WHAT'S ON OUR PLATE

WHAT'S ON OUR PLATE
WHAT'S ON OUR PLATE

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TRACKS OF MY YEARS

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READING CORNER

Back to School Essentials


The Back to School shop is often one that leaves most of us parents in a state of shock and often leaves even the most organised parents in a tizzy. I'm often that mum who you see running around two days before the start of term trying to find trousers and shoes in the right sizes. But this year I have been very organised and only have a few things left to buy in time for My Three's first day of term in early September. 
If you still have your shopping to do you might find our top picks of Back to School essentials helpful. Hopefully, they will make your Back to School shopping easier and show you some of the products that are available.

Uniform and Shoes



1. Nutmeg by Morrisons - With items starting at just £2, Nutmeg’s 2016 Back to School range includes everything from underwear and socks to sweatshirts and trousers. The range has been created so that it's made to last and includes items that have Teflon coating, bobble resistant fabric and adjustable waistbands. The range is available for ages 4-13 and is available in stores and online now. But if you find that you’re not happy with ANY Nutmeg item, for any reason, you can return it up to 200 days after you bought it thanks to their "no quibble" guarantee - perfect for those of us with children who come home looking like they were dragged through a hedge backwards at playtime and often end up with holes or rips in their clothes.

2. Lidl - launched its first-ever school uniform range recently. Lidl's 41 piece uniform range is available in stores across the UK at unbeatable prices but only whilst stocks last. With a twin pack of 100% cotton polo shirts, unisex sweatshirts, trousers and skirts for £1.25 each, coats for under £10 and real leather shoes for £6.99 - Lidl has everything you need to make getting your little ones back to the school on a tight budget.

3. Chatham Shoes - If you're looking for stylish shoes then look no further than Chatham. They have two styles of shoes that will look great with any school uniform.
  • Skipper Children's Boat Shoe - A two eyelet classic boat shoe style in our beautiful pull up leathers. Features an all-round lace, and stitched down construction on a razor cut rubber sole.
  • Anchor Children's Boat Shoe - Classic deck shoe styling with a simple Velcro closure budding sailors can fasten. Razor cut rubber sole.
4. Kickers - When I was younger Kickers were the must have school shoes and that is still very much the case today. They are stylish, comfortable and affordable. There are many various styles including, slip on and lace up designs available from Get The Label.

5. My Name Label - We all know how our little ones are forgetful when it comes to their school uniform, there's nothing worse than buying all new uniform for most of it to be missing after the first week of school. It is important to make sure that your little one's uniform is labelled so that if anything should go missing you can locate it easily in the lost property basket. My Name Label offers a quick and easy service that enables you to design and choose the labels that will suit your needs. You can choose from iron on or stick on labels and you can even add a picture and choose from a number of fonts to make your little ones name tags as unique as they are. A starter pack is priced at £22 and includes 20 big stickers, 20 small stickers, 20 mini stickers, 3 pairs shoe labels (plus protective overlays), 1 bag tag, 25 standard iron-on clothing labels and 20 mini iron-on clothing labels.


Lunchboxes, Drinks Bottles and Snacks



1. Football Lunch Kit - If your little one is a football fan then they would love a Thermos Football Kit. The lunchbox is spacious and has enough room for sandwiches, snacks and a drink. It comes with a 10g ice pack, a padded handle for easy carrying, and is BPA Free. There's also a matching drink bottle and food flask available. All three items are available from Amazon and Thermos from £10.95 each.

2. Sistema Lunchbox and Water Bottle - for those who are too old for a character lunchbox or those who are starting college or Uni Sistema have a wide range of products. Their lunch boxes have multi compartments which make it easier to pack a healthy lunch, whilst keeping foods separate until they're ready to be eaten. Some lunchboxes include screw lid containers for yoghurt, nuts, fruit and other snacks. All Sistema products are BPA and Phthalate free; dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe and come in an assortment of bright colours.

3. Personalised Water Bottle  - It's Your Story offer uniquely personalised water bottles. Your child can choose from 15 different characters to suit their personality from explorers and superheroes to pirates and princesses. Your child’s name and face is incorporated into the design so that the water bottle is unique to them and will never get mixed up with another child’s at school. The small 400 ml size makes it the perfect size if your child is asked to bring in a water bottle so that they can have a drink during their day.

4. BRITA Fill&Go Water Bottle - A stylish and practical water bottle. This bottle is different to others on the market as it filters your water whilst you drink. All you need to do is insert a BRITA Fill&Go Filter Disc once a week and fill up with tap water. There are four different colours available. The Fill&Go bottle can be cleaned in the dishwasher. 

5. Organix Punk'd Snacks - New from Organix comes a snack bar aimed at older kids from five years and up, Organix Punk’d offers great tasting snacks, with real, recognisable ingredients and absolutely no junk. Punk’d oaty bars are soft baked, packed with real fruit and wholegrain oats, portion sized for kids and available in two tasty flavours – Cocoa & Orange Crash and Strawberry & Vanilla Smash. You’ll find fewer ingredients in these bars than in many other children’s snacks, no hidden ingredients, no flavourings or colourings – “natural” or otherwise – no artificial sweeteners and no added salt.

6. KIND Snacks Bars - A delicious, wholesome snack, KIND bars are made from whole nuts and fruits, bound together in honey, they’re gluten-free, high in fibre, and contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. KIND bars are available in two ranges:
KIND® Nuts & Spice
  • Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt
  • Caramel Almond & Sea Salt
  • Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt
  • Madagascan Vanilla Almond 
KIND® Fruit & Nut
  • Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate
  • Almond & Coconut
  • Cranberry Almond & Macadamia Nuts
  • Dark Chocolate & Cherry Cashew
7. Pulsin Snack Bars - Pulsin' is an award winning company that produces healthy protein bars, raw chocolate brownies, organic snack bars and protein powders. Pulsin' Fruity Oat Snack bars are specifically aimed at kids. The bars are gluten free, dairy free, soya free and include only natural sugars. They are available in strawberry, blackcurrant & apple and orange choc chip flavours.


8. Cathedral City Kid Range of Snacks - Perfect for lunchboxes, an after school or tea time snack, the range includes Nibbles (little cubes), Towers (little sticks) and Shapes (little shapes) - delicious, bite sized shapes cut from Cathedral City Mild Cheddar. The range also includes Cheese & Toasties; six slices of delicious mild Cathedral City Cheddar paired with six pieces of Melba toast.

9. Skippy Peanut Butter Snack Ideas - When I was younger I loved peanut butter sandwiches ( I still do) but there are lots of other things you can do with the delcious nutty spread. Skippy have thought up some healthy recipes that are perfect for lunchboxes or as an after school snack. Here are two snack ideas you could try:

Skippy Ant on a Log
Ingredients (Makes 6 servings)
  • 60g SKIPPY Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 50g raisins or miniature pretzel sticks
Instructions
  • Spread SKIPPY Smooth Peanut Butter evenly down the centre of each celery stalk
  • Top with raisins.
  • Cut each stalk into four pieces to serve.
Apple Bagel Snacks
Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
  • 50g SKIPPY® Chunky Peanut Butter Spread 
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple 
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries, raisins, or small fruit topping of your choice
Instructions
  • In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter spread and honey; mix well.
  • Cut 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of apple; discard. With apple corer, remove the centre of the apple. 
  • Cut the remaining apple into 4 horizontal slices, making bagel shapes.
  • Spread 2 slices with the peanut butter mixture, before sprinkling with cranberries, raisins or another topping of your choice; top each with one of the remaining apple slices.


School Bags and Stationery



1. Converse Mini Backpack - Available from Get The Label for £10.88. The backpack has a fitted zip pouch to the front and adjustable straps. Although this may be a mini backpack it still is able to hold all your essential school items. 

2. Logitech Mouse - If your child is about to start college or Uni they will no doubt have a computer that they use to complete their coursework why not jazz up their computer with a new mouse. Logitech has recently launched a new range of mice that will brighten up any computer. They are small, portable and super responsive - even up to 33feet away from the computer screen. There are 8 different designs available so you can be unique from your friends.

3. Smiggle Stationery - Smiggle was founded in Austrailia in 2003. Since then they have successfully expanded around the globe. They are the creators of fun stationery. They are known far and wide for their bright pens, notebooks, scented pencils and gadgets. Their stationery is sure to make any pencil case full of fun for the start of term.

4. BIC Stationery - Ideal for school, college, uni work or even in the office, this stationery set from BIC contains everything anyone could possibly need. It contains 32 items and includes ballpoint pens, pencils, highlighters, felt pens, erasers, correction pens, glue sticks, pencil sharpeners and two retractable pens.

5. Stabilo Stationery - If you're left handed then you've probably already heard of Stabilo. They have a range of ergonomic pens and pencils that are specially made depending on which hand you write with. When I was younger it was just a normal pen or nothing and I even have the odd shaped index finger to show for it too. I love writing with the pens and pencils that are specifically designed for a left-hander as they fit comfier in my hand than just a normal pen. Stabilo also have lots of other products available including highlighters - the pens even light up in the dark, colouring pencils and pens and even fountain pens.

Other Back to School Items


Vosene 3 in 1 Shampoo - The start of term always brings the dreaded letters to check your child's hair for head lice. But there is something that you can use to keep the little critters away - prevention is always better than a cure. Vosene Kids 3 in 1 conditioning shampoo contains natural the ingredients Tea Tree Oil and Lemon Eucalyptus that work to help prevent head lice, leaving your child with naturally healthy, head lice-free hair. Simply apply generously to wet hair, lather and then rinse. For best results, use Vosene Kids 3 in 1 Conditioning Shampoo followed by Vosene Kids Advanced Conditioning Defence Spray.

Leapfrog LeapReader - The LeapFrog LeapReader is ideal for helping children learn to read, write and practice their listening comprehension skills. Touch the pen to LeapReader books to hear the words read aloud and sound out the words, or use the special no- mess paper to practise letters, numbers and words with stroke-by-stroke guidance. LeapReader even plays vocabulary building games, and the fun character voices, sound effects and activities all help with comprehension skills. With over 40 educator approved books, apps and activity sets, including some of your children’s favourite characters such as Finding Nemo and Cars. LeapReader is the ideal system that will keep children learning and having fun at every reading stage. LeapReader is suitable for children aged 4 - 8 years old.



* We were sent the products mentioned above for the purpose of this piece - all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own*