Back To School With Claire’s

Even though it only seems like yesterday since we were celebrating school being out for Summer, the reality is there are only two weeks left of the current school holiday and then the kids will be back to school again. If the uniform is sorted, you may now be at the stage of sorting all the other paraphernalia associated with ‘Back to School’, from school bags, stationary, water bottles and general accessories. If this is you, then Claire’s is a great place to visit.

Claire’s has always been a great place to look for pretty and fun accessories which work at any time of the year, but their back to school collection is pretty impressive too, with a great range of stylish and roomy school bags, hair accessories that range from neat and sensible (scrunchies are back folks), to the fun Jo Jo bows that may well suit little princesses who want to add a bit of personality to their uniform. They also have stationary that is great fun as well as practical, check out the pineapple erasers and furry notebooks which are just fabulous.

The Minions have once again been a big story this summer with the release of Despicable Me 3, and a Minions print water bottle is the perfect way to make sure your little ones keep hydrated through the school day. Many schools now have water coolers or fountains and encourage the drinking of water, even in lessons, so these are a perfect way to ensure your child has a drink.

Claire’s has some great offers on too where you can get discounts, 3 for 2 and even a whopping £10 off backpacks. See below for all the current offers.



Offer – Extra 15% Off Back To School*
Duration – 2nd Aug – 16th Aug

Code – CLASS15
Exclusions – *Whilst stocks last. Applies to products on the Back To School landing page.

Offer – £10 Off Backpacks*
Duration – 17th Aug- 13th Sep

Exclusions – *Whilst stocks last. Applies to backpacks on the Back To School landing page. Can not be used in conjunction with any other offer

Offer – 20% Off Back To School Hair*
Duration – 31st Aug – 13th Sep

Code – HAIR20
Exclusions – *Whilst stocks last. Applies to hair on the Back To School landing page.

Reviewed – PaddlePak by Trunki

I have been a fan of the Trunki brand ever since I saw the first little suitcase on wheels. It was perfect, a storage space that could also double as a ride on toy or a seat for your little one. Trunki’s are both lightweight and durable, they provide a great travel option for those with young children, and they are a whole lot of fun too. But what about for the slightly older children? Those who are now going back to school, or having swimming lessions? Or maybe those who just have an independent streak and want to carry their own bags. Does the Trunki brand have anything suitable for them? The answer is an emphatic yes. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the PaddlePak.

The Paddlepak is a lightweight, water resistant backpack with an under the sea design theme. With adjustable shoulder straps, high visibility reflective trim and with a range of small pockets and hanging loops, they are just perfect for children who are no longer babies, but still love items that are cute and fun.

 PaddlePak Shark - Fin PaddlePak, Splash-proof pal for any adventure £24.99 click to visit Trunki

PaddlePak Shark – Fin
PaddlePak, Splash-proof pal for any adventure
click to visit Trunki

Trunki very kindly offered Joe the opportunity to review a Paddlepak, and he chose the Fin the Shark design (pictured above) with no hesitation. The minute it was out of the bag, he was already asking if he could take it to school to show his friends – instantaneous approval from the boy. (School doesn’t restart until tomorrow, but the answer was yes!).





We are already really impressed by our Paddlepak, and for a number of reasons. For a start, it’s a shark. Joe is currently a little obsessed with sharks (I blame his dad and Shark Week), and with the design incorporating a fin and a great neoprene tail that also serves as an extra pocket, this really does have the appearance of a shark. No wonder Joe loves it so much.




Another thing that is great about the Paddlepak is just how lightweight it is – there is literally no weight to this bag, and so it is comfortable to be carried on your child’s back, with a soft mesh underside that adds to the comfort levels. That said,it is not lacking in space. It can easily accommodate a swimming towel and costume, along with cap and goggles etc for use for swimming sessions, and the fact that the bag is water resistant makes it a good option as a swimming bag – no more dripping all over the car.



I really like the way the bag securely closes, with a roll top feature and an easy to use safety clip. This is taking the ideas used in adult backpacks and making them child friendly. Joe could easily fasten this bag, but often struggles with zips and buckle closures, again the Paddlepak is a great help for those developing their independence.  There is also a hook on the back of the bag which will enable it to sit easily on a school peg.

The Paddlepak is fabulous, Joe loves it, and I love it too, it is just so practical, but with a great element of fun in the design. Prices start at £9.99 for the Jellyfish grab bag, with the Shark design costing £24.99.


*We were sent a Paddlepak for review – all opinions are my own (and Joe’s.)

Back to School with BHS

With the final bank holiday of the year now in sight, and the summer almost over, all the thoughts of parents everywhere turn to getting the little ones (and bigger ones come to think of it) back to school. This means turning to the subject of school uniform. There is a lot of choice these days when it comes to buying school uniform, with almost all supermarkets now stocking very cheap items. But, I think that we need to look closely at quality when it comes to choosing the uniform, and that is why I would overwhelmingly choose BHS when shopping for Joe, both now, and in future.

Click to visit BHS

BHS have really come up trumps with their school uniform offering this year.  I was asked in June if I would be interested in test driving some of the boys pieces for the remainder of the school year. Joe was to wear the uniform that had been sent each day with the quality being assessed for wear. In addition, wash would also be examined – how many pieces of uniform have you purchased in the past that looked amazing on first wear, only to go all bobbly once it had been washed a couple of times?

Black Great Value Junior Boys Adjustable Waist Trouser Price: from £3.50 click to visit BHS

I was most impressed with the school trousers. In a lovely shade of jet black, Joe wore a pair in  aged 5. I often have a problem with trousers for Joe, who has long legs but a tiny waist, even adjustable waistbands often don’t adjust enough for my little tin-ribs. These were perfect, with a little growth room in the legs too. Additionally, I loved the mock fly detail, looking very smart, but without a fiddly zip for tiny finger to struggle with. A true zip is available on sizes from aged 7, but I think mother’s of younger children will understand why I love the faux zip aspect. The trousers washed extremely well, with no instant fluffing or loss of colour. Joe looked very smart in these and enjoyed wearing them too.

Unisex White 3 Pack Polo Shirt Price: from £4.50 click to visit BHS

I think the three pack of white polo tops is an absolute steal at £4.50. My son can wear either white or blue polo tops under their school jumper, but I opted for classic white, and the thicker cotton of these tops just shows the great quality. These polo tops are also great for P.E., and again, I cannot fault the quality on washing, the colour remains bright and the fabric soft and virtually perfect.

Formal Velcro Shoe Price: from £13.00 click to visit BHS

All the most stylish of little feet need a smart pair of school shoes, and the formal Velcro shoe are ultra smart and very reasonably priced. Velcro fastenings are a godsend for children who have not yet learned to tie tricky shoelaces, and are also a godsend to teachers of reception classes for precisely the same reason. The BHS shoes are both smart and comfortable, and Joe found them easy to put on and fasten.

All in all, I was really impressed with the BHS uniform, it washes well and looks great, and the price is truly reasonable. So if you have yet to kit out your little ones, I would pay BHS a visit.


And for girls…

Grey Junior Girls Pleated Pinny Price: from £12.00 click to visit BHS

Junior Girls Black Great Value Skirt Price: from £3.50 Click to visit BHS

Black Patent Mary Jane Shoe Price: from £14.00 click to visit BHS