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

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TRACKS OF MY YEARS

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Our Favourite Back To School Items

A new school year is just around the corner but don't panic if you're still to buy all those essential back to school items. My Three and Me have been busy finding those must have items and brands hopefully they will help make some of your buying choices easier.



Although we're only half way through the school holidays My Three and Me have been getting ready for their return to school in just over three weeks time. Here are some of our favourite back to school items.

Uniforms & Shoes

Buying uniform and school shoes are the bane of most parents life, it is the shop I dread most and always leave everything until the last minute. You want to make sure that you are getting value for money, quality garments that will last and a choice of items. Here are our three favourite places to buy uniform from this back to school season.



1. M&S - M&S has always been the first choice for many when it comes to the school uniform shop. This year they have uniform available in a variety of colours and styles and they have a new shoe fitting service available in selected M&S stores. This year also sees the introduction of half-sizes in all leather school shoes, making it easier to find the perfect fitted shoes. With their Triple Action Stormwear™, Scuff Resistant Shoes, Permanent Pleats and Stainaway™ product innovations, it’s even easier to keep uniform looking good as new all year-round. Parents will notice that The Easy Dressing schoolwear range has doubled in size just in time for the new school year, which means there's much more choice available, They will also see new developments within the range to include soft elastic waistbands on both trousers and skirts and hidden labels in shirts and polo t-shirts.

2. Debenhams - Debenhams is one of my favourite department stores. This year they are ensuring that children both young and old can start the school term in style with their wide range collection of clothing, school bags and PE kits. Both in-store and online, you will find a full range of sizes, including generous fit for both boys and girls.

3. Aldi - If you're looking for good quality uniform items that won't break the bank then Aldi is the supermarket for you. They have everything you and your little ones need from as little as £1.25. If you're on a tight budget or have a large family to buy then you should definitely take a look at the range of uniform products they have to offer.

If you're looking for new coats before the new term starts:

Mountain Warehouse - Known for their huge range of products suitable for the great outdoors Mountain Warehouse have many coats that would be perfect for going back to school for both boys and girls of all ages. Here are our favourite styles that they have to offer.



1. The Softshell Jacket is perfect for the transition between Autumn and Winter. It is lightweight, water-resistant and has a soft interior to keep you protected and comfy in between seasons.

2. The Orbit Kids Jacket is ideal for mild summer/ autumn days. It has pockets for easy storage and is fully waterproof, it has an internal Mp3/phone pocket so kids can keep their valuables safe.

3. The Zeus Youth Parka Jacket has a water-resistant outer shell and offers warm insulation, it's faux-fur hood trim adds comfort, warmth and style to the jacket.

4. The Fell Kids 3 in 1 Jacket is perfect for changeable weather conditions. It has a water-resistant outer shell and inner fleece for protection from the wind and light rain, this jacket will keep your little ones warm and snug this season.It is perfect for light showers and everyday use 

If you're looking for school shoes....



1. ECCO Shoes - ECCO Shoes have lots of styles to choose from including a traditional lace-up shoe that has been carefully crafted so smaller feet look smart but stay comfortable all day. They are ideal for both school and special occasions. These shoes are made using premium full-grain leather that is soft enough to allow easy movement. They are made to cope with the most active playtimes is tough and strong but also flexible and lightweight.

2. Chatham - If you're looking for stylish shoes then look no further than Chatham. Their Anchor Children's Boat Shoe is has classic deck shoe styling with a simple Velcro closure budding sailors can fasten. Razor cut rubber sole.

School Bags



1. Minion Backpacks - If your little ones are fans of the Minions then they'd love a Minion backpack for going back to school. We love the "I Didn’t Do It" and the "Stripes Are In. Minion Life" Backpacks available from QVC and Photobox. Each of these backpacks is ideal for any fan to use as a school bag or for day trips out. They have plenty of storage space for essentials and school books. The Stripes backpack also has a detachable part with an image of a large minion eye on it, it attaches to the backpack with velcro straps and has a handle. This can be used as a lunch box or to store pens/pencils and other small items.

2. Cute Bags - Perfect for preschoolers these cute bags are perfect for use on school trips, as a school bag or lunch bag. They have adjustable shoulder straps and are made with bright colours. We love these Crocodile and Penguin bags from Mountain Warehouse.

3. Trendy Bags - From Smiggle. This bag features a main compartment, 2 outer compartments, dual drink bottle sleeves, padded shoulder straps, media pocket with earphone slot and an internal computer compartment that will fit a laptop up to 15".

Lunchboxes & Drinks Bottles



1. Coordinating Lunch Set - The Scruff set from Tum Tum is adorable and perfect for new school starters. The set (all items are available to buy separately) includes:
  • A Lunch bag/Backpack perfect for keeping your lunch on your back and little hands-free. It has a carry handle in case your little one wants to carry it.
  • A Water Bottle has a flip-top lid so it's easy to open and close for little ones. The Straw bends inside (to avoid leaks) when not in use
  • Nesting Snack Pots are sealable, storable, stackable and adorable. They're ideal for small sandwiches or snacks such as pasta salad, chopped up cucumber or raisins

2. Lunch Bot - How cool is Lunch Bot from Find Me A Gift. He is designed to keep food safe until lunch time and features a quirky retro design. The tin is tough as well as cute and will stop lunch from being squashed. Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts

3. Animal Lunch Bag - Ulster Weavers have a lovely range of cute lunch boxes ready for your little ones to choose from. Make lunchtime fun with a playful Lion lunch bag. Perfect for carrying lunches and keeping it cool and fresh. With a practical carry handle and front zip closure, this lunch box is perfect for growing kids.

4. Coordinating Drinks Bottle - Available from Smiggle to match your school bag and pencil case why not coordinate your drink bottle too. This flip top spout bottle coordinates with a range of Smiggle essentials so you can mix and match. It has a 660ml capacity so is perfect to keep your little ones hydrated throughout the day.

5. BRITA fill&go Vital Bottle - An easy way to make sure you're always hydrated at school is with a Brita fill&go bottle. It's great as it can be filled up at any tap and the filter disk will reduce the levels of impurities and chlorine, leaving you with fresh tasting water to power through your school day. The fill&go Vital is available in blue, pink, green and lime.

6. 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.

Stationery 

The summer holidays are nearly over and the start of the term fast-approaching, why not kick-start the new school year in style with some of the latest must-have stationery items.



1. Pop Out Pencil Case - Smiggle has a huge range of pencil cases available.  Their pop out case has two main compartments, pen slots, a timetable insert, and popout functions including an eraser drawer, mini calculator, pen/pencil drawer and built in sharpener.

2. Desk Tidy - This Pen Holder and Desk Tidy looks just like an old-fashioned wooden pencil sharpener and would make a cool and funky addition to any desk – whether at home or in the workplace. It's made from the wood of rubber trees, which would otherwise be burned after they are finished supplying rubber, so this is a thoughtful gift for people who are also environmentally aware.

3. Tape Dispenser - How cute is this Unicorn Tape Dispenser from Find Me A Gift - it comes with two rolls of rainbow coloured sticky tape. It would certainly brighten up any desk.

Pens and Pencils

Every pencil case needs filling with pens and pencils. There are lots to choose from and depending on the age of your child they will require different items. Here are out favourite brands:



1. STABILO - For left-handers like me STABILO is a life saver. They have a range of products that are designed specifically for lefties like me or right handers like the boys.
  • STABILO EASYoriginal Marble edition is the EASYoriginal ergonomic pen that is perfect for small hands - available in green, blue, pink, coral and black.
  • STABILO EASYgraph for younger students is the writing pencil tailored to left or right handers learning to write or improve handwriting.
  • STABILO beCrazy! pens - these come in fountain or ball point pen and have some really cool designs.
  • STABILO EASYcolors are a set of colouring pencils tailored to right or left handers, purposely to allow children to be comfortable and teach them to hold pencils/pens correctly when colouring/drawing. 
2. BIC - New from BIC this year comes a range of products that are suitable for students of all ages including these latest editions:
  • BIC Evolution Fluo Pencils - This vibrant pencil set will add a splash of fashion to your pencil case. The ultra-resistant HB lead and wood-free resin material mean that this pencil is ultra-resistant and is much less likely to break than a standard wood pencil, are also chew resistant, splinter-proof. The eye-catching, fluorescent colours: (pink, green, yellow and orange) are sure to brighten up any desk. 
  • BIC Soft Feel Fun Pack - Designed for the ultimate in writing comfort, these soft-feel pens are a great addition to your stationery selection.  The medium point retractable ball pen comes in four new fun, vibrant colours (turquoise, green, pink and purple) all with 1.0mm tips. What’s more, the Clic Grip design, means that they can easily be attached to clothes, making them highly practical when on the move.
  • BIC 4COLOURS 3+1 HB Multifunction Pen - The 3+1 retractable pen holds three medium ink nibs (red, black and blue) and one refillable mechanical pencil with a built-in eraser so that you can take on all writing and drawing tasks with gusto whether it be fine-line drawing or adding detail to artwork.

3. Smiggle - The Multi pen pack has everything you need. It includes:
  • 1 scented black ballpoint pen
  • 1 scented red ballpoint pen
  • 1 blue ballpoint pen
  • 1 scented mechanical pencil 
  • 1 dual highlighter 
  • 1 correction tape

4. Helix - Get the kids excited about going ‘back to school’ or starting school for the first time with Helix’s new ‘Fun To Learn’ stationery range, which features a host of kids’ favourite characters, including Hot Wheels, Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie and Bob the Builder.
Each character set includes a range of must-have essentials, including:
  • Two graphite pencils with a pencil grip designed to help children learn to hold the pencil correctly.
  • Three character themed colouring pencils
  • 12cm scissors with printed blades and rounded tips for optimum safety.
  • 15cm ruler with large, easy to read numbers and a rubber edge to aid use and prevent slipping
  • Shaped Eraser with fun character design.
  • Two-hole pencil sharpener for both jumbo and standard sized pencils, featuring an anti-tamper safety screw and canister to collect pencil shavings.
  • A stencil template featuring fun-themed shapes for kids to get creative and draw their favourite shapes from one of the licensed ranges.
  • A matching pencil case to easily transport.

For older students why not treat them to a Star Wars 40th Anniversary celebrations maths set in the style of the original Helix Star Wars™ range from 1977. This iconic maths set tin features a combination of stills from the classic movies and artwork Its contents include:
  • Metal self-centring compass with 9cm pencil 
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Eraser
  • 15cm ruler 
  • 45 and 60 degree set squares 
  • 180 degree 
  • 10mm lettering stencil 
  • Timetable/fact sheet 

5. Manuscript -  Calligraphy seems to be a forgotten art these days but if you or your child interested in learning then The Beginner's Calligraphy Set from Manuscript is a good product to start with. The set features a Manuscript's Dodec style pen with various nib widths - fine, medium and 2B. The set is ideal for the beginner as it contains just the right combination of nib widths for mastering the foundations of Calligraphy scripts. The Fountain pens use ink cartridges or converters but only work with water soluble or non-permanent ink. For those who can already write in the beautiful font why not jazz your handiwork with some Duotips Coloured Handwriting Pens. The set contains 10 double-ended pens in assorted colours, with both chisel tip and fine line tip for creative lettering, hand-lettering, writing and colouring.

Notebooks



Personalised Notebooks - Giftpup has a range of personalised notebooks which are ideal for children returning to school. Each notebook can be personalised to include a name/short message. All notebooks are available in A4 and A5 size and with a choice of lined or plain paper as desired.

Doodle Books - From It's Your Story comes their newest product, a uniquely personalised Doodle book to your child with their name and face incorporated into the cover design. Each book contains over 100 blank pages to doodle over. What they draw is totally up to them.

Other School Items



Lego Batman Movie Key Lights - The perfect way to personalise school bags. The funky mini-figure style key lights feature LED lights. There are 6 characters to choose from including 3 special edition LEGO Batman characters with light-up eyes just like they do in the movie.

RUBIK’S Junior - designed to develop logical thinking and problem-solving skills in young ones with Rubik’s in animal form. With four cute characters to collect, twist and turn these animals into mixed-up characters, then keep twisting until you ‘solve’ the puzzle back to their normal state. They are recommended for children aged 3 and over and are available from retailers including Argos, Smyths, Toys R Us and Toymaster Independent stores.


*We were sent the products mentioned in this post in return for being featured - all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own*