Reviewed by Louise Totton
It’s that time of year again. Parents across the country are rejoicing. The routine is about to return, childcare nightmares are about to cease and the food bills are about to halve. THE KIDS ARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!!
Of course, that brings a whole new set of challenges and expenses. The uniform, the accessories, the need to continue learning at home and a bit of light relief for the kids too. I feel really lucky to have been sent a selection of Back to School products to test drive with my daughters, aged 4 and 7.
School uniform can be an absolutely massive expense for families, especially if you have more than one child. I received a selection of Nutmeg items of uniform, available from Morissons. We have to buy some of my eldest’s uniform from the school shop, unfortunately, but part of it can be standard / genetic uniform. My youngest daughter is allowed to wear all generic uniform which is a massive saving.
We were sent some black tights, a black skirt, a red cardigan and a pack of 2 red polo shirts. The uniform is really well priced compared to other supermarkets, at £5 for 3 pairs of tights, £3 to £4 for the skirt, £2 to £3 for 2 polos and £3 to £4 for the cardigan (prices are dependent on the size, with sizes from 4-13 years). I was also really pleased with the feel of the materials. All of the uniform felt substantial and thick and like it was built to last.
The girls look really smart with the uniform on, and the sizing is spot on (we always have to ‘size up’ as both of my kids are tall. My tall 7 year old fitted perfectly into the 8-9 tights and 8-9 skirt, and there is room for her to grow. Equally, the 5-6 polos and cardigan were a perfect fit for my 4 year old.
The blacks are very black and the pleats on the skirt have stayed in really well after several washes. The material on the tights still feel thick and the pair of tights we’ve worn and washed a couple of times aren’t suffering from a baggy gusset or waist. Red uniform can be a total nightmare as it often turns pink or orange after a few washes. Not so with this, and it has retained its red colour really well. All of the uniform has ironed really well too, and looks as good as new.
We also received a small set of hair accessories to match my eldest’s uniform from Superdrug. The set of navy headband, bow clips and bow bobbles is lovely and looks great with her uniform.
We also received a couple of phonics and spelling games from Orchard Toys. Match and Spell and Alphabet Lotto are great fun and will be lovely to keep their learning up after school and in the holidays. Match and Spell is age 4+ and Alphabet Lotto is 3+. Both games come in sturdy boxes which will keep the cards together nicely.
Match and Spell (RRP: £7.50) has two different options for playing, one focused on reading, the other on spelling, and both of my children really enjoyed it. The older one (she has mild delay in phonics as she has a hearing problem) played it really confidently, and whilst she was able to do all of the spellings, some challenged her. My younger daughter needed quite a bit of support, but is just about to start reception so hasn’t done any formal phonics at school yet. I have no doubt that as time goes on, it will be great fun and invaluable to play at home. Suitable for 1-4 players.
Alphabet Lotto (RRP: £9.50) really is great fun. It’s a kind of bingo / memory hybrid and the children both got to grips with the rules really quickly. It’s such good fun that even the younger on was sounding out and matching words to try to get her bingo card filled. The game has 4 variations, and 4 distinct levels of difficulty which means it’s suitable and challenging for both the 7 year old and the 3 year old. They are able to play it together really nicely and enjoy the game. They can also follow the rules with minimal adult help as it’s so simple. Suitable for 2-5 players.
Finally, Hawkins Bazaar sent us a lovely Reflex, Auto-Return Yoyo (RRP: £10). Suitable for ages 6+, my eldest had great fun with it, and it makes a lovely little back to school treat for them. She hasn’t used a yoyo before, so we found the auto-return technology to be great whilst she got to grips with the ‘knack’ of yoyo-ing. Her dad has shown her a couple of tricks which the Yoyo pulls off with ease. She’s really keen to learn them, and it’ll be a great little project for her to learn to build her skills and a lovely change from seeing her on the iPad. Available in 3 colours; Blue, Green or Red.
So whether it’s school uniform, hair accessories, learning games of unusual toys we can recommend everything above.