wiggly eyes, glitters, sequins, glue, stickers and pens, they couldn’t wait to get started.

sainsburys 1Miss M decided to create a picture inspired by our holiday with a beach scene at night with a dark sky and stars.  She also added a lighthouse and a little googly eyed person.

sainsburys 4Mister B decided to recreate the huge blue and purple jellyfish that we saw lying on the beach.  He drew a blue outline and stuck on some googly eyes.  Then I helped him add some sparkly purple glitter to make it shine and then he drew some wiggly jellyfish legs!

sainsburys 3Miss M then got really creative and wanted to draw one her favourite activities – rock climbing!!  She’s only had a go on the man made indoor rock climbing places but would love to one day take part in some outdoor rock climbing.  She cut out a purple tissue paper rock and stuck it to the paper.  She then created a sparkly purple sun in the corner of the  paper.  She then drew three little rock climbers, one each side of the cliff and one on top with all bundles of ropes.  She gave each person a shiny coloured star sticker for their hard work and to say well done for their excellent rock climbing!

sainsburys 5A bundle of craft materials is a great way to get the children to be creative and also to get them sitting down concentrating just like they have to when they go back to school.  They also really enjoy it and love showing everyone their finished pieces of art.

sainsburys 6With the new school term starting in just a few weeks, there are lots of things to thing about from uniform, stationery to getting your child focussed and ready for the new academic year.

Being organised in the mornings is a great way to start the day and keep things calm and smooth running.  Sainsbury’s have put together a Back to School list of 9 igenious ways to streamline the kids mornings routine – why not check it out?

We were sent some Sainsburys craft goodies and voucher in return for this post.