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,

nat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Summer So Far…

Good afternoon and happy new week!  Today I wanted to share some of the things we got up to in the first two weeks of the Summer holidays with the boys.  Hopefully this can help give you some inspiration and ideas for days out and things to do.

Chatham Historical Dockyards

We were incredibly luck to be contacted but the people at Chatham Dockyards and invited for a visit.  They have just opened a new Lego exhibit and had seen we were big fans and asked if we would like to come and have a look around.

Unfortunately earlier that week Ste was admitted to hospital with an infection.  Although he was feeling much better, because he needed a two week course of IV antibiotics he was forced to stay in.  My friend Dan came with me to pick up the boys on the Friday following their last day at school and we headed over to Kent.  The boys did not know about any of what I had planned so were super surprised to see us pull into a hotel rather than heading home!  As Kent is only a half hour drive from Essex, I booked a hotel there for the night rather than driving back to Derby.

The following morning after breakfast we headed over too the Dockyards.  The day out did not disappoint and we had a fantastic time.  The boys Dad used to in the Navy so getting to explore one of the ships was brilliant.

We also booked on to the tour of the Ropery and the submarine which was simple and easy to do when we arrived.  The boys were ‘roped’ in to helping demonstrate how rope used to be made and had lots of fun and a good deal of exercise doing it!  The submarine tour was also brilliant and definitely makes you appreciate our armed forces even more – some sailors spend months on these underwater helping to protect our country!

Unfortunately on the day we visited, the Dockyards had to shut early due to an incident which happened.  The staff handled it really well and were lovely and helpful.  This meant we didn’t get to have a look around the Lego exhibition but we have been invited back which we hope to do.

The on site restaurant was good and offered a selection of lunch options which were reasonably priced.  The gift shop was also lovely and had lots of choice to suit all budgets.

Disabled Access

The site is large so anyone with trouble walking long distances may struggle.  However, there are plenty of places to sit along the way round.  Access to the submarine would not be possible with a wheelchair but the Dockyards informed me that there is a virtual tour that people can take.  Both the submarine and ship have steps to descend/ascend.  The ship is accessed by a ramp so you can explore the deck area, even if you are unable to explore the rest of the ship. The Ropery is on two levels but their is a lift for people unable to manage stairs.  There are good toilet facilities around the site.  The disabled toilets were spacious and clean.

If You Want To Visit

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Visit the website

For the Summer school holidays, kids can get in for £1 with every full paying adult – bargain!

Buy tickets online

To see more of our visit to the Dockyards please check out our YouTube video here

Swimming

Swimming with an ostomy can be nerve wracking but I have two water babies so it had to be on our Summer to-do list!

I won’t go into too much detail about the swimming with an ostomy stuff here, as I am writing a post for TalkHealth all about it at the moment, which should be live soon.

Check out my TalkHealth page

We had a great time in the pool and it was brilliant to see how far the boys have come.  They have been having swimming lessons both privately and with school and they are doing fantastically well.

Bounce Revolution

The boys broke up earlier than the schools in Derby which meant that for the first week they were off, places were really quiet!  We took advantage of this as much as we could, including a visit here.  I had two tickets from our previous visit giving us entry for £5.  The boys absolutely love it and had the place to themselves for half an hour, with only one other family joining them for the following hour they were in there!  The staff are friendly and were great wrth the boys.  They were also brilliant when Leo managed to hurt his knee and provided first aid and an ice pack etc.  The boys loved running round, jumping, playing basketball and football and I was able to sit and watch with a cuppa!

To book your visit see the website

Thackray Medical Museum

This museum is on the site of St James Hospital in Leeds.  The entrance fee covers your visits for a whole year so you can return as many times as you wish.

Visit the website here

As Ste was in St James’s we thought instead of him missing out on more Summer holiday fun, we would pay him a visit and have a day out at the same time!

The museum was fantastic.  For the first part you travel back in time to Leeds in the 1800’s.  The boys thought this was brilliant.  The museum was made to look like a real Victorian street with all the sights, sounds and smells of the period!  You are also invited to pick a character at the beginning of the walk through.  You get an information card with some facts about your character and then you follow the route, finding out more information about them, what they had wrong with them and how this was treated back then.

The boys really enjoyed this part and me and Ste both thought it was excellent too.  We loved finding out lots of new things and the interactive element of so much of the displays was great.

A quick look around the gift shop afterwards and we couldn’t resist a selfie with the poo heads!  There was a pocket money section as well as more expensive bits so good for all budgets.  The toilets were down a few stairs and I am not sure if there was a lift for those in wheelchairs but assume there would be one somewhere, or an accessible toilet.  There was also a cafe although we did not use that on our visit.

All in all a fab day out which we all enjoyed.  Definitely worth a visit if you are nearby!

Cooking With Kids

You all know I am a big fan of cooking and enjoying sharing my recipes with you.  During the time the boys were here we made one of their favourite teas – pizza!  I bought the simple cheese and tomato pizzas from Aldi and then the boys added on their favourite toppings.  They were able to practise their cutting skills with their own safe,  cutting knife.  They then decorated their pizzas before I popped them in the oven.  They both really enjoyed them and every bit was polished off!

This is great for using up leftovers and for a simple tea which I know they will enjoy.  I love encouraging them to cook and Leo especially, really enjoys it and is becoming so much more independent in the kitchen now.

The Ragley Boat Stop

We went out for lunch with Grandma and decided to drive out to this pub as I haven’t been here in a while.  The food was lovely as always – Riley polished off a big bowl of spag bol and Leo really enjoyed his burger!  We took them down to the canal and they enjoyed having a look at the barges that were alongside.  Riley was desperate to get on one but we explained that they were people’s houses and he wasn’t allowed to get in!  The boys also enjoyed learning about the lavender plant from Grandma.

New Car

The boys were so excited to be here when I went to pick up the new car!  They were really well behaved while I sorted out the paperwork too.  I will be doing some more posts about this soon so keep an eye out!

Buxton International Festival

Me and the boys were lucky enough to be invited along to the festival in Buxton this year.  It ran for two weeks and there were lots of different shows and demonstrations on.  We had hoped to attend the African Drumming Workshop when we visited on the Saturday, but were unable to find the right tent!

Regardless, we spent a fab afternoon at the Buxton Pavilion Gardens where it was held.  The park is stunning and there are lots of fab reasons to visit even without the festival being on!  The boys loved crossing the bridges and the miniature train that we took a ride on.

We had a lovely picnic and the boys enjoyed a play on the park, especially the double seated swing!  My arms weren’t too sure after a while pushing them though!

We also enjoyed hearing the band playing in the beautiful band stand, watching the Morris dancers and having a go on the inflatable slide which were all part of the festival.  Was a really lovely afternoon which we enjoyed greatly!

Manor Heath Park & Jungle Experience

Me and the boys spent a lovely morning over at Manor Heath park in Halifax.  We were over there for 9am and this meant we had a lot of time to ourselves before it got really busy around  lunchtime when we left.

The boys enjoyed some time in the splash pool, followed by a run around of the play park.  We then headed over tot he Jungle Experience which is just £1 each for entry.  The boys loved trying to spot all the butterflies and birds.

Their favourite part by far was the turtles!  Seeing them all lined up on the bridge was fab.  The boys stroked them gently and sat watching them for ages.  We even saw a couple walk off the edge of the bridge and splash into the pool below!

This is a fab park with the playground, large open spaces and the water splash bit too.  The Jungle Experience greenhouses rounded off a fab morning which we all enjoyed!

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the things we got up to in the first couple of weeks of the school holidays.  We definitely made the most of our time together and had a lot of fun!  I hope you will consider visiting some of the places yourselves if nearby, we really have had some fun times!

What have you been up to so far this Summer?  Do you have any places you would recommend a visit to?  Please let me know in the comments below!

nat