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(Last updated: 31/7/2014)

Monday, 5 August 2013

Back to School Guide 2013 and Giveaway


Back to School 2013, Stationery, Bags





























New year, new excitements! It never cease to surprise me with how fast time flies, and Abby is going to be in year 1 next month already! I was told that she's going to have plenty in store for her, so lets hope that she'll have another great year (academically and socially), if not better!

This year's Back to School Guide (you can find last year's guide here) focuses mainly on stationery. One can never have too many stationery (or bags. Or books!)! I have split them into the following 4 categories, AND of course, I've got a fantastic giveaway for you as well at the end of the guide!

Pens
Books (including notebooks and files)
Other Stationery
Lunch and Bags
Giveaway



Pens

Back to School 2013, Crayola washable supertips, Crayola Twistable crayons

Back to School 2013, Crayola washable supertips, Crayola Twistable crayons
















Crayola Supertips (12 pack; rrp £3.49)
Crayola Twistable Crayons (12 pack; rrp £2.99)

Crayola has always been a trusted brand for their crayons and markers. They have a broad selection of products now, and some are just fascinating! I especially like their washable range. I have to buy new school uniforms for Abby, not because she has grown out of them (though I wish she'd eat more..) but she has left so many permanent marks on her clothes she looked scruffier than some of the boys (no offense)! If only if she can stick to washable pens at school too! These Supertips are perfect for writing, which Abby loves, and drawing, and she can draw all over herself or even Clay if she wants. That reminded me, Clay actually used the purple one to draw all over himself and I wasn't bothered at all.

Another really clever product from Crayola is their Twistable Crayons. These waxy crayons comes in glue-stick-like tubes, where you can turn the end to push the crayon stick out, and twist it back again. This is great as you can hold them without dirtying your hands, they won't snap in the middle during a frenzy colouring session and it's easier to control as well. The long thin pen also means that drawing and colouring are more precise. If you want to cover a bigger area, just twist a bit more of the crayon out and use it sideways, but be careful not to press too hard. The crayons are really long so they should last for quite some time, for £3 it is definitely value for money!


Back to School 2013, cute pens, fine tip pens


Back to School 2013, cute pens, fine tip pens

Back to School 2013, cute pens, fine tip pens




MyKimChi4U Tic Toc 2 in 1 Pen - Alice (US$7.00, approx £4.60)

Since I was a student I have noticed that I don't write particularly well with thick pens. At one point I was hooked on 0.38mm fine tip gel pen and never used another type of pen between high school and university. My hand writing is so much better with them! MyKimChi4U, a Korean online stationery shop that ships World Wide, has a great selection of unique fine tip pens, let it be ball point or coloured. For example, I'm absolutely loving the Tic Toc 2 in 1 range, which is based on the story of Alice in Wonderland. There are other designs to choose from as well, including queen of heart and jack of spade.

All the pen sent to me writes really well and glides smoothly even though the tips are so fine. It's unfortunate that the others are out of stock already! It's proven that they are really popular, and you'll guarantee to have unique stationery to make others envy you!


Back to School 2013, large pencil case, personalised stationery

Back to School 2013, large pencil case, personalised stationery

Back to School 2013, large pencil case, personalised stationery



Note: Part of the personalised information has been covered up for privacy purpose

When I chose the Tools for School kit to add to the guide, I was more focused on the tools. The durable poly canvas large pocket pencil case was certainly useful and can put the included 30cm long ruler in without a struggle. The scissors has a cover, which makes it much safer for children to use, the eraser was big and the pencil sharpener has a container to keep the mess at bay, hence they are all perfect for students. What I wasn't expecting was the fantastic quality of the tools, and the beautiful colours from the pencils and markers too.

The ruler is solid inside but is covered by a soft rubber like material, which is the same for the 2 hole pencil sharpener and scissors. Their pencils and colouring pencils are all triangular shaped, making it much easier for the children to hold and control them effortlessly. The colouring pencils' colour shows without effort, and I really like the design of the dual tip water soluble markers. The choices for personalisation is plenty, and Abby really likes the cute and chubby strawberry logo next to her name. She felt that the personalised stationery is really special (ie more fighting with her little brother).



Books

Back to School 2013, Peter Blake's ABC, first word book
Back to School 2013, Peter Blake's ABC, first word book












































An ABC book is obviously more suitable for preschool children, however, this ABC book is probably better as a collector's item, or something for the Art students, as it's a book by British's Pop Artist Peter Blake, featuring a selection of his extensive collection of objects and ephemera he has gathered in his studio during his career. This ABC book is certainly going to inspire more people than just preschool children.


Hallmark stationery, retro stationery, fashion stationery
Stock photo provided by Hallmark UK featuring the whole 60's Mix range

Hallmark stationery, retro stationery, fashion stationery

Hallmark stationery, retro stationery, fashion stationery
























Hallmark stationery, retro stationery, fashion stationery












Hallmark stationery, retro stationery, fashion stationery

















Hallmark has launched some new and exciting notebook designs that I think is great for the trendy students. Their 60's Mix is stylish and fashionable, and I really like the quality of the paper, really nice to write on. The personalisable notebook includes 6 insert cards that you can slot in a little window, and you can display whichever to show what the notebook is about. You can, of course, create your own display too!


Hallmark stationery, vintage stationery, girly stationery




























Stock photo provided by Hallmark UK featuring the whole Pretty Scribbles range

Hallmark stationery, vintage stationery, girly stationery
































Hallmark stationery, vintage stationery, girly stationery
















Hallmark stationery, vintage stationery, girly stationery




Hallmark stationery, vintage stationery, girly stationery

















Another quality Hallmark's range that I think is fantastic for students is their Pretty Scribbles range. It's a mix of vintage floral and adorable drawings that works surprisingly well together. My favourite items from the range is their scrapbook, where students like Abby can collect their holiday stories and bits & bobs in it to show to the teachers or for keepsake purpose; and their sticky note pad, which have a lovely selection of different size sticky notes. I always find myself having problem with just one size sticky notes, sometimes you just need longer ones for longer messages!


high quality notebooks, Magic Soup stationery, water colour stationery
























high quality notebooks, Magic Soup stationery, water colour stationery
























high quality notebooks, Magic Soup stationery, water colour stationery






high quality notebooks, Magic Soup stationery, water colour stationery
















inkThistle Magic Soup File Pockets (8 assorted designs £9.95)

inkThistle is a family run online stationery shop focusing on quality and luxury stationery from all over the World. I'd say that their selection is more for college and above, but I'm sure primary and high school would love their cute with an edge Magic Soup range as well! I like their gloss cover notebooks, and the file pockets are very eye catching. There are 8 designs in a pack, so you can use 1 or even 2 for each subject! These will help both Abby and me to file away our mess!

All their orders come nicely packaged with ribbons, tissue papers, personal note and even sweets!


high quality notebooks, Leuchttrum 1917 notebooks, professional notebooks



high quality notebooks, Leuchttrum 1917 notebooks, professional notebooks































Pen for illustration only and not included

high quality notebooks, Leuchttrum 1917 notebooks, professional notebooks





inkThistle Leuchtturm A4 Notebook - Lined Pages (assorted colours, retailed £7.95)
inkThistle Leuchtturm Pen Loop (assorted colours, £2.50)

Another range of stationery you can buy through inkThistle is Leuchtturm. Don't be put off by their plain cover (I think it's very professional looking) as they are all made with quality material. They have also cleverly designed a pen loop that can be attached to any notebooks/ planner/ diary, etc by sticking the panel on a book. With this pen loop, we don't have to fumble around for a pen anymore!

All their orders come nicely packaged with ribbons, tissue papers, personal note and even sweets!


cute notebooks, cute planner, Japanese or Korean stationery
























cute notebooks, cute planner, Japanese or Korean stationery



cute notebooks, cute planner, Japanese or Korean stationery

cute notebooks, cute planner, Japanese or Korean stationery




MyKimChi4U Molang Notebook A5 (US$3, approx £2.00)

MyKimChi4U has also sent me a cute notebook and scheduler/ planner from the character Molang, which is a very cute and subtle but not over the top character, and I would have used something like this during my high school and college years. The planner can be used in any year, just circle (or colour or highlight) the month on the first page of each month, date each week on the month page and week pages. There is also space for you to write notes at the back of each page, which are all lined, and in the corner there is a Molang doing all sorts of cute moves! With 3 sheets of stickers you can decorate and personalise the planner your way.


Other Stationery

Caroline Parrott hand crafted stationery, hand crafted school accessories, hand crafted bag accessories

Caroline Parrott hand crafted stationery, hand crafted school accessories, hand crafted bag accessories
















Caroline Parrott Hand Dyed and Printed Anodised Aluminium Buttons Card £4.50

Caroline is a very talented and lovely lady who hand dyes and cut (with a saw!) anodised aluminiums into all sorts of lovely things. Her art work does not just cover stationery, but I thought that they are really unique, pretty and stylish, and it would be lovely to decorate a bag or pencil case with her keyrings, badge (I've kept it attached to the tag as it looked so pretty there!) or bookmarks (I've included her greetings card here to give you an idea of how her bookmark looks like, a bit smaller with 4 anodised aluminium buttons for £4.50). These would be perfect for the young artists and alike.


novelty calculator, chocolate calculator, funky stationery

novelty calculator, chocolate calculator, funky stationery






























Now, how funky is this?! Just don't break open into the calculator in front of a teacher or you'll be in trouble! Clay took the calculator and actually bit on it! Kids! The calculator is suppose to smell like chocolate as well, although it could be a bit too subtle for me to smell ours. However, I still think that it's a great calculator, it does what a calculator should do, and it will attract the attention one is hoping to get when they decided to buy this!


clothes stick on labels, clothes iron on labels, personalised clothes labels

clothes stick on labels, clothes iron on labels, personalised clothes labels

clothes stick on labels, clothes iron on labels, personalised clothes labels

clothes stick on labels, clothes iron on labels, personalised clothes labels















Stuck on Your Labels Sample Pack (information to follow as site is having a makeover)
- Includes a bag tag, 10 stick on shoe dots, 25 stick on name dots, 25 iron on clothing dots, 25 iron on clothing labels and 2 ironing protective sheets

Note: Part of the personalised information has been covered up for privacy purpose

One of the things I heard parents asking for the most is personalised labels for clothes and shoes, etc. That's because we all know that, no matter how permanent your markers are, eventually they will fade after being in the wash week after week. Labels on the other hand are neat and cute, last longer with care, and kids love them too!

Stuck on You has a wide range of labels, let it be stick on or iron on, and the fact that you can also add cute little logos next to the names makes it that much more cuter! If you aren't sure what you need, or you think that you need a bit of this and a bit of those, they have a selection of value packs that's worth looking into. We've gone for the labels sample pack (I might have got the name wrong, will update once I get more information from the website) and they are all nice! I love how colourful the stickers are and there were so many icons to choose from I remember spending ages to personalise these labels.

The iron on labels were slightly trickier to use. I think my iron was hotter than they expected and the cotton setting they recommended wasn't really suitable. The plastic dots has gone off a bit, so I'd recommend to try a lower setting first, and if that doesn't work, go for the next higher. The labels should remain its shape and colour if successful.


Zeamu Music, children pop music, pop music suitable for children

Zeamu Music, children pop music, pop music suitable for children





























Zeamu Music CD (14 tracks, £10.99)

We've reviewed Zeamu Music CD last week and I really think that children should give this a try. Their songs are very similar to pop songs written by crews who've worked with celebrities like Sugarbabes, but lyrics are much more relevant to children, and there is no swear words, drugs or abuse! There are 2 tracks on YouTube at the moment as well, so you can check them out before considering buying the mp3 or CD.


Lunch & Bags

novelty lunch bags, reusable sandwich bags, trick bags





















novelty lunch bags, reusable sandwich bags, trick bags
















Find Me a Gift Lunch Bugs Ziplock Bags (24 reusable bags, rrp £3.99)

Another novelty product you can get from Find Me a Gift, cheeky children can amuse themselves and friends with these ziplock bags to make their sandwiches look like they have bugs crawling all over them! Obviously the further away and least expected, the more real they seem, and do note that folding the bag into half won't work. Abby asked me whether it was a real bug when I told her that I just had it for lunch. Even hubby thinks that it's fairly realistic when he saw the bag on the kitchen top!

Bug infested aside, the zip lock bag is strong and spacious enough to fit 2 full size sandwiches in. They are slightly thicker as well, hence reusable.


Skip Hop Zoo backpack, toddler backpacks, animal bags
























Skip Hop Zoo backpack, toddler backpacks, animal bags

Skip Hop Zoo backpack, toddler backpacks, animal bags

























Skip Hop Zoo backpack, toddler backpacks, animal bags

Skip Hop Zoo Straw Bottle, toddler animals water bottle, cute water bottles







































Skip Hop Zoo Pack Little Kid Backpack - Elephant (assorted style, £20.75)
Skip Hop Zoo Straw Bottle - Ladybug (assorted style, £10.50)

Aren't Skip Hop products cute?! For the younger kids, these little animals (and bugs) companions will certainly make their trips out more fun! The backpack features a mesh side pocket that can hold water bottles, and the front pouch is insulated to hold snacks, which has a mesh inner pocket as well for pens. The shoulder straps are padded for extra comfort, and the compartment is very spacious. It also have a fabric name tag sewn inside. The ears of the elephant is soft and fluffy, making me want to play with them all day long! It's really cute to see Clay carrying elephant on his back, and the size is just right. I think from now on I can ditch my travel bag and go back to my handbag while he carry his own nappies instead!

Even though Skip Hop is designed for babies and toddlers to use, Abby has claimed the ladybug bottle. Her reason is that Clay already has one (something similar), so this had to be hers. Well, whatever makes her drink more water! A spare straw is included as well, which is really useful as after about a year, you will want to change it. Do make sure that you will remember where you've put it though!


Stuck on You Personalised Backpack, large backpack, school bag

Stuck on You Personalised Backpack, large backpack, school bag

Stuck on You Personalised Backpack, large backpack, school bag




















In last year's guide I mentioned about Stuck on You's Personalised Lunch Pack, which comes with a bottle as well with their value pack. Abby have been using them both since and have impressed a lot of other parents. This year I want to feature their personalised backpack as well, which is equally fantastic. The backpack is fairly big so it's more suited for older children (KS2 or above). They currently have pink and red available (i think blue is out of stock at the moment), but to show you that red works on boys as well, I've personalised it for Clay. it's gonna be a while before he can use it, but the size means that it's great for storage as well.

The backpack features 2 side pocket - mesh one for a bottle and the zipped one for smaller items. There are 3 main compartments, with the biggest one featuring another inner pocket to keep things organised. If there is a lot to carry, the base has a stiff flap to wedge the bag open. Shoulder straps are padded and it also have a reinforced handle for carrying it by hand or hanging on to hooks.

For KS2 or above children who requires lots of compartments and a strong bag, this will be ideal.


Wow electronics Backpack, animated backpack, remote control bag

Wow electronics Backpack, animated backpack, remote control bag

Wow electronics Backpack, animated backpack, remote control bag

Wow electronics Backpack, animated backpack, remote control bag
















WoW Packs - Cutezee the Kitten (pink or purple, rrp £35.00)

This has to be the most fascinating backpack ever! WoW packs are the first remote controlled animated backpacks that comes in 2 versions - Cutezee the Kitten and Snot the Zombie, and each comes in 2 colours. These aren't on the market just yet (will be available in all Smyths toy stores soon) but has caused a buzz already at the Toy Fair 2013! Abby was chosen as one of their WoW Pack Wanderer, and we will be telling you more about Cutezee in the following months!

What we can tell you now is that Cutezee truly is amazing! She can look left and right, shake her whiskers, miaows, purrs, say "yoo-hoo", laugh, flutter her eyelashes and make magical bling-bling sound! What more is that, you can set her to react to any movements the sensor detects, so she'll do some special effects without being remote controlled! I'll include some film clips as well in the reviews later on.

Although the backpack has a special compartment to store the electronics, it's still surprisingly light weight, and Abby has no problem carrying Cutezee around. My 2 love playing with her and have been saying hi to her whenever she says "yoo-hoo". Abby is really excited and wanted to surprise her friends now! Well, she'll just have to wait until next month! Wow packs are suitable for 3 to 6 years old, just keep an eye on availability.



I'm really happy with this year's products as they are all of good quality. Some are really fun, while others are really pretty and exciting! I hope that this guide helps you and/ or your child with your Back to School shopping!


Disclosure: We were sent the above to review and feature on the guide unless otherwise stated; all opinions are honest and our own



Giveaway

Thanks to the lovely brands and PRs for donating prizes to this giveaway! There are 15 items in total, so plenty of chances for you to take something home! Do read the Terms and Conditions carefully to make sure that your entries are qualified, and there is even a guide to Rafflecopter written by Di Coke at Super Lucky's to help you with Rafflecopter should you require.


Hallmark stationery set, quality notebooks, vintage floral and cute notebooks

























1. Hallmark Pretty Scribbles Stationery Set
- Includes A4, A5 and A6 Notebooks made with quality craft paper, Sticky Note Set and A4 Scrapbook with sticker sheet attached (See the above review section for further information)


Stuck on You gift voucher, personalised stationery, personalised bag











2 and 3. £20 Stuck on You Voucher


free personalised planner, free personalised notebook, make your own planner and notebook



















4. Free Personal Planner Voucher
- Voucher applies to any size planner or notebook


chocolate calculator, find me a gift, novelty stationery



















5. Find Me a Gift Large Chocolate Calculator
- See the above review section for further information


butterfly keyring, hand crafted keyring, handmade key chain



6. Caroline Parrott Handyed and Handprinted Anodised Aluminium Butterfly Keyring
- See the above review section for further information


Heat Holders thermal socks for children, children no heel socks, children winter and wellies socks



















7-10. Heat Holders Children Socks
- 1 x size 2-5.5 in Red, 1 x size 2-5.5 in Blue, 1 x size 9-1.5 in Red, 1 x size 9-1.5 in Blue
- Heat Holders are really the best and most affordable thermal socks I've seen so far, and children ones doesn't have the heel bit so they can last fairly long.


Jelly Belly bean tin, jelly bean sweets, keepsake sweets box


















11-15. Jelly Belly Beans 65g Bean Tin 20 Assorted
- Aren't these jelly bean tins adorable?! They would make really cute keepsake tins after the jelly beans are all gone! And there are 5 of these to win too! 


To enter the Back to School Guide 2013 Giveaway, simply follow the instructions below. Please note that any additional entries in the rafflecopter are optional for you to enter. Good luck all! x

Deadline: Sunday 25th August, 2013 midnight (where 12:01am is Monday)

Terms & Conditions:
  • The giveaway is open to the UK and N. Ireland only
  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post's comment section to enter the competition. Please make sure that you are not leaving a comment as Anonymous, as I would not be able to check whether you've left a blog comment. If you have to comment as Anonymous, please add a means of ID on your comment I can use to link it to your Rafflecopter entry. Unfortunately if I can't, all your entries will not be counted
  • Please make sure that your email used to enter the rafflecopter is active, and you do check the spam folder in case the email I sent you ended up there
  • Tweet url will be checked. Please make sure you have the correct url entered into the rafflecopter
  • The winners will be drawn by the Rafflecopter randomly. To avoid mistakes by me, the first name drawn will win the first prize, and so on until the 15th person who will win the 15th prize
  • Winners will be announced by Wednesday 28th August, 2013 on here as well as Twitter. Winners will not be announced on Facebook because of Facebook regulations
  • Winners will have to respond to my email by Monday 2nd September 2013 noon. If I haven't receive a response by then, I will have no choice but to choose another winner for that prize
  • The prizes will be posted by the relevant brands or PRs. Unfortunately I cannot be held responsible for missing parcels, but if you have any enquiry do let me know and I'll try my best to help
  • For a simple guide to Rafflecopter, please read Di Coke's Rafflecopter Guide
  • I do not store any personal data, and will only pass winners' name and shipping address to brands and PRs for them to post the prize out. 
  • But please do read Rafflecopter's privacy policy as well

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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