Back To School for £50 Or Less?

Good morning and happy Monday!  We have had a fun filled weekend and are ready for another busy week!  Hope you all had a good one?

I received an email from Pep & Co/Poundland last week and was delighted – anyone who follows me on Instagram will see me posting my #whatostomateswear post most days and know I wear a lot of their clothes.  I swear by their high-waisted jeans – definitely the comfiest I have found!  We also get quite a lot of the kids bits in there.

The Mission…Should You Choose To Accept It

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The email was telling me all about the new school uniform and items they have in their stores currently and set me a challenge – to kit out a child for school for £50 or less!  Any one with children will know how expensive a new term can be and I regularly fork out well over £100 per child so this intrigued me… could it really be done?

Challenge Accepted!

Of course I had to give it a go, so on Saturday we headed to the local store we tend to use at the entrance to the Intu Derby centre.  The store was well stocked with a good range of sizes.  There were lots of different options including shirts and polo shirts, pinafore dresses and tights.

Uniform

The items are of lovely quality and do not feel cheap at all.  I find that the boys either grow out of their uniform or get it ditched (irreparably) after a few months, so spending less on items like polo shirts suits me better as I know these will need replacing at some point throughout the school year.  The polo shirts are available in white and light blue and are £1 each!  They can be bought separately or in two packs..

I personally did not pick up any sweatshirts as the boys school asks that they wear the ones with their logo on.  However, they are available in blue, red and black for just £2 each.  A great alternative to the more expensive school branded ones or good to have as a back up just in case.

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Trousers can be the bane of my life.  Both my boys have gone through phases of having tiny waists but long legs!  Leo is more in proportion now but Riley struggles to get a size that is long enough to suit his leg length which aren’t then too big for his waist.  I was really pleased to see that the Pep & Co trousers have adjustable waists in them.  The smaller sizes were just £3 and the bigger ones were £3.50 and were available in grey and black.  Skirts and pinafore dresses were also on sale.

The shoe range wasn’t huge but I loved these ones I picked up for Riley – super smart and he said they were very comfy and made him run really fast!  The girls shoes were cute too.  At  only £8 these are perfect for quick growing feet (and football players) who will need new ones at a rapid rate.

Socks (5 pack) and tights (2 pack) were also available in grey and black.  There were girls socks with a slight frill to the top as well.

The boys PE kits are bought from school too but they are encouraged to take in tracksuit tops and joggers for the Winter and for outside PE sessions.  Pep & Co had these lovely, soft tracksuits in grey, black, navy and blue.  The tops were £5 and the bottoms £4.  They also had PE pumps in a range of sizes for just £3.50.

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Trying It On

As you can see, Riley got right into the modelling game for you all!  He loved taking these pictures, even if he was a little wary at first!  He is wearing size 7-8 shirt, polo shirt and trousers and size 13 shoes.

Stationery

Leo picked up some stationery items too.  There was a range of sets with different characters on containing all the basic items for just £1 which is great value.  Leo wanted to get the separate bits so he chose the ones he wanted, but you could have definitely saved more here by buying a set.

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The Bill

I was dubious heading into this challenge as, like I said previously, I generally spend over £100 on each of boys easily when it comes to school shopping.  However, the quality of the Pep & Co uniform pieces are still great and they were such amazing prices!  I do find sizing up in there is generally better  and you will want your little ones with your to try shoes and things on.

So how did I get on?  Could you get everything you need for £50 or less?

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I did it!!!  With enough to spare for a lunchbox or a little rucksack.  I wanted to also mention the coats they had in there – these were available in khaki and navy and I thought they were lovely and only £12 – definitely something I will be picking up when the weather starts to get cooler!

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I was so pleased with my little haul and really happy to be able to share this with you and hopefully help you save some money too!  Let me know if you try out your local Pep&Co and Poundland and what you are loving in there at the moment in the comments below,

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My Desk Tour

As some of you will know, I recently started my Open University degree again.  I am studying part time and so far have completed 120 credits, just 240 to go till I am finished!  My module this year (for another 60 credits) is ‘Working With Children, Young People and Their Families and so far I am really enjoying it,  My first assignment is due in next week so I am hitting the books hard at the moment.

I have recently purchased some new things for my desk area and thought I would show you the bits I have got to make my work space somewhere I want to be spending time!  I hope you like them and maybe find a bit of inspiration if you are looking at revamping your desk space with some great and very affordable pieces.

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So this is where I spend alot of my time – doing my uni work and writing my blog posts!  I also co-host The IBD & Ostomy Support Show from this desk and you can catch me live every Thursday at 8pm, aswell as check out the previous shows on our YouTube page here.

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I picked up these bits from Asda a couple of weeks ago.  The lamp was great value and was only £6 or £8.  It is slightly too tall to fit under the shelves but I am planning to move those up higher once Ste is out of hospital and then it will fit much better!  It has a touch base and three levels of light, I have it on the brightest setting generally as I work.  The white pineapple is actually a wax candle burner too and I thought it might be handy to add something smelly that will keep me alert and working on late night study sessions!  It was only £4 and I didn’t really buy it as a wax burner, just because I liked it alongside the smaller, silver pineapple ornament which was £3.

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These are two candles which I love and just add some more ‘pretty’ to the area.  The pineapple one smells amazing and is from HomeSense, one of my favourite shops.  It was £6.99 and I love that even once the candle is used up I can keep the pineapple glass jar and put another candle in there.  The pink flamingos tealight holder was a bargain £1 sale purchase from Primark at the end of Summer.  I really like the homeware section in Primark, they have lots of brilliantly priced and lovely bits and often have a lot of the stuff that is currently in fashion in their stores.  This has been perfect for me as I love the tropical and flamingo stuff that has been so popular this Summer!

 

I keep printer paper, punched pockets and notepads in the drawer section of the desk.  I am a sucker for a cute notepad and Ste is always telling me I don’t need anymore but these two were too nice to pass up!  They were both from The Works and one says ‘If You Like Pina Coladas’ and the other ‘This Is Where I Keep My Imagination’.  They are both lined and fit in with my pineapple, flamingo and unicorn themed pieces on the desk.  You can never have too many notebooks though right?

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I absolutely love these wooden boxes and they were just £1 each from Poundland.  I have this one in grey with some stationary bits in and a white one on the top of my shelves where I keep mail that needs filing away.    The glitter, glass pen pot is one of my most recent favourite purchases and was £2 from a great new shop I have discovered in Intu Derby.  I can’t remember the name of it but if you really want to know it, please pop me a message and I will find out and get back to you!  I also have some unicorn themed stationary and post it notes which have come from The Works and Poundland, super pretty but super affordable too!

The grey pull out, plastic drawers you can see in the first photo are also fab for keeping bits like my stapler, paperclips and pencils all together and tidy too.  I bought them from Asda for £5 ages ago and there is a fourth drawer which I have taken off so it fits in the space.  Keeping the area looking nice and also being clutter free is definitely important for me.  The more cluttered my desk looks, the harder it is to write.

I hope you liked this little run through of my work space.  Now you know where I am sitting when I am writing all my posts for you and I hope I have inspired you if you are looking at updating your own desk.  There are some fantastic and really affordable pieces out there and it doesn’t cost a lot to makeover a small area like this at all.  HomeSense, The Works, Primark, Asda and Poundland are definitely great places to check out and I recommend them all at the moment!  I am really pleased with how it has all come together and it is definitely somewhere I feel like sitting and working.

Please share photos of your desk spaces below in the comments  and let me know your favourite ways to decorate them that inspire and motivate you!

 

Five Friday Favourites

It’s Friday and I’m back! Not quite with a bang but I’m here and doing okay. Not really ready to share my favourite things from the week yet as I still feel like there is a big hole in my daily life but I did want to reconnect with you all so thought I would share my five favourite places to shop for the kid’s clothes. With the autumn/winter fast approaching the kids are needing their wardrobes overhauled yet again! Out go the shorts and summer dresses and in come the long sleeves and welly boots. Keeping this as affordable as possible is important for me as a single mum, but I still want them to look nice. Luckily, the High Street and supermarkets have some great options and in recent years have really upped their game with regards to children’s fashion.

First up is the ever amazing Primark. I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t love a browse in here, for their kids, themselves or their homeware. During the last year or so it has become a favourite of mine to grab a gorgeous home bargain in. Their children’s clothes range is vast, extremely affordable and, especially recently, has become right on trend. I picked up some great Summer bits this year for both the boys and for Layla. They are also great for the little bits like underwear, socks and the pump style shoes the boys like to pop on to play in in the garden, or for a quick outing to the shop or park. The older boys range I was particularly impressed with this year and I got Leo some really cool t-shirts and shorts. Their wasn’t a massive selection in my local Primark for his age but what they did have was really good and I managed to kit him out quite happily in time for our holiday. The girls section always seems to have more than the boys which I feel needs addressing but otherwise Primark is always right on point for me.

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Next up is a relatively new addition to the High Street. Pep & Co opened a stand alone shop in Derby but has recently started popping up in Poundland stores across the country. Their clothes are affordable and look good. I’ve also got some great pyjamas for the boys from here recently. The range isn’t massive but I’m hoping as they become more established this will expand. The sizes can also be a bit hit and miss. Clothes wise I tend to go a little bigger than needed and the shoes I often need to get a size smaller. I would definitely suggest having your child with you if you are getting them some shoes from there if you haven’t before. They have a great range of simple printed t-shirts for children which are super cheap and ideal for Summer or for nursery if you want to send your children in clothes that you don’t mind being covered in paint and mud. They also have a fab, cheap school range with polo shirts for just £1. At that price you could afford to replace them every term and they were not overly thin like some cheaper ones I have seen. The school trousers were only £2.50 and they had checked school dresses for £3. Definitely worth a try I think! Looking forward to seeing what happens with them in the coming year as have definitely made a good impression so far!

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As I said, the supermarkets have also really upped their game regarding children’s clothing and I wanted to give Asda a huge nod for this. Me and Ste went in yesterday and I could have spent a fortune on all the children with their new Autumn lines being released. The clothes were cute, seasonal and really on trend. I especially loved the light pink/maroon/purple colours dominating one of the girls ranges and couldn’t resist grabbing Layla a couple of outfits. We have struggled to get her any shoes with hard soles as her feet are only a diddy size 3 but I managed to grab a pair for her as they have a really wide range of shoes in all sizes. They also have a really great range of winter coats that are reasonably priced. I have also managed to buy the boys some great jeans in Asda this year, from the basics to some more on trend designs that were still very reasonably priced.  I used to find Asda a little bit hit and miss for clothes but have been really impressed this year.

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Next is a little more expensive but I couldn’t not mention it as they do have some gorgeous kids clothes. They also have really great sales on which is when I tend to go in and grab my bargains. I always find going into the shop is better than trying to sale shop on their website, as when I go to purchase most things come up as sold out in my basket! They have a really good range of formal wear for little ones too, perfect for upcoming Christmas parties (oh yes, I mentioned the C word – it is September now after all!).

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Finally I wanted to talk about another supermarket. The Tu range at Sainsbury’s isn’t as big as some of the other supermarkets in my opinion but their clothes are always good quality and have recently become more on trend. I would also always buy the boy’s school trousers here as they are great quality and have the adjustable waists which was perfect for my tall, skinny boys! The white cotton polo shirts would also last well, even after Riley doused them daily in everything you could imagine – paint, mud, crayon, grass etc! They also run a 25% sale every two or three months which is the perfect time to grab the school stuff. The footwear range is nice but is often limited and I struggle sometimes to find the shoes I want in the size I want. The website is very good and you can order things for delivery to you or to collect at your local store.

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Hope you enjoyed my little run through. Please let me know where you like to shop for your kids clothes or what you think of my list in the comments below. And Happy Friday to all!