I spoke very briefly of the start of the school year and how the girls were finding Year One and I’m pleased to announce that as each day passes the girls are relaxing more and beginning to enjoy the new school year. This was even more evident on Wednesday when I stood in the school playground at 3.15pm waiting to collect them.

I understand, after conferring with the other school mums, that each child is responsible for their own book bag, this also means putting things in and taking things out. I noticed this after Bessie had her trainers in her bag for three days on the go, I added a quick note in her contact book ‘Please could you check that Bessie removes her trainers from the book bag and puts them in the PE bag? Thank you’

It worked, that very evening the trainers had finally found their way into the PE bag yay!

Being responsible of one’s book bag is a big thing seeing as Mummy has always done it for them in Reception and my Bessie has been one of the last children out of the class at 3.15 most days till now as she gathers all her belongings before exiting but on Wednesday my Bessie was an unheard of third in the queue!

A beaming smile on her face as she found me amongst all the parents she waited her turn hopping from one foot to the other. finally released she ran towards me grinning and squealing “I am Star of the Day today mummy.”

star of the day

‘Well done Bessie, what was that for?’ I asked

‘For writing very well.’

I could feel how proud she was, it was oozing from every square millimetre of her. She showed me her certificate and her sticker on her cardigan and I praised her loudly, hugging her and sharing her delight.

Alice arrived to join us a little downcast as she hadn’t been chosen and I reminded her that lots of other children hadn’t been awarded with a star yet and there was plenty of time to keep trying her best

So please allow me to enjoy a proud mummy moment with you all and share with you a conversation with the girls last night as they were discussing the Star of the Day award.

Bessie: What did I have for breakfast this morning mummy?

Me: We had toast and jam this morning as we had run out of milk remember?

Bessie: I’d like toast and jam tomorrow morning please, then I might get Star of the Day again, Alice you should too then you might get one too.’

Bless her heart, I had to explain it doesn’t quite work like that but I was really touched at her thought process as she tried to figure out why she had been chosen.

In other news, so far so good with the after school activities.

We are on Green level reading books and whizzing through one book each per evening  – about 24 pages.

And last night for the first time I picked up a BIG girl’s book The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and read chapter one to them. They’re used to looking at the pictures whilst I read so this was the first time they had to conjure up the picture in their heads, they loved it and it’ll be on with Chapter 2 tonight.

back to school year 1We are one week in to Year 1 and I had tears Tuesday morning from Twin 1 who didn’t want to go into school.

She did say her throat hurt and in all fairness she was exhausted the night before not moving from the sofa after teatime, so I gave her some Calpol and sent her in.

Is that really bad mum practise?

I could have kept her home, I work from home but I was brought up that unless you were on death’s door, off to school you went. Anyway moral of the story I got called at lunchtime to pick her up and then she really did look poorly, big red eyes and a hot forehead, all symptoms that weren’t clear in the morning.

Cue mum guilt.

I’m lucky that working from home allows me to be on call all the time as we don’t have anyone who can step in for us should there be a call but occasionally I do get invited up to London to attend an event or a press day and this made me realise I need to put an action plan into place. I need to speak to a school mum or neighbour and ask their permission that in the unlikely event that I am in London could they pick my child up from school and keep her until I can get back from London which would most likely be an hour at least.

I’ve heard from school mums of various little ones this week having break downs before school, crying and being taken into school by a teacher, heart breaking for a mum to stand and watch and one thing we’re all having to get used to is no contact with the teacher at all other than the contact book. This makes me feel jittery, these people are with my children all day and I am interested in what they do, how they behave when I’m not there, how they cope with various situations and of course, it’s the start of a new term, I want to know about it.

Some children are really good and relaying to their parents what has happened at school, my twins aren’t. I ask them how their day was and the reply ‘Good.’

I try to find out what they’ve been doing but if I push too hard they both clamp up and say ‘Can’t remember.’ in a real teenage way, like ‘lay off mum!’

We’re taking up a few after school activities too. Last year we did gymnastics and the girls loved it, we also did swimming which they adore too so we’ve continued those until such a time they tell me they don’t want to any more and to the mix we’ve added two new school activities, Dance and Drama.

Yes this may be too much but I’m hoping it will be more play than hard work and I’m hoping they will enjoy these new experiences and gain courage from them because that is what it’s all about. The minute they tell me they don’t want to do it anymore we’ll stop.

We had our first homework on Friday evening, 1 A4 page of sums. Count the animals in the boxes and write the number. Both of the twins forget which way round 2, 3, 5 and 7 go even though we did practise over the summer. 6’s and 9’s also need a little thinking over but slowly slowly they’ll get there. The other exercise was number lines, fill in the missing numbers like this

1 2 3 _ _ 6 _ _ _ 10

maths whomework

The girls found them easy and parents were encouraged to add extra challenges and mark the work ourselves all to be handed in by Wednesday. I added 5 simple sums as we’ve been practising over the summer (ie 1 + 3 =  ) they are easy for the girls, they use their fingers to count and they are very happy to get their ticks and smiley faces plus a Very Good written at the bottom.

I’m looking forward to getting our reading books sent home too, we need to get back into a reading routine.

How’s your back to school going?

UNIQLO kids

I’ve seen the UNIQLO shop and I like their window displays and products they have on offer but I’ve never entered, always in a hurry to get somewhere so when I was asked to take the UNIQLO challenge and spend £100 on the entire family I thought why not?

How far can you stretch £100?

Well I was very pleased to see each range so reasonably priced, I started with the kids range as the girls have shot up over the summer so most of last winter’s clothes are going to be too short in the arm, length or leg.

I love the bright autumnal colours that run through the range and finally settled for 2 pairs of dark blue easy trousers as they are a classic, easy to wash and iron and go with just about everything they own. I bought the small size and am happy to report they fit, I notice there is an adjustable waist too and we’ve turned up the bottoms. RRP £9.90

UNIQLO kids

I added two flannel check long sleeve tops, one in a bright red and the other yellow, the girls like that they are soft, I like that as it gets colder a t shirt underneath should be suffice to keep them warm. I ordered size 5-6 and they come up quite big, we’ve turned up the wrist and let the shirt hang over the jeans RRP £9.90

I finished off the kids shopping with my favourite item of all a faux shearing long sleeved hoodie, one orange and one red. They are zip up and lovely and warm. They are gorgeous bright colours and perfect for outdoors play as easily washed in the machine. RRP £12.90 

UNIQLO kids

I then took a look at the men’s collection and although it is very nice you won’t catch my husband in skinny jeans and tight tops, he likes loose and cool as in ‘doesn’t make me hot’ so as he’s not in great need of much he got two new t shirts, in jewel colours. One thing I will mention is the colours were different to how I had imagined them RRP £4.90

UNIQLO

Then it was my turn and as you can imagine it took some time. I was very impressed with the selection available and even more so with the prices, some great threads on there for next to nothing. I opted for a printed skirt RRP £14.90 that I’d like to wear over tights with ballerinas or with boots as the autumn approaches and I teamed it up with a yellow long sleeved t shirt RRP £12.90

UNIQLO

I need to find someone to take a photo of me wearing my rags!

Disclosure: I was asked by UNIQLO to spend £100 to dress the family, my total came to £103.00 all opinions of the products are my own

Tesco school uniformI just had the most amazing online experience, instead of dragging the girls around shop after shop trying on uniform, shoes and exhausting them whilst searching for the essentials we’ll be needing over the next few months I popped on to the Tesco Clothing website and bought the bulk of their uniform for just over £50.

Tesco have spent a lot of time reviewing their school uniform offer to parents and making sure that their products tick all of the boxes that uniform has to.

Value for money

Prices have been kept to an absolute minimum and this is evident the moment you start selecting the garments of your choice. Cardigans in all typical school colours from £3 and black leather shoes from £8, plimsoles with easy velcro fastenings, perfect for youngsters who struggle with laces and buckles.

Quality

I have looked at the uniform in the more expensive stores on our high street and compared it with what’s on offer at Tesco and in all fairness I can’t really see any huge difference, the fabrics used are more or less identical, the cut is similar – allowing for growing children and the finished product off the shelf doesn’t show any marked difference

tesco school uniform

Improved features

I love the adjustable waistbands, all of my children have been skinny and often the clothes for their age size are too big in the waist, by having the handy elastic with buttons on the inside means I can get the right length trousers or skirt and adjust the waistband throughout the year as they grow.

tesco school uniform

The permanent pleats are a great idea too, saving much time in the ironing department, also I find with too much ironing the fabric starts to ‘shine’ these handy permanent pleats cut down on your ironing pile and still look smart at the same time. It also means if you’re in a rush to turn uniform around you can skip the ironing and use as it comes off the line!

tesco school shoes

Another great feature to look out for is their Teflon fabric protector assuring materials last longer, this I’ll have to get back to you around Christmas time. I did notice uniform I bought last year which looked perfect in September started to look pretty washed out by the time we got to December so personally I’m hoping the Teflon fabric protector will do the job for me.

These shoes are gorgeous aren’t they? I’ll take photos at half term to let you know how they survive … or not :)

tesco school shoes

What we bought

2 x scallop trim green cardigans – £3.00 ea
2 x jersey pinafore dresses – £6.00 ea
2 x packs of white knee high socks – £4.00
2 x white short sleeved shirt – £3.00
2 x Butterfly plimsoles – £3.50
1 x leather shoes – £12.50
1 x Bow shoes – £8.00
1 x pack of knickers – £2.50
1 pack of ankle socks – £4.00
oh and a fabulous black biker jacket for me! – £28.00

Tesco biker jacket

colourful dove boxThere comes a time in every child’s life when melamine and plastic just won’t do’

“I’m a big girl mummy’

“I’m a princess mummy.”

It’s been a while now that the baby cutlery is too small and we’ve moved on to butter knives and dessert forks to get the girls used to handling Big Girl’s cutlery but the plates? What if? is always on my mind but then Colourful Dove got in touch and asked me if I’d like to review their gorgeous children’s tableware sets.

I took a look at their website and fell in love with their clean and simple designs suing bright colours that cannot fail to encourage children to enjoy their food.

Colourful Dove were very kind and sent through two sets for us to try out, they know twins and wanted to avoid arguments from the start.

On arrival they come in a beautiful presentation box so would make the perfect gift for a child, carefully wrapped in bubble wrap the pieces already look gorgeous in the box.

colourful dove box

Now, I imagined I would be concocting something quite special for such beautiful china plates but as it happened, the day I decided to try them out was one of the hottest of the year, the girls had been grazing all day rather than eating ‘proper meals’ so come tea time we were all tired and ratty so we chose simple spaghetti on toast with some grated cheese on top, one of the girls favourites ‘quick teas’.

colourful dove sunshine tea

So ladies and gentlemen that day we had Sunshine for tea as it was such a hot day

Disclosure: Colourful Dove sent me through two sets of their gorgeous china for the twins, they decided themselves to swap tumblers so they both had a bit of pink and a bit of orange otherwise the sets are one colour only. Thank you Colourful Dove, proper plates for proper princesses

princess meals colourful dove