Can you believe the school holidays are nearly over?! Remember back to mid July when the weeks seemed to stretch ahead and now here we find ourselves starting a fighting over a seat in the shoe shop and googling which lunch boxes are heat/water/yogurt proof - which may be how you found this post. Here are my top back to school essentials to ensure a smooth return to term time routine.
Before we kick off a quick note - some of the links below are affiliate links which means if you click and purchase I get a small referral fee which goes towards the running of this blog (hosting fees etc) but I only recommend products we actually use and love.
I'm not going to recommend where you buy your school uniform as it's available everywhere from Tesco to M&S. You (and your budget) can decide where you want to shop but below are some suggestions to help keep the uniform clean and, hopefully, not lost.
I love love love our Stamptastic custom labeling stamp. It is super easy to use and doesn't wash off. I've gone for just our surname surrounded by stars so that I can use it for both girls. Prices start from £10 for the stamp and £12 for the ink pad. It may sound a lot but remember no ironing or sewing and you can use it again and again and again. Check if your PTA have a code before you order as then they'll get a little bit of cash from your purchase directly from Stamptastic or you can order from Amazon.
ACE stain removing laundry products
The school wash after pasta day strikes fear into the heart of any parent. What do they put in tomato pasta sauce which makes it so luminous orange? Luckily ACE is on hand to help banish those stains and keep those whites shiny and colours bright. I use a combination of ACE for colours and ACE for whites depending on which load I am doing along with ACE stain remover for those tricky stains and the PE kit (enough said about that). Buy ACE from your local supermarket, Wilko, Poundland or Amazon.
If your kids are like mine they will be obsessed with the contents of their pencil cases. I must have purchased 5 actual pencil cases for E last year and it feels like I'm constantly replacing everything on a weekly basis. This year I am stocking up at the start of the year and she is going to be in charge of restocking her pencil case.
BIC Gel-ocity pens
As a mother of two girls we are never short of a gel pen or two. E always has some in her pencil case and these new Gel-ocity pens from BIC are the best yet because they have ultra fast drying ink so no more smudges! The full grip barrel also makes them really comfy to hold and they come in some really cool colours including a metallic range. You can pick them up from most stationery retailers or Amazon in a variety of pack sizes.
Stablio EASYStart Colouring Pencils
Little fingers can find pens and pencils really tricky but Stablio have designed the EASYStart range which now includes 12 stunning colouring pencils. Not only are the products ergonomically designed to fit perfectly in small hands and promote correct 'froggy fingers' pencil grip but you can buy everything in right or left handed versions - so left handers get the same opportunity to focus on learning as their right handed friends. These colouring pencils are suitable for kids 5+ and can be purchased from your local stationers or on Amazon: right handed or left handed.
Water Bottle Essentials
Keeping the kids hydrated is super important but also finding a water carrying vessel which doesn't leak is the pinnacle of parenting success (right?!).
Smiggle strap water bottles
Anyone who does the school run with a little one who use book bags instead of backpacks knows the pain of carrying the water bottle to and from school. The number of times I've dropped it on my toe... So the clever people at Smiggle have designed a range with a strap attached - pure genius. They come in 2 sizes loads of different designs for £8.50 each.
Twinings Cold In'fuse for Kids
If it's a struggle to get your kids to drink water Twinings may have the answer for you. Their new Kids Cold In'fuse tea bags liven up water using all natural ingredients and no sugar. Simply pop a bag into your water bottle (Twinings make their own bottle but you can use any water bottle you wish), wait 5 minutes and viola - tasty water! One tea bag will last up to 8hrs, just be sure to thoroughly rinse the bottle each evening. The kids range has 3 flavours: Mango & Orange, Blackcurrent & Apple and Strawberry Lemonade (our favourite). You'll find them in your local supermarket or direct from Twinings £3.79 for 12 bags or £9.99 for the water bottle starter kit.
For packed lunch parents there is a whole separate world of prep to do not only at the beginning of term but before everyday. Here are some ideas to make life a little easier.
Smiggle Explorer lunchbox
We are huge fans of Smiggle lunchboxes and their new Explorer lunchboxes are fab because they attach to the front of the Explorer bag but don't despair if you have a different bag as they have a buckle to attach to any backpack. At £13.50 they won't break the bank either. I strongly recommend having 2 lucnhboxes so when one inevitably gets left at school (or taken home by someone else) you have a back up in reserve.
Cawston Press Pressed Fruit Water
For school approved drinks you can't beat Cawston Press's little cartons of pressed fruit shaken up with water. Even Husband and I like these - the Apple and Summer Berries flavour is my favourite. You can buy them from your local supermarket (Tesco or Ocado delivery bring them straight to your door) £1.60 for 3 x 200ml cartons.
Del Monte Squeezie fruit snack
Getting my kids to eat fruit and veg has always been a chore but we love Del Monte Squeezies which Little I has loved since they launched a couple of years back. The little squeezie pouches are perfect for lunch boxes because the kids can actually get the caps off! Plus they are 100% real fruit with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. They come in three flavours and each pouch contains one of their 5 a day. You can grab these pouches from Asda in-store or home delivery for 50p each (bargain!)
I'd love to hear about your Back to School Essentials in the comments below and why not visit my Amazon store for more Back to School ideas.
Some of the products above were sent to me for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.