[GIFTED] It’s that time of year when parents are frantically trying to get ready for the return of ‘back to school’ labels are being stuck in, trousers are being taken up and for me the dreaded shoe shop is taking place.
With years of school shoe shopping under my belt I still haven’t found a stress free way to keep the kids happy and me sane whilst getting what we need.
So when Treads asked if I would like to try out their online shoe shop I was immediately drawn in as the prospect of hitting the shops was something I had been avoiding – especially in the current pandemic.
Treads specialise in durable school shoes for children aged 6-16 using a combination of top quality materials and clever technology to turn construction style footwear into school shoes.
The boys sat with me and happily scrolled through the shoes and selecting them for themselves. There wasn’t a huge range which for me was much better as they came to a decision really quickly.
Frankie went for the smart, Velcro option with the Sydney shoe and Oscar went for a more casual, lace up with the Boston.
Children are in school shoes for a good six or more hours a day, so fitting is important to me and is the only reason I usually opt to go in store for this. However Treads have a print out paper gauge that allows you to take the measurements and then enter online to get the perfect fit. They also come with a dual fitting system which means you can take out one of the inner soles to give you a wider fit.
The biggest pull for me though was their ’12 month indestructible guarantee’ which means if they don’t meet their high standards they will replace them for FREE.
My youngest two have been known to ruin shoes in a matter of weeks so I’m eager to see if they can stand the rest of time with them and by the sounds of these shoes they should have their work cut out trying to get through these!
A special Strobel technique is used which means the upper part of the shoe is placed into the mould and then the sole is injected around it – making it come complete entity. As well as this, the heels are reinforced to prevent splitting so they really have covered everything.
I will of course keep you updated and let you know if the demolishers manage to break through…I have high hopes for these though!
Over the past few weeks the reality of Oscar starting school has set in and I can safely say that it is me with the butterflies in my tummy and the waves of anxiety on a daily basis.
Oscar however seems pretty relaxed about the whole prospect and is eager to get started, make new friends and start his new and exciting journey into school life.
After five children I know all to well that even the most confident and self assured children can have trouble with coping this massive change and it is our job as parents to make this transition as easy as possible.
One thing I know that mine have all had trouble with is the more structured day they have compared to nursery. Although the majority of their learning is still done through play a lot of it is tailored to help them learn and this is something I have been helping Oscar to get used to with the help of PJ Masks.
Oscar has been a huge fan of the lovable charters Owlet, Catboy and Gekko for some time now and their inspirational super powers are the perfect way to motive children to learn and give them confidence to battle through their fears.
Oscar really needed some practice with his hand writing skills and the PJ Masks First Writing book has been a fantastic aid for him. the wipe clean pages allow him to try over and over again without wasting endless sheets of paper.
We have also been learning in a more interactive way with the PJ Masks Leaning Headquarters that has three different modes of play that allows Cat Car, Owl Slider and Gekko Mobile to complete different missions. The catchy theme tunes and familiar faces make challenges such as memory skills, problem solving and much more all the more fun.
A learning tool that is pretty familiar to our house is the Leap Frog range. Oscar was trilled with his Leap Start which is just like bringing a book to life. He didn’t even realise that through the touch and talk games he was building his reading, numerical and problem solving skills.
Lunch time at school can be a pretty daunting experience too with all the hustle and bustle of so many children and the noise levels going through the roof. With school encouraging independence having a lunch that is easy to get into is of great importance. Oscar will be able to get off to a great start with his PJ Mask lunch box filled with his easy to open…and leak proof drinks bottle and super cool snack pot that can be filled with different treats everyday.
All thats left now is for some of those PJ Mask super powers to rub off onto my little superhero and hope this will get him and me through those tricky first few weeks.
I wasn’t going to write a ‘back to school’ post as the Internet has been flooded with them and really and truly I should be a dab hand at all this by now.
Today was the first day I had left number four in the classroom for a whole three hours and I didn’t handle it how I thought I would.
This should be a breeze as let’s face it he has been at nursery for eighteen months and left for that same length of time; and I should be reeling in the fact that I had a whole childfree morning. Something that I spend my entire life longing for.
Instead I felt that it was another door closing and another milestone finished in the rapidly moving life of a child.
The old cliche of ‘oh doesn’t it go fast’ was rushing through my mind and although I find it such an irritating phrase it really is so true.
I hankered around for a few minutes and he asked if I could sit and stay. I simply said no adults were staying today and he took it in his stride and carried on with his drawing.
I longed for that little bit of separation anxiety to kick in but there wasn’t even a glimmer. That little boy that had hung on my every word was now going to have another important figure in his life who’s words will be gospel and I can’t help but feel a little bit redundant.
I thought that the more children I had the easier moments like this would be but it seems to be having the opposite affect.
I know what is coming and I know those moments in time are now gone and can’t be replaced.
I now need to pick myself up and look forward to the adventures he is going to have during his school years. The friends he is going to make, the things he is going to learn and the experiences he is going to share to mould him into the little person he is going to grow into.
If there is one thing I have learnt over the years of preschoolers is to pack as much in and capture as much as you can in those first few years so they can be looked back on and relished as they simply are the most precious years.
Last year I wrote a post on the trials and tribulations of having a new bag for school every term and how I didn’t cave into the pressure.
This year however bags were needed and the search started.
Instead of going for the run of the mill superhero design or the favourited Disney princesses we looked outside the box and were really taken with the look of this new mini range from Sprayground.
Sprayground are a relatively new company that have made a rapid growth over the last few years and have become a name that several celebrities favour.
With their success on the adult market they are now reaching out to all the mini fashionistas out there with their range of mini backpacks that are perfect for little ones that like something a bit different.
The hard wearing, weather resistant material is perfect for transporting everything you need and the internal compartments make it easy for them to keep themselves organised.
The bright colours make them majorly appealing and easy to spot in a cloakroom full of abandoned bags.
One other great attribute is the fact that only a limited number are made, so you are really left with something individual.
With a fair few designs a simply can’t pick a favourite. What is yours?
As the school holidays draw to an end that dreaded back to school feeling is kicking in that can only be eased by the excitement of the stationary shop!
I remember as a child loving going out with my mum to get a shiny new pencil case to fill with all sorts goodies to start the new year with.
Things have moved on a lot since my school days though and there is now a whole host of cool products to fill your desk with.
Smiggle has to be the shop of choice for my little ones and when a parcel arrived a few weeks ago the colourful bag caught number three’s eye and she put her claim on it right away.
Smiggle offers all the essentials that are need to get you kited out for school but in a super fun way.
All their products have a twist on the norm which makes their products so appealing.
We were sent a set of super bright scented colouring pencils that give off a wonderful smell of cool mint, orange, strawberry and many more scents that smell good enough to eat.
When it comes to erasers there is not a plain white pebble rubber in sight. Instead they have been replaced with cool sets like the ones we were sent.
The easy to store box was full of mini fast food items such as pizza, chips, burgers and soft drinks they again have their own, individual smell.
The choice really is so vast you are spoilt for choice and with some fabulous offers on at the moment I urge you to take a look.
*we were given some Smiggle products for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.
The school summer holidays near an end and so starts the restock before the children all return to school. Crisp new uniform, shiny new shoes, pencil cases full to the brim and the spanking new school bag and lunch box.
Every year I make sure they have everything they want and need, at as you can all imagine a hefty cost.
So this year to the absolute horror of number three I only bought what was really needed, even the school bags and lunch boxes. I was looked at like I had dropped off another planet!! “What Mum we have to have a new bag and lunch box, everyone does”.
The guilt set in and her little face was pulling on my heat strings. I then looked over at her perfectly good satchel and lunch box that had only been bought a few month before the end of school term due to her losing the last one and held firm.
Freeing up some money that would normally have been spent on replacing unnecessary items left us able to enjoy a few more treats over the holidays which I know they will remember a lot more then new uniform.
School has been back in full swing now and there has not been a mention at all about her uniform and I have a few more pennies on my pocket.
A couple of weeks ago the lovely people at Actimel invited us along to the mindfulness and yoga workshop they were holding in East London to celebrate the launch of their new yummy yogurt drinks. I took number three and four with me, but was a little sceptical as to how well number four was going to behave!
I have only ever practiced yoga during my last two pregnancies, but found it a great way to really focus my mind and helped a great deal towards a much calmer and easier labour. It is always something I have considered for the children as they tend to easily lose focus easily and would love to see if this had any impact on their learning. With number three returning to school and number four starting nursery this was a perfect event for us.
Once we had arrived and had a super healthy breakfast at the yoga centre we set to work at practicing our yoga moves and learning the importance of breathing techniques. The children remained engaged throughout and really enjoyed learning something new. Next up we got to make some fabulous smoothies with the new flavours that Actimel had to offer mixed with lots of fresh fruit. It is a fantastic way to get the children to start their day and I always find they are happier about trying new things when they have helped to prepare it themselves. Number four was especially taken with the glow in the dark bottles and couldn’t wait to go home to try them out.
With five children to contend with in the morning it may be a challenge in itself to get the yoga challenge done before school, but with some new rules being implemented for September in our household the time they would spend sitting watching cartoons will now be used to fit in couple of yoga moves each morning.
We have started the challenge this week and have already seen a marked improvement in the children’s behaviour and is lovely to have ten minutes together to start the day. Thank you so much for Actimel for inviting us along to your wonderful event and opening our eyes to something new.
We were invited along to take part in this event to try out Actimels new product. All views are my own honest opinion.